Wednesday, July 16, 2014

3 Strikes You're Out

Wednesday was my last English class and, for some reason, the kids decided to love me today.  We've had 6 or 7 classes before this and yet the kids get all attached to me today, when I'm leaving. So sad. But at least I got to experience it once.  The kids are so stinking cute and I'm going to miss these kids and their parents.  I can't believe it's over.  

Before my English class I got visit taught for the last time and the two sisters took me out to sushi. Hooray! It was a pretty great last visiting teaching meeting.  Plus both of them are so friendly and nice-I enjoyed every time they came to visit me these past 3 months. 

After sushi, they dropped me off at the stake presidents house where he and his wife made okonimiyaki for Souhei, Adrian, and I.  While I do love okonomiyaki, I was pretty full from eating all you can eat sushi an hour ago. But I didn't want to complain, because they had made lunch for us, so I ate an entire plate again.  Here's Adrian with his. Mine looked pretty much the same. Delicious and large.  Then they even gave us this pretty slice of chocolate cake all cutely decorated which I could barely eat but could also not refuse.  Needless to say, I'm pretty sure today is the day I put on those extra pounds I found in Japan.
  On Thursday it was the closing ceremony that we've been preparing for for the past week.  Watabe sensei came in to participate, and was gone again in a flash. There was a hurricane going through Japan which he was trying to avoid so he was literally in and out again before we could say 'welcome.' But the ceremony went fine and I'm so proud of how well everyone's speeches went. 

On Friday I went to karaoke for the first (and last time) in Japan. It was pretty fun, and I was surprised by how many English songs were there too.  Despite the fact that we were burning up and didn't notice the AC remote until we were leaving, we had a blast for those few hours.  I think it would be fun to do with a group of people as long as you no one cares that I can't carry a tune. (Let's just keep in mind that the one time I did karaoke in America, I sang with Whitney Waite, and at the end, one of our friends was like " guys looked really nice up there." That's how bad it was.)

My last weekend in Sapporo I went to my dad's company softball game with him and Souhei.
(Adrian decided to go to the ward cherry picking event-which also sounded fun, but I love sports.) Now, despite the fact that I said I loved sports, that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm good at them. so I was a little nervous to play with my dad's coworkers. Then add to that that I was the only foreigner. Finally, factor in that I was the only girl on my team....So I felt a bit of pressure.  Plus, they made me bat first for some masochistic reason (or they were just being polite and friendly like Japanese people tend to be.)  Well, it started off well enough anyway, I actually hit the ball first try (at least I didn't strike out) and I ran to first and tried to slide in because I felt like the ball was coming for me. Turns out, it was all for nothing because I was out anyway, but it earned me a standing ovation from my teammates as I walked back to the bench. So I built up a nice reputation for myself which lasted up until we switched to outfield and they saw how useless I was at catching the balls. (Not that I dropped any necessarily, I just didn't manage to catch any.)

It was funny because Souhei struck out when he bat but every inning we went to the outfield he caught a ball. So, together we were kind of a useful player. Anyway, we ended up tying 2 to 2, so, naturally, (like everything else in Japan) we had to settle this with rock, paper, scissors.  Which we won! Woohoo! We advanced to the next round. Between the games we actually had mini games which I was randomly good at.  We had to throw all these balls into a basket thing and anyway, my whole team would be like 'give the balls to Laura to throw"  at the end. Except I do not perform well under pressure, so...    We had a lunch break not long after that and they served these delicious bento boxes. They had these super adorable soy sauce bottles which I couldn't resist taking a picture of.  Sadly, not long after lunch it started pouring so the rest of the day was cancelled, but it was way fun while it lasted and at least we advanced past our first match!

Even though the activity ended early, the fun for today didn't stop there.  We dropped Souhei off at home and then I hung out with Momo. She was a little bummed that she missed the soft ball game, so we spent the afternoon together. We took a tour of the parks around her house. Within a 15 minute biking distance of her house there are like 5 parks-it's ridiculous, but fun. We biked to each park, would play for a bit, and then she would show me another one. This park had a super epic slide. She didn't think it was that fun, but then I let her slide down on my lap. I was wearing basketball shorts and so I was flying down that thing. Then she asked if we could go 3 times. It was fun getting to just hang out with her. After that I took her to the konbini and we bought some corn dogs and ice cream and ate our snack at a gazebo. 

But even then the fun didn't stop. We got home, and mama and papa asked if we wanted to change into yukatas, go get some sushi, and watch the fireworks.  So, this had to be my favorite Saturday since coming to Japan. It just kept getting better and better.  This is Momo and I in our yukatas. Pretty cool and Japanese, huh? It was my first time wearing one, and I was amazed with how complicated they are to put on. Plus, they are so tight around the middle that I definitely didn't eat my normal fill of sushi, but that didn't make the night any less enjoyable.

My last Sunday in the Moiwa ward was a bit of a fiasco. I had another talk to give, which made me super nervous again, but actually went fine.  I definitely did better than the first time anyway.  But we also had a musical number we were supposed to perform that day. Sadly, being distracted with my talk, I had forgotten the sheet music. So...I talked to bishop before sacrament and he agreed to just not announce the musical number so we could just kind of ignore that it was a thing. But then, he threw me for a loop when he ended up announcing it actually. So once my talk was over and I stopped worrying about that, I started worrying about what to do for the musical number.  We had to do some quick improvisation and I'm hoping the fact that it was all in English made it acceptable enough to the rest of the ward.  But boy was it awkward.  Then after church we had a ward potluck thing where they randomly had Adrian and I both say a few words. So that was embarrassing again, and I felt like I just repeated stuff I had said in my talk. You know, the general "everyone here is so nice. I really don't want to go home. Thanks for welcoming us. blah blah blah." But after that we had one last YSA activity, so, after getting lost on my way there, we spent a few hours with the other YSA. It was way fun until they also asked us to say a few words. Then I definitely repeated the same things from the potluck. I mean, what do these people want from me? I only have so many things I even know how to say in Japanese and even if it was in English I don't know what I would want to say 3 x in one day.

Last day of class. This picture kind of breaks my heart because, as you can see, Adrian is not there. He had already left for Tokyo so I was the only teacher here today. Not that we were still doing lessons or anything. Mainly it was sad because it really makes it feel like our time is running out. Ahhhhhh. But luckily we made lots of good memories during our time here and hopefully the students enjoy studying English more now. I mean, how can you not when we sometimes used props such as these giant Jenga blocks? 
In an attempt to make this shorter and, therefore, less imposing, I am breaking this up into 2 posts.