Weekend Festivities

This weekend was a bustle of good food, people, and an abundance of surprises. There was a festival in my city, a spring concert put on by my high school students, and a fun adventure in Hiroshima. Let’s recap the weekend.

Saturday wasn’t so busy. The night before was a teachers party. Some of the schools staff is of retiring age, so as a good will to them for working hard all these years the school held a party. It was a late night but a fun night for all of us. Saturday however I was able to sleep in a little, though not enough. Still, I needed to be to school around 11 am to meet with the kendo team. All the girls on the team set up this lunch date, none of the boys would be in  attendance. The girls had invited me to join them.

The lunch was filled with small talk, girly giggles, and smiles. We chatted away in broken English and Japanese about random things for well over four hours. I am so grateful that they had invited me to join them. Not only did I get to bond more with the current students, but I also got to know the incoming first years as well. Even though we chatted for so long, I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it.

Sunday more jammed packed. Yanai hosted a festival called Hana Koyu. Fliers that had been posted about the event had asked for the woman who would attend to wear kimonos, a traditional style Japanese clothing. The white walled streets had been filled with people, both in traditional and modern day clothing. Vendors had been selling all kinds of foods and goods.

One stand at the festival allowed people to rent a kimono to wear for the day as long as you had a reservation. My supervisor and I had found out about this rental earlier in the week. We called and placed our reservation but had one problem, the Spring Concert was early afternoon the same day. The woman was more than generous. She allowed us to wear them the whole day, something that others would not be able to do. Once fully dress in our kimono Sumitomo-sensei and I had a mini photo shoot, but soon shuffled our feet off to Sunbeam Concert Hall.

I don’t want to brag or anything but my students are amazing. I remember high school band concerts in the states, along with the band competitions. Even my college concerts at St. Cloud State. My students blew all that out of the water.  
The sound that is created in all the ensembles at Yanai High School is amazing. From the strings all the way to the brass instruments, you name it they can play it. They have all worked hard and are very dedicated and it shines through when they perform. I was truly impressed by them. It was like watching a professional concert. I am so proud of them.

Then there was Monday. All the teachers and ALTs had Monday off due to a holiday, so Taylor and I decided that a shopping day was in order. We ran off to Hiroshima to chat, shop, and wonder about the large city.

It was a total girls day. We shopped till we dropped and walked our feet clean off. It was a wonderful day filled with silly chats, strange outfits, and girls just being girls. We hit up Hondori Street for shopping fun, walked around the Peace Memorial Park, and stopped in Shininokuchi for more shopping at the Arupaku Mall.

After having our fill Taylor and I went back to Iwakuni to meet up with fellow ALT Bryson. We had dinner at a Korean restaurant in town. There we chatted and had a few drinks with our meal. After Taylor and Bryson wanted to have a few more drinks because the night was still young. So we wondered about looking for something that was open and looked safe. In the end we ended up staying out late for drinks and a little Karaoke at a small bar we found. We had to back track back almost all the way back to the restaurant we had eaten at because as Bryson put it “I need to know what is behind that wooden door… I need to slay that dragon.”

As you can see I don’t sit around and just do nothing in my little city of Yanai. I am always out and about. As my Mom would have said, “Keeps ya out of trouble.”

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