Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mid-Summer is for slow, lazy days

Hello all,

How have you been?
Jonathan and I are half-way through summer, and we are trying to get the things done we wanted to get done before it is too late. Jonathan wants to visit every beach from Takahama town to Obama city (there are 19). I think he is halfway done, but jellyfish season is coming up fast and he still has quite a bit of beaches to hit. Luckily, he has found some swimming/snorkeling buddies named Melissa and Dylan who live in Wakasa town. Hopefully they can spend a few good days at the beaches before they close in September.

I have been going in to work Monday through Friday 8:30-4:15, but I have taken a few vacation days. We took a 5 day weekend from Thursday to Monday this past week, and enjoyed lazing about at home and going to a few fireworks festivals with our friends and the new ALTs. We like the newbies a lot, and I think we will all fit in together quite well once everyone has settled in to our schedules.

I don't know if I had mentioned it yet or not, but Jonathan has a new job offer with an engineering company in Obama. It will just be a few more hours a week, but if he takes this job he will be working every evening Monday-Friday, so hopefully everything works out and he can start work in September.

I can't think of any other news, so take care of yourselves and send us an email or give us a call at our new US phone number (domestic phone charges will apply). The phone number is in my previous post.

I will hopefully post again soon!
Laura (and Jonathan)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer in Oi Town Means...


August in Japan means festivals, festivals, festivals! Hanabi (fireworks), lantern festivals, taiko (Japanese drums), odori (traditional dance), yukata (summer kimonos), and festival food! Last week, Jonathan and I bought cotton candy, shaved ice, corn on the cob, and small pancake balls that are very popular here at festivals. The word for festival in Japanese is matsuri, and we have been to many matsuri, and more to come!

Our local festival, Super Ogase, was this past Friday and Saturday. Friday night featured festival food, traditional dances, and a raffle! Saturday was the main event with taiko drums, the lighting on fire and spinning of a 20 meter (about 60 feet) tall leaf-shaped structure constructed of bamboo and possibly rice stalks (think bundles of hay), and finally an amazing fireworks show! We brought new ALTs out to view this amazing spectacle, and they were thoroughly wow-ed. I enjoyed it just as much this year as I did last year, which goes to show how impressive the festival actually is. Jonathan and I have been to a few festivals in our time here in Japan, but the Oi town organizers rightfully put the "Super" in Super Ogase.

This week is Obon, a kind of religious holiday in Japan revolving around family, food, and remembering of ancestors. It is similar to the Day of the Dead in Latin American culture, but obviously with many aspects unique to Japan. Hopefully we will be able to make a few more trips to the beach over the next few days to soak up the beautiful summer weather we are having. I have avoided severe sunburns and I will continue to take extreme precautions so that I am able to enjoy my summer as much as Jonathan is enjoying it. We bought him a swim suit and snorkeling gear, so he is having a grand time in the water.

We miss you and love you!

Laura (and Jonathan)

p.s. We purchased a Greenwood phone number from skype, so if you call 1 (317) 884 8459, you can call our computer from your American cell phone or land line! Exciting! If the computer is off or we are not home, we have voicemail, so just leave us a message and we will call you back. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hello All!

I am back again for a quick post!

We really enjoyed our trip to Echizen Town last week for the Woodblock Printing workshop. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. We worked from 9-12 every morning and 1-5 every afternoon. It was about 6-7 hours of carving and printing each day, but time does fly when you are having fun!

Last day of the workshop

We printed quite a few things and got the opportunity to try a marbling paper workshop!

Mr. Fukuda's marbling paper

We had no internet for 5 days, but we were having so much fun that it did not matter. All of the workshop attendees were amazing and the organizers were fantastic. Ever time I made a mistake, Ms. Yoshihiko would tell me "No, it's no problem. It is like a special effect. It gives the print a handmade quality!" She was very encouraging and I could not have asked for a better teacher.

Well that is all for now. We are happy, healthy and enjoying life right now. I am a bit tan (shock!) from our frequent trips to the beach, and we are sleeping better on our new bed (new to us, lol).

I will try to post again soon!

Laura (and Jonathan)