Last Saturday, I was invited, by another JET Programme teacher, to visit her school for their sports day. I had never been to a sports day at a Japanese school before so I was excited to see what it would be like. It was also interesting because I have gotten used to being at an all-girls school but the other school was mixed. The boys reminded me a lot of the students at Fujimura because there was so much energy! It was really cool to see all the different activities, relays, and games the students did, but it was especially amazing to see their dance performances. I had two favourite performances. One was when some girls and their homeroom teachers all wore yukatas and danced with these wide flat hats they had made and decorated themselves. The second was the boys’ (very loud!) performance with taiko. Apparently the students had practiced a lot for sports day for a week or two before so it was nice to see it go well. At my school in New Zealand, we had two different sports days; one was called Athletics Day and the other was called Tabloids Day. Athletics Day was a little more “serious sports” but on Tabloids Day, everyone dressed up as anything they wanted, in their house colours (red, blue, green, or yellow), and we played fun games and relays to try get points for our houses! I’m looking forward to seeing how Fujimura’s sports day will be!
So far, I’ve been lucky enough to have my friends visit me and experience bits of Japan with them. On Sunday, I got to meet with my friend from LA and her sister. They are Korean but they were born in the U.S., so they took a trip to Korea for the first time and then they came to Japan, which they enjoyed a lot! It was really nice seeing her because she lives so far away from me that we can usually only talk online. We went to Meiji Shrine because they had not yet visited any temples or shrines. After that, we went to the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi. I have been there once before but this time there was a different exhibition. It was about Japanese architecture and woodwork, and it was really cool to see the model buildings; they were so detailed! There was one model of a building that was short, but it was really long, kind of like a rectangular tunnel. My friend told me to bend down so my eye was level with it and look through it, so I did! However, this other guy was doing the same thing on the other side so we ended up just staring at each other through the model of the building and then we both started laughing because it was so strange! After the museum, it became quite cold and it was raining a lot by then, so we chose to eat tonkotsu ramen which made us warm and happy, and made us forget the feeling of our wet socks and shoes!
The past week was Golden Week and I had one of my friends come to visit me from a different city in New Zealand. It was really nice because we hadn’t seen each other in quite a while so it was ironic that we managed to meet and be together on the other side of the world! She really wanted to stay in and around the Tokyo area and she’s originally from Sri Lanka so she thought it was cool to see the similarities and differences between two Asian countries. It was really fun to show her around some places I’d already been to, as well as do some new things I hadn’t done before. For example, I visited Odaiba for the first time even though it’s not so far away! It’s so interesting that Odaiba is man-made and we couldn’t believe all the things it had, especially the indoor theme parks; how does it all fit?! We also went to DisneySea which was really amazing, and we found out it’s the only one in the world! It was cool because my friend had never been to any Disneyland before so she was pretty excited (but not about waiting in the really long lines). One of the last days, we went to Enoshima and I was so happy to see the beach and the sea again! It was a really nice ending to a really nice week because as we walked back to the station alongside the sea, the sun set next to the silhouette of Fujisan, turning the sky gold; Golden Week truly lived up to its name!