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.


初めまして、ジーアンです (ジーアン先生)

I witnessed my first ever Mass Games on Sept. 11, 2019 in an arena in Hachioji, and it was fantastic! For me, it was an event that celebrated the school’s dedication to discipline, excellence, teamwork, and most of all. . . fun!


When I first learned that I would be teaching at an all-girls’ school with a focus on sports and other active clubs, I was very nervous because I wasn’t athletic at all! I came from Cagayan de Oro City, which is located in the southern part of the Philippines. Since the weather in my country was hot most of the year, I usually spent my weekends reading books at home.


But when I came to this school, I realized how lucky I was. I got to witness a very lively and friendly community. The teachers are busy, but they do their work with joy, The students work hard, and they’re always up for anything.


In the Philippines, we have “field demonstration” where each grade level will present a dance, with costume and props. The Mass Games of Fujimura Girls’ Junior and Senior High School reminded of that yet also showed me more!


This weekend will be the school’s bunkasai, and I’m looking forward to experiencing all that Fujimura Girls’ High School has to offer!


夏休み (キャロル先生)

                          Summer Vacation

For my summer vacation, I travelled home to Ireland for three and a half weeks. It was lovely to be back home with my friends and family. I ate food that I had been missing over the past year, foods like curry cheese chips and a morning fry. I ate so much food I will probably need to exercise more and eat less now that I am back in Tokyo. I was treating myself to all the treats Ireland has to offer, which has to be done when you go on holidays! I was also able to spend some valuable time with my family and friends, such as bringing my nieces to the park and helping my mother at home.

The weather wasn’t so bad, it usually changes from sunny to rainy weather pretty quickly but the rain stayed away for most of my holiday. Irish summers can be very unpredictable but I was glad to escape the extremely hot and humid summer in Tokyo. I have heard that the weather has cooled down a bit since I arrived back which I am very pleased about. I am looking forward to beginning another year here in Fujimura.


日本での交流 (ミーシャ先生)

The best part about my time here has been my interaction with the students. They are very interesting. I enjoy their sense of humor and their friendliness. My interaction with them has helped me to learn some Japanese phrases and I hope they were able to learn even more English words. I have always loved teaching because I believe teachers teach students but students can teach teachers too. These students have taught me about their culture and their interests in sports, music, the arts and studying abroad. I truly appreciate their sincerity, kindness and genuine interest in wanting to know about me and my country- Jamaica. I wish them all the best in their endeavors.


梅雨 (キャロル先生)

                            Rainy Season

It is the rainy season in Tokyo now and it is so humid. Even though it is cloudy and rains a lot, it is really humid which makes it difficult to walk around and exercise. It has been a while since I went for a jog and instead, I have been doing yoga and exercises at home with the aircon on, instead of outside in the humidity. The weather tends to get humid in Ireland too but it is not as extreme as Tokyo. I will be travelling home to Ireland near the end of July for one month and I’m expecting it to be quite cold with lots of rain. Irish summers are very different from summers in Tokyo and I will have to make sure I pack my coat and warm clothes. Sometimes, there are four seasons in one day in Ireland. In the morning it might be sunny, in the afternoon it might be cold, in the evening it might be raining and at night time it might be frosty. Therefore, it is very difficult to know what clothes to pack and how to prepare for the Irish summer. Because I will be in Ireland for so long, I will miss most of the scorching, hot summer in Tokyo. When I arrive back, it will be late August and the rainy season will be upon us again.



School Sports Day


Yesterday was the school sports day in Mitaka. It was a fun-filled day for all the students whereby they competed in a game of dodge-ball, mini basketball and rope jumping among others. Even the teachers competed in the relay race, which was a lot of fun to watch. I used to compete in athletics when I was in school, so it brought back a lot of fond memories for me. I competed in the Irish championships in the relay race and eighty-meter sprint. I would have competed in the egg and spoon race and the three-legged race with my schoolmates during the school sports day events. It was always a lot of fun and a good way to de-stress before the summer exams. It’s also a great way for the new students to bond with old students and to get to know each other better. The stadium was very close to my house, it was only a thirty-five minute walk from my apartment and it was lovely not to have to get any public transport. The weather was very humid however, so I was particularly sweaty by the time I reached the stadium. The stadium had a proper running track outside which looked very impressive. The weather was good apart from the few odd showers, but it was still quite warm so the rain was refreshing. It’s nice to be able to go to these events and see students outside of the usual school environment. I look forward to attending the next school event.


