Saturday, November 22, 2014

Branden's observation day at the local JHS...

Branden's JHS had observation day for 2 days. A 2 day observation day? This was a first for me, to ever have something like that (2 days in a row) : ) Apparently that is because in case some parents couldn't come on, one of the days the other day was available too. The days were right before Halloween, October 29th and October 30th. However, Noah had observation day at his school October 30th. And for us 3rd grade parents there was a specific activity at the last 2 classes, so we had to be there for that. Plus I was making pizza for our special Halloween supper, remember that? : ) So, I knew on one of those 2 days, I absolutely also had to swing myself to Costco Chiba New Town. So, I decided I would attend Branden's observation day on October 29th plus, go to Costco that day. Knock 2 of my things off the list for that day, plus get home and make dinner and prepare for the kids swimming later that evening. So October 29th was a super busy day for me. And since Noah's observation day was the next day only...I had to go to that of course (which is totally fine). Plus prep for dinner later that night, clean house, do laundry.. all that normal stuff. You know what I mean, I hope. : ) So yep that was the plan. So, I decided to attend Branden's English class, on October 29th. His English teacher is that *lovely* Japanese teacher who is the 7th grade teacher for the other class. She helped us set up our spot for undokai, remember. : ) Anyway...so I was at the JHS, that morning, here is the spot where all the kids who ride their bikes park their bikes.  A few scatterings of houses and on the left of that house in the background is a rice field. You won't see anything higher than a 3 story building in our town...we honestly just don't have anything like that. Again it is a town actually smaller than Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show, population wise. Our town is a tad under 5,000 folks. It is a *very* small town. Our town is not merged with any neighboring cities. It is just simply a town with about 5,000 nice folks in it.  Interesting fact, about half of Branden's classmates parents grew up in our town. Truly true...many of Branden's classmate mom's were actual classmates of each other, back in the day, hahaha. : ) I think you see a 2 or 3 story apartment building way in the background but that's really about it.  

I'm giving you a little peek of our town via the view from Bran's school. : ) Okay to the right forward but background is rice field and then to the left...you see a 2 or 3 story building, could be the biggest building of the whole town. But shrimpy compared to bigger cities, but that is our "big" clinic for our town. That is where Branden went for the x-ray on his foot after his undokai. The wait is very long, you could wait all day... because so many older folks find going to the clinic... as social...a social gathering with their senior friends... meaning a lot of their friends are there. So the wait could be eons before actually being seen. However they are good, the wait is just forever. Which is why 98% of the time, we choose to go to the tiny clinic 1 minute from our house. : ) 

This is the new-ish main street behind Bran's school. Mostly just houses. Farm equipment showrooms/stores. And we can even... boast that we have one 7-11 (should we do a group...ohhh and ahhh, hahaha) : ) We used to have a grocery store! I tell ya we were rocking! With 1 grocery store! Modern eh? However sadly... it went out of business last year and just my opinion is... because their prices were insanely expensive. So for the past year our town has been utterly and quite literally grocery store-less. However...there has been a huge sign where the old store used to be for the last 4 months that a new store would be there in November. This month! The whole towns talking about it! And it is under construction now and it's not finished yet...but I think when it finally does open that it will be on the monthly news bulletin...front page even!!! :  )  Our town also boasts 1 Mini Stop (ohhhh ahhhh) (think along the lines of sorta like a Circle K, another convenience store) : ) And all the kids seem to hang there if you are a kid. : ) No Mc D's or any fast food for our town. It is a nice town. Just a very rural town. Like very VERY rural town. : ) Again while Tokyo has fancy stores like...Prada and Gucci...the only stores our town has with big huge show room type windows are ones... showing their product is...a new tractor...and the likes. 

Yep, there are truly no buildings taller than a 3 story building for our town. And that's okay. We wanted to live in a small town like this. It's so wonderful for the boys to grow up here. 

Anyway enough town talk... back to the observation day...Noboru and I walking towards the school. 

