Finally, the chilly weather has arrived. The temperature at night is down to 8 degrees and the days are around 18 at the highest. Lately, it’s been about 12 degrees during the day. Sometimes we get cloud cover but not so much rain this time of year. The sun rises and sunsets are so beautiful that I think I’ll get a lot of new shots for my Instagram Sunsets Unfiltered series!
In Canada, November marks the time of year when we wear poppies to remember the fallen soldiers, so since I can’t get those here I made one out of felt and a safety pin! I wore it from the first until the 11th! It was really fun explaining why I’m wearing a flower to my Japanese friends and coworkers. Most just thought it was pretty.
The first weekend of November was still a travel weekend! Yes, this is week 6! Lol if you recall, it was Miyazaki, Busan, Nagasaki, Kitakyushu, Bunkasai (on Iki but not at home lol) and now the best trip of all! Mt. Fuji!! My friend Rachel and our friend from church, Hiroki, and I were going to the JCF Japan Christian Fellowship Fall retreat weekend in Yamananako next to Mt. Fuji! We had a long weekend including the Friday for Japan’s cultural day so We booked our travel plans to travel to Fuji on Friday and back on Sunday. You might be wondering, wait, you booked 2 days of travel.. And you’ll spend one day there? Yes… that’s how it worked out…. I wish it was longer but for now… deal with it, lol. I left my house at 7:45 Friday morning to pick up my friend in Gounoura town. She left her car at the other port because when we get back to Iki we’d be arriving there but we were departing from the Ashibe port so I was the driver! I picked her up around 8 and then we drove up to Ashibe to get our other friend who lives next to the port practically. We caught the Jetfoil and make note: that’s already 2 modes of transportation. We landed in Fukuoka and our flight to Narita in Tokyo was at 11 so we grabbed a taxi and drove to the airport. We checked in and despite all efforts to be clear going through I still managed to get the ringer when I go through the metal detector. There are some things you just can’t avoid… Anyway. Note: that’s 4 modes of transport (car, boat, taxi, plane.). We flew for maybe an hour and a half maybe 2 hours to Tokyo where I then left my coat on the plane, by accident… and they sent the plane off on a trip to Osaka before they could retrieve it so I was now without a coat. We grabbed lunch and then boarded a shuttle bus to the train in terminal 3 and then boarded an express train to Shinjuku station. From this station, we transferred to a bus that goes to the Fuji area and got off at Yamanakako. Then a friend from the retreat picked us up and drove us maybe 5 mins to the Torchbearers residence! So final summary, that’s a car, a boat, a taxi, a plane, a bus, a train, a highway bus and another car! Yup! 12 hours later we arrived at the retreat!! Hahaha… ha… so tired. We had quite a blast chatting and reading during the travel. I got a lot of my book read!!
On the first night, we had tea and ate s’mores by a campfire after a worship session we arrived during and a small group meeting. Then we stayed up chatting with people. The second day we had an amazing breakfast, had another session and a small group meeting, then group photos and played a competitive game of four on four basketball! My team won and I actually scared a goal! Or a basket? I don’t do a lot of sports so I wouldn’t know. But it was fun. Then we ate tacos for lunch! After lunch, we had free time so a large group of us went down to the lake and we took pictures with the colourful Momiji (Japanese maple) and rented a swan boat out on the lake. There were paddle boats and I think they are designed for people with short legs cuz man it hurt and was cramped! We had a few races and boat donuts (yes, spinning on the water while cranking the wheel, hehe) and we tried to view Fuji but he was a shy boy with the clouds. Then we went to a gift shop and got some souvenirs, then we split into smaller groups. I went with a few friends (and my teddy which was with me the whole day) to the Teddy bear museum! So CUTE!! The others went to the hammock cafe or the Momiji Matsuri street festival. Then we all returned to Torchbearers for dinner at 5:30. After dinner, we had this worship session which is like testimony and talent show. It’s really fun and I played the flute again like last year but I was super nervous and did a song I wrote so I made a few mistakes… I was a little sad but everyone liked it apparently so that’s cool. Then we all wrote warm and fuzzy notes to each other, had a healthy goofy game of ping pong and then packed up for bed. Us Iki fold had to get up at 5 and leave early to catch our bus for the reverse trip with all the same transportation lol. We threw in a stop at Starbucks when we got to Shinjuku because we had some time and it’s always nice to visit Starbucks when you’re away from Iki. We basically got back 12 hours later, around 6:20. Man, what a long weekend!
