Hello everyone! Today was a fun week, mostly because I haven’t been sick! I’ve got a lot of pictures, so here we go:
I had a great start to last Monday. The science teacher invited me out to watch the 4th graders inflate a giant whale on the playground.
On Tuesday I was informed that we were having an evacuation drill in case of a dangerous person entering the school.
The last time I’d experienced one of these drills, I was visiting a kindergarten with Paul. And guess what? They hired a guy to wear all black and run through the school with a knife.
It was the absolute craziest thing I’d ever experienced. The teachers and students all ran to the gym and we locked ourselves in. Then we watched two older ladies wielding poles with half-circles at the end poke the dude until he gave up and ran away. (Another ALT reported experiencing the same thing when she visited a different kindergarten, except one of the girls was so scared she wet herself, the poor thing. I guess the kids aren’t told this is just a drill?!)
(In my schools back home we called this “Code Red.” American classrooms are much different from Japanese classrooms – in Japan, there are two sliding doors in the front and back of the room and another door leading outside to either the courtyard or the balcony, depending on what floor you’re on, so it’s very hard to lock down. In America, there’s usually only one door to the classroom (which swings outwards) and a small window or two, so if someone dangerous enters the building, we lock ourselves in our classrooms, turn out the lights, and stay as quiet as possible.)
Here’s a picture of the poles the old ladies were using. Cool story – the naginata, a badass pole weapon used by samurai back in the day, became a weapon that women could use at home, and in World War II it was an important weapon for women to learn. Its gentler, less lethal descendant is found in schools in case of emergencies (the poles with the half-circles on the end):
Luckily (or disappointingly?) this drill wasn’t as dramatic. Instead we all listened to a dude give a speech, and then watched as three kids from each grade went up one group at a time to show what to do if approached by a stranger.
The first graders, despite knowing what to say and do, were very hesitant, and the one kid the stranger took by the arm just kind of went with him before the teacher had to pull him away. But the groups got smarter as they got older, and the third graders finally ran away screaming. The sixth graders got the most dramatic encounter – the stranger drove his car onto the playground next to them, jumped out, and started chasing them.
Paul had to be Santa at a community centre on Tuesday. The beard was sewn into the hat, so he could barely see – and the kids were ages 0-1, so he had to be really careful not to step on any of the kids.
Also, moms here somehow find time to doll themselves up. There are a lot of fashionable moms here, and Paul had a delightfully bizarre and uncomfortable morning dealing with the beautiful mothers flirting with him while he gave presents to their babies.
Did I mention that Japan can be really weird?
Man, what a hot Santa.
We had amazing karaage for lunch with actual lemon slices! (And I got extra chicken once I got up to the classroom, so HAHAHAA!)
More weird doodles from my sixth graders:
We ate at Katsuya, a kind of dine-and-dash restaurant that serves katsu, or fried pork cutlets. Sooo good! I got katsu-curry and Paul got katsudon. In the last picture you can see the delicious-looking plastic food they use to advertise their food.
In a few days it will be our friend Charlie’s birthday, so we went to the Grove for lunch on Saturday to celebrate! (Happy early birthday, Charlie!) The food and drinks there are amazing. Charlie got clam chowder (with a beautiful puff-pastry top!) And another friend, Kristy, got an amazing roast beef plate.
I got a caramel macchiato and my favourite set meal, beef stew in a bread bowl! (Which in Japanese is pronounced “bee-fu shi-chew,” haha). It came with a little appetiser plate and a delicious cake and jelly dessert.
Paul was weird, he wouldn’t get out of the picture, I don’t know why I love him.
You’re my favourite, Paul!
We had a friend over for dinner, and she brought us dango! Basically mochi on a stick with some kind of sweet-soy sauce. I’ve had it a few times at school, it’s a very weird and interesting flavour!
And lastly we were guinea pigs for our friend Jansen, who practiced making lasagna for his date in two weeks. It was amazing, and I think she will be impressed! His apartment has a beautiful view of the mountains:
And that’s it! It was a lovely week.
Cat tax! There’s light reflected on the wall. Olive will climb the wall to get it if I’m not careful.