Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rock Star ReBekha, Fresh Water Longing, Lunar Eclipse in Paradise

The following three events have been so note-worthy that each of them could've kept me happy for a month or more. The fact that they all took place within a week of each other means that I have had no time to write about them. :) So, ya get a three-for-one deal this time!

1. Rock Star ReBekha
A few weeks ago, some of the teachers approached us ALTs about singing with their band at the school festival. Four practices later, I was dressed like this:

singing/screaming on stage in front of alllllll of my students as they cheered, jumped up and down, and acted like we were real rock stars.

I was horribly off key, and An forgot most of the words, but we gave it our all and the students didn't seem to mind.
It was a challenging but thoroughly exciting three minutes. Next time I wanna try Lady Gaga.

2. Aha Waterfall
Last Wednesday we had a holiday so a couple of friends and I drove a couple hours north to a fresh waterfall to swim around. :D
The falls were beautiful, and they emptied into a big beautiful pond. So lovely.
The best part? The rope swing.
It'd been such a long time since I'd swam in fresh water, and it was incredibly refreshing. No icky, icky salt in my eyeballs. :)
I want to go here many, many times in the future.

On the drive home we found this adorable turtle. Look at his little face!! I am pretty much in love with turtles now. :)
3. Tokashiki Island
I decided to get away for the weekend kind of last minute, because I was getting a little feverish. So I hopped on a ferry with a couple friends and said so long to all my troubles. Paradise, here I am!

It was a great choice. I went with three lovely ladies and we pretty much just sat on the beach for both days. It was sunny, hot, and gorgeous.

AND there was a lunar eclipse! I loved sitting alone on the beach, listening to the crashing waves (how can one describe that sound and not sound like a cliche? :P), and watch the moon go from full to a sliver and back again. When it was at its fullest it was almost blinding. Gorgeous.

So that is the cliff note version of some pretty epic events. :D

Sometimes I shake myself in disbelief and wonder, is any of this really happening to me?

I'm so glad that the answer is: Yes!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Five Things That Have Made Me Giddily Happy Recently

They say that culture shock comes in waves,
or hills and valleys,
or crests and troughs.

However you put it, I've definitely been on more of a downward trend lately, so I am working to turn it around. Sure I am dissapointed that I won't get to take a trip home this summer, and I am starting to feel the isolation of this life a little more strongly than usual, but I've decided to keep on plugging along here and focus on all the major blessings in my life.

So, in the spirit of thinking positively, here are Five Things That Have Made Me Giddily Happy Recently.

1. Air conditioning in the teacher's room and my main classroom. Now I can use my fan for more productive purposes...

Arr! I am the Disheveled Office Pirate!

2. Sashimi! An Yang took me to this excellent fish shop next to our school where this pushy old lady chops up the fish fresh in front of you. I brought home this beautiful, delicious sashimi for only 500 yen (about $5).

3. Kento's. I returned to my favorite oldies bar for more good food and ginger ales and to celebrate my beautiful friend, Julie K., on her birthday!

4. Smoothies. A few of my friends--Michelle, Sarra, and Melody--have inspired me with their smoothie adventures, so I've broken out the blender three nights in a row. The fruit boost really, really helps keep me in good spirits when it is pouring down rain for days on end. Plus, it is an easy, light meal on a muggy day. On days when it is both rainy and muggy? Perfection.

Weather: defeated!

5. Cafe Restaurant and Bar Double Decker
I am a sucker for themed restaurants. Especially when they go the extra mile. :) This place is a definite win.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Look! I wrote "gullible" on the whiteboard!

Whew! This week has been a busy one. I can hardly believe it is almost over... just one class separating me from the weekend! Wahoo! After teaching 14 long classes (9 of which I taught alone), I can barely muster up the energy to smile at students. That's really saying something. :) Perhaps this day is not the best to blog, but I want to share one special anecdote with you before I forget.

Yesterday after school, my fellow JETs and I met the International Club students for our weekly english conversation time. About ten minutes before the club started, Max and I looked at each other blankly: "what should we do?" A quick google search came up with this activity and we decided to go for it.

When all the students had settled down in the classroom, Max and I stood in front of them with our best serious-teacher faces and launched into a dramatic tyrade saying something like, "Yesterday, in the dark of the night, when all the doors and windows were locked, some hooligans broke into the teacher's room and committed a crime so heinous, so disturbed, so awful..."

We described, in great detail and with great drama, how two students had taken a bottle of soy sauce and "bombed" Max's desk. I have no idea where he came up with this idea (possibly this photo?), but we effectively made it seem like the worst crime in the history of humanity. Finally, I said, "Our sources tell us that one of YOU were responsible for this monstrosity!" (They have no idea what that means.) "No one is leaving this room until we figure out who done it!"

Then the students broke into pairs and came up with detailed alibis ("We were salsa dancing in Kyoto" was my favorite). When they were finished, each pair was split up (one of the students waited in the hallway) and individually interrogated by the rest of the students. The pair with the most discrepancies in their story was deemed, "guilty."

In the end, the students selected a pair of freshman girls as the guilty criminals and we proclaimed that they were sentenced to manual labor: cleaning Max's desk every day after school.

We then left the club and came back down to our office to pack up for the day, and not far behind came the two freshman girls... carrying a towel.
They were actually going to clean Max's desk!!

Between fits of hysterical laughter, I was able to tell them that it was only a joke and they were not actually Max's eternal slaves, despite having lost the game.

I love our students.