I know It’s super late and I’m catching up a bit. Bare with me, it’s been a busy one.
Well September was still warm here in Nagasaki, We had our fair bout of rain and typhoon but generall, it still felt like summer and we were still in cool Biz clothing! I was running my AC to keep the humidity down. It was also the season for sports festivals at school! For an entire week, classes were shortened and the students practiced group dances and other sports techniques in order to win the competitions.
On Saturday our first sports day was held. It was windy but sunny, making it a bit chilly. I made sure to charge my phone and bring a bunch of chargers with me and somehow my phone still managed to die on me. But I did get tons and tons of videos and photos which you can view through my Facebook blog link to Youtube! During sports festivals (Taikusai) the students are divided into three teams school-wide with an even amount of first, second and third years. I find this a great way to build school spirit and teamwork! I wish we did this back home. Rather than a one on one competition, all the events were held as a team, working together to beat the others and score points for their team to win the flag! At the start, there’s a ceremony where the students march in with their team banner and display their synchronization through marching. Then they organize themselves in blocks and wait for the principles announcements and display of last years winners, returning the flag. After the raising of the school and country flags and the school song, the games begin! There were races, weight lifting, tug of war, obstacles, display of synchronization, candy relays, regular relays, teacher relays and parent and tot relays, odd carrying relays and the large group dances! The students displays’ such spirit and enthusiasm towards winning and some even got injured but in the end, the event was a huge success and the teams all helped cleaned the school grounds afterward.
I had an unexpected holiday on the Monday from my homeschool because the following weekend was their Taikusai so I decided to do a massive north half of the island shrine tour! I made a plan to trek in a triangular pattern across Katsumoto visiting all the inaka (very hidden) shrines! I got to about 20 or 30 that day! I also took tons of pictures, got scared by the sounds of large humming bees and had a blast driving down sketchy roads! The bees made it a bit stressful though so I decided I had better wait till winter to do any back road shrine visits on my own.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t Attend my home schools Taikusai because my other school had their Bunkasai (cultural festival) on the same day and I was supposed to help out with the English club events. So I went back to Koko to watch the stage performances and yes, record a few great shows, help with the English Gotcha Pong Go quiz of Iki koko in English and then head to Enkai for the combined efforts of the student’s hard work for both school events. The teachers met up after the event for a dinner party at my favourite Onsen hotel and dining place in Yunamoto, Ikijimasou.
I also discovered this month that I desperately needed new sunglasses because it was sunny and my prescription was really old! So I made the trek to the eye doctor on Iki and in very difficult Japanese/English phone translation of doctor terms, we got through my eye exam in like an hour and a bit. It’s actually quite funny how they get you to practice the lenses, and I took a goofy pic of the glasses they had me wearing. Lol
My main school, shogyou was preparing for speech contests with 2 of the 2nd year students. I was helping them out after school with reading, pronunciation, and intonation for the contest. They had a set amount of time to read an article of their choice from a selection they provided. The contest scores points based on your speaking abilities and enthusiasm/performance. It was very difficult for our students but we wanted them to work towards an English goal so the English teachers work hard to help them with the pronunciation. In the end, they didn’t win, but they did very well in the contest and I think they had at least a little fun.
At koko I was helping with the English club debate competition too. In this competition, a team of 4 1st and 2nd-year students research the topic of the current year (this year it was immigration in Japan) and written a speech for both a negative and affirmative position in which they will debate other teams in English. Yes, in English. THAT’S ENGLISH!! They compete on a high-level topic in English. It’s very difficult and each member of the team has a crucial role, the reader, questions, defense, attack, and summary. Questions are sort of shared by all. This month we focused on writing and researching and next month we practiced debating with the students. I don’t know how much I helped, cuz I’m really bad at debates and haven’t done them in Canada before so We’ll see if they do any good.
This month was also the start of Sadou (tea ceremony) lessons again! Super excited! I am also continuing Taiko, Shodou and Koto lessons. The second last weekend of September was the Worlds Juniors Surfing competition in Hyogo Miyazaki. So 4 of us Iki ALTs borrowed a tent and camped on the beach to watch one of the ALT’s cousins compete! It was a really neat experience and camping on the beach was really fun and relaxing. We even brought a bbq and had ourselves a campfire and bbq!! Miyakai was about 4 hours drive away and it was a trek to get there in a rental car but way better than lugging our camping gear on a public service.
The end of the month marked test time at the schools and I went to Fukuoka for the weekend to enjoy a welcome party hosted by our block 10 for the new JETs. It was a great opportunity to meet some old friends and get to know some new ones! I met a girl from Montreal and another girl who came in my year but hilariously knew me as the girl who lost her passport (even though it was lost, it was taken, but still). So We had a buffet at Tenjin and then did a bar crawl through the area ending at a drag queen bar which was really quite interesting and fun. The music was great, the lighting was awesome, and the drag queens were gorgeous!
That covers September folks!