Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Typical Day in Junior High

First of all, it's cold here. When I came home it was only about 16 degrees (61 F) in my apartment. I wouldn't mind it so much if it was just the weather outside, but the school doesn't have any heat so I was cold all day long. But right now I am sitting at my kotatsu and have a space heater sitting next to me and now this room is about 23 degrees (73 F). My new heater is much nicer than my old one. I said something at school the other day about my apartment being cold so a teacher let me borrow an extra heater. I'm able to stay pretty comfortable in my apartment for now, but I'm NOT looking forward to the winter! My apartment is so drafty and it doesn't have any insulation.

Anyways... I've realized that my posts rarely talk about school even though I spend a lot of time there. So, even though today was pretty uneventful, I will describe my day so you can know what a typical day is like "teaching" at a Japanese junior high school.

It takes me about ten minutes to walk to my junior high school, which is nice. Once I get to the school I am greeted by several teachers, and every now and then a few students, at the crosswalk. I feel kinda like a little kid as they hold up flags to stop traffic so that I can safely cross the street (often there aren't any cars but they hold the flags there anyway). I greet them with "ohayo gozaimasu" (good morning) and then head for the entrance. A few kids are usually running in between the entrance and the gym so I say good morning to them but usually not much else because they seem to be in a hurry.

The first thing I do when I walk in the school is take off my shoes and put on my indoor shoes. One side of the entrance is lined with cubby holes where the teachers keep their shoes. I change my shoes and walk to the staff room while saying good morning to the students. When I enter the staff room I say "ohayo gozaimasu" and all the teachers say it back.

The staff room is where all the teachers have their desks. In Japan, the teachers move from classroom to classroom. The students stay in the same classroom all day (though they do go to different rooms for subjects such as home economics, art, P.E. and maybe some others). So the teachers do their work in the staffroom.

This morning the 1st/2nd grade English teacher had some worksheets she wanted me to copy. Sometimes she even wants me to make copies of stuff for her homeroom class, which is not my job. But I actually don't mind it because I strangely enjoy making copies, lol.

Today was Thursday so it was a busier day than most. All five classes have English on Thursdays. First period I went to class 1A. Every first grade class begins with one student who says something and then they all bow. Then the teacher says, "Good morning/afternoon everyone" and the students reply with "Good morning/afternoon Ms. name and Jenna." Then we usually have Hello Time which is where all the students have to talk to 3 boys and 3 girls and 1 teacher. They ask each other "How are you?" and one other question which changes everyday. Today's question was, "What sport do you like?"

Today we played a game called Crossfire where a row of students stands up. I ask a question and the first student to raise their hand and answer correctly gets to sit down. It continues until one student is standing. Then that column has to stand up. That made class a little more interesting than the usual reading and memorization of the text book.

Though we did still do reading and repeating from the text book. Part of the dialogue says, "Does she read kanji?" "No, she doesn't, but she reads and writes kana very well." So then the students asked me if I can read and write kana (Japanese alphabets). So then the students asked me to write some of their names up on the chalk board. I did very well with writing in hiragana, but then they wanted to see katakana and I messed up a little bit. I hate katakana! But it was funny, lol. 

However, we didn't have time for the Halloween quiz I made, but I wasn't too disappointed because I would rather not do it at all than have it so rushed like yesterday. She told me I'd have 10 minutes to do the quiz, but then I really only had 3 minutes and I had to make it less fun. Not cool. :(

Next was class 2A. They are learning the word "if." So the teacher found a song using "if" and she played it for them. It's called "If You Come Back," by Blue. Before she played the song she told the students that Blue is really cool and popular in England. I think that they were popular at some point, but I don't think they are anymore. Oh well, lol.

The students seemed to enjoy the song though (I'll admit I did too... lol). After class the students and I looked through the teacher's CD case. It was a lot of Backstreet Boys, Exile (a Japanese boy band), and Disney. Maybe we should have used Backstreet Boys instead to teach the kids "if." They could learn the song "If You Want it to be Good Girl, Get Yourself a Bad Boy." Just kidding...

