Friday, February 14, 2014

Brain Bowl, Little Women and more snow...

We have officially begun our Winter Break, well actually we started a day early.  We were supposed to have school, but it started to snow early Friday morning and the prediction for the amount of snowfall was varied, but it was pretty sure that the commute would be quite an adventure, so school was cancelled.  It was a very tough decision because the High School was putting on the musical, "Little Women" and so much work has been put into that production and postponing it was a difficult decision.  The School Support Services also had an Arts and Skills day planned for Saturday, which had to be postponed.
So, the week began fine.  Tuesday we had Student Led Conferences.  Students and parents come to school and the students share the progress they have made so far through the school year.  I heard positive comments from parents who enjoyed listening their child's perspective on his or her learning. 
Wednesday was the Middle School Brain Bowl competition at AOBA school in Hikarigaoka.  At the middle school level, the students are put into mixed groups with students from other schools.  The group works together to find answers to questions, many of them are trivia type questions.  There were three rounds with varying types of questions.  The second round was the buzzer round where one group goes up against another group.  On the ride back to school, the students' comments were quite positive, saying how much they enjoyed the day and were able to make new friends. 
Chronologically ordering Disney films
Trying to use the clues...
Working together!
Gathering to hear the results!
WCA Middle School Brain Bowl team!
As I mentioned above the High School has been working on the production of the musical Little Women.  It is quite a show.  I was impressed with how well out students managed all the singing parts as well as getting into the characters. 
The opening set of Little Women
Friday the snow began to fall and fall and fall. It felt like we were going to repeat what we had last weekend!  The one change is the the snow changed to rain on Saturday morning.  It rained and rained and rained.  I decided to go out and shovel part of the road and the entrance.  Boy, it was a lot of wet snow! 
Friday night, taken out of the front door.
Same shoe as last week, maybe not quite the same amount of snow.
Someone going for a walk? 
Lots of snow, but it's starting to melt already
Satruday morning when I got up.  Taken out of the bedroom window.
My borrowed shovel
Part of the road I shoveled
Front entrance
The snow is melting fairly quickly. 
I'm glad for weekends and Winter Break.  It does give rest, although with this snow, not always physical rest, but still good physical activity. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Snow Day Saturday

The past week, we had our first snowfall.  I know some people were waiting for the snow for quite a while.  Tuesday the snow began to fall in the afternoon and continued until that evening.  Here are pictures taken after the snow had stopped falling.  

Doesn't look like much, eh?  Well, it wasn't much compared to what happened later this week.  
The weather reports for this weekend were varied, as it common with weather reports here.  It seems that the weather patterns are difficult to predict, especially snow fall, because the temperatures hover around the freezing mark, so it may end up raining, or it could be snow, or it could just blow over.  As we moved closer to the weekend, the snow predicted for Friday evening into Saturday seemed to be something that was definitely going to happen, but the amounts were varying.  Friday afternoon ASIJ cancelled Saturday's Futsal Jamboree, based on whether it would be snow or rain, it was not going to happen.  Within hours, all the other games scheduled for Saturday were cancelled too.  CAJ had its "Little Women" full dress rehearsal scheduled for Saturday cancelled as well.  
It turned out that it was a very wise decision.  The snow started during the night and has been falling continuously since. 
Just outside the door looking at the neighborhood by about 8:30 a.m.
Around noon, I walked to the Lawson 100 store to pick up some items. 
Notice that the streets have not been plowed.  I've heard that Tokyo does not have snowplows.  It would seem that it's so because I have not heard one go down this street (it's only a block away).  
It continued to snow into the evening.  
Taken out of my door at about 6 p.m.
This is the snow piled on the ledge.  That shoe is a size 10 shoe, to give you some perspective. 
So, there has been a significant amount of snow fall today.  I didn't think it would snow that much.  It is supposed to continue off and on during the night but the sun is predicted to be out tomorrow.  
This was taken at about 10:30 p.m.
It had pretty much stopped snowing by the time I took these pictures at 10:30 p.m.  I did notice the wind had picked up though.  
What this unexpected Saturday Snow Day gave me, was a chance to do some things I haven't had time to do.  One is cook.  I bought two bags of Nagano apples a week or so ago, but haven't had a chance to do anything with them yet.  So, I made some apple sauce!  
I also had a chance make some roasted vegetables for dinner.  They were good.  
Dinner was good and I watched the movie "Capote" in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman.  An interesting movie to watch, if you have not seen it yet.
It has been a good day.  I was blessed to be able to go to bed and know that I did not need to be up by a certain time.  It was good to scratch some things off the "to-do" list. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Busy Week!

Well, that was a busy week!  There were a number of items on the "To Do List,"  ok, maybe not a number of items, but the items that were on there, would take time to complete.  One item was finalizing the Middle School report cards.  Our new report cards give parents detailed information and that information had to be checked for each student.  That took multiple days. 
After finishing all the editing of the report cards, a friend and I went out for Indian food. YUM!
Salad, nan, rice, butter chicken curry and vegetable curry along with lassi. 
Friday, the Gakugei Special Ed. school came to visit CAJ.  I volunteered to plan and run the activities for the students.  Here are some of the activities we did together.  I apologize for the blurry pictures. 
Playing Duck, Duck, Goose. 
Some more Duck, Duck, Goose.
More Duck, Duck, Goose.
Running to get to the space before being tagged. 
Red Light, Green Light (1, 2, 3)
We had 4 games of Red Light, Green Light.
Another game in one corner. 
A fourth game. 
A group picture
Saturday we had Futsal games against the British School and Nishimachi International School at the British School.  The British School is actually located on the Women's Sowa University's property.  They had two Futsal fields.  Interestingly enough the fields are artificial turf.  I have yet to find real grass.  It seems real grass is not common here.
This is a close-up of the turf.
 Some have asked what Futsal is.  Futsal is a modified soccer game.  Usually they play with 6 - 8 players per side (depends on the number of players available).  The field is considerably smaller, maybe a quarter of a full sized soccer field.  The goal is also smaller.  When the ball goes out, it is kicked back in, rather than thrown in.  Usually when we have games, some of the other rules are reviewed before games begin.  I have found there is not a consistency on some of the other rules.  Here are some pictures of Saturday's games. 

January is already over!  It's hard to imagine that we are in February already!  In one sense, I'm glad.  It means we are getting closer to warmer weather.  During the winter months, my feet tend to get cold.  I have used the foot warmers and wear wool socks.  I did not have a pair of warm boots, so I splurged and bought UGG boots online.  My friend has a membership to this website that offer items at a lower price.  It may be because they are last year's style.  Finding my size is difficult, but we were able locate a pair and they fit well.  I have worn them most days.  One day I thought I'd wear my regular shoes and my feet were cold, so I decided to stick with my new boots.  :)
My new boots!
Sunday I went to the International Community Chapel of Saitama again.  It was communion Sunday.  It seems that a number of the churches follow the practice of having communion on the first Sunday of the month.  I do find the service is a little longer, but much of the service is in English and Japanese.  Many of the songs we sing in English and also a verse or two in Japanese.  I have felt welcomed there and plan to continue attending. 

Pastor Daniel and the translator for today, I didn't get his name. 
The weekend is coming it its end.  I sometimes wonder why do weekends go so quickly, but I guess they are only two days long and the week is five days.  I'm glad God gave us a sabbath, so we can rest and be rejuvenated for the week.  I hope and pray you have/had the opportunity for a sabbath during this week.