It's finally gotten cold here in Himeji. It's in the 30s- 40s and I'm wearing long underwear, multiple sweaters, hat, gloves, jacket, scarf, double socks, etc. It even snowed a little the other day, more like flurries for 20 minutes. Thanks mom and dad for the electric blanket!
The schools in Himeji are not heated except for the teacher's room. It's quite cold and I feel really sorry for the kids. The kids are only allowed to wear their winter uniforms. Many wear sweaters under their uniforms, but the girls wear skirts with no stockings. There are small, heated packets that you can buy and last for 6-8 hours. I think I may need to buy some and carry them in my pockets. I don't understand how the kids cope. I asked a teacher the other day why the kids don't wear coats, hats, gloves, etc to and from school. They are only allowed to wear a scarf to and from school starting on December 1st. I thought she was kidding and I just broke out laughing. Of course, it's not a joke.
I only have one more week of school and then I will go to a new school in January. I have to give a good-bye speech next week in Japanese. I'm sad to leave Shikamahigashi. It takes a long time to build relationships with the kids and teachers, especially with the language barrier, so it's hard to start over again. The good thing is that my new school is much closer to my house, maybe a 15 minute bike ride. Also, Julian's studio is a few minutes away from my new school. I'm excited to explore a new area of the city.
There's been a lot going on here at the Shirasagi Residence. The Australian teachers are leaving. Their school year is from January to December. We had a big good-bye party on Saturday night. I'm really sad to see them go.
Julian and I are going to Osaka this weekend to meet my friend, Akiko and her husband Brian. They live in America but are visiting family for a few weeks. We will pick up our friend, Gwynne from the airport on Monday - yay! We are planning many little trips around Japan. I'm looking forward to the time off and just hanging out with friends.