Two long weekends!

I've been pretty busy with classes lately, but I'm doing well here in Niikappu! This week, I had Monday off and I have Friday off as well. It's a nice short week!

I started riding my bike further than I usually do, and I found a few interesting places around here. One one long bike ride, I went out on the road near my house and went in a big circle around town. It was actually a lot longer than I thought it would be, but it was really fun! I didn't take any pictures during that ride because the light wasn't very good. There's always next time!

Today I went to Shizunai by bike again. It takes about 15 minutes to get there, and it's uphill both ways. I went to a shop called "GEO," which is a book/music/DVD store. They also have a rental service. They have a lot of manga there, and they can order anything I want! I ordered some Mega Man manga, and it should be here in about two weeks. On my way back, I stopped at McDonald's for the first time. It's a little more expensive than it is in America, but I think the food tastes better.

On Friday, I was invited to the music teacher's house for dinner. Her house is in Shizunai, so another teacher who was invited picked me up and we went there together by car. In all, there were seven people there: our host, her parents, my fellow English teacher, two other teachers, and myself. They provided a really nice spread of food, including clam chowder, chicken salad, pie, salsa, and fish. The chicken salad was especially good. The music teacher's parents were really nice. I was surprised that her dad spoke very good English! He's apparently very well-traveled, and has lived in America as well as Mexico. He also spoke Spanish very well, but I couldn't really understand it. A lot of good all those Spanish classes in elementary and high school did for me.
We talked and ate for a while, and eventually the conversation got around to English phrases. The other English teacher asked her father what his favorite English phrase was, and I almost died when I heard this old Japanese man smile and say "ants in my pants!" It was the most unexpected thing I've ever heard, and I couldn't stop laughing. We're going to teach it tomorrow in English class!
The music teacher also has a really cute cat named Lala. She walked around during dinner like she owned the place. I held out my hand to her, but I was greeted with a "neko punch." She's very cute, but a little scary!

I've also been doing a lot of cleaning around the house. Unfortunately I slept through recycling pickup this morning, so I have to wait another two weeks. I still have a hard time believing that it's only picked up every two weeks. Since it's not weekly, I'll likely just have to throw away the bottles and cans that I can't store until pickup. Speaking of garbage, I learned the hard way that you have to double check and make sure the lid on your garbage can is securely latched, or crows will get into it and strew it across the street. I had to do a lot of cleaning that day. The crows are huge here! In America, they're pretty big, but here they're as big as chickens! And they're loud, too. Very, very loud. Sometimes when I think I'm alone and everything is silent, a crow will suddenly call out and it always freaks me out.

I'm looking forward to a festival that's coming up in Shizunai. It's going to be on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week. I might try and go on Thursday after work, or more likely on Friday when I don't have to work. I'd rather go to Shizunai during the day, because at night I have to turn on my bike's light, which makes it more difficult to pedal, especially since it's uphill.
During this long weekend, I've been watching some ongoing Starcraft tournaments online, and I played some as well with a friend who's currently in Tokyo. Some students and kids also came to my house to visit. They always like to see pictures of Jasper, and they really enjoyed some American candy (Starburst) that came in the mail today. Thanks mom and dad! I'm going to bring the candy to school once I get permission, and maybe we can give some out during class.

Oh, and here are some random pictures.

Lunch is served!

A typical school lunch. It's good!

One of the teachers plays the guitar.


Great post, great week, great

Great post, great week, great job !! Happy to hear that your Niikappu life is great ! MOM