Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Ponderous Return of The Uj (as in "usual")

Well, I must apologize for leaving you so long with that bad taste in your mouth of me being a little bit of an asshole. The truth is, I only felt bad about it for a short while, because things just got too busy to carry on with all that!

That weekend that was supposed to be International Picnic but was typhoon instead (9/3-4) preceded our seven days of working-not-working, or Sports Day Week.

Since I had been complaining about needing a vacation, I tried to look at the daylong stand-around-outside fest as a forced vacation. It worked for a while anyway. The first few days after the typhoon was finished were almost cool, and they were clear and pleasantly bright. I stood under the blue sky, looked up through the cherry trees, and wandered amongst the students, all gathered for practice. Really, it was blissful.

And although I don't necessarily like to spend all day at my desk, I don't necessarily like to spend no time here either. I have a lot of stuff I do (I might have menioned before), things that require a bit of attention, if not daily, then at least every few days to keep them moving smoothly through the internet and my brain. Hyogo Times and JETinfogather are two big ones, but my kanji review list begins to get out of hand after too long, and there's always that TEFL course I just signed up for...

And it slowly becomes maddening to spend so much time each day doing actually nothing when you know there's stuff to be done. But by the time you get home, you're pretty worn out from all that standing around in the sun, so all you really want is a shower and a nap and maybe some dinner.

So it's the best of weeks, and it's the worst of weeks, and it's also longer than most weeks, since you spend Monday to Saturay in practice and prep, and then the Sports Festival itself is Sunday.

All of our favorite events were back, the dancing, the family races, the relays, the mukade (centipede) race (I don't know whose idea this race was, but it's hilariously full of wipeouts)... the log-pull, the hat chicken fights without a pool (also called kibasen, or "mock cavalry battle")

Sports Day itself was pretty hot, with a little douse of rain in the morning to wet down the field and make the relay race a bit tougher. I got my new camera replaced for free (the rice-bin one never did recover, but the store exchanged them for me, no questions asked.. must have been under some kind of warranty since I did only buy the thing a few weeks before it got typhoon'd) so I was holding down the shutter to take a lot of rapid action shots.

Got to see a few of the graduated students, including a couple favorites..

The PTA enkai that followed was not far from the school. At first I sighed and thought, oh, I guess I have to go, but then I remembered that I love meeting kids' parents and seeing where they came from in that respect, so I was even happier that I had the good fortune of being seated next to, across from, and diagonal to parents of a couple of my favorite students. It only makes sense, of course, that the PTA parents have the mroe involved, harder-trying kids. Best of all was that the guy to my right was my speech boy's dad.

A teacher at Higashi asked me who our speech kids were, and when I said this kid, he was like "Aw crap."

All in all, it was perhaps the most successful sports day yet. I cannot find the memory card with the photos from that day, so I'll put them up eventually.

 Following our Monday-Tuesday fake weekend (blissful, that), we had a three-day work week, which for me was chock full of the usual. Classes, commitments, planning. It went off without any more hitches than usual, anyway. Since my 17th - 19th hopes for pilgriming had been rained out, we had to devise a new plan...

That entry coming soon.

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