Monday, August 1st, 2005
I went into school only for a few hours and ended up staying until after 5. I met the girls doing the skit contest this Wednesday and the girl doing a speech contest in September. I ended up helping them for hours and watching them practicing. Then I watched some kids swim in the famous indoor pool. After that I went through my desk to see what all my predecessor left me. She left a lot, because she was a good teacher and had a lot of classes. Most days there are 6 classes and I will have 5, Monday and Friday there are 5 classes. On Mondays I will eat lunch in the announcement room because during lunch myself and two girls make a little English presentation. Talk about being really involved...
I'm thinking about doing some form of English school newspaper. I'm not sure what yet, but something. Maybe I will wait a month or so and see about my free time. Since I am in a position where it's my actual job to get them involved in English, I want to do just that. My job before this was just to be present all the time and sit in the teacher's room. It was such a waste. I spent far more time sitting doing nothing than teaching or being involved, but not at this school. I have several classes and unlimited opportunities to get involved with the kids.
I have my own English room where I teach several classes, as well as a big bulletin board outside the room and then I just negotiated a spot for an elementary school bulletin board. The young kids can't read anything more than apple or tiger so it will just be pictures and easy words or Japanese. I'm going to create a page on here and take pictures of all my bulletin boards.
Tuesday, August 2nd
Went back into school today, but for not as long. I technically don't even have to go in at all, but I want the teachers and students to see me before the first day to reduce the number of wild stares and gasps. Plus I enjoy helping the students who are making a big effort to speak English. The skit girls and the speech contest girls. Today a new girl showed up for the speech contest, but she is just reciting something from a textbook. The first girl wrote something and had it translated and will recite that. They all made big improvements today even from just yesterday.
The elementary school kids were there today, well some were. They were learning the accordion or something that looked like it. I met and gave high fives to most of them. Some are just too shy, but most are really happy. I have even started learning some of their names. One outgoing girl is named Ami, which is like Amy, but also similar to the Japanese word for rain, Ame. So I call her Ami-Ame chan. You say chan after young girls or even young kids. When it rains I am going to point to the rain and then to her. She seems to like it.
Then I left around 2 and ran to the post office to let them know I am living here and I will be receiving a package next. Said package is my high speed internet modem as well as internet TV package. It's like cable TV, but coming through the internet apparently. That and high speed internet for only $60 a month. It's a good deal for Japan. The high speed internet is really high speed, like 50M. Not sure how fast the US is now, but Japan is always faster first.
Well tonight I am going back to Fukushima city to stay with a friend and have a final farewell breakfast tomorrow. Then I go to the skit contest and as soon as that is over I rush to Koriyama for another meeting. Then after the meeting there is a welcome party for the new people working for the Koriyama Board of Education. I'll probably not drink and chauffer people to and from the party. If I drank then I would have to stay in the city and I need to return and pack for Sapporo. I haven't even started. Well I need to get ready and leave soon.
Wednesday, August 3rd
Went to the speech contest, but the girls didn't win. I figured out the perfect skit that should win next year and I will start pushing it as soon as school starts. After the contest I drove to Koriyama for a meeting and then a welcome party.
Thursday, August 4th
I packed up and drove to Koriyama city and parked at the JET-plex where all the local JETs live. Luckily not everyone has a car so there is a space for me to park when needed. The bus stop is directly in front so I just walked out there and caught a bus to the station. Then I caught the 2 hour highway bus from Koriyama to Sendai and got in a bit early. I either over plan or under plan. So I figured I would rather have too much time in Sendai than Koriyama. I wasted time rather easily at the book store and other places. Finally I catch the local bus to the ferry port. I'll add all the pictures of the Hokkaido trip into one easy page, cleverly called the Hokkaido Summer Page.
Friday, August 5th
I arrived in Sapporo around noon after taking the bus from the port into town. I went by the school and had to wait an hour for the teachers to figure out where I would go or whatever. I should have just rented a room at the local Toyoko-Inn for $30 a night, because.....
They put me in the cafeteria of one of the small hotels. It was really awkward and there was no door. People could just come in, as they did frequently. There was a public bathroom in the room so people from the next door restaurant would come in and use it. It was really awkward. Pictures can be seen on the above Hokkaido Summer Page.
That night I went out with Seth, someone I met when he walked into the cafeteria for something. He was going down town to meet some people and I joined him. It was fun meeting them, though half were leaving and I just didn't fit in.