I had a break from classes during 3rd period. I checked some of the first graders worksheets and put stickers on their notebooks. A couple 3rd grade students saw the stickers and talked to me about them. They saw some stickers of Marie (the white cat from the Disney movie The Aristocats) and they thought it was cool when I told them that Marie is my middle name. One of the girls then told me that I have pretty eyes. It's interesting how often the students comment on things like that. I guess it's because I look so different.

4th period was class 3B. Every class begins with the students receiving note cards with various questions like, "How did you come to school today?" "Will you study math tonight?" and "What were you doing at 9 last night?" The students have to ask each other the questions. I really enjoy this time because it is often the only thing I get to do during this class besides reading the text book and practicing flash cards. Today was a bit more fun than usual though. The students received a copy of a page from a Where's Waldo? book. I asked them questions like, "Where is the person holding a pig?" "Where is the person eating a carrot?" and they raced to see who could find the people first. Then they made pairs and wrote their own questions to quiz their friends. I got to help the students a lot with this. Often the worksheets in class are translating between Japanese and English and it's hard to help with that. So today was a very good class because I got to be more helpful.

Then it was lunch time! Today's lunch was some sort of ground beef and potato casserole thing with ketchup on top, vegetables (cabbage, beans, and cucumbers), bread, soup (cabbage, carrots, and long thin white mushrooms), and an apple slice. This was a really good lunch because I actually enjoyed everything. There are many lunches that I consider good because I can tolerate everything. This one I actually enjoyed! Though it would have been better if it had been warm. It was all cold and I wanted something warm on a cold, rainy, windy day. The school lunches are never hot though. Sometimes they're slightly warm, but now that the school is cold, as soon as the food is dished out everything cools off.

After lunch was 5th period. I went to class 3A. It wasn't too exciting. We did the interview cards and I got to read something from the text book and they repeated it, but that was about all I did.

The last period was class 1B. I arrived in class a little early. One of the students had her eyes closed and was being led around by a couple other students. They were taking her around the room and making her guess what different objects were. I walked over and held out my hand and they led her to me. She kept guessing different students. Finally she opened her eyes and she was so surprised to see me. She fell to the ground laughing. It was pretty funny.

This same girl was reading a Goosebumps book yesterday. I was very amused because those were super popular when I was a kid and I was surprised to see one in Japanese.

During class they also played the crossfire game. Then I read from the text book and the teacher criticized my pronunciation of the word "Japanese." Apparently I don't emphasize the "nese" part enough. She corrected me the first time I said the word to the class a long time ago, so I'm usually pretty careful, but today apparently I said it wrong again. Ugh, it's annoying. I also don't pronounce "often," "umbrella," and "our" correctly either (though I looked up their pronunciations online and I am also correct).

During class one of the boys picked his nose for a long time. The worst part was that he was eating the boogers too. He would pick his nose, then look at his finger, then put it in his mouth. He did this over and over and over again! I was pretty grossed out. Sorry that I probably grossed you out too, but I just wanted to point it out. I see quite a bit of nose picking in Japan. I was pretty shocked the first time I saw it on a train. Some woman was sitting on the train picking her nose for several minutes, not even trying to hide it. It's not like I see it all the time, but I've seen it many times. I wonder if it's not considered as gross in Japan as it is in America.

Soooo... back to school...

After 6th period was cleaning time. Japanese schools don't have janitors. The students are responsible for cleaning the school. I help out with mopping the outdoor steps and the entryway where the students take off their shoes. I generally like doing that, but the past few days the wind has been soooo strong and chilly that it's not so enjoyable.

After that the students returned to their homerooms and I spent a few minutes in the staffroom before it was time to leave.

So, that's a typical day at junior high for me!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Plushies! Randomness!


This weekend I made a large pancake plushie and finished a strawberry plushie. It was my first time making larger plushies and I'm happy with how they turned out. Though I would have liked for the pancake to be a bit bigger, but I didn't have enough fabric.

