Monday, September 17, 2012

You! Me! Dancing!

Well, it's been six weeks since I last posted anything, I know because I checked, it's not my intention of course but life is crazy.

I'm still not sure what to do when a young Japanese kid I don't know is just staring and smiling at me. Do you wave? Do you say hello? Smile? The peace sign is never wrong, right? What would you do? I like being friendly and open, but there is a fine line between caring and creepy.

Everyday I wake up and realize I'm in Japan, usually in the mornings when my "ohio gozaimasu" to fellow  teachers (Japanese for good morning) sounds like a yawn gone wrong and other times it hits you a little like this:

Yes, that's right, I somehow got myself entangled in a Japanese festival.

In the summer the Japanese have many festivals and unlike my piano "festivals" as a kid, they are actually festive. I heard about this one, in my own background of the Uchihara Neighborhood from a couple of Japanese women, Anzo San and Chiba San who came to give a talk to all the AET's. Apparently I was feeling good the day of the meeting because I agreed to show up early to wear this yokatta Anzosan lent to me.

When I got there, it was apparent many of my kids I teach at my two schools would be there, as they soon recognized the white guy as their Sensei. I was a part of the international team and was joined by a few Chinese girls, a couple Indonesian girls and (to my relief) a handful of other AET"s. I was really happy they showed up, I was only expecting one or two to show up.

We got the party started by doing this simple dance as we walked around the inside of the campus. We did this for about 30 minutes before we had a break, everyone was tired, but many of them didn't realize it was only halftime.
from the back left to front: Seth, Mary Margaret, Hannah, Shane, Carissa, crazy barefoot guy, Austin and Holly. I was so relieved they came to support my neighborhood! We all had a blast!

The first half of dancing got my adrenaline going and then as I usually do, I suckered myself into making myself a complete fool going all out in the second half. The energy of the environment was personally electric to me, I would say it was the first time I really felt a part of the community here in Uchihara. When your fun increases the fun of those around you it makes it all worth it, especially when they're young children. I was just going crazy and had the sweat to prove it. Jumping around, doing 360's, dancing with students, you name it, I was probably embarrassing myself through it. I wish I pictures of the second half.

I knew there was a team award but I didn't know there was an individual award until the end when a couple of Japanese men eagerly put two signs over my neck with the kanji of number one written on both of them. I think they were really happy we not only came, but had a lot of fun being there.
Can I get a translator please?

With Hannah

Our team was really happy of course, we ended up winning a lot of beer and sports drinks for our efforts. I still have a lot of beer in my cabinets. I don't usually drink beer but when I do I drink Asahi Dry because that's what they gave us. It's pretty good. They asked me to do an interview in front of the crowd, so that was a lot of fun. They asked me who I wanted to dedicate the win to and I answered with, "My family" so if you consider yourself a part of my family, this one was for you!

Two of my adorable students. Unfortunately, I forget the name of the girl on the left, the girl on the right is Mana-Chan. She doesn't know how much her generous and beautiful smile has lifted my spirits at just the right times. It's a half smile here, but I've never seen a smile quite like Mana's.