Monday, November 25, 2013

The Listmaker

Lately, I've felt as if my mind's been a bit all over the place.  So many things have been happening the past few months, and it's been hard to keep up.  I love all these things, of course, but I've been feeling quite overwhelmed.

I've always been a list maker, as long as I can remember, but the past few months I haven't been making them.  And just when I was feeling particularly stressed about all the things I needed to do this weekend, I decided to list them out.

  • Pay bills - US and Japan
  • Make Ethan's caterpillar costume
  • Go to the grocery store
  • Pick up dry cleaning
  • Buy Christmas presents
  • Practice "True Love" on the ukulele
I wrote them all, one by one, and it made such a difference for me to just see all the things on paper.  It felt even better to mark each one off - to actually see that I was getting things accomplished.  

Now I have about 3 lists floating around me - one for work, one for Christmas, and one for home stuff. What a difference a list makes!! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Circling the World in a Day

Every year there is an all-day event for Sapporo high school students called Circle the World.  It's a time where students can learn about various cultures through activities and presentations, while communicating in English.  This year, my school was in charge of the event, so my colleague Grady and I organized the ALT presentations and helped with getting the day prepared.  We'd been working and preparing for this since late summer, so it was a relief to see the day go so well, and for all the students and ALTs enjoying themselves.

We had workshops on Maori Haka, pinata making, Philippine food, and lots more.  After lunch, Japanese culture classes were taught by various English clubs.

Oh, and did I mention that at the end of the day I taught everyone some Texas line dancing?  Seeing 100 people dancing the dance you just taught them is quite a sight, let me tell you.

Afterwards, we had a much needed Mega-Beer at TK6.

I'm super grateful to all the ALTs and teachers who came out and helped make Circle the World another success.  I really do work with some of the best people in Japan!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Study Hall

A quiet night at home, after dinner.  Ethan's got Suzy curled up in his lap while he plays some classical music and studies his kanji.  It doesn't get much better than this :-)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Just Keep Singing

Last week, Kousei and I played a Live at Mellow with three other performing groups.  It was strange, playing at Mellow without Takuya, and Kousei and I were both a bit nervous.

My friends Maya and John played first, and after two more groups, we played at around 10:30.  I was afraid everyone would be sleepy and ready to go by the time it was our turn, since it was a Wednesday (am I fated to never have a Live performance on a weekend??).  But everybody stuck around and was so supportive.

Our set list:

"Stay" - Rihanna
"すき" - Dreams Come True
"そばにいて" - Misia
"True Love" - *forgot the singer's name

  Despite a few snags, I think we did pretty good job.  I'm becoming more confident in singing Japanese songs (I wish I could say the same thing about my Japanese speaking!)

And after performing three times in November, that was our last Live of the month.  We'll play again at Mellow in December for a special Christmas Live.  If you're in Sapporo, please come by!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ode to Autumn

 I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.
The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman, 
the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.
The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things 
come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go, 
not one lasts.

--Carl Sandburg, "Autumn Movement"

Monday, November 4, 2013

Our Newest Addition

Meet Siouxsie (pronounced Suzy), the newest addition to our little family.  She's a little orange tiger-striped stray that an ALT in South Hokkaido found with her two brothers.  They were abandoned in a parking lot, so she took them in and asked other ALTs if anyone would be interested in them.    We'd been wanting a pet for a while, and when we saw the pics of the little kittens, we just couldn't resist.  Because our friend lives down South, we had to wait two weeks to get Suzy, and we finally received her last Saturday.  She's the tiniest thing, and she's adapted to our place quite well.  She loves to curl up in our laps (in fact, she's in mine as I'm writing this), and she can be a bit of a troublemaker in the late evenings.  But we love her, especially Ethan.

I mean, how could you not when she does cute things like this.  We let Ethan name her, thus the 80's punk group name that is Ethan's current music favorite.

I've always had pets since I was a girl - dogs, cats, parrots.  So having a cat around feels natural.  It's funny, the need to have a pet.  We really keep them for selfish purposes, don't we?  For company, to feel loved, or needed.  To have something depend on us.  For their short lives, we are their world.  For what it's worth, I'm so glad that Suzy has come into ours.