It seems as if I've caught a little cold recently. Sore throat, a weak cough, just not feeling too hot overall. The reason for it is pretty clear- I've just been overdoing it recently. With the end of the schoolyear, and many teachers leaving at both schools, there have been more than enough excuses to have drinking parties. It's also Sakura season, so I went to a cherry-blossom viewing party as well (plenty of storms recently have no doubt messed up many people's plans, however). So today, I'm just trying to rest up as much as possible and be ready to go to school on Monday. It is the spring vacation for students, no classes, so it won't be a huge deal if I can't make it.
One other thing is, I went on a trip with Ono's 1st year teachers last weekend. We went to Shimonoseki, which actually has quite a history behind it, thanks to a key China-Japan treaty, belligerent daimyo firing on foreign ships (and vice versa), and a famous battle in 1185. There's plenty of stuff to see and do. It's a major fishing port, so we went to the market for lunch and had some awesome sushi. We all had fugu, the local delicacy, which is famous because it can be deadly if not prepared correctly. I passed on Shimonoseki's other famous food, whale meat- though don't worry, the whole catch is for"scientific purposes", right?
There is also a nice aquarium there, and it was quite a contrast after seeing all the exotic fish you could buy at the market to a place where exotic fish are preserved. I'm sure everyone got tired of me asking when is the "all you can eat" of the cute penguins, for example.
Other highlights included going up in the tall "Yume" sightseeing tower and getting lots of pics, and watching Japan toast Peru in soccer, going to an island where a famous sword battle took place, and a really neat shrine. So, all in all it was pretty fun and the food was great, but it wasn't exactly what I would call a restful weekend.
In the "late news" category, here is what else has been going on:
On my birthday, March 6th, it was a big test day so there were no classes. I did however monitor the English test of the 2nd years. Nothing too special, but I have been on the other side so to speak of so many tests as a student that it felt weird to be the test administrator for once. Also for my birthday, the teachers at Ono brought a nice cake, and several other ALTs in the area got together for some karaoke. I got some nice gifts too. Good times had by all.
As another odd sort of birthday present, Scooter Libby was found guilty in his perjury trial. Of course Bush will pardon Libby in '09 before he leaves office, so it's all a moot point. Or is it? For those who followed the case, it offered a valuable glimpse into the individuals and processes of the press as well as the Bush Administration, and it's not a pretty sight at all.
Also, the 3rd year students graduated in March as well. I hadn't planned on worrying too much about the 3rd year students- after all, they would be the first ones to leave the school, I wouldn't even teach them for a whole year, the younger students are more fun to be around, etc. But you know what? Over time, you find your attitudes can change. Some of the 3rd years tended to be pretty alright folks. It stinks, you know. You get attached to a group of people, and just like that they are gone. I didn't even get to say goodbye to the Chitose 3rd years, because they left school early on Thursday and I was at Ono on Friday. Graduating from Junior High in Japan is a much bigger deal because not everyone goes to the same high school. In that sense it's more like high school graduation in the States.
So that's all. Here's hoping I start feeling better soon.