Thursday, March 29, 2007

Graduation Day

A couple of weeks ago I attended the graduation ceremony at one of the Junior High Schools I teach at. It was the first time I had attended a Japanese graduation and it was quite an experience.

Unlike Australia, where most students attend the same school for junior and senior, graduating Junior High in Japan, is a true rite of passage. Students who have been together for Elementary and Junior High now separate and attend a myriad of High Schools in the area.

Like most official events, the ceremony was very formal, the school song was sung, the certificates were presented and the dignitaries gave their speeches. On the other hand, it was a very moving experience full of emotion and pride on the part of the students, parents and teachers.

Given that it was the last time I would see many of the students, I was very glad that I could share the day.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Our First Year In Japan

As of the 16th, we have been in Japan for one year.

Wow - I can't believe how quickly the time has flown.

Other than my first ever hospital stay, my time here has been great. In actuality the hospital stay was fine, it was the reason for the stay that was the downer. I have had no "culture shock", no "what am I doing here?" (well actually I did have a couple of hours of it (^_^)) and no missing being in Aus.

I think I have surprised everybody but Mel with how well I seem to fit in here. I have had a couple of Japanese say that I must have lived in Japan in a previous life. I don't know about that but Japan is a great place to be.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Teaching In Japan

Wow - it's coming up to the end of my first year of teaching in Japan.

Yesterday was my last day at one of my schools. The students and teachers have been great to work with, and when I was saying goodbye, they all said that they want me back again next year. (^_^)

I'm not sure if I will be going back to the same school, but given how welcome everybody has made me feel, I hope so.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Osaka Jo

We went to Osaka via the Tokaido Line. Catching the shinkansen would have been faster but much more expensive. Mel was motivated to do some writing, so she used the travel time that way. I on the other hand used the time to doze.

On arrival we had a quick lunch, then on to Osaka-Jo. We had plans to visit a few different sights on Saturday but we ended up spending the whole afternoon there.

Osaka-Jo is situated on expansive grounds, that house a shrine and a multitude of plum and cherry trees. Originally built in the late 1500's, the castle has been destroyed and rebuilt a couple of times. Some of the slabs of stone that make up the outer walls of the castle are truly awesome.

We went along with the tourist feel of the area around the main donjon by having a caricature done (the artist was very good) and buying souvenirs. We then got around to entering the donjon. From the outside the castle is very impressive. The castle museum is quite good, with English signage on most of the exhibits, and the view from the observation level is also quite good.

On exiting we went to view the plum trees. They are just starting to blossom, so we wandered around and took some photos while the sky was starting to move toward dusk.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

One Year Coming Up!

It's amazing. (^_^) Mel and I have been married for almost one year, and we have been in Japan for just a little less than that. The time has flown by.

So to celebrate, this weekend we are off to Osaka. We are so looking forward to it. We have decided to travel light, but I don't know how either of us will cope without our computers.

Hopefully I will have some good stories and photos for this blog when we get back.

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