I will post about the Mt. Fuji climb later, but felt my need to write this override my need to go to bed.

I have been blessed with many healthy loved ones and have only had to say goodbye to a few, so maybe that is why this weekend was the first time that I felt very close to someone I hadnít been near in a long time. This weekend I climbed Mt. Fuji with my motherís father, my grandpa. Even by the time I came along he was still traveling the world and climbing mountains, though he often pushed himself beyond what his aging body could handle. As I started the climb up Mt. Fujiís forested slope I thought of the task ahead of me and how my grandpa would be so proud and excited for me. I felt him looking down on me and cheering me on. I thought of him many times while going up and coming down that majestic mountain. (More)
Posted by harp on Monday, September 5, 2005 at 3:38 pm | Edit
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I wish I could post the whole story of the Mt. Fuji climb now, but that will have to wait. I wanted to say that Iím home alive, but Iíve never pushed myself so hard in my life. It took 22 hours (none of which was spent sleeping) from the very base (2:30pm) to the top (4am) to the base again (12:30pm) and I didnít get back home until 7:30 last night (Sunday). Rather than write a post I washed my clothes. If you could have smelled them you would understand. I was in bed at 9 and didnít get up until just before school. My brain still isnít fully functioning so Iím going to bed soon again. It was an incredible experience and Iím glad I did it. I just wish Iíd had a little recovery time! Oh, I wish I could write about it now, but Iím so behind in things here and at work. I love you all and Iím working hard to get things under control so I can keep in touch as much as Iíd like to.

Love,

Janet

Posted by harp on Monday, September 5, 2005 at 12:58 pm | Edit
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Hereís another post with a boring title. Work has been keeping me busy and it is more of the same. I am still enjoying it, though my first full week is proving to be exhausting. If only the work week were one day shorter, I think it would be more manageable. I guess I want something in between self employed and full time . . . (I realize self employed often takes more hours than full time, but itís on your own terms, which I find much more bearable.) (More)
Posted by harp on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 3:19 pm | Edit
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Sunday (Aug. 28th) I decided to bike until I hit mountains no matter what it took. I went for about 45min directly West on what I would have described as gently sloping up terrain; however, on the way back I did not pedal at all and had to use my brakes frequently so Iíd say it was quite an uphill trek. I was quite worn out when I reached the foothills and I was very disappointed to discover that wherever I looked the mountains were fenced off. I guess I should have found out where I was going first. So, instead of hiking a bit to a nice spot to do my quiet time I found a cemetery at the foot of a hill amidst all the groves and had my quiet time there. It was cool up there and I had a good breeze. The sky was pretty and I had a nice time. As I said, the way back was very easy . . . (More)
Posted by harp on Monday, August 29, 2005 at 1:32 pm | Edit
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Friday toward the end of work I c-mailed Mark (thatís text messaging between AU customers; if US cell phones were this complicated I certainly didnít know about it) about the Fujiyoshida Fire Festival because he said his supervisor was going to us but I didnít know what time. He said she couldnít go but that Megan was going but might not have room. I figured that meant I wasnít going (I mean, who needs to drive 1 Ĺ hours just to see more fireworks with a huge crowd of people?), but when I came home Mark said ďWe leave for the station in 5min to meet Megan.Ē What? I needed to unpack my stuff and cool off and change and think about what I wanted for the trip. It wasnít going to happen so I said I didnít want to see more fireworks but Mark said it was a fire festival not a fireworks festival. That sounded much more local and interesting so I decided to go. I threw my lunch stuff in the sink and quickly got ready. If only Iíd known what I was getting ready for . . . (More)
Posted by harp on Sunday, August 28, 2005 at 3:34 pm | Edit
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Well, I had no idea I would be so busy at school. Iím sorry I havenít written in so long. First school kept me busy then I got stranded in Fujiyoshida last night, but first things first.

