Tuesday, December 20, 2011

So Long 23: December Means Holiday Season

Last month I celebrated my 24th birthday and my last birthday in Japan. How do I know it’s my last birthday in Japan. In November, I submitted my application to Seattle University and a couple weeks later I heard back from the admissions committee and............I had been accepted to start my MBA program next September! woo hoo! So it is almost official, this will be my last year in Japan teaching English. Now, my brain starts counting down the days left instead of how long I’ve been here.

Japanese Paper Dolls that I MADE!!!

In Japan news. November started off with a bang! From the middle of October to the beginning of November, I helped two high school girls prepare for an English Speech Contest. We had a National Holiday on November 3rd, and I found out that one girl won the contest and would be competing in the National Contest! How cool! Moments like that definitely make being an ALT worth it. Even better, I'll be able to watch her compete in January, downside is a shorten trip to America.

Did someone say it was sushi time?

Also in November, I played in another ALT soccer tournament. Eleven of us from Gifu Prefecture drove 4 hours to Awaji Island just south Kobe/Osaka for seven exciting games. Saturday was met with torrential rain and strong winds, making moats around goals and a very fun day spent slipping and sliding. Sunday was much better with blue skies, but again strong winds. In the end, we took second place and collected our 4th trophy in 5 tournaments!

Visited a Famous Sword/Knife Museum. Could You Imagine Using This?

The last full week of November was only 4 days long, thanks to a National Holiday on the 23rd. I got to play golf with some Japanese people I’ve met and then two other ALTs and I made a modified Thanksgiving Dinner. While we didn’t have turkey, we had stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie! On Saturday of that week, I went to a Thanksgiving Party with about 25 guests. It was great to eat another Thanksgiving meal and this one included turkey!

Our Modified Thanksgiving

So there is was. November came and went more quickly than last year. Overall, I’ve been noticing that my second year is flying by and I’m having a lot of “last moments”, i.e. “last” autumn trees with all of their beautiful colors, “last” birthday in Japan, “last” holiday season far away from my family....

Yum. You grill the food on a bbq like box that's on the table

Well December is one of my favorite months for a few reasons, it’s just after my birthday and Thanksgiving but before the joy of Christmas. I was looking forward to heat in the classrooms but it hasn’t quite hit before 50 degrees inside the schools yet. Once it hits 49 we are “allowed” to turn on the heaters, crazy right. Oh Japan. The first weekend of December found me in Northern Gifu (Takayama-Gero area). It’s famous for onsens and skiing (and really cool English teachers). I had a great time, even had another Thanksgiving celebration with a real turkey from Costco Japan! The second weekend of December found me in the Tokyo area, visiting Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea. I went with 2 other people from Gifu and it was great being able to see the Christmas decorations and zillions of people. For my last Japanese weekend in 2011, I made another Japanese doll, did some Christmas shopping, and played golf (it snowed....). I have onl 4 days until my train-plane journey to the US. I’m very excited!

Another ALT (Takayama) and I enjoying a 1L glass of beer. SO BIG!

Disneyland Golf...of course

Merry Christmas from Japan