Here it is, the Sports Day post. And really, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a bunch of moving pictures to tell you about it better than I could.

And that was pretty much my Sports Day. I just chilled and watched the kids compete. It was entertaining, definitely, though I wish I could have been a part of it somehow. Maybe for the next one.
(No this isn't about Sports Day. I still haven't gone through my pictures yet.)

Japanese teachers tend to wear one thing to work: track suits. It makes a lot of sense, because they do their fair share of chasing down kids and running around, so it's good to have something they can move in, and can get dirty. Plus, they have long days, and I don't blame them for wanting to be comfortable. For example, my 1st grade teacher said he gets to school around 6am because he's the sponsor for the kendo club, and they have practice every morning. Meanwhile, my 2nd grade teacher mentioned that she didn't leave until 9pm the other night. Crazy! My hours are nothing like that - I arrive around 8:15 am and leave between 3:30 and 4pm.

However, track suits aside, they always have a spare business suit in their locker. And when those come out, you know something important is going to happen.

Like today. I was with my 2nd grade teacher in the classroom, waiting for the bell to ring, and I realized she was wearing her business suit. Then she turned to me and said, "Oh, we have visitors today, and they'll probably come to this class first."


Not ten minutes later, five or six men in business suits walk down the hallway. Our principal and vice principal are two of them, and the others are from the Board of Education, I believe. They all had clipboards and all filed into the classroom.

Meanwhile, we were just starting our warm-up song. At the beginning of every class, the 2nd graders sing Abba's "Thank You For the Music" to switch to English Mode. My teacher had warned the kids about the possible visitors, and told them to be extra energetic.

That might have been the wrong thing to say to this particular class, but they certainly were energetic. They can only really sing the chorus at this point, but they belt it out with all their little hearts. And the Suits take notes.

After that is Q&A, where the students stand and read questions and answers off a worksheet to each other for 30 seconds at a time and see how many they can do. They do this every class, so they perform like pros, and the Suits mingle for a bit.

Thankfully, they leave at the end of Q&A. I'm really glad I didn't really have to do anything, because they were really intimidating. My role was simply to sing with the kids, and meander around the class to listen to their questions and make sure they're doing what they're supposed to. So basically, look happy and make my presence known. Which I can do at this point.

I never heard the results of the visit and probably won't, but my teacher was pleased and told the students how awesome they were at the end of class. So that's good.

The point of this post is that you should pay attention to what your teachers are wearing. I thought it was funny how obvious it was when I realized what was going on. The previous day during cleaning time, they didn't just sweep the teachers room and hallways, but mopped, too. And the teachers do look impressive when all in business suits. One of them even commented how cool they all looked when dressed up like that, haha. At one point, they were all gathered to meet with the BoE visitors, and they just looked so official.

I'm still at the point where I wear a suit everyday, and I have to continue to wear business dress as per my contract. So I always have to look spiffy. Which is nice in a way, because I don't have to worry about sudden visits and not being appropriately dressed. But at the same time, I do miss the days of college of jeans and a hoodie.
This week is Golden Week, where three national holidays all fall in in the same week, so the country pretty much goes on vacation for a week. And since my school's Sports Festival was Thursday, which was also a holiday, we got Friday off to make up for it. Then there's the weekend, and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are all holidays. It's fantastic. Most people travel, but I'm keeping it local and seeing what I can find around here.

Yesterday, I was invited to lunch by one of the secretaries at my school. We went to her friend's house, and were joined by her daughter (who is about my age), her friend's husband, and their former host-daughter, who is an ALT in Mito with another program.

I had a really fun time, and the food was sooo good. Everyone was really nice, and we spoke English most of the time. And we were there for about 4 and half hours. It was a really long lunch, and we played mini-bowling on the kitchen table with a super cute little bowling ball and pins made of wood.

In other news, I've also got my alien registration card! I simply had to go to the main City Hall and take the form I got when I went with my IC. I showed it to the host, and he took me to the right place, and the worker gave me my card. I was worried it would take like 30 minutes, and it ended up taking less than five. Which was really nice, it gave me some time to shop at the mall by the station.

I am working on a Sports Day post, I need to go through my pictures. I can't post anything with my students' faces or the school's name, so I have to be kind of careful. But hopefully I'll have something good for you in the next couple of days. This was just kind of a general update post, hopefully I'm have some more interesting ones coming.