Friday, October 26, 2007

la playa

last sunday evening i hosted a home-cooked mexican fiesta for my fellow honjo ALTs. yum! getting to be that time where you really miss food etc. from home - settling into the routine and the wow! factor of living in japan wearing off at times. but all that is needed to cheer me up is an after-school trip to the beach to watch the sunset! although it is a little sad that it is setting so early. getting ready for a weekend of halloween debauchery, including a JET dance party organized by everest of apples and a party for elementary school children where I will provide entertainment. my school festival (shining true flowers!) is on saturday as well! can't wait...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

the deer is three of the forests

check out my new duvet cover!

"Night when it snows.
The deer is three of the forests."

Monday, October 15, 2007

akita bijin

one of the first bits of trivia i learned about akita when i first found out my placement was that supposedly, it has some of the most beautiful women in japan. according to wikipedia, this is because of their pale skin (due to the snowy climate), round faces, and high voices. this phenomenon is known as akita bijin (akita beauty). now, i have been quite impressed by the fashionable young women trotting around akita city but they don't hold a candle to the beauty of akita found in its mountains, cedar forests, lakes, and coastline. this must be the true akita bijin, i think. i know it sounds corny and i'm sure plenty of folks have had the thought before, but i just had to put it out there. i spent the weekend sampling some of the yurihonjo area's premiere natural attractions (many of which you may recognize from previous posts); the air is getting cooler and has that crisp autumn scent, the leaves are changing colors, and akita is truly beautiful.

akata-no taki

akata-no daiboutsu (aka big buddha)

honjo marina

some murals i found at the marina, mostly created by schools. not exactly nyc graffiti a la swoon, but i'll take what i can get.

back at chokai-san

this picture reminds me of one of my favorite books, "exploring the adirondack high peaks" where the author inserts pictures he has taken in the mountains, most of which include the backs of his sons' heads. tristen is admiring the view (we didn't climb it again, just took in the scene from the lookouts around the trailhead parking lot).

nice game! bowling! hehehe

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

oktoberfest und mehr

yet another re-cap of a jolly good long weekend. on friday, i was invited to dinner by the kyotosensei (vice principal) of my elementary school, and her daughter, who is 22. we had a delicious feast of sushi at their lovely home in a rural area just outside of honjo. i got to meet the grandparents as well, their grandmother told me proudly "i am seven-seven" (seventy-seven yrs old!). they were all so warm and friendly, they recently had an american english teacher not on the JET programme do a homestay with them, and invited me back again whenever I wanted. on saturday, a fellow ALT from Idaho, Tristen, organized an "oktoberfest" party at his house in northern akita - german sausages, sauerkraut, and spaetzle were enjoyed by all and general merriment ensued. the next day i visited another ALT from Kentucky, Maureen, in her beautiful old house near akita city. we found a place to bowl and also drove out on the oga peninsula, a wild and rugged type of preserve, where there was a fun aquarium. enjoy the pics!

a fore-promised pic of my favorite sign in honjo

sunset over the rice paddies on the way to northern akita

oktoberfest merriment

scary giant namahage statues in oga

sho, kuni, maureen, mihoko, juls and cristian at bowling

the angry sea of the coast of oga

edel and me

cathy, edel, juls, and maureen at the oga aquarium

my friend the polar bear doing a nice back stretch

Thursday, October 4, 2007

shining true flowers

my school has a festival coming up for which they have picked the theme "shining true flowers". I asked Anzai-sensei what this was supposed to mean, if anything, and he had no idea. we had a nice laugh about that. But the question remains, why is this the theme? someone must have picked it, but who? and most importantly, why wasn't i consulted? very strange indeed. here's the poster, along with some more pics of my school.

a 2nensei classroom. out the windows, not visible today, is a perfect view of mount chokai

the giant blackboards come equipped with about 500 different colors of chalk, all with specific purposes (I was once scolded for using the wrong color)

view of the school pool, which suprisingly has not been drained yet, and baseball field, where prefectural teams have been practicing for the kokutai (national sports competition going on right now, held in akita this year)

some 3nensei girls singing in music class in their less-than-flattering winter uniforms.

1nensei boys being distracted during cleaning time. the boys look quite smart in their winter uniform (i think today is the last day they can choose between summer and winter). but unfortunately the all-black suit totally clashes with the girls' all-navy blue ensemble. wish they had consulted me on that one too.