It was a different experience watching Sports day here. The Musashino Sports Complex was truly beautiful. The sporting activities were very different from what I am accustomed to seeing at a Sporting event.  The students seemed to have enjoyed all the activities as they tried to score points for their teams. The teamwork was very impressive. It gave me an opportunity to see some of my students doing things that they like to do. They are very talented and they gave of their best in every event. 


沖縄旅行 (キャロル先生)


Last Sunday I went to Okinawa with my friend Yoko San. We rented a car and drove from the south up to the north, staying in the south for a night, the middle for a night and the north for a night. In Naha, we met some friends of Yoko San for dinner and I tried some mimiga which are sliced pig’s ears and umi budo which are sea grapes along with some taco rice. It was all so delicious. We were also lucky enough to see a Dragon Boat Race festival, which happened to be on for a few days while we were there. Afterwards we went to see some traditional Okinawan musicians sing some old folk songs. The singer has been singing in Naha for over thirty years and is very popular amongst the locals.

In the north, we visited many beaches where the water was green and the sand was white, it looked like paradise. We visited Heart Rock, which is a rock in the sea that vaguely resembles the shape of a heart. The rock is a popular photo spot for couples looking to take a romantic photo together. The weather was hot but cloudy which was really nice as I find it difficult to walk around when the temperature is too hot. I was so sad to leave, saying goodbye to the beaches was particularly hard as I always feel at home when I’m beside the sea. As Ireland is an island, I was never too far from the sea growing up.


ゴールデンウィーク (ミーシャ先生)

 It was great to have experienced the much talked about “Golden week”. As I walked through my neighbourhood, I noticed a number of banners hoisted along the walkway. These banners had pictures and information about the Emperor’s ascension to the throne. I enjoyed the break immensely as it gave me a chance to enjoy Tokyo.  It also provided an opportunity for me to learn more about a part of Japan’s history regarding leadership and governance. 



The new school year has started and it is amazing to see the students I taught last year. They have moved on to new classes but I still get a chance to see them around the school sometimes and that is great. As a teacher, there is always that rewarding feeling to see your students grow up year after year as they continue to work towards their goals. I am happy to have been a part of their journey last year and wish them all the best. I am sure they will continue to be the great students they are known to be.



                            Aerial Yoga

Last Sunday I went to an aerial yoga class in Musashi Sakai. I have been looking for more exercise classes to do since I moved here and have practiced yoga previously in Ireland. I thought aerial yoga would be perfect. Aerial yoga involves doing yoga poses from a hammock hanging from the ceiling. You are suspended in the air for many of the poses and have to hold the pose for a few minutes. It can be quite hard and sore on your skin. I definitely have some bruises to mark the occasion. The class lasted over an hour but the teacher was lovely and patient while I learned the moves. Luckily, there was a woman who helped to translate what the teacher was saying so I wasn’t too confused and it prevented me from injuring myself. At the end of the class, we were suspended upside down in the air, while relaxing music played in the background. Meditation was part of the class, which made me feel relaxed and at ease afterwards. I’ll make sure to go back again this Sunday as it is such good exercise. It will keep me busy on Sunday afternoons and help keep me fit at the same time.


ついに春が来た (ミーシャ先生)

Spring at last


Winter is finally over and I am very happy about that. The beauty about spring can be seen in nature. I love to see the Cherry blossoms as I travel around Tokyo. They are absolutely beautiful. I find it very relaxing to go to a park and just sit and relax around the beauty of nature. I am enjoying the fact that the weather is also better. Though it gets cold sometimes in the evenings, it is mostly warmer than the winter cold air.  I love Spring!

