You know it’s been a while since you last logged on when you can’t remember your username or password…
First off, we are alive and well despite my 4 month hiatus from blogging. It’s been a very busy 4 months:
- Early March is when the school year started to wind down. We began counting the first “lasts” of 2nd grade and pre-K.
- March 26th was Zachary’s last day of school. It was weird mentally because we don’t normally associate March with endings, so we didn’t quite feel the nostalgia and rush that one tends to experience at the end of the school year. The other odd thing was that the final week consisted of: Monday-regular day; Tuesday-1/2 day, Wednesday & Thursday-no school due to pre-graduation events and graduation, which only the 5th and 6th graders attend; Friday- 2.5 hours of school
- March 27- April 7 was spring break.
We took a shinkansen ride to Hiroshima.
Ate Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.
Admired Uncle Satoru’s artwork in the lobby of the Hiroshima prefectural office.
Ate the most amazing sushi (mini-hamburger sushi and deep fried eggplant sushi)
(Happily) Explored Hiroshima Castle.
Came back to Osaka and took some swim lessons at our local pool, which, as always, was so different than the U.S.
And got to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom at Osaka Castle.
- April 8th was Zachary’s first day as a THIRD GRADER (yikes!) and Jack’s first day as a KINDERGARTNER (oh boy!). In Japan, kindergarten is the last grade of pre-school, so the boys don’t attend the same school yet. But that doesn’t stop them from dreaming of the day next April when they will walk to and from school together and attend Wednesday “gakudō” or after-school activities.
- April 12th was my 1st day teaching at the vocational college (専門学校). This semester, I’ve been assigned to an animal college, which is the cutest, yet craziest place ever! More on that in another post.
- April 27 – May 6 was 10 days (including weekends) of Japanese holidays strung together. Typically there are 4 holidays in that time frame: Showa Day, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day and Children’s Day (go kids!). This year, with Emperor Akihito abdicating the throne, and the beginning of Emperor Naruhito’s reighn, there were celebrations honoring the new era of Reiwa (令和) in between those set holidays. Although we were out of the country for most of the activities and celebrations, we did get to see a Children’s Day festival with the carp streamers hanging across a river in a nearby town.
- May 13th was “家庭訪問” or home visits by the elementary school teachers. It forced us to do some much needed deep cleaning knowing that Zachary’s teacher would be coming in to discuss 3rd grade expectations with us. Plus, since we’ve never started a new school year in Japan, we had so many questions for him. It’s definitely an extra chore on a teacher’s plate, but I completely see the benefits of it. The teacher can see the state of the home and the dynamics of the parent/child relationship. I wonder if there’s a way to implement this back in the States….
Things are going well and we are getting into the swing of things. Both boys went on their first field trips of the new school year: Zachary to the Tempozan Harbor area where he took a ferry ride and went the the Osaka Aquarium and Jack to Itami sky park, where you can view the planes taking off and landing at Itami Airport. Both boys took public transportation with their classes and staff: both places are about an hour away. I give much credit to their brave and fearless teachers!
Now that I’ve somewhat gotten used to my new work schedule, I’ll be blogging more often, I hope (with retroactive posts). Tata for now. Life is good!