Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Caroling

Early this week Kelsey and I got to take our kids Christmas Caroling around the school. They all came decked out in their best red, white, and green and it was so cute! Here are a few pictures to document the day.


First stop: Caroling in our teacher's office. Notice the kid in the second row. He's totally getting it. I teach my student's well.

Here they are caroling in the school's main office.

Then outside to their Japanese teacher's class. She had the K4 class in there at the time so they just opened the door and window to listen to us outside.

Here we are singing to Ms. Ally (friend's club office) and the Japanese regular kindergarten teacher's office... we have lot's of offices here at Meysen. One of my students, that's her in the far left smiling, is such a character. She is not Japanese at all... in other words she is loud and crazy and I love it! When we were leaving I said to my kids, "say goodbye to Ms. Ally". So Dana screams goodbye at Ms. Ally. Then I said, "and say goodbye to the Japanese teachers." And here is Dana's response, "Goodbye... um... Japanese people." hahaha.

Then here we are at our last stop for the day caroling to the other K4 class that was eating lunch at the time.

Then I needed a picture of my class buy the Christmas tree since we were all dressed in our christmas best... aka the only piece of red clothing I own. Notice the christmas ornaments dangling from my ears.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Program

Sorry for the lack of blogging! It's been a busy couple of weeks getting prepared for the Christmas Program. This past Sunday we had our program... Takamori Kindergarten in the morning (that's my campus) and Mauryama kindergarten after lunch. We worked both and so we were at work from 8 till about 8. It was pretty fun though and so the time went pretty fast.

Below is a video of all the Takamori Kindergarten classes singing O Holy Night. My class is on the far left. I've never uploaded a video before so hopefully this works! I would try to upload more but this is already taking forever!

video

Last weekend we had a cookie exchange with all the teachers. Everyone made a batch of cookies and then we each got one cookie from every batch along with recipes to take home. There were probably 20-30 different kinds of cookies at the party. I took so many home and then ended up throwing them away in the morning because it was too much temptation to eat (don't tell the other teachers :)).

This post is kind of random but I have a few countdowns to share.

14 days till I'm in Europe - guess I better start making some kind of Itinerary!
102 days till my last day of work
103 days till I leave Japan and go to Hong Kong
108 days till I arrive in America

Time is flying by here and yet it seems like 3 months is pretty long till I'm home! Now I just need to line up a job for next year!! Wish me luck!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Disney

I know you will be shocked to here this but.... I went to Disney again. It is Christmas season after all and I NEEDED to see the decorations! Having seen pictures of Disney in America at this time of year I had very high hopes. Let's just say it didn't live up to my expectations. The trip was fantastic but the decorations were sub par. However, I have some pictures to share.

We got there around 6:45 am to get our tickets (It was a holiday weekend so we knew it would be crowded). First thing we saw was this kid with a GIANT duffy on his back. Don't worry it only cost his parents about $596. Chump change when Duffy is involved.


That afternoon we went to see the Christmas Wishes show at Disney Sea. It was so cute. The best/most hilarious part was when Minnie came on the stage about 2 min into the show. There was a collective *gasp* by the audience followed by 100's of people saying "KAWAIII" (meaning "cute" in Japanese). Then camera's started clicking like crazy. It was so funny!

Here's a picture with a random Japanese girl that wanted to take a picture with us. The Americans in this picture are Katie (K4 teacher), Ally, me, Kelsey, and Rebecca (new teacher that came in October). You can also see our awesome costumes in this picture. Purchased at the Daiso (Dollar store). One of my straps broke about half way through the day. Luckily Ally had bought a Disney Christmas pin so we pinned it together with that.

Don't be fooled by the giant bags in this picture. They aren't even close to full. We just wanted the bag... you know because there are so many uses in life for giant disney bags.

Day 2: Disney land. As you can see I actually can dress/look normal while at Disney. The minnie around my neck holds my ticket and fast passes. Probably the most useful thing I've bought at Disney this year.

Ally and I waiting in line to see Captain EO!! It's a Michael Jackson show that was made in the 80s and is just now making it's way to Disney. It was pretty much awesome!
And that's it. I got sick and was pretty nauseous while at Disney. However, that did not stop me from having a great time!

Random story about Disneyland Day 2. So everyone gets to Disney like an hour to an hour and a half ahead of time just to wait in line to get into the park. When they start letting people in it's like mass chaos. The nicely formed lines turn into one big blob and people start sprinting as they get through the gates. Ally tells me this is not normal at Disney in America. Only the crazies start out running. Last time we were at Disneyland we really wanted to ride Space Mountain and when we went straight there the line for a fastpass was already like 45 min long so we didn't end up getting to ride. Even though I was feeling sick and nauseous we decided that as soon as we got through the gates we were going to join this group of crazies and sprint as fast as we could to Space Mountain. I really REALLY wish I had my camera on video so that you could have seen the hilarity. Here we were sprinting through the park, weaving through people, jumping off the curbs and when we get there... absolutely zero people were in line for space mountain. We were like "Sumi Masen??" ("Excuse me?") how is this possible. All that sprinting for nothing! So we got fast passes and then went ahead and rode the ride so we would get to ride it two times. We then power walked every where else. There may have been a few more running steps throughout the day. We've turned into those Disney people. Pray for us.


