Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Seven Course Concert Contest

Last night we went to a music concert at the University.  It’s really nice to be able to go from our apartment on the third floor to seats in I-Hall in less than five minutes. The faculty member involved with this concert is Min Sensei.  She is from Korea and lives in our building.

The program had seven “courses”, each with five or six student musicians and several musical pieces in a theme.  One was tea time and the musicians were dressed as waiters. One was a little opera piece with the singers performing in Italian, with Japanese subtitles up on the screen. Another had a Nutcracker theme, with a mouse and a tin soldier.  At the end of the concert the audience members voted for their favorites. The group I voted for came in third and the group Ted voted for came in first.  One student from each group accepted the awards.

Remember the pumpkin Kit Kats I posted about the other day?  I saw this little package of snacks at the Haruki this week – a pumpkin drinking beer in January.  What is this about?

We had a clear day yesterday and Ted shot these pictures of the distant mountains from our kitchen window. The big sculpture in the foreground of the first picture is at City Hall.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Iwamizawa International Exchange Society New Year's Party

Our new friend Kyoko San invited us to attend the IIES pot luck and New Year celebration, which was held yesterday.  We made deviled eggs, which we translated to oni tamago. With the help of Ted’s iPad we walked to the community center where the party was held. There were people of all ages from Japan, the United Kingdom, and the US (North Carolina, California, and Michigan) in attendance. I was happy to see the students and sensei from my Japanese language class.

 There were a lot of delicious foods to choose from. Each person wrote what the dish was on a piece of paper, which was very helpful in choosing.  I think everyone went back for seconds and even thirds!

As always in Japan, the trash was separated.  I had to wait to see what was put in each bag before throwing anything away because I couldn’t read the writing on the bags.

 After the main part of the eating (people returned to the food table throughout the party), various Japanese games were introduced.

Sumo wrestling was a big hit.

Everyone wanted to be able to spin a plate on a stick.  As you can see it takes some concentration.

I think everyone had a good time and had plenty to eat.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Under-robe Ornament

When I was working on the DragonMaster, I liked the pattern of the under-robe and thought it would make a pretty ornament.

Using 28 count black evenweave fabric, gold Accentuate, red Kreinik #4 braid, and Needlepoint Inc. #895 purple, I made up this little ornament.  

The back did not photograph well, but it is black velvet.  I added a little piece of black ribbon for the hanger and Mill Hill seed beads for the edging.

I’m working on a second ornament now in threads that Ted chose.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Box Sleigh Race

Another of the Winter Activities classes is the Box Sleigh Race.  This one was more labor intensive for the third year students because the race course had to be built.  On Thursday afternoon, all of the students went out to work on the course after the three who were leading the activity chose the location, which was the edge of one of the university parking lots.  A big snow moving machine flattened out the bottom to help make it safer.

After working several hours with shovels and the help of a snow mobile machine, the course is ready.

Testing the slope - Yes, it's ready!

The third year leaders and Jones Sensei
It snowed overnight and off and on Friday morning, so the third year students were back at work on the course, while the three leading the activity worked indoors with the first year students.

After explaining what to do, the first year students working in pairs, take their boxes and go to work. The rule was that both students had to go down the hill in the box. The boxes used were our moving to Japan boxes.  Everything gets recycled here.

There were seven groups of two and it was fun to see how they worked together and implemented their ideas.  They had about an hour and 15 minutes to make and decorate their sleighs.

This group made runners under their box, but didn’t have a clear idea on what else to do.  They kept cutting away.

This group had a clear idea from the beginning and stuck to it.  They measured and cut and were quite precise.

This group kept changing what to do.  They taped, then cut the tape, then folded and taped some more.

These two wanted a comfortable sleigh, so they made two seats with back rests.

This sleigh was very decorative, but did they put enough time into the actual construction? We'll find out.

This group got off to a slow start and didn’t seem to know what to do.

These two didn’t do much cutting and kept the structural integrity of the box.

The students and sleighs went out to the course. It was snowing hard the entire time of the race.  Each pair had the opportunity to tell about their concept.  I couldn’t understand a thing – their explanations were in Japanese.

Each pair went down the course and the distance was marked with some red kool-aid looking stuff squirted on the snow.

After all seven went down, awards were given to the longest, the shortest, and the best looking sleighs.

The two precision guys didn't make it to the bottom and won the shortest award.

The two with the most decorative sleigh, also went the farthest, winning two awards!

Everyone, participants and observers, had a good time.