Sunday, March 31, 2013

Photo Challenge Day 31

March 31: Sky (Last day of this photo challenge)

The sky was gorgeous today, so there are two pictures: morning and evening.

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Shot on my way to church this morning. I love these mountains. Every time I drive this route, I want to stop and photograph them.

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Shot on my way home from church this afternoon. I feel similarly about the mountains on this route (they are likely the same mountains, just from a slightly different angle).

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On top of Easter Sunday today, we had a baptism. What’s really amazing about M’s story is that she met Jesus while she was in Africa for a short time. Somehow God provided a translator and someone to mentor her when she came back to Japan.

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Here she is getting baptized. Along the bottom are all the other people taking pictures.

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Because it was Easter, Sisters Gospel Choir (my church’s Gospel Choir) sang a couple of songs for us. It’s always fun to hear praise songs in English!

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Then we started prep for Easter Lunch. It was potluck, so everyone brought something.

Here are a few of the teens and a couple of the little ones at church.

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The sanctuary transformed from place to listen to the teaching to party room.

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These girls are getting their contributions ready.

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She’s making yakisoba – a church tradition for the Easter and Christmas potlucks.

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A few more of the teens at church. The one in the green is one who I talk to almost every week. The other two I haven’t talked to very much.

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Part of the line up of food. Doesn’t it look good? Also, my friend Maki makes things other than rice in her rice cooker too! There was soup in the rice cooker at the bottom of the picture.

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A couple of the super sweet ladies at church. The one on the right lived in the UK for a while and she sometimes translates for me.

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Maki, the other person who takes lots of photos at church gatherings (actually, she probably takes more).

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A fun conversation.

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These ladies are trying to decide how to display this cake.

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The yakisoba prep.

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Two of my favorite kids. They are constantly sitting on me, pulling me along to play or doing my hair.

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He is risen!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Photo Challenge Day 29

March 29: Pastel

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I don’t own anything that is pastel colors except the small collection of pastel colors in my 24-count colored pencil box.

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Not so many pictures today. I helped K-sensei get ready to move today. We cleaned lots of things that needed done before all the teachers can descend on her house and pack it into a truck. It was fun to have one last chance to chat with her before she leaves.

Besides that, I switched from my winter coat today to my windbreaker. On the walk to K-sensei’s house, it was perfect weather for such a thing. On the way home it snowed!

Tomorrow’s Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Photo Challenge Day 29

March 29: Fuzzy

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Tigger is soft and fuzzy!

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How I wish we had paper recycling in my town. I cleaned out my desk today and this was the result.

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This afternoon I also went out for lunch with a friend who I went out with last week. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture.

REAL brown sugar! I made it myself. Yum!

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Chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bars of amazing!

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I went out with Mayumi for her last night in the main part of town. Tomorrow she moves to a smaller part of town.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Photo Challenge Day 28

March 28: Backlit

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Today was HARD. It didn't help that I didn't start thinking about it until 30 minutes ago . . . I should have been thinking about it more, but I just figured something would turn up. But I wasn't really looking. 9 pm at night is a hard time to find something backlit.

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Spring break has been great because I've been able to find excuses to have lunch with and skype with friends both here and overseas. It’s been a good week friend-wise.

Today I had lunch with the teachers from the high school. Two of them are leaving. It’s going to be strange next year.

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Today I got the new seating chart for the staff-room in the high school. I was very surprised. We’re only getting 4 new teachers in the staff-room of 14, but so many teachers got married this year, that I could only read half of the names on the chart – all the rest had kanji I didn’t know.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Photo Challenge Day 27

March 27: 5pm

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At 5pm today, I was a few pages into the 5th chapter of Narnia.

Reading in Japanese was difficult, but fun.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Photo Challenge Day 26

March 26: Collage

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Random bits of my day. I studied Japanese and drank tea. I attempted to edit the HEC videos – unfortunately with two cameras they were in two different formats. But, switching to my PC meant getting them off the camera took 15 minutes rather than 45 with my tiny work computer. Last, but not least, I found a bunch of super cute Japanese chocolates to eat this afternoon.

Other than that, I had choir today – the difficult song is difficult!

Also, we had a long-awaited Google Plus hangout with the crazies. Not everyone was available, but it was good times anyways! Here are a couple of “group shots!”

At the top: Ben. Across the bottom: Me, Ben (in New Zealand), Jess and Kenzle (in the US).

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Round 2: OC and Jess. Bottom: Me , OC & Jess, Kenzle.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Photo Challenge Day 25

March 25: Guilty Pleasures

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I think I need a cat! I considered chocolate for this one, and instead, aiming to be less cliché decided to go with crochet and reading (two really big time wasters in my life). I sound like such an old lady! Tea and Facebook could have also made that list though . . .

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This is the scene that greeted my eyes this morning as I drove to work. It’s going to be bicycling weather soon!

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We recorded the HEC test today for my JHS kids. They did so well! But the day was a bit chaotic.
It started when my second student wasn’t at school. He had forgotten the test! Luckily, we moved right along and had him go last.

The camera was a bit of a fail though – I hope not a real fail, but I’ll find out tomorrow. With 3 minutes left in the test, it made a funny beeping sound which I immediately knew was because it had stopped recording. I had my student stop asking questions immediately and went to try to find out what happened – the sd card I put inside was definitely big enough. Turns out, it wasn’t writing to the card, but to some mysterious internal memory. I had no idea how to make it write to the card, so we used my SLR to finish the last 3 minutes of the test. We’ll see tomorrow if this all ended up working out ok, or not!

