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Amparo Bertram

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10:49 am: Anatomy of a Year End Party
Thursday evening I made a batch of gingerbread cookies to take to school the next day. I like baking...I just wish it didn't use up so many dishes. ;_; I spent what time remained packing my suitcases.

Friday morning I took the cookies to school. I wound up giving out about four dozen to students, who appreciated the unexpected treat. I set the rest of the cookies out for the teachers to snack on. I used my free period to make a set of Christmas-themed Apples to Apples cards to use in my last class of the day. That went over all right, though I had to do a quick run through of various terms (holly, mistletoe, stable, shepherd, wise man, etc.) before playing.

Friday evening, the teachers got on a bus and headed for the bounenkai ("forget the year party"). Several students waved as we left. I really wonder what it must be like as a student to watch your teachers leave for their year end party, knowing that they're all going to get drunk and bathe together.

The location of the party was an inn on the opposite side of Lake Biwa, so I rode across the bridge to the other side for the first time. I also watched the moon out the window of the bus. It was full and beautiful. It was even tinted faintly yellow, like a pale harvest moon...but I couldn't see a bunny in it, no matter how hard I tried.

The bounenkai is a Japanese tradition. People in all lines of work have them. I've talked about them before, but it's hard to convey the full impact. This year I took my camera and snapped shots of as much as possible. I posted the pictures, in chronological order, with descriptions.

Pictorial Guide to a Bounenkai

One of the other teachers thoughtfully gave me a ride back home. Her car had a navigation system that displayed the route as an animated map. It showed the position of the car, surrounding roads, and important buildings such as police boxes, schools, and shopping centers. I practically drooled. I get lost so easily, I really could use something like that.

When I got home, I sent a request to a delivery service to pick up my suitcases to take to the airport. That should be all taken care of in a couple hours. Now I just have to finish last minute chores such as laundry and dishes, and I'll be ready to leave on Monday.

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[User Picture]
Date:December 16th, 2005 07:09 pm (UTC)
I could never bounenkai. I'd be so self-conscious about looking anti-social. Your special vegetarian dinner looks delightful (and ham-free!).

When I got home, I sent a request to a delivery service to pick up my suitcases to take to the airport.

Yay! Now I don't have to worry about your back. I hate dragging heavy suitcases to and from stations, and really owe you for telling me about the limo bus from Narita. (Mind you, I would be concerned about not meeting up with my suitcase again at the airport if a courier took it. But I won't mention that here, 'cause it's just stupidly borrowing worry.)
[User Picture]
Date:December 17th, 2005 03:32 am (UTC)
I could never bounenkai. I'd be so self-conscious about looking anti-social.

I'm not the most social person myself. In fact, I spent quite a bit of the evening sitting in my corner singing Christmas carols to myself.

You're not required to drink alcohol--anyone driving isn't allowed to drink alcohol at all--though your alternative is pretty much limited to Oolong tea.

Now I don't have to worry about your back.

Especially since I overstuffed one of the suitcases to be nearly 70 pounds...it's an extra $25 charge, but that's still cheaper and less risky than mailing that much manga.
[User Picture]
Date:December 16th, 2005 07:30 pm (UTC)
Wow, thanks for the pictures! That's so cool, I feel like I was there!

And man, I just ate dinner, and that made me hungry. Especially the desserts.

LOL at "The teachers start passing out on the floor."

Now I want a bounenkai. *pouts* The end of semester faculty holiday party does NOT compare.
[User Picture]
Date:December 17th, 2005 03:37 am (UTC)
Wow, thanks for the pictures!

I'm glad you like them. ^_^

Now I want a bounenkai. *pouts*

It's certainly an experience.

I wish there had been more time to spend in the bath...I only got to try one of the two that the inn had to offer. But I got to watch the sunrise over Lake Biwa, so that was cool, even though clouds blocked most of the sun.
[User Picture]
Date:December 18th, 2005 06:54 am (UTC)


Those pictures are awesome! The food looks soooo good! They really know how to party, don't they? I might have to share this with our "morale committee" who plans a lot of our social events.

Practicing Christmas carols! You'll be up to speed for the caroling on Christmas eve. When you get here, there's a special version of some we'd like you to hear. Christiane is going to serenade her mom with one. If we don't feel comfortable actually singing it, she'd like us to lip-sync and do some background choreography to it. It should be great fun.

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