Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Community welcome party!

20th September

The local community centre held a welcome party for all the new ALT's (including me!). We introduced ourselves, experienced a tea ceremony and were given a kimono/yukata!

The Japanese sweet that you eat before having the green tea.

The green tea.

Sophie (the daughter of an Australian couple) has been going to tea ceremony lessons.

Group shot of everyone in kimono.

Julian and Taube

Ferra-Lynn and I.

Sianna, Me and Emily.

Richard and Julian.

Ferra-Lynn and I.

Rachel, Taube, Me and Ferra-Lynn.


Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Teachers After Sports Day Party!

22nd September

After sports day was over the teachers had a party at a local Chinese restaurant. We had a set menu and all you can drink tea, juice and beer! It was a great night and was a lot crazier than the one I went to last year! The added stress of postponing sports day due to the weather and having worked a 7 day week without a break meant that the teachers really let their hair down! The women teachers did the Soran dance and even formed a pyramid. Then the male teachers went out the room only to come back in marching like the boys with their shirts off! I have never laughed so hard at a teachers party! Some teachers were also very, very merry which added to the fun of the night. After dinner we headed to the second party which was held at a small bar which had karaoke. As usual I was requested to sing an English song and since my singing abilities are so bad I left the choice up to the English teacher I work with and we ended up singing Mariah Carey - Hero! Well I don't think either of us hit the high notes but when we finished we were met with a round of applause and comments of what a great choice! I love Japan! :-)

The women doing the Soran! (the man who is also in this photo was very merry!)

And making pyramids!

The table I was on

Amazing frozen lychees

The men with their shirts off doing formations - too funny!

A bike ride, flowers and a picnic!

23rd September

Today we had a relaxing day and decided to go for a bike ride and have a picnic near the river. Mike, Julian, Taube and I set out for Yumesaki river and enjoyed a lovely picnic while watching all the wild life in and around the river. It was a great way to spend the first official day of autumn!

The river where we had our picnic

Mike, Julian, Taube and I enjoying our picnic near the river.

All the amazing flowers we saw on our bike ride near the river. . .

Sports Day!

22nd September

It was the annual sports day in Japan which has the biggest lead up I have ever seen! My school didn't have classes for 2 weeks as all the time was devoted to sports day practice! Then on the big day it rained so it was postponed to the following day! The day involved many relays including one that the teachers participated in (luckily I managed to get out of this one!), the girls doing a traditional dance called the Soran, the boys doing formations with their shirts off (not sure why!), the 5 teams doing their own choreographed cheer, all clubs marching in their uniforms and awards given to clubs for recent competitions. It was a fun day and the weather turned out to be beautiful and worth the wait!

The teachers had these really cute t-shirts made!

The traditional Soran dance

At the end of the Soran the girls build pyramids.

The marching and the school flag.

One of many relay races!

The boys lined up



More formations

Taiko drumming as part of the white teams cheer.

The red team did their cheer and ended it with these signs that say "Let's cheer for the red team!"

My yum bento box!

The school symbol on the pole of the school flag.

Kendo club.

The medals awarded to particular school clubs that won in recent competitions.

Moon Viewing Festival!

14th September

Every year a full moon viewing festival is held in Himeji in the grounds in front of the castle. This year there was a holiday the next day which made the all you can drink sake for 500 yen ($5) so much more tempting! I tried two different types of sake and the sweeter of the two was definitely the best! My friend Laura who lives in Shikoku came to visit with her friend Zak so they were lucky to see the festival too! We had a great night - a picnic, taiko drumming, other musical performances, drinking, viewing the moon all in front of the amazing Himeji castle!

The full moon

Taiko drumming in front of the castle

The sake man - all you can drink for 500 yen = $5!

Makoto, Laura and Zoe - Makoto gave Laura a lift home on the back of his bike!

Zak gave Kyosuke a lift home too - 6 people and 4 bikes!

Beach BBQ Number 2!

13th September

Kyosuke and Makoto organised a wonderful beach BBQ party to make the most of summer! We had a great afternoon exploring the beach, eating, drinking, relaxing and more eating! As we were packing up a huge group of people came and began to set up a serious party with a DJ table and all! We stayed for awhile to enjoy the music and have a bit of a dance! It was an amazing night!

The beach

Me, Kyosuke and Julian - and a bread stick!

The girls and a very excited Makoto!

Boys at the Barbie

The water was like clear miso soup - mmm seaweed!

My feet after wading in the water!

The sunset

Taube and I

The DJ's that just set up a huge party next to us on the beach!

Sianna and Julian grooving!