Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back to School

The second semester is just starting up here in Japan. The kids have been out of class since the end of July -that doesn't mean they haven't come to school, it just means there have been no classes. They come to school to use the pool and the baseball/soccer fields. They have been preparing for sports day which will be coming up on the 15th. And they have been cleaning the schools in preparation for the new semester.
I will be starting this semester at two new schools. Both are near my new apartment. The elementary school is a 3min walk from door to door. It's brand new with an open school concept - a very beautiful building. Unfortunately I only go there once a week. The junior high school is a 30 min walk (or 10 on my bike) and I'll be there one and a half days a week.
I have one other elementary school that I will continue teaching at -Taie. It's a tiny school, but is the 'model' school for the new English program the city has created.
Lessons start tomorrow. I thought I'd be more excited, but my summer just seemed to be picking up! Oh well. I'm giving myself a holiday starting on the 15th. Can't wait!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Okinawa comes to Toyama

I like having friends!
I like having friends who have friends.
I like having friends who have friends that like it when their friends invite other friends to their parties!
Such is the case with my friend Shigako.
We have been friends for 5 years now and she belongs to a group that plays
sanshin -a traditional instrument from Okinawa. Every year they have a BBQ on the beach near Toyama city. Once again I was invited to join. As is the norm for Japanese BBQs, we ate our way through most of the afternoon. Stopping once in a while to play/listen to music, jump in the sea, smash watermelons...
The day started out with a light drizzle, but by midday it was sunny and hot. Perfect!

But the day was just getting started. After a quick bath at a sento we headed to Champuru, an Okinawan restaurant -which is run by some of the members of Shigako's sanshin group- for some live Okinawan music. The artist was Misako Ooshiro, who is quite famous for both her music and her movie career. I had honestly never heard of her before, but quickly became a fan -she has a glamorous presence with a mischievous smile and a voice that is amazing. We sat right up front -as usual- and had a great evening filled with music, food and lively friends!
Thanks again Shigako for a great day!