Friday, July 23, 2010

Japanese Summer Vacation

Starting this week, the schools here in Japan are on summer vacation. The vacation lasts from the end of July to the end of August. Not only is the time shortened in Japan but the role of the teachers are different as well. The teachers don’t really get a summer vacation. If they want one then they have to take off. We all come to school everyday even though the kids don’t have to. The Japanese culture is to be or look busy so that you look like you are a good worker, EVEN if you have NOTHING to do! That is me. I have nothing to do because the AET before me left great lesson plans and there are only so many decorations I can make. There is only AC in the teachers room and outside this room its about 90 degrees everywhere else in the school so needless to say, everyone spends most of their time in the teachers room. The problem with that is you must look busy and well I have nothing to do and I’m not good at doodling and I’m not a writer of any kind so I’m out of luck. There is some socializing while in the teachers room but the problem with that is I can’t speak Japanese so not many people talk to me and if they do then its just quick little things. Its tougher then it sounds. Going a whole day not having one real conversation with a person while you are surrounded by people all day is depressing. It has only been a week of summer vacation and I can hardly stand it.

Luckily, next week we have summer training with all the AETs. The two weeks following training an AET couple (Luke and Emily Martin) and I are going to South Korea! It will be the vacation we need! I am pretty excited! Sometimes I think I’m being dramatic about dealing with my situation but sometimes it just wears on you. Things will get better with a vacation. They always do!

Monday, July 5, 2010


....just in case you want to send me something! :)

Chelsea Baker
Matsuyama Haitsu B-102
3-144-5 Migawa
Mito, Japan 310-0912

Love and miss you all!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Rainbow Trout!

Yesterday was quite the Japanese cultural experience! 2 of my Japanese friends, Erisa and Hitomi, asked me to go fishing with them in the town close by and me being quite the fishermen decided it would be a good chance to show them my skills! So despite the fact I was low on sleep I got up and met them.

What I didn't realize is that fishing at this festival is not quite the fishing I'm used to. When we showed up, all the kids were in swim suits and everyone had nets and bags looking at a shallow pool of water. From what I gathered, we were expected to wade into this pool of water that had been stocked with TONS of HUGE rainbow trout! So Hitomi and I wading out in our chacos ready to try to catch fish with our HANDS!!! Now here's the problem, the water is cloudy, you can't see the fish but they are brushing up against your legs. I couldn't handle it. I was always the kid that hated swimming in the lake because there was a possibility that a fish might brush my leg and here I was in knee deep water stocked with TONS of fish! We did a lot of screaming as the fish taunted us by swimming by us.

I wish that I could explain to you the amount of people that were here to fish with their hands and how skilled they were at it. These fish were soooo big and sooo fast but some people were excellent at catching them!! Allen Thompson, another AET, came along and he made the trip. He went all out and ended up sitting in the water and waiting for the fish which was the common thing to do. We never ended up catching even one but walked away with about 12 fish. It's funny how we acquired them, all thanks to Allen...

1 fish from an old man with a net catching them right and left gave one to Allen. I think he felt back for the foreigner that couldn't catch any but was trying sooo hard.
1 fish from the people who ran the event. After most of the fish were caught they used a net to catch the rest of them and handed them out to the kids. Of course Allen got in that line as well.
2 HUGE ones and 4 small ones were given to Allen by a family with a cooler full of them. He was trying to give our 2 fish away because we decided we weren't going to eat them and they ended up giving us some of theirs. It was a very confusing exchange even with a translator.
4 more were given to Allen after he went BACK to get his other shorts that he shed after getting soaked. Some people wanted to interview the foreigner on why he was there and where he was from so they gave him more fish as a thanks. We ended up with more fish that we could eat!

We decided to go back to Erisa's house and try to cook them so after passing some of the out to people we saw in the next hour we went and fried/grilled/boiled the fish. We had so much food that we had to invite more AETs to come join us for the feast! It was an amazing day and the best part was the whole day was FREE!!!

Koke's a monkey!

This is a little boy that is super crazy and tends to wonder around school a lot. He ends up in my English room a lot of times and will do things like this!