Today we were invited by one of the boy's clubs to help them garden. The soil here is clay, and they were hacking away at sticky goo to transplant some strawberries or do mysterious things that they were too shy to explain. Because it's so humid here, and the soil's impervious, part of their gardening included digging 18" trenches which carry water away from the beds. You can walk right next to the trench and there is no sign of them caving in, it's really sticky stuff.
So, there we were, with a bamboo grove on one side and a gingko tree grove on the other and through the gingkos the cement block of the school at the top of the hill. Camilla and I dug up strawberries and stuck them into pots, to the amazement of all, who up till then had not quite understood that American giantesses can wield shovels. One of the smaller boys showed us a teeny mountain crab. Another group of boys showed us their other garden beds, and a third group showed us their shade garden, and a place where they used to have a pond but it didn't hold water. The final treat was to go up the sagging steps to the compost heap. There it was! We examined the compost, and looked at how it had come from leaves. Right there, in the compost, was the largest grub I've ever seen, about half the size of the kid's hand.
After washing up, we lunched and then held study hall. Three different subjects were being tackled; to finish sewing the fish bags, to finish calligraphy projects, and to learn about portrait painting. We talked about music tastes and got to know each other. It was a peaceful and productive afternoon, much like my ideal for school.
Camilla and I went on a long walk around the dam, then took Yayoi out for Italian food. We talked until late, and now it's even later.