2019年度の終わり (ジーアン先生)

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!


Trip to Nara (キャロル先生)

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.


永平寺での座禅体験 (キャロル先生)

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


It’s the new year, and I’m excited to be back in school!

I spent my Christmas and New Year here in Tokyo, Japan, and it was my first time to celebrate the holidays away from my family, in another country. It was exciting, and I was able to visit many places in Tokyo.

With some friends, I went to visit some shrines in Asakusa, Bunkyo, Shibuya, and Akasaka. I also saw some amazing sights in Odaiba and Meguro. Although I was far from home, I wasn’t lonely because Tokyo kept me busy with all its lights, festivals, and attractions. It’s impossible not to love it!
The winter break also gave me time to appreciate Japanese traditions and cultures, especially when it came to visiting shrines. I tossed a few coins, clapped my hands, bowed, and rang the bell to offer my prayers and wishes. I also saw many booths selling drinks, food, fortunes, and souvenirs.

Although the weather was extremely cold, the warm atmosphere and presence of friendly company kept me warm.

My first winter holiday in Japan was truly memorable and exciting.


渋谷と川崎でハロウィーン! (キャロル先生) 

This year was my second time to spend Halloween in Tokyo. I didn’t get a chance to visit Shibuya Crossing last year, so I made it priority to visit it this year. It didn’t disappoint, it was so busy but so much fun! My friends and I dressed up in costumes and walked around Shibuya, meeting new people and taking photos of all the different kinds of costumes on display. There was such a great variety of costumes from people from all over. It really was something special.

The next day, I hopped on the train and travelled to the Kawasaki Halloween Parade. This is world famous and I didn’t want to miss it. I stood at the front of the crowd with my camera and managed to take some brilliant photos of the participants in the parade. Some of them saw me taking photos and posed for me, which I really appreciated. It was so busy there but I managed to take many photos to add to my Halloween collection. The make-up and costumes were out of this world and I can’t imagine being able to see anything like it anywhere else. Being Irish, I am a huge fan of Halloween and I am very lucky to be living in another country that celebrates this occasion just as much as Ireland. Halloween originated from Ireland and so it is very close to my heart.

秋到来 (ジーアン先生)

It’s already November, which means that autumn is here and winter is near. It also means that I had to buy many sweaters and cardigans because it’s really cold! I had never experienced this temperature before, so I was quite unprepared.


I was also excited to see the changing colors of autumn: yellow, orange, and red before the leaves fall. Recently, I joined a hiking trip to Mt. Takao. I saw many people there: small children, married couples, young men and women, and even the elderly! I also saw a woman carrying a baby on her back. I was so amazed at their determination and endurance.


It was hot while climbing the mountain, but when we got to the top, I felt cold! And there, I also saw trees with scarlet-colored leaves. It was such a beautiful sight. I imagine that it’s only going to be more beautiful as the weeks go by.


Several teachers have also told me that nearby Inokashira Park will be quite a sight to behold when the red and yellow leaves start falling.


Before November came, the country witnessed several Halloween parties. At Fujimura, we also had Halloween lessons, which was a great way to learn how different countries celebrated the event.


Now that Halloween is over, Japan is gearing up for the Christmas season. I’m very excited to celebrate the holidays in Tokyo, and I have already seen colorful lights and Christmas decorations outside shops and in malls.


Despite the cold, I’m looking forward to autumn and winter in Japan!


2度目の文化祭 (キャロル先生)

I went to see the school’s Bloom festival at the weekend. I was so excited to see the students act out the plays I wrote for them. Their acting was great and they memorized their lines very well. There was so much to see at the festival that I found myself staying until nearly five thirty. The Haunted House was a real treat and I entered it with two students just in case it got too spooky for me. Afterwards I attended a tea ceremony; this was my first time to attend one. It was very relaxing and the tea and sweet I received were delicious. I managed to buy some cake and a curry dinner for lunch too. I basically ate my way through the school festival which was fantastic!

I was also highly impressed with the rhythmic gymnastics show. It amazes me how gifted and dedicated the students are and how lucky I am to have been able to see the school festival twice.