Monthly Archives: September 2015

Undokai

IMG_0596Saturday, August 19th, we attended Josie’s Undokai.  Undokai is a P.E. Festival.  All the students from all the classes participate.  The entire school, 7th, 8th and 9th graders are divided into three groups.  Each group will have 2-3 classes from each grade so they are evenly mixed.  Then each group is assigned a color.  The colors this year were white, red and blue.  Josie was in the red group.  The groups compete in various activities like relay races, tug rope, sprints, jump rope, and games.  They earn points for each event and then the points are totalled at the end to see which group is the winner.  In addition, they also compete as individual classes against the other classes in their grade.   For example, in Josie’s 8th grade, there are 7 different classes, each with about 40-50 students.

IMG_0614In Junior High in Japan, students have a “home room” and a “home room” teacher.  They have all their classes in their “homeroom” with all the same students.  Unlike the American Junior High system, the teachers go to the students.  So, for one hour, the English teacher may come and teach English. Then the next hour, the Science teacher may come, or the Math teacher, or the Japanese teacher.  As a result, students spend a lot of time with the same group of 40-50 classmates and get to get to know them well.

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In Japan, it is all about “working together”.  In Junior High, this “working together” is foundational in their teaching and the Undokai was a good example of this.  In each color group, there were slow and fast participants, athletic and not athletic.  But, all ran in races and as teams all earned points; all were equals.  All the races were about working together, either by passing a baton, moving in sync, or supporting one another.  Players cheered on their teamates, but also players in other groups.  It was all about doing your best for your team and doing your best with your team.  At the end of the day, all the points were totalled and the red team won.  Yes, Josie’s team!  They were awarded a trophy but even as they were given it, the teacher reminded them it was not about the red team winning but the school as a whole participating together.  What an amazing experience for our first Undokai!  And we all had fun.IMG_0621

These Junior High School students created a beautiful image of cooperation, unity and teamwork without individual competitiveness.

We are the body.  Imagine what He can do through us when we work together.

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My Day to Day Life in Japan

Today, it rained…and rained…and rained…and rained!!! The back yard (if you even call it that) was covered by about two inches of water, but it’s slowly disappearing.  A tropical storm just came by and dumped a bunch of rain on us.IMG_0253  Because of that, my school, Tsukimino Junior High School, canceled classes this morning! YEAH!!  But sadly, Josiah’s school, Chuo Rinkan Elementary School, was only delayed by two hours..hee hee hee..

It has been a while since I last wrote, but we have been super busy.  Josiah and I have started school; here’s our morning schedule. Somewhere between 5:00 and 5:30, Papa wakes up. Mama’s alarm goes off at 5:00 so she gets up around then too.  I wake up around 5:30.  Then after that,  I either get up and take a shower, or go back to sleep and wake up at 6:00 until my mom comes in.  After my shower, I get into my P.E. uniform:  royal blue shorts (half way up the knee) and a white T-shirt and knee high navy socks.  Then comes the normal stuff like eating breakfast, brushing my teeth, making my bed (maybe), packing my bag (if I hadn’t done in the night before)…All of this happens by 7:00.  After that. I either read, or play with the bunny (Did you know we got a bunny?)

Our new bunny!

Our new bunny!

Then around seven thirty, we wake Julia, do our morning prayer, and Josiah’s off to school at 7:45. After he leaves, I put my uniform on over my P.E. clothes (strange i know, but it saves time at school and all the girls do it) and  I usually leave somewhere between that and 8:00.

Isn't he Cute!

Isn’t he Cute!

Besides school, I have Kumon every Tuesday and Friday evening.  Kumon is basically an after school tutorial.  I am catching up with my Japanese writing and Josiah is studying math.  Sometimes when I am there, I sit next to a boy who is probably in second grade. He just loves to talk…and talk…and talk…and talk.  He is very cute.  Other times, I sit near a little girl…maybe first or second grade and she’s super shy, but we often smile at each other when the teacher is telling the boy to be quiet.  It’s hard work, but lots of fun.  And yes, my Japanese writing is improving!

I made the decision to go to school at Tsukimino instead of homeschool and I am glad I did.  I have already made several new friends and my Japanese is improving.  But, as I said before, I am very busy with school work, homework and study.IMG_0153  Because of that, I am often very tired, especially since I have been fighting  an awful cold.  At first, it was just these loud, powerful coughs, and then just when I thought it was starting to go away, I caught a cold on top of that!!!  So tomorrow morning I go to the doctor and get a checkup and probably an X-ray, so that is something you can pray for.  Living in Japan is full of surprises and challenges.  God helps me everyday.  Slowly, I am getting used to Japan and its’ diverse culture. Before I arrived, I thought I knew pretty much everything about Japan…WRONG!!! But, I am learning and improving, not by my own strength, but Gods!!!