Sorry for my long absence, but I have a good reason for that which I'm going to explain right now.
Firstly I got to go to a concert on 26 June. And not just any concert, but Ikimono gakari's. Have you heard about them? If not then you should.
Anyway, it was an overly energizing experience with a lot of dancing and finger swirling involved (or towel swinging when bought) :) . Even the elderly and parents carrying their small children were dancing away light-footedly.
The band itself was so unbelievably sweet and lovely and they gave off an aura of immeasurable friendliness. When they made a break during the concert and talked with the audience (for over half an hour!) it really felt like as they were your closest friends that you haven't seen for a long time. They (we?) talked about Akita's specialties, what they did the day before the performance, how they got lost, how they were noticed by grannies with grandchildren and dogs, how they got scolded at the market when they tried to explain that they were Ikimono gakari and so on. They're really funny, I must admit.
So how did I get to their live in the first place? Truth be told, I actually first heard about the band during my first week in Akita (why not before, I don't know) from my host sister who is a really big fan of them. I grew to like the band too and some days later we got some mail.
Usual isn't it? Mail.
But then it turned out that inside the envelope were my mum's pre-ordered tickets for the concert.
I flipped. 'I'm serioulsy one hell of a lucky b******' I thought.
The concert lasted for a whole 3 hours (it was planned to be 1 and a half), 19 songs were sang (including encore) and they said that it was their first time performing in Akita and that they felt really nervous... Didn't seemed like that at all. They were fantastic!
And to everyone's happiness, they promised to come back once more... because babahera was really delicious.
Ahh! They really stole a piece of my heart (and money, due to my towel purchase) :)
And continuing with music, over the past month, I've been practising for our school choir contest, which culminated on 29 June.
For that cause, I went to school everyday about 30 minutes earlier than usual and sang 'Tashika na koto' by Oda Kazumasa (a really beautiful song) with my classmates, who like me couldn't really manage to squirt out a decent voice due to the early hours. I must admit it was painful :/ But we kept on going.
And going... Going... Did it again during lunch break... And after school. Everyday.
Our class might have been the most hard working out of all the classes.
Then the 29th came and everybody of Kita High went to Akita Hall with all of our little hearts thumping like that of a mouse's.
Final practices in front of the building, final check on our formation, 3 times 'Ganbare!' and squealing jumps and inside we went.
The contest itself was divided by grade - 1st years, 2nd years and 3rd years respectively and also there were prizes for the best pianist and conductor.
Anyway, our class was the last one to perform out of the 2nd years, after which were the 3rd years and our schools choir's performance and lastly the evaluation...
Our hearts were thumping even faster than before.
1st years - can't hear because of my heart racing. And finally 2nd years - third place, second and first...
WE GOT THE FIRST PLACE, PEOPLE!!! Wooooohooooo!!!
We all jumped out of our seats with joy, yelled our lungs out and some of the girls even started crying. Our hard work was paid even more than we hoped for.
And guess what. We got candy! Yeah, we're still children you know. :')
I still can't believe it that I was a part of the winning choir. Me, a girl who was repeatedly said to never be any good at singing or music of any kind. I'm quite proud of myself and really proud of my awesome class overall. I'm so happy that I was lucky enough to land in Akita out of all places. Truly a picture image of Japanese life.
(Because I'm so jumpy and happy, I'll throw in some lucky stars for all of you after this entry ;) )
But that is definitely not all of what has kept me busy.
After the contest the whole school started preparing for...
Akita Kita High School's Summer Culture Festival!!!
YESS! I finally got to participate in one! It was held on 2~3 July (Fri/Sat) and there were many awesome games, exhibitions, performances and of course the classic Obake yashiki (Monster rooms). I tried everything out and went to all the show rooms and enjoyed every bit of it. In addition, in the inner school yard were many food stands selling ice cream, various drinks, including floats (a drink with a floating ice cream scoop on top, hence the name), takoyaki (fried octopus in a pasty), churritos, taiyaki (sweet fish shaped cake with filling) and so on. I was completely blown away by the magnitude of the whole thing. It was so awesome! We had tons of guests to who also seemed mesmerized by the scene.
I can't (yet again) express my feeling through this pixelized system. A once in a lifetime chance and I got to experience it full on. Can't believe it...
But about our class, we prepared a human stamp rally game, which the goal was to find at least 5 cosplayers (me and my classmates) around the school grounds and inside the buildings and sweetly ask us a stamp. If not, we would run away. Man, it was fun!
But it wasn't all game and running, but also some bureaucracy was involved.
Our class was divided into 3 groups who all did differently themed cosplays (explained in a previous entry) and also different jobs depending on the time. Ones were handing out stamp papers (serious business), others were the prize givers (even more serious, because we were counting the amount of candy we handed out) and lastly the cosplayers. We were really popular actually, especially with small children. :) Of course I was the Mad Hatter, as promised, and I might say that I was especially popular with EVERYBODY. I can't really count up the times when people asked for a photograph with me, or even an autograph (whoa!). I gave quite a fright to some small kids however, who literally fell over when they saw me and ran away as fast as they could (Might be the fact that I'm a foreigner :/ who knows).
There was also a public cafeteria opened on the second floor which served really delicious dishes made by the school student's. For example, I ate miso ramen and curry bread on the first day and cooled udon on the second. Well... that's not all that I ate in total, but let's leave it at that or I'll get embarrassed, hohoho.
(I also put up quite a few photos of these events which have been collecting dust in my camera, so please go and see them in FB if interested. :)
Lastly, about my everyday life a tad.
Well, I've been going to kendo for about a month already (celebration!) and I'm progressing slowly but steadily and crashing into bed out of tiredness as soon as I get home every day. I've been on a Kumon break because of my lack of time but I'll start again tomorrow.
By the way, this Monday I have no school! Yeehaa! And Tuesday will only be the festival clean up.
Soon, my 4th month of home stay will also pass. The time is a magnificently fast little bugger.
Also, quite soon, I'll be on my summer holidays in Yamagata again (starting from the 22nd) for Obon (お盆) and I'll also get to see Kanto (竿燈祭り), quite a famous festival of Akita in August.
Oh, the anxiousness... there's so much to look forward to every day, starting from school and ending with all the traditional festivals of the Land of the Rising Sun.
As always, thanks for taking time to read my blog and commenting. Hugs to ye me hearties!
Good luck and good ----- (insert the proper word according to your situation)
I'll hoist sails for this time.