Golden Week is upon us, but it’s a little weird this time around for me. Whereas with AEON I would probably be off until next Monday. I have to work Monday and Friday of this week (I was off last Friday). It’s all gravy because time off is time off, but it is the hardest thing to go into work on the Monday after a three-day weekend, knowing you have Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off. I stayed up for much of the night before. So I am running on empty right now as I type this. The cool thing about today was that I didn’t have to teach a single, solitary class. I was ready for them if necessary…but it wasn’t necessary. Instead, there was a special, elementary school picnic planned just for today.
I didn’t have my camera with me (Boards of Education can be a little finicky about taking pictures of the kids and posting them), but it was a really nice day: warm but not hot, butterflies fluttering about, clear skies, flowers in bloom…the essence of springtime. We took a 30-minute walk to Shinrin Koen in Moriya City. Before doing so, though, the teachers, an principal talked to the student body, giving them all of the important rules. As soon as we started walking, I heard the tiny little voice say “Donaldo Sensei” and this little just ran up and grabbed my hand, and we walked together. Soon after another little guy came up and grabbed the other hand. It was really kind of sweet.
The scenery on the way to Shinrin Koen was beautiful…strikingly so. I didn’t know that Moriya was as beautiful as it. There aren’t a whole lot of stores and shops in Moriya but some of the neighborhoods in the surrounding area are so quaint, so serene that I could walk around for hours. I’ll have to bring my camera next time and re-trace my route so you can see.
When we finally got to Shinrin Koen, what did I think? Well, it wasn’t a big or particularly impressive park, but it was fun. There a was nicer-than-what-I’m used-to-seeing playhouse with a slide that made me want to ride (I didn’t though). Kids were given time just to enjoy themselves: I enjoyed watching the kids collect bugs, capture butterflies with nets (I didn’t know kids did that anymore…it was refreshing to see), play soccer, wrestle with each other, laugh with each other, it was another one of those days that makes me think “Am I ever leaving?”
After getting just a little bit sweaty, I at lunch with a group of second graders, and one of them was just an incredibly kind kid. He offered me his oshibori (hot towelette) to clean my hands before he even cleaned his own. He concerned about whether or not I had lunch to each. He tried to carry my bag several times. He even opened my chopsticks for me before I started eating. I felt weird letting this child cater to me so much. I tried to make sure to do things as quickly as I could, before he could do them. He was an awesome, well-behaved little boy, though.
After a few hours of bug collecting, soccer-ball-kicking, and my feet- are- tired-of standing all day goodness, we headed back to the elementary school. I felt tired and refreshed all at the same time.
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