On Tuesday Rachel and I tried on really pretty kimonos for the Koto concert we have coming up in December! They were so silky and pretty, it was hard to pick one to wear! We’re really excited about the koto concert. 7 of us will be playing as a group at Tsubasa hall in Ashibe, next to the Aeon. We’re playing a song called Aka Tonbo, that’s red dragonfly in Japanese. It’s 3 movements for 3 koto parts. We started group lessons this month before the concert. Rachel and I have been practicing since January!
My time after school is spent practicing debate with the debate team as they won 2nd place the Nagasaki competition and are going to the Kyushu competition in a few weeks. Finally, I got a weekend at home! I slept in, I did chores! I went to an English meeting with the adults on Iki to talk about Thanksgiving in my track clothes (comfy weekend Kayla). Then I spent my evening baking an apple pie with Rachel at my place! The Sunday we went to church together and then hung out with our friend Hiroki playing music and eating pie! It was a lot of fun.
The best part of the month though is the 17th-19th! My friends from Toronto came to Japan and stopped over at Iki first before heading on to Sasebo to visit family! My Japanese friend from Toronto has never been to Iki even though she lived in Sasebo! So I had them over on the weekend and showed them around Iki! We got to see Monkey rock, the Yunamoto onsen, the Iki tumulus museum (mini village and tombs), The Iki museum, Harun no Tsuji, Ondake mountain and monkey shrine, Iki cow!! And we ate great food! We ate our own breakfasts but we also visited Yakiniku Go for Iki cow! (Iki gyuu) and Okubohonten (Mocha Java) Iki gyuu burger and steak, and Tenryu sushi for amazing Iki sushi (you can’t compare Toronto sushi to this. It’s wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy out of your league!). We also got around to Pokemon stops and took over some gyms, exchanged stories and favourite youtube moment and tried out Karaoke at the Family Mart! It was the best weekend ever! I started to feel all energetic again and it was great even though it was the coldest weekend on Iki so far this year (since summer).
Tests came up after they left and I prepared the conversation tests. On Wednesday we went to Fukuoka again to see the Disney On Classic Concert!! Woot!!
Then on the 26th we had the Iki museum concert where people all over Iki and from the international nursing school on Iki, performed for 3 hours! It was so fun and amazing! I was super nervous and kept having to warm my hands up cuz when I get nervous I get cold! But my teacher and I were amazing and so was my friend on the violin and the amazing talented islands on Iki! There were so many groups performing including a children’s choir, rock bands, traditional, Nepali flute, ocarinas, and blues!! I got a few videos and pictures so please check the facebook blog and youtube for the footage!!
I’ve been working on my shodou too, practicing a little longer to finish November’s kanji and fit in the time I’ll miss for December’s. I’m now a 4 kyuu so let’s see if we can get a 3 kyuu this month! Tomorrow is the last day for November’s submission. December is a really long kanji set and I have to try to complete it in only 3 weeks before I go on Christmas holidays.
The final week of November was testing at both my schools so other than marking and lesson planning for December I’ve been studying TEFL and researching more for my online blog story! So far 3 chapters for one character have been posted and I’m super excited to see more come up! I hope the readers are enjoying! I’ve been working on 3 characters so far, and a fourth is on the way but I still can’t writing where she’ll come in yet so we’ll see about her.
Well, that’s all this month! Stay tuned for December!!