Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Monday, May 30, 2005
I really wanted to take pictures this weekend. Kathy knew that, and agreed to go with me. Problem was, I wanted to be somewhere really nice for the sunrise. The best place I know is the Nikko area. Problem was, that's a two hour drive. I figured we could just leave early - the traffic wouldn't be to bad that way. Problem was, the sun rises at 4:20am.
I got up at 3 AM and by 3:40 Kathy had rolled into the back of the car and we were off. We drove from Ota, through Nikko, west towards Numata and finally back by going over Akagi mountain. What a crazy and wonderful time we had. Amazing views, a beautiful hike around a small lake above Nikko, and lots of driving. In fact we only got home at 4pm. I was so tired that I went to bed...and didn't get up until Sunday morning at 6:30. But I haven't felt that rested for ages!
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
I decided on Saturday I could definitely see myself as a soccer mom someday. Just substitute the blue tarp for a Coleman's chair, and the carafes of iced coffee for an extra-large-tea-with-one-sugar from Tim Horton's (see...I haven't forgotten my roots!)
It is crazy though, the way teachers are worked in this country. They all have to help with 'club activities.' These activities involve practices about 5 out of 7 days of the week (yes, they meet on weekends to practice) and then tournaments on many weekends... sometimes on both Saturday AND Sunday. And sports teams generally have two teachers to help. One official coach and then an assistant, who is there to help if anyone gets injured. Although perhaps the table tennis team doesn't require this second person...but you never know... those games can get pretty rowdy! (sorry)
Sunday, May 22, 2005
More pictures of the other things we did this weekend will be coming soon. Those pictures were taken with the "real" camera... don't worry, I'm sure Jeff will take care of the rest of that film soon. ;-)
Thursday, May 19, 2005
I noticed on my way home after school that the sky was clearing up in a peculiar way. I thought that maybe I should bring the camera to my Japanese lesson tonight and make a quick stop to take a few pictures of the sunset (I just bought slide film and a "how to" book for landscape pictures). But I decided that there would be another day and another sunset. I was wrong. My crappy day ended with the most glorious sunset I have seen in recent memory. And I didn't bring my camera. It would have been perfect. At least I had my cell phone...
Make what you will of it, sometimes the worst days have their silver lining - don't forget your camera. (Jeff)
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Sunday, May 15, 2005
During the three days off, our friend Joanne came to visit us in lowly little Ota, not quite as high class as her home of Tokyo, but much more peaceful. Following are pictures of our time together.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
I was at Minami Sho this afternoon, the elementary school I visit once a week. After school, I have "English Club" with about 20 grade 3 students. I've been teaching them to tell time in English. Today we played "What time is it Mr. (in this case, Mrs.) Wolf?" To my dismay, I had forgotten about my plans for English club when choosing my shoes this morning. As a result, I was wearing an unfortunate pair of black heels. No matter how hard I tried, each time I cried, "It's dinner time!" I just could not catch a single one of those pesky grade threes. On my third time through it, I was determined. I bolted across the dry dirt and gravel (the Japanese alternative to the lush green grass of Canadian schoolyards). Suddenly, I had the unmistaken sensation of losing my footing. For about two seconds my mind was filled with ... "oh no...oh no...oh no..." And then the most spectacular thing happened. Just like Ichiro Suzuki, when catapulting towards home plate, I dove, hands outstretched, body skidding across the gravel and dirt, the crowd watching in awe, amazement, horror...
Surprisingly enough, the patch of dirt was not badly injured. And I too got up with just a few scratches. However, my clothing spoke of the terror it had just witnessed. I have never been so fully ensconced in dirt before. (Yes, I just used the word ensconced. I may teach "my favorite animal is dog," and "I like apple," but I will NOT let my personal command of English be maligned, damn it!)
The cutest part of course, was the great concern and care with which the grade threes dusted me off. One boy in particular, was so focused in his task of brushing off my pants, that he failed to notice all the interesting parts of me he was brushing. You gotta love their innocence at this age!
So...What became of Mrs. Wolf, you ask...
She requested a volunteer replacement wolf and subsequently tended to her bruised ego.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Sunday, May 01, 2005
At the same time, it was a great chance for Jeff and I to get closer and to share a lot of our thoughts. It was also great to meet new people, and to enjoy the area of Minakami, an area famous for its hot springs, (yes, we got naked again), skiing, and rafting. We saw some really beautiful nature. And our hosts made real baking!! I ate a ton of brownies and cookies... wow, so good.
Finally, I was really encouraged in my faith. This year has been a tremendous year of thinking and growing. I've really enjoyed being away from the culture of Canada, as well as church culture. It's given me the freedom to do a lot of sifting. And while many layers have been peeled back, my faith in God has become stronger than ever. And for that, I'm really thankful.