I know I haven't posted in a few days, but I've been tired. Anyway, here's a brief recap: my Kyoto experience was different than I thought it would be. I went to all of the sites I had planned, I just didn't end up seeing what I had planned, if that makes any sense. Anyway here are some pics. And today was just meetings, a reception at the Deputy Ambassador Generals house, and then out with some of the Japanese teachers :)
So the last day in Nara...so sad. I love Nara. I will definitely take the spirit of Nara in my heart. This is a beautiful, historical and amazing city. I really enjoyed visiting all of the schools and meeting so many wonderful people. I will truly never forget the time I spent here and the feeling of this place. Today we visited 2 junior high schools. The first was in the mountains with only 40 students, but what a beautiful campus. This is where I was able to get a lesson in playing the Koto, a traditional Japanese string instrument. It might shock Dallin, but I think I could learn how to play it. It was so much fun and easier than I thought. Then we received traditional Japanese manor lessons: almost an hour on the proper way to bow both standing and kneeling. Then we were served tea the proper way by students, they even have a little pick to cut the desert. We enjoyed lunch with the students, though it was the same school lunch as yesterday it was very delicious. During lung there was a radio broadcast presented by the students. It was so funny, they were playing American pop music. I think it was safe to say we were all a little surprised that they played KESHA during lunch, though I guess with the language barriers it's not as big of a deal. Then we went to another junior high, probably the school that was closer to the type of schools most of us are used to (high populations of low income and high risk students) they were starting to implement a system of group learning rather than lecture style, which is how I teach but apparently it's really hard for Japanese teachers to learn how to do. Pretty much all of the students were young and single, they usually stay late and Saturdays. It was really interesting dynamic at this school, it seems so familiar to me. I got a lot out of it. Then we went to the 100 yen store followed by conveyer belt sushi and karaoke. All in all a great day. I will truly miss Nara I have made some amazing friends and had a once in a lifetime experience. Tomorrow it's on to Kyoto. <side note: everything in Japan is so cute even the elevator warning signs and the construction workers> oh and the ice cream sundae contained corn flakes...
I seriously think they hand picked a good friend for me when they chose my home stay family. Mai is so awesome. I wish we lived closer together so we could hang out more. After spending some one in downtown Osaka last night, we were able to sleep in a little for our eventful day. We started off with a nice walk through her neighborhood before catching the train downtown Nara. We went to the rooftop of the city offices (which is usually closed to the public except for today) where we had an amazing view of Nara followed by brunch at the street vendors out front. We went to the 1st half of a Noh performance then we went to her student's musical. Both really well put together shows, too bad neither permitted photos. Then we wandered through the shops, saw some pagodas and temples. We snacked at a cafe and then met back at the hotel. I went to dinner with some of the program members and we visited an arcade ( I don't known hat they are called here, but the upper floors were like gambling halls) ...lots of food, new friend, many lasting memories.