When I get back to the US I'll make some more large plushies because I think they would do pretty well in my Etsy shop. I sold several small pancake plushies and the larger one is even better! Though I'll need to buy a sewing machine... it would definitely be helpful!

I didn't have enough stuffing for these plushies so I went to Mishima. There's a craft store at Sun to Moon so I went there.

To get there I took a JR train that actually goes all the way to Tokyo. It didn't actually stop at the stop I needed so I think it might have actually been faster to just wait for the next train, but this was more entertaining. There was a catalog similar to Sky Mall.

They sold Japan Airlines cup noodles.


They also sold this:


I really don't know what that is, lol. I haven't bothered to figure out what a lot of it is saying, but I can read "stress" and "karaoke." I guess you sing (or yell) into it as loudly as possible to relieve stress without bothering the neighbors.

Maybe that guy should just go here:


That's a random sign I saw while walking to Sun to Moon.

Now that the weather has cooled off, many of the drinks in the vending machines are now hot. It's very interesting because I haven't seen hot drinks in vending machines in America (besides coffee vending machines). Here, hot and and cold drinks are in the same machine. This drink didn't come out of a vending machine, but it was hot. I bought it at 7-11 and it was in a case that looked just like the refrigerator cases. This drink is yuzu.


At first it just tasted like juice I had left out in a hot car. I think it's because of the bottle. It just looks like it shouldn't be a hot drink. But when I didn't pay attention to the bottle, it was very nice!

This next picture was taken as I walked to Sun to Moon. I've seen these ads ever since I moved to Japan and I realized I hadn't taken a picture yet.


Smoking gives you big muscles and shiny legs!
I had a good time at Sun to Moon, but there's not really anything too exciting to write about unless you really want to read about me buying socks and other boring things... though I did get a cute sweater.

Oh, and also guess what I found at the craft store... fleece! They had a whole shelf of it. There wasn't a very large selection and they didn't have any colors that I want, but I was still surprised to find it after all my searching in Tokyo. I guess they just carry it seasonally.

Now here's some more random stuff...

I finished the puzzle I bought in Tokyo when I was there with Lauren. It was a lot of fun to make! It's transparent plastic so it looks like stained glass.


I don't see a whole lot of chocolate mint candy here, so I was excited to see these. They were good too!


These were also good! They're mushroom shaped chocolates with cookie stems! :) Cute and delicious!

Recently I saw several more frogs around my apartment. I don't know if I ever posted the picture on here, but a few months ago there was one of these in my washing machine!

Well, that's all the randomness I have for now. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I ♥ Tokyo: Gardens, Skyscrapers, and a Cross-dresser


My 7th trip in Tokyo started out in Ginza. One of my main goals in Tokyo was to buy clothes for the colder weather and this seemed like a good place to start.

But first I went to Itoya, which is one of my favorite stores EVER. It's just awesome. It has stationary and art supplies. The range of products is crazy. You can buy 100 yen pens, and pens well over 1 million yen. Crazyness...

Anyways... I didn't buy anything because I thought I might come back later to buy some large sheets of pretty Japanese paper and didn't really want to carry those around.

So then I went to Uniqlo and successfully found a sweater, skirt, and some Heattech undershirts and leggings. The Heattech stuff is supposed to keep you warm. It's endorsed by Orlando Bloom, so it has to work... right?

Foreign celebrities in Japanese ads always entertain me, lol.

In Uniqlo I also found some really cute boots that I wanted. They had them in black and brown. They didn't have my size in black on the shelf, so I tried them on in brown.They fit and were comfortable and I really wanted them... but in black. So I asked one of the girls working there if they had them in my size. They didn't. :( Soooo... I decided I would try another Uniqlo later.

I went to Forever 21 next but I was kind of tired of shopping for clothes and I was really wanting those boots so I decided to head to Shinjuku because there's a Uniqlo there and I wanted to go there anyway.

On the way back to the station it was raining pretty hard and a warm drink sounded really good. I stopped at Starbucks. Apparently, it was the first Starbucks in Japan.


