The last day of school before summer vacation was yesterday. In Japan, summer vacation is not the space between school years though, rather a simple break partway through the school year. (The school year started in April).
As an ALT, I get three days summer vacation. I also have paid vacation days to use, but at the moment, I`m saving those for Christmas, since I`m planning on going back to the US.
Anyway, the ending ceremony before break is something that always reminds me how different schools are here vs the US. It starts by everyone gathering in the gym. Both the principal and vice principal speak a little (I think it was about being careful over vacation…I couldn`t catch all of it). On top of that though, the top student in each grade also gives a short speech. Then, the sports teams that would have a game or contest or whatever over break all went on stage and introduced themselves. It ended by everyone singing the school song. This is at Jr. High, by the way. I`m not completely sure if elementary school or high school would be the same or only similar.
Also on a school note, about a week ago, this was school lunch:
The cream sauce was very good, but would have been better without all the ham in it. I know, I said I was tired of taking pictures of school lunch. But if I thought it was really interesting, I still might.
Like, the next day, this showed up in school lunch:
It`s うめぼし (umeboshi), a pickled plum. I thought it was kind of funny that something so sour came in such a cute little package.
The day after that was bread day, so we got this:
That dust you see on the bread is kinda sweet, and is actually, I was told, a bean dust. It`s called きなこあげパン (kinako age pan) which translates roughly to “roasted soybean flour fried tofu bread”. It`s pretty good.
The other interesting thing in school lunch recently I didn`t get a picture of, since it was the day I ate with the kids. Each lunch set got one dried chestnut. I`m not sure I`ve ever actually eaten one before, so I sneakily watched the kids to see how to open it. Chestnuts, I decided, have an odd taste. It tastes more like it should be a fruit than a nut.
Then, last weekend, I went to the monthly craft fair. I ran into the librarian from one of the schools, and she insisted on paying for a chance to let me do a craft. It turned out it was making a decoration, with mostly fake plants, seashells, and hot glue, putting them all in a little pot or on a wreath. I choose a little white pot that depicted a fairy. I thought it might look nice on an alter, if I ever actually make one. More realistically, it will sit on top of one of my bookshelves for ages. Also, it was raining that day, so the pink I`m wearing is a light raincoat, not merely color mismatching. >.>
The finished decoration looked like this:
Then Rhi took a little seashell to put in her pocket…I`d made her outfit the day before with fabric that I`d bought at the craft fair last time. You can tell it`s handmade by all the messy stitches.
For some strange reason, every time I`ve been, the vendors have insisted that I join in their group photo:
They`re all really nice people. None of them speak English, but that doesn`t matter too much. I know enough Japanese at this point to get by with easy conversation, and things I don`t know is why I have a dictionary on my phone. 😛
Now, normally the craft fair is only once a month. There`ll be a special one on the 30th of this month though, and I want to go, but I don`t know if I can. The 30th is one of the days of Nomaoi, and during those first two days, driving is restricted in my area during certain hours that I haven`t quite figured out yet.
And what is Nomaoi? I`m not completely sure yet, since I haven`t been to one, but this is the sign hanging in town: