June is the month of “tsuyu”, or the rainy season. It is a pretty wet month usually, but this year tsuyu came a bit late, so it is still pretty cloudy and rainy everyday. It is very pretty and green right now, though, and the hydrangea (ajisai) are in full bloom. Here are some random pictures from throughout the month:
First up, this year I decided to make plum liquor (umeshuu) and plum syrup (ume juice) myself.
So I don’t have any pictures after that. When it is actually ready I will post pics again!!
The new school year started after spring break too quickly for me to really get over jet lag from Europe, but overall there weren’t too many changes. One of my JTE’s changed schools, but I knew the incoming one from a previous school, so there wasn’t really anything I needed to get used to. I had all new students at Onishi Hoikuen, but at Mikabo two of my old students came back… the rest went on, so I suddenly had a VERY small class there.
And despite the peak of the cherry blossoms happening while we were in Europe, I still managed to catch some decent pictures of the tail end of the season, which was nice. So all in all despite how tired I was, the school year was off to a good start!
The day after coming back from Europe was the opening and entrance ceremonies for Onishi JHS.
About a week later I headed to Mikabo Hoikuen, and after that Kenji and I went on a motorcycle ride to see the Koi-no-bori hanging around. Actually, these pictures might be from two separate bike rides, I can’t remember. Whatever:
Graduation time is usually a time I take lots of pictures, because it is the time when the Japanese plums (ume) really start to bloom and other flowers begin to pop up, and also because it’s, well, graduation. This year, however, I was a bit… preoccupied with planning for our Europe trip for Spring Break, and I also accidentally forgot my camera battery on graduation day, so I have a good number of flower pics, and like three iphone graduation pics. Sorry.
So to pad this entry a bit, I’m going to include a few pictures of my Hoikuen (day care) students, as well as a short trip to a plum grove on Mt. Haruna. It’s a bit random, sorry.
Onishi Hoikuen kids and Mikabo Hoikuen kids
Anyway, that’s it. Yeah, boring, sorry, I’m working up toward the Europe trip photos, but there are a ton and the entries will be really long, so it might take me awhile. Not another 4 months though, promise!
First up, I went to Mikabo Hoikuen (day care I teach at every other Friday) thinking it was regular English class day, but as it turns out they were supposed to call and cancel and had forgotten. Instead of just going home, they invited me to make dango with them. I’m sure there is some significance with the colors (white, pink, light green) and putting them on the tree branches to roast them, but I don’t know what it is (oops), so I just sat back, took pictures, ate a couple dango, and enjoyed.
That weekend happened to be a big dondoyaki festival near our old neighborhood, so we went to watch them light all the old New Years decorations and daruma to prepare for the new year. That’s about all I know!
A bit later in the weekend, we had a big storm blow through and actually got some snow! Kenji and I went to eat our usual weekend Indian food in Saitama when it started to snow, and of course by the time we got back and I had put on snow stuff, it was back to raining. I still think I got some good pictures though!
I have three new schools this year, one junior high school and two day cares. They are all small schools up in the mountains, and while it is a bit of a long commute, how rural they are is really appealing! I’m really loving my time here so far 🙂
Some views of the JHS
So I go to that school Monday through Thursday, then on Fridays I head to either Mikabo Hoikuen (day care) or Onishi Hoikuen. Both schools are also out in the country, Mikabo being the smaller one with only 7 kids!
This is Mikabo Hoikuen, the furthest school for me this year.
Fridays are so nice, I love the younger kids, and I really enjoy the drive out even though it is a long way. Also, I only teach for an hour, and right before lunch for the kids, so I can sleep in, have a nice drive and easy class, then be finished for the day… it’s pretty great!