Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A new school year, new teachers and new students...

Not only has spring arrived (FINALLY!) but also there are 320 some new students at each of my schools!!! They are all so cute and soooo shy... I've been walking around the hallways trying to be super friendly by talking to them and welcoming them to school.

Not only do we have new students but we also have new teachers and office workers joining the team. Each school throws a big formal welcome reception/dinner party at a fancy hotel. I jumped on the opportunity to go so I could mix and mingle with the teachers whom I normally get a chance to talk to. Finally my Japanese is at a point where I can hold a somewhat decent length conversation so I've been trying to talk to more and more teachers.

At these Welcome Parties they start out very formal and the Principal and Vice Principals give speeches and introduce the new staff. Then each new teacher/worker has to stand up and introduce themselves. There is a lot of standing, sitting, bowing, clapping and more bowing going on... and thennnnnnn comes the beer and sake and shouchu for a big KAMPAI (cheers) which then releases the food onto the tables!!! We had plates and plates of sashimi, beef, pork, soups, noodles, steamed egg custards, and mochi balls... mmm....

The funniest thing about the Welcome Party was that each new teacher including the new Vice Principal had to get up on stage during the zillion course dinner and sing KARAOKE!!!!! hahahaha... I couldn't believe it. oh wait... yes I could... because this is Japan!!! whoo hooo...

Then of course Monday morning at school is like nothing ever happened... If it was a school in the States people would be laughing and chatting about the party and karaoke tunes... but in Japan it's just SILENCE... and WORK... I think that's why I enjoy the enkais so much because teachers who normally don't speak a word to you at work will be polar opposite at the enkai - so talkative and hilarious - and they even crack out their English!!! ;-)

I'm most excited about my new neighbor/teacher because... he has a CORGI!!!! I luuuuuv corgis! Him and his wife came over to my house to introduce themselves with some cookies... they were so sweet. It will be nice to have some new friendly neighbors!

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