Should I call it a vacation?

The weekend felt like a week long vacation. Thursday and Friday I was in Yamaguchi for the ALT seminar, and then back to the Yanai area for a high school festival on Saturday. Sunday came and went; two kiwi ALT`s and myself decided to load up and head to Hiroshima for a shopping trip. Then by the time Monday came around I was busy at the festival held in Yanai. So yes, it was like a busy vacation for me.
Though it was busy, it had been packed with fun and socializing. The seminar, like most of your ALT meetings, had its ups and downs (mostly downs… Sorry…). I do feel like I actually learned something this meeting though. The first speaker wasn’t so great. What she wanted to say and what came across had been a little messy. Long story short the University that she works at does research for teaching elementary English. What they are doing is great, but the way she presented it is two hours I will never get back. I now know how the Elementary and Jr. High ALT’s feel when we have a speaker that talks mostly about high school English.
The second day’s speaker had been great. I really felt pumped and energized. I was totally ready to take on the world. The speaker topic was about the dynamic between an ALT and JTE. He also talked about what he had done as an ALT, since he used to be a JET himself. The presentation was engaging and the activities he had ALT’s and JET’s do together made me look at the way we communicate with our JTE’s in a different way.
Since the speaker spoke for a whole two hours on the topic of dynamic within the classroom and teachers, I was put into and interesting position. You see, at this seminar, the ALT’s had been given topics that they needed to present on. My group had lesson planning, and my part was the dynamic between the ALT and JTE. See where this gets iffy. So, what is a girl to do? Well, I did what I do often. I winged it. I think it was just fine.
The best part of the seminar was being able to meet up with all the other ALT’s. The meeting always seem to be a little about the meeting and speakers at Kencho, but all about the chatting and after meeting’s meeting (ALT social party).
Saturday was fun, but at times long. The festival was not like a normal school festival. Since the school is a NOKO, agricultural school, it was like a farmers market with a few performances here and there. Over all it was fun and the students had been surprised to see me. Many students that I came across I didn’t know. I only work with the second years, but I think I made a good impression on them. If not, well not much I can do about it. A fellow ALT came for the last parts of the event. It was good to have another ALT, but because they came so late I am not sure they enjoyed the event. I just will have to invite people with the intent that they come early.
Sunday was shopping day in Hiroshima. I got to get clothes at H&M, drink Starbucks, and visit COSTCO. Over all I spent way too much money, but it was well worth it. I even bought a few items from LUSH. We have a store back home in the states but I have never been there, let alone buy anything. Let’s just say friends are bad influences but we love them for it.
Monday was a fun day of food and festivities. Yanai had another festival. It wasn’t as flashy as the Goldfish Lantern Festival but it was still impressive. There was food and lots of festival games for the kids to enjoy. I got to make traditional weaved Yanai fabric and eat lots of taco and ika (octopus and squid). There is also a traditional dance that is performed as a parade. Many companies and businesses partake in the event. One staff member from the school must also participate. From our school it was a younger office staff member. Next year though, rumor has it, it will be me.
Over all this week had been crazy, busy, and enjoyable. December is right around the corner and that means many more crazy things to come. I have trips planned, friends to meet up with, and exploring to do. Wish me luck!

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