Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas break is here!

Merry Christmas!  I still wonder at the fact that I'm in Japan!  Hard to believe that I am way across the Pacific Ocean from where I have lived most of my life!  Sometimes as I am riding my bicycle to school, I have to be reminded that I really am in Japan!  
This will be my first Christmas in Japan.  I'm still trying to figure out what Christmas will be like here.  A couple of weeks ago, there were only a small amount of lights out and Merry Christmas signs.  In the last week there have been a few more lights but I'm not 100% sure if it is for Christmas or if it is for New Year's.  I have heard that New Year's is a celebrated holiday, a pretty big deal.  
A dental building near where I'm living.
Thursday, December 13th was a special day in grade six at Christian Academy in Japan.  We celebrated Passover!  In some senses it seemed odd that we were celebrating Passover just before Christmas, but then again, it was because of Christmas, that we were able to share in the meal that pointed to the final sacrifice and resurrection of Christ.  We had a pastor from a local church help us through a Messianic Passover Haggadah script.  The students had made some matzoh and haroset the day before.  Here are some pictures of the event.  
We really do not segregate the students by gender, they do this on their own!

Girl's table

Pastor's table
On Friday, December 7th we had a significant earthquake here.  It was one that made the news in Canada and the US.  That quake was about the sixth one I felt since coming here in August. Interestingly enough, an alert came on my IPhone with sirens, announcing the earthquake, however with my lack of Japanese, I didn't know what it was about.  It took a little bit for me to figure out that it actually was an alert about the earthquake, which came only seconds after the alert.  There were a number of teachers still in the building and we were either standing in the doorway or under a table or desk.  The buildings here "rock" some but they seem to be able to withstand quite a shake.  
Each day of this Advent season I have been able to open a gift given by the grade one and two classes at Washington Christian Academy.  I take pictures of the gifts each day to send to the teachers to share with the students.  It has turned my little Christmas tree into an ornament filled tree.  The star is HUGE compared to the tree, but I am loving it!  Here is the tree as of December 17th.  
My Little Advent Tree!
So, what do I plan to do with my three weeks off?  Well, I do have school work to do, grading papers, forms to fill out and lesson planning as well as curriculum work.  I have to admit though, the break is welcome and since the three days off thus far, I've relaxed a lot, although not nearly as much as Hana, the black lab I am taking care of for most of the break. She seems to sleep nonstop!  I also will have Jenny, a yellow lab coming Tuesday, December 18th.  She will stay here for part of the break.  I also have plans to go to Disney, not sure if I'll be going to land or sea, here in Tokyo.  That should be interesting to see if it's different from Disneyland or Disney World in the US.  I also have tickets to go tour the Imperial Palace grounds on Boxing Day.  Both of those days should be fun.  I hope to do some bicycling around and hopping on the trains so I can start to feel a little more comfortable knowing where I'm going when I ride on them.  
I'm sure I'll post about the upcoming events.  I'd like to wish you all a very Blessed Christmas! 

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