Ah I love and hate September for exactly this reason! It has all these wonderful National Holidays, but those, combined with the crazy-ass schedule at work, make it nigh on impossible to settle into any sort of routine. Which in itself is good and bad.
Anyway, Friday was a National Holiday, but it was Miyoshi Junior High School’s bunkasai or culture festival. This is basically a day for the kids to perform serious and not-so-serious skits, show off the work they’ve done in their practical lessons, and host a bazaar, full of stalls run by the students. They sell all sorts of food, you can play video games, and even catch your own goldfish! I didn’t realise that I had signed up for this, so when I was handed my fishing net, I was a little panicked! I didn’t want goldfish! I caught two of the poor creatures, and immediately handed them off to a little toddler boy standing watching me. That’s him with his new pets in the picture. Cute kid.
I spent Friday ONCE AGAIN in on my own, but I was rather tired, so it wasn’t a bad thing.
Had a great long lie on Saturday, and then heard from Nate that poker was at my place that night. So I spent the afternoon cleaning the place up, and chilling. Nate, Lindsay and Joe turned up just after 7pm, and I had time for a couple of hands before I had to go to dance practice. I came back just after nine, and we played til about 11.30. I lost again, but not everything, and I feel like I know the game better now.
The following day, I went to Ashiro Elmentary School’s sports day. It was a really good time. I had been invited to watch the events with the Ito family, who I know really well: I teach or work with or am friends with a lot of the family. Ito-san, the grandmother, who is also my eikaiwa student, had brought along a tonne of homemade Japanese food for lunch, and it made me so happy. I love Japanese food, and if it’s homemade, it’s out of this world! There was so much to go round, we ate like kings. In the afternoon, there were more events to watch, and I got roped into the tug-of-war event, which was actually a lot of fun. I left the Itos around 2.30pm, and biked to another elementary whose sports day was also being held. I didn’t stay long, as I was tired, and I didn’t know so many people there.
Back home for a quick snooze before heading to Jordan’s place in Yamashiro for more… poker! Hmm, yeah, I’ve played a lot of poker the past couple of weeks, and I think I’ll not play any more for a wee while. It takes a lot of brain power, and while I enjoy the game, and I think it’s something I’ll enjoy playing from now on, I’ll never be a total card shark. Anyway, Sunday night was a good night, we had some good laughs. I stayed at Nate’s place in the mountains, and had a really great sleep. Full of weird dreams, but it was a good sleep nonetheless. I woke up at 11.30, and an hour later Joe came round. We three went for some lunch, then Joe and I hit the road.
We were headed for Niihama, a city about 2 hours west of Miyoshi, in neighbouring Ehime-ken. We wanted to see a new place on our day off, so we picked Niihama. We got started rather late in the afternoon, so we didn’t arrive in Niihama til 5.30pm. Enough time to look round the shopping complex I wanted to show Joe, get some great melon ice-cream, and buy some Body Shop smellies (yes, the Body Shop!).
After that, it was back in the car, and back east to Kawanoe for the first Miyoshi-gun bowling night. We didn’t have a full showing of folk, as people are still tired and busy and stuff (it really has been a mad month). But we had a good time, good craic, and my bowling skills aren’t as diminished as I’d feared.
So back to school on a Tuesday (such weeks can often be longer than the full five days!), and then it’s another exciting week next week. But that will have to wait. I am becoming hooked on weekends, and it needs to change. I need to rediscover the joys of simply living in Japan from day to day.
I’m in such a weird place mentally just now. It’s sort of exciting, but sort of sad. It’s not quite where I want to be.