Well, my countdown is at 2 weeks until I’m on Christmas vacation and in the lovely USA! Can you tell I’m excited? Although, in a little more than 2 weeks, Christmas will be over and I will have to retire Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” song for another year, the thought of which makes me pretty bummed.
This week has been pretty boring to tell you the truth. This weekend I went into Nagoya for some Christmas shopping. I’m getting pretty good at finding my way around Nagoya, I just wish it was a little closer so I could go on weekdays.
Osu Kannon Temple in Nagoya
Let The Shopping Begin!
On Sunday, I went on my first car adventure/excursion! Ok, driving 30 minutes isn’t quite an adventure, but when you have no idea where you are going, it definitely gets your heart pumping. I mean think about it, you have to make sure you’re: on the correct side of the road, hitting the blinker and not the windshield wiper (I still do that), not running red lights, not crossing the Japanese equivalent of double yellow lines (although I'm convinced they don’t exist), not getting a speeding ticket (oh wait, I’ve only seen 2 police cars on the road… and the one cop was going to get gas), etc.
So yes, I went on an official adventure. I trekked to the area just SE of me, an area famous for its pottery, hot weather (they set the Japanese record in 2007), and its outlet mall! My first stop was this shopping “center” on the highway. In Japan they have “road stations” (roughly translated), and they offer fresh fruits, veggies, and things special to the area. They usually have restaurants and outside food and local farmers selling goods. I bought some Christmas presents and I actually found an Advent calendar, which was quite expensive at 2100 yen- about 25 dollars, but totally worth it. Instead of turning around and going home, I decided to continue on the road to see where I would end up next. Now of course I would never attempt this without either my phone or a map…I made it to the new town, and then I realized that this was the town with an outlet mall with American brands. Yes, stores that I’ve heard of and carries size 8.5 women’s shoes (I have large feet here!). With my trusty GPS, I charted my path to the outlet mall. Being a rookie at driving in this new town, I missed my exit. So, I kept going looking for a place to turn around (I was on a highway, so not so easy). At the next light, I took a right and turned right into a Catholic Monastery! What are the odds of finding a Catholic church in Japan? Of course, I went in and walked around, even lit a candle. After my little detour, I finally found my way to the outlet mall and treated myself to some shopping. Let’s just say I did more personal shopping than Christmas shopping :)
Yep, That Is A Catholic Church In Japan!
Well, Hello Outlet Mall
This week I’ve been at two different Junior High Schools and I know I’ve said this before, but I truly enjoy the JHS girls. They never cease to amaze me. I was told that it had been 4-5 years since they had a female ALT in the area, so it must be a shock for some of them. I’ve been able to have some interesting conversations with the students about Christmas and their weekend plans. I’m also learning a ton about Japanese pop culture from the students! The big news for this week was that I got to plan/run an entire 1st grade JHS class (7th grade). I was given no restrictions (even games were okay!). Instead, I took an idea from a fellow ALT and had the students write letters to Santa Claus! It was an entire Christmas themed lesson, we started out with brainstorming about what came to mind when they thought about Christmas, to how Christmas in American differs from Christmas in Japan (they eat KFC on Christmas and Christmas cake….do any of you eat xmas cake? Because I’ve never heard of it), and then they wrote to Santa about themselves, their hobbies, they asked Santa some questions, and finally they told Santa what they wanted for Christmas. I must say, it was so much fun reading the letters to Santa (I ended up being Santa)! I was pretty happy with how well the students did writing in English, even using new grammar topics they learned.
This Sunday is the Kani City Marathon and about 2 months ago I agreed to participate. It’s for students and teachers, so I’m on the female teachers' team from the JHS I’m currently at. It is a 5 person event, and I’m running the first leg which is 2 km. I’m a little nervous that the JHS students are going to whiz by me, remember in JHS when running was really easy? Well, tomorrow we are going to practice for it after school, yikes. We will see how fast these kids are!
Well, there you have it. Enjoy the rest of your week!
School Lunch Update: (from top right)-> milk, persimmon, green tea, Mitake miso soup (bomb!), rice, and sweet beans (think of maple syrup/baked beans~ish). There was some pork product, which I passed on.