Saturday, August 6th
I met up with Amanda and Derrick whom I knew from AJET, and then her sister was visiting. We went sightseeing around Sapporo and then went to the middle of Hokkaido to go hiking at a volcano. It was fun. We camped on the side of a lake at some national park.
Sunday, August 7th
We did the hiking on Sunday since we got to the camping place really late on Saturday. Then we went to an onsen and finally we returned to Sapporo, though they just dropped me off and continued on toward the south to catch another ferry. They are headed back down to the Kyoto area by car.
Monday, August 8th
Class started today. Today was the placement test and then one odd class since they hadn't segregated us yet.
Tuesday, August 9th
A really hard day of class. I felt like they had already had a secret class explaining this topic without me.
Wednesday, August 10th
Today's class was better. I found a place that sells a hamburger that tastes just like the Burger King Whopper.
Thursday, August 11th
Another girl and I worked on our project today. We had to interview some people in Japanese about stupid stuff. I collected the answers and made some Excel charts about them.
Before that, there was a Shamisen demonstration by one of the teachers and his friends. The Shamisen is a Japanese banjo.
We all had a chance to play in groups of 2-3, but we could only practice for about 5 minutes at a time, because the huge pic was hard to hold. It had a very Japanese sound to it. I thought about learning it as a hobby, but they are about $800 and I can't play the American banjo so why could I play this?
After that, man that was a busy day, I went out with Seth again and some girls. It was really fun since there were six people, two Japanese girls, and two Japanese guys, one being a teacher from the school. We went to an all you can eat/drink place. It was only $20. I am really running low on money, but I would rather have fun and meet people and just eat nothing the next day to compensate for it.
Seth on the right and Futaba on the left. I spent most of the night talking to Futaba. She speaks a little English, and was very cute.
Friday, August 12th
I took about 8 people to a famous bar in Sapporo owned by a foreigner. He has over 300 types of beers from all around the world. It was a tad expensive, but we had a good time. Here are some shots of his bar, he is a true beer lover, not just a drinker.
Saturday, August 13th
So far I have done nothing except update this site. I slept half the day and then read more from my book about Bob Marley. I need to review all the grammar I learned this week and write it out more clearly.
Sunday, August 14th
I've also done nothing today. I packed a bit since I will move apartments up here today. I doubt I will have internet access so I will not be making updates until next weekend or later. I just got a call from YahooBB which is the company that provides wicked fast internet service. They said they have my new modem, but I told them I was in Sapporo for another week and they said they will hold it. The lady on the phone spoke unusually slow and clearly, it was nice. Most of the time I have to say 50 times please speak slower. That's so odd that Japanese people don't understand I cannot understand. I have heard that Japanese is so imprecise that 70% of the time Japanese people don't even understand what other Japanese people are saying.
I am about to walk to the Jusco Mart, which is a mall or something with food shops. I'll get a light lunch and then make change so I can do laundry. I tried to do it last night, but the machines only take 50 yen coins. Seriously, why would you do that? Maybe there is some way to cheat the machine if they use full 100 yen coins.
Well I am all moved into my second place in Sapporo. For some reason I had to move from the nice boy's dorm and into an apartment building right near the school. In Sapporo the summer weather never gets really hot so apartments and dorms don't have air conditioners. Not a big surprise for Japan, but slightly annoying during the day. For example, now I am dripping with sweat and there is nothing I can do except fan myself for a minute until I get tired of fanning. I would have rather not move from the boy's dorm, it was fun and I liked the free breakfast and dinner. This apartment is much nicer though, however there is no free internet.
I have a TV and an in-room washer as well as a private bathroom and most importantly a shower that I don't have to share with other guys. I can do the group shower thing occasionally, but sometimes I just want to chill on my own and not think about it. Plus the dorm shower was only open from 3-11 and that was a pretty bad time for me.
If you are thinking of coming to this school to learn Japanese, I would offer this as my suggestion. If you are advanced or intermediate it's a good school. But for me it's more of a vacation in Sapporo and while here I am taking some Japanese classes on the side. The focus is not on learning Japanese like I wanted it to be. I really wanted them to cram it down me, but so far they haven't. We should be learning more Kanji vocabulary everyday and the grammar should be listed out different.
