Friday, March 18, 2011

shaking and earthquaking

so, unless you have been living under a rock for the last week you know that the world is kind of falling in and on and apart in japan right now.  north eastern japan to be specific.  there was the huge earthquake followed by the huge tsunami.  in the days that follwed there were hundreds of smaller earthquakes that shook the already unsteady ground up north and further destroyed things that were already unstable.  avalanches, roads crumbling, houses/businesses/huge buildings falling prey to the earth shaking and enormous walls of water pounding against them, not to mention the nuclear reactors which are inducing fear here and abroad right now.  i have seen more death and destruction here in the last few days than ever in my whole life.  luckily, i have not had to witness one moment of it for real and have gotten all of my images via internet and tv news. 

for those of you who check this still, if there are any, know that i am safe and seriously out of harms way as i sit here writing this.  we have felt no earth shaking or had any destruction visit us here in nagasaki ken.  i feel both lucky and overwhelmingly grateful to be where i am.  i could have easily gotten another placement in this country and been up north where people who have my same position are still missing and unaccounted for. 

i have a new found respect for life and this earth we tread so heavily on since the events of last friday here.  life can change in an instant and when you come so close this sort of complete destruction happening all around you it makes one really step back and look at life again.  how precious and even fleeting it can be.  it gives one great inspiration to really live in the now and make sure you are loving, giving and sharing as one should.  it has me doing a lot of celebrating life this week and i want to make sure that all of you who do keep up with me here know how much i do love you.  you all are what has held me together here in moments that are strained here, you all are the people who make being alive today so wonderful for me.

please keep the people of japan in your thoughts and prayers.  they will need your continued love and support to make it through this trying time.  rebuilding efforts after devestation this extensive will go on for years to come and support through love and prayer will be needed throughout.

to those who are worried about me here, let me reassure you again that i am safe.  if you need to check, look at a map of japan and look for hokaido, that is where the action was, then look for nagasaki, and then look to the left a bit off the coast and find the small chain of islands there and that is where i am, the goto islands.  pretty much the safest place one could have possibly been when this happened.  know also that should something change in the situation here that my job is not worth risking my life for and if i am in danger i will get somewhere safe before i am in an emergency situation.

okay, that is all for me for now.  i have some beautiful weather outside to attend to and some living and loving to do. 

sending huge, warm hugs to all of you today.  love love love you each.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

omiyagi; one more

sweet little sweets

more omiyagi

the details that go into these little cakes are just unreal.  sorry these photos are not so wonderful as they were taken with my cell phone.  but they measure about 1 inch square.  sugoii!


the beautiful box of tea candies i was given by the lunch lady at the elementary/jr high today.  they are apparently really special tea cakes from kyoto and the very expensive kind.  how lucky am i?  it was a really random gift as i simply helped set up for a special lunch for the graduating jr high students today and the lunch lady's daughter happens to be one of those graduating students.  im really not exactaly sure why she gifted me this ultra nice gift, but i do know that i am so grateful and happy to have gotten it anyhow.  what a beautiful thing.  ;)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


high school graduation, a day most students spend their entire primary school time looking forward to, that is, unless you are a japanese high school student.  the harsh realization that fun time is over has come and it is time to hunker down and get real with life.  today was the end of that childhood for my kids and there were smiles and tears, though i saw more tears from students than smiles.  mostly the teachers are smiling that they have successfully run another class of students through the wringer and gotten them out safely on the other side.  hooray! 

this is the number one most important ceremony of the year in high school and there is traditional dress to go with the formality of the ceremony as well.  many in attendance were kimono clad.  my kocho sensei (principal) who is always one to dress the part, wore her most beautiful kimono for the ceremony and let me take her picture this morning. 
(i dont know why the pictures are doing this now.  they were right side up when i uploaded them...darn it.  sorry)  anyway, this is tamaru kocho and she is one fantastic lady.  one of two female kocho senseis in all of nagasaki ken.  she will be leaving naru in a few weeks for another school (none of us know where yet, of course) and i will be so very sad to see her go.  she can out do anyone around here and drink any man on this island under the table, ive seen it done.  her kindness has really been a great blessing to me while i have been here.  thank you tamaru kocho!

and next we have mr. iriguchi.  he is technically my supervisor, a.k.a. the person i am supposed to go to for whatever i need around here.  but he is also in charge of the senior students and spends around 12-14 hours a day at school helping them.  so whatever i need usually takes a back seat, though he has really helped me out on some funny occasions too.  he is a good guy and has been a breeze to work with, mostly because he lets me do whatever i want when we teach high school classes together.  i like that. :)  cheers to iriguchi sensei in his finery today!

and finally after the ceremony was through and the staff had unwound a bit from all of the preparations and taking down of the preparations ect, tamaru kocho pulled me into her office, literally.  she asked me about what was on under my turtleneck and what i had on under my pants.  ok, a little weird, but ive been here long enough now to know that this was leading somewhere fun.  she was going to have her way with me for about ten minutes and dress me in her fancy kimono that she wore for the mornings ceremonies!!!!  waku waku!  so after much turning, tying, holding arms out and standing straight and tall she was done with me and i was the new tamaru! 

fancy stuff, eh?!  what a wonderful woman to do that for me and to lend me her beautiful kimono for awhile.  she took me around the school showing off how nice she made me look all the while telling everyone how easy it was to get me in it and how it fits me perfectly and how my figure is so "porportioned" and i should be a kimono model and on and on.  this made me more than a little uncomfortable, but i smiled away anyhow and knew she had good intentions.  these pictures were taken in the staffroom and what you can see here are the other six or ten teachers standing opposite us taking our pictures.  i cant remember the last time i felt like i was in front of the papparazzi.  oh only in japan.

well thats it.  ive changed back to my regular, boring suit clothes and now we are all getting ready to go celebrate the success of the day and the year.  time to enkai!  (that is japanese for eat and drink til you cant anymore, or something like that.) ;)

be well take care out there in this big world.