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.