Friday, March 25, 2011

How Can you Help?

I am sorry we have taken a short hiatus from blogging. 

We felt strange blogging about the silly things we normally do in such a difficult time.

We truly love the people of Japan. The people we know there have become like family to us and our hearts and prayers are with them. 

Daniel and I made the very difficult decision to leave the country for a couple of weeks. We felt that it was necessary for our mental health but more importantly we also felt we were in the way. We felt we were taking valuable resources away from people who desperately need them right now. 

We plan on returning in a couple of weeks. When that time comes we will be ready to help and do anything we can do, but in the mean time we really wanted to get the word out about how YOU can help! 

The Japanese Red Cross is a wonderful organization. They came to my school the day before I left to give each teacher a health assessment, which I thought was wonderful. They made sure we were all fed and had enough water. I know from personal experience that they are doing wonderful things! 

The American Red Cross has also set up a fund for Japan. They are always a great place to donate and very convenient.

Believe it or not, Lady Gaga has jumped on the bandwagon and has started selling bracelets to support the relief efforts. Gotta love Gaga!

If you are a Christian and would like to help the churches in Japan there is a way to do that as well. You can send you money to these North American churches:
Park Avenue Church of Christ
ATTN: Dwight Albright
5295 Park Ave
Memphis, TN 38119-3543
Phone: 901 682-1220
Bramalea Church of Christ
ATTN: Walter Straker
750 Clarck Blvd.
Brampton, ON  L6T 3Y2 
CANADA
Phone: 905-792-2297
And they will be able to wire the money directly to Mito Church of Christ which has taken on the responsibility of distributing the money to churches in the affected areas. 
If you have any questions about how to send money please call the numbers above or leave a comment and I can assist you.

Daniel and I have been truly touched by the love and support we have received in the last few weeks. 
Please continue to pray for our friends, co-workers and students as they rebuild their lives. 

 ''In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God'' Romans 8:26 & 27

Monday, March 14, 2011

Earthquake


Staci's School:
On Friday afternoon around 2:45 I was teaching my 5th graders their last lesson of the year. We were shopping. I was so excited to see the things they had made to sell to their classmates! Suddenly, there was a slight earthquake. We get these quite a lot so I kept talking. But this quake didn’t stop. It just kept going. Then it got bigger. The entire building was swaying. The ceiling was flaking. We had the kids get under their desks and the teachers held the doors open, until they fell off. There was a slight break in the quake and we thought it was over. We all laughed and said, ‘’That was kind of scary!’’ 


And then it happened again, the lights went off and it just got worse. The teachers decided we should evacuate. We were on the 3rd floor of the building. We ran with the kids as fast as we could down the stairs and out the door. Finally we came to the playground, which is away from any buildings. We were safe, but the earth continued to shake. The kids were crying and we spent the next four hours comforting them and finding their parents.  
 

Daniel's School:
I had an entire classroom full of 3rd graders who were singing ‘’If you’re happy and you know it.’’ The earthquake started, but we continued clapping our hands and tapping our toes because a little shake is nothing new. Then the shaking became a rumbling and several of my students started to fall down. The teacher began yelling to the students to sit down. Most students soon moved under tables as I held up a bookshelf that was threatening to fall. Light fixtures were swinging and students were screaming as the entire world around us was shaking. Once it finally stopped, all of the students were running outside (many of them barefoot or in their room shoes). 


Once on the playground the scene was very organized. They were making many announcements, but it was virtually impossible for me to understand anything. About 20-30 minutes later we had an aftershock (or possibly another earthquake). The shaking of the ground and building were very frightening as well as the looks on the faces of the children. It took a little while for the teachers to assemble groups of students and walk them home. We cleaned for a little while at my school and then were dismissed. 

Some of the damage at Daniel's school...




Daniel showed up at the school and they let me go home. When we got home, we found this... 



...and this...





 ...and other similar scenes. We went and picked up our friend, Port. Then we checked on some other friends and headed back to our apartment to sleep. We had to push the bed away from the window, pick up the closet doors that had fallen off and all the clothing that had flown out of the closet, but after that we crawled in bed and tried to get some sleep.


It is still difficult to comprehend that we lived through the largest earthquake in the history of Japan. We are now tired, a tad dehydrated and anxious, but we could be so much worse. 


The last few days we have been riding bikes to conserve gas, standing in line at convenience stores/supermarkets to get food and I regret to say neglecting some personal hygiene, but we are safe and healthy and turning our attention and prayers to those in Northern parts of Japan. 


 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Staci Makes Children Cry

A long time ago I was teaching my 2nd graders feelings. 
 
How are you? I’m happy, I’m sad, I’m great, I’m fine… 
We were playing this game called “How are you Monster?”
  
Game credit to Genki English

The children stand against the wall and the monster stands in the middle of the room. The students asks the monster how he/she is. IF the monster says “I’m Hungry!” that is when the kids run. Their goal is to get to the other side without the monster tagging them or they become the monster.
 
There is some set up to this game though that gives them some incentive to get to the other side. I tell them that I am the monster and I enjoy eating children so they should run really fast. 

The game begins… 
Students: How are you monster? 

Staci: I’m fine. 

The students take a step. 

Students: How are you monster? 

Staci: I’m sad 

The students take a step 

This goes on for a while and then suddenly… 

Students: How are you monster? 

