Today's Japanese: Hiyake (日焼け), meaning sunburn
Yesterday was the "school excursion" which means we walked 2 1/2 hours into the mountains; to 'explodin'-with-nature' Akizuki, where I partook in most of my hanami a few weeks back. Now most of those cherry blossom trees have been blown bare by winds and rain, but the pale pink blossoms have been replaced by brilliant green leaves. However one species of cherry blossom remains in late bloom, the Kikuzakura (pictured left) whose larger flowers can have as many as a hundred petals on a single blossom.
(photo by Lillakanarie of flickr)
Having arrived in Akizuki, the students were filed into a field, where they played a quick batsu-maru game; a kind of true-or-false quiz game where one student with a megaphone asked a T or F question and all the other students went to one side of the field or the other to make their choice. Losers were eliminated to the sidelines until only a few students remained (it was clear that they were choosing together and would not be separated into individual winners and losers in order to determine the champion. The questions included kanji quizzes, the type of tree that is in front of the school, and knowing whether or not Obama's middle name is Hussein. The interesting thing was that apparently they one for their entire homeroom. I was chatting with one kid who was eliminated early on, but he gushed to me "my homeroom won!"
Then we ate lunch in the pretty feild. Students brought lunches prepared by hardworking moms, and teachers at bentos prepared by the school cafeteria for free (these are delicious).
After about 45 minutes at our destination, we marched another two and a half hours back down the mountain to school, and then students were dismissed for the day. caught unprepared for the sunny day, I got so sunburned that everyone was telling me my face was red all afternoon. When it continued at my evening Japanese class, I just started telling them I was drunk, which was a lot more fun than it may sound like.
Today at school was a health check, which meant all the other employees and I had to:
1. not eat breakfast
2. get a blood test where they filled three vials of our life juice
3. bring my pee to school in a test tube
4. consult a doctor
5. get a chest x-ray
6. have a hearing test
7. have an eye exam
Pretty comprehensive by my US standards, but in Japan most all offices do this kind of physical for their employees once a year. My coworkers were surprised that this doesn't happen in the US.