Friday, 29 May 2015


As the half year I had left quickly become the 8 weeks I have left I find myself getting busier and busier. Talent shows, dinners out, church's already looking like a full summer.
Recently one event I had the opportunity to help out at was a local charity event, Cheer 4 Fukushima.
This event was designed to raise money for an orphanage that was damaged in the great Japan earthquake on March 11, 2011. Before coming to Japan I remember on March 12 sitting in a geography class at my university and watching a clip of the devestation. To this day hundreds of people remain missing. Swept away at sea with no sense of closure for their family

My sweet student, Nozomi, made this collage!
Represent Canada!
Another teacher in my building decided to volunteer at Iwaki Ikeuisha, an orphanage in Fukushima, and was touched. So much so that he decided to organize a giant fundraiser and community event. Designed to connect the international community with our local community here in Tottori. I volunteered to head up the Canadian cultural booth. I helped kids make handprint Canadian flags, which were super adorable. It was an amazing event, with local magicians, belly dancers and a flash mob choir as a few of the performers. Additionally at least 10 members of the local international community volunteered to cook and sell food, or run cultural booths. Thanks to those cooking I was able to stuff my face with Jamaican curry and an American brownie. Nomnomnom!
The next day at school a bunch of teachers commented that they saw me in the newspaper and lo and behold the sweet office lady presented me with a copy of my picture and the following article. It was a really cool event to participate in, and it definitely strengthened relationships between the international community and the local community.

Newspaper Fame!!
Last weekend I also had the chance to catch up with two old friends. One, Hikari, was a teacher with me last year who was transferred to a new school this year. She is in her early twenties and she joined my eikaiwa last year so we always have fun togethor. In the afternoon I had the chance to meet up with my friend Etsuko. When I first came to Japan I prayed that I would meet christian, English speaking, Japanese friends. I met Etsuko almost immediately and she told me that had been her prayer too! She is about 15 years older than me, but we hit it off and she always has good advice.
The last, and possibly most imporatant (just kidding) event of the weekend was the grand opening of STARBUCKS! The famed chain finally made it to our little slice of Japan and it is about a ten minute walk from my flat. On the opening morning there were over 1000 people lined up. That was a bit crazy, even for me, so I waited until the second day it was open to enjoy a cookie frappe on the gorgeous outdoor patio. Japan has few options for eating outdoors, so to have access to a giant wrap around patio is going to make this summer fly by! Only a few weeks left, hard to believe. In less than three months I will be starting a new job(!!!), pressing play again on my old life. It is a strange feeling. The longer I spend here the fonder I grow of Japan and my life here. On the other hand, I miss so many things about Canada and I know that coming home might be hard, but it is the right choice. The Japanese word 懐かしい (natsukashi) has been running through my head. It translates as a fond feeling for past times. I have been feeling it for Tottori already.

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