Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Seniors, May Day, Leadership Team Retreat weekend

Since I teach the grade six class, I do not get to interact very much with the class of 2013.  There is one Psychology class that meets in the room that I teach Bible and Math and I have my desk there, so I've been able to recognize a few of them.  They seem to be nice students.  Apparently there is a tradition where the graduating class does some sort of prank at school.  This year the class put cups of water all throughout the Atrium, with a blue 13 in the middle.  They were kind enough to leave small paths where students and teachers could navigate through the Atrium to go to their classes.  
This was taken from the outside door into the Atrium.

This is taken from the second floor looking down on the Atrium.
One interesting thing about teaching at an International School is the different events that happen.  Last week Wednesday was May 1st.  Some of the students in the elementary school were doing a folk dance around the May Pole.  
Elementary Class getting ready for the folk dance.
Friday, May 3rd was a holiday from school.  It was actually Golden Week here in Japan.  I believe the Japanese schools have more days off during the week, but CAJ had no school on Friday for Golden Week.  I took advantage of the extra day off by traveling with Brian and Bette VanderHaak up to a Pottery Festival.  We had to wait in a long line before we could enter the parking lot.  While we were waiting, I was able to watch, up close, the planting of rice in the rice paddy's.  
This is one of the machines used to plant the rice plants.  
You can see the rows of rice plants already planted.  They flood the fields at the beginning stage.  
This person is so bent over.  
These were rice plants that were slid onto the planters.
Here one of the workers is walking the rice planter down to the other end to enter the rice paddy.
One rice planter has already begun putting down plants and a second one is getting ready to line up next to the first one. 
Here they are on their way back.  This field was totally completed by the time we left.
Isn't this interesting pottery?  A conversation starter.  I wonder if the sunglasses came with the piece...
I was impressed with the terraced flower beds.
After driving up to the cabin, I was able to relax quite a bit on Saturday and Sunday.  Sunday evening I move down to another cabin for the Leadership Retreat.  We did take a couple of excursions.  One was to a Look Out.  
CAJ Leadership Team, (taken from the back to protect their identities, ok, not true) 
Besides working at the sessions, we also took a trip up to Ishinomaki-shi, one of the areas devastated by the March 11, 2011 tsunami.  It is right on the sea and flat, so many of the houses were wiped away and many people died because they could not get to higher ground when the tsunami came.  We were able to visit the Nozomi Project which was started in Ishinomaki.  It is a project where a number of women have learned to make jewelry from broken pottery they found after the tsunami.  We were able to visit their place of work and purchase some of the jewelry.  You can check the website for more details (just click on the link above) or if you wish to purchase some jewelry, you can buy online as well.  
Here the women were grinding the pottery.  They would take the pieces like you see on the left and break them into smaller pieces and grind them into sizes appropriate for earrings, necklaces, rings, cuff links, etc.  
These women were busy putting different pieces together to make the jewelry.
Some of the finished products.
Purchasing some jewelry.  
After visiting the Nozomi Project house, we also looked at some other places where mission groups, such as Samaritan's Purse have come to help clean out houses or rebuild houses, or build new houses.  We also visited a brand new church building.  There was still quite a bit of evidence of the devastation. There were piles of debris that they were still cleaning up.  
We just went over a bridge and to the left in the picture you can see piles of metal, much of it seemed to be from vehicles  or the like. 
A little closer view.   
Some more piles. 
Each morning I was at Tak, I went for a jog.  I really enjoy running down the beach and seeing the little villages.  I had some amazing views of the ocean.  What a great way to begin the day, seeing God's beauty in creation.  
 Surfers are there all year round.  
This was a cold stormy day.  
Looks dark.
This morning, I ran up into a neighborhood and took this picture from up on a ridge.
Last day at Tak.  This was a cargo ship from Fuji Transport.
It has been a good week or so, busy but good.  I'm learning a lot about how to be a good principal.  Prayer will remain as my constant activity as I begin to think about taking on the Middle School Principal position at CAJ.  There are good people to work with and that will help a lot.  I am looking forward to the challenge and the way in which my skills will be used.  
Thank you for your prayers and I continue to covet them.   

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