Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring in Misawa

It's coming to the end of March Madness in Misawa. Which means that I have a few more days until Ian shaves off his ridiculous mustache and we might be done with major earthquakes or blizzards.

You've probably been hearing about the earthquakes back in the states but in Misawa anyways they aren't all that impressive. I like to watch Ginger since she is a survivor of the major earthquake last year. If she doesn't bother to lift her head than I'm not getting off the couch. We did have one a couple of days ago that jiggled us enough that we stood in the doorway of the bathroom. I was afraid the bookcase was going to fall over onto Ginger in her little Foxdog Fort. But only my flimsy African statue managed to fall off the bookcase. I'm not sure the Misawa is close enough to any of these epicenters to really make us worried.

As for blizzards...It seems like every weekend there is another dumping of ten inches of snow. Though now I'm to the point in my pregnancy that shoveling isn't an option. So Ginger and I stay holed up in the house and let Ian do all the work.
This is Ginger's fort. When Ian chases her around the house this is her little safe zone. It's actually a beanbag that I made for Ian a while back. It's stuffed with packing peanuts. But since we got pretty new furniture the Ginge has taken over.

In other news, I've completed the beginners course of the Ohara school of Ikebana and got my self a cute little certificate.
I also took my first test on my way to becoming an Ikebana teacher. I went down to the civic center with sensei's other students. We were all doing the same level. One of the girls was translating for me and helped me get through the registration process. It was a bunch of middle aged Japanese ladies running around like they were curing cancer. I was pretty lost because of the language barrier so I just handed over my money when they told me to. They assigned us seats and we had to get our flowers. They ended up giving me the wrong flowers and it was a good thing I checked because the only thing different was that I had pink carnations instead of peach. It turns out they gave me another students flowers that were to be used for a more advanced arrangement. We then went into the testing room. There was a bunch of tables set up with plastic over them and numbers in front of the seats.
The room smelled so wonderful with all the eucalyptus from the advanced ladies bouquets. We were working with carnations, babies breath and this spotted leaf plant. Babies breath is hard because you have to pinch off all the little immature green buds. You have 50 minutes to arrange your flowers, clean up and high tail it out of the testing room. They deduct points if there are flower bits in your water or around your vase. I felt like I was done at about thirty minutes, which is really hard because you want to fidget with things and try and make them better. Then we went out into the hall and waited. Sensei showed up and was flitting around talking. She's not supposed to be there before the judging because that might influence the judge. I guess that most of the time the judge can tell who our teacher is by how we approach the arrangement anyways. It's all about heights of the flowers and proportions. We were then called back into the testing room to see our scores. Everyone that got a 95 or 100 had a little sign by their seat with the number on it. The judge then went around and talked about every arrangement. After that she handed out certificates to the people that got 95s and 100s. One of the girls from my group got a 100 and the rest of us got 95s so I think we made sensei proud.
This is my certificate. the darker black letters are my name spelled in Japanese. After the judge handed out certificates then she went around correcting arrangements. I got a 95 because one of my carnations was facing the wrong way. I had been struggling with that carnation because it was a little misshapen so I wasn't all that surprised. Here are some pictures of the more advanced arrangements.

There were so many beautiful flowers. I'm going to have to start taking Japanese lessons so I can understand the judge when she talks about the other students. My next test is going to be in the middle of April. I'm also going to be exhibiting along with sensei and her other students at a near by mall in Shimoda. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Hopefully, the baby will be good and I can keep doing it for a while.

Ian finally got the 90's he needed on his CDC pretests so now we are just waiting for him to get scheduled to take the actual test. In the meantime he still has to go to mandatory study and take pretests. His flight boggles the mind sometimes. He's also playing inter-mural volleyball with other people he works with. He has a lot of fun though sometimes I think he needs a few more inches to be able to spike things over the net effectively. 

Ian is also acting in a play. This is Misawa Theater Companies first production and he's in two mini plays that are apart of the A Train plays. I'm officially the assistant director.  I don't really do all that much which is probably for the best because I'm not all that peppy at night when all the meetings and rehearsals are going down. The production is in a few more weeks and I'm really looking forward to being able to relax on the weekends again.

Sorry, no real adventuring in Japan lately. Between our crazy schedules, the baby and the weather we haven't been getting out that much. Though I'm looking forward to the Cherry Blossom Festival up in Hirosaki towards the end of April.

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