The Long Rainy Season
It seems as though the rainy season in Tokyo is particularly long this year. When I think back to this time last year, I was preparing to travel home to Ireland for a summer holiday and I remember the weather in Tokyo being hot and humid. This year, it’s cooler and everyday seems to bring the chance of rain with it. Luckily, I’m used to the rain, as it is such a common occurrence in Ireland. During these wet days, time can be spent watching movies, series on Netflix or reading a good book. It’s also a good time to be creative and nothing makes me happier than sketching or painting. I usually sketch famous people and try to capture their personalities and characteristics as best I can. It’s good to have hobbies, as these are the things that keep us happy in life. It’s important to pass the time doing things we enjoy, which in turn, will help the rainy season pass by faster.
Spring break this year gave me a lot of time to get household chores done, including stocking up my fridge and rearranging my furniture. Now, I know why schools in Japan start in April. The spring season is a great way to start something. The appearance of cherry blossoms and the warm weather make spring the perfect time to “turn over a new leaf.”
This expression in the English language means to become a better person or to give more effort in doing something.
So, this spring, I also decided to give more effort in learning Japanese. It’s very difficult since it’s so different from English and Filipino, but I was able to learn more Japanese words and expressions by answering textbooks and watching several Japanese films. I’m hoping this will increase my Japanese vocabulary!
Welcome to the new school year, I know it’s a strange time for everybody right now but when everything is back to normal, it will be lovely to meet both new and previous students again. It’s good to keep busy during this time. I have been keeping busy by reading, watching shows on Netflix and doing some creative writing. I hope you have all found your own ways to stay creative and mentally healthy, even though this can be difficult to do. I find ways to entertain myself, for example, I have created a number of children’s picture books for my nieces and nephews and godchildren. I create funny stories to help children learn and which in turn, keep me entertained too! Previous stories have involved cats or dogs and even dinosaurs! When they are finished, I send them to the lucky child as a gift. I love creating silly stories and it makes the perfect gift in which they can hold onto forever.
I hope you are all doing good and enjoying your time with your families. I make sure to keep in contact with my family and friends back in Ireland. Everybody is in this together. Let’s use this time wisely and keep our mental health in check. Soon we will be in our classrooms again having fun quizzes and you’ll be showing off your fantastic English skills!
The following months in Japan have been very eventful, with the rise of a global pandemic. Fortunately, it was the last term, and many classes were already over. Spring has already come, and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom!
There’s a sakura tree outside the staff room, and I get a good view of it every day. It’s so beautiful when it’s filled with large pinkish white flowers, and the fact that it lives for only a short while makes it more precious.
There are many beautiful parks in Japan, and I celebrated my birthday with friends at one in Bunkyo. Nearby Inokashira Park is another great place for sakura-viewing, and I’m lucky that it’s just a few minutes away from Fujimura.
I think it’s fitting that, in Japan, the cherry blossoms mark that short period between the end and beginning of a school year. The weather has been getting warmer, and the sun has been out more and more.
This school year has been exciting, challenging, and memorable. I’m looking forward to the next one!
During the month of February, I was lucky enough to visit Nara and the friendly deer that live there. My friend and I bought some crackers at a small stall to feed them. I held my hand up and bowed to them and was delighted when some deer returned my bow, I then fed them the crackers. One deer was so hungry he tried to eat my trousers and a large group of deer became very hungry as soon as they saw I was holding the crackers. I was too afraid to feed them and ended up screaming and running away, it was all very funny! My friend thought this was hilarious and couldn’t stop laughing at me! The deer in Nara are definitely not shy compared to the deer in Ireland. Nara reminded me of a large, city park called Phoenix Park in County Dublin, Ireland. You can see wild deer roaming and eating grass. If you are lucky enough you can even feed them. I lived very close to this park a few years ago and would spend my mornings jogging while catching glimpses of the deer. It was especially beautiful on cold, winter days when you could see the mist over the green grass.
Hopefully I’ll get to go back to Nara again someday to say hello to the cheeky deer.
During my winter vacation, I was lucky enough to stay at a Buddhist temple high in the mountains in Fukui. The temple is called Eiheiji temple and there are one hundred and fifty monks practicing Buddhism in the temple. The temple is over eight hundred years old and surrounded by a stunning waterfall and picturesque bridge. Tall five-hundred year old cedar trees keep watch over the temple and the moss covered landscape.I stayed for one night and trained in the zazen meditation technique which involved a number of forty minute meditation sessions. This was difficult as my legs became numb from being folded and I found myself drifting off in my own thoughts. The monk informed me that if we lacked concentration during zazen, we would receive a hit with a stick to the shoulder, not as punishment but as encouragement. I found myself with pursed lips and a concentrated face staring at the wall, terrified of the monk with the stick! But luckily, I made it through without being hit and found that the more zazen sessions I