that says, i think, "from Friday.."
so let's start there.
Friday was a special day. Both nationally and locally. Nationally, it was the day of the Hina Matsuri or the Doll Festival. It is a festival that these days is meant to celebrate the daughters of the family and to ensure their happiness and future success in marriage. Beautiful dolls are displayed prominently in a family's home, they are usually dressed in Heian-era (794-1185AD) costumes and can be quite costly (a full set of 15 dolls can get to be as much as $25,000). It used to be that the dolls were made out of paper and were used to transfer into all the illness and misfortune that might have befallen a family and then tossed into the river or brook near the house that way assurring a healthy year for the family. But traditions change and currently the festival is a day to celebrate daughters, and to make sure that there is nothing standing in the way of them being married succesfully it is believed that the doll display must be taken down and stored away the day after the matsuri, thus preventing any procrastination.
Click here for more on Hina Matsuri .
The 3rd of March is also connected with Peach Blossoms. These flowering blooms come second on Okinawa after cherry blossoms, whereas on mainland they will appear first. So some families may display a twig of blossoming peach next to the dolls.
Locally, friday was special because it was the last day that 3rd graders attended a full day of school at Ogimi Junior High School. In the morning we had classes as usual but in the afternoon we had a unique PE class. The boys played soccer against each other outside, and girls prepared for a dance show in the gym. The girls were split either by class (the entire 1-2 class performed together) or they were split among friends, so 2-1 and 2-2 girls mixed. The performances were hillarious and spirited and were all done in good fun and to cheer up the 3rd graders.
I have photos up in a separate School Folder on the Fotki site--check them out. The biggest surprise for me was the win of 1-2 boys over 3-1 boys. I was sure that the older boys would win, after all they are two years older, taller, stronger...but the 1st graders surprized me scoring 2:1 and winning that match. Pretty cool.
So Friday night I got together with Kelly and we went to hang out at Keri's. It was a good night of girls hanging out and even though a TV was brought up to watch a movie, we never quite got around to it. The next morning Kelly and i went for an American style breakfast buffet at Awase golf course, and i drove down to Itoman.
That evening I had the pleasure of attending with Yasemine and Ayse, the Itoman HS Brass Band concert. It was an incredibly well performed concert. The band performed several numbers as a whole, then individual performers were showcased, and the same students also sang two songs (one of them a hymnal in English and Latin). In the third portion of the concert we were treated to a full band performance of "Take the A Train," "Star Wars" main theme, and "Sing Sing Sing." And of course it was awesome to see our very own Chris Madole perform those numbers along side his students. Chris played two different saxophones and did a solo with two other sax players during one of the numbers. It was a great concert and also an emotional one for 3rd graders of Itoman HS. Before the last song was played, all 3rd graders came out front and center and were given flowers and special words, written by 1st and 2nd graders were read about each one of them.
Sunday, we got to watch Ayse participate in a kayak race on the beach near Chris' place, had a late breakfast of delicious banana and chocolate chip pancakes and Chris and i headed off to do some exporing in the southeast of the island.
Will have photos from that and the concert up in the next two days-still working out the technical difficulties.
But the coolest thing taht happened this weekend was being invited into the home of Chris' neighbors when we were coming back to his place later Sunday. The family was hosting a dinner for one of Chris' neighbors who is from Hokkaido and will be leaving on the 2nd of April to go back home. We were given food and drink and actually managed to talk to them for nearly 2 hours. It was really fun and between the two of us Chris and i decided that we speak Japanese well enough to be understood. I was actually surprised by how much i could say and understand--it was good knowing that all the studying and attempts are not going by wayside and some things are actually remaining inside my head.
I drove home after and got in around 1am.
The weekend was so eventful and tiring that i had to take a Monday off. The best decision ever! I had a day to clean, call family, launder, figure out the clothes line situation (now i don't have one at all), and to take a walk in Okuma, study there and have dinner.
I also watched "Some Girl" a 1998 film with Giovanni Ribisi, his twin sister Marissa, Michael Rappaport, and Juliette Lewis. I enjoyed it.
So now back in school. This Friday we will have the graduation ceremony for 3rd graders; on Thursday there will be rehearsals and cleaning all day. So tomorrow will be the last day to teach for this week.
oh. and hooray for Japanese scientists who have found a way to extract gasoline from cow dung!! Not only that, apparently it is also a source of fragrance. Check it out!