Ah yes, it's that time of year again, where ALTs all over Japan are to be found in disused classrooms with one or two of their kids unfortunate enough to have been chosen to represent their school in the annual English speech contest. My school is, as ever, putting forward one student, a third year girl named Yuki (the name is as common in Japan as something like Claire or Laura in the UK. Maybe moreso). Yuki's a great student, she likes English, and wants to be an interpreter, so I hope doing this speech contest (practice for which can be mind-numbingly dull) will encourage her.
It's also my last speech contest, since my JET contract runs out next August. So I wanna win! Joe, the ALT in nearby Nishiiya, and I have a sort of friendly rivalry going on over it this year.
My weekend just past was pretty good. Nice and relaxing. Joe dropped by with a carful of new JETs, on their way to a welcome party in the city. Instead of that, I went to my local summer festival, danced a lot, watched lots of fireworks, spoke to lots of people, and drank some beer. Always a good thing. During the fireworks, I had an encounter with a small girl called Yuriko. I had never seen her beofore, but this wee thing decided she was brave enough to speak to a sweating, red-faced foreigner dressed in Japanese clothes (as I was; I had just danced). She tugged at me, introduced herself, and asked me all sorts of questions. Most of which I was able to answer, thankfully. Finally, she showed me a toy ball that had all sorts of lights flashing all over it. It had an English word printed on it, and she asked me what it said. In Japanese 'daisuki', in English 'love'. I thought it sort of nice that the first English word I was able to teach Yuriko was 'love'.
On Sunday I woke up to a blisteringly hot day, and cycled off to Mikamo sans sunscream (silly me). I came back with a brand-spanking new phone. It's cool. I love my phone.
Back at school today enjoying the free AC and coffee. And internet. And reading the new Harry Potter book. It's pretty good, actually. Though I should really be studying Japanese for the test I intend to take this December.
Finally, whilst in Tokyo, Tim gave me a CD with 170 tracks on it. Mostly Latino. If you are in the throws of a hot sticky summer, there is nothing better than jamming on some Buena Vista Social Club, grabbing a really cold G&T (it should really be rum or tequila, both of which I sort of hate), and listening to the hot, sultry sounds of South America. Even better if there is a summer thunderstorm raging outside. Oh, and throw open the balcony doors, let the sounds of the cicadas in. It's magic.