The biggest complaint I have, which is really a just-me thing, is that they will rarely use English to explain something. I understand the total immersion idea, though I disagree with it. If teaching a foreign language completely in that foreign language is so effective, then why don't Japanese English teachers speak only English? Sometimes when a grammatical structure is really tough, I just want them to say "it means even if you do this....", but they are stuck in the "total immersion is the best way to teach Japanese" frame of mind.
I have mentioned it before, but I think there is some kind of national agreement to teach Japanese in the worst possible way. Let me start with Kanji, the Chinese characters. We are taught to learn individual characters. Each one has at least two readings, usually about 10 and at least 1 meaning, though also usually more like 5.
[more examples coming soon]
Then we are taught, usually from the beginning, all in Japanese. You can't "pick up" Japanese and you don't hear anything in the beginning. It's absolutely stupid and unproductive to teach Japanese all in Japanese to people who don't speak Japanese. I once sat through a 30 minute explanation of the word "mai nichi". She drew charts and explained until she was blue in the face. When the class still didn't understand it and I was about to explode from the sheer ineptness of it all, I blurted out "everyday, it means everyday. Mai means every and nichi means day, everyday". I got in trouble for speaking English, but she didn't get in trouble for wasting everyone's time. I am paying to learn Japanese, why shouldn't it be in the fastest possible way? Why must it be done in a certain way, regardless of effectiveness? Because that's the Japanese way.
Thursday, August 18th
I am %100 sick and tired of always being broke. It's mostly my own fault for spending so much in college, but for the last 3 years it was also because I had all sorts of stupid expenses. I still traveled even though I couldn't afford it. But now, I am dead broke. I have about $10 on me and no way to access any more money. All my accounts are empty and my one credit card is maxed out as usual. I am supposed to get paid tomorrow and everything would be alright, but....
I get a message from my boss that says "I hope you are enjoying Sapporo. Tomorrow afternoon your salary will be prepared, please come get it on Monday".
Eh.......ugh.......I made a point to ask no less than 5 times, FIVE times, if I would be paid on the 19th. I made sure it would be automatically deposited and all 5 times I was told, yes it will be deposited on the 19th. So if it is not, then I am really in a bind. I will have to get all the way from Sapporo to Koriyama on $10. I already have my ticket, but I usually buy other things like food. I will really be screwed if I don't get paid tomorrow.
So from here on out, my first priority is to pay off my two loans and then start working on the big loan. I need to pay them off as soon as possible. I am sick of having to pay the minimum on these. SICK of it. I am going to pay them off, pay down the big loan, and then have 20K in the bank.
Saturday, August 20th
Luckily I was able to get paid on Friday. For some reason the first check was always just given as cash in an envelope. I had to borrow $100 from someone at the school just in case, but I did get some money out of the ATM just before I got on the overnight train. I should create a page about the overnight train. I will do that now and return shortly.
I should have YahooBB internet service this Thursday, which will be good for you because I can actually upload all this. Yahoo has wicked fast service, about 50 Mbps2. It's not really squared, I just wanted to write that. Anyway, I will really fix up the site whenever I get internet and I will be able to check email which is great.
Tuesday, August 23rd
I had a meeting at the Koriyama Board of Education today at 8:30. I was a tad late since traffic was worse than I expected. I have to go back tomorrow morning early so I can take a bus to Fukushima city and get some stupid form. I have honestly filled out about 200 forms related to this job. It would normally be about 100, but I work for both an elementary and junior high school so everything has to be done in duplicate. I'm really not exaggerating about 200 forms. I can't get my visa done until I get this one form from the prefectural BOE that proves I no longer work for the company I no longer work for. It doesn't matter that I have a contract that shows I now work from someone else, I have to have one specific form. Things must be done a certain way in Japan or, well I don't know what would happen since things are always done a certain way.
I am approaching the point of too much paperwork. When I reach it I will just start ignoring things that shouldn't be ignored. Every form is like "oh you still haven't filled out your poopoodogfaxmachinechair form" (said in a way as if I knew I should have filled it out). It's as if the world will end if these forms aren't filled out. You all should thank me since I have saved the world 200 times. Half the time I must have one form just to get another form. Then I have to have some official form that proves I have another form, even though I can produce the other form or wave it in the air. Nope, we must have form Dork349285AlphaBeta8249-2, not -1, but -2.
So after all that I came back, but on the way I bought a little cheap bookshelf thing for the kitchen to put food and what not. I put all my books in the closet. I have about 50 books it seems.
