Ok, I've been back in NZ for a few days now, got everything sorted, and have time to write the last few entries in this blog.
What happened first? Well, on Saturday the 30th it was my leaving party for Shimpukan. Kimura san set everything up and asked all my favourite sensei to come. Before that we had wrapped all the presents, a bottle of sake and a hand written tenagui. Some examples:
It was raining very hard that night, the roads were flooded and taxies were not running. Kotomi and I decided to walk barefoot (it was really hot still) with our umbrellas, something Japanese people would never do. We actually met a few people on the way to the restaurant who were trapped on the side of the flooded road. Kotomi told them to take their shoes off and walk through, but they said they would rather wait....
We get to the restaurant and find out it's a traditional raw fish joint. Thankfully it didn't smell like fish, but it meant that Kotomi and I couldn't eat anything there. The owners were really nice and let us order a pizza from down the road. Everyone got really drunk. We found out that Yamazaki sensei had always wanted to come to NZ, and he showed us all these old brochures he had saved.
Then the drama started. We had presents for most of the sensei there, but not for two which I didn't really know or like (one of them was the really old guy). Kotomi said that could be a problem, but that I should do what I wanted. We asked Kimura san and she agreed with Kotomi, she said that the people who got presents would feel bad if some others didn't. I was pretty angry at this because we (ok, Kotomi) had worked so hard on these presents, and now we couldn't hand them out because of these two people who I didn't even know.
Tough sensei decided, half drunk, to go to shimpukan to practise and when he came back he said there were only 6 people there >.> He then said he would leave again, so we went out the door with him and gave him his present. I think he was really happy. I told him that when I get better I want to be just like him. His kanji was 'strength'.
A fellow student on the left (he's a high school teacher) and Toyonaga sensei on the right:
Left to right, Tough sensei, Kimura san and Funny sensei:
Well, eventually everything died down, and we all went up the road to a karaoke bar. Possibly the worst experience in Japan for me :( Dark, dingy, full of smoke, some fat woman and an old man singing horribly and dancing together... But actually, Yamasaki sensei was really really good at singing haha.
Anyway, Kotomi and me wanted to leave and we still hadn't given out the presents. So we kept asking Kimura san until she agreed. I think that these tenagui, although not expensive, were probably one of the more personal presents that the sensei had ever gotten. I mean, before handing them out we told them that 'when I first came here I couldn't read your name bags or remember your names, so I invented nicknames based on your personality. Now we have written these in kanji on a tenagui for you.' Imagine someone saying that, and now you had to open it and see how this person saw you. In the end I think they were really really happy.
Yamazaki sensei - Spirit
Tough sensei - Strength
Funny sensei - Joyous life
Kimura san - Friendship
Toyonaga sensei - Great Teaching
When we left someone handed me a traditional Japanese umbrella (which they stole from the fish shop haha) and said it was a presento. Funny sensei invited us to the morning practise the next day.