Staci: I’m hungry!! 

I chase the children and catch the tiniest 2nd grader I have. I pick him up and pretend like I am eating him. 

Usually the child is squirming/giggling, but this kid wasn’t moving, he was frozen.
  
I looked down at him and he was crying… I mean REALLY crying. I then put him down. 

Student: PLEASE! PLEASE! STACI SENSEI, DON’T EAT ME! PLEASE…. 

The teacher and I had to take the student aside and explain this was just a game and he was actually in no danger at all, to which he replies… 

Student: I’m sorry. I really thought you were going to eat me. 

What does this have to do with Kocho week you ask?? He was there laughing at me.
  
Have you ever made a child cry?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Your looks are laughable

I know, I am posting twice in one day. Get over it.


Kocho: Good morning.

Staci: Good morning

1st grader: Good morning

Staci: How are you?

1st grader: I am fine thank you. Staci? Did you get a haircut?

Staci: Yes, I did.

1st grader: O! Cho (so) sexy!

Kocho: You can’t say this to teachers. You can say- nice, pretty or beautiful.

We walk around the corner and my Kocho almost keels over with laughter.

Thank you Kocho Sensei, thank you.

**EDIT**

Here is a picture of me at my desk, because Melissa requested it.

I am not smiling or looking because I didn't want anyone to notice I was taking a picture of myself. Apparently, this is my "I am being sneaky" face. It might be a little obvious.

Halloween Story

I wish with all of my being that I was better at remembering taking pictures, but I am not. Sorry!

We had a school festival in October. I was asked to make an English booth so I made a full-fledged Halloween party with face painting, candy, games, and costumes.


My Kocho really wanted to be involved. So I told him he could pass out the candy to the kids. He wrote down what he was supposed to say in English and I over heard him practicing in his office several times, he was EXCITED.


I picked out the most conservative hat we had for him to wear, a black witches hat. He walked in and I handed it to him.


Kocho: I don’t like this hat.


Staci: Um… O no, he isn’t going to like anything I have. I guess you don’t have to wear one at all.


Kocho: No, I want to.


He began to look through the other costume options I had and selected the most incredible costume I have ever seen….


He chose a pair of lady bug wings, a purple sparkly witches hat, and a skeleton mask. He then proceeds to put all of these items on over his track suit.


He kept his costume on the entire party and passed out every piece of candy.


He then walked around the school giving out stickers.


I was impressed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Natto



Rice, natto (fermented soy beans) with mustard. Nikujaga which is made with meat, potatoes, onions and other vegetables stewed in a sweetened soy sauce and some type of salad.


Japanese Food
I have a love/hate relationship with natto. Ok... a like-ish/hate relationship.It is pretty good slathered in mustard and soy sauce, but isn't just about anything? My biggest issue with natto is the smell. It smells like dirty, stinky feet. Also, the texture- it is super sticky and stringy and kids talk with their mouths open, not a great school lunch food. The total meal was pretty good though so I will give this 3/5 turkey legs. Go NATTO!






Kocho Week

I have decided to dedicate this week on our blog to my Kocho Sensei because he is amazing.

I will try to add a new story about him everyday.


First of all, a Kocho Sensei is the principal of a school. In Japan this is a VERY respected position. They have to take many tests and work for many years as a teacher to get this job. Also, when they are the Kocho whatever they say at school goes, everyone must bow to the Kocho (literally). This usually means that the person in this position is very serious.

O and I am not using code by calling him Kocho Sensei, he is referred to by his title never his name.


My first memory of my Kocho was around my 3rd week of school. I needed to ask permission for something so I stepped up to the office door and peeked inside to see if he was there and I saw him at his desk..

In his clear rain suit (over his business suit), floppy straw sun hat, white driving gloves, and black toe socks (no shoes) casually typing on his computer.

I decided to come back another time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

People Lie

Teacher 1: Do you like Angelina Jolie?


Staci: Yes, she is very pretty. Don’t you think so?


Teacher 2: Yes! She is very pretty!


Teacher 1: Staci, you are prettier than Angelina Jolie.


Staci and Teacher 2: *LAUGHTER*


See! I told you, they are big (actually twig-like) liars.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

That's Not My Name


I would like to write this post using a parody of a great song by the Ting Tings...

They call me Wade, they call me sensei, they call me gaijin, they call me
“Hey!”
That's not my name, That's not my name, That's not my name, That's not my...name!


Wade is the previous AET, "sensei" means teacher, "gaijin" is a derogatory term for foreigners and "Hey"
is just a common substitution for "Hello"



Embarrassing Moment # 500,301

Last night I picked up my friend Heather for a small get together we were attending.

I honked a couple of times and she did not come out.


It was raining and cold and if you haven’t figured it out already… I am super lazy.


I just didn’t want to get out of the car and walk all the way around the building to knock on the door so I just knocked on her back window.


A man opened the curtain…


Brett? (Heather’s husband) Why is he in his underwear…? O no. That is not Brett. I just knocked on some poor unsuspecting Japanese man’s window.


Suddenly, the man opens the door and says “Brett san?” I say “Yes….” Looking at the ground. He says, “Next door” and points to the next window Apparently I forgot how to count to 3. “Thank you, I’m sorry”


I then ran around the building and knocked on the CORRECT door where Heather was waiting for me.