Friday, May 02, 2008

24 degrees...a home visit...web cam craziness and...yesterday's concert

Today's temperature was a balmy 24 degrees C......which means it was about 75 degrees F!! Gorgeous day!! Hung some laundry out this morning before class and I'm thinking it was probably dry before I actually got out of the carport!! Damn. You know what that means don't you?!?!

It will soon be time to change over my clothes. Crap. It took me until almost November to put my spring/summer clothes away and get the winter clothes actually put into the drawers and out of the piles on the floor. Anytime that "fairy Godmother" wants to make her presence known and help out would be fine with me!!!

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At 2:00 this afternoon...after making sure that the genkan ("entrance way") in our house was clean...and by "clean" I mean....shoes put away...fuzz bunnies disposed of, the pile of jackets/picnic blankets/slippers/hats either hidden or put in another location. The floor had been swept and shined...fish tank was sparkling...bug boxes placed in other parts of the house...knick-knacks dusted.....I was ready!!

Ready for what?? Today was the "home visit" from Issei's homeroom teacher. Now...before you get all "but...what did he do wrong?" about it....let me explain.

This is an annual event that happens every spring....usually at the end of April/first of May. Homeroom teachers around the country go and visit each student's house and talk to, more often than not, the mom. It's kind of a quick "meet and greet"....parent and teacher checking the other out....each secretly knowing that the genkan is never that clean, except for the home visit.....it's a quick 15 minute chat.

Issei's teacher this year is Mr. Miyaki. This is his first year at Issei's school. (Teachers here are on a rotation system...almost every 3 or 4 years, a teacher will get sent to another school...we have a lot of islands around Nagasaki and this guarantees that those schools will get as good of teachers as those on the mainland. Every teacher knows that he or she will spend at least 3 years..sometimes more...on an island.) Anyway...he seemed like a nice enough man...except...I kept thinking..."wax on....wax off". :-D Wrong name...that was "Miyagi" (at least I think that's what it was...better go rent "Karate Kid" to double check!!)....still...had to fight the urge to do the "bird pose" in the doorway as he was leaving!!!

And in the 15 minutes he was here....we chatted at the kitchen table....holy crap!! Good thing I at least cleaned off the table before he came!! I was counting on him just doing his time in the genkan...it's such a nice genkan. Oh well....we survived...Issei needs to really work on actually turning in the homework that he does....remembering things like pencils, PE gear, school shoes...little things like that...and he needs to become more active during class. He doesn't really raise his hand very often....a re-occurring problem...how do we teach him to be more confident in class?!?!? He knows the information...he just doesn't feel the need to share it. I can understand that...but..we will try to work with him!!!

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Got a web-cam the other day. I have one of the instant message programs and with the camera, it'll be a bit more fun.

Except....and keep in mind that I have only had it installed for a few hours...I can see a minor problem on the horizon. I am usually on the computer late at night....after my bath...after washing my hair...is anyone with me on which way I'm going with this?!?! Yeah....not exactly looking my best here, folks...not even anywhere near my best. Will have to warn people that this is probably what you will see if you get me on my cam....



Yeah....I'll be turning that camera to the side.....my Japanese troll is much much cuter that what you'd see if the camera had been pointed this way!!! Yikes!!! :-D

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Yesterday, I took Issei to see a pipe-organ concert at the Urakami Catholic Church. This concert was the final event in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of Nagasaki City's most famous people.

Dr. Takashi Nagai was a physician here at Nagasaki Medical College, specializing in radiology from the mid-1930's. During the war, due to a lack of x-ray film, Dr. Nagai and other doctors would do direct x-rays. Exposed to the high doses of radiation, he was diagnosed with leukemia and was thought to only have 3 years to live.

When the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, on August 9, 1945, Dr. Nagai survived and even though he was injured, he worked very hard to help in the relief activities.

In 1946, Dr. Nagai collapsed and was confined to his bed due to his illness. But...even from his bed, he was very active...he wrote papers and books describing the aftermath of such a dark time in this city's history....his documentation was and still is used when dealing with the atomic bomb survivors.

One of his most famous books, The Bells of Nagasaki, is one that everyone should read. It's a hard book to read....but, for so many, the horror of what happened in Hiroshima and then here, in Nagasaki, is unknown. For the people of Nagasaki, it was...and still is in many memories...a living nightmare.

More importantly, he also wrote about peace. From his bed, he wrote "May Peace..." on 1,000 postcards and sent them around Japan and to his friends in other countries. Dr. Nagai's words and his message continue today. Dr. Nagain passed away on May 1, 1951...he was 43 years old.

An American pipe organist, Gregory D'Agostino, was invited to play at this final event. A song....or a "piece" actually...Eternal Bell, was written especially for this event and played for the first time by Mr. D'Agostino. Issei and I talked about that particular piece on the way home and he asked if it "was a song?". He and I both agreed that, yes, it was kind of "scary"....but...what was it supposed to represent? With a little gentle pushing in the right direction, he understood that the piece was written to sound like what it might have sounded like during and after the bomb....and yes, it was probably very scary. My word was "haunting".

As Issei loves classical music, I thought that this was a good opportunity for him to hear it "live". Mr. D'Agostino played some Bach...which Issei recognized and was very happy about. During the intermission, Issei and I had a chance to talk to Mr. D' Agostino and Issei was pretty impressed with that.

Here in Nagasaki, we are surrounded by the memories of the atomic bomb almost everywhere. Many of my students were children at that time and are survivors. Sitting in that incredibly awesome cathedral (which was destroyed by the bomb, then rebuilt) and listening to the music while remembering why we were all gathered there in the first place...was pretty emotional. But, I'm glad I went...and I'm glad that Issei was with me.


4 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It sounds like an amazing experience--how great you got to share it with your son.

Family Adventure said...

Beautiful post, Debbie. It is always so interesting to hear about your doings, because they are so different from mine. How interesting that the teacher comes home to each student's home to chat with the parents. I like it! :)

Heidi

David said...

Wonderful post. I love the idea of having teachers come to visit our environment. Special for sure.
BTW thank you so much for your warm comments on my posts. It is so appreciated.
David

Claudia said...

I will never, ever have the balls to webcam. No matter HOW made up I am, I just can't do it. It's so....intimate? Does that make sense?