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Busy weekend, busy week, always busy busy busy! Luckily I got a decent sleep last night, and have a (generally) free afternoon, so I can catch up on things like laundry (also packages, yay!).

So last Friday, Nishichuu had their Bunkasai, or Cultural Festival. Mostly it was a lot of singing and music, so I guess it is more appropriately referred to as an Ongakusai (Music Festival), but that’s not how they told me about it.

I played koto in it, as well, and did pretty badly though I don’t think anyone noticed!

Other than that, I had fun! So here are a few pictures:

Some of my girls in Yukata before the dress rehearsal

Sitting on stage. I hid myself behind the Timpani drums before sensei noticed and made me come out D:

One of the classes doing their songs. Each did two; a full grade level song, and an individual class song. They were good, but it was a lot of singing…

At one point the band played the Ponyo theme song, which is adorable to begin with. Then they brought in a bunch of Yochien (I think… kindergarten/preschool age anyway) to do the hand motions. The crowd looved it!

The entirety of Nishi students arranged by grade plus a few of the older Elementary school students. I knew a few of them too!

My ninensei JTE and me after the festival

aaaand a few of the kids goofing off!

All together, it was a nice day, even if I didn’t get my normal half day off on Friday. I don’t have any pictures of me playing on stage, but I think Kenji took one, so if I get my hands on it I’ll post it!

Next off was Saturday, where Ken, Kenji and I went to Sakurayama to do a little hiking. Shauna wasn’t feeling well, so she decided not to go. It was a good trip even if we were missing one. Sakurayama is somewhat famous in Gunma because it is one of the places that has winter cherry blossoms. So when the time is right, you get full out sakura blossoms with a background of the fall colors. We came early in the season, so didn’t get the full effect, but have plans to come back early when it really starts to look pretty! Kenji was also happy because he found one of the signs he’d translated for the BOE on the mountain.

Fall colors over the koi pond

The koi pond itself… hi fishies!

The beginnings of the sakura flowers blooming. Those trees will be full on pink soon!

Fall leaves…

…and cherry blossoms!

The guys being silly!

Another picture that will be spectacular later in the season!

And a random statue.

So that was a good trip even if it was short. We went to eat, did Sakurayama, and then after still had plenty of time to shop for halloween costumes! I sorta took the easy way out, using my daiso devil horns from the last Halloween party again. Ken was daiso man, and Shauna a stop light (yes, a stop light). Kenji had more trouble finding his costume, but ended up being a construction worker with the amazing pants they wear here! I don’t have many pictures from the night, so I’ll have to grab some from Shauna to post.

Looking for costumes at the discount store, we ran across this amazing hat. Too bad I couldn’t find maracas!

Rather terrible picture of Daiso-man Ken and Kenji behind him all decked out in purple!

Boredom on the train resulted in a picture of my new wallet. Isn’t it cute?!

So the Halloween party was a success, and it was awesome to see so many new people. We left rather early (no one is really sure why…) and crashed back home.

Sunday was a bit of a recovery day. We ran errands, went and got pizza, and bummed around a bit. We did make a trip to go see the keyhole burial mounds. They’re 5-6th century mounds, and you could walk up to the top. There were also a lot of cherry trees, which will be really beautiful in the spring. At the same time, the gloomy fall weather was a good background for the visit!

Walking up to the mounds

The sign which unfortunately I can’t read well, but does have nifty pictures!

One of the sad things about the mound was that apparently several years ago, a vandal knocked all the heads off the little statues that they have on the mound, so there were rows and rows of eery headless sitting statues…

A head sitting next to one of them

Row after row…

Even the big buddha wasn’t spared. It was really sad to see

Path up on the hill

Playing with frogs on the other side… they were so tiny and cute!

So that was the weekend. We had a good time, though I didn’t get much done. This past Tuesday (yesterday) was Kenji’s, Shauna’s, and my trip to Disney Sea, so that will be the next updated post, and then this weekend is Shauna and my Kyoto trip! Exiting!

Last but not least, The Kenji Car Penguin, 80 yen at the discount store. Who knows where its been, but it is cute!