こんばんは！I hope everyone is doing well! It’s been a good week.
Sometimes, if the period after is free, I go to hang out with the special needs students during recess at 8sho. On Wednesday I had time, so we ended up doing origami, and I actually stayed through most of 5th period as well! My haul: two strawberries, three shuriken, and one camera (the dark blue thing). These were all given to me by the students; I didn’t actually make any of them, because I’m terrible at origami.
My sixth graders gave short speeches to finish up their lessons.
This boy wants to be a taxi driver because he likes cake:
And this boy wants to be a farmer, because he likes potato chips.
He also appears to love PPAP. That song plagues me daily.
And then there were just some cute illustrations. These kids never fail to make me smile!
Friday, February 3rd was setsubun – basically a bean-throwing festival to celebrate the coming of the first day of spring, which is apparently on the 4th. It seems to be mostly aimed at kids – all the illustrations I’ve seen advertising the beans show kids throwing the beans at oni (Japanese ogres). You’re supposed to shout, “Demons out, luck in!” as you do it.
One of my teachers gave me this mask at school! I was very happy, though I think this means that kids will throw beans at me if I put it on, haha.
On Friday evening 1sho had an enkai (work party) to celebrate the end of the demonstration year. We went to Yoshikawa, a fancy Japanese restaurant. I’ve noticed a lot of Japanese restaurants will have the first floor for walk-ins and the second floor for enkais. All the ones I’ve been to require us to take off our shoes once we get to the second floor, so I always have to make sure my socks match -_- But it is very comfy!
The main dish was nabe, a Japanese hotpot. Beautiful pots!
And there was, of course, sashimi. Ms. Yamamoto sat next to me, and since she doesn’t like sashimi, I got her plate as well! Yus!
Note my tiny glass of beer! At enkais you usually get the choice of beer (usually Asahi, Kirin, or Suntory), oolong tea, coke, or ginger ale. We started out the enkai by pouring out drinks (and you never pour your own drink!), listening to a short speech, and shouting “Kampai!” (Cheers!) Sometimes when we do kampai we end up walking around to touch glasses with every single person in the room. (Not this time, though, whew. We just got straight to drinking!)
In Japan, drinking is much more socially acceptable. There was one memorable time two years ago that we went to the park in the evening to have a few beers and say goodbye to a friend leaving the country. We came across a group of Japanese restaurant-owners (one of whom had a student in our friend’s school) enjoying a picnic. They’d been there since lunchtime and were absolutely smashed – and they had so much leftover food and booze that they just invited us to sit down, finish their food, and get drunk with them!
Mark and Mr. Akazawa serenaded us all with their lovely singing voices!
Enkais are always a little scary when I first attend – will I be able to understand anyone? Will I be able to talk to anyone? – but they always end up being an absolute blast!
The next day I just chilled at home with a cup of awesome houjicha, Japanese roasted green tea. There were beans and…roasted rice?…in there. It was lovely!
When we were in Korea, I loved the sweet teas in the cafes. In Japan, the more traditional teas are less sweet and more…nutty? Toasty? It’s hard to describe, but while I get tired and overwhelmed by too many cups of sweet teas, I can drink cup after cup of houjicha. (Mugicha, barley tea, is my absolute favourite. Last summer I drank a two litre bottle of mugicha almost every day – it’s the perfect summer drink!)
I also made mochi!
All in all, it’s been a fun week! I’ll finish up with this cute picture of Paul with the cats:
I’m going to miss the cat-snuggles come summertime, when they no longer have need of our warmth.
Until next time! またね！