Well, what can I say, it's been a crazy week or so. First of all, the sports festival was delayed from Sunday to Tuesday thanks to the typhoon, which ended up being a big nothing here other than for the rain. At a Japanese school sports festival, everyone gets together, including parents, and plays games, does dancing, and of course some athletic competition. I participated in the 100m run and got totally smoked, those kids are fast. I also did the souran bushi dance which is really more like a workout I'd say, very dynamic with lots of movement. Unfortunately there was an encore performance I wasn't aware of, so I only did the dance once instead of twice like everyone else.
That evening was a yakuniku enkai, basically a big drinking party for the teachers. The yakiniku (beef you grill yourself) was excellent and everyone seemed to be in a pretty good mood. Unfortunately, that night I went a little bit crazy. There was an extremely loud insect in my apartment, and I literally spent hours looking for it (I think I was still a bit drunk, that's the only way I can explain my behavior). I even tried sleeping in my tiny car at one point, with no luck. Finally I put on some headphones and went to sleep, but I only got about 2.5 hours of sleep that night, which I'm still catching up on it feels like.
The next day, tired and hung over, I did something pretty foolish- played soccer with the kids after lunch. It was so hot and I got so tired, I felt like I was about to pass out. Not good. Fortunately I got some liquids in me and cooled down but that was not a pleasant experience at all. The soccer was fun though.
Next up, Thursday, I had a demo lesson. Luck of the draw apparently, all of the teachers from the area came to watch Mishiro-sensei and myself teach a class to first-year students (7th grade equivalent in the States). There was a lot of preparation, and everything went fairly well, but of course I was pretty nervous which didn't help my state of mind much. Afterwards, another drinking party, but this time it was kaiseki ryori, which is basically Japanese gourmet food. Quite an experience but I definitely took it easy on the alcohol this time.
Saturday, I slept for about 12 hours (no joke), woke up and heard the Ono JHS baseball team playing outside. I watched them play, then drove over to Chitose to watch the Chitose baseball team play. They didn't do so great, the coach was rightly pissed, so there was an impromptu practice scheduled afterward. At the practice, I took a grounder to the face, but don't worry it wasn't serious and the balls they use at the middle school level are a little softer than regular baseballs. Just a flesh wound, as they say.
Sunday was another big day- I climbed a mountain! No really, Ono Town organized a small group to climb up Mt. Kuju, which I believe may be the tallest mountain on Kyushu. I was under the impression it would be a fairly routine hike, but it was definitely more of a climb/vertical scramble- very demanding. It all depended on which route you took I guess. While I was going up, all I could think was, "This is torture!" But when we summited after about 2 1/2 hours of climbing, it was in fact really cool and felt like a big accomplishment. The sights were nice, we could see a smoking volcano, a brilliant green mountain lake, and plenty of cool rock formations. I definitely want to go back again. Then it was a good 3km hike on a different trail to get back to the bus. After that, we had some soft serve ice cream which is supposed to be famous, and I must say it was in fact pretty darn good.
But the main thing is, I'm just really tired. I need to sleep more. I might need to cut back on the activities a little bit, but last week was probably just a situation of a bunch of stuff happening all at the same time. But yeah, sleep is good.