Oh snap! Did I forget I had a tumblr?
It’s been a minute since I have posted! – Sorry about that! So, why have I been M.I.A for such a long time you ask? Well, I’ve just been enjoying my second year on the JET programme! Compared to last year this year has been 100% better! I was bitter in the earlier half of the year but after I came back from America, things got better. When I came back from America I came back to a new JTE and boy do I love the fact that she is organized and is a really good teacher - actually she was here when I first arrived but promptly left on maternity leave. I won’t lie, initially, I was reluctant about her coming back because she always seemed cold and distant to me but as I worked with her more I realized that if it were just my other two JTEs I wouldn’t be doing much.
So what have I been up to?!
1. I got a “new” car (it’s a little older than my other car but it’s in better shape) and promptly hit a pole and dented the passenger side back door during a typhoon while driving less that 10km. I was turning into the school parking lot and it’s a really sharp turn. Don’t judge me. Also, the muffler fell of a month ago. Hurray!
2. I climbed Mt. Kurikoma for the third time! I wasn’t prepared for the crazy mist and air force winds but I somehow made it to the top again. Even though this was the third time climbing this mountain, each time the weather was completely different making the experience really fun.
3. Slowly but surely overcoming my social anxiety and meeting new people in my community, I even danced to the fortune cookie song for a video. My terrible choreographed dancing (which I had to learn in 10 minuntes) is uploaded somewhere on the internet. Both in normal clothing and as Snow White. *Cringe*
4. Had an emergency dentist visit. Luckily for me I’m friends with the dentist that both works and lives across the street from my apartment. I taught English for three session for my neighborhood and the dentist and I have been drinking several times. Initially, I was against the idea of going to the dentist in Japan but I can’t complain too much because it only cost about $120 to get a root canal! My mom had a root canal and had to pay $1000 even with insurance!
5. Drove all the way to Fukushima (about four hours from my town in Miyagi) and spent the weekend at a campsite near Mt. Bandai. Climbed Mt. Bandai (unfortunately didn’t make it all the way to the tippy top) and then biked to see the Goshiki-numa (Five colored lakes). It was great fun kayaking, barbequing, enjoying the beautiful Fukushima landscape and just chillin.
6. Experience my second Bunkasai and this time I enjoyed it a lot more because I wasn’t just sitting and trying not to fall asleep but I spent the entire day being cameraman and taking pictures. I took tons of pictures and the school used many of my pictures for their monthly color printed newsletter!
7. Participated in the local Halloween party. I dressed up as Snow White and prepare a “Find the eyeballs in the bucket full of worms” game. I boiled 8 bags of spaghetti and made about 12 eyes using ping pong balls. After I did it I felt like it was super wasteful but the kids really had fun! All the mothers would come up to me saying that their kids had fun. Yay!
8. Started doing an Eikaiwa class every Thursday at the community center.
9. Finishing up my pottery class. Near by the pottery studio, in between the rice paddies and the forest, there is a large wood burning kiln (Kama in Japanese) and I was invited to help! I made the local speciality called Hatto (which is a handmade noodle), help empty out the kiln, learned how to cut apples to look like they have rabbit ears, and everyone talked to my mom via FaceTime. It was such a wonderful experience!
10. Went apple picking with one of my kindergartens! This school has never invited me to any excursions and when they called me to ask if it was OK to cancel my Enlglish lesson and join the excursion, I was beyond thrilled!
11. I biked about 100km (round trip) from my town to the coastal city of Kesenuma. That was a bucket list achievement! I am super proud of myself but I won’t have been able to do it without the help of my friend that agreed to go even though it sounded crazy to everyone else and my Kesenuma friends that hosted us and took us out to onsen and dinner. (I’m not too keen on onsen but my body needed it after biking 55km). The same weekend Amanda was being a bad ass mama and Kina-chan finally graced us with her presence.
12. The following weekend I biked another 22 km (round-trip) to a part of town that I have never been to! It was worth it! Found two awesome slides, a floating bridge that goes across the lake and had delicious soup curry! (Still gotta have soup curry in Sapporo)
13. Spent the day making crepes and takoyaki (acutally chicken and sausage yaki) with a family in the next town over. It was so much fun! We also played homemade bingo and the mom made homemade prizes!
14. Finally, I invited all the ALTs to my house for Burrito night!
I’m going to do better about keeping up with tumblr this year!