Japan 4 “One down, one to go”

Japan 4  “One down, one to go”

Today, our team finished the accreditation visit to the middle school on the Zama Army Post, and we have a few days to rest before resuming operations on Monday at an elementary school on the Atsugi Naval Base, 12 miles away. My task is to compile the report with details toward justifying the ratings we gave in each of the seven categories of standards; this school was an example of how well a school can function and the students perform, when there is truly a collegial and team approach focusing on “the whole child” rather than merely academics.

In preparation for today’s exit report, which I was to deliver, each of us spent the night hours constructing a narrative and identifying strengths and areas in need of improvement. With my current sleep/wake schedule, I retired at 7:30 p.m. with the intent of arising sometime during the night and completing my task. Unfortunately, when I awoke around 2 a.m., I was greeted by an email informing me that a valued collaborator with me on several education essays, and who was associating with me on an article about Leadership, was no longer accessible for consultation and sharing. From my present location, far from familiar