In case you have missed it. I lost my camera. Yeah. It hurts. Bad. So, sadly I have many pictures, they just happen to be on other people's cameras. Even at the elementary, I borrowed the teacher's camera, and she is being kind enough to send them to my home on a CD.
So, here are my updates with random photos to brighten up the dialogue :)
The Elementary School: Loved it, but I would prefer to post pictures first. I'll summarize. The kids entered the school to a principal and teachers inviting them in, they had a choice to either play outside, water plants, read, or write. There was a mix of all of the above. Huh, that makes sense. This seems to complicated for Americans...doing things that are developmentally appropriate for kids. Start the day with movement and free reading and writing.
I took near a million photos. Poor teacher. It was great.
Everyone pitches in for lunch. Very efficient...
Clean up time is taken seriously...
My Long Run and a Missed Earthquake: So, I go out for my 15 mile run this morning. I get to run by the beach and the weather is just perfect. The run was so easy because everything was flat. I was even able to end the last 4 miles at a 7:30 pace (impressive by any standards). The last mile was closing in on the 6:40 range. I could have gone longer. I was pumped (Brayan, think Jon Richardson)! I walk in to being asked, "Did you feel the earthquake?" What!? I missed a 5.3 earthquake. I guess I was moving faster than the speed of light and it superceded the earthquake or something like that.
My Host Family Visit: I stayed with Sumiko and Tamotsu this weekend. I was the one telling everyone that it wasn't a big deal. "Don't worry, it's only a day!" I said. As we pulled up into the parking lot, I got so nervous. Very nervous. Luckily, my nerves were eased as I met Sumiko who shared a common interest of walking a lot. She also had great taste and helped find good places to shop and visit. I got to China Town, something I didn't think I would fit in my schedule, along with a trip to Kamakura (another area) and the beach. In Kamakura, she helped me pick the coolest Japanese shoes. She and her husband gave me the prettiest hand-made purse and tea set. The purse was exactly something I would pick, and Sumiko was nice enough to throw in a small money purse that was equally beautiful.
I think the thing I enjoyed the most was our talk on American culture. If anyone has read or watched Gulliver's Travels, this would summarize it all. I never really stopped to wonder why our society does what it does. Example, "Why do so many Americans get divorced?" It becomes a domino effect of more whys. Because they marry young...why. Because they don't really know each other and/or we focus on ourselves...why. You see what I mean? If not, it was really important to me and I'll try to explain later. It also made me think that our way of life is based on the Darwin method. Every man/women for themselves. We life without purpose, merely going along with things. Japanese life seems to have a meaning and purpose, and it reminded me that I need to be more reflective on my decisions and day to do interactions.
So, I got off on a tangent, but this is what is on my mind...and I am tired. Anyway, it was wonderful and I think Sumiko is well on her way to becoming an interpretor. Something I think I helped her with this weekend. :)
One of the shopping areas I visited with my great host family. I LOVED the mall close by. So neat!
Out of Money: So, I ran out of cash hoping to get money out of an ATM machine. Then nothing. It wouldn't read it. I was so embarresed! Sumiko ended up paying for some of my food as I promised to send her money once I got to Tokyo. Just to check out whether it worked at all, I stopped by a grocery store and bought Thomas the Train bubble gum and some crackers. It worked. Julie was kind enough to pay for not only dinner but Baskin Robbins after that.
Komono Dress: Julie went Komono shopping and somehow I became the genie pig to try an outfit on. I hate to admit this, but I loved it and felt so pretty. There is so much to put on, and I felt bad not being able to understand her as I know there is so much significance in each piece, etc. I plan on reading up soon. We also stopped by some American used clothes/item stores. I personally loved the Jolly Green Giant phone, but felt the 125 dollar price tag was a tad on the crazy side. But, I could make a killing! An average t-shirt went for 40 dollars or so and super cheap, nasty looking items went for 5 dollars. I saw the cheapest little buttons like Krogers or Home Alone 3 for this price. Crazy!
Out of Touch Until I Return to Tokyo: Just a warning that I will not have email or phone access until Tuesday in Tokyo. Time is going so quickly!!!