Sorry about that. It was summer vacation here in Japan, and my personal schedule was thrown completely for a loop. Despite the fact that I was one of the few foreigners in my community to not travel abroad for the holiday, I probably only slept in my own house for about half of the summer. Visiting friends, doing some travelling around Okayama, and letting other friends crash at my place during the night all ensured that I was very busy.
And was it hot here! I ended up switching bedrooms, after finally finding a (poorly operating) air-conditioner in my house. I find myself sleeping at weird hours too – sleeping in the last afternoon (when it's cool) for about three hours and sleeping for about five from around one to six at night. The reason for the scattered hours during the evening is both the heat of the day and my noisy rude neighbours. Dramatic sigh.
I don't actually have too much too say today. I had a fun holiday, but I'm back at school now. I don't have many classes for the first two or three weeks, because all the schools are doing preparations for sports day. This is a HUGE deal in Japan. Think of it as Track and Field day to a factor of 10. It's suppose to foster community and co-operation, which we all know are really big things in Japan. (Insert reference to group oriented society here). I watched some of the practice today (practice lasts for about three weeks) and these kids were doing handstands, back-flips and balancing on each others shoulders and thighs! Not to mention trying to make a six level human pyramid. I was convinced someone was going to break a bone. And they're going to do this for two more weeks!
I do have something to say to those of you out there who are thinking about coming to teach in Japan. If any of your teachers invite you to dinner, or on a weekend trip with the other teachers – GO! I don't care how much it costs, but it will move your relationship with them forward by leaps and bounds. I was invited to Osaka with the teachers from my elementary school. I was really nervous, and didn't really want to go as none of them speak English very well, and I've never gotten along with them. That and the trip itself cost around 300 dollars! But I went, and it was fantastic! They're inviting me to everything now, and they are a great group of people. I wish my junior high school had invited me on such a trip, because it does feel like things are a little difficult right there now.
How to explain – maybe they're just not as open as the teachers at my elementary school. Maybe the communication efficiency ruins it a bit – or maybe its something that's entirely my fault like them getting a glimpse of my ankle tattoo, or I'm not spending enough time with the students. But things feel, pulled tight. I don't have that easy comradeship that I do at my elementary. I'll let you know how this develops as time goes on.
I baked them all cupcakes in an effort to bribe them into being more comfortable around me. They all liked them, but I haven't really noticed much of a change. I'm going to try to help with clean up time here at school today, and I'll let you know how that goes.
I did some travelling around Japan this summer – nothing too elaborate. Saw some beaches, a few temples – climbed a mountain in the rain and ended up on an 80 foot high suspension bridge overlooking an 80 foot high waterfall. :) It was all remarkably beautiful. I don't know if I'm staying another year, but if I am I'm going to try to get more travelling in if it's at all possible. For such a small country there is a lot to see here, and I'd recommend that anyone come here to visit if they get half the chance.
I don't have much more to say. I'm sleepy, but that's par for the course.
It's my birthday next week! YAY! 09/09/09 - is it shameful that I've been counting down for this particular one since I was old enough to learn what metric dates were?
And only one more week until the Support Stacey Auction! Double YAY!