When I arrived in Shibuya I went to Uniqlo first. However, I was disappointed because they didn't even carry the shoes that I wanted. Ugh! I hadn't realized before that the Uniqlo in Ginza is pretty big compared to some of the others.

I had planned on visiting some other stores after Uniqlo, but I decided to head to Ikebukuro instead. I remembered seeing a Uniqlo there before. I went there but it was really small and they didn't carry the shoes either. I was pretty sure there was another Uniqlo in Ikebukuro though.

I found it pretty quickly, which is good because I wouldn't have looked for very long because it was really pouring down then.

They had them! Yay!!!!! I was very glad I had finally found them. I wouldn't have searched so frantically for them if it hadn't been for the rain. My tennis shoes were completely soaked and I knew they wouldn't be dry by the next day and it was supposed to rain that day as well. So I was very happy to have dry shoes for the next day... and they would keep my feet dry too!

I can't remember if this was after buying the shoes or between the two Uniqlo stores in Ikebukuro, but at some point I went into Seiyu. It's owned by Walmart. I was interested in how it compared. This one was mostly just a grocery store with some basic cooking and office supplies (I think some of the larger stores sell a bigger variety of things like in the US). I was amused by the Great Value rice, ramen, and tofu.


Stupid Walmart... I just can't escape it!

Also, at some point in Ikebukuro (my memory of that evening is so bad... I think it's because it was kind of a miserable rainy evening) I ate at Denny's. Yes, it's the same Denny's as in the US. Well... sort of. The name is just about the only similarity. The menu is completely different. I had hamburg (what they call a hamburger without the bun) with some sort of slightly spicy sauce, rice, and vegetables. The vegetables were eggplant, pumpkin, and renkon (lotus root). I loved it. :)


Outside of Ikebukuro station there were some dance performances. It was still pouring down rain, but they still looked so happy! Even the groups who were waiting to dance looked happy. I didn't see one single dancer who looked miserable even though they were all completely soaked.

Finally (after having trouble finding the place to switch from the train to the subway) I made it to my capsule hotel. This was my first time in a capsule hotel. It didn't quite look how I expected. Most of the pictures I've seen of capsule hotels look like plastic or something. This one looked old, but it was clean. It was really cheap so it was fine considering what I paid.



The next morning it was still raining, but not nearly as hard as the night before. I ate breakfast at Becker's. I had toast (very buttery so it was good!), sausage, scrambled eggs, salad (lettuce, tomatoes, and green beans), and ginger ale. It was pretty American except for the salad.


I saw several funny Docomo (cell phone company) ads around Tokyo. They're so random so I love them.


I went to Koishikawa Korakuen, which is a garden. It's really pretty and there was hardly anyone there so it was nice. The only bad thing about the garden is that you can still really hear the sounds of the city. You can even hear a roller coaster and the screams coming from it. It's still very nice and was definitely worth my time and money, but I prefer Rikugien, another garden I've been to in Tokyo.

It wasn't raining as I headed to the garden, but it started raining a little bit while I was there. It stopped again by the time I left though and it didn't rain any more for the rest of the day! :)



As I walked back to the station I passed by many Orange Osmanthus shrubs. They smelled really good! The petals were all over the sidewalk too.


Then I headed to some area that I forgot the name of, but I wanted to go to the Book Off (It's a used bookstore. It's pretty much the Japanese equivalent of Half Price Books) there because it has a large selection of English books. I didn't buy any books, but I did buy some Japanese CDs.

I got pretty hungry so I went to Shibuya. I just wanted to go to Freshness Burger and the one in Shibuya was the only one I could think of. I love the bean veggie burger there and I was really craving one.


The restaurant was decorated for Halloween! This is the tree outside. Halloween isn't super popular in Japan, but I saw a lot of Halloween stuff in Tokyo. My favorite thing that I saw was a cup that said, "Merry Halloween."


Then I went to Hamamatsucho, where the Pokemon Center is. It's basically just a store with a lot of Pokemon merchandise. They also have a place where I think you can use the wireless to get a Pokemon on your game or something. Tons of people lined the walkway outside of the store and the majority of them were playing Pokemon. I wasn't too afraid to take this picture because they were all really into their games.


