Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It Was a Very Good Year...

A while back Wyldth1ng tagged me for this challenging meme, regarding the year I was 25. This has been quite a challenge for me, since I was 25 about a quarter of a century ago. One thing that helped: I lived in Japan during my 25th year, so that helped me to remember a few things. (I hope to add pictures to this post later.)


I turned 25 on April 16, 1982. Here are 5 things I remember from April 16 of that year to April 16th of 1983.

1. I had just moved from Tokyo, the urban center of Honshu, to the "little" town of Kumamoto, on the island of Kyushu. The school year in Japan runs from April to March, and I moved to teach junior and senior high school at a Lutheran School called Kyushu Gakuin. By the way, it was (and I believe still is) a Boys' School.

2. The first day of teaching 7th grade boys was extremely challenging for me. There were fifty boys in the class; the first thing the other teacher and I did was divide the boys into two groups. They didn't know any English. In theory, I knew some Japanese. But I realized just then that I didn't know "classroom English." After taking roll, it was touch and go. I was trying to ask them to write their names and one of the boys was trying valiantly to ask me whether I wanted them to write in capital letters or small letters. I didn't know the Japanese word for "capital letters" so I had no idea what he was asking. He ended up jumping up and down to signify "big" until I figured out what he was talking about. I will also remember the day I picked up a pencil from a student's desk and said, "This is a pencil." to which he replied, "This is a dorobou." (Dorobou, it turns out, is Japanese for "thief.")


3. I remember shortly after the school year began, getting a school break for what was called "Golden Week" back then. It was called Golden Week because there were three national holidays within about a week and a half. One of them was the Emperor's Birthday. Since there has been a new emperor since I left Japan, I wonder if there is still a "Golden Week". Perhaps my new friend Tanya, who lives in Japan, can tell. Anyway, during Golden Week we took a train and went to a famous pottery festival in Arita, where we bought lots of bowls, teacups and other essentials -- cheap. It was wonderful! P.S. yes, there still is a Golden Week.


4. During the summer break, (mid-July through August) I traveled with a group of young people to Kagoshima prefecture for summer fun and relaxation. If there weren't pictures, I don't think I would remember much except having fun by the seashore. For this midwestern girl, being near both mountains and oceans was quite an experience.

5. In March, my parents arrived for a two week tour of Japan. They visited Tokyo, the old capital of Kyoto, my town of Kumamoto, and also visited Hiroshima, where the missionaries were having their annual meeting. I also took them for an overnight stay in a ryokan, which is a Japanese-style inn. My parents recently told me they remembered the night I told them I was too tired to translate for them any more; they were on their own! So they got a little supper in Kyoto without any help.

The picture is of "Kinkakuji", the Golden Pavilion, in Kyoto, one of the many places I visited with my parents.

13 comments:

Jan said...

Diane, this was very interesting, esp. because I lived in Japan in the 1960s, when I was in junior high.

Thanks for sharing.

Kievas said...

Sounds like an eye-opening experience!

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

wow 25 was quite the year! to be so young and adventurous... *sigh* can't do much about the age thing but the adventure we can still seek!

dust bunny said...

GREAT memories!!!

Magdalene6127 said...

Diane, this is most excellent! What an adventure. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Barbara B. said...

very cool, diane!

Presbyterian Gal said...

What an adventure! I imagine that you left many positive impressions from the time you spent in Japan.

Jan said...

I came back to look at the photographs. I love the one of you as teacher.

Chorus said...

Beautiful pictures!

Wyldth1ng said...

Nifty.

I didn't spent much time on the mainland, mostly Okinawa. Very snazzy.

Jiff said...

Oooh! I loved reading this. What a fun meme!

more cows than people said...

love the "thief" story.

great play.

Diane said...

Jiff, if you'd like to, consider yourself tagged!