Teacher Trip to Shiga

I had little time to rest after the English summer camp came to an end.  Only a couple days later I had to get ready to head to Shiga with my Wednesday school staff.  Ever since I had been invited, I was really looking forward to it.  In case you didn’t know, I’m really close to that school and I always go to their parties and outings…they’re a lively bunch and it’s always fun to hang out with them.  I could only imagine what a weekend road trip to Shiga with them would be like.

We met at school on a Saturday.  Kanatani-sensei, the teacher in charge of the trip, rented out a huge van for the trip.  Chika-sensei brought a huge cooler filled with booze and other refreshments.  It was going to be a long ride, we needed all the entertainment we could get!:

 

The van.

The van.

The ride there was pretty fun.  I talked to Chika-sensei and Kanatani-sensei quite a bit.  As soon as we got to Shiga, we made a brief stop.  Apparently, Kanatani-sensei had signed us up to a tofu workshop.  In the workshop, we learned how to make tofu from scratch from a very strict old lady.  While some people here are strict in general, this lady was considered super strict even to my Japanese coworkers.  If we made a minor mistake, she would scold us and then end up doing the process herself.  It was really funny watching my teachers get scolded for once:

 

You do not want to mess with her.

You do not want to mess with her.

Teamwork.

Teamwork.

The principal and vice principal working on their tofu.

The principal and vice principal working on their tofu.

Probably not a three-man job..

Probably not a three-man job..

After we made tofu, we were given it to eat along with our big lunch.  The tofu itself was pretty mediocre and no one wanted to eat much of it.  Since I had stepped out for a minute when we received portions, I was given a large chunk of it against my will:

 

I couldn't finish it.

I couldn’t finish it.

After making tofu, we were off again towards our ryokan.  We made another stop at a small town.  I wish I could remember the name of it because it was a really beautiful area.  It felt very peaceful because the town itself felt like it was frozen in time, giving one a nostalgic feel.  It was really cool to be able to drink ramune drinks that were cooled by the canal waters:

 

IMG_2612

IMG_2614

 

The little town blended the old with the new.

The little town blended the old with the new.

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Takebe-sensei and Nishi-sensei doing an impromptu pose.

Take-sensei and Nishi-sensei doing an impromptu pose.

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So peaceful.

So peaceful.

After walking for a little bit, we headed back and continued our journey.  Our next stop was Nagahama.  We strolled by the area for a little bit before we went to a workshop on sandblasting.  We were given the option to either design a small tray or a glass.  I went for the glass route as I wanted to redeem myself from making a crappy cup in Okayama:

A small sample of what we could do.

A small sample of what we could do.

The materials.

The materials.

Everyone hard at work.

Everyone hard at work.

I was a little nervous because I’m never good at designing things.  Luckily all I really had to do was trace pictures and cut them out and put them on the cup.  The sandblasting would do the rest of the work.  I put a summer theme for mine, having shiisa and a palm tree.:

The shiisa also had eyes but I knew that was too advanced for me.  I opted for the silhouette route.

The shiisa also had eyes but I knew that was too advanced for me. I opted for the silhouette route.

The end product turned out great!  I was more impressed at my teacher’s works though, they were crazy detailed!  I wish I took some pictures but alas, I didn’t get a chance.

After we received our finished products, we headed towards our ryokan.  We passed by Lake Biwa, the biggest lake in Japan.  Chika-sensei noticed that I wanted to take a picture of it and kept telling me when would be a good time to do it.  “Ah, Diego-sensei!  Shutter chance!” she would always yell out.  It was cute:

 

Hikone Castle at a distance!

Hikone Castle at a distance!

A sleeping Take-sensei.

A sleeping Take-sensei.

One of my many "shutter chances".

One of my many “shutter chances”.

We finally arrived at our ryokan in the early evening. It was super fancy; our room gave us a clear view of Lake  Biwa.  I just had to take a picture.

The lobby.

The lobby.

Our room.

Our room.

The view from outside our room.

The view from outside our room.

Balcony view, night edition.

Balcony view, night edition.

Since we were all worn out from the heat and the day itself, we decided to take a bath in the onsen.  I’m personally not a big fan of onsens because I get light-headed really fast.  I always figured that was just my reaction to it.  However, when we went to this onsen, it felt amazing.  The temperature was perfect and there was an outside onsen with the Lake Biwa view!  After I got out of it, I felt like a million bucks, which was a first for me.  I would’ve felt awkward being naked in front of my coworkers but I’ve already done it a few times so it didn’t bother me too much.  Trust me though, the first time is always super weird.

After that we had a huge dinner, celebrating the end of the first semester:

...what's left of it.

…what’s left of it.

Once that was done, we relaxed for a little bit before we made preparations to drink the night away.  Our room was selected so everyone crammed in and drank and played card games:

So much junk fooood

So much junk fooood

Nishi-sensei, the new young female teacher was the entertainment of the evening.  I learned from a previous work party that she becomes very energetic when she gets drunk.  Naturally, when we all started drinking a lot, she started getting really silly.  She would start doing pranks on people, the best one was laying putting an ice cube down Kanatani-sensei’s back when he wasn’t looking:

Before...

Before…

...and after!

…and after!

The entire school staff paid her back when we heard she’s easily scared.  We all hid when she went to the bathroom and turned off the lights.  When she came back, she simply yelled “No you guys, stop this..!”  She screamed when no one was there after she hit the lights.  It was a fun night.  We definitely got closer after that day.

The next day was pretty eventful so I’ll have to save that for another time.

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3 responses to “Teacher Trip to Shiga

  1. Pingback: Wednesday in Review | The Space Between Two Worlds

  2. Pingback: Teacher Trip to Toyama | The Space Between Two Worlds

  3. Pingback: Winter Break: Hikone Castle | The Space Between Two Worlds

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