So tomorrow I get to go to Fukushima city in the morning and then back to Koriyama for another meeting. The official welcome meeting where we meet the chief of the BoE and get our picture made for the newspaper. I think I was in the paper today also since I went to the International Salon (nothing to do with hair) in the Koriyama City Hall building (where the BoE is) and sat in on some tea chat with a Vietnamese girl living in Koriyama. It was ok and she was cute and interesting, but it was all in Japanese so I was a little bored. I had to keep trying to figure out what was being said since it was a bit faster than I can follow.
Oh, I bought a scanner/copier/printer the other day. I really didn't plan on buying one yet, but it was on a major sale and I couldn't pass it up. I got all that for $100, normally $250. It fits nicely on my desk and it prints in color so I can make flash cards and stuff at home. Yea I can work at home, woo hoo. But really it was a great buy and I do need a printer. I am already running low on cash so I gotta stop spending. I did have some move in expenses so maybe next month I can save a bit.
Wednesday, August 24th
I woke up early this morning and drove all the way to Fukushima city to pick up one form. One small piece of paper that says I no longer work for the Fukushima BoE. I couldn't use the sheet of paper that shows I now have a contract with the Koriyama BoE, I had to have this one particular form. When I get there the guy I am supposed to get the form from is sure I need a different form, even though I had the immigration office write out exactly which form I need. We politely argue for a minute. He shows me the form I need then the form he thinks I need. They are both in Japanese. The card I have from immigration has the words "Taishoku Shoumeisho". The form I know that I need that he is holding has the words "Taishoku Shoumeisho". The form he thinks I need says something completely different. I keep asking if I can make a copy of the "Taishoku Shoumeisho". He keeps insisting I don't need it. Finally as I am finishing I say just a moment, and take the "Taishoku Shoumeisho" to the copy machine and make a copy. He is talking to me and I babble something in Japanese, thank him, and then leave. I get to the immigration office and hand them the paper and sure enough, I was right. I hand the guy all the papers and he hands me back the papers I knew I didn't need, and takes the form I knew I needed.
Then I drive back to Konan, which is where I am now. In about 20 minutes I will drive back to Koriyama to have a big welcome party and meet the head of the BoE. Then I will drive back here and get ready for tomorrow which is the first day of classes and the opening ceremony.
I went back to Koriyama which is a 40 minute drive. We had a meeting at 3:30 so I get there at 2:30 to take care of yet another batch of paperwork. This time I had to register my name stamp. I haven't had a name stamp since I was six. That took so long and I kept having to run all around the building getting other forms to prove that I had certain forms which would allow me to get different forms.
Then we had our meeting. Then it was over and we went to the International Salon (nothing to do with hair) and had a picture made and filled out some forms. Then we went to dinner at my favorite place in Koriyama, Jintei (Gene Tay). It's a roast meat place but it is oh so tasty. While there I realized something.
I don't really fit in with that group. The people are either new JETs experiencing Japan and a foreign culture for the first time, or old timers who have known each other for years and have all sorts of memories together. I must clarify that everyone is as nice as can be and there was nothing said or done to be hurtful, but I just didn't really fit in. Plus I live so far away and can't go out drinking when they do. That also adds to the issue. I really want to fit in with them, but it's hard mainly because I live so far away.
I've always wanted to live in a Melrose Place or Friends type situation, but without the drama. It never seems to work out. I guess because they are ficticious TV shows. In college and even here, I've tried to get in situations like that. After college I moved to a party type apartment neighborhood. When we moved in we found no one came out of their apartments. Half the time we didn't even know if we had neighbors. I would try to throw parties and meet people but they rarely worked. Once I tried to plan a New Year's Party and some people responded with "we don't know what we are doing yet". What? Do you have plans already? If yes then tell me. If not then why wouldn't you come to the party?
I guess it's just the effect of the small town getting to me. Don't get me wrong, I like it. When I see a kid in town I know that I teach him/her and they usually see me and say "hello Lian". I like that. I really do, but it would be nice if I lived closer and could be invited to more things. They don't mean to not invite me, it's just that I am so far away. I guess I will have to stay in Konan and just study Japanese all the time. I can be known as the guy really good at Japanese because he lives so far away. I'm afraid I will be addicted to the internet like I always am. Though I have been thinking about a Japanese page that would help people, and myself, learn the Chinese characters faster. More on that later.
