Not so for the Japanese teacher.
This week is, technically speaking, Spring Break. Students of all ages have thrown aside their school uniforms and their heavy backpacks, are sleeping in past 6 a.m. (gasp!), and are enjoying this stunning spring weather on their bikes, in their neighborhoods, on the beach... Meanwhile, I sit at my desk from 9-5 with no energetic students to make my day more bearable, surrounded by busy coworkers rushing about frantically. I can't for the life of me figure out what is keeping them so busy, however. Every day I rack my brain for projects to keep me busy, and still end up with more down time than is physically healthy.
|The insane look in my eyes can testify to that fact.|
|Clean, organized, redecorated, yay!|
While technically, I could take nenkyuu (paid leave) and go frolic in the sun with my students, I am a little low on spare days after my Seattle trip (we get 10 per semester) and need to save them for visiting friends. Soooo.. I am finding small ways to make this week feel like spring break, even though it really ... isn't.
On Saturday, my darling friend Neave came to the main island from her little, far-away island and brought a friend along for the adventure. So, on Sunday, I packed the two girls into my car and whisked them away for a day of fun.
First stop: breakfast! There is only one place on the island (outside of the military bases) to get a real, big, American breakfast: the Rose Garden. Yummmmmmmm.... Since it was a Sunday morning, we had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated, but it was totally worth it.
|Check out the size of those bacon strips!|
We also drove along two other islands and explored some underground hut-like structures on Ikei Jima where people lived 2000 plus years ago. Awesome.
At the end of the day, the three of us ate a yummy Okinawan meal, drove to my apartment, and snuggled up for a movie, tea, and cookies. Feeling of Spring Break: Achieved.
The next morning, being Monday morning, I had to wake up early and go to work. However, my college roommate, Sarah, and her boyfriend, Ben, were visiting from Chiba, Japan, so I took a half-day and set off for another adventure! Our first order of business was lunch. On a hunger scale from 1-10, Sarah was a 6 while Ben was about a 7. Time to eat! We tried two cafes, the "pig cafe" and the "cow cafe," which were both closed; so we set off on a slightly longer drive for the "hill cafe" which was, thankfully, open.
|You can't tell, but there's a really nice view behind us.|
|Oh, there it is!|
After a long, leisurely lunch, Sarah, Ben, and I headed for the Peace Park. They toured the museum while I took a relaxing break with a book. Then we all met up and walked around the park. The Peace Park is very extensive, full of sobering shrines and tombs, and boasting numerous uplifting views. We walked from one end to the other and ended up at the locally dubbed "Ghost Beach" for it's less-than-lively occupants. ;) When dinner time approached, we finished off a lovely day at another favorite local eatery: Paradise Cafe. Cashew nut chicken, for the win!
Sarah showed me around Tokyo when I visited last summer, and I was so glad to return the favor. It was really wonderful to see Sarah again and show her my new home here. I hope that wherever we go in the world, we can always meet up for adventures and a few good laughs.
As you can see, though I may have to work through most of Spring "Break," I am finding little ways to enjoy my spare time. In fact, I am about to enjoy a leisurely, sunny lunch. My stomach says: It's time! Here's to more adventures this week, and a fast approaching weekend!