Monday, August 22, 2005

long weekend away

drove to Naha last wednesday night for a new JET orientation..first time driving a long distance (two hours) but it went well.. was stuck in traffic in Naha for a while (it's the capitol of Okinawa and quite busy) so i don't regret being placed in the north where it's calm and quiet..the conference went really well.. saw some JETs i came in with almost a month ago.. some of them are on remote islands so i haven't seen them since the airport and won't see most of them again until the mid-year conference in November..
the seminars and workshops were very useful..conducted by "old" JETs they were geared towards classroom activities, school culture and miscommunication that is likely to happen.. dealing with teachers of English and other teachers in the school..a bunch of questions about vacation time and sick leave were answered..and lots of other info was given.. we partied in Naha thursday and friday nights.. there's a bar run by two canadians in Naha called "Paul and Mike's" where JETs and other foreigners gather...good spot for strong drinks and conversation.. met an Israeli guy who's in Naha studying karate for a few months.. he might be coming up north mid-week to check out the waterfalls and i offered to drive him around the area..
checked out a dance club in Naha thursday night.. japanese kids are funny about dancing.. they all sort of line up in front of the DJ and never really face away from him, dancing in one spot without too much movement.. some kids were getting a bit crazy..but mostly just faced front and some even lit their lighters to really good breaks in the music..
the DJ played a lot of american hip hop and some reggae..

saturday 64 JETs took for the island of Tokashiki on a ferry..it's about an hour and a half trip..gorgeous green island.. sandy beaches, blue waters.. good snorkeling.. not even close to what i experienced in the Sinai but still good...
lots of good time was had.. there were block games on the beach.. (our block came in a strong second)
there was guitar playing (which i missed out on), drinking games of all sorts, rain in the night, sleeping on the beach, skinny dipping in the ocean (which i didn't miss out on) and lots of good conversation
got back on the main island mid-day sunday.. drove three people home and stopped by to get some kitchen stuff on the way.. checked out an English bookstore in Okinawa city.. it's near a lot of bases so it has a lot of stores geared towards americans.. the bookstore had some good books about okinawa and learning the japanese language, as well as lots of magazines and fiction books.. but all of it is way too pricey and i think i'll be ordering most books on-line..

still feels like i'm not in Japan some days.. feel like i'm on an extended vacation with no set rules or schedule.. although today i spent some time tidying up my apartment so it's starting to feel like i'm settling..
think i'm going to invest in an airconditioner.. it's a pricey venture but it'll be useful as a de-humidifier and a heater as well.. so might be worth it..
for all those that are wondering about gas prices...i filled up a 34 liter tank for 4200 yen today (about 40$)..you do the conversion..i'm too tired right now. :)

pics are up for the island trip and also some from Naha..i'll add descriptions over the next couple of days.. sorry..i'm lacking on time to do all of it at once..

will write more soon.. i'm told i'll have plenty of free time once school starts next week.. :)

cheers

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