Then I drove back to Konan completely on E. I mean I must be on vapors now. Why? Not so much because there are no gas stations on the way, there are a few, but mainly because gas stations close at 7pm here. Which makes sense, I mean why on earth would gas stations and ATMs stay open past 7pm? Why? That would be silly.
It's 10:20 now and I should get to bed. I have a big day tomorrow, possibly bigger than today. I have the opening ceremony and my welcome speech and then possibly one or two classes. I honestly can't believe I would have classes on the same day as the opening ceremony. For the past three years a ceremony has meant no classes for one week. What a change. What a change.
Thursday, August 25th
The day started great. As soon as I got to school there was a big sign in the entrance that said "Welcome Mr. Ryan".
Then I walked around talking to the kids as they arrived. Some already knew me and they introduced me to other kids in their class. It was great see the young kids they are so full of curiosity. I give each kid a high five when we pass. They look forward to it and some hit my hand really hard.
Around 8:30 there was the opening ceremony. All 280 elementary and JHS students went to the big hall. First the vice principal opened the ceremony. Then the principal spoke for a minute. Then he introduced me and I gave my speech in English and Japanese, since the young kids can't understand English. Here's what I said:
Hello, my name is Ryan McDonald.
My father is the president of McDonalds.
Please call me Ryan.
I come from Atlanta, Georgia. The same as Rebecca sensei.
I am 33 years old.
My hobbies are computers, studying Japanese, photography, and making bad jokes.
I think English is fun.
Please speak English to me, you can do it.
Letís have fun together.
They go crazy after the "my father is the president of McDonalds" part. Then again when I tell them I am joking. After the speech everyone vigorously cleaned the school. In Japan the kids and teachers do the cleaning, which I guess keeps the school cleaner since you know if you litter you will have to pick it up later.
At some point the soccer coach came over and was chatting to me about various things. He asked if I played soccer and I said I did as a high school student, but not much since then. He asked me to help him coach the soccer team. I said that would be great, but later I watched some of the kids practicing in the gym and they were jumping all around and doing things I could never dream of. All I could do is show them some practice techniques I remember, or at least tell them about them and not demonstrate them.
It was raining all day since a typhoon is near so all the outdoor clubs had to practice indoors. The baseball club was in the hallway running up and down and then jumping around some purple string. I watched the soccer club and the girls volleyball club. The girls team does this really respectful thing. When I or any other teacher enters the gym, while they are practicing, they all stop, turn, and bow and announce "welcome [teacher's name]". I always feel bad for disturbing them when they do it, but it is kinda cool.
Then I actually had a class on the opening day. So strange. I did my introduction. Before class some student came and asked what materials they needed and which room it would be in. There is a special English room and some classes are there. This one was there today. I just gave my hour long funny introduction. They laughed. Then they introduced themselves and then there was still 10 more minutes so we played a game called shiritori which really means bottom grabbing. There was no bottom grabbing. The game is when you say a word like "flower" then the next word must start with R and so on. It was a good class and I actually did a smart thing this time after class.
I made notes of what I did and how they were. They were actually very advanced and I give credit to Rebecca sensei, the foreign teacher before me. They knew a lot of words and grammar and it impressed me. I am making a list of little words and phrases I am going to subtly teach them like "how many" when passing out papers. I made so many lists and notes and other stuff today. I didn't leave until 6pm and even then only because I had to get gas before the station closed at 7pm. Gas stations closing at 7pm, come on.
Tonight I am going to work on two things. One is a calendar showing the schedule of my middle school in Georgia. We started in August and ended in May, but in Japan school starts in April and stops in March. Plus I list out all the holidays and what not. Second I am going to continue the New Words board that Rebecca started. It's just a wall with 9 pictures and English descriptions on it. Here's a picture of her last one:
When I went to the grocery store I saw some kids and of course they knew me and ran up to me. Even their parents knew me, because I am the only foreigner in this area. One parent even commented about how funny my introduction was. She said he daughter was telling her about it earlier. That's exactly why I wanted a small town placement, you don't get things like that in a big city. Kids are different there.
Oh another thing I want to do is to start an English newspaper. Make it really simple and talk about things related to the school or anything they would be interested in. Then give rewards randomly to test if they have been reading it. I'm going to put up some new words on the cleverly named New Words board and then have 9 pieces of chocolate, one for each word. Then I will randomly ask classes to tell me some new words. That will make them constantly look at the board.
