Today is Setsuban (the beginning of Spring based on the lunar calendar, but it's still really cold here). On this day we are suppose to throw beans outside of our house to get rid of evil demons, and invite good spirits into our home. I bought the beans at the store and got a free mask with the evil demon dude on it, the evil demon is called Oni. We then eat the same number of beans as our age. Then we have to face in a special direction and eat maki or sushi rolls quietly (no talking) and eat the maki roll all at once while we wish for good things. The direction changes each year, but this year we must face southeast (not sure why). I made homemade maki rolls this afternoon with my friend Masae. We went to Trish and Mark's apartment for dinner. We preformed Setsuban at their house, but I figure it's good for our entire residence. Out you demons!
By the way, I love my new school! I've been there exactly a month. I was nervous the first couple of weeks, but it's a joy to work there. I had heard that my new junior high school is a rough school and that it was "getting better." My last school was really strict in regards to dress code and general behavior. This school is less strict, but I find that the students are friendlier and take the time to talk to me. I think the students from my last school wanted to talk to me, but they were perhaps nervous or busy. I'm not really sure. Anyway, I'm much busier at this school. I'm teaching around the same number of classes and I meet with my students at lunch and after school to practice English. It's really awesome!
The other thing that happened today is an 8th grader gave me a gift from Kyoto. He was really shy about it and kept running away until his friend finally made him give it to me. I asked if I could open it now and he insisted NO, NO, NO, OPEN IT IN THE TEACHER'S ROOM. So I peaked and it was a little sheet of stickers. The stickers are shaped like little piles of poo or doo doo or shit that are gold and some have happy faces and some have fortunes on them and it just cracked me up! I couldn't stop laughing. Not sure why he gave me these stickers, but I'm happy to receive any gifts from students plus it was so thoughtful.