Tag Archives: tochigi

Why 7-year-olds make the best exercise coaches!

It has been getting hotter and more humid here in Tochigi. The week started out in the upper seventies, lower eighties…which is pretty hot in my books. (-_-;) (Butte, Montana summers rarely even reach the 90s. If they do, usually it only lasts a week or two. ) But then the clouds and rain came rolling in around Wednesday. Normally that would be a relief, right? Yeah… No! Not necessarily. I prefer the sunshine. It was hotter, but fairly dry. Now it is “mushi atsui,” or, muggy. Which means it feels at least 10 degrees hotter even though, technically, it is cooler. …and everything is sticky. Thankfully it is still at a manageable level! I have decided the reason why I can’t stand the summers here is because I store heat like a furnace. (Because of adapting to all those Montana winters!) So, come summer, I start to overheat! Blech! Yesterday, I ate lunch with class 2-1. (2nd years, class 1). Afterward they invited me to join their recess activity. Freeze tag. It was a thirty minute long recess! Non-stop running ensued…well, until I was “caught” and had to freeze! Of course I had lots of “helpful” teammates who came to my “rescue!” Chasing little ones, or being chased by them, really is the best exercise program! They are far more strict than any exercise coach! They won’t allow you to give up. “Ah! I give! I’m dying here!” “Sensei, you are not dying. Obviously! Come on! It is boring if you just stand there! Run away!” I love my second graders!

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Ichigo Overload!

The prefecture I live in, Tochigi, is famous for their strawberries.  So, of course, we all had to go out and experience strawberry-picking at one of the famous local farms.  For around $12.00 you can go and eat as many strawberries as you can pick and stuff in your face… in 30 mins. It. was. awesome.  They took our party of eight plus about 8 others and assigned us to one greenhouse.  We each recieved a paper cup to put our stems in and were let loose to eat to our heart’s content.  The strawberries were huge!  Granted, my favorites were usually the smaller ones…their flavor is more concentrated, I swear!  We all definitely want to go again.

After gorging on strawberries we all headed to Sano to shop at the Outlets and the AEON.  …I think I ended up spending the most.  But the wonderful thing about the Outlet stores is that they now have a GAP Outlet store.  Now, I never really was much of a GAP kinda gal.  I usually stuck with their kid sister, Old Navy.  But at the outlet store they actually carry clothing in XL!  Not Japanese XL either.  American XL of course!  I can usually never find XL sizes at the regular GAPs here in Japan (the most common sizes you can find range from an American 00 to a size 8, maybe 10 at most!  …but the average girl here wears a size 2!  Grrrr!).  It is so nice to buy clothing that only has one ‘X’ in it instead of three!

After shopping for hours in Sano we headed back to Oyama…back to the Strawberry Farm, that is.  This time it was time for their Japanese "Italian" restaurant/buffet to open.  It has the best Japanese "Italian" food in Japan…of course, we didn’t realize until after we got in and settled that is is much more expensive on the weekends.  Oh, but it was worth it.  I had the best roast beef and mashed potatoes that I have ever had…anywhere!  Granted they were tiny little bite-sized portions demo oishikatta!  I am now so stuffed I could puke.  I have so much food from all of our shopping today. And tomorrow is the potluck at church…man, Oyama is bad for my health!


Coming Home to America

Wow.  Somehow I managed to pack, clean and get a new job all within one weekend.  Okay, so I had a lot of help from my own personal lifesaver, Traci, but still all in all it was an amazing feat.  (Especially for those of you who know how messy I can get.  And let me tell you with how busy they have been keeping me here these past few months it is a miracle I could still see my floor…mostly ). 

My last week at work was a sad and happy one.  I really hate saying goodbye.  If I had my way everyone would move with me wherever I went…yeah, that would go over real well.  (-.-;)  But it was also happy because I got a few gifts from some of my students that I will treasure forever.  Especially the one from the Furukawa preschool that I teach at in Ehime.  They made a small book with pictures of our class and each of the students wrote a thank you note on a heart-shaped piece of paper.  Of course, all of the notes were written in hiragana but I can manage to muddle my way through that much.  I loved teaching at the preschools.  The children there are always excited to see you and you can be a total dork and they love you anyways.  (^v^)/ 

Purikura with Marsha and Marie was really fun.  Of course, the lights in the booths washed me out so much that I looked like a junior high student…or so Traci claims.  I say I am awfully big for a JH student.  These photo booths are truly amazing.  You go in and pay around 400yen and the interior is completely lit up with white lights from nearly every angle with a green screen in the background.  They have a touch-screen monitor where you select your…theme I guess.  (Cutesy poses or fun/wacky ones…etc)  Then you get to pick around 6 different backgrounds.  Once those have been selected it is time for the “photoshoot”.  (I kept forgetting to look at the camera and not the screen so my gaze is always directed down. x(   Doh!)  After you have done all your posing you are directed out of the photo booth and into an adjacent booth where you pretty much get to photoshop (for lack of a better description) your pictures.  We did a Christmas theme so Marie and Marsha decorated our pictures with our names and Christmas clip art.  I even did one but it didn’t turn out so well considering I couldn’t read the names of all the different selections…
I love Japan.  I love living in Japan.  I am going to stay for another year….just not with my current employer.  (^O^)/  This weekend I traveled to Tochigi prefecture where I interviewed with a company, and was hired, where I will work as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) for the public schools in the area. Tochigi is much MUCH closer to Tokyo so I will have plenty of opportunity to go and blow my paycheck with a few day trips here and there plus I will be rooming with my buddy Traci.  (The one who convinced me to try and apply even if I didn’t speak much Japanese…she has promised to be a kind and loving tyrant in her pursuit to educate me in the ways of the Japanese language…save me!)

I am excited and sad all at the same time.  I am sad to be leaving friends and students that I love but happy to be able to return home, if only for a short time, to visit my family.  This has been an adventurous year+  I have a lot of great memories and I look forward to meeting my new friends and students next April.