Friday, November 12, 2010

It's been so long...

So... I uploaded these pictures like 3 days ago and then forgot that I was in the middle of a blog till just now haha. I've been horrible about blogging these past few weeks. Time has ben flying by and I keep forgetting about it. Here are a bunch of pictures to make up for it.

A week ago (or maybe more... I can't remember) we took all the kindergarten kids to Michinoku Park. You have to pay to get in and it's AWESOME! Below is a picture of the most fun part of the park. It's this giant bouncy donut that the kids can run and jump on. I don't know why but it is so fun! We were playing tag on it and the kids were falling all over the place and just cracking up.


I thought this picture was funny of one of the teachers playing with my kids.


After the bouncy donut we went to this ball room that was just a bunch of balls in a bouncy pit. The kids had a lot of fun playing in it... I think this picture is kind of blurry but I didn't realize till just now.


These big balls were like swings that you straddle. When you swing on them you start hitting all the other balls (or children on the balls) and the kids thought it was so fun!

There were also the bouncy balls with nets over them. So to sum up Michinoku park it's a bunch of balls and things you jump on. Pretty much the best park ever.


Later that week was the 100th day of school. Don't my kids look cute in their 100 day outfits? When school started we set the timer for 100 minutes and on the 100th minute of school we started our 100 day party. The kids got to collect 100 snacks, give 100 high fives, jump 100 times, etc. It was pretty funny.


That weekend was Friend's Club Jamboree. Below was my favorite costume of the night. I give you... Michael Jackson.


The school has like 100 costumes that the teacher's get to choose from. Below you will find a lady bug and an ace of spades. Both of which are extremely flattering.


Then the next day Ally, Kelsey, and I had an elf day celebration. In other words we watched the movie Elf. We decided to make spaghetti and put maple syrup on it a la Elf. I'm not gonna lie... it was goooood.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Countdowns...

I can't believe I forgot to post this past week! I guess that means I'll be posting twice this week instead.

This post is going to be lame but I have a few countdowns for ya...

151... days till the last day of work
62... days till I'm in Europe for 12 days
60.... days till Christmas!!!!
25... days till Tokyo

What to look forward to in the next post:
Kids and Parents Day update
Michinoku Park
100th Day of School Celebration
... that is if nothing better happens before my next post

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Animal Day

This week we had Animal Day! Basically that means all the K5 kids (and teachers) dress up as animals for the day. It was so cute and hilarious. We sang songs to the animals at school (weird and funny), we ate candy corn since mice eat corn, and we went on a hayride. It was quite the day. Back in August when I went home I knew about this day and so I brought back my penguin costume from sing song a few years ago. Since I teach the Penguins class I thought it was fitting. A lot of the parents drop their kids off on special days to take pictures and videos and they were all cracking up at me.


Here is a class picture in front of the barn. The shadows are blocking it a bit but you get the idea. I was a little disappointed that some of my kids only came with things like cat ears on but there were some pretty good costumes. You might be thinking, "what is that kid supposed to be with the cape and wizards hat on?" Oh that's just mickey mouse of course.


Here is Mickey Mouse again with my favorite costume of the day, horse. This kid was so hilarious... he kept picking the horse's nose and all the kids thought it was SO funny!


One of my kids, Kevin, wanted to take a picture with my camera and he proceeded to pose us in this awesome pose. In the front is Candace, one of our new teachers. He kept making her scoot over so her ears weren't blocking anyone and he made me get in the back hahaha.

And then of course I had to show one picture with the other K5 teacher. a) She is a dolphin (Dolphin's class teacher) b) I made her do that pose c) she didn't hate it and d) everyone thought she was a butterfly.

On another note, tomorrow is Open House so I've had a pretty busy weekend. We had to go help at the other campus' open house today and it turned out pretty good. I will be teaching English, doing stations, playing games, and eating lunch with my kids and their parents tomorrow. Once again I have the most parents coming... I like to think it's because I'm so popular. Should be an exciting day!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10-10-10

I'm a day late on my posting!!! I went out of town this weekend and I forgot to do it early so I guess this is my first mess up on posting once a week. I'll just have to post twice this week I guess!

