Saturday, February 4, 2017

Neighborhood gardens and Mt. Fuji

Most Saturdays I take Hana for a walk down to the Yanasegawa.  I walking pace is slow, so I am able to take a few pictures and do some reflecting on what is happening in the world and in my life.
I find the growing seasons here, in Tokyo area, something I am getting used to each year.  For example, Brussels sprouts are usually found in December and January.  Corn-on-the-cob is usually purchased in June.  Today as Hana and I were walking, I took some pictures of the neighborhood gardens.  You see that now isn't a time when much is growing, but in the next month or so, the owners of the land will begin to till the soils and prepare for planting.




Field at the neighborhood High School

Found some little blue wild flowers

Fields are looking rather bare right now.  

Close up of Mt. Fuji


Mt. Fuji in the distance.

Found someone using a rototiller. 


Folks taking pictures of wildlife.

Mirror, Hana and I.
 It has been sunny weather the last weeks, but the air is quite cold, usually going below freezing at night, but warm (usually close to 10ᵒC during the day, although we have had some temperatures going as high as 18ᵒC!).  I am enjoying the sunshine and the weekends that allow me to slow down, reflect and thank God for what he is doing.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Guam Cross Country Meet

Waaaaaay baaaaaaaack in October 2016, I was the female chaperone with the Christian Academy in Japan's (CAJ) Cross Country team.  CAJ was invited to the Asian Pacific Invitational Cross Country Championship, which is held in Guam.  We arrived quite late on the Wednesday evening, by about 11:00 pm - midnight.  We were able to sleep in the next day and it was a low key day, which is good for the runners.  Most of the day was spent driving students to the the malls, shopping at the malls, or monitoring students at the pool.  Students did have orientation to the race route that afternoon, because there wouldn't be time to do that the next morning before the race.
Waiting at the station

Collecting the luggage at the baggage claim
The pool
The Friday morning was an early one, with the boys having to be ready for warm-ups at the track by 5:15 am.  It was still dark, as the first race begins shortly after the sun rises.  That is when the humidity kicks in and it becomes so warm that running it too late in the day, isn't such a great idea.
Morning of the first race
Sunrise

A bit of humidity...

Girls starting line







Sunset

Dinner at Capricciosa Ristorante
Night view from my room
The last day, is the relay race.  The teams run in pairs, one female and one male, each person running the circuit twice.  The males began, running the circuit once, passing off to the females, who pass it to their male partner and finishing the race on the beach is the female partner.
Rainbow the morning of the second race




Getting ready to start the relay

Praying before running

Running through the water

Frolicking in the water after the relay race
The Saturday evening is a banquet at the John F. Kennedy High School.  After the banquet, there is an awards ceremony recognizing all the top runners and top teams.
Banquet

Awards ceremony


Individual achievements
It was a great time getting to know some of our High School students.  Each evening we had devotions in the coaches' room, focusing us on running the race God has placed before us.  I am thankful I was able to be a part of this trip and help our cross country team.

Principal's Retreat/Food post

When I came to teach at Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ) about 4.5 years ago, I was quite impressed with how well things were documented and organized.  I think it is one of the best schools I have taught in over the course of my career.  I do need to qualify that a little.  I taught in Christian schools my whole career and sometimes the requirements are minimal to be able to educate students.  The longer I was teaching, the more developed I became as a teacher.  Christian schools were also developing and doing things like documenting curriculum, writing policies, and determining governance.  So, to be honest, CAJ is probably the best school I've taught at, but that does not mean the schools I taught at previously are not at this level now.
One of the things CAJ does look at is best practice.  What is the best way to do things?  We are currently in a self-study year, but really, that is something we think about regularly, how can we be a a better school?  
This past Thursday and Friday, the High School, Elementary School principals, Anda and Jacquie, and I went to Ome to spend two days working on making improvements on how we evaluate our teachers.  I could have taken pictures of us working, but they would just be us sitting at a table (Japanese height) with our laptops on our laps, books and papers on the table with maybe some cups with drinks.  That would be kind of boring pictures.  So, I took pictures of the places where we had our meals.  😀
Our first stop was at a little "Mom and Pop" style restaurant.  They basically have one meal they can offer.  It was a really cute place called Burari Cafe and it had a bit of a gallery there too.  




Jacquie took along some delicious scones and tea AND the lovely tea cups!  
You can see that our table was low and our chairs down on the ground. 
That evening we went to the restaurant in the hotel.  It was a shabu shabu dinner, where you cook your food.  The one pot has water in it where you can put your meat and vegetables in to cook.  

Left pot was cooking rice and left post has the water in it to cook the meat and vegetables.

Friday morning, there was a breakfast buffet in the same room where the dinner was the evening before.  
For lunch we went to this cute Con Brio cafe.  It was another little cafe.  There was a full menu.   
Front entrance
We shared a tuna salad 
Pasta with mushrooms

Bacon gratin
Gorgonzola cheesecake with coffee
It was a good two days, both being able to accomplish much work on developing a better evaluation process and being able to experience delicious food in various places.  
Someone is also content to be back in the house. 

I am very thankful to my colleagues, Anda and Jacquie, who are great professionals to work with on a daily basis, but are also fun people.  I am also grateful to Rie, who helped arrange some of the food we were able to experience these two days.  Most of all, I'm so thankful for God placing these people in my life.