Wednesday, October 26, 2005

OMG, they're even cuter!

I did the same Halloween Lesson with Keishin Daycare kids, and they're just sooo cute!! check out the photos!

As you can see from the photos, I had hawaiian lei, bunny ears, shrek ears (from USJ), princess tiara (from USJ), baby bib, panda mask (very popular one among kids), and the cute winnie the pooh ears I got when went to Disneyland with Noriko before my B-day.

And here's Yuka-chan, wearing the fairy wings and the fairy wreath that I made... She looks so adorable!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My Halloween Lesson

Because of the sudden request of Erina sensei from Oaira elementary school (when we ran into each other at the dragon boat race), I promised to do a Halloween Lesson the next Tuesday.

It was just hilarious! Who would've thought that some small props bought at 100 yen stores would create such a buzz!! I got some stupid party props, like round spectacles (harry potter), bunny ears (rabbit), and my fairy wings (fairy) that I made for last Halloween, etc... I got them to play the costume karuta in which I will say a character, like fairy, and then 2 kids will get to the table with props spread out and get the correct prop, like the fairy wings, and then put it on for a point. They just love it.

I also printed off some pumpkin crafts for them to make their own pumpkin faces. I think it's the craft part that they just love so much. As soon as I handed out the papers, they were all ready to just start cutting it up and paste the eyes, nose and mouth to the pumpkin.

I think maybe I'll try again at another school or something.. hee hee Can't let this great chance to see kids dressed up in stupid outfits go to waste (well... isn't it how Halloween has always been like..? kids dressed up in stupid costumes..?)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Finally I can catch my breath...

After that last posting about my birthday flower... everything went up and down, and then down even more, then up a bit... and then down to the newest low that I didn't think it could possibly be any lower... finally now up a bit.

The homestay event was quite good. The cooking part seemed like a success because everybody told me that it was quite nice to have the cooking lesson as an icebreaker. The food that we made was too much... We made chirashi zushi, chawan mushi, goma ae, and buri teriyaki. We had too many things to cover, and I had to get in this group that only has 2 people (well... if people would have shown up...) However, the chawan mushi (the egg custard thing that I thought everybody's gonna mess up) turned out REALLY good. I was very impressed.

I was worried if the homestay people were alright or not.. but it seems like everything was fine. So, both my supervisor and I were relieved. Especially this event was done entirely on my own. My sup had to go to this seminar for a week (which all the JETs know that the 研修 (kenshu) seminars in Japan are never about learning... it's the drinking afterwards...), so I had to just do it. It turned out alright.

Then after a week of dreading, the Italians finally arrived. The Italian chapter of Rotary club sent 5 people to Southern Kyushu for a friendly visit. As usual, they would come to the city hall for a courtesy visit (NO idea why...), and I would do the usual interpreting in the short meeting of 30 minutes. It was all good, and I was glad that there was also the Italian priest of a Catholic Church in Kanoya there, and he interpreted a few too.

Here comes the best part.

I was told that they wished me to attend the welcome banquet on Friday night and be seated at the table with the host family that doesn't have anybody who can speak English. Just to get the communication going and make the guest feel welcome. Okay, that I can do. Small talks, right, no problem.


After the first speech (which was translated by the priest, from Japanese in Italian, for the guests), the team leader of the Italian group started this powerpoint presentation thing, and the MC just looked at me and went:"Sandy-san, please interpret."

I don't know why, but I stood up. And numbly walked to the stage, as I was telling myself:"WTF...?" This was NOT what I thought it would be. Okay, Sandy, you can do it. I fumbled through some slides, and it wasn't as bad. Then as it progressed to introducing very specific things about Italy and the Rotary clubs there, etc. My brain stopped working.

