January 18, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well, it's been quite a while since I last posted. Gomen. It's been quite busy around here. It's a good thing. But it means that I have lots of stuff to write about and less free time to write about it. I think I'll try to do a few updates over the next week or so about all the different things that have been going on. I had a great Christmas and New Year here in Japan. It was really a lot of fun.

To get things back on track, I'll let you know about this past weekend.

On Thursday and Friday we had our mid-year seminar. Generally, we have a day spent in workshops/demos about how to be a better ALT and team-teacher. The second day we spend doing something cultural. The first day went fine, but it's basically the same as last year. Went out to dinner with some friends that night and then home.

In the morning, I packed for an overnight stay with a friend and went to the cultural class. We learned calligraphy with Japanese characters. It's something I've recently been getting interested in, so I was excited to do it. It was a lot of fun. In the afternoon, we heard a presentation from someone in the government ministry about how to get the most out of JET and how to approach the decision to stay or go. This is something I'm still somewhat on the fence about. I'm leaning towards staying, but I've got a couple of weeks to finalize my decision. We'll see.

After the seminar, I went bowling with about 10 others. It was really fun. I didn't do so well, but had a great time. Then I met up with Angelina and Sam to catch the train. I stayed at Angelina's since we had planned to travel together the next day. The 3 of us went to the great izakaya in their town. The next day Sam ended up coming as well. We headed on the 2.5 hour train ride to Brian's town. (Brian is Angelina's friend from university.) He was having a Ukrainian Christmas dinner. Their orthodox Christian calendar is different from the western Christian calendar so Christmas falls in January.

We got there in time to help a bit with the final set up before dinner started. Then it was a lot of fun eating with a variety of Brian's friends, some ALTs and some Japanese friends. The Japanese ladies were really fun. Then it was clean-up time. I went back to Brian's to wait for my train. I almost decided to stay the night. (I had asked if I could earlier, and we were having a nice time talking and just hanging out, and it would have been so easy to just stay and then go home in the morning.) But I went ahead and got my train home. I wanted to get a lot of stuff done today. One of Brian's friends, Akimoto-san, actually drove me to the station. She decided to leave when I did. We had a nice talk on the way.

This morning, I held to my plan for the most part. I got up fairly early and went on a 2 hour run to get ready for the half-marathon. I ate breakfast and called my family. Then I spent a while tidying up and getting a package together I've been meaning to send for weeks. Then I started feeling the fatigue from the run. I really should be finishing my half-done laundry and organizing my desk, but I think I've done pretty well. And blogging was on my list of things to do, but I had prioritized laundry ahead of it.

Well, I'm gonna watch some more J-TV while I "recover". Perhaps, I'll feel up to laundry after that. Then around 7, I'm going to see my friend play a gig at a nearby bar. He's an ALT that plays the trumpet with a Japanese group. He's really good. It should be nice.

PS. I'm going to Hokkaido for the snow festival!!!!!