I am really impressed with this job and the focus of it. It's actually about teaching English. It's not about having a token foreigner at the school or trying to force me to be Japanese. It's purely about having a native speaker to interact with the students and teach them actual English. It's great. So far I love it and might stay for 5 more years, but don't tell my mother that. Alison if you are reading this remember the Japanese idiom, silence is golden...
Sunday, August 28th
Friday was a blast. I stayed until 7pm. I have never stayed at work 3 hours past when I was allowed to leave. I was hanging out with the kids, teaching some Japanese teachers English privately, then helping the girls volleyball team. I think I am going to try to help them since I seem to know more about volleyball than other sports and I am remotely decent. I wanted to help the soccer team, but when I saw them practice, I realized they could run circles around me and I doubt I could teach them much. I have even been reading about coaching volleyball. I just seem to have bonded with them already and I think I can contribute.
Monday I have no classes, but I think I am going to try to do some short intros to the elementary school classes. I will have to ask the teachers, but it would be the perfect time to get some time with them. The elementary kids are so cute. They were talking to me Friday during the teachers meeting. I skipped it since I wanted to chat with the kids more than listen to a meeting I wouldn't understand. I learned some of their names and we had fun.
Sometime this week I will go to Koriyama city with the 1st years by bus. One teacher told me I was going since I was part of the 1st year teachers. Wow. Before I had to beg and plead to go on trips with the students and now I am considered part of the staff. Then Thursday I have the speech contest which will be fun to see my girls, but boring to listen to the others.
Last night there was a party in Aizu-Hongo (eye zoo hone go). It was a Sean party, he is the Aizu area Minister of Fun. It was good though I didn't know anyone except some of the older people. Last year I knew everyone in the prefecture, this year I hardly know anyone.
Monday, August 29th
Today I ate lunch in the announcement room. About 10 minutes before lunch was over, myself, Eri, and Izumi, two girls, made an English announcement. It was just a mini-conversation I wrote. This is something Rebecca sensei before me started. We basically talked about "what's up" which is what I have been teaching them.
Although I had no classes because of JHS testing, I asked the elementary school teachers if I could do a quick self intro and hand out the pennies I brought for each student. They loved them and then squealed when I showed them the super small Abraham Lincoln on the back of the coin. It's really tiny and hard to see.
The young kids are so cute. I am still trying to learn their names. I have this game I play with a few where we face each other and hold hands then they jump and I lift them up so they are as tall as me. One girl in particular can get higher than me. Some kids are the wrong height and it doesn't work. But they love it. I even played dodge ball with them after lunch. They have recess about twice a day.
After school I helped the girls volleyball team. They spent most of the time playing against each other so I stood on the sidelines learning their names. They are my 1st and 2nd years so I will have them for a while. At some point I helped Honami and Sanae, the two speech contest girls. I think on Tuesday they have to present it to the whole school.
Speaking of Tuesday, I missed all of what's happening but I heard:
So I think it's going to be a big day. I will take my camera and capture all the magic. Over and out.
Tuesday, August 30th
Yes indeed it was a big day. First we had a fire drill, which I actually knew about unlike at Higashi, then the mayor flies in via a military helicopter and gives a 3 minute speech about fire safety. Then we have an hour long display about fire safety and ways of putting out fires. Even the towns people showed up and were taught about it. Then two teachers were mock-rescued by an emergency helicopter (different from before). Finally we resumed class. Wow it was a big day. Here are some pictures. Fire Drill Day.
Later in the day we had a meeting in the gym and the two speech contest contestants gave their speeches to the whole school, only 280 kids plus 20 or so teachers. Then the chorus sang two songs since they have a performance on Wednesday. I stayed at school until about 7pm with the girls volleyball team.
I don't really do anything important and I almost feel out of place. I remind myself I am not the coach and the practice is about them practicing, not me. I'll keep hanging out some, but I might try the soccer team or tennis team some as well.
Wednesday, August 31st
The chorus club had an all day meeting somewhere, most likely in Koriyama city, so the classes were small. I played Karuta with the 3rd year class I had since half their class was gone. Karuta is a game where there are several words or pictures on a table and when the teacher (or other person) says one the students have to quickly search and slap it. Whoever has the most cards or sheets at the end wins. The chorus club finally returned late, around 6:30, and we all wrote a congratulatory note on a whiteboard. I wrote a simple, and stupid, chou beri guu, which means very very good. Chou is very, beri is the Japanese way of saying very, and guu is good.
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