The school year has officially ended today. We had a ceremony this morning that involved a lot of bowing and speeches made by teachers who are leaving Ojika. I just can`t get over the resemblance of Ojika school assemblies to church. And then I have to fight the urge to fall asleep because when I think of standing up, sitting down, bowing, I start to feel that same bored-to-death feeling I would get in church. The best part of church was hearing the tone-deaf lady in the front pew try to wail away at Amazing Grace, silently judging people`s fashion choices and mishaps with holy water (a kid put his gum in it, a lady dropped her purse in it, etc.)
My parents decided they were going to postpone their trip to Japan until later because of the disaster in Japan but my sister (who had a nonrefundable ticket and isn`t going through Tokyo) is going to arrive in Ojika tomorrow night. I am going to Sasebo to pick her up and make sure she was able to get from Fukuoka all right. It`s pretty much fool-proof but one can never be too certain. So I am basically spending 6 hours round trip on a ferry to go get her. But it will be nice to see her and hear about the family and actually be able to speak to someone in fast English again (Lynum fast). I went to Uku island to the north for a band concert a couple of weekends ago and I was talking with the ALT on the island and it felt so good to speak so fast with an American. I am probably going to make my sister wish she had brought ear plugs.
I am brass banded out! I can`t possibly attend or play in any more concerts. I have already played in three in the past couple of weeks and I`m finished. No more. Zero. Zilch. Zip. It`s always the same story – get there seven hours early to practice. We had a concert on Sunday that people were supposed to arrive to by 7 in the morning and we didn`t play until 2 pm. I, however, slept in and said a little white lie of being busy with an appointment – so I got to stall until 11.
Tonight is an enkai to say goodbye to the staff who are leaving the high school next week. There are five of them and we will be getting five new people the week after that. So everything will be kind of up in the air. It`s a stressful time for people working in education in Japan because chances are that their lives will be uprooted and they will be moved to a new school. I`m sad to see them go – especially the music teacher because she has an awesome sense of humor and she`s a great neighbor. But she`s going to the southern-most Goto island in the chain of islands so I am sure that she will be back to visit.
I am really looking forward to my vacation from school. I have two weeks off and I will be returning for the first day of school. My sister and I will be in Ojika for a few days and we`ll drive around the island and she can meet my friends here. After that, we are headed to Kyoto and Hiroshima for the rest of the week. And next, we will go to China! Beijing! I am excited to see the sites there and try different food! Mostly I will be glad to be getting out a bit. I am starting to feel kind of restless on the island! The sun is starting to come out though (cue the Annie music) so it`s nice to finally feel the sun on my face again.