It was like one of those times when you accidentally slipped in the pool and tried to get above the water, and then realized that you can't reach it. I couldn't breathe, and my stupid suit was too tight. As I felt the sweat dripping through my spine, I was still trying. And then it got worse and worse... Finally I kinda gave up and turned around to look at the priest. He kindly took over and did the rest of the interpretation. The whole PP presentation lasted, oh I don't know, like 30-45 minutes.

I had never been so ashamed before in my life. I felt like breaking down and just cried. But I couldn't. About 70 people were staring at me. I had to be strong.

After that my sup and I went to this other place and meet up with other office guys. They tried their best to say nice things to me, lamely saying that it was not fair for those people to just spring it on me. It was really silly to hear them trying to make me feel better, but somehow it worked. We went to Hemmings, and then about 15 ALTs and others showed up. I got to vent to Nanette and Rina. I got free drinks, so it was quite nice.

Then the next day I had to go the Kirishimagaoka Park and the Kanoya Sports U with them... It was actually not that bad at all. I got to translate most of it, and didn't look stupid at all. There was one thing though... At one point, we got to see this small pool room in the Kanoya Sports U where they would train athletes to swim in extreme condition, like high altitude. Kinda like a simulator thing. And then this guy who was showing us around said that, "oh and this is also used as an experiment room where they have animal testing, about 100 rabbit died in here." I just about flipped. I asked him if he was joking. He laughed, and said no. I had to tell the Italians what he said. And this lady just made this face like she smelled something really bad...

Well, then yesterday I went to the Dragon Boat racing in Nejime (now Minami Osumi-cho). It was a great day, and I had a fantastic time. But most importantly, we didn't suck!! Our team, Tiger Ladies, managed to squeeze into 6th place, past the pink ladies who were stretching all over the place, 1 hour before our Tiger ladies even got together to decide who's gonna do the drumming and who's gonna steer.

Whew... tomorrow gonna do a Halloween Lesson at Oaira elementary. Gotta be Genki Genki!!

OH BIG NEWS!!!! Jeni gave birth to a healthy baby boy Ethan Robert Coster!! CONGRATULATIONS to Jeni and Chris! Baby Ethan's birthday is the same as Daniela's too!! hee hee October 18th! Just 3 days after Chris's and 5 days after mine! Another autumn baby :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy Birthday to me!

I'm one of those people that just don't wait until people notice that it's their birthdays... I tell people about it. But I don't expect anything... then that's when this flower happened... Toriken san came to my desk after 5 pm bell chimed... and he poked my head and said: "sandy, happy birthday" I was just about to cry... The people in my office bought me flowers for my birthday!!!

Then the party that Nanette organized for me was just awesome!! I am so glad that I have so many good friends. This is the time when I just thank virtually everything.

I am a lucky girl.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Please don't use Japanese gestures in an English speech contest...

Went to judge the Tarumizu Jr. high English Speech Contest yesterday... and seriously, I think the kids did alot better than what I saw last year. Last year alot of them fumbled through their lines and couldn't even speak up so we could hear them.

This year quite impressive, and a pair of the 1st years stood out. The fact that the girl had crutches didn't have anything to do with it...(well, maybe a bit...), but she was just so cute when she stressed in pronunciation at just the right time and their script was just alot more interesting the other ones (except with this other pair that the girl totally was over-gesturing and over-acting...). However, I did have problem with them saying "kanransha" instead of "ferris wheel" in English. I mean, hey, maybe it's just me, but I thought this is an English speech contest..?

But... okay, what's the deal with using Japanese gestures in an English speech contest...? frankly, they should just "ban" the whole gesturing thing. It's just plain stupid. Have you ever seen a regular English native speaker gesturing "I look out the window" with his/her hand on his/her eyebrow and looking out..unless! they're talking to toddlers... ;p seriously!!!

