Sorry for the erratic posting schedule. I skipped last week, and was tempted to do so again this week, but I decided to try to slip in a short update. Between holiday events, a visit from our coordinator AND the arrival of a new teacher, plus trying to study for my upcoming Japanese language test, it’s been crazy busy!
Last weekend we had a long weekend, due to Japan’s Labor Thanksgiving Day (which is nothing like our Thanksgiving Day!). On Friday, our team had a Thanksgiving meal and invited a few of our Japanese friends. The next day, our employers treated us to a night at an onsen (that’s hot spring!) hotel. This was my third visit to this particular hotel, and as always, it was an enjoyable stay, with good food, relaxing baths, and fun karaoke with friends. Well, I honestly didn’t do much karaoke this time, instead slipping out to enjoy the outdoor bath in the chilly night air. Nothing quite tops the feeling of lounging in a bath of warm water while breathing in the crisp November air and gazing at the dark night sky.
There was one difference between this stay and our previous stay, and it was one that made me quite happy…
…we got Japanese style rooms!
Both I and my friend, who was sharing a room with me, were pretty tickled. We’d heard that other team members in the past had gotten Japanese style rooms, but it had never happened to us before! We didn’t even have to lay out our own futons – when we came back from dinner, they had been laid out for us!
Because it was the last weekend in November, the foliage was mostly gone. However, there were still tinges of orange on the trees covering the mountain that we could see from our window:
My friends and I spent some time soaking our feet in the foot bath overlooking the garden, which contained a small (artificial) waterfall and a koi pond. In general, koi kind of creep me out, but this large white one made an interesting contrast to the dark mud and rocks around it. I also liked the look of the colorful fall leaves which had floated to the bottom of the pond.
The maple trees still had a hint of color, and were very pretty in the sunlight!
We went to dinner in the renovated buffet hall, and discovered that they had put an aquarium at the entrance. I don’t know if it was intentional, but they had the different kinds of fish from “Finding Nemo.” You can hardly see him, but Nemo (or one of his many brothers and sisters) is just above the white thing in the center of the photo below.
It was a fun and refreshing, though busy, weekend. The busyness didn’t stop this week, as we helped the new teacher get started at his job and prepared for the kindergarten’s annual Christmas event, in which our team also does a short performance. Today (Saturday) we performed twice, as both the three- and four-year-olds’ events were in the morning. Next Saturday, it will be the five-year-olds’ turn. All in all, our performance went well, although our measly production (two songs and a short reenactment of the Christmas story) did not hold a candle to the kindergarteners’ elaborate costumes and the plays that they had spent hours upon hours practicing.
Tomorrow is another big day, as I take the Japanese language proficiency test that I’ve been studying for over the past few months. I actually need a couple more months to study for it, but it’s only offered twice a year, and I really want to take it before I go back to America again. Since this is my last chance, I’ll give it my best shot. Whether I pass it or not, it has definitely provided motivation for me to study, which was part of my reason for taking it in the first place.
Away we go to another busy week! Talk to you all next week!