Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

Saturday, October 27th, 2007 by Steph

Last Monday I arrived at my high school to discover with dismay that I was at the wrong school. It’s not so surprising actually. With 15 schools to visit, it’s a wonder I don’t make this mistake all the time. With one hour to regroup, I went home and began my planning for elementary school lessons. Raw ingredients for the day’s lessons included:

  • my

    smallest school, with only 10 kids in the entire student body

  • my voice, hoarse and almost inaudible, from a long and insistent cold

I racked my brain: with an hour’s notice, how could I finagle a day of successful lessons? And then it hit me: Of course! I would bring the pumpkins.


Respect my activiteh

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007 by Chris

Some of you may have heard that we have made some inroads in the music/performance community here, after a year of looking in from the outside.

A month or two ago, our friend and fellow Noshiro ALT Frank discovered and introduced us to a taiko drumming group, Noshiro Belabo Taiko (???????). We (and I in particular) had been dithering about joining a similar group in the neighboring town of Futatsui, unaware that there was one right in our own back yard. The group is a great deal of fun, consisting in roughly equal quantities of adults and elementary/junior high kids.

After all of two rehearsals, we were informed we’d be performing at a small town festival the following weekend. Since then we’ve been in no less than three performances (albeit playing with the kids), which always tickles the announcers who love shoving microphones in our faces and asking us where we’re from.

We don’t have any taiko videos yet, so for the moment you can get an idea from this photo from our friend Andy:

Taiko in Kazenomatsubara

Almost immediately after starting taiko, Steph fulfilled her year-long dream and got the opportunity to join a Yosakoi dance team. In the apparent tradition of Japanese performing groups, they threw her into a performance after but two rehearsals. Here they are performing (in the rain) at the pre-Futatsui Marathon festival (5-minute video; might take a minute to load):

Yosakoi at Futatsui Marathon Festival