Well overall I enjoyed it alot better than last year... I think... but if I wasn't so hungry, I would've enjoyed it alot more... I didn't have lunch before that because the stupid area around that school had NO restaurants!!!!! I walked around that place for about 30 minutes, and then another 30, finally gave up and sat at the bus stop bench to wait until it's time to go in... while the sky was getting grey every minute. Just about 5 minutes after I got into that school.. it started pouring... whew~ Now, THAT would've been ugly... (being completely drenched from head to toe is probably not the best way to look when you're judging a speech contest and then later having to do the model reading...)

Then I rushed back to Kanoya to attend the staff meeting for our International Exchange Assoc.... so.. no supper... was so hungry I thought I was spinning in circle...when in fact only sitting in a chair. I gotta start packing one of those "calorie mate" stuff in my bag...

but me no likie 'em... :p

Sunday, October 02, 2005

World Music Festival!! Yay!!

And I am SOOOO glad that it was over... I spent the last 2 weeks preparing for the event and I was just exhausted after that. But hey everybody had a good time and it all turned quite well. I'm just gonna load the pics and let them tell how fun it was!

Okay, so the first batter is the two Kim sans from the Kanoya National Institute of Fitness and Sports... They're REALLY good! And, it was really cool to see a person playing violin live! It's just too cool! I just hoped that they could've been up the stage, instead of being on the same level with the audience.

And now, here's the Los Ponchos who are from JICA, a volunteer organization that goes around the world to do teaching or volunteering in places like Africa, South America, and South Asia. They were actually a bit nervous, I think, but they did a good job and the music was nice and upbeat. Muy Bien!

Then Son san who owns a Kimchi shop down in Oaira came up and performed the Korean Chango drum with some of her vocal! Very impressive especially her music was solely her drumming's rhythm and her singing. Some people were like... "oh is this like North Korea..??" Give me a break, N. Korea South Korea...they're all Koreans... :p Of course the traditional Korean songs are the same... silly people...

And here are Sameshima sisters who performed Niko (the Chinese string instrument) and piano. The older sister Yumi works at KTS Kanoya Studio and she was extremely nervous. But honestly, she was AWESOME!!! I wish I could play niko like her! Hmm... maybe it's time to start thinking about picking up a hobby, eh?

Okay, maybe it's weird for me to say this since it's a "world music festival" afterall... but the Samisen trio was just brilliant!! I had operate on the laptop for the projector so I sat right at the corner of the stage. And the Samisen sound was blaring... wow!! Amazing performance. And they didn't even make it to our programme list because they told us one day before the event and everything was already printed. Nonetheless, GREAT performance!

And here's our lovely Daniela, doing her Indian dance in the Sari and Gunguru ankle bells. It was too bad that the stereo couldn't play the CD... so she had to do the dance without it. Well, not without any music at all because she still had the bells on her ankles... ah whom am I kidding... just not the same. However she did do her routine and even taught people some of her moves.

And here's a little cutie boy trying to imitate Daniela's dance move. Awwww, simply TOO adorable!

The Kagoshima Latin Dance Club in Kagoshima University from the city came all the way here and here they are doing some nice salsa move. The music was awesome (albeit skipped a couple of times... stupid stereo...), and the salsa moves were more than impressive! As we were all itching to get off our seats and dance... they stepped down and we all formed a long train... but then the stereo quit on us again. Then Son san just started beating her drum... everybody danced to the rhythm, and the Samisen trio's Ritsuko san (while wearing her kimono) danced as well... in the long long train. V. interesting sight to see. Heck this is the whole world music festival is all about!! Then we finally got a CD that works... so dance dance dance!!

Aaaaand... here's a picture of me hopping happily with a silly grin...and there's Satoko san and her daughter Kozue-chan behind me... hee hee we had fun, oh yeah~

Well, we had a good day, we had estimated 150 people showing up at the fest and everybody raved about the event... except for about the music for Indian dance and the Salsa... yeah yeah.. but that wasn't exactly our fault... Who would've thought that stereo was so temperamental.

Oh... so tired... but it was all worth it when everybody came up to me and told me how much they had fun :)