Sunday, September 28, 2008

A weekful of adventures!

This week has been by far my busiest week yet, hence the lack of posts. I really should start posting more frequent shorter posts - sorry for the novels once a week! On Monday night I headed to Fuji with Dion to meet up with Kelly and Kory, two ALTs in the next city. We had a great time over a mini-feast Japanese style. I felt like I had eaten sashimi (raw fish, no rice) non-stop for the weekend cuz I had eaten it at my welcome enkai too. I'm coming around to the whole raw fish thing, Nicole, you would be proud. We also had some other Japanese delights - crab cakes, soy beans, soba and udon, gyoza, and of course in true Japanese fashion, a large beer to wash it all down with. The men at the next table had a mini-keg, we didn't take it quite that far!

Tuesday was Autumnal Equinox Day, so I planned an excursion for the Fuji area ALTs to go hiking. I plan these "excursions" quite blindly, considering I speak nor read Japanese, but I do have a desire to check out things in the area and it's always more fun with others! We ventured to Lake Tanukiko, an artificial lake in Fujinomiya, but still about an hours bus ride. The lake is surrounded my mountains covered in trees with a bunch of hiking trails. We had quite a mixed group and none of us was really up for hardcore hiking, so we just stuck to the pleasant walking trail around the lake. There were fisherman around the perimeter, waiting for a catch that was actually big enough to take home and eat! The lake is famous for having the reflection of Mt. Fuji in it, making a diamond - it was too cloudy for us, but we did get one sneak peak at Fuji-san. On the way back a few of us took a stop off at Shiraito Waterfalls again - my friend Kari had come up from her home on the peninsula and so we wanted to help make it worth her while! It was a beautiful day and the lighting was nice at that time of day. We finished off with some famous Yakisoba in a local restaurant when we arrived back near the station. It was a long day after staying out late the night before in Fuji, but a lot of good conversation and pretty sights.

Wednesday was a hectic day at school, one I'd rather not write about cuz I'd probably just be complaining, and I don't want to do that. So - it was busy and long, but Thursday I got to leave school at 11 AM! It was an amazing day. I needed to go to Shizuoka City (the capital of my prefecture) to get my re-entry permit from the Immigration Office. It took me about an hour and a half to get there, but getting the actual permit only took 5 I explored the big city for a little bit! I wandered through stores and did some window shopping, ate at Subway in honor of my years of service there ( was close to the same actually, pretty amazing), and even at Cold Stone Ice Cream - I had no idea there was Cold Stone in any other country, let alone Japan. It wasn't quite the same, but still cool to see familiar places. I also visit the import store and bought some stuff to make Mexican food - Tortillas, enchilada sauce and refried beans. Soooo awesome!

This weekend was also eventful, as I had overnight guests on Friday night (some ALTs from my area) in preparation for White Water Rafting on Saturday! White water rafting was a lot of fun - the rapids in this area really aren't that challenging or scary, but our tour guide was very fun. When we were in the calmer parts of the water we had water wars, flipped the raft and swam around, had battles to see who could stand on the outside edge of the raft the longest while it was spinning around, and jumped off the side of the cliffs into the river. I met a whole bunch of new ALTs that work in my area - I've already met all of the first year ALTs, but this was a great chance to meet a few people who have been here for 2 or 3 years. There were some really fun people and I am so glad that I took this opportunity to try something new! I also met a girl who bought a car from an English-speaking car dealer, so I got his information and am going to be calling tomorrow to get started on finding a used car in my budget! It was an all around awesome day that I wrapped up by making enchiladas. It was the first time I used my small oven, so it was a good adventure that turned out amazing!

Tomorrow it's back to the working world, but it's a mild week for me this week, as it's a week of field trips for the students. I only have to teach two classes and English club and on Wednesday I get to go on the field trip with the seniors to Kamakura, a city not too far from here. I hope we get to see some cool stuff, although I think much of our day will be spent on the bus. I will get to hang out a bit with one of the English teachers that I don't teach with, but really enjoy talking to. I hope it will be a productive day for relationships and fun with some cool sightseeing.

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