Unquestionably Winter

Snow has settled in to stay here in Kamo as of late – I ventured out for a little bit today to take a couple of shots:

Snowy Omi Shrine, Kamo
Originally uploaded by kristi-san.

Also, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but Japan has an interesting method of melting the snow on the roads. Instead of using salt, they’ve equipped many streets with a kind of built-in sprinkler system that turns everything to mush:

Keeping Roads Safe, Japanese-Style
Originally uploaded by kristi-san.

On Monday night, Rosalind and I ventured out to Niigata City to see a jazz concert being sponsored by the U.S. embassy. Apparently, Niigata-ken was one of the top two prefectures that donated money to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, so the concert was a “thank you” for that generosity. Only three were scheduled around Japan – in Tokyo, Kobe, and Niigata, surprisingly enough. Anyway, it was very lively and provided ample opportunity to chuckle at the gigantic differences in African-American and Japanese culture as the two tried to interact on stage. But yeah, it was great fun. Everyone got really into it. Good times were had.

Doreen’s Jazz (and Japanese Guests) – Niigata Thank You Concert
Originally uploaded by kristi-san.

Work has been really incredible busy, with lots of special things to plan for here and there. Taught my first English elective class on Tuesday, doing a bit of a murder mystery game for the kids. Next Monday I’m teaching my first handicapped class. The students have been extremely friendly lately, very much in the holiday spirit. I finished my apps for University of Michigan, University of Chicago, and University of Wisconsin in the past few days. Columbia is my next project, since the deadline was extended until December 19.

And to close, a summary of what’s going through my mind these days:

Grad School Apps Left: 6
Days Until I Fly Home: 7
Number of Classes Left in 2005: 8
Days of Work Left in 2005: 4