After that, I went home and had a nice phone call during lunch with a good friend back home.
Shortly after that, I went over to the high school to meet the new English teacher. She’s just graduated and likes snowboarding, too! I hope we’ll have a lot of fun teaching together. I still can’t believe the teacher I’ve been teaching with there is leaving so soon. I’m going to miss getting to see her everyday.

In a much more fun spurt of creativity, I decided it was time to re-arrange the pictures on my walls – when I had a bigger place, I’d re-arrange the furniture. Now, I wait till my pictures all fall down (approximately a month with the sticky tack I was using) and then re-arrange.

Here’s a pile of prints that I was deciding what to do with.

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This is next to my sliding glass doors.

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And here is my favorite part – the ceiling/wall between the living room and the bedroom.

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In all, it was a really good day.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Photo Challenge Day 24

March 24: Style

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Where I go to church, there was almost no snow, so I got to go out without snow boots for the first time this year! These are my favorite no-snow-on-the-ground shoes! (I also got to be the random foreigner taking pictures of her shoes in the parking lot).

Today was the last church service Michiko is going to be at. She’s leaving for her next job this week. I can’t believe the time has gone so fast! We taught together for the last 3 and a half years.

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Today there was no lunch after church, so I went to the taco shop near church.

I got shrimp-zucchini tacos and . . .

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Tacos al pastor! My favorite!

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I like the fun ways they’ve decorated the shop.

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These guys will serenade you while you eat your tacos.

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He’ll watch and enjoy the show.

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This is the shop. I love how bright and colorful it is.

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Here are the people who run the shop.

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After tacos, I went to the supermarket and then drove home.

Tonight’s dinner was minestrone! I love making minestrone because it’s so easy and it makes lots so I have food for several more nights.

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Here’s a pic of the whole bowl . . . gotta remember to wipe the rim of the bowl next time I take photos.

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Photo Challenge Day 23

March 23: Moon

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Today was the last day that our ski hill was open that I would have time to go out. Thankfully I ended up staying at the hill until the moon was out!

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I got to have a nice, slow morning this morning before I set off to meet up with Mayumi. We drove out to one of the elementary schools that’s not right in town because she had a farewell party last night.

After the drive, we came back and had pizza at the shop in town. The pizza place is a bad place to have any kind of serious conversation because the man who makes the pizza takes incredible pictures and they’re on slide show on a TV in the background. Whenever there was a lull in the conversation, I was immediately drawn to look at the stunning images on the screen.

We decided to get the “house bacon” pizza.

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Mayumi tried very hard to figure out how to pick up pizza and eat it with her hands. She finally got it figured out with the last slice.

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This is the man who makes the pizza. He uses a real pizza oven.

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Japanese people love to give flowers at farewell parties. But at these parties usually the people who are leaving are moving. I think it’s a funny tradition because what are you supposed to do with flowers when you move? Mayumi felt the same way and passed her flowers on to me. I think they’re gorgeous!

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A couple of close-up shots.

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After lunch, I got to skype with a couple of friends at home. Then I headed out to the ski hill for the last day of boarding in town (Furano and Tomamu both have longer seasons than my tiny hill). I had hoped to get out early to possibly ski with my students, but if they were out today, I was too late (in February it’s super common to go out and find tons of them all over the mountain).

This is the view from the top. I got in few hours of boarding before I came in. I ended up being one of about 7 people on the hill and the only one using the lift that goes to the top.

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When I came in, the woman who runs the lodge invited me for cocoa and sweets with her daughter. It was fun chatting with them.

After that, I spotted a foreigner in the lodge – what? The only foreigners who come to town are people I invite, right? : ) Turns out he’s one of the Tokachi area ALTs and he boarding with a girl I had met a few times through that group – she recognized me!

So the group of us (the lady who runs the lodge, her daughter and these two) all sat around drinking hot cocoa and chatting about where they were from and what they were up to. I was super surprised that these people I had been on the hill with were actually people I knew.

When I finally left, it was dark. I realized the moon was out and I had to attempt my moon shot while I was there. Thankfully, I had anticipated this and brought my SLR. I had to use my lap as a tri-pod, but the shots turned out decently.

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On my way home, I had one of the most ridiculous convenience store visits I’ve ever had. I got to the counter and one of my former students was the cashier. He asked if I had my membership card and I said no, I had been boarding. He pointed at my car and I remembered I had brought my camera bag and with it, my real wallet. So I abruptly ran out to the car to grab it. I came back, laughing at my stupidity and handed him my card. I looked over to realize he was trying to put my things in a bag.

“So no mama de ii,” I said. (It’s fine as it is – in this context it means don’t give me a bag).

He continued to try to bag my things. I probably said it about 10 times before he realized what I was trying to say. (I never want a bag – such a waste of plastic!). By this point we’re both laughing.

Somehow I got to draw something from the big box of prize coupons. I hand over the mysterious coupon and he scratches it for me. In a few attempts of broken English and super simple Japanese, he finally manages to tell me that it’s a coupon for 10 yen off some kind of cup noodle.

And with that, I left, still laughing at the craziness of the whole encounter. I must admit, I’m thankful for people who will laugh with me when the Japanese-English conversation thing fails.