As I was leaving, the guy in front of me was playing two DSes at once. He was really into the games and almost missed the bottom of the escalator.

Then I walked to the nearby Shidome area. It's an area of Tokyo with a bunch of tall buildings. There's not really a whole lot to do there except eat and go to a few shops, but I loved the area. It was really different than any other part of Tokyo that I've been to and had a nice atmosphere. I bought a Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar and ate the whole thing. It was great. :)



Next, I went to Harajuku. It was very crowded! I did some shopping at Forever 21 (I bought a nice warm scarf!).


I saw some awesome Harajuku fashion. I felt like a stalker when I took this picture, lol.


Then I went ahead and checked into my hotel in Ikebukuro. I headed back out to pick up some food from 7-11 and came across more dancing in the same area as the night before. They had the street closed off and it was like a parade. :)


At 7-11 I bought some Yakisoba and also Pumpkin Pocky! I went back to the hotel and ate the yakisoba and then went back out. I went to Shinjuku. I've been to Tokyo 6 times before but I had never been to the Kabukicho part of Shinjuku.


I mostly just walked around and took pictures. I stopped in an arcade and played the Taiko game and tried to get a really cute cat plushie out of one of the claw machines, but I failed of course.

I really like going through Japanese arcades. There's almost always something interesting. They had a section of rhythm games and I saw some amazing skills. I didn't take this video, but it pretty much shows the skill levels I saw.

As I was heading back to Shinjuku station I passed a fruit stand and bought a piece of melon. This shows that my food tastes have changed since coming to Japan. I never liked melon before, but now I do. They also had pineapple, but I was more in the mood for melon. That never would have happened before I came to Japan!


As I was standing there eating my melon, I head an interesting sound coming from across the street. I crossed the street to find out what was going on.

When I had been across the street I only heard the high pitched screeching so I thought it was a woman, lol. I stood there and watched him for quite a while. It was so horribly entertaining.

Back at the hotel I ate my pumpkin Pocky. Sooooo good! :) Before leaving the next morning I went back to 7-11 to buy some more because I didn't know if I'd be able to find it in Toi or not.


The following morning was extremely clear and the weather felt perfect! This is a picture I took in Ikebukuro after I left the hotel.


I arrived in Ginza around 10:30 and most of the stores opened at 11, so it was pretty quiet.


I went back to Itoya and bought some pens and then went to a few other stores. Around noon they closed off the street and set up tables and chairs.


I wasn't sure where I was going to go for lunch. On the way back to the station I passed a Subway. I hadn't eaten at a Japanese subway yet (except I did get a cup of pineapple there when Lauren ate there). The menu has many similar things to the American menu but there are different things as well.


I got the cheese roasted chicken sub and melon soda. The cheese was a bit weird at first because it was a creamy cheese sauce and not normal cheese. But by the end I actually really liked it.


The napkin package was funny. It says "The Natural Ideal style of eating vegetable." What??? I expect to see things like this on many things in Japan, but it was unexpected from Subway. I would think that the American Subway would check these things. It's funny though. :)


I went back to Ikebukuro and got ice cream at Baskin Robbins. I was really excited because they had mint chocolate chip ice cream and all the other Baskin Robbins I've been to have not had that flavor. However, I also saw a Carmel Apple Tart flavor and decided to try that instead. It was really good! Mint Chocolate Chip is still better, but this was a very nice flavor to enjoy outside in the fall weather! :)


I had a little bit of time left before I had to leave so I just hung around Ikebukuro for a little while more. I went to Sunshine 60 to look around the stores. I passed by the sign for the 60th floor observatory. I've been to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (which is free), so I wasn't sure if this would be worth 630 yen or not.

I got into the elevator, the attendant girls in cute uniforms bowed, and the doors closed. Then the lights went out for a second and these lights came on!