Yep, it was indeed October 29th. : ) 

She is a very nice lady, a very good teacher. Although, I definitely think I made her nervous, because Noboru even whispered in my ear...you're making her so nervous. : ( Even Branden mentioned that later that evening. @_@ : ( I really am unsure why, perhaps because I'm American. but seriously no worries, I think she's absolutely fantastic. I am a fan! In fact when I filled out the form what I thought about it...I wrote in English how fantastic she was and how she kept the kids interested and me too! : )  Branden said I was the *only parent* Noboru and I...who showed up on October 29th. @_@ And he said that only a handful showed up on the next day. : ( Not sure if many had to work..or if parents think their kids are getting too old to watch/observe. I'm not sure. But I always want to go. I want to see how Branden does in class. How he interacts. I want to check his inside shoes (do they need replacing? No they don't but at least I checked)...I just want peace of mind. I left feeling pretty good. Everything seems pretty good.

In JHS, at least at our JHS in Japan. You are ranked. At the end of each midterm or final or huge test. You will bring home how you ranked per each core subject you tested on. You are not told what # your classmates are, that is all private, as it should be. But you know *your* scores and your rank. Branden is ranked in English after all his mid terms finals and major tests in 1st place for his class and for his grade (combining both classes) he is again ranked #1. For his math he is ranked 3rd for his class and like 4th or 5th out of both classes combined. His Japanese/kanji is incredibly high he is ranked again like 3rd or 4th and like 6th out of both classes combined. Out of all his core subjects a person tests from... he is under 10 (which is fantastic really)...so he is doing incredibly well. I credit Kumon English and Japanese for a lot of it! Because though I am American, and I taught him to speak English fluently and read at home and write and stuff with workbooks.... he learned the translating and specific ways the Japanese like to *see* English translated and whatnot...he learned a ton at Kumon and for that...I can really see, the benefits now that he is in JHS. So for his English for example he has absolutely zero problem. The teacher wanted somebody to read this dialogue with her...she picked Branden to read it with her. This picture...he was reading it with, his sensei. He fluidly speaks like I do, and when he finished...the class clapped, and according to Noboru, a few of his classmates said...sugoi (wow!!!) lol. : ) He did really well. I stayed for the entire class. Filled out the what we thought of the class...the class form. And left. Remember we still had to run to Costco for mozzarella cheese for the pizza for our Halloween dinner. 

Brand new bathrooms/toilets. Because the airport is semi near-ish. Our town gets money from the Narita airport so although our town is small, the elementary school was rebuilt about 8 years ago (which is why...Noah's school is pretty new) and Branden's school gym was reformed at the local JHS. And they also got an additional toilet area for outside, right here. So both schools have nice stuff. Really nice stuff. And both schools have out of this world computer labs. Anyway so we hopped in the car and headed to Costco.

October 29th stuff bought from Costco. Mozzarella cheese for pizza for our fun Halloween meal. Kraft processed cheese slices... for the best grilled cheese (this will last us about 3-4 months easy)...big hunka blunka of Colby cheese (they have Tillamook but for 300-400 yen cheaper...I prefer buy the Kirkland store brand.) Provolone and sliced ham for ham sammys for the month of  November. So lunches for November can be grilled cheese or ham sammy. And of course I always keep instant noodle soups in stock at home too. But yep lunches are no worries now. And they had Classico pasta sauce...I totally prefer Prego...2nd choice would be Ragu. My last choice would be this...but still better than Japanese spaghetti sauce. To me, Japanese pasta sauce tastes so carrot-y. Plus remember I have all that Hunt's Four Cheese I brought back from Guam and that 1 Prego I brought back from Guam too, for a possible Christmas lasagna or ham (don't need the sauce for the ham...hmmm or I could do ham for Christmas and lasagna for New Year's...clearly still thinking about all that still). So pasta sauce wise, ehhh I am pretty stocked up until mid- January, or maybe end of January. 

We did have lunch there that day, we then rushed back to our tiny town. I got dinner underway. Packed both their swimming bags. And swung around and picked both Branden and Noah up quickly so they could eat a quick ham sammy, before catching the swim bus.  The next day was to be Noah's Fall observation day.  Yep, it was a busy week that week. Hahaha. : )