I studied while in college, but I didn’t really start to pick it up until I moved to Japan and started using it daily.
This time three years ago I was getting messages from family and friends asking if I was OK. Being that it was a Friday night and I wasn’t near a TV, I was very confused. I was with a bunch of people, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at a bar. No one knew anything was wrong. Around 12:30 AM a friend who worked at the airport messaged me. Even though her shift was supposed to end at 6, she was still at work. All the flights bound for Sendai and Tokyo were being re-directed to other airports in Japan, and the New Chitose Airport was in complete chaos, she told me. She told me a huge tsunami had hit Tohoku, damaging the airport and several towns. She wasn’t sure the full extent of the damage, but she guessed that the death count was over a hundred.
For the next few days and weeks and months, I watched images on TV that seemed so surreal to me. It felt like I was watching something that was happening in a different country. I felt so helpless and sad.
When my family and friends asked if I was going to leave Japan, I didn’t even need to think about it. I stayed. And three years later I’m still here. I have visited Tohoku and seen the damage first-hand. I know people who lived through the tsunami and those that lost everything to it. But they all remain strong and optimistic that they will recover. And I believe them.
Stay strong, Japan. We love you.
I could draw, or I could play video games.
I guess I’d better think about it while playing video games.
Boy: Ms. Allie, *points at a girl* she is guilty.
Me: Oh? What did she do?
Boy: She…flew airplane. Into me.
Me: What? A paper airplane?
Boy: No. Big plane. Boeing.
Me: …Oh. Are you OK?
Boy: Yes, now OK. But I was in the hospital for 17.
Boy: Days. I am strong boy.
I am not sure how credible his story is.
Hokkaido winter festivals, part 2! This time at the beautiful but freezing Ice Festival at Lake Shikotsu.
So it’s February in Hokkaido, which means two things: It’s the middle of winter and snow and ice festivals are everywhere. This year I went to three different festivals, and took all the pictures. I’ll start with the biggest one, the Yuki Matsuri in Sapporo.
Where there is winter fun! Fun to be had!
One of my schools wanted me to draw a mascot character for them. I decided on a Hokkaido squirrels because they are adorable.
Today I had I just finished giving a presentation about Christmas and New Years in America and asked for questions. A boy enthusiastically raised his hand.
Boy: You look like the Statue of Liberty.
Me: That’s…not a question…
Boy: Oh. Do you look like the Statue of Liberty? Because I think so.