The End is Near; I’m Making Plans!

Well hello! I hope everyone’s having a great week. Mine’s been pretty good so far… and tomorrow (Friday) is my last day of work! Hooray!

So Monday was a good day. My break time got changed, so that was a little annoying, but Yuri was in a good mood, so that made the whole day seem better. I was kept busy cutting, taping, etc., for kids’ worksheets and visual aids. I used the laminator, too. It’s a neat little thing. They have these folder-looking things that you put the paper in, then you send it through this little laminator and it’s done. I’ve only seen the massive ones that take up and entire table at schools, so I was a little shocked at how little and efficient the thing is. It’s portable and you just plug it right in and wait for it to heat up. That’s Japan for you, I guess.

Yoko was sick and had a fever on Tuesday, so she got to leave (she’d already taught at a pre-school that morning). One problem: she was supposed to teach 4 classes that day. One got cancelled, and Yumi (our part-time teacher) was able to come in and teach one that night. Yuri took one, but that still left a kids’ class (4 and 5 year olds). Yuri asked me, very solemnly, if I’d teach it. (Like I’m going to say no when the boss asks me to do something!) I had worn shorts to work that day, though, since I was supposed to wear the uniform all day and do reception. Yuri said Mami could take me back to the apartment to get some pants, but then Yoko said I could just wear hers. Much to my delight, they fit and looked really cute on me. (She has such cute–expensive–clothes. I was just happy they fit so well!) So she wore my shorts back to the apt and I wore her pants all day. The good
thing about a kids’ class is that you don’t have to change back into the uniform afterward!

Wednesday was a very good day. I did reception for 4 hours, had my break, and worked in the office the rest of the night. I wish every day was that easy! The stuff they had me doing was kind of hard because it had to be so precise. I had to cut perfect circles. Over 140, actually. I didn’t mind doing it at all, it just took a while. Yuri was in a good mood, Yoko was back, and I was happy to be busy. I felt so helpful! I think teaching that class on Tuesday was really a great deal to Yuri. The kids were a little on the wild side, but I could handle it for 45 minutes. It’s so hard to know what’s expected of me. Sometimes Yuri expects me to read her mind and just know all the things she wants me to do and how she wants me to do them. Other times it’s like she expects so little of me that I’m more of a hindrance than a helpful employee. I’ll really do whatever she wants, she just needs to tell me what that is!

Anyway, I think taking over that class the other day put me in Yuri’s good graces for the time being. She even asked if there was anything I wanted to do before I leave that I can’t do by myself. I told her I really wasn’t sure what there was to do that I haven’t done already. I said I’d like to go to a tea ceremony, but I didn’t know where I could go to have one. I’d also like to go back to Pearl Island and see the Mikimoto Memorial Hall because she said it was so good, and we didn’t have time to see it last Sunday. She mentioned the Aquarium in Toba and a place in Naiku where there are models of old Ise, which sounds interesting to me. She said she could take me to all those places Sunday or Monday (they’re off school that day), and she can probably get us in free to the Mikimoto Memorial Hall since she used to work there. I think her boyfriend works at the aquarium because she said she’d ask him about discounted tickets.Wow. That’s the nicest she’s been to me all summer! So that’s the plan for Sunday or Monday.

Saturday is the big fireworks festival for the river. (Called Hanebi.) I get to wear my Yukata and you folks get to see pictures of everything! I plan to go to Naiku for Takonezushi one last time on Sunday or Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday are still up in the air. I want to go to the beach at least one more time. Next Thursday, I start my travels again! I’ll go to the Shingu shrine on Thursday. (about a 4 1/2 hour train ride one way, but Mr. Fujita said it was better than Naiku! The pictures I saw on the internet are gorgeous, so I think it’ll be worth it.) Friday, I’ll take the 7:44am train to Kyoto and see the Castle and surrounding area there. It’s another 4 hour trip, but I’ve got a rail pass, so I plan to use it! The trains are kind of fun, now that I’m not so scared of them anymore!

Saturday the 22nd, I’ll go to Nagoya. This one’s only about 1 1/2-2 hours one way, so I’ll be able to spend more time there. I want to see the castle there and go to a tea ceremony inside (how fun and romantic does that sound–a tea ceremony in a castle). I also want to get a t-shirt from the Hard Rock Cafe in Nagoya. Other than that, I’ll probably just wander and see whatever else I can fit into the day. Anna said they have maps in English at the train station, which I hadn’t seen before. I’ll look for one.

Next Sunday the 23rd, the Kodas are taking Anna and me to a 3-year death ceremony for Mr. Kodas father. I’m curious and excited to see what exactly they do at these ceremonies. It’s at a temple close by. Not sure how long it’ll take or if they have anything else planned. Guess we’ll see!

Monday-Wednesday (the 24th-26th) I’ll go to Tokyo to stay with the Fujitas one more time. This is a doosy–7 hours one way on the local trains! It’ll be worth it, though. Not sure what we’ll do there or when I’ll be back on Wednesday, but I’m excited about it!

Thursday the 27th I’ll pack and get things cleaned up around here. I might watch a movie or something. I’m sure I’ll need that day to recover! I’ll spend the next 2 days (Friday and Saturday) at the Kodas’ house, and then we’ll leave for the Nagoya airport at 4:30 am Sunday the 30th! I will be sad to leave for several reasons, but I’ll be so glad to be home and see my family.

So that’s the plan for the rest of my trip! Keep praying for safety and that I change trains at all the right places! The trains are fun, as I said, and I’m less intimidated by them now, but I still get nervous about which track to take. Especially in the big stations and very obscure short stops. God’s taken such good care of me, and I’m thankful for everything this summer has taught me. And you’ve been here to witness it all with me! Let me know what you’re up to. I’d like to hear about you and your summer, not just talk about mine all the time. Love y’all.


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