Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hello 2012. The Year of Twenty-Doz. January and February Recap.

Woah. It's March. Time for a January and February recap.

Some of my friends here in Japan have been referring to 2012 as “twenty-doz”, and well, it stuck with me. I had a great winter vacation in Hawaii and Japan. It was nice seeing my family and friends in such a beautiful place. I played some golf, did some paddle-boarding and kayaking, got attacked by waves in my one attempt at bogey-boarding, and other things. The twelve days went by very fast and before I knew it, I was trading shorts and sandals for layers upon layers of clothes and Ugg boots.

I came back to Japan earlier than previously planned because a student I’d been helping made it to the National Commercial High School English Speech Contest in Tokyo. I’m glad I went and although she didn’t make it into the top 12 (the finals), she did a great job and will always have the honor of representing her Prefecture in the contest. Only one student from each prefecture went (so 47 students). Before the speech contest, we went to Tokyo Sea (the California Adventures of Tokyo Disney Resort) and then the day after the contest, we spent the day sight seeing in Tokyo. The big highlight was going to Asakusa and visiting Sensou Temple and getting the best fortune! In Japan, during New Years, you go to a Temple and put in 100 yen (approximately $1) and shake a circular tube and out pops one stick with a number on it. You find that number (I got number 8) in rows of shelves and take the fortune (on a piece of paper) that corresponds to the number you drew. There are 5 or 7 different fortunes, I forget. But they range from best, to middle, to low, then bad, and worst. I was so happy because it means that this next year is going to be a great one. Mio, the student, she got the second worst fortune, so she had to tie her fortune on string that is near the temple in order for the fortune not to come true. After the temple we headed back to Mitake and that was the end of my winter vacation.

At the Speech Contest

Curry Dinner

Sensou Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

Tying the Fortune

Wahoo. The best fortune!

Say Cheeeeeeeese

In the middle of January, I went to Northern Gifu to visit some friends. We went snowboarding and it was wonderful to get back on the mountain. I definitely miss skiing and I’ll be glad when I can go skiing more often back in America.

Also in January....
I had the customary zenzai on January 11th. It’s a sweet, red bean soup with squares of mochi, sticky rice in it.

I visited the Nagoya Aquarium. Really cool, but what I’d consider expensive for an entrance fee (almost $30).

It snowed loads and loads over my prefecture but hardly touched my area. After this dusting I was pretty happy.

Had my last “ALT Skills Development Conference”. Twice a year, the ALTs from Gifu Prefecture meet and we have a conference on teaching English. After the conference, I had my first sake bomb. Japanese beer + sake + chopsticks + pounding of fists on the table = sake bomb. Also I had to include a picture with the ALT who lives in the city next to mine.

In February, I....
Ate every part of a chicken. Liver, heart, you name it, I ate it. Surprisingly good once you stopped thinking about what you were putting into your mouth.

I went snowboarding in Northern Gifu again.

Visited the red bridge in Takayama City again.

Got the stomach flu and had my first sick day ever. Also, my first doctors appointment.

Visited the train museum in Nagoya that recently opened.