I'll try to post more frequently, but in the meantime, here's another long entry....
School on Friday was enjoyable. I was given a stack of English homework to grade. The kids had to write an English diary with only 2 entries about what they did this summer. Ms. Hama, one of the English teachers, gave me a deadline of getting the 140 some papers graded by the end of this month. I'm sure I could complete the project within 1-2 days, but I've decided to spread it out so it will break up my day. Right now, my day consists of talking to teachers, talking to kids, preparing for my "introduction lesson", studying Japanese, working on my blog, letter writing, and eating.
I ate lunch with the kids on Friday. They are so sweet and funny. I also checked out several of the "activity clubs". I went to Judo, where the kids demonstrated some moves for me. It was so cute because they all kept checking to see if I was watching them, so they could show off their skills. I don’t like Judo. It's a rough sport and the kids were getting a little hurt. I also watched basketball, baseball, track and field, brass band, drawing/painting and volleyball. I still need to check out kendo and tea ceremony. I really love my school! I don't get to teach until this Wednesday. The kids are working on "sports day" so the school days have been shortened for the next couple of weeks, so the kids can practice for the big event. After sports day, I get to experience my very first office party or enkai! Apparently, there's a lot of drinking and good food.
This past weekend was fun! I meant to go site seeing but instead I shopped and ran around. Saturday, my awesome neighbor, Terry, took me to a home depot/home store type of place. I bought some lamps --- no more fluorescent lighting - yay! I also bought a tatami mat/rug for the living room and some other odds and ends. I would like to get just a few more things for the apartment and then I will be satisfied with trying to find stuff from the gome (trash) pile - or as we call it in America dumpster diving!! I've already asked Julian if he could work on locating all of the gome piles near our apartment and map it out as a resource for all. He loves to dumpster dive :-) Terry also gave me some beautiful posters from the local art museum and a free ticket to their next exhibit. She's an artist from Australia and she's just so kind! Everyone here is very helpful and kind.
Saturday night, I went clubbing, dancing, drinking and all of the above until 4am! I had a hella good time! I went to an all you can eat and drink beer garden at the top of the Forus building. There was an informal party for the JET teachers ---we have one JET teacher living in our building. Allison invited us to all go. After the beer garden, we went to Hosana, an English pub and drank more beer, then I went to the Roxy, a rap/hip-hop club that was having a slow night, then we went to the Tiger Pub, another English pub that's quite popular among the foreigners and finally I ended up at the Tropicana, a salsa/South American club and danced until the break of dawn to some really awful music and a horrible DJ. I had a fantastic time.
This morning was hell. My head was aching and I just laid around until about 2pm. I went to the Egret Cultural Center for English Club. The English Club is organized by our friend, Mikoto, who invites Japanese people to come and talk to English speakers to help improve their English skills. It's a nice way to meet some local people. Afterwards, we went to a middle eastern restaurant, some of the dishes were excellent, but their falafel and hummus wasn't up to Fattoush standards (my favorite middle eastern restaurant in Phoenix).
Afterwards, my friend, Mac and I biked all around the castle...it's so, so, so, so beautiful! We decided to wander around on our bikes and got a little bit lost, the castle is our landmark, so we can always find our way home. It was a lot of fun biking through the neighborhoods semi-lost. There are lots of little hidden shrines and interesting architecture.
I just need to say it again, I love it here!!! I will try to take more pictures this week and start posting....my other neighbor gave me a USB cord that fits my camera - YAY!!!