The tallest gaijin couple in Japan (that we know of...we haven't looked very hard) blogs about eating, working and playing. Our combined height is 12 foot 3, we hail from middle America and our new host town's claim to fame is a festival featuring men riding huge logs down a mountain. Oh yeah, takai means tall in Japanese (among other things). It's what we wish they would call us. What they actually call us is ookii (big).
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Are we sad to leave?
This is a question we've been hearing a lot these days. Our last days of school were sad. They didn't tell my students until the last day, per the Japanese custom. So, all day I had kids coming up to shake my hand and give me a note or just a longing look. I had fun signing the 3rd graders' folders. I wrote things like "Don't study too hard!" and "Don't forget to have fun!" They wake up at 5am, go to their club activity practice, go to school all day, have club activity after school, eat dinner and then study until late. They don't really need to be told to work hard or try their best; it's a given in this culture. It was hard to see my teachers look sad and I'll miss both the students and teachers but mostly I feel joyous inside. The job wasn't challenging enough and I wasn't learning anything new anymore. We came, we enjoyed, we're leaving on a positive note (to go to grad school, not because of radiation or anything else) and now it's time to go.
John was only at his schools for 2 months but still received an outpouring of love from his students. Check out the cards his kids made for him.
We are sad to leave our friends here. Given we lived in a small-ish town with no car, we feel lucky to have met and connected with so many people. It was not uncommon to be at a picnic/party/karaoke/dinner with people from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, England, Canada, Spain and/or Jamaica, plus people from all over the US. We'll never forget our friends and the support system they gave us here. We survived not only 16 months in a foreign land but a 9.0 earthquake and a nuclear meltdown with these folks. We know we'll see many of them again whether in the US, Europe or elsewhere. The world is made smaller when you have close friends from every corner of it. We are so grateful to them - thanks, guys - you know who you are!
Here's one picture from Mike's Rapture party on Saturday. Good times!