Friday, September 08, 2006

Amy Brings Fun Wherever She Goes

Here are some vids from the game center fun:

Crazy Ball Fun (click to view)

Watch out for Dinosaurs!! (clickity click)


In our happy little Niikawa family we love to celebrate birthdays! And if you read mine or Kirsten's blog regularly, you have probably come to realize that Birthday Cakes have become a integral part of the celebrations. We still occasionally splurge on a store-bought cake (but they're obscenely expensive) so the real fun has come by trying to create the most suitable cake for the birthday boy or girl.
The latest birthday was Amy-Chan's and we got the opportunity to 'surprise' her on her way through Toyama on the BEE Ride. Chika-chan and I both made cakes we thought she would appreciate...

The face says it all!

They both LOOKED great, but Chika's included her favorite ingredient:

See the resemblance?

Have a safe trip Amy-chan!!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Surviving my first week.

I've got one more day to go in my first full week as an elementary English teacher. So far so good - including school lunch! The strangest thing I've had so far is a battered slice of ham with 2 slices of bread...that also included milk and veggie salad and stew. Not bad at all.

This week has been non-stop introductions. Each new class I visit (I have 24 in all) gets to listen to me say my name and where I'm from, and then it's a free-for-all Q&A time where I answer questions like, "How old are you?", "What's your favorite color?", and "Are you married?". It's fun every time as the kids all react differently to my answers. Then each of the students get to introduce themselves to me! They say their name and what they like and then we shake hands (some of them don't know how to shake hands yet...) Some of the kids are super confident and others freak out! And they're all sooooooo cute!

Today has been my busiest day so far - I teach all 6 classes on Thursdays. It was a challenge getting through 4 classes before lunch, but with the help if great homeroom teachers and a fabulous classroom aid (who's fully bilingual) the classes were a ton of fun.

Tomorrow's Friday, the last of my self introductions and the first of my lunchtime talks over the school intercom...yeah, the principal at Chuo Elementary has asked me to do a short 2 or 3 minute blurb on the differences between Canada and Japan each week! Nice, idea, but he wants me to do it in English AND Japanese -sheesh, these people are going to make me speak their language whether I like it or not...JUST KIDDING, it's a great way to get me to practice the language I should already have a handle on, but don't.

In other news, Amy's has come and gone through the now rainy Toyama Prefecture. She had another BEE RIDE charity dinner in Toyama city last night with the half of the group that has come down the Japan Sea side (the other half is riding through Tokyo). It was a great time, and the last time we'll see her for a looooong time. Good luck Amy-chan. Keep up the cell phone updates! We miss you already.

I missed my cousin Dana's wedding on the weekend. Congratulations Dana, my parents said they had a great time. Wish I could have been there.

This weekend is the VW Event. Can't wait. Gotta get through tomorrow first though...

9:30, I'm beat, time for bed!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

First Day of School

For those who know me well, you know that the first day of school rates up there as one of my favorite days of the year. There haven't been very many years out of my life where I haven't had a first day of school. I know deep down somewhere that becoming a teacher was a way of ensuring I will always have a first day of school to look forward to.

Last Friday was no exception. I had to make a small speech at the opening ceremony at Chuo Elementary School. This is my BIG school -you're going to have to try to keep track now, because I have 3 schools that I will be teaching at. KazzA coached me through my speech on Thursday night so that I'd be ready Firday morning to make a good first impression to 500+ elementary school students. Thanks Kazz, I think I did OK!!

After that, I went back to the staff room, where I tried to look busy (with nothing to do). You see, there aren't any classes on the first day of school. Instead the students had an intro class with their homeroom teachers and then they practiced for sports day!

And the highlight of the day was eating the school lunch! All students get a school lunch made and delivered to their classrooms (or at Mikkachi Elementary School, in the cafeteria) and the staff eats it too. It's a well balanced meal consisting of some kind of meat, starch, veggie and dairy product. On Friday it was rice, stew, 2 sausages and a noodle salad -oh, and of course, milk! It was tastey, but much more than I'm used to eating for lunch! The teachers made a big deal of it, since they knew it was my first time. They thankfully restrained from commenting on my chopstick skills, but did make sure that I know that I have to pay for this lunch service. It's not free. It's a whopping 270yen per meal (that's about $2.60 CDN). A pretty good deal, and it saves me from having to my my own lunch everyday! And if ever don't like the lunch I can always go to grocery store that stands across the street! Yay.

Tomorrow will by my first teaching day. Thanks to everyone who's sent me words of encouragement, they were definitely appreciated! I'll be teaching grade 2 tomorrow -seems a lot more scary than teaching grade 11 at the moment...