School has begun! Starting Wednesday Iíve been coming to school all day every day. Wednesday I gave my speech in Japanese to the whole school assembly in the gym. It went pretty well. I think I succeeded in pronouncing things well enough for them to understand but not well enough for them to think I speak Japanese. But I get head of myself. The day (Wed. Aug 24) started at 8:25am with a teacher meeting. I got there around 8am to make sure Iíd have time to cool off from the 20min bike ride in raingear that doesnít let you breathe. I didnít have enough time and I was still quite sweaty for the meeting. All I had to do in that meeting was say my name and something like ďI hope we work well togetherĒ and bow. I left my omiyage there, too, though it was salt water taffy and it got a little soft . . . (More)
Posted by harp on Saturday, August 27, 2005 at 3:33 pm | Edit
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Mark and I were dead tired when we met Niko at the library to go to the Isawa fireworks festival, but I was impressed with how well we did and how much we enjoyed it despite our state of exhaustion.On the way to Nikoís place she stopped to by us and Lena (her daughter, though I donít know how to spell it) bento, which is like a premade lunchbox meal.It was actually good, and it might be a nice alternative to packing my lunch sometimes.Of course she wouldnít let us pay for it.The traffic was so terrible when we arrived that Niko dropped us (Lenna, Mark and me) off and she went someplace to find a spot, but she ended up waiting somewhere because there were no places!This festival was even more crowded than Ichikawadaimon because there was less space even though there were fewer people.Every square inch of space anywhere was occupied.It felt like all of Japan had come to this place, which makes me rethink just how many people there are in Japan . . .

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Posted by harp on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 at 3:26 pm | Edit
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I get all discombobulated when I spend a night away from home, so I hope Iím starting where I left off. The Lake Motosuko region was so wonderfully beautiful and it was great to be back in nature sweating, swimming, sunning and relaxing. I miss the Maggie P.

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Posted by harp on Sunday, August 21, 2005 at 10:16 am | Edit
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I guess it wasnít a very exciting past two days, but Iím posting now because it might be another few days before I can post again.I have a very busy weekend, but itís filled with fun so it should be good.Oh, but I nearly forgot!I had my first adventure with missing a train . . .

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Posted by harp on Friday, August 19, 2005 at 3:32 pm | Edit
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I have not been able to post on the blog for a while since I have had a wonderful guest at my apartment all week.That plus the fact that Iím the source of internet for a few people and by the time theyíre done Iím in bed . . .

This week is the SETY conference, which stands for Seminar for English Teachers in Yamanashi.Every five years all English teachers have to attend the 10 day conference to brush up and practice their English.The ALTs are required to join for the last four days so that the JTEs have practice with native speakers.I have to say that the seminars have been more interesting than any official business (aka orientations) so far. (More)
Posted by harp on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 at 4:55 pm | Edit
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I'll let Janet fill in the details about the earthquake in Japan, but I know you are waiting to hear that she is all right. She is!
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 at 1:21 pm | Edit
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Saturday I woke to the phone at 10:30am.It must have been a wrong number, because I got an earful of Japanese.I managed to say (in Japanese) that I didnít understand Japanese so the lady went on and I caught the word mother.I tried to explain that I was living alone by saying some thing like ďno, I, one, no mother.ĒWhether she had a clue what I said or not I donít know, but we ended the conversation courteously and I felt triumphant at my first phone call in Japanese.Well anyway, Iíd just gotten up after a 10 hour sleep so I suppose I would have been happy with anything.

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Posted by harp on Sunday, August 14, 2005 at 4:43 pm | Edit
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Today wasnít nearly as exciting as the previous days so I had a bit of time to catch my breath.Iím not going to bed as early as Iíd hoped because I got to reading more Memoirs of a Geisha and then my evening was gone (thanks for the book, Helen Louise!).

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Posted by harp on Friday, August 12, 2005 at 5:35 pm | Edit
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Before I launch into boring details, I thought I'd mention what I wonderful time I had at orientation.† To find out, skip over the days and take a look at the evenings.

I wish I could say the workshops for the local orientation were more helpful than the ones in Tokyo, but sadly, I got about three helpful bits out of workshops, and the rest of the time I entertained myself by writing down my own teaching ideas, doodling, and interpreting for the nonexistent deaf in the room.Actually, this last exercise was quite helpful in that it showed me just how much Iíd forgotten and just how much I know of ASL.Of course, I was as discrete as I could be . . .

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Posted by harp on Thursday, August 11, 2005 at 10:59 am | Edit
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It is nearly midnight and I should go to bed, but I must right about today now or it wonít get done before local orientation. Itís in Kofu for three days and two nights and I probably wonít have access to the internet.

Having said that, today was a wonderful, exciting, beautiful, and fun day. I feel blessed beyond what I could have ever imagined.Iím falling in love with this place and the people.

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Posted by harp on Monday, August 8, 2005 at 4:39 pm | Edit
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