wow I fail at updating my blog! As I mentioned before, I am working on a write up about Mt Tsukuba, but I could at least blog about whats going on too right??
Anyway. Almost directly after my last post, my school had a group of students from New Zealand come on exchange for 12 days. We had a lot of trouble finding host families, so I had one of their teachers stay with me (in my double shoe box), which was really good because I could also participate with them in their activities.
Each year the Kiwi trip always happens at the same time so that they can see the school’s cultural festival. However this year things were a bit different. The festival had been changed from 2 days to 1 day due to swine flu being everywhere in Japan at the moment. Then, late on Thursday afternoon (Friday is a preparation day) it was announced it was totally cancelled because 4 classes in the whole school had been sent home with the flu.
Which meant that instead of 3 days of culture festival, 2 days at Nikko, and 2 days with their host families, we had a whole week off, only broken by those 2 days at Nikko.
It actually turned out to be really really fun. On the Friday we had some problems with one of the Kiwi students (she was homesick), so we weren’t able to do much. Beth (the teacher I was hosting) and I went for a walk at Soka, which has some historical significance in being a trade area. And then that evening there was a big drinking party followed by karaoke.
The next day, all the adults from NZ, myself and another teacher went to Mt Mitake to do an easy hike. Mt Mitake is a lot of fun. We caught a cable car to the top, visited the shine, and then walked over a ridge to Mt Hinode. Mt Hinode is great, because on a clear day you can see Tokyo in the distance. And we could even see a little of Mt Fuji. However, it’s not easy hiking while hungover…
Sunday, the whole group of us went to Tobu Zoo, which is very close by my house. It actually isn’t just a zoo, it also includes a small theme park, with a brilliant rollercoaster. Suffice to say, the kids had a great time!
Monday and Tuesday was a pre-arranged trip to Nikko. We went to Edo Wonderland, which is a village of Edo-era buildings and attractions. I had been there before, and its okay, but it’s also something I think you could skip on a trip to Japan. We also went to Tobu World Square, which I had wanted to go to for a long time. It’s a park full of miniatures, with the theme ‘Travel the world in just one hour!’. I loved it and highly recommend it! After that we also went to Toshogu (I think it was my 5th or 6th time), which was pretty unremarkable (see my previous post).
Wednesday was mostly spent shopping, afterall, what’s a vacation without shopping? And Thursday was once again hiking! This time we went to Kamakura, home of the biggest outside Buddha in Japan. Our Kamakura hike was pretty easy, and included a lot of shrines and temples. The most interesting ones were Zeniarai Benten, where you wash your money and it multiplies (and it really did work for me!), and another temple, of which it’s name escapes me, with a lovely garden.
After that it was back to school until the New Zealanders left. But being back at school has also had its challenges. We pretty much had to jump straight into preparing our classes for their exams, which are happening this week and next. AND yesterday a major typhoon passed over Honshu, so school was cancelled for the day. It was nice to sleep in, however, it did throw a bit of a spanner into the works.
And now it’s mostly back to normal.
Until something else comes up…