It was cool because it was unexpected. It's a very pretty elevator. It's fast too! The screen on the right shows the speed and it reached 600 meters per minute. I found an article from 2007 that listed the fastest elevators in the world and this was number 4. It's ranking has most likely dropped by now though.

The view at the top was amazing! When I went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building during the day, the view was pretty hazy. It was very clear this day though and I could see so far! The city just seems to go on and on and on and on!


On one side I could see mountains, which was super pretty. On an even clearer day you're supposed to be able to see Mt. Fuji. That would be awesome. :)

Some of the windows had steps so that you could stand right on the edge.


There's a cafe up there. I want to go back and have some ice cream while looking at the city!


This is the outside of Sunshine 60.


It was such a fun trip! I saw several new places in Tokyo and successfully found some winter clothing. Tokyo is just awesome! :)

There are many more pictures HERE! CLICK HERE! :)

I wanted to put a few more pictures on my blog, but I ran out of space. I reached my 1 GB limit and can no longer upload photos straight to my blog. I have to upload them to Flickr and then link to each one individually. It's a pain!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall is Here... A Scary Trail, A CultureFestival, and More Randomness

It's gotten a lot cooler lately. Usually I would hate that, but after a super hot summer without air conditioning, I'm appreciating the cool down. During the summer it would often be about 90 degrees (32 C) by 6:30 when I got up for school. Ick. Lately it's in the low to mid 70s (22-24 C) when I wake up. When it was hot I didn't want to get up for school because I didn't feel very rested. I couldn't sleep in on the weekends either because it was just too hot to sleep. Now I don't want to get up because it is a nice temperature for sleeping. :)

Right now (a little after 8 pm) it's about 70 degrees (21 C) outside. It reached about 77 (25 C) today. It was nice and sunny, too. If the weather stays like this for the rest of the time I'm in Japan, I'll be very happy. Unfortunately it's going to get cold. I asked a couple teachers yesterday what the weather is like here in Toi in the winter. They said it rarely goes below freezing and that snow is uncommon. That doesn't sound too bad... except... they all mentioned the wind. They said the wind here in the winter is terrible. Ugh. I'll just stay under my kotatsu all winter.

But for now, I will enjoy the nice weather while it lasts! :)

On Friday after school I went to check out a trail that starts here in Toi. This is not the one that I tried finding that one day where the senile lady was convinced I was lost. This is one that I noticed on my way to the ferry dock a couple weeks ago.

On my way to the trail I took a picture as the ferry arrived in Toi. It wasn't very dark yet, but this picture turned out a bit dark. I like how the sky looks.

I soon arrived at the start of the trail. There's a sign and even a few parking spaces. The first bit of the trail is paved, but very very steep. This picture is very blurry, but you can kind of see the trail.This is after the really steep part.

There were quite a few spiders. They were large, but they weren't the really huge ones. They were these black and yellow ones that have been hanging around lately. I don't like them, but they weren't going to make me turn around.

I got a nice view of Toi.

Soon after this last picture was taken, the trail got a lot wilder and there were low branches hanging in the way. I knew I wouldn't be able to walk the whole 2 km trail because it was almost sunset, but I stopped and turned around sooner than expected. I saw some large animal run down the hill. I have no idea what it was because I only saw it at a distance and couldn't see clearly through the trees. I've heard that there are wild boars on the Izu Peninsula and that they're not nice. There aren't many wild animals around here besides birds so I don't know what it could have been besides a boar. Well I guess it could have been  a stray dog, but I haven't seen any of those around here either.

So, I turned around and headed to 7-11. I went past a shrine and took this picture.

Then I passed by something that looked like it was a food stand at some point.

The next day was Saturday but I had to go to the culture festival at school. I wasn't really wanting to go to school very much that day. I knew that the various classes were going to perform the songs they have been practicing for the past few weeks and that the students that did the English speech contest would give their speeches. I had seen them practice many of these things so I didn't think that the actual day would have so much more.

A lot of the performances were groups that are practiced outside of the school, so I learned about many of the students talents that I did not know about. The first thing was a taiko group. I have heard them practicing from my apartment almost every evening for the past couple of weeks. I had no idea that it was my students!