花見の季節 (キャロル先生)

This was my first time to see the sakura trees blooming in Japan. I managed to find time to visit four different areas in Tokyo that are famous for their great selection of sakura trees. The first park I visited was Inokashira Park. I had a picnic here with my friend and watched everyone enjoying themselves while eating and drinking. The cherry blossoms looked so pretty and I ended up taking so many photos of them. The second park I visited was Koganei Park, which is only a thirty minute walk from my house. I met some friends here during the spring break and we walked all around the park with our cherry flavored ice creams. We spent hours there chatting and people watching. Another park I visited was Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. I brought my SLR camera with me to take close up photos of the flowers, as there were many different colored ones. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I ate sushi and drank juice with my friend. The last area I visited was the beautiful Meguro River where sakura trees line either side of the river and it is lit up with lanterns at nighttime. I walked around here for an afternoon and night, eating the street food and taking photos. I have so many photos of the different types of cherry blossoms and am delighted I managed to visit so many different places. They turned Tokyo into a pretty wonderland colored in pink and white. Next year I hope to visit the areas I didn’t manage to see this year. It will be a shame when they are all



                        St. Patrick’s Day Festival

On the 17th of March each year, St. Patrick’s Day festival is held. It is a day that commemorates the patron saint of Ireland. There are large parades held on this day around the world and lots of traditional Irish music events. This year, I celebrated with my friends in Tokyo and volunteered to help at the parade on Omotesando Street. It was Asia’s largest Irish event with 15,000 participants and 50,000 spectators. I held up the large banner with my friends at the front of the parade and helped to give out flyers. There were so many people taking part and watching the parade, it was a fantastic day. I was so surprised by how much effort Japanese people put into celebrating this Irish event. There was even an Irish festival held in Yoyogi Park with food stalls and Irish dancers. The celebrations went on into late that night. My friends and I even made it into The Tokyo Times newspaper! I will have to post this home to my family so they can see how big the celebrations are here in Tokyo.


東京でのスイミング (キャロル先生)

Swimming in Tokyo

Back home in Ireland, I used to swim as much as I could. I was a member of a lovely gym with a swimming pool, sauna and steam room. It was one of the most relaxing places to be. Swimming up and down with the flow of the water moving with me, no loud noises, the smell of the chlorine, it always managed to relax and clear my head.

Here in Tokyo, I’ve managed to go swimming three times since I have arrived, in three different swimming pools. Two were in Musashi-Sakai and the other in Mitaka. The experience was pleasant and some lovely women ended up chatting to me in the dressing rooms. Some were interested to know where I was from and wanted to practice their English and some wanted to show me how to use the facilities, which I greatly appreciated. Simple things like using the swimsuit dryer can be daunting when the instructions are in Japanese. I found people were so welcoming and accommodating which will allow me to swim to my heart’s content while living here in Tokyo.


草津旅行 (キャロル先生)

                                Trip to Kusatsu

I heard so much about Gunma that I really wanted to take a trip up there during the winter to see the snow and visit the many onsens scattered around the area. I decided to get a bus to Kusatsu, which is famous for its many onsens and hot springs. It was about a four hour journey to Kusatsu on a bus from Shinjuku. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was when I arrived.

I climbed the steep steps to the shrine in the center of the town but I was nervous because of the amount of snow and ice there was. It took me longer than I thought it would but was definitely worth it when I reached the top. Outside the bus station there was a foot bath waiting for visitors to take a dip in. I strolled around the main town and dipped my feet into a foot bath beside Yubatake hot spring. The water is said to have strong therapeutic and anti-bacterial powers. The steam from the water was amazing to look at and at night the whole area was lit up to give an eerie, spooky feel.

I went to an outdoor onsen with the surrounding snow covered hills staring at me as I relaxed in the hot water. It was so refreshing to get in and out of the water with the contrasting temperatures. I felt so relaxed afterwards and had some nice, hot food in the town. The next morning I visited one more onsen, this one was indoors and was situated in a big wooden building. There was an area to relax in afterwards whereby you could look at the whole town, it was really beautiful to see. It was a long journey back to Tokyo but I was so relaxed after my morning onsen that I slept for most of the journey home. I was especially pleased that the onsens were tattoo friendly too which really makes me want to visit Kusatsu again in the near future.



