Friday, February 6, 2009

Since I've Been Gone

Since I’ve been gone, we had our first set of musical performances; there was the midyear seminar; I got the influenza, went snowboarding at Fukushima’s Alts Bandai, and got peanuts thrown at and around me!!

I’ll admit, I was a little tiny bit worried about how our musical was going to fit all together.  All the other roles had their scenes clean and ready to go except the ninjas!!  With some people absent for the weekend, others had to pick up their lines and dances.  When the curtains were closed, we scrambled frantically trying to remember what scene was what, but when the curtains opened, all went WELL.  Put the whole musical together, and I think we have a pretty good production.  It’s difficult to tell with a Japanese audience and a mostly English script though.  The story is a bit ridiculous, our jokes are clever, and the lyrics to the songs might be a bit tricky to hear.  Unfortunately, the audiences that we’ve so far encountered have lacked the big obnoxious laughing and clapping uncle sitting in the front row.  At the end of the show though, everyone tells us that we were spectacular spectacular.  We make money for Papua New Guinea and all is WELL.

Monday and Tuesday of last week was the mid-year seminar in Niigata City.  After sitting through seminars on how to teach and live in Japan, we PARTIED!!  Those two days were pretty fun, but then led to the 3 most horrible days.  All of us teach at multiple schools with hundreds of coughing kids.  Get all of us together in the same auditorium, dance floor, and hotel rooms, and we are bound to come out infected with the influenza. 

I felt really bad missing school, but for the next three days, I couldn’t do anything besides sleep and drink juice.  At one point, Hiki-sensei even dropped by to bring me juice and help me clear the snow from my car!!  What a sweetheart!!

That weekend Jenelle had a get together at her place followed by snowboarding at Alts Bandai.  It was weird to get out of my tiny apartment and then back in with society after 3 days of seclusion.  Alts Bandai, in Fukushima is HUGE.  The amount of powder there, and come to think of it, everywhere else I’ve been so far is making me think that I’ll never see a smooth slope while in this country… and I think I’m OK with that. 

Yesterday was February 5th.  I guess it’s another one of those traditional Japanese days.  In the old days, this day was seen as one of the transition days from Winter to Spring.  Townspeople got together to ward off the devils.  How did they do this?  By throwing beans at them!!  So the kids of Iwafune got together in the gym during their midday recess.  4 or so teachers and students stood on the stage and threw peanuts down at everyone.  The kids scrambles to collect the peanuts.  One 6th grade boy let me help him gather peanuts.  When the bean-ing was over, we sat in circles and ate the number of peanuts that matched our age.  For some reason I get so amazed by all of these traditions that Japan has.  The 6th grade boy noticed my especial amazement and gave me the rest of his peanuts!!  So nice J

OH, AND I started an Eikaiwa (English Conversation) class on Wednesday nights.  I was a bit nervous at first because of the number of students, 18, and varying English levels, but so far so good!!  Cookies probably help ;)

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