Soon the choir performed. One of the songs was a cappella.  One student was off to the side and I thought he was going to sing a solo. This particular student is very energetic and kinda ADD. He really likes to sing. Sometimes he'll be singing when the teacher is trying to get the class quiet. Often he is singing very over dramatically to be funny, but he has a good voice. He's not a great student, but he does make a good effort in English class and he always makes me laugh. So, I was expecting him to sing. Instead he started beat boxing. It totally fit his personality and was very entertaining.

Later this same student performed a dance with a few other students. He was the lead dancer. The song started and he moonwalked across the stage and then they did Thriller! They did a really good job. One of the teachers video taped everything and I'm going to try and get a copy.

The high school band came and performed. I didn't recognize a couple of the songs, but I know that the conductor said he is a big fan of Dragonball so I think one of the songs was from that anime. They also played an Arashi medley and the theme song of One Piece (a popular anime).

After a break for lunch, we went back into the gym for the afternoon performances. For the next performance the only part of the program I could read was "band." So I thought it would be the students who can play musical instruments... like flutes and stuff like that. However, it was a rock band. Four of the 3rd year girls have a band. It was so cute! They were really good too. The lead singer was the 3rd year girl who did the English speech contest. I had no idea she played the guitar and had a band. So much fun!

Next was the PTA band, which was also a rock band. One of the teachers played the electric guitar and the other members were parents. During the 3rd song, one of the teachers ran up onto the stage dressed in a leather jacket and started singing. I (and everyone else) was cracking up. Later that night at the teachers' party he asked if I liked the band. I said I did and he said he thought it was noisy and that he's not usually like that. He likes enka music. This is enka music:

I know nothing about that guy. It was the first video that came up when I typed "enka" in YouTube, lol. I see shows like this on TV sometimes. It's like the Lawrence Welk show of Japan, haha. 

Then the different classes each sang a song. They did well, but it got a little boring because I've heard them practice these songs for several weeks. It wasn't any more entertaining watching them sing up on a stage rather than the classrooms. 

But overall, the day really flew by! I thought that watching the performances from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon would seem long, but it didn't. It was a fun, relaxing day and I got paid for it! :)

That night I went out to eat with about six or seven of the other teachers at a yakiniku restaurant. There were grills on the table and we grilled small pieces of meat. I didn't know what the first thing was. I thought it was just beef. I ate once piece. Then the teacher across from me said, "It's this" and pointed at her tongue. Ewwwwwww. No wonder it was so chewy. It tasted ok though. Then she put another piece on my plate. Great... :P
Afterward, I spent the night at another teachers apartment. None of those teachers live in Toi and it was too late for me to take the bus back. I had to wake up at 4:30 the next morning though because she had to be at school early in the morning for a club activity. But I enjoyed the ride through the pretty mountains at sunrise.

Now... here's some randomness...

I tried an apple Oreo bar. I've tried several flavors of these bars, but none of them has been as good as the first one I had, which was green tea flavor. I still haven't tried the regular kind though.

I buy Kraft macaroni and cheese at Sun to Moon in Mishima. I love that they even have the white cheddar flavor... even if it is almost 300 yen a box... haha. The zucchini was also almost 300 yen for just one. I'm not sure how much the vegetables or orange juice cost, but this meal was much more expensive than it would be in the US. Sooooo good though!

This was at the bakery in Kanazawa. I forgot to upload this to that post because this photo was on my phone. They were really cute but I didn't buy one because there were many other things I wanted instead of melon bread.

The tea lady at the junior high school gave me some peppers that she grew. I'm not a huge fan of green peppers, but they tasted pretty good when I put them in curry. :)

I hung a bunch of paper cranes from the light in my bedroom.

I made a lemon plushie. I have no idea why this is sideways. It wasn't sideways, but it turned that way when I uploaded it. I can't figure out a way to rotate it. It's annoying me, but I also don't feel like messing with it. So, just tilt your head sideways to see the cuteness. :)