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Read more about Diana’s adventures and life in Yachiyo City:
So it’s been awhile since my last full post; the end of the year brought a busy time at school and not quite as much traveling. This is simply part of the job though!
Today was our first day back at school. It was a short and sweet day containing an opening ceremony to welcome the students back for this next semester (about 3 more months of school left - the schools here run on a three semester schedule over the span of the year).
For winter vacation (the time between the second and third semester) I was able to travel home for the holidays. It was great to spend time with my family and friends and do some reflecting on the past 5 months spent in Japan. While winter vacation was well deserved and rewarding though, it will be nice to get back into a routine.
We are now in the year of the Monkey, according to the Zodiac, and I’m excited to see what the year will bring. I have officially decided to not renew my contract so I will be heading back to the US this July. It’s amazing how time has flown by!
So far, this year has started off pretty well. I was able to spend New Year’s in Japan and participated by watching a countdown concert with my fellow ALT’s (Jennifer, Jenny, Jessica and Angela - Jazmyn was back in the States with family) and then Jenny, Jennifer and I walked to our local temple and waited almost an hour to climb the bell tower and ring the large bell! We then drank amazake (a traditional hot rice beverage) and ate seaweed wrapped mochi (soft, gelatinous rice cake) while staying warm by a big bonfire. It was exciting to participate in some local customs and we also happened to see a few of Jennifer’s students who lived nearby…
Besides that, I was able to spend time with one of my oldest friends, Madison (we’ve been friends for 20 years!), while she was visiting another friend, Tyler, here in Japan who is also teaching English. The year promises more friends and family visits, seeing more of Japan, another new school (I will be switching schools after the school year ends in March) as well as a new chapter when I move back to America. Last year (the year of the Sheep) was pretty jam packed full of exciting ventures, so I look forward to what the year of the Monkey brings.