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Well, the year is officially half over! This year is giong by incredibly fast!

There are 3 weeks left of this semester and then the kids are off for 5 weeks. I still have to go to work though. But I do get 9 days off for Obon in August.  Speaking of Obon, I just signed up to volunteer for th MLB Roadshow that will be in my town on August 11th (the day before Obon officially starts).  I'm not sure what I'll be doing but I think it will be a lot of fun.  Baseball is VERY popular in Japan and all of my schools have a baseball team. I expect I'll see a lot of my students at the roadshow this year. I'll have to do some research into the MLB Roadshow so I can get an idea of what to expect.  I'm looking forward to it.

Last night was the farewell party for Iwaki JETs.  They will all be gone no later than August 5th. Some are leaving before August 1st. My friend Jennifer, who has been working in Sendai for the past 2 years, will be going home to Canada this year.  She'll be spedning August 2nd (Tuesday) at my place before heading to Tokyo early on the 3rd. I'm looking forward to seeing her again. I haven't seen her since last August when I met up with her in Tokyo while my Uncle was visiting.

My supervisors are now aware that I plan to climb Fuji next month and they have told me to be very careful. I can't say I blame them as I am nervous about it too. The last thing I want is to end up in the hospital again because I over did it and hurt my back again.  That being said, I have been doing a few yoga stretches and my physio excercises and my back isn't too bad right now. I hope that if I keep it up that I should have no problems. 

I've been trying the plank (excercise) and I find that my arms collapse before my core starts hurting.  I tried it in push up position (arms extended) and also close to the ground (weight on my for arms and elbows on the ground). It's definitely my arms that have the most trouble with the plank position.  I guess that's good in that my core is stronger than I thought it was?  I guess I need to focus on my arms. I can understand it, I mean, I do weigh about 210 pounds. My poor arms need to work up to that, I guess. lol  So time to start strengthening my arms. I can do wall pushups just fine, but I tried it from my knees, and couldn't do more than 2 and I don't think I did them properly.  So, I know what I need to work on.  I hate being weak. lol 

Got a confirmation e-mail that my workout clothes have been shipped. should take between 5 and 9 days (or so the website says). we shall see. lol

Tomorrow is Canada Day. I plan to eat Poutine (so bad for my diet!!) and hamburgers and watch some Canadian Movies! I'm thinking "Men with Brooms" and "Bon Cop, Bad Cop".  Canada Day is one of the few days a year that I really wish I was back in Canada. I love the Canada Day festivities (the concerts, the shows, the face painting, the fire works!!!).  The fire works will happen Monday morning my time, at about 11am Japan time. I'll be at work teaching. Hurray.  I hope all my Canadian friends (and Family) have a great Canada Day!!!

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Ok, hit a snag with the workouts.  I need clothes! lol 

My clothes take forever to dry and since I only have one pair of pants to work out/run in, I can't workout or run as often as I had planned.  I went online and ordered a pair of shorts and another pair of yoga pants as well as 2 tank tops from Old Navy. Once they get here (in about 2 weeks?) I'll be able to work out every day (run one day and do workout routine the next day). But for now, I'm kind of in limbo. I did laundry on Sunday and it's now Wednesday and my pants are still damp! I even have a fan blowing air at my clothes and they still aren't dry.  It's just too humid here!

Also, the clothes cost about $90CAD but after shipping it was more like $150. Definitely won't be buying anything I don't really need! I just hope they get here in good time and that they fit! lol

***
I found my tax forms that I had misplaced...I misplaced them in my suitcase. Apparently I brought my taxes with me to Hong Kong back in April.  Why I brought them with me, I have no idea. lol But I have them now, and they are completed. All I need to do now is photo copy them for my files and print out a letter to send in with them. I figure I can use the school's copy machine on Friday and then mail them after work :)  YAY! FINALLY!!

***

At one of the schools I teach at (Kusano JHS) there are triplets in my grade 7 class.  They are from the Philippines and studied English there. I'm not really sure how good their English is, but it's definitely better than their Japanese.  Their mother speaks Tagalog with them at home. Apprently she can understand and speak Japanese but can't write it.  So these 3 girls have been in Japan since May last year and still can't communicate with their classmates.  Their teacher asked me for suggestions of Beginner Japanese Textbooks that are easy to understand (since their English is somewhat limited and their mom can't really help them with it) and geared towards young people. 

oh, dear god!
First of all, they need a teacher to work with them.  Their homeroom teacher says they have one, but the girls told me they don't. ...right.   Secondly, trying to find a good textbook that is geared towards kids and easy to understand is not easy!  I managed to find 4. One that I had used 15 years ago (Nihongo Kantan) and 3 others. I think the best one is a series of 4 books (only 2 are available right now) called Kisetsu. The website is very informative and has both a Japanese and an English version,  http://www.kisetsu.org , which I think is the best one.  It's really hard to learn a language when you have a few people who speaks your language to talk to.  These girls do everything together and don't really talk to their classmates much (mostly because they don't understand and don't know how to communicate with the other kids) and don't hear Japanese much outside of the classroom. 

Now I want to help, but I'm not sure I can do anything other than give them a list of books.  I'm not even sure they will understand the information enough to make an informed decision. Grrr! This situation is frustrating! They've been here 2 years and can only read kanna and basic kanji.  I learned that much in one year of Saturday school back in Canada.  They are actually living here and going to school in Japanese everyday! They should have been taught more than this. The system is not deisgned to help kids in this situation and these girls are getting left behind :(

I am hoping to talk to them a bit on Friday and see if we can't work something out. Maybe I can tutor them once a week or something.  I hate feeling useless.

***
1 more month and my second year contract will be up and my third year contract will be starting.  I can't believe how fast the year has gone by. I've been in Japan for just under 2 years already! 3 more years to go and then I'm off to England (hopefully) ! 



Lastly, I just found out today that the bank that I use to send money home (Go Lloyds) is closing and I guess it's being bought out by another bank (Shinsei Bank). Not quite sure what that means for us, but I think we'll be transferred over to Shinsei. There will be information sent to us in the mail.  I do know that Go Lloyds had the cheapest rates in the country and Shinsei is about twice the price to send money over seas :(  damn! It's always something.   Hopefully we will get a good deal or something for switching over.

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December 2016

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