Next, Yayoi and I taught the 7 younger kids the Puffer-billy round. One of the boys is obsessed with trains and, despite the fact that he is a bit afraid of English, mention of trains got him out of his shell. Then I showed them italic calligraphy using what I'd learned from yesterday's not so great lesson. This time it went very well. As an added bonus, nobody spilled their ink or got the cuffs of their uniform messy. "I had a fun," said one of the boys, grinning.
In the afternoon, Mr. Yokose was coming from Sendai to do a school-wide discussion, but we were asked to stay away because he would try to include us, which would exclude the non-English speakers, and it would all be too complicated for good education. Fine. We got our paint supplies and coats and set off on our route around the base of the hill.
We walked to the persimmon orchard and tied a painting of three persimmons to the tree that the old farmer had given us persimmons from. A lady walking her weird fox-dog noticed, came over, and we had a pleasant conversation about the benefits of dogs, education, and English. Then we climbed the teeny, steep stairs to one of the shrines and spent a peaceful evening drawing the view (Camilla) or a stone lion/dog/dragon (me).
Camilla kept working on her college applications while I went off to the grocery store. We sure eat a lot when there are no staples to fall back on! Japanese grocery prices seem to be about 2 times more expensive than in the States. Cheese is about $15/lb, a small box of cherry tomatoes about $2.50, a small bag of tangerines about $3, a pint of yoghurt about $4. They were playing Christmas carols in Japanese at top volume. Christmas carols have been playing ever since we got here. It's a popular, but not religious holiday because of the presents; Japan has a gift-giving culture through which a lot of messages can be implied.
Word of the day: honto ne? - really, is that so?