hello and welcome to another month. we are rising out of winter slowly but surely here. our tiny ume tree is blooming and its larger kin are following suit. spring is coming. i've been taking pictures after work to document the lightening of the evening sky. it is no longer pitch black at 6 o'clock. in a few months i will have forgotten about the cold and the darkness and will be suffering through summer, dreaming of january.
i do wish i had brought my camera today for setsubun. oh goodness, to capture the terrific terror that was experiences by my littles today when the demons/ogres(oni) climbed in through the window. and the fantastically terrible costumes worn by the oni-san: matted long black hair, masks with yellow hooked teeth and black horns, rice skirts encircling their legs and waists. setsubun is usually translated as "bean-throwing day". it is the day when people can actually face (or as my 3 year-old students preferred, run from) their demons. before the oni-san entered, the teachers gave a little show about how bad behavior invites oni-san in and how when we are good, they retreat. they also retreat when they are pelleted with dry soy beans by the thousands while hearing "oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi": out with the demons, in with happiness. it went on for a while with lots of screaming and crying as the demons chased the children about, bent on capturing them and carrying them towards an exit while the other children hysterically threw more beans.
speaking of children and their demons....
we went to nagasaki over the weekend. i had a language teachers meeting and the lantern festival was happening so it seemed like a good time to get away from the island. except that we were reminded as we always are about the effects of living in a small, quiet place with sensitive children. it makes their reactions to the hustle and bustle of a city extreme. many, many meltdowns. many, many, many occasions of sebastian running off in the middle of a crowded and large store. so, so relieved to be back. the lesson from it is: don't take the entire family to the city when we only have a weekend because with the ferry ride it is more like only having a day and a few hours and a lot of those hours are spent sleeping at the hostel. also, don't expect a five year-old to be interested in ordering shelves from muji when there is a little flashing and pinging corner of coin-hungry games across the way.
i didn't get any pictures of the teachers' meeting but if you head over to flickr there are some of the lantern festival.
hope you are well. take care.
p.s. i hate thinking of titles so i will start labeling my posts by month and alphabetical order.