final kendo at TJH - 8
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.
I uploaded about 50 more pics to my Flickr account.
These pics are all from July 2009, my last month living in Shimane.
I had a whirlwind month - trying to pack and get ready to go home, trying to say goodbye to places and friends, attending farewell parties, and having to say goodbye to students and teachers, many of whom I've known for 5 years.
Below is a sampling of some of the pics I can share on Flickr.
But before I explain those, the picture above is me (yes, me) in my full kendo gear. I wanted to shoot some video footage on me putting on all the gear, and the kendo coaches were nice enhough to oblige, and the kids on the team pitched in too. I'll try to get that footage edited together and posted on my YouTube page in the coming month.
This picture is of my farewell display for my main Jr High School - Taisha Chu - where I taught for 5 years. I wanted to do a display that featured just the current students, so I made two displays with one featuring older students, now graduated, and this one featuring current kids.
It wasn't all hard days and sad memories tho - I got to see a bunch of my former students at farewell parties they threw for me, and a few invited me out to see the most recent Harry Potter film at the nice theater in Izumo.
Trying to bring closure to so many of my activities at school and in the community was difficult. I scheduled an elementary school teacher brain-storming meeting for the last week I was in Taisha, and ended up sleeping thru my alarm that morning (something I almost never do) and being late for the meeting, just so tired from all the packing and running around I was doing during my final week.
I also had a chance to end my time as a library volunteer with a special event I called "Hearn by Harris."
The above picture shows me reciting one of Lafcadio Hearn's speeches to a small audience of mostly friends and students and teachers. I wanted to pass along some advice on preparing students for speech contests, since I'd had so much fun doing that activity every year and my schools had enjoyed success at all of the contests.
By far the toughest and most emotionally exhausting part of my final month was saying goodbye to the students and staff at all my schools, especially the ones I've been teaching at since 2004.
Some of the schools had really fun and touching farewell ceremonies for me on my final day, and I put up picture displays at all my elementary schools and my main Jr High School.
I really do miss my students - much more than I miss any particular aspect of Japan.
I wish I could show you all the fun pictures and video I have from these ceremonies, but I can't on the open internet.
Having said that, I am trying out a new online photo service called Phanfare that I like quite a bit. It's a much more private option than Flickr, and much easier for me to share my photos with people I know, since I can send specific links to content that remains private without requiring the viewer to register with the site.
If you know me personally, feel free to send me an email and I'll send you a link to more pics and video.
This might be my last update to FLICKR for a while. I might upload a few pictures from my life here in San Diego, but the site might be quiet until next year, when I plan on returning to Japan.
Thanks for your views and comments.