Friday, December 3, 2010

Labor Day!

Tuesday of last week was Labor Day so I had the day off. On Monday night I went out to eat with the teachers from the elementary school. I've been to several similar events with the junior high school teachers, but this was my first time with the elementary school. I'm not sure what the occasion was though. Maybe it was to celebrate the end of all the board of education observations they've had over the past couple of weeks.

We ate at a restaurant in Matsuzaki, which is about 45 minutes south of Toi. I had a really good time and really enjoyed a lot of the food. I had some sort of chicken, salad, tamagoyaki, udon, crab, and some sort of Korean dish that is similar to okonomiyaki. I also ate oyster for the first time. It wasn't as gross as I expected. I didn't really dislike it, but I don't want to eat it again. At the end we got homemade vanilla ice cream... oishii! (delicious!)

Several of the teachers told me about a field trip that some of the students had gone on that day. They went to a sea park and watched a dolphin show. During dinner, a couple of the teachers did a reenactment. The one woman pretended to be the trainer and the other pretended to be the dolphin. Hahaha.

After dinner we headed to a nearby place for karaoke! It was different than other karaoke in Japan. It was a very small place (just one room) and there was a small bar and then on the side were some tables and couches. So we all sat on the couches, but there were other people that we didn't know at the bar. I hadn't seen karaoke like that in Japan yet. It's usually in private rooms. Though the whole place was so small that it didn't really feel that different.

The teachers wanted me to sing a Beatles song. We picked Hey Jude. Well, they called it Hey Judo, lol. They really got into the song.

During one of the earlier songs the woman running the place started playing a tambourine and then handed another one to another teacher. I had a great time even though I didn't know a lot of the Japanese songs (though another teacher and I sang First Love by Utada together!). The atmosphere of singing karaoke with the other teachers was a lot of fun! I was cracking up during the last song when one of the teachers started dancing dramatically. He did a lot of big sweeping arm movements and even a few spins.

 The next day was Labor Day and I decided to go back to Matsuzaki. I hadn't really been able to see the area very well in the dark, but it looked like there would be a lot of great views of the ocean during the day.

Matsuzaki is just a little bit south of Dogashima, which I've been to before. So I planned on going to Dogashima first and then to Matsuzaki. I walked to the bus stop but then decided to take the next bus which was only a half hour later. So then I went to get something to drink from the vending machine by the park. One of my students from the kindergarten was there and ran over to me when he saw me. He asked me what I was buying. I said, "tea" and pointed to it. He insisted on pushing the button, giving me my change, and handing the drink to me. It was really cute.

Then I went and looked at the schedule again and the next bus actually didn't go all the way to Dogashima. I headed back home to wait for the next bus. But then I ended up missing that bus. It was getting later and I wasn't sure if it would be worth it anymore at this point, but I finally decided to go.

The road down the coast is really pretty!

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I had planned on just taking a few pictures at Dogashima and spending more time around Matsuzaki. But the boat was running (it wasn't running the first time I went) so I took the boat ride. It takes about 15 minutes and goes around the little islands and even into a cave.

There was rain off in the distance and it looked really cool.

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Here are a couple pictures taken inside the cave. The water was so blue!!!!

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There's a hole in the top of the cave. I didn't get a very good picture of it in the cave, so here's a picture from above.

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The boat ride was a lot of fun. The part where we went into the tunnel felt like a water ride at an amusement park. The cave and the crazy blue color of the water made it look a little fake (but in a good way) and I felt like a waterfall would start pouring down or a fountain would shoot off any second.  

After the boat ride I walked around a bit, but then it started to rain a little bit. :(

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It was also getting dark so I didn't have the chance to go to Matsuzaki. I spent some time in the gift store and 7-11 while waiting for the bus. The 7-11 has a really weird black and white sign. When I saw it, I felt like my eyes were playing tricks on me. It looked photoshopped even though it was real life.

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While, in the gift shop it started raining harder. I could have bought an umbrella at 7-11 for just a few dollars, but I already have 2 umbrellas (I also bought two in Tokyo. One I forgot in Starbucks and another I left at the hotel because I didn't want to carry it home) and was OK with getting a little wet. But as I crossed the street back to the bus stop, it started raining even harder and I got really wet. I was freezing during the bus ride back home and then had to walk in the rain some more to get to my apartment. :( But then after changing clothes I sat at my kotatsu (heated table) which was awesome. :) My kotatsu will probably be one of the things I'll miss the most about Japan.

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