Friday, May 22, 2009

Of sports days and charity shows…

I remembered what else I was going to write about that I forgot in the last entry. The other reason why I’ve been so busy lately, Charity Show. But I will have to write about that after I write about Sports Day because Sports Day is interesting.

Sports Day for my school is held in May when the weather comes into one of the most stable times of the year. A lot of other schools hold it in September too but most of the primary schools hold it in May, as does my Junior High and a couple of other Junior Highs in my town.

This past weekend I was rudely awoken by the sound of the mega-phones and announcement system of the nearby primary school holding its Sports Day. Apparently, my friend’s child was supposed to be running but it rained in the afternoon and I missed it. I am a little bit gutted but at least I got a shed-load of sleep on Saturday and was vaguely productive this weekend.

What’s been interesting me about sports day lately though is the sheer amount of practice these kids do for it. Also the sheer amount of classes that get cancelled so that they CAN practice for sports day. This week I have taught a total of 6 classes at Junior High and erm only 2 at Elementary School (but that’s because I got a stomach bug and spent much of the day sleeping in the nurse’s office after I nearly collapsed trying to teach the little ones). I was due to teach 4 classes at elementary but only wound up teaching the 2 because one class was cancelled for sports day practice. At Junior High not much has happened this week but Sports Day practice, and we’re all praying that it doesn’t rain on Saturday! These kids practice so hard for Sports Day and I guess I’ll find out on Saturday what the fuss is all about.

As for Charity Show…
Every year for the last 18 Toyama’s JETs have put on a show to raise money for charities in Toyama, Japan, as well as international charity, Heifer International.

This year is the 19th time JETs in Toyama have put on a show such as this and I convinced in the week leading up to auditions to do so.

The show we are putting on this year is called Alice in Wonderland but it has a twist. Alice is from Toyama and wonderland is Tokyo. It’s all in Japanese, written by some local ALTs (ie not Japanese people) and translated into Japanese by some friends of ours, or translated by said writers, I’m not 100% certain. The songs are new takes on old favorites from back home and are awesome. I play Cat Maid, a maid at a maid café in Akihabara. I get to wear one of the best designed costumes I have ever seen and prance about the stage like the ditz that I am. :D It really is the perfect role for me. Now, if only I hadn’t gotten sick with whatever it was that has caused me to feel vile for the past couple of days and been able to make it to rehearsal.

Rehearsals are more or less every Thursday night and Sunday afternoon for the past month or so and is really putting my body through its paces, all this dancing and singing and remembering lines, phew, it’s a bit of a mission really. At least I’m not the girl playing Alice, she has to attend absolutely every rehearsal and remember her lines for the WHOLE show in Japanese when she doesn’t really speak much of anything Japanese really.

So anyway, this year’s charities are really awesome and I think it’s a great cause. If you live in Japan and wanna come… wink wink, come check out Toyama in the process! … the shows are on the 13th of June and the 20th of June. Tickets are selling now!

Hope all is well with all of you!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Family comes then 6 weeks later bike accident!


It be update time!

I seem to be becoming my slack old self. But all good. I do in fact have reasons for that. One is that I have been incredibly busy lately and the other is that I had a bicycle accident last week (car vs me on my little pink bike).

So, I’ve been meaning to write about Mum, Dad and the big sis coming but to be honest, I think they’re the only ones that read this and they know what happened when they were here. :-P But anyway that was in March. They came to primary school with me one day and were treated like royalty. The next day we headed up to Nagano for a spot of the ol’ skiing, which resulted in a tiny bit of wind related stress and a couple of bruises on Mum. We also cruised off to the snow monkeys and Nagano City, that was a day trip from Hakuba well worth it. It was great having them in the country and I do miss the free calls to the Softbank cellphone that Dad rented for their 12 days in Japan!

Here's a photo of me teaching when they were here. I wish I had a photo of the whole family here but unfortunately the closest I have is four snow monkeys in a hot pool and that's not on my computer, it's in my phone, sorry.

I decided last night that my darling big sister deserves a decent present when I go to see her and am working on it. She’s going to be getting an email from me soon asking exactly which suitcase she wants and which doll it was that she saw in Tokyo and wanted. Or at least she was, I just found pics on her facebook page…. Kat those Blythe dolls are expensive but I shall see what I can do!!!!!!

Now to my ‘jiko’ (accident). Hit by a car on my way to work when I was already running late and was horribly damp because a friend of mine had told me that it wouldn’t rain and I went for a cycle in the rain didn’t I.

So, what happened? I was going straight. I had right of way, same rule on that here as the rest of the world I do believe, unless Japan completely has no common sense. She was pulling out of a side street and only looked right; I was coming from the LEFT and could so easily have been a pedestrian. I was also carrying my big green bag on my right shoulder. Yes, my green bag, the same green bag that I had my eye on for 6 months before leaving Wellington and bought only a few days before I left from Fruitti (see above picture from September 08 in Kanazawa). The green bag protected me and is now known as ‘protector’. It left a big dent on her bonnet and a green line. The bag fought the car and won! I fought the pavement and came off with a few nasty bruises, a grazed elbow and more adrenaline flowing through me than I care to think about. I also got ordered by a doctor not to drink coffee for 3 days… a fate worse than death? I though so, but no, I survived that too! That was a week ago and I’ve had little time to rest since but all good, I’m a Kiwi, I can handle anything!

The latest on the accident is that the insurance company of the lady who hit me is going to handle everything and give me some extra moolah for having been hit, how nice of them, not expected at all, I love Japan! They did not HAVE to do that! Actually, I think that legally they don’t, my colleagues are like ‘wow, you’re lucky, I bet it’s coz your foreign!’ (Yay for being a different colour in Japan!). Or maybe it’s because I’m just such a wonderful person and they love me enough to just give me money. ;-P

Seriously though, all I wound up with was a big bruise on my hip, that graze on my elbow and a slightly munted up, now replaced, bike. I’m tracking the bruise with photos and am thinking of buying myself a helmet, I don’t care what the Japanese would think of me, it’s about time someone set a new fashion trend and since my students all live in the areas that I cycle in and (mostly) they love me why not let it be me? I want a helmet from the oh so incredibly fabulous UK based Cycle Chic (google their online store, they are amazing!).

Bicycle law in Japan is something that intrigues me greatly and I am yet to find a decent (English) source of information on it. It seems to be that the basic rule of thumb is:

"behave like you would if you were driving a car (watch out for hazards, avoid them and what not) and exercise caution and common sense. If you are over junior high school age a helmet is not necessary, you will not hit your head on any pavement if you follow the above rule about common sense.'

"Oh and you can ride on the footpath too, it's safer than the road, mostly. "

"If you do have an accident you must go the hospital for a CT Scan of your head and x-rays of places on legs and arms where it hurts even if you can move everything." :S

I had something else that I wanted to write about but I can’t remember what it was just now. Will remember later and write it up tomorrow, maybe.

Until then... don't forget to wear your bike helmet!!!!