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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Last first day and a side of ham

All these lasts…

As seasons change, the lasts become more prominent. I walk around, feeling the poignancy of everything.

Today was my first day of the new school year. I went to orientation for first year high school students at one of my schools. It was a beautiful day, and I had a great time meeting the new students. Many of them seemed excited to speak English. It was a great day.

Then, I had to do a brief self introduction with my division at the board of education. We were greeting a room of vice-principals. I was so nervous.

After school and work, I had to take some pictures for possible future jobs. It’s important to look your best in photos.

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Needless to say, the actual pictures did not end up looking like this. That’s probably a good thing.

In other news, I saw this at the supermarket today. I like all of these things, I just don’t think that I want to eat them together.

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It’s potato salad on a cheese hamburger. Who knows, maybe it is actually good!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Taking a break

I run around a lot. I love going to interesting places and meeting new people and seeing different things. But sometimes it’s nice to take a break, too.

Right now, I’m sitting in my cozy living room and watching the snow fall outside my living room window. I’ve been lingering over my breakfast for ages and catching up on internet stuff and doing a little writing.

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It’s a lovely orange, isn’t it?

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Here be coffee.

I don’t often think about the pure luxury of drinking coffee, watching snow, listening to good music, and writing, but it’s pretty sweet.

I hope that whatever you are doing this weekend, you have a chance to enjoy some luxurious time of your own.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Welcome

All day yesterday, it continued to snow. It was so pretty to watch from the windows of my office. 

Today, it switched over to a blizzard. Wow! Wind! Snow! It's been something else! It was quite thick against my boots tonight. 

Tonight, we had our section welcome party for the new folks at the BOE. It felt a little strange, because it's Tmy last section welcome party. That topic kept coming up. I kept thinking, nooooo. 

But anyway, I enjoyed getting to know my new coworkers. They seem really nice. I'm looking forward to the next 4 months working in the same office. 

We went to Haruki Chaya, the place with the yummy shijimi ramen. All the food was delicious. Another welcome party tomorrow and next week. 

If we can dig out of the snow!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Surprise

I went in to the gym and the world looked like it was on its way to spring. I came out and
...it had turned white. 

Of course, 2 years ago in April we had a massive blizzard around this time. I think it was on the second. This was just pretty, Christmasy stuff. 

Happy April, All!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Curling

No, not curling hair. The winter sport. You know, the one with ice and brooms and a big rock with a handle. Looks something like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2MagIsyupM

First of all, I’d like to say that I owe an apology to the curling world. Curling looks so easy on the above video, right? Those ladies look like people you might actually know. They are wearing earrings. They just glide across the ice and do their sweeping thing like it's the easiest thing in the world.

This is not true.

The day started out quite normally. I went to lunch with a friend. See, we look pretty normal here, right?

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Well, we picked up another friend and headed to the curling hall, where we met up with a family of friends – my three skiing buddies and their dad. I wish I had a picture of the outside of the curling hall, because it was pretty dodgy.

We went inside, bought our tickets (only about $2 for 4 hours of curling), and changed into the rental curling shoes. We had to put special covers over our left shoes. The covers either made us slide more or slide less. For at least 6 of us (you may remember that there were only 7 of us total), it was our first time curling. So we were all pretty clueless. The shoes were so slippery that we almost wiped out walking across the wooden floor. You can imagine what happened when we hit the ice.

The ice is MUCH SLICKER than it appears. And I think the shoes are designed to provide maximum slippage. Here are someone’s shoes:

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Three people had researched a little bit about curling, so they started a fast English discussion about curling rules or strategy or something. After a few minutes, I turned to a friend who is a native Japanese speaker and said that I had no idea what they were talking about. She laughed and said that she thought she just wasn’t keeping up with the English. Nope. That was a whole different language. Curlinglish.

We practiced for a while, and then started up a game.

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Somehow, we played 4 rounds and scored nothing.

I can’t imagine how that happened.

Take a minute to paint this picture in your mind. The person with the stone kicks off and gracefully glides across the ice on one knee. She releases the stone. It slides down the ice, and she tumbles over. The sweepers are ready to sweep. But the stone passes them, and they can’t catch up with it. “Come back, stone!” They chase it down the ice, and one tumbles over along the way.

Not every time was quite like that, though. Sometimes, we felt like real curlers. The stone slid by at just the right speed, the sweepers swept, and the stone landed in just the right spot. Then, the other team would come and knock the stone right out of the circle. Hey!

It was really fun, through. Sliding the stone was cool. It weighs around 40 lbs, so it is quite heavy. But once you get it going, it has really good momentum. It can even pull you along for a little bit if you fall over and don’t let go.

I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I must say that there was one area where I think I came out ahead of everyone. That was in the Falling Over division. Probably the goofiest was when I strode out on the ice to sweep. I said, “I’m not very good with the brooooooooo,” CRASH!

All in all, it was a great time. It was fun to try a new sport, especially with a bunch of other people who had also not tried it before. And the next time you see curling in the Winter Olympics or something, I hope you will remember that curling is NOT as easy as it looks!

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Another snow adventure

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I went on another train snow adventure. Yep, one of those 6:24 train ones. It actually happened the day before the one where I got the train video.

For this adventure, I explored the Tokumitsu stop. When I got off the train, I was surprised to see that I was at the entrance to a big road. But I thought that if I poked around a while, I would find some interesting stuff. Here are some things I found:
When I got back to Wakkanai, I went to Banka (one of my favorite cafes) for the breakfast set. What a great way to end the morning!
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An hour later, I went out to the Snowland with three friends.

Winter is really fun, if you have a plan!