東京での雪体験 (ミーシャ先生)

It finally snowed in Tokyo! I have been hearing from my other friends in places like Nagasaki and Gifu about them experiencing snow for weeks now. I had given up hope that I would be able to share my experiences with them about snow in Tokyo. The snow wasn’t much but I was sure glad it was during the holiday so I could relax at home. I eventually took a stroll in my area to see how much of an impact the snow had and of course took a few pictures to savour the moment. It was a truly relaxing evening; I spent some time watching the snowflakes falling on the trees and forming the shape of the trees and other objects that they were falling on. I am glad I got to have that experience before winter ends.


家で過ごす創作タイム (ミーシャ先生)

The days go by very quickly and I actually don’t mind as I miss the warm days. The cold weather does give me solitude as I am keen on spending productive time alone as that is when I get to accomplish more. Consequently, I was able to write a second book. Unlike the first book, which was about mastering English, this second one is a novel. I figure since the cold weather has me running home immediately after work then I would use that time to do what I love. I love that being in Japan has allowed me to grow and develop in ways I never thought possible. I love that this one-year experience provides inspiration for future endeavours.

大月への日帰り旅 (キャロル先生)

Day Trip to Otsuki

Otsuki is on the way to Mt. Fuji and only a short distance from my home in Musashi-Sakai. I had a free day yesterday and decided to visit some sites there and hopefully catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji. I was lucky as the weather was good, it was sunny, the sky was clear and I was excited to explore the area, I decided to visit two main sites, Saruhashi or ‘monkey bridge’ as it is known as and Mt. Iwadono. The bridge was very pretty and had lovely artwork on blocks lined up along the sides of it. There were wooden steps on the lower part of the bridge, which were apparently created to replicate monkeys holding hands to form a bridge back in the 7th century. The view below was of clear turquoise water and high cliffs on each side. I sat by the rocks and had some fried chicken in the afternoon sun. The rush of the water below sounded relaxing and I sat there for some time taking it all in.

I then took a bus for about ten minutes to Mt. Iwadono. It was early evening at this stage and I knew I wouldn’t have time to climb the whole mountain but I did climb a small part of it and was delighted to see Mt. Fuji in the distance, glaring over the scattered houses and neighborhoods below. I sat on a bench while admiring the view and as I sat, I felt so lucky to be in that place at that moment on a Tuesday evening, when this time last year it was all so different. Mt. Fuji is really magnificent to see. It makes me feel humble and grateful which nature tends to do. I finished off my day with some ramen from a lovely restaurant near the train station. My aim now is to go back to Mt. Iwadono and climb it to the very top. Apparently it’s not a difficult climb which is great news for me as I’m not the best at mountain climbing. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a taste for mountain climbing and it will become my new pastime.    


冬休み (ミーシャ先生)

Winter Holidays


It is amazing how quickly time has passed. Just a few months ago, I was disembarking from an airplane feeling very uncertain about everything. Since then, five months have passed and I am experiencing my first winter holidays away from home. The winter holidays have been a very quiet yet relaxing one as I spent most of my time hiding away from the cold. I still tried to do some sightseeing and enjoy New Year’s holiday festivities. I was hoping to experience snow but no such luck. I am still hoping and waiting for that opportunity as there are a few weeks of winter left. Since it keeps getting colder and colder, I am hoping for snow.

冬休み (キャロル先生)

Winter Break

This year I remained in Japan for winter break. It was a lovely change from being at home in Ireland. The weather was better than Ireland in winter, as there was hardly any rain. I visited a lot of places and got to spend some time with my Irish friends. In early January, I travelled to Fujikawaguchiko for three nights. On the first day, I went to see the ice caves and walked through Aokigahara forest which was so green and dense. The walk lead us to one of the lakes near Mt. Fuji where the view was amazing. On the second day, we took a boat ride around the lake and went on the cable car, which takes you high up where you can walk around and take photos of the magnificent Mount Fuji. It looked spectacular in the early afternoon sun. In the evening, I spent some time relaxing in the onsen back at the hotel. It was a holiday like no other and I will be sure to travel there again in the future. Overall, it was a very enjoyable winter break. There are so many places to visit in Japan and I hope I will have enough time to do everything I want to do.