Culture Days/Open House

Around this time of year all of the schools have, what translates to, “Culture Days” or “Open Houses”.  We both went to see our students in them and hopefully these pictures can give you a good snapshot of school life here in Japan!

Chris' Jr. High students

One of the elementary schools Chris teaches at...

...and one of the elementary schools I teach at.

These are all the sixth graders from one of my schools...four classes totaling 120 students!

And this is the class I teach (4th class). They did a poem in English and did a great job!

Tamura Fuji Road Race

Like last year, our town had a road race in October.  Chris said he wasn’t going to run in it this year, but the day before the applications were due he changed his mind (good thing they don’t have a limit like the Marathon).  I love when he runs, because I love to cheer at races!  This year Chris ran the 10K along with another guy from our team and there were also five of our other teammates that ran other races.  The weather was great, so it was a fun day to cheer everyone on!

All the men's 10K runners getting ready.

Chris wore an orange shirt to make sure I could see him!

While he was out running we played with friends and ate snacks!

Katherine was so excited to cheer for Chris!

The sign I made for this race...it's tradition!

And he's back in the stadium...play time's over.

Finish: 45:05!

And I can’t wait for next October…we’ll be back in Chicago…so Chicago Marathon 2011 here we come!

English Camp

Our month of October was filled with three weeks of English Camp for all of the sixth graders in our town.  It was three weeks of English fun teaching the students shopping in English, skits and about Halloween.  It’s a lot of work – but it’s really fun to get to know the students and teachers so much better!  We have a lot of pictures from English Camps, so I’ll just leave you with a few glimpses.

My group's skit was "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly"

One of our many Halloween costumes...we teach it a lot here! Rugby player and chef!

Undokai 2010

Every school in Japan has a “Sports Day” (Undokai) once a year.  The kids wear their athletic outfits and run races.  At the Kindergarten it should be called “Extreme Sports Day” – the three, four and five year olds run races, do dances, and do gymnastics routines.  It’s quite impressive!  The kids are so cute so we have a lot of pictures…I kind of had a hard time picking some to share so here’s a few…

The Welcome Dance

Four year old race

Even the one and two year olds did a little race with their parents.

The five year old parent race...they were witches and cats on broomsticks.

Rebekah and Asher getting ready for the three year old dance.

The English Teachers were pirates in this race - the kids had to win Janken (rock, paper, scissors) in order to pass by.

The three year old parent race - rockets flying around the world.

Mariana doing the four year old dance.

Five year old dance to the "One Piece" song (a famous Japanese cartoon).

This is what the five year olds learn in gym class.

More from gym class...

Tokyo in a Day

There were a couple of weekends we had to head to Tokyo so I could visit a doctor who spoke English and practiced Western medicine.  Everything’s fine, but because we had other things going on that we couldn’t miss, we’d do a day-trip to Tokyo.  I’d go to the doctor in the morning and then we’d eat good food and see a little of the city before heading back in the evening.  Even though they were fast trips, we still made use of our time and did a lot!

The Shinkansen (bullet train) - We live four hours from Tokyo but the bullet train gets us there in 1.5 hours!

This is a Thai restaurant we found in Tokyo...we always make sure to stop here now! We really miss Thai food from Chicago!

Target in Japan?! I was hopeful for about a second.

This guy was acting as an "American in a hurry". This was at a train station and he just stood there and everyone just stopped and watch him stand there.

Starbucks at least two times...just because we can!

Everyone sleeps on the train...

Like last year, some of our teammates sang in our town’s Folk Pop Concert.  They really seemed to have a lot of fun and the Japanese people always enjoy the English songs (I especially love the worship songs)!  I didn’t join in but went to watch and they did a great job!

I know this one is dark, but I think it's fun how excited Chis and Rebekah look!


Well, we had a great week with Rob!  We were so thankful he got to come visit us – it was really such a blessing to be able to have him here!  We kept pretty busy but enjoyed every minute of it, and we were so sad it went by so fast!

Tomorrow my parents and Wesley come to visit!  We’ll do more traveling the first week they are here and then be around our house the second week.  We feel so blessed to have so many visitors for this summer break!

Here are few more pictures from Rob’s visit.

We went to a Tokyo Giants baseball game! One of our favorite things in Japan so far!

We got to see Matt Murton, formerly of the Cubbies, play!

The cheering was off the charts! Everyone used these plastic bats to beat a rhythm to a different cheer for each player.

And the snacks weren't your typical "baseball food"!

Early one morning the boys headed to the docks to see the Tokyo Fish Market.

And no trip to Japan would be complete without some karaoke! We had so much fun we ended up staying for three hours!

Our final hoorah - yakiniku dinner! (BBQ meat)