March 23: Moon
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.
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.
This is the man who makes the pizza. He uses a real pizza oven.
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!
A couple of close-up shots.
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.
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.
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.