Catch-up

Gah. I have a surfeit of things to talk about and not enough time to write posts. That’s better than the opposite, though, so I won’t complain too much.

Thursday of two weeks ago (around Thanksgiving) was a holiday – something like Labor Day. My school took Friday off instead and held class on Thursday. This wasn’t done to give us a three day weekend, rather it was because on Thursday we had “Open Junior High School,” where elementary school students visited the campus with their parents. School was held as usual for the first half of the day while our visitors looked around the buildings and peeked in on the classes. In the afternoon, everyone gathered at the grounds for some athletic competitions. Then our students broke off into their clubs (baseball, swimming, brass band, etc.) and the visitors could check out the different groups.

Less than twenty elementary students showed up for the day’s events, but I don’t think our kids minded. They got to have an afternoon without classes.

*******************

So we had that Friday off. I had intended to go to Kyoto on that day and avoid the weekend crowds, but my plans were sabotaged. I was told midweek that I was being sent to do some classes at an elementary school on the next Tuesday morning. I spent half of Friday finishing preparations and sorting things out with the elementary school, so that ruled out any big trips for the day.

But I didn’t let my afternoon go to waste. There is a hiking trail one train station over from where I live that I’d been meaning to try, and so I did. After about 45 minutes hiking up into the mountains, the trail ended near the Kobe City Municipal Arboretum. I went inside and was rewarded with some pretty nice scenery.

arbor-pond

The autumn leaves were gorgeous and I didn’t have to contend with big crowds. My fellow patrons were mostly retired folks and young couples.

arbor-path

All in all, not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

*******************

The next week’s elementary school visit, by the way, went well, although I was caught off guard on one point. For one of the activities, I had the kids mill around the room while I played music. Periodically, I would stop the music and yell a number, and the kids had to form groups of that number. In the groups, they had to introduce themselves in English (just, “Hello, my name is xx,” and a handshake). Then, I’d start the music again and repeat.

This game was a great success, except that two of the classes had kids with autism. Movement, loud noise, and lots of social interaction – not fun for autistic people. When I had first spoken with a teacher from the school in planning the visit, I asked if there were any blind or deaf students, but I hadn’t thought to ask about autistic students. Now you might think that the teacher would have volunteered this information, but not so much. And they okay-ed my lesson plan when I faxed it to them, so . . . yeah. At least the other activities in my lessons were safe. And I think that, surprises and all, the visit went very well.

And now, I need to get to sleep.

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5 Responses to “Catch-up”

  1. Nicole Says:

    Wow – what stunning pictures and what a breathtaking trail!!!

  2. kevinjames Says:

    It really was beautiful, although I should clarify: Both pictures are of the arboretum. The hiking trail was a narrow, much steeper path, through dense, untended forest.

  3. Nicole Says:

    still, stunning pictures and then, breathtaking arboretum!

  4. The Drunken Vandal Says:

    Great pics. I hope you are getting some in hi-res so you can frame them. Glad to see you are still staying busy.

  5. Mari Says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I love your pictures. Perhaps you have asecond calling in photography.
    I’m looking forward to seeing you at christmas.
    Love,
    Mari

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