Summer Returns ~ July

Hello! It’s been a while!

Well, not really. You’ve probably seen my story posts like every other day or so. Yea… ha ha… my friend and I are going wild with that and having a great time. My creative juices have been flowing and I’m just basking in the sun, both literally and figuratively.

Well, here’s a long-awaited update on my time in Japan! So grab a seat, grab a snack, maybe a drink too, and sit tight while I give you the low down from May to July! *lights dim, camera rolls, screen fades… and Action!*

Well, once my friend left Japan to head back in Toronto in May, I finally got some much-needed rest and tender love ‘n care. Actually, I got a cold. It was like… What? It’s May! It’s 20-23 degrees out… how in the world did I catch a cold! And it was bad too. It was like a flu, I got a bad headache and it was all in my head, literally, no cough, no runny nose. Just head pounding ughness. THat’s going to be a new word, adjective really, ughness describes a feeling of unpleasantness that makes you relate to a snail, a really slow moving slimy snail that is dragged down by… by more than its own legless sliminess.

Well, I got over that thankfully, in time for a few events that were happening on Iki. The beginning of June marked the beginning of the Ajisai season and that means, *dun dada dahhhh!* That’s right! The Ajisai Matsuri, (Hydrangea festival), happened on Sunday, June 10th, at Bunka Hall in Gounora! My friend has a flee market/garage sale, and there was tea ceremony demonstrations, ikebana flower arranging, shodou displays and tons and tons and TONS of Ajisai.

My friend, Etsuko Akagi, made a beautiful ikebana display that represented the rainy season in Japan, which usually takes place on Iki in the month of June (but to be honest, last year we had a drought which led to all of Junes rain falling in 2 days time on the 3rd and 11th of July, causing horrendous mudslides that are still being repaired to this day!). This year, I feel like it started mid-June and lasted until the beginning of this past week with a crazy thunderstorm, a typhoon and then 2 days of straight rain, all adding up to about 9 days straight of rain… I was sooo ready for summer sun that all week I’ve been so gleeful, probably from overdosing on Vitamin D.

Well, you still gotta be careful, cuz on Ajisai day I somehow got half a face of sunburn…. don’t ask me how… I still don’t know. It was the side that was even in the shade facing away from the sun all day. So… unless it came from my car window, it makes no sense what so ever.

Then, my schools and other people all over Iki began to prepare for a charity concert on the 17th of June at the Bunka centre. Basically, we pay to be in the concert… I love how they didn’t tell me this till the day before, even though I knew about 2 months beforehand that I would be in it. Ha ha… ha… Anyway. I was originally to be on Flute, lucky for me, Mike brought my baby here from Canada and I’d been using it in the Brass band and at Cafe de Luddy concerts, but… somehow, someone claimed all the flute parts… So then the teachers were scrambling like… what part do we give her? Well, it got decided I’d play the oboe. And Iki koko had a spare oboe, so they gave it to me to use and the oboe student, whose practically taught herself the oboe in a year and sounds…. freakin’ amazing…. *hangs own head in shame* gave me her spare reed. I, for one, haven’t played the oboe or touched a reed in 2 years since leaving for Japan… so I had like nooooooo oboe face muscles and at this time I had about 3 weeks to learn the oboe again before I performed. So… LET’S GO MARATHON PRACTICE!

Not such a good plan… cuz I gave myself tendonitis the week before the Ajisai concert and could use my hand for about 3 days… life is tough… you gotta deal. Well, I pounded that ice on (not really. more like places softly and held it on till I couldn’t feel anything), and I got better and everyone got worried,,,, but I deal! So please don’t! It was a really great experience getting to practice and play with the Iki volunteer firefighters band, the hummingbirds, and other teachers from around Iki who played instruments. I met some really nice people who I’d like to see again and play with again soon. The concert was great and I do have the dvd of the songs now so I will attempt to record them and post them on… Here!

