Sunday, 22 February 2009

Ikebana Exhibition!

14th February

Taube, Julian and I went to see an Ikebana exhibition that our Japanese friend had an exhibit in. It was really interesting as the style ranged from very traditional to very modern.

A flower kaleidoscope


Beautiful rose petals

Bubble wrap flower construction

Mirrors, capsicums and flowers

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Oni Oi Festival - Get the devil out of the house!

11th February

Today was a national holiday for the foundation of Japan. We decided to go to the Oni Oi festival which is held on Masui mountain. First we had to hike up the mountain which took about 45 minutes, it was hard in some parts! When we got to the top it was just in time to see the shakuhachi players. We then found Taube's teacher who was working in the food area and she organised lunch for us! Then we managed to squeeze our way into the shrine to see the Oni (devil) dance. The idea of this festival is similar to Setsubun where it is for good luck for the new year and to keep the devil out of your house. We were in darkness but could see the devils as they were carrying burning torches and then were lit up with millions of camera flashes! There were cute little kids with devil masks too that paraded through the shrine too. We then went outside to catch mochi (rice cakes) for good health and to see monks firing arrows and creating a huge bonfire. Once the fire had burnt out the logs were then arranged into a line to walk on! I decided to give this a miss and be official photographer instead! Apparently they weren't hot though! It was a great day and it was very interesting to experience a new festival.

The hike up to the shrine, seeing the first signs of spring!

Shakuhachi players outside the shrine

All of us that hiked up the hill to the shrine!

Kids with devil masks walking around before going into the shrine

Devils dancing in the shrine

Devils lit up by about a million camera flashes!

Me and the monks!

Catching mochi craziness!

Devils outside the shrine

Cute devil boys

The monk firing arrows

Lighting the fire

The crazy fire!

Logs laid out to walk on!

Bowling Olympics!

7th February

Makoto organised a bowling tournament where we had teams and the highest scoring team won a prize and the two lowest scorers also got a prize! It was a fun night but unfortunately I wasn't as good as last time - have to keep practicing!

The lanes - I used a cool function on my camera that takes 2 photos and puts them together!

My shoes!

Me ready to play!

A panoramic shot of the bowling alley

Kyosuke and his dancing, curve ball moves!

School lunches!


I order my lunch everyday at my Junior High school which is so much fun as each day is a surprise! This week I took a photo everyday so you can see the amazing lunches I get to eat! At Elementary school every Thursday we get given the same lunch as the students which is also really delicious!





Friday - always seems to be fish!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Principals Party!

6th February

Every year we have a formal party with all of our principals where we get to dress up and have a night full of good food, beer and more beer!

The view from the restaurant

My Principal and I

Julian, Taube and I

The girls

The Australian teachers

The Phoenix teachers

The JET teachers, Superintendent and Mr Honda

Taube and I

Mmmm margarita!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Takebe Villa

31st January - 1st February

We went to one of the Okayama Villas for the weekend as soon they are closing and I had never been to Takebe Villa. The villa's are in the Okayama prefecture and are designed for foreigners to see different places in the prefecture. This particular villa is attached to an onsen. We had a great time going to the onsen, relaxing, cooking together, games, drinking and more onsen!

Party in the platform waiting room as we missed our connecting train!

Arriving in Takebe

The river that runs through the town

No mixed baths at the onsen - what the?

The boys in their yukata ready for the onsen! Love the socks!

The girls after the onsen

The captain and jenga equals a night of fun!

Hiroki looking terrified about knocking it down!

The crazy bathroom set up - the toilet was under the sink and the whole room was a shower!

The beautiful man hole covers with pictures symbolic to the town