Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Party ・ 村のクリスマス・パーティ

Last Thursday, on December 22nd, the village held its annual Christmas party for the nursery school students in Inakadate. It was a really cool event with over 120 little kids in attendance.

Since I go to most of the nursery schools I have been busy with the children making Christmas decorations and teaching Christmas songs. After Thanksgiving a month ago, Christmas kind of snuck up on us and we didn’t have as many decorations as we did at Halloween, but the halls of the village hall were full of Christmas trees, snowflakes and Santa drawings. It was very beautiful.
保 育所に行く僕は、最近子供にクリスマス の飾りの作り方やクリスマス・ソングの歌い方を忙しく教えていました。一ヵ月前の感謝祭が終わってから準備が始めたので、時間があまりなくて、この前のハ ローウイーンほど飾り物を作ることができませんでしたが、役場の廊下のクリスマス・ツリーも雪の結晶もサンタの塗り絵も賑やかでした。大変すてきでした。

Also, thanks to my coworkers at the town hall and several nursery school teachers, the great hall too was full of decorations. We had hundreds of lights, meters of tinsel, two Christmas trees and a bunch of other handmade decorations.

Once the event started, all the kids lined up and we sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, mainly because it is the easiest song to learn. Then we started into three games. We did the Unwrapping Game, Pin a Nose on Rudolph and a relay race with a chocolate ball and a spoon.
イ ベントそのものが始まったら、子供たちが皆並んで、一番覚えやすい歌の「ウイ・ウイッシュ・ユー・ア・メリー・クリスマス」を歌いました。そして3つの ゲームをやりました。最初は、プレゼントの包み紙剥ぎゲームでした。その後、トナカイに鼻を付けようのゲームをしました。最後はチョコボールを使うリ レー・レースでした。

Then the women of the community presented a set of videos to the children and we sang “Jingle Bells.” During Jingle Bells, of course, the long awaited point of the event, the arrival of Santa Claus. In our case, we didn’t have too much time but we did have a lot of kids so Santa got some help from members of the village Chamber of Commerce. The Farmers Cooperative also helped out with oranges for all the kids.
ゲー ムが終わったら、村の婦人会が用意し たクリスマス・プレゼントを各保育所の代表に渡してくれました。その後、ジングル・ベルズを歌いました。この歌の終わりごろ、子供たちがもっとも期待して いたサンタ・クロースが登場しました。時間があまりなく、子供が多かったから、サンタが村の商工会のメンバーたちから応援してもらったようです。イベント の前に農協からもらったみかんも大変助かりました。

The kids sang loud and played well. It was a really fun event. Thanks to everyone who made it possible!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Winter Road Prep (Wind Breaks) • 冬の道の準備(風よけ)

Another thing that people are doing to prepare for the arrival of winter is standing up the wind breaks on the sides of many roads. These wind breaks are set up very near the edge of quite a few roads in the Inakadate. These windbreaks stand about 3 or 4 meters tall on the windward side of the road. In Inakadate that is to the west side.

As they were being set up, (from the laying position to the standing) I really didn't like them. They ruin the view of everything and it feels like you are driving down a long tunnel.

Now that I have seen them in action, however, I have changed my opinion a little. These are really well designed. Actually, I don't think perhaps that 'wind break' is the right word. They might slow the wind a little, but what they are really doing is redirecting the wind down onto the road surface.

And here in Inakadate, still quite close to the Japan Sea coast, the wind often blows quite hard. I have been told that some days, the snow will often fall horizontally. When it is blowing then, the 'breaks' push the wind down onto the road and help to keep the snow from accumulating on the road.

There are a couple of places where I have seen them in action. Very consistently where there is a 'break', there is no snow on the road, where there is no break, the road is covered. Given the distances in Minnesota, I don't think we could realistically use them there, but they do seem to work well for Inakadate.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Really Snowing • 本当に降っている

When I wrote last week and said the real snow was coming soon, I was right. This morning was the first of what I expect will be man mornings that I couldn't ride my bicycle to work. Over night we got about 3 or 4 inches of snow. It was coming down pretty heavy when I went to bed. By morning it had stopped, but everything was white.

Now this afternoon as I write, the sun has come out and the snow is quickly melting. I will be leaving my office in a few minutes and if I had my bicycle I would probably ride it. There are patches of bare pavement mixed in with patches of snow. Probably wouldn't qualify as a real safe riding environment, but I think I could make it. :-)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Encroaching Snow • 近寄ってくる雪

As I have written in the past, Inakadate is surrounded by mountains on at least three sides. There aren't many mountains to the north, but east, south and west all have big mountains easily within sight.

Of course, snow falls in the mountains earlier than it does in the plains and for the past several days here in Inakadate, it has been interesting to watch the snow approach the village. First there was a little wisp of snow visible at the top of Mt. Iwaki, the tallest mountain in the area. Then you could see snow at the top of Mt. Hakkoda. After that, snow appeared on Mt. Ajara, the mountain that is home to the Owani Ski area.

Those are most notable the big mountains, but in no time you could see snow on the mid level mountains in the distance. Then it was in the foothills and finally it was on 'that little hill just over there'. A little bit closer, then a little closer; it was just as if a lion was stalking its prey.

During this time, there were of course times then the snow fell too on the plain of Inakadate, but so far all that snow has melted leaving the village a simple brown color. I don't expect this no snow period will last long. We're bound to get snow sooner than later.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Snow Preparations • 雪ガコイ

Since I arrived in Inakadate, I have heard lots of stories about the severity of the winters here. It doesn't sound so cold and it seems that last winter was particularly bad, but Aomori gets lots of snow. My predecessor told me that we wouldn't probably be able to see out our windows when it was at its worst.

With that much snow, you can expect that people will prepare for it. These past few weeks, people have been getting ready in numerous ways. One place you see that preparation is in people's gardens. I have written that many people here have beautiful gardens. It seems that the owners of these gardens are worried that the snow will crush or break their garden plants.

So they have spent a lot of time protecting them. There seem to be many ways of doing it, but as the days pass, the number of plants in Inakadate that have been wrapped, tied up, supported with ropes or covered with a 'roof' is growing quickly.

I have written before that the gardens in Inakadate are very beautiful, and certainly everyone is working hard to keep them that way. I want to say to everyone, 'thanks for your hard work' but at the same time, I want to ask, 'does it really snow so much?'

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Free Counter
Free Web Counter