My Golden Week
Last week was Golden Week-- a "week" (every day but Tuesday and Wednesday) of straight holidays. Japan even has a law that if two holidays are separated by a non-holiday, that day is automatically a holiday as well. The holidays last week were Green Day (used to be an Emperor's birthday or death day, but it was changed to a sort of Arbor Day), Children's Day (a Shinto holiday that actually only celebrates boys), and a few other "holidays." If you're interested, there's a pretty good Wikipedia article on it.

Since there was a "week" of holidays I made a few travel plans. April 28th I went to Fukuoka with a two colleagues to Costco, an economy big box like Sam's Club. Since Costco carries a ton of imported food, I was able to buy food there that I can't get anywhere else in my area. I bought tortilla chips, refried beans, a huge bag of chocolate chips, bagels, a big block of cheddar cheese, and some garlic powder. Not only did I have a great day of shopping; I got to get to know two of the Japanese English teachers better.

Tuesday and Wednesday were regular school days. Thursday I went to a little town a half hour outside of the city to see a few friends do a concert. My friend Takeshi's band, Gentlemen for Cutie, played first; they performed covers of a Japanese band called Jude (or was it Jute? Takeshi's pronunciation wasn't so clear). The second band, New Leaves, performed all Beatles hits. My friend Jenn and I acted like typical Westerners-- dancing, shouting and yelling after songs were finished, calling for encores, yelling over the music to talk to each other. The only problem was that the Japanese don't do this kind of thing. Needless to say, we were stared at a lot and branded weirdos by most of the crowd. But the band said they loved our enthusiasm.

Friday Rachel and I had an adventure in another little town a half hour outside of the city. We went to a shrine, a little park, and the beach! I collected many shells, saw some beached jellyfish, took a bunch of pictures, got a little sunburn on my nose, and had a great time relaxing with Rachel.

Saturday I bummed around the apartment and cleaned. Sunday I went to Hagi with three older ladies from a Bible study I attend. Hagi is known in Japan for being a very historic city. We saw some castle ruins from the 1600s, two samurai houses, and a famous shrine. We also had tea in a traditional tea-house, took a lift to the highest point in the city, had a fancy buffet for lunch, and went for a dip in a natural hot spring. Hot springs, called onsen, are very popular in Japan (Here's another Wikipedia article to pique your interest). The only catch for foreigners is that you have to go in to most onsen naked. I was a little leery about walking around a bunch of strangers in my birthday suit, but I quickly found that it was no big deal because everyone around me was naked (keep in mind that this was not a coed affair; all onsen have separated women's and men's pools). Apparently this onsen was pretty fancy, as there were at least seven different pools, all with different features. One was about 120cm deep, so you could walk around in it. One had special jets for your back. One was outdoors, complete with bamboo and rock fountains. It was so relaxing and, ultimately, I was very glad I went.

Tomorrow I go back to work. So far this semester has been good, though I am a bit worried about a few of my classes. The new English majors are so quiet and I don't know what to do to help them talk more. My intensive reading class was VERY rowdy last week, so I'm worried their behavior problems will get worse, although last class I got so angry I yelled at them. :( Other classes seem to be going pretty well. So wish me luck as I get out of vacation mode and back into work mode. I doubt it will be an easy transition, but I think I can handle it. ;)


written by Ruthie @ 5:20 AM  
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Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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