Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bad habits...

So, I've found that despite the stringent web filters, I can access Webkinz from the school and office computers. This of course has directly resulted in the blog not getting finished on time! I do have to be careful though since Webkinz has a distinct fun and games look about it - I don't want everyone to know I'm goofing off! Not that there is much else to do while sitting at the office or the Chugakko. I think we Canadian teachers are definately much too efficient in our planning and prepping. It astounds me how much time here is spent accomplishing NOTHING!
Last week was pretty low key for me but all the teachers were stressed out about the Pro-D happening here on Friday. I really like some of the ways they do Pro-D here. I know I said this last year when we all went to observe classes at Date Chugakko, but this year it was here at Otaki. All of the Junior High School teachers in the district came here last Friday to observe four classes. Usually there are more options available for observation but because Otaki is so small there were only two periods with two classes in each that could be observed. It seemed like there were endless meetings leading up to the big day. Joisan and Taran were asked to not come to school that day since the conference room where they spend most of their time was going to be used for meetings.
Having the day off, and not wanting to sit and do nothing all day, Ian took the kids to Lake Toya where they went for a very brief and very cold swim! They were rather excited about the whole thing when they came and picked me up on their way home. They've got big plans to do it again soon and aparantly I have to do it too! Oh joy!
Friday night I went out with the teachers to celebrate their successful Pro-D presentations. We went to a restaurant that I've been to before with the teachers. It had wonderful food. Part of the experience is always in the presentation of the food too - and it was beautiful! There are always several courses and lots of drinking. One course involved cooking your own meat and mushrooms on a super-heated rock that they brought in, and then dipping the meat in a special sauce... yum!
I offered to be a driver this time - particularly since I wasn't one of the ones who had worked so hard - but there were enough drivers already so I enjoyed being a drinker. The licensing in many of the restaurants is different here - you can bring in your own alcohol and they just serve you food. The drinks in most of the restaurants where they provide are typically limited to sake and beer so I was happy that we were able to bring our own - red wine for me please!
After the restaurant we went up the street to a bar. It was the ground level of someone's house that had been done up. It was a little funny to look around and imagine the space as someone's home bar - with a few more chairs! I had some of the best sake I've ever had while we were at the bar. I took a photo of the bottle in hopes that I can find it somewhere and buy some!
The principal and vice-principal were kind enough to pay the whole bar tab so I left with money in my pocket.
Saturday was the kindergarten school festival. It was much more fun for me this year because I know all the students now. They do some really cute things and I've gotten some good ideas for things to do back home. Ian took Joisan to dance and they were able to pick up the next of the Harry Potter movies so that we could get ourselves prepared to go see the new movie soon.
Sunday I did my swim (I've lost count of how many weeks now!) and the rest of the day was mostly lazy. Ian had made a bunch of pastry and cooked up some of the pumpkin from Halloween so I made four pumpkin pies. I wanted to give a couple of them away. On Monday I dropped one for the Hashimoto-sans on my way home from Date Chu. They have a farm near the Chugakko and they have gifted us with vegetables and deer meat on many occasions! They also donated several pumpkins to the Chugakko Halloween party this year. Ian also gave a pie to his friend Takaaki-san and I shared one with the adult English class. I don't really know if anyone else liked it but we really enjoyed the taste of home!
On Tuesday morning I woke up with a burst blood vessel in my left eye. It was fairly high up so it wasn't totally obvious but by Wednesday morning it had gotten worse and looked bloody awful! (small pun intended!) I had removed my contacts on Tuesday evening and it was looking so bad that I didn't dare put them back in. When the nurse at the Chugakko saw it she insisted (along with everyone else) that I needed to go get it looked at. Ian was going to be taking Joisan to dance anyway so I cancelled the Warashibe and went in with them. Ian and I had actually diagnosed it on the internet the night before and the eye doctor came up with the same diagnosis - subconjunctival bleeding. It sure looks gross - but actually it has definately improved since Wedensday!
Enough with the procrastinating... I'll post this right now and do another update asap. I'm really missing everyone right now!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Joisan on pointe!!!

This week was all about the ballet performance on Saturday. There were extra rehearsals almost every day so there was very little else happening for us. The parents were allowed to videotape the dress rehearsals but not the performance because there was a professional videographer who would be making and selling the official video (at a ridiculous price!!) I was totally prepared to not film the performance - despite the fact that we didn't have a proper dress with full make up. My camera failed me at the first dress rehearsal though so I got permission from the ballet teacher to film the second one - despite the fact that the film crew were already there. I was just in the middle of filming Joisan's dance when one of the other mothers came over and made me stop filming. I was really upset! At that point I was feeling so lonely and isolated from the whole show that I pretty much fell apart. I was able to hide the tears in the dark and get a grip on myself before the lights came up but when the teacher and the other mothers came over to talk to me about it I fell apart again and totally embarassed Joisan. It was so difficult to try and follow all their stupid little rules without even knowing what all of them were. Anyway, we were both feeling fairly low but we managed to push through.
After our bag lunch I did Joisan's make up and then I went to check out what the rest of the program looked like.
There were several choirs and a couple of school bands. The dance was the finale. By the time Ian and Taran arrived I had seen that many people were video taping the choirs and bands so I decided I would film the ballet. I was very subtle about it and I managed to get everything on tape. Trying to load it on here though has been a challenge - I don't know if it's just too big (even though it says it's not) or if the internet connection is just too slow. Anyway - here are a few photos and I'll have to continue to push Joisan into letting me post the video on YouTube!
After dropping us off in the morning, Ian went to Date to get some flowers for Joisan and Satoko (her duet partner). He did good! This is the amazingly beautiful bouquet that he got for Joisan - and the photos don't do it justice!