Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last Week.... starting to sink in.

Shawn invited Nishiokoppe's best English speakers over for dinner Monday night for his final advanced adult English class. Per Japanese tradition, one's drinking glass always remains full. Sora, born the day before our first day in Nishiokoppe, practices his pour for dad.
I sat next to Fusae. She works across the street at the yakuba (city office building). She has a wicked dry sense of humor and always makes me laugh. Sometimes she gets my jokes too which is really saying something. Fusae has been to Juneau. Keeping my fingers crossed she'll consider another trip in the future.
Miki-san, left, is the manager of the Rimu, the super fancy hotel in town. He used to live in Amsterdam. Usui-san (former villager in the spotlight) brought a whole turkey over because he heard we liked turkey. In Japan they do Christmas chicken which I'm sorry, just isn't the same. Colin, right, is an Aussie who has lived in Japan for 8 years. Colin was the bass player in our rockin' band and is newly engaged to his adorable sweetheart from Shibetsu. Congrats mate!
We took one last trip to the big city over the weekend. Even the taxis are cute in Japan.
Lotsa good people watching.... mostly watching people who are enjoying watching us.
Window shopping. You can get seriously lost in the multi-level catacombs of a Japanese department store.
Skateboarding is not a crime my friends.
Many thanks to Gail, Shawn's mom, who sent a huge box of gingerbread house fixin's for the elementary school Christmas party. It was SO much fun!

Akane, on the right has been my nemesis since we came here. She's always all up in my face and making fun of the way I talk. At the end of the party she said goodbye with tears in her eyes.... I gave her a big hug and started crying. I'm gonna miss that little stinker! Misakai on the left.

Hajime, Yukie, and Asushi.

Nana, with the red kerchief, lives across the street from us and is shy and quiet and an excellent student. She has been a good older friend to Nova. Kakeru, front, Natusuki, and Rei.

Yugi, with the mask, is Nana's little bro. He's got a really charming gravely smoker's voice. I instantly melt whenever he says, "Haa-llo". Hikaru and Kouta.

Yui and Yuki.

Akira (happiest kid in Nishiokoppe award), Hibiki, Maya and Haruka.

Nao and Nagisa.

Masataka, Ruya, and Rena.

Kazuki, Mizuki, and Mai.

Akari, Yamato, and Mai.

"Which of these kids is doin' her own thing, one of these kids just isn't the same." Yuya and Nagisa.

Aina, Taiga, Aoue.

Chizuko, what can I say? You win Nishiokoppe's most photogenic award.
Some photos from my walk around the hood this morning. This roof-top looks like a snow-capped mountain to me.
I will miss the places as much as the people.
It's funny the things I'm getting all nostalgic over this last week. As with Alaska Native tradition, nothing goes to waste here.
Our neighbors use remnants from the electric guitar factory as firewood.
Buddha in peaceful snowy repose.