Monday, March 28, 2005
Sunday, March 27, 2005
"Bad news", she said, "I took the wrong train and I'm not sure where I am. I'll call you right back". Three minutes went by. The phone rang, "I'm sorry honey, I'm in Oyama and the only trains at this time of night go the wrong way. I can't get home. I can't get to Kumagaya, and I can't even go back from where I came from". A couple of phone calls to the all knowing (but sometimes directionally challenged) Ayako, and I knew where my poor lost wife was.
From Ota, Kumagaya is 45 minutes directly south. Oyama (where Kathy ended up) was an hour drive directly east of Ota. The problem is, being Japan the roads don't go the way you want them to (never a direct path) and there are 10,467 stop lights between you and your destination. I drove back to Ota and then to Oyama and met my poor, lonely, lost, and exhausted wife outside the station at 1:15. We were blessed with mostly green lights on the way back and arrived home at 2:15am. What a nice romantic Sunday drive.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Monday, March 21, 2005
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
First, on my way into school today, I passed a road crew. Their job today was to repaint the lines on the road. Now, back home in Canada, for those who don't remember, when we paint lines on roads, we use a big truck with multiple sprayers. They can probably paint kilometers upon kilometers of road in a day. Well, this road crew had one guy walking ahead to wave the traffic over a bit, there were at least two guys sweeping the old line, there were two guys holding a string (yes I said string) to make sure they had a straight line, and there was one guy pushing this old looking hand cart machine thing that seemed to first heat the pavement, lay the 'paint' and then pour cold water on it to cool it off. It was quite the process. They got done most of the one km of downtown today. It was a joy to watch. Now I know why Japan has such a low unemployment rate!
After that experience, I went to school. I had a great time at school today. The principal invited me to join them for the grade 6 graduation ceremony next week. All of my schools have the ceremony on the same day, but I think I'll head over to this school. The funny thing was, the vice principal spent a considerable amount of time talking with me and (I think) trying to convince (or bribe) me to come to the grad. He showed me how to make a number of different (and very cool) paper airplanes, and a paper pistol (when you snap it quickly through the air it makes a big shot-like noise). Picture this: (as only happens in Jeff's world) at one point the vice principal and I were throwing paper airplanes around the staff room! I like this school - it can be a lot of fun.
To top it off, for English club today we decided to forgo English and play dodgeball outside - Canadian style. That means instead of one ball (that's just too easy) we used 5 balls! What an absolute blast! (and a little dangerous!) Overall, it was a pretty fun day. Oh, and in the midst of all the fun, I was even able to teach the grade 3s how to properly write capital letters and the grade 4s the English words for pencils, pens and various stationary. A day in the life.... cheers! (Jeff)
Sunday, March 13, 2005
I know, I know, it's a real drag for those of you without highspeed.
Secondly, yes, Maria, I FINALLY checked out your blog and I was SHOCKED to see myself featured right there on page one. But I like your blog a lot...I think you're revealing a lot more of who you really are. It's great.
So here's some free advertisement for Maria: Check out her blog. It's called wishedfortruth.blogspot.com
...And it was really emotional too. The homeroom teachers read out each of the students' names as they came to receive their diploma. One teacher started to choke up halfway through his list of students. Many students were openly balling, especially when the first and second graders sang for them.
My favorite part of the ceremony was the end. A bunch of us teachers stood by the door giving flowers and saying "omedetou" (congrats) to the students as they left the gym. It was great. Such a range of emotions. Some students were really excited and wanted to give me a high five or shake my hand as they left. Other students were crying so hard they barely noticed us trying to pass them flowers. I'm posting a bunch of pictures for you to check out...before, during, and after the graduation. Enjoy!
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Anyhow, since it's been a slower week, I'm posting two older pictures for your enjoyment. After living here 6 months, we almost don't notice the "odd" things that once used to catch our eye. Enjoy!