Monday, April 28, 2008

A brief update

I promise to write March and April updates soon! Until then, here's a link to check out.
I just discovered my school's website! It's all in Japanese, but you can see the view :)

Last Friday was the teachers' Welcome Party. Every school year, several teachers are transferred to different schools. Eight of our teachers were sent to different schools, so eight new teachers were transferred here. I don't understand who gets transferred or why, because the teachers have no say. The board of education just decides who goes where. It's very strange. But it's also an opportunity to have a party :) Our party was at the Takarazuka Hotel. The food was pretty good and there were many many many speeches (from new teachers, old teachers, the MC, principal, vice-principal, etc, etc). Teacher parties are hard for me because I think the teachers feel intimidated by me. So, I did my best to speak Japanese to get people to talk to me! After the party, I met up with some friends who live in Takarazuka and we stayed up talking and watching a movie (She's The Man, which is beautifully awful).

The first years are going to camp this week -- to learn school related stuff, like the school song -- which means no first year classes for me starting Wednesday! Woo! And tomorrow (Tuesday) and next Monday and Tuesday are national holidays! Yay!! I don't have any plans...yet.

I'm at school, so I should get back to work.

Japanese phrase of the day:
Ashita wa yasumi desu. Tomorrow is a holdiay.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Update: February

Sorry for the delay! Here's a quick update on what's been happening on this side of the world...

In February, I went to the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido, with a group of JETs to see the Yuki Matsuri (Snow Festival). The festival is in Sapporo, which you may know from the beer of the same name.

The Snow Festival was pretty awesome. They spend weeks sculpting snow and ice into these huge sculptures and stages. Here's one in progress:
I spent the majority of my time wondering the main park/festival, looking at the cool sculptures and enjoying yummy festival food like yakisoba and crab legs.

This one is of a famous castle in Hokkaido...I don't know it's story, but it was really impressive. The detail was incredible!
At night, they lit up the sculptures with different colored lights.

Here's a video of some J-Pop group performing in front of the sculpture of Sapporo Station. This guys are what most of my boy students try to look like... :)

(The dancing people in the crowd in the green coats are my friends who were really rocking out!)

Most of the other JETs went skiing or snowboarding. I opted to go snowmobiling instead. Watch out! It's dangerous!!

This was a really fun weekend trip -- definitely one of the highlights of Japan!

Japanese phrase of the day:
Abunai desu yo! That's dangerous!