View from the bus on the way to work…
Another edition of things that have happened lately but haven’t had time to write about yet! This might be quite long.
- I was talking to my supervisor about my successor (the person who will replace me in July) and saying to him, “I hope they aren’t vegetarian…” I say this because I always feel like a burden when they order a special vegetarian meal for me whenever we have work parties. I don’t mean to be a bother. But my supervisor totally surprised me by saying, “It’d be find if they were vegetarian. We know what to do now. We’re used to it.” I was really taken aback, but really happy too.
Here is the veggie spread I got at a recent work party:
- I was at one of my junior high schools and my one (and only) glass that I had to teach got pushed back to the last period of the day, 6th period. The reason? Well, one of the 8th grade boys had confessed his love to a girl classmate. The girl turned him down, because the other boys/girls in the class had pressured her to say no. Well, naturally the boy got pissed and there was a huge rift in the entire 8th grade. My class was pushed back to make time for a meeting with all the students to resolve this issue. And there is where I roll my eyes and say, “… Teenagers.”
- The other Sunday I went to a local café/coffee shop with Tori and Kimberly. I ordered their grilled vegetable sandwich with french fries, no substitutions. It was vegan as-is. I was shocked. And it was absolutely delicious. I had a great time.
- My supervisor is really on the ball with things. He’s already reserved my flights home and arranged to be my tax representative (so that I can receive my pension refund after I return home. This is a large chunk of change.) By the way, I am leaving Aomori in the morning on Monday, July 1st. Then I will stay in Tokyo for a few days and leave for the U.S. on July 4th. Going home on July 4th had a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
- I went to watch Tori and Kyle at a snowboarding event last month on Mt. Hakkoda. Although I only lasted out there until lunch, it was fun to watch them (and other people) do awesome tricks. Plus, Tori was wearing her awesome Link (from Legend of Zelda) costume.
The only bad thing about that day was that my feet/toes reached a critical low temperature and my chilblains relapsed in full force. It really hurt to walk the next day since my feel were so swollen and itchy. I felt like I wanted to cry. Darn you, feet! Why can’t you be normal?
- Oh yes, the Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri. The festival is held during Golden Week (a collection of four national holidays within seven days) and that’s usually when the flowers bloom. Well, this winter was extremely long. The flowers weren’t even close to blooming at the beginning of Golden Week. It was so cold and rainy. Ick. By the grace of God, it stopped raining in time for the AJET hanami (花見, flower-view) party where a ton of Aomori JETs and JET friends get together at Hirosaki Castle Park. Seriously, it rained in the morning and stopped precipitating when I got to the park a little after 2pm. What luck!
Even on May 4th, the flowers weren’t in full bloom. I chose to stay in Hirosaki this year for Golden Week because I didn’t want to miss the sakura in full bloom. Hirosaki is famous for its sakura. But full bloom didn’t happen until after Golden Week was over. Tori decided to go to the park and hanami after work on Wednesday the 8th and that was perfect for me. The hanami party on the 4th had been a bit cold, but the sun was out on the 8th and it was noticeably warmer. Plus, tons more trees were in bloom. On the 8th I hung out with Tori first, and then a bunch of drunk, happy Japanese people asked us to join them. One of them was the father of the owner of one of Hirosaki’s newest restaurants that JETs frequent. Then Kimberly and I went to get food at the food stalls. When we got back, Travis and Evan were there too. Then we all just walked around, eating good festival good and taking in the sights. I got to see parts of the park I’d never seen before. It was so gorgeous and I had a great time. I just felt so happy.
- …Which brings me to my next subject: Spring Flowers. Since I’m moving to Texas next year, this will be my last “real spring” for a while. In Texas, it goes from “cool-ish!"" to “hot!” fairly quickly. Not a long spring at all. We have beautiful wildflowers in Texas, but I see a lot of flowers here in parks and on the sides of the roads that I would never see in Texas. Here are some flower pictures:
- “English Time”: Last month a group of teachers at one of my elementary schools asked me if they could meet with me after work sometime to speak English with me. Of course I said yes! It was really fun, with 3 female teachers at a café near my house. They bought me a soy latte (which unfortunately I did not like at all) and we hung out for an hour and a half, drawing questions I had made from a bag and answering them. They clearly had a great time and so did I. We are meeting again this month.
- Tori’s Birthday²! This month was my sister Tori’s birthday (on the 3rd, she turned 20) and my friend Tori’s birthday (on the 18th, she turned 30). Tori planned her own party (she is an amazing event planner, there is no one else better for the job) and we had it at Robbin’s Nest, a bar owned by her friend Sho near Hirosaki station. A perfect venue! It started at 8pm and I got there a little early so I could give her present to her. The theme was pink and yellow, so I wore pink skinny jeans, a yellow shirt, and a black jacket. Oh, and black heels. I felt very 80’s. The party was super fun! Tori started the open mic by doing a Tahitian dance. And then people read haiku poems to her, including me. I forgot how nervous I get in front of a crowd and a microphone, whew. And then Tori and Kyle sang a duet (Volcano by Damien Rice). After that people sang songs and had a great time! What an awesome party.
- And THEN we went to Yama Rock the next day!
Yama Rock is a small music festival held on Mt. Iwaki. This is its third year and I’ve now been twice! Kyle and his band played around noon and our friend Sho’s band played a while after that. We were all tired/sleepy, but we didn’t have to do much except lay around on a blanket and talk. I even took a little nap. It was cold, but the rain held out until after we left. Kyle and the College Try performed really well and I enjoyed hearing creeps (Sho’s band) as always. Tate-takako was there again too. People come just to hear her play, she is so amazing. When she starts to sing, the wild birds around the site start singing too, no joke.
Here is a picture Tori took of Kyle and the College Try rocking out:
With that, the amazing weekend came to a close!
And so will this blog post. :)