Cultural Differences

Today I noticed a really strong, odd smell making its way though out the second floor of Showa Koko.

An English teacher (Sato Sensei) explained to me that, after the kids in Biology had finished dissecting a squid, the Science teacher (Ochi Sensei) decided that the squid didn't look too bad, so he cooked it and ate it.

Please tell me that this is as disturbing to you as it was to me!

I tried to explain to Sato Sensei why I thought it was gross to eat today's science lesson. But he kept saying, "It's not Science, it's Biology." I'm still failing to see the logic behind his reasoning. Apparently, our little conversation worked up an appetite for Sato Sensei, so he decided he was going to check things out. He came back waving a pair of ohashi (chopsticks) at me and smiling.

Thank God I didn't have to teach with him today. I'm not a fan of squid breath.


I'm not a fan of stereotypes but. . .

It's hard for me to dispute the notion that
"Japanese kids are the cutest kids on earth".
Then again, I might be biased.

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Last Saturday, I joined a group of ALT's and assorted English speaking Japanese people at the Saitama Children's Home. Together we threw a makeshift/ low budget Halloween party for the kids.

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This little boy is not only beautiful, but he's also incredibly friendly. The minute I walked through the door, he grabbed my hand and started introducing me to his friends.

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My friend Jocelyn and I were in charge of bowling. I don't know much about bowling, but the kids seemed to love it.
(Trust me, this boy was having way more fun than this picture would lead you to believe. This, is his "photo face".)

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The kids had such amazing personalities. In retrospect, I'm impressed with how easily I got to know so many of them, in spite of the language barrier and the fact that we only spent three hours with them. I honestly can't remember if we spoke mostly in English or Japanese, but I remember their facial expressions, and the sound of their laughs.

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This girl ooozed love.
I over heard her confessing to another ALT that she's a "half-u". The ALT was confused and didn't understand what she was saying. I was really tempted to jump in and explain things, but in the end I decided against it.
I am a half-u myself. ("half-u"= half Japanese and half anything else.) In the States, this labels me as "exotic" if not interesting, but for a Japanese person in Japan, more often than not, it's something to be ashamed of.

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This little girl is a model in the making, let me tell you.
She had just as much fun coming up with new poses for the camera, as I did taking the pictures.

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This last one was my favorite. You can't really tell, but she was even spinning the umbrella for the ultra-cute effect.
(I almost stole her. For real, I seriously considered it. She probably would have fit in my purse, but a cutie like that. . . they'd miss her in no time.)


Bright Idea

hmmm. . .

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Perhaps you are wondering what this is. Is it from a recent adventure? Is it from some far and distant place, with the strangest landscape ever?

Nope. Nope. Nope.

That's a picture of my skirt. . .after I let it marinate in Matte for about five months.
It was originally a light gray skirt, until I spilled some tea on it. Rather than bleach out the spot, I thought maybe I could die the skirt using Matte. I've always loved the color of Matte. . . So, I made a fresh pot, poured it over my skirt, and put it in a glass tupperware outside my apartment.
Then I forgot about it. . . Well, I did remember it from time to time. At first I thought, the longer it soaks the better, right? And then, after a few months had passed, every time I thought about the skirt I would be too afraid to check it out. I've had bad experiences with leaving liquids in jars before (Katie, I'm sure you remember the "death smell" that never did leave my car after that art project gone terribly, terribly wrong.)

Today, I was feeling particularly courageous (and curious). So, there you have it.
The mold had eaten a hole through my skirt, so there's no way I could have salvaged it.
Although I admit, the thought did cross my mind. So if you ever see me in a strangely colored skirt and you want to give me a hug, but you're worried about mold infestation, you have nothing to fear.


Last, but most certainly not least

These are the last of my Matsushima photos. . .

On my first full day in Matsushima, I woke up early, without a plan.
On my way to the station, I saw this path, and I had to walk through it.
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Wouldn't you?

This is what was at the other end. . .
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Sometimes curiosity does pay off.

Only at a beach in Japan, would I not be surprised to find an abandoned rice cooker.
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An early morning at the beach is the best way to start your day.
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Later, I ran into my roommate from the hostel. Frauka (I doubt I spelled that right) is a retired English teacher from Germany. She looks like she's in her 60s (although I didn't ask) and she's traveling through Japan, alone, for six weeks (and I thought I was tough). She insisted on letting me borrow the bike she had rented, because she was done using it for the day.

So I took her bike and rode to the island of Okamustushima.
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It was amazing.

The weather was nice and cool. It was just beginning to rain, when I set off for what I refer to as:

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It felt like there was no one else on the island, and there definitely wasn't anyone else on this trail. . .Aside from the giant spiders, scary frogs, and a SNAKE. (Well, ok, it might not have been a snake, it could have been a really big worm. . .but, it WAS scary.) By the time I got halfway up the mountain, it had started raining. The sounds of the rain kept freaking me out, and every so often I would jump, or gasp out loud.

Along the way, I saw this little temple
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In the end it was worth it, because I ended up here. . .
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With this view. . .
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and this one. . .
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Aaaaaaaah! Matsushima!
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*PS: This has nothing to do with anything, but I thought you might like to know. . .as Katie, and anyone else that has ever slept in the same room with me can tell you, I talk in my sleep. The first night in the hostel, Frauka snored so much that I felt like I hardly slept. Apparently I did, because when we were getting ready in the morning, she told me that I had been talking in my sleep. . . IN JAPANESE! Now, if I only I could do that while I was awake. . .