Last week was week four of my elementary school tour, with a day off thrown in on Tuesday for "Labor Thanksgiving", which I'm assuming is the Japanese version of Thanksgiving, with probably a lot less turkey.
My first school of the week was pretty far south, nestled in the mountains surrounding Sapporo. It was a very small school, as the classes only had about 17 students, when most classes have 30-40. I enjoyed the kids here, they were very nervous to speak with me, but slowly warmed up after a while. After lunch, they asked me to play "Onigakko" with them in the gym, which is basically Japanese tag. I ran more than I've run in a long time, and was actually sore the next day. The second day I was there, I had lunch with a charming class of fifth graders. One of the boys I sat next too proceeded to try to explain to me the conflict with North and South Korea, all through gestures. When he made the explosion sound, I got the gist of what he was saying. He asked me if I liked Kim Jong Il, and I said no I didn't. He said me too.
This was my little lunch group. I love how you can see each of their personalities in this picture. One of them asked me during lunch what type of man I like. I said tall. He looked disappointed. Can you guess which one?
When I left on my last day all the 5th and 6th grade came to see me off. It was very sweet.
My next school was up north, and a little more suburban. The 6th graders were super shy, the shyest I've experienced. The teacher wanted me to choose a few to speak to, and I thought I was going to give them heart attacks! But leave it to good ol' Sneaky Statues to get them warmed up and loving me by the end of the class. It was at this school that I signed more autographs than anywhere else. I felt like a celebrity - huge crowds of kids asking, "Sign please", as they handed me their notebooks, textbooks, and pencil cases. One boy asked for my autograph 6 times! Towards the end I was getting really creative - putting in hearts, stars, or smiley faces with my signature. One group of girls - and one boy - followed me around habitually. Feeling a little bit like a celebrity I called the boy my bodyguard. Maybe the fame was going to my head a bit.
Oh, and let's not forget about Thanksgiving! I wasn't off on Thursday, but we did get to have a Thanksgiving feast at a restaurant and bar called TK6. I was relieved that we got to eat a delicious dinner without having to cook, and it was nice to see other ALTs I haven't seen in months!
It was GOOD!!
So now everyone and everything is gearing up for Christmas. There's beautiful lights up in Odori Park (more on that later), we bought a Christmas tree, and the snow is falling! In fact, the snow's been falling all day - beautiful, fluffy flakes, the kind you don't mind walking in. Well, I didn't mind anyway. I'm just so thankful to have had this wonderful experience here and to have met the people I have. Life is good!!