June Photo Challenge : 27

kendo.june27 A student practices Kendo, a form of Japanese martial arts.


June Photo Challenge : 25

In order, today went from “this is boring/the worst” to “this is a lovely” then back to “this is the actual worst”.

Here’s what happened:

It was a test day at school, so the morning was fairly boring for me. The afternoon was regular classes, and I was scheduled to teach with one teacher who brings me to every class she possibly can. She has no discipline with the students, and her classes are insane. One boy today took of his pants and ran around the classroom hitting other students with his belt. The teacher did not acknowledge this. Another boy got up and sat on his friends lap. Another just kept screaming “SEX SEX SEX SEX”. Teacher just kept on teaching despite the lack of respect/attention the students had for her. Its really a strange experience to be in a class like that. And, get this: this class is split up, so she wasn’t even teaching the entire class. Half the class goes with another English teacher and the other half stays with her, so there were only about 14 students in the room. When she first started bringing me to this class, I essentially walked around keeping kids inline. But today, (oh I’m so close to the end of this job) I just couldn’t be assed and so I stood at the side of the room and stared at her as if to say “how are you letting this happen?” Its not my job in any remote way to discipline the kids, so I was really going beyond when I did before. Technically I am just the English assistant, there to help out with pronunciation, listening, reading, etc. But really this job is so much more.

After school I decided I needed a drink. I had to cycle to the bicycle repair shop where I had dropped off my bike yesterday to be fixed (I was using a loaner bike). I thought after that I would go buy some Disaronno at a special shop down by Katie’s house. Katie, conveniently, was on the exact same page as me, and we met at the store. We each bought snacks and some booze and headed down to the river to have a drink out of Hello Kitty plastic cups. We ended up talking for hours, as usual. And with that, here is today’s image.


(and check out Katie’s image today here!)

Once the sun started to go down at around 730 we figured we’d better head home. Although, I had a nasty surprise waiting for me. A COCKROACH. ‘Tis the season. Deandra said that her Japanese teacher told her they come out during rainy season because the drains flood, so it’s common to find them in your house now. THEY ARE THE ABSOLUTE WORST AND IMPOSSIBLE TO KILL AND THEY MAKE ME CRY. But I battled it out (and won) and he is now dead and in a garbage bag on the curb of the road. ICKY.

So that’s how my day went from bad to good to bad again. Nothing a little Disaronno and The Mindy Project won’t fix.

Hope you are all having a wonderful day!

– R

June Photo Challenge : 24

My view as I ate lunch with my fifth grade students at elementary school today. In front and out of focus are the trays of school lunch on the kids’ desks. The pink things are their thermoses filled with tea. The window shows us mountains, of course. In front of the window sit the rags which students use to clean the hallways. Students clean the schools here; there are no janitors. After lunch, every day, students spend 15 minutes cleaning the school.

Elementary school lunch Japan

June Photo Challenge : 23

Today I got all settled with a drink and my camera by Dogo Onsen, my usual scene, ready to creep on some tourists. As I brought my camera up to my eye, it was blinking “?”. I clicked the “?” to find out that my battery was running low, and my camera would not be taking any photos until it had some more juice. So I went home, plugged it in, had dinner, and headed back out before sunset to take my photograph for today. I decided not to go back to Dogo Onsen. It was getting dark so it’s harder to shoot. I walked up to view in Dogo park with the idea of getting a night cityscape. The sun hadn’t quite set yet though, and I liked what I saw. The busy street winding towards the castle, the tram, and the people crossing. And of course, atop the hill, Matsuyama castle. I always found the colours of Japan to be pretty bland. Unless I’m showing off the beauty of the yukatas or kimonos, there really isn’t much to be seen colour wise. So I chose black and white for this scene.

view of dogo and matsuyama castle from dogo park

I guess it was nice I got out twice! It forced me to go somewhere different. It also forced me to hit my 10,000 steps today!

There’s only one more week left of my challenge! Where does the time go? See you tomorrow,

– R

June Photo Challenge : 19

A maneki neko, or “beckoning cat,” sits in a shop window in Dogo, Matsuyama. In Japan, the gesture for “come here” is made by raising your hand, palm down, and flicking your wrist aiming your fingers back to you. These cats beckon for customers, money, and good luck and are found in many shops in Japan. You may recognize it from my header image. I love them and I intend to buy a large one to bring home this summer.

maneki neko beckoning cat japan