Friday, November 10, 2006

i'm in danger. not in any imminent kind. but i am. actually, it'll be more accurate to say that my feet are. in danger of being snapped at by a giant crab while i sit here typing away at the school's computer. am not kidding either. A giant crab is on the loose in the teacher's office. although right now it's probably snoozing away in a dark corner under some boxes, waiting for his chance to sneak away undiscovered under the cover of darkness. poor thing doesn't yet know that the office doors will be locked over the weekend and he might have to spend three days running around amongst chairs, tables, boxes and books to no avail.
how did this come about, you might ask. or if you've taught in a japanese school system, you might not ask--you'll probably just laugh.
well. what happened was. a 3rd grade student found a giant crab. and by giant, i mean its claws are about 10cm long. so this beast sat in a cardboard box while everyone looked amused and asked whether it will or should be eaten. then it was transfered to a fish tank with nothing to keep it company. it was left in the teacher's office overnight with heavy books and a box covering up the tank. it was given a mikan (a citrus fruit) to keep it from starving. the room was locked and during the night the crab pulled itself up, pushed aside the books and the box and crawled out of his confinement. this was discovered in the morning and ever since then, every once in a while a teacher or two will "search" the room with a concerned look on their face. i did my bit. i pushed some boxes and looked under some shelves. right now two 3rd grade girls have taken upon themselves to find the poor bastard. so far, no luck. the search continues and my feet are still in danger.

lots of things happened. i'll try to give them to you in short snippets.

went to a wedding last Sunday. It was a wonderful event. Lovely and happy. I have pictures from it on the fotki page in the November album. What i found interesting was that the ceremony took place at a catholic style church adjacent to a giant hotel. Only close friends and family were present at the ceremony and others were invited to celebrate at a reception after. Round tables were set up in a large banquet hall. It was very western style, even a giant cake was present. I did notice later that the cake was entirely fake and there was a premade slit in it where the couple held the knife pretending to cut the cake. But in a very Japanese fashion, the first person to give a toast was the bride's boss. The family actually didn't give any toasts. His was the only toast before dinner and other events. Congrutulations were shown through dances and skits. I along with all the teachers from Ogimi Chuu performed a dance skit during which the couple was called out onto the stage and made to kiss. The groom's sisters also danced and so did the girls basketball team made up entirely of 3rd graders. The whole reception was a lot of fun and the food was delicious. At the end, people piled out and personally congratulated the parents and the newlyweds. We gave our money envelopes in the beginning and all were given a nice present in return. I found it amusing that it was cookies and cakes made in traditional Pennsylvania Dutch family style.
When driving back, I asked about the ceremony taking place in a church, whether the couple was Christian. I was told that most likely they are not. It's just a current style for young women to be married in a church after the couple is officially married at a city hall. They think the churches are beautiful and they like the way the ceremony looks. So then i asked how the marriages were performed on Okinawa before. Turns out the ceremony was done at home in front of the groom's family's shrine. A person of rank who knew both the groom and bride would officiate. The bride was also given a dowry and moved into the groom's house. But before the ceremony at the groom's house, a ceremony of giving the daughter away was performed at the bride's family. I was told that some people may still chose to do it that way. Mainland is different because of Shinto, of course. I saw a wedding ceremony performed at a Shinto shrine when i was in Fukuoka. The bride was dressed in a very traditional wedding kimono. The bride at the wedding i went to wore the same dress the entire time, whereas i heard that if the bride wore a traditional dress for the ceremony she would change at least once for the reception. Some of my friends have been to weddings like that in Okinawa.
whew. that took longer than expected, and i've yet a few things to share. but it's time to go home, so perhaps i'll pick up here sometime during the weekend.


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