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February: Festivals, museums, and awesomeness

February is one of those words that I always hate trying to spell. My pronunciation is way off and it throws my spelling sometimes. But this is just random information or rather an excuse or explanation (depending on your perspective) on why its taken me so long to write a post about the events that happened during the month. Also as a sidenote, know that I don’t actually remember lots of things but instagram is my guiding force for writing these posts. If you want a semi up to date account on my life then follow me there. [Blacvelvetzebra]

Aboshi Oyster Festival

So, its no secret that most seafood has never been any favorite of mine. And because of this I’d probably never tried oysters, let alone fresh oysters. But I have been missing out on something delicious.

I traveled from Himeji to Aboshi to meet some friends and coworkers at the festival. It was a cold and rainy which caused the lawn where all the food vendors set up to be a soft and muddy mess by the time I arrived. I wore a new pair of Adidas and regretted that life choice immediately. Trying to keep white shoes white has never been my strong point. Anyway…

I met my friends and we walked around eating all the different types of oysters. Fried oysters, grilled oysters, grilled sweet potato, croquettes, and cotton candy. I tried everything. Any food stall with a long line I was there. I even waited in line for the cotton candy where the sign clearly said ‘for children’. I would not be deterred. I am a child at heart. Toys R Us told me I could be a kid forever and I believed them! Fight me. My friends thought it was hilarious and took a picture of me in line.

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Sewage Science Museum

In order for you to understand my fascination with traveling to the sewage museums in Japan you need to know something vital to my very existence. Are you ready? Ok. I really enjoy pooping. It’s awesome. And for some reason the poop emoji is hilarious. A few years ago when I was doing research on foreigners teaching and living in Japan I came across a couple. The husband was a salary man and the wife illustrated comic books about their experiences living in Japan. They recently stopped making youtube videos but you can still find them if you look. Their vlogs were called Texan in Tokyo.

I don’t recall how it became a thing but I think they visited a museum in Tokyo that was dedicated to educating children on their bodily functions. I remember there being a giant toilet door and a super tall toilet slide. I guess they were also selling ‘poop hats’ in the giftshop. I think they were pretty expensive because the husband decided to make his own. Eventually they began selling them. I wanted one but for whatever reason, I don’t remember, I never got one.

Needless to say, the minute I started exploring Japan I was on the hunt for sewage museums with giftships so that I could buy a poop hat. Don’t judge me. Unfortunately, the only sewage museum that I went to in my area didn’t have a giftshop. For that reason it was a sad day. One day I hope to find my poop hat, preferrably without having to go to Tokyo.

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3rd Grade Graduation

On February 28th I witnessed and participated in my first graduation ceremony. All the staff dressed in black and white. The Principal wore a tuxedo. Parents came in shades of black with colorful flower corsages. And the seniors dressed in their school uniforms for the last time after three years of wearing the same uniform day in and day out, sometimes seven days a week. I remember asking students what they would do with their uniforms after that day. I suggested the only correct course of action. BURN IT! But I got such strange looks that I kept that bit of Western advice to myself. Japanese students love their uniforms, or most of them do. Students can usually be seen wearing their uniforms at amusement parks, malls, you name it. Its a strange concept to me but whatever floats your boat.

The ceremony was long and emotional. Even I cried and I only taught forty of the seniors. I also learned that while most of the teachers appeared to be very emotional and sad it was all for show. Granted some were actually upset, others gave the best performance I have seen in person.

After the ceremony students went to their respective clubs where they were given a farewell party and presentation. Folk song club members sang and played for the seniors, dance club performed a very adult looking dance on the front steps of the school while parents applauded and teachers hung out of the windows in the teachers room watching, the brass band club performed (the best club in my opinion) and on and on it went. All around campus students, parents, and teachers were saying their goodbyes.

I would liken the experience to an American graduation combined with a funeral. There was no cheering, sad music and lots of crying.

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