Friday night: On Friday night we went out one last time with our friend Shoko. She is moving to an island near Okinawa so we might not get to see her again before we leave Japan! We went to a restaurant called Vindome down town and it was delicious!



Saturday: Saturday Ally and I headed down to Tokyo. We decided we wanted to see Disney decorated for Halloween so why not head on down. This first picture is to show you what time our Shinkansen got here.... it was supposed to be here at 2:26 but they had electrical problems. This is like a first in the history of Japan. Also, since we don't speak Japanese we had no idea what was going on but at like 3:30 I texted Shoko and she called and figured it out for us. Because we ended up getting to Tokyo so much later than anticipated all we did on Saturday was eat American food for dinner then go to sleep. We had a busy day for Sunday so of course we had to go to bed early.


Sunday morning we woke up at 5 so that we could leave at 5:45 and be at Disney at 7. The park opened at 8 but it was a holiday so we didn't know how crowded it would be and we wanted to make sure we got tickets. First success of the day.

When we got there it was pouring rain and supposed to rain ALL day but it cleared up around 8:30 and we never had another drop! First stop was shopping because some of our friends had sent us with money to buy things for them or their kids. Needless to say I had a ton of bags before 9 and none of them were mine.

Second success of the day: We found out why everyone is always staring at the wall of stones. We've walked by this stone wall a few times and have seen a bunch of people staring and pointing at something but no idea what is going on. This time we heard someone say "mickey" and Ally said, "I bet there is a hidden Mickey in the stones!" Found it and now the mystery is solved!

Third success: Everyone was decked out in their halloween gear and I happened to see someone wearing this awesome hat from Nightmare Before Christmas. Since I'm never sure if that is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie I had no idea if they got that today or last year at Christmas. I stated that if I found it I was for sure buying it because what do I love more than Christmas? Nothing. Next store.... found it!!


Bought it... and wore it! This is kind of a weird angle picture but you gotta do what you gotta do when their are only 2 peeps in your group and you are trying to get your awesome hat in the pic. From then on every time Ally looked at me she started laughing... I have no idea why!!

We got to ride a few rides even though it was crowded (thank you fast passes) and see a few shows. The best attraction of the day was definitely the Mysterious Mousequerade halloween show. It was awesome! I really wanted to buy the sound track but 3 songs for $28 is a rip off.

Of course you can't have a disney show without a few Disney characters showing up.

One of our favorite shops at Disney Sea would be in Tritan's castle. First of all this area of the park is where all the kids rides are but the shop is awesome. It has everything! Plus it's inside this awesome whale's mouth. Now if that isn't cool then I don't know what is!

So our halloween trip to Disney was a major success. Since we will probably never again have the opportunity to visit Disney as many times as we do this year we have been trying to take maximum advantage of it. Of course we will be going during their Christmas season to see all the decorations and Christmas shows.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Parents came to Japan!

This past week my parents flew in to Tokyo and I got to spend 7 1/2 days with them in Japan. Our first stop was Tokyo. We got to see a few things and the weather was pretty nice. The only disappointing thing was not being able to see the Tsukiji Fish Market. It is supposed to be the biggest fish market in the world. Since we were there on a weekend it was closed. However, to make up for it we got to eat a lot of really disgusting food :). One night we went to eat yaki tori which is grilled chicken on a stick. We decided to get the set which is one of everything. The picture below is chicken liver and chicken skin on a stick. That's right... no meat on that one, just skin. NASTY!


The picture below is my dad eating chicken sternum (the bone/cartilage in your chest). Gross!

On Monday we headed down to Kyoto. Kyoto was really cool and much more traditional looking compared to Tokyo. The only downside was it was so hot! We survived though. The first day we went down to Gion street which is where Geisha's still live and entertain. We actually saw a real Geisha walking down the street but I didn't get my camera ready in time to take a picture. Below is my mom and me on Gion street.

The second day we went to some temple that I can't remember the name of (mom if you remember can you remind me!). It was really pretty and my mom made me and my dad do this really cool pose in one of the archways.

The last day we went down to Nara which is where part of Memoirs of a Geisha was filmed. There is a part in the movie where she is running through a bunch of red gates and this is where they filmed it. It was cool to walk along them and supposedly the gates go for 4 miles. We did not walk all of it!

On Thursday we headed to Sendai so my parents could see where I lived. They got to meet some of my friends that night at dinner. On Friday they came to see my class and meet my kids but unfortunately I don't have any pictures of it. I left work early that day and we went downtown to look around. There happened to be a German festival going on so we stopped by there for a bit. Oktoberfest in September... I guess that's how they do it in Sendai.

Here's a picture of the band.... all their songs sounded the same but it was still fun.
Mom and Dad - thanks for coming! It was fun to have you in Japan and I'll see you again in 6 months!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Ocean

Today we took our kids to the ocean for a field trip. We had a blast! The kids collected sea shells, built sand castles, buried themselves in sand, and played in the water. I don't have time to write a lot so I thought a few pictures could talk for me.

