One of the main reason that I was so excited when I found out that I got the teaching position on Peace Boat was because it meant that I would be able to return to my “home away from home” of Annaka (located in Gunma prefecture), the city where I lived and worked as an English teacher from August 2010 until August 2012. I arrived on Tuesday evening so that I would be able to make it to my students’ graduation on Wednesday morning. This was really important to me because similar to North American JHS, Japanese JHS has three grades, so when I started teaching two years ago, they were the babies of the school and I saw them mature into the seniors at the school. Seeing them graduate two days ago really brought closure to my time in Annaka… and it was just so nice to see them all again!! I was met with many “Eeeeeeh?!” (the Japanese sound for shock and bewilderment) and excited smiles and hugs, which I, too, was showing to them.
Other than the highlight of graduation, being back in Annaka for a full 10 days has given me the chance to visit my elementary schools! The first of which, I visited on Friday:
And then the weekend consisted of:
It was a wonderful weekend and has been a lovely first half of my time in Annaka/Gunma!
However, my plans for the upcoming week have been thrown a curve ball because last night, I managed to sprain my right ankle!! Fortunately/unfortunately I have sprained this ankle twice before over the past few years, so I know the drill. But “the drill” means that instead of visiting another elementary school tomorrow, I will be laying low with my foot elevated for most of the day. It was possibly a blessing in disguise, though, because I do have a list of things to work on for Peace Boat prep, so this will force me to get that done! And I will be able to visit the school later in the week… but even then, I don’t think I will be playing much “oni-goko” (tag) with them 😦
Ah, well. I’m just happy this did not happen mid-voyage AND that it is not broken! Phew.