Today at work I decided to start taking pictures of my lunches. They are always very healthy, and I have been surprised by how delicious they are! The cooks are very talented. I’ve gathered from the other teachers that SOLTILO is a bit pricey, so they must be able to afford to spend money on quality ingredients.
We had a new but not, student in class today. Ellie (fake name) was gone all last week so she is new to me but obviously not to everyone else. I still mix up two of the boys, their fake names are Scott and Simon, but in real life they both have S-names that sound alike. Another pair of similar names are Ellie’s and Ella’s, (fake names but they sound just as similar as Ellie and Ella in real life). However, because I got to know Ella for a week separately from Ellie, I had no trouble telling them apart.
After work today I stopped by a mall to buy a new shirt. All of my shirts are serviceable but very hot in the humid weather. They also take a bit longer to dry when doing laundry (there is a fast spin cycle after the wash, and then clothes go outside to dry) so I am hoping that this new shirt will be practical in a few ways.
Today at work it was a student’s last day. Apparently his family is moving to a different prefecture. Robby (made up name) was very sweet and energetic. However, he would sometimes get mad and snap which usually ended with some other kid being pinched or scratched when a teacher’s back was turned (even if only for a few seconds!). Children have different phases and stages of growth with their emotional regulation, but it is a bit of a relief that we will no longer have to spare a teacher to sit right next to Robby at all times.
I felt like I have finally found my groove at SOLTILO. I know all of the kids faces and names, whose water bottle and backpack is whose, etc. Being familiar with my environment has helped me to feel more comfortable, now that I am not constantly learning new information about the children or schedule etc..
Something I didn’t expect to appreciate was of the kids’ different personalities. I worked a bit with kids in the past, but I only saw them for a few hours at a time once or twice a week. Being with the same class every day I have really gotten to know each child individually. What will make one laugh will make another one cry so it has been very valuable information haha.
For example, we have this one student Tina (fake name) who lives in an apartment building close by. Whenever we have sport time at a specific soccer court she can see the building and will get sad and cry. However, she absolutely does not want a hug or any sort of affection for a solid 5 or 10 minutes. Trying to comfort her (beyond just sitting next to her) will make her cry even harder. Another student, Sammy (fake name), will crawl into your lap, lay down, sprawl out, squirm around, wiggle like a puppy, at the soonest opportunity any time you sit down and is even clingier if sad.
Yesterday was Nathalie’s birthday so today after work everyone who was free went to conveyer belt sushi together. At this specific chain of restaurants (Kura sushi) every 5 plates you eat and slid into a slot, a video will play and you have the opportunity to win a little prize. Out of the 4 times a video played we got 1 prize (I uploaded 2 videos of our unsuccessful attempts here).
I slept in a bit today which was a nice treat. My host-family and I went to Ippudo and ate tonkotsu ramen for lunch. It was very good!
Somehow my host-father, Nari, and I ended up talking about personal property tax. It was actually an interesting conversation! Apparently, in Japan, the older your car gets taxed more the older it is because of safety concerns. I didn’t know anything about car taxes in the U.S., but according to some googling it seems like different states have different rules about taxing cars as a part of your personal property. In the states that do tax cars the rates seemed to be based on the cars value (more expensive car, higher tax, etc.). I don’t know exactly if that information is correct, but it was fun just making conversation.
When we were first getting to know each other at the beginning of my time in Japan, Yoko was excited to learn that I would be having my birthday. She made plans for a nice buffet dinner and wanted me to wear yukata. Due to my sickness all of those events were rescheduled for this weekend instead! So, after lunch, Yoko and I went to a beauty salon to have someone help us put the yukata on. It’s complicated!
After getting our yukata on we met back up with Nari and Yukino and drove back to the Mi-Hamaen Japanese Garden to take pictures. Next, we drove to a hotel were we would be having a buffet dinner with Yoko’s parents. At this point Yoko and I were both a little uncomfortable from the tightness of the waistband (obi) and decided to change before eating. Dinner was delicious! I enjoyed all of the food, and especially the desserts. Yoko surprised me with a fancy juice drink that came with flowers in it! It was yummy, and tasted just like SweeTarts. (side note: I thought the candy was called sweet tarts, not sweetarts haha!)
Today was another day where I didn’t have to worry about waking up at a certain time. My professor (Chisato Kojima, the Japanese language prof. at IWU) wanted to have lunch with me and two of my (past) classmates who are also a part of Freeman Asia while we were all in Japan (Henry Moore & Alexis Aranda-Hernandez). Also in our party was Prof. Kojima’s mom and uncle! We went to a monjya restaurant on monjya street together. Although we went there to eat monjya, I forgot to take any pictures of it! (also not pictured is udon)
<– okonomiyaki <– yakisoba
After lunch we parted ways with Prof. Kojima’s uncle (who very generously gave Henry, Alexis, and I a bag full of Japanese snacks each!) and traveled to Tsuruya Yoshinobu for desert. We were able to watch the confectioner make the deserts in front of us. It was cool to see the different ways the different confections were made!