Undoukai

So, at work today, the music teacher was in.  She speaks some English, and brought up the upcoming music festival.  She asked me if I played anything.  I told her that I played violin, but haven’t played since college started.  She told everyone else in the office, all of whom got SUPER excited, and they said that they and the kids have never heard a violin live and want me to play for them.  I am hesitant, though.  That, and the only school violin is a 3/4 size, and horribly broken.  They asked me if I could play it, but it’s missing tuners, the strings have dug several millimeters into the bridge, one string has snapped, and half the bow is in unusable shreds.  I thought that my insistence that the violin was unusable would deter them from pursuing the matter, but now they’re looking into using part of the school’s budget to buy a new violin (cheap, but in workable condition) so that I can play it at the music festival.

Nihon…really is something.

Also, the kids are all practicing for the upcoming undoukai, which is basically a big sports event for every school in Japan, but super big for small islands like mine.  Anyway, I decided that I would practice with the kids starting this week and try to cheer them on with my unwavering stamina.

…I made it two rounds around the track before my knee gave out.  Granted, I injured it in high school, and it’s never been the same since.  And today, after those two rounds, it hurt like heck and I couldn’t stand on it without it shaking violently.  But I still felt sort of pathetic as I began to lose track of how many times these kids had run around the track, breathing so hard that most of them looked like they’d puke at any moment.  One little kid couldn’t finish the final round and he started hardcore crying.  The teachers told him it was okay, but he just sobbed harder.  Fortunately, in my meager Japanese, I was able to convey the fact that he was able to run so many times while I could only make it twice, and that I thought he was amazing.  I also told him he was much stronger than me.  He was still crying a little, but he stopped shortly after that and stood up to watch his team finish the last round.  So, I’m at least glad that my pathetic-ness helped him feel better.

But, that wasn’t even the start of my adventures today.  Today began at 5am, after a late night battling an army of flying ants that had gotten into my house through the window that I’d forgotten to close.  For some reason, they all wanted to get on my bed.  The picture below LOOKS like a normal Starbucks bag, but it’s actually a bag of death, filled with the bodies of the flying menaces:

Looks normal:

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But actually filled with little corpses.  Each tissue has 3 or 4 of them:

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…anyway.  I didn’t sleep much, and woke up at 5am so that I could make all of the necessary preparations for my classes today; the most challenging of which was kindergarten.  2 hours of kindergarteners with 1.5 hours of play really zaps your energy.

But, the kindergarteners had an absolute blast with the bug-catching game I made them for learning bug words. I made them all little paper nets, and printed out a bunch of different teeny bug cards that went along with the new vocab. After scattering the “bugs” all over the room, they would wait on one end with their nets until I called out a bug for them to catch. Then they would hurry and find one, “catch” it in their net (they seriously pretended to catch them by swinging their nets at them, it was adorable), and then run over to me to show me that they got the right bug, say its name in English (although it was more like frantic screaming of “Katie-san, mite! __________ tsukamatta!” (Look, Ms. Katie!  I caught the ________!), and then go sit down and wait eagerly for me to call out the next one. “mou ikkai” means “one more time,” and we’d barely finished round one when they were shouting to play again.

So…today was extremely exhausting, and I don’t think I have the energy to make anything but instant ramen for dinner, but it was also a good day.

 

By the way.

Yesterday, I went up on one of the hills for drinks with some of my neighbors, and this was the view:

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