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.