Look at these cuties having the best time of their lives!


Check out this poser. I told him to smile and this is what I got.

On the bus ride back a few of my kids fell asleep. One of my girls thought it was so funny that he was asleep and kept laying on her so I gave her my camera and she took this picture.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Field Day

Technically I forgot to post this past week but since Sunday is on the weekend let's just pretend I didn't forget. Plus it's still Saturday in America!

So today was field day for us! Field day in Japan is a crazy production that the kids put on and let me just say there is SO much pressure on everyone involved. We've been prepping since before summer break and we spent pretty much all day Saturday making sure everything was ready for today. This morning we woke up to rain, rain, and more rain! We decided to move everything to the elementary school across the street because they have a bigger gym than us. We had to be at the other campus at 7:00 am so I had to leave my apt at 6:40 am. Unfortunately, I was up all night feeling like I was going to throw up so I only slept about 3-4 hours. We got there this morning and spent about 2 1/2 hours re setting up before all the kids and parents got there.

Once everyone started arriving things went so smoothly! My class did great! They were the best class at the maypole dance (in my opinion!). They lost the K5 relay race but that wasn't surprising... my class may be competitive but sporty they are not. They did awesome at the pom pom dance and everyone had so much fun!! It's 5:16 pm here and I just got home about 20 min ago! Needless to say it's been a long/fun day and I'm definitely tired. I didn't get to take any pictures since I was doing things the whole time but once I get some from the photographer I'll post them on here!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stories

Ok sorry but I don't have pictures for this post! I know I'm supposed to be taking a picture a day but let's get real... I never remember! This is a hard goal. On the flipside I'm doing better than good on my 50 books... thank you 12 hour plane rides with no sleep for that.

I do have 2 funny/depressing stories to tell you this week though.

1) Yesterday one of my kids, Kevin, asked me, "Ms. Melanie why no baby?" Aka why don't you have a baby. So I said "because I'm not married Kevin." And he asks "what married?" So then Tammy comes up and says, "oh I know! because no ring!" So I confirmed. Fast forward to lunch today. I'm sitting by Kevin and he says, "why no marry Ms. Melanie?" And I said, "Kevin I don't have a ring remember?" So he says, "oh JUST YOU!!!" And I said, "That's right". He then says, "why no friends either?" So I said, "Ms. Kelsey is my friend." He then runs around the class screaming that, "Ms. Melanie has no friends... in America." I thought that was pretty funny and so did he so then he made me name all my friends in America and he died laughing at every name. Basically, if they haven't heard the name in one of their classes then it is just a totally weird name to them. He always asked if the name was a girl or boy so if it was a boy he would say, "why no marry?" Oh Kevin! *Disclaimer- please excuse any grammatical errors... quotation marks always get me in trouble!

2) This story has to do with the pure honesty of young kids which I love and hate at the same time. So, it's that time of the month for me, TMI I know but since only grammy, mom, and Jenny read this I feel that it's ok, and I got a pimple right by my nose. Thank you hormones. One of my kids today pointed at my face and said, "What is THAT?" I seriously had no idea what they were talking about so I'm like, "What are you talking about?" She makes me get down so she can point right at it and says, "that red dot... is it bad?" Thank you 5 year olds.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back in Japan...

Well, I made it back to Japan safe and sound! This past week has been kind of crazy... First I left for Japan on Monday morning... 12 hour plane ride with zero sleep is never fun. Once we got to the station in Tokyo (to catch the bullet train to Sendai) I realized I had already sweated more in the past hour than I did the entire time I was in America. I only have two things to say about that 1) I hate the humidity!! and 2) Japan- please invest in some more air conditioning units! I actually had to open my suitcase in the station and change into shorts before I got on the bullet train because I was so miserable haha. We didn't get back to our apartments until about 9:30 pm on Tuesday and I pretty much fell straight into bed. I then had to work the next day and was surprisingly jet-lagged. I don't usually get jet-lagged so it was a bit annoying. I had to fight to stay awake till 8:30, but last night I got a good nights sleep and I feel great today! Today the kids came for a half day and it was so fun to see them again and tomorrow will be our first normal day!

It's good to be back into a routine but I miss America and vacation time! While I was home I took the GRE and the plan is to come back to America in April and start going to grad school full time! Wish me luck...

The picture below is of the Jillian Michels workout DVD, 30 Day Shred. It has pretty much kicked my butt these past 2 days. I thought it sounded pretty easy but basically my entire body is hurting so I guess I was wrong haha.


Of course, I couldn't go to America without posting a picture of my cute nephew. This is right before they got on the plane to head back to San Antonio.