Happy Thanksgiving

This week in America, there is a national holiday called Thanksgiving. It is a time to be thankful and eat lots of delicious food with your family and friends. In class we talked about this holiday a little at the start of each class on Thursday (Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of November) and I got to talk about it a little more with some of the first-year students. It was mostly made up of pictures of Thanksgiving food, like Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie.. lots of pie. With each photo the students oohed and aahed at how delicious the food looked.  I was surprised that none of them have ever eaten turkey before but then again, turkey is hard to come by in Japan. I hope that one day, some of the students will get to enjoy the delicious food of Thanksgiving.



- Yaya Campbell



Sarah’s Blog Post 12: November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving is a major holiday in the United States. Usually, families come together on Thanksgiving Day and eat a very big dinner. In the United States, Thanksgiving happens every year on the fourth Thursday of November. This year, it is on November 26th. Many people believe that the first Thanksgiving in the United States was celebrated in 1621 before the United States was even a country. Pilgrims left England and traveled to the United States in order to be able to practice their own religion. They were not allowed to do this in England. When they came to the United States, they couldn’t grow any food. The Native Americans helped them. This is why we celebrate Thanksgiving with a big dinner.


Traditional Thanksgiving Day foods are turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. There are many other dishes that families often make like yams, cranberry sauce, and green beans, but turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie are the most common. Many people watch football or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television as well. I miss my family a lot and wish I could eat all of the delicious Thanksgiving Day foods.








Sarah’s Blog Post 11: November 18, 2015


Many JET teachers look forward to learning traditional Japanese customs the most when they move to Japan. Different schools have different clubs, so some JET teachers learn things like aikido or kyudo. At this school, we have igo club, kadobu, judo, and sadobu. I joined kadobu, but I was afraid to join sadobu because sitting seiza is very painful. I know that I would be very bad at doing tea ceremonies. I can sit seiza for a little while, so I can watch the students perform tea ceremonies. However, I can’t stand up after sitting seiza for a long time, so I can’t perform tea ceremonies myself.


Today, Jitsuishi-sensei invited us to learn how to make the tea for a tea ceremony with her class. I felt less embarrassed because most of the other students also didn’t know very much about tea ceremony. It was difficult because I am left-handed and you have to stir the tea with your right hand. I tried very hard, but I couldn’t move my right hand fast enough and I couldn’t make bubbles appear in the tea. Jane-sensei is very good at sitting seiza. It is a good experience to learn things with students instead of teaching them. We had a lot of fun and I hope to do more activities like this in the future.

Tea Ceremony

A few days ago, I got to sit in on a tea ceremony class.  It was very interesting to watch how the tea is prepared. Even though everything was in Japanese, I could understand the main gist of it. It was fun to mix the tea on my own and learn from the ladies who were so knowledgeable about this tradition. Additionally, this was the longest I have had to sit in seiza for a while. It was nice to see that I was not the only one whose legs fell asleep. Overall, I really enjoyed this opportunity and I hope to experience more of Japanese culture.


- Yaya Campbell


Sound of Music

This week the students and staff got to watch the Sound of Music as a play. It was very fun to watch and I enjoyed it very much. The actors were so talented, especially the children. It was interesting to hear how the songs were translated from English to Japanese. The most significant change was a song called Do-Re-Mi. This song uses the sounds “do re mi fa so la ti do” and in English, these sounds match up with certain words. However, in Japanese, these sounds match up with different words. It was interesting to hear how to song changed to fit the language and I was glad that I could understand most of it. Overall, this was a great language learning moment and a fun event.


- Yaya Campbell


Sarah’s Blog Post 10: November 12, 2015

“The Sound of Music” is a very popular movie in the United States. Many people love Maria, who is played by Julie Andrews. It was very nostalgic because I watched Julie Andrews in many movies when I was a child. I have never seen “The Sound of Music” before, so it was a new story for me. I loved being able to watch it in Japanese because I was able to practice my understanding of Japanese. Since I didn’t know the story in English, I was able to get a better idea of how much Japanese I understood.


I loved the costumes and the actors had beautiful voices, but my favorite part of the musical was seeing the beautiful sets on stage. I was amazed by how they could change all of the scenery in such a short time. The Von Trapp mansion had beautiful architecture that reminded me of my favorite art styles. I have never seen a stage musical in the United States, but now I want to go to one.




Sarah’s Blog Post 9: November 11, 2015


This week, Kawano-sensei asked Yaya and me some questions about our school and job experiences. I was excited to be able to talk to the first year high school students about preparing for their futures. Being a high school student is very difficult because you have so many different career paths to choose from. The students will face so many new challenges over the next few years. They will also have the opportunities and confidence to do so many new things over those years as well. My best advice for students is to never lose confidence in yourself. It is okay to question your plans for the future, but never lose confidence in your ability to make the right decision. This will help keep you from becoming depressed.

I want to thank Kawano-sensei and Ozaki-sensei for all of their help preparing for the interview. I also want to thank all of the other first year high school teachers for allowing me to speak to the first year students. It was so much fun and I hope some students decide to study abroad.


Halloween in Japan

This past week was Halloween! It was very interesting to see what Halloween is like in Japan. In the International Club, we had a Halloween party to celebrate. We talked about what Halloween in America is like and how it may differ from other countries like Japan and Mexico. We spent the rest of the time making masks and eating some candy while listening to Halloween music in the background. It was fun to see the variety of masks the students made and learn about their experience with Halloween.


- Yaya Campbell



Sarah’s Blog Post 8: November 4, 2015

Halloween is a very popular holiday in the United States. I was very interested to see how it is celebrated in Japan because I have heard that it is not as big of a holiday here. However, as I have been walking through all of the stores and streets around Kichijoji and the rest of Tokyo, I noticed many Halloween decorations. I was looking forward to the actual day. From what I have been told, Halloween has been getting much more popular in Tokyo over the past few years.


This year, I went to Shibuya because I heard that there would be many people. There were so many people that it was very difficult to walk along the streets. My favorite thing about Halloween in Shibuya was being able to see all of the creative costumes that people were wearing. People in the United States also think of many creative costumes, but it was fun to see the differences with popular costumes. I think that Japanese people like to make scarier costumes than people in the United States. In the United States it might be common to dress up as a police officer, but in Japan it seemed common to make many costumes into zombie versions. So I saw many zombie police officers in Shibuya.