That’s right! EVERYONE! I updated my blog subscription so I should be able to add media to my blog pages… Don’t know how yet but that’s exciting. Otherwise, please visit Youtube for any videos and my Facebook blog page for pictures.

Anyway, back on point. After the concert I have about a week of like… post stress from stuff happening and classes happening and Club and staying up late and on June 19th, at work, I began to feel suddenly ill. I felt dizzy and stuff, but I had 2 more classes after lunch, so I hung on and pushed through and kept my genki on (genki means enthusiasm). As soon as I was done the classes, I got to my desk and was like… head down on my laptop and thinking… I need to lay down. I feel dead. This can’t be happening. I have so much to do. Tests to prepare for, classes to teach, planning, people to see, cleaning to do… I think I’m getting a cold.

So I came home and literally grabbed all my stuff, like personal time killing stuff and life essentials, like laptop, charger, phone, charger, water, pills, snacks, and anything else you need when you don’t want to leave bed and don’t plan to (after canceling koto lesson from school, I was not planning n leaving my bed all night, this was legit – going to bed at 4:30 – let’s get better by the morning- planning). And I went to bed and laid down. I slept for like 2 hours and when I woke up, I still felt bad, in fact, I had a fever.

So I talked to some people. I couldn’t go to a pizza soccer game party I was invited to, and my lovely Iki friends, God bless them, drove out of their way on the way to this party to come to my house all the was in the North, Katsumoto town and gave me Advil and fever pads and food! Homemade food! and lozenges for my throat and they took care of me! Then went to their game night. They even gave me advice on how to call in sick and going to the doctors. In case I didn’t get better.

Which was the case. I went to the doctors after calling in byokyuu (which is sick leave) and took my new dictionary with me and looked up words while I waited (actually falling asleep waiting and having the nurse like call me a couple times and then tapping me on the shoulder with a little laugh to tell me it was my turn) and I saw the doctor. This I actually find the problem with being a foreigner in Japan… I’m told there’s an English doctor first thing in the morning on Iki but I’ve never met him and I’ve been there when the hospital opens at 8 even though I’m dead sick. Even so, I’ve found other doctors, like the dentist and the eye doctor, are soo willing to look up words in their dictionaries and on their phones and help me to understand them and vice Versa, but the Iki doctor is like. Verbal diarrhea Japanese and then looks at me and asks if I understand and I stare at him and like…. repeat a word I don’t know and he just continues to talk and I never understand. So I can’t even tell him like, my throat hurts and I had a fever and I think it’s this.

It’s a real pain and I think they need to fix this for foreigners in rural towns like Iki. Honestly. Cause I’m just plain scared to go and I’d rather try and treat myself. Which is practically what I did.

Turns out I had Strep throat and I know this can be serious if not treated right. I also know you can treat it naturally, cuz my aunt did and she’s fine. And I knew I might get over it cuz my fever broke the first night, I just couldn’t talk and my throat hurt and I felt sleepy like… permanently. So I did my research, after collecting my medicine from the pharmacy which was enough for 5 days. (also didn’t understand that he probably said to come back if you don’t feel better after this, cuz that’s the way the way they do things in Japan and they’ll give you more medicine, but of course, that went over my head and so I was like… this is going to take way more than 5 days of medicine to fix…

TO make a long story short, I went to the store (which spent all my one hours worth of daily energy) and bought food that was beneficial to healing strep. I ordered echinacea goldenseal tincture and elderberry lozenges, I made elderberry syrup, I ate raw garlic on toast, I gargled with salt water, I did coconut oil pulling, I had lemons, fish and soup like every day, I drank teas, ginger and echinacea and yea…. I stayed home from work for 3 days cuz I couldn’t talk let alone move around and sit at a desk. I slept for hours a day but continued to write with my friend from my bed, cuz I could do that, and I stayed home all weekend. At this point I was getting home bored, so I pulled out the Windwaker game… hehehehe and that was good times!

Calling in all three days got my teachers and Vice Principles really worried for me though and when I tried to go back to work the following Monday with a mask on and a ton of remedies with me for the day, they made sure to ask me if I was better and to take it easy and take care of myself. Luckily, I made it through the day, though I really needed more sleep and had not much energy to last 8 hours at a desk, and I managed to get the listening tests done for the second graders. I’m not sure how I had a voice for the CD we recorded for the test, but it didn’t even sound like I was sick. I guess my choir teacher in Uni was right, I sing and apparently talk better when I’m sick. LOL!

This week I’m finally feeling like my old self. I managed to keep up all the remedies and more when I got all my parcels in and got rid of the strep. I hope it doesn’t come back later, so I’m going to continue these remedies for a bit just in case.

Anyway! The last weekend in June, the Girls and I had booked a weekend off-Island! Yay for Island Fever! We went to Bio park and got to pet and feed many of the zoo animals! Japan is awesome cuz people don’t sue here so we can do awesome things and if we get hurt, it’s our own fault for not following the rules! Yay Japan! you know you how to do things! We even got to pet the baby Capybaras! And I entered a raffle for a gift prize and surprisingly got the top gift! a giant, nearly life-sized Capybara pushy!! AHHHH I named him Maple, after the oldest and biggest Capybara at Bio park. He’s now my fav cuddle buddy!

We spent Sunday at the Canada Day event in Fukuoka, called Fukuoka Eh?!  hehe. Got myself a t-shirt and had some awesome Canadian snacks. Even a free lobsters tail! well, is was an extra dollar… but that’s cheap!!  Got my annual Tim Hortons coffee and tried out the Canadian dry ginger ale chugging contest. I came out on top of the kid in my heat… but still lost bad. But I tried! I had a blast meeting up with my JET friend from Saskatchewan. She even came to visit me later in the summer for a whole weekend!

The next weekend I went to a dinner at Rachel’s friend’s place for the Tanabata festival. That’s the star festival or Milkyway festival. We wrote our wishes on paper and hung them on a bamboo shot outside! Then ate an awesome meal.

The following weekend we hosted one of the largest Iki beach party weekends ever! With over 70 guests staying on the beach with us, we rented tons of tents and prepared tons of food. I somehow got stuck in the kitchen a whole lot, so I barely had any beach time, but it was still fun. I met a lot of really great people and made friends, which is what counts!! The weather was great too! NO rain, lots of sun and so many dragonflies!

I got invited in June to attend the Nishiko super science fair in Nagasaki city and it counts as a business trip, which I’m so thankful for. I was really excited to see what other high schools do! My expenses were all paid for by the high school because of how far I lived! I had a blast going around to the different booths and judging the English presentations. I was so impressed with how much these students did and could explain in English!!! I admit I’m a little jealous of the job my friend has to work here. He gets to teach Science to the students in English! But man, he must do a great job! I’m so glad I went and I hope to go again next year.

Then came the weeks of goodbye parties for our 3 JET’s leaving. I ended up using most of my free time to help my good friend Rachel pack. I can’t believe how many boxes we mailed home for her. I really hope I don’t have that much stuff when I leave… Lol. I also managed to get to the Yamakasa shrine festival before the rain set it and it got canceled early. I help demolition a house that our guest house friends at Minotoya bought to make into a restaurant. Ended up sleeping over at Rachels on my birthday as I helped her pack up the house and move into mine. After finally getting some sleep, we went to Dragon Island for my annual birthday picnic and swim! Got free peanuts containers from the post office, how I love them so, and had a wonderful meal at Mocha Java! Then, the ultimate 3.5 hours of Karaoke!! Oh, how much fun that was!! I tried out some new Japanese songs too! Sang Perfume with Nao, and ate lots of cake! Thanks so much for the wonderful birthday, everyone!!

I’ll save August for the next post, cuz I feel so much has happened.

Soo, till next time!!


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