been a while but for some reason can't bring myself to actually sit down and write.
prolly 'cause i know that i have a few things to mention and that takes time.
first. The Answer to the Simpsons quiz from last week's post is A, congratz to Kevin who is the only winner and will get a super duper prize that is so cool it cannot be mentioned for fear of unsurmountable rage of jealous that it'll put everyone else into. i am trying to keep this blogger a happy, safe space for all to visit.
last week saturday, two students from my school participated in the Kunigami area English speech contest. One of them took 2nd place. Actually, it should probably be referred to as third place, but they don't call it that. For some reason they award a first place and two second places. a bit odd. maybe 'cause it's nicer to say that she got second and not third. anyways. we're going to the all Okinawa speech contest on Monday. Should be interesting. I think the speech contest is more tense than the story contest because it's a national thing. The winners from Okinawa will go to a competition in Tokyo. I hope that my student does well but I am not stressing her out. The point of all these contests is to enjoy them, I think. In the long run, I don't know how much good it does them, except to teach them public speaking (in a foreign language) and public speaking should be enjoyed rather than feared.
the other success of recent days has been my passing of the dreaded Japanese practical driving test! I took a two hour course in a neighbor village and think it greatly improved my chances of passing. Am very happy, even though i don't actually have my license yet because i have to go back to Naha and watch a video, after which i will be officially legal once more. Don't know when i'll get a chance to get down there, though. The video is shown only once a day at 1pm, and i'd rather not skip out on any more classes, so it'll have to wait 'til Fall break, which thankfully starts soon.
Won't be going anywhere for the break. Have to put my car in the shop to renew my shaken. Shaken is like the yearly emissions test back home. It's a check of car's safety for which i have to pay an exorbent amount of money, especially if any work has to be done on my car to bring it up to speed on standards. I really hope that it won't be more than a grand, although because my car has a bigger engine, the shaken on it costs more. Sigh.
I have been staying in the north the last couple of weekends and have been really enjoying it. Last weekend went to a festival put together by the 20somethings living in the northern villages and towns. Last year was their first festival and this year was the 2nd attempt. It was wonderful. Very chill, on the grass, a few food stands, five eisa groups, a couple of garage bands, a breakdancing group. Am really glad i went. I told a couple of people in my village's Eisa group that i want to practice with them for next year. They start practice in June.
On sunday our village held a track and field event. I went and watched most of it. Didn't participate because i wasn't asked to and couldn't have joined on the day. Everything was very meticulously planned out. Who, where, when, wearing what color head band. The athletes were mostly adults, although there was a relay for elementary school through junior high school kids. And also some of my students ran the 100m dash. The competition was between the tiny villages that make up Ogimi-son. I heard some names for the first time. Most of them are just a few blocks big, but historically are a separate place.
The Okinawans are very community oriented. Perhaps this can be said about Japanese as well. It seems that people are very involved in the things that happen in the village. Sport events, cultural events, festivals, school activities--all of it is always a joined effort by many people. Things and people are connected here in ways that i have never observed in America. It's really comforting.
This weekend I'm going to check out Hentona High School's fest. Should be fun. High schools have sports fests, undoukais, every other year. On the off years, they have culture fests, which i am told are a lot of fun. I have not seen one yet, so want to check one out and it just so happens that there is a high school within walking distance from my house.
This weekend is also the Okuma fest which is open to the island and i'll be checking that out Saturday and possibly Sunday nights.
Sunday, i've been asked to participate in a relay at the Ogimi elementary school's undoukai. I'll go early and take some pics. am thinking elementary school undoukai should be quite fun. Each of the four elementary schools will be having it on that day, so maybe i'll start at my own, Kijoka, elem. and move onto to Ogimi then Shioya, then Tsuha. we'll see. am gonna be biking to it all so all depends on my energy.
see. told you. too much writing.