Thursday, April 9, 2009


春は今ここです! Springtime is (I think) finally here, bringing with it singing birds, budding trees, and carefree missiles flying overhead from Korea! Not only that, but the wintertime slump is melting away and we are enjoying ourselves in what now feels like home! Jacob has been playing basketball twice a week with students at the Sapporo International High School, as well as at the local community center, on the days that he's not working downtown. School for us has begun again, and we've spent the week preparing for classes, welcoming new first-years, and guiding the new foreign exchange students through the maze of terrifying Japanese introductions and first impressions (I was there only 8 months ago).

This Springishness has definitely given us a new bounce in our steps and new energy for some of our favorite things, including eating massive amounts of raw fish and rice at the local kaiten zushi (conveyor-belt sushi) restaurant down the road:

Getting a new Spring hairdo is almost obligatory and nothing out of the ordinary...except when the process is in an entirely different language and the hairdressers are almost certainly only proficient working with the Japanese National Hair (thick, coarse, and black as opposed to thin, frail, and reddish/brown). I sucked it up, somehow made an appointment over the phone, and managed to score a lovely, lovely hairdresser (named Rie) who took me from this grown-out mangle:

To this lovely new (and hopefully not too soccer-mom-ish) 'do:

My students seem to like it...I've heard nothing but yells of "kawaiiiiiii!" (cuuuuute!!) for the past couple of days!

Another highlight of these new spring days was watching the result of the concert band's 9:00am to 5:00pm everyday Spring Break practices!! No kidding, these kids are SERIOUS about their clubs! The concert, held in Sapporo's Kitara Hall, was no less impressive than their crazy practices!

Speaking of crazy practices, I was in charge of training 10 amazing and very talented English speakers for the Hokkaido English Challenge (HEC), an awesome competition put together by HAJET (Hokkaido Association for JETs) which tests students on their ability to speak and actually communicatively USE their English (as opposed to merely cramming in grammar points and written vocabulary for yet another exhaustive test...the Japanese historical preferred method for language learning...). Through working with these gals, I not only saw their confidence in English speaking greatly improve, but I also got to know each of them a lot better than I would have on a day-to-day basis as I have about 240 students that I see each week!

Aren't we so kawaiiiiiiiiii!!!!!

The grand prize of this competition is a 2-week homestay to any English-speaking country that the student chooses. Pretty freakin' awesome if you ask me!

Last, but not least, these springish days bring with them a whole new throng of Kit Kat flavors for our enjoyment! First up, Sesame-Glazed Potato:

Followed by the amazing flavors of White Peach and Orange Peach:

And then, the dreamy, DREAMY baked custard flavor!!! Let's just say that this bag is what pushed me to begin running again! These are limited editions, folks...get 'em while you can:

The last and possibly the most disappointing flavor because, despite the packaging and promises of Cherry Blossom goodness, this was, in fact just regular Kit Kats in a ready-to-send Springtime greetings box! Blast!

It's been well over a week or two without snow, and almost a week without any more Korean missiles, so here's hoping to a future of full-fledged Springtime loviness!


Katharine said...

Sesame Potato...Now I get it. We were all guessing as to what that picture on the box really meant. I have to say that I was definitely not a fan of the peachy Kit Kats. Yuck. Lemon, yum. Tiramisu, yum. Blueberry, yum. Peachy, ew. No me gusta.

Eri said...

Did you get hair cut?!Kawaii!!!!
I wanted kit kuts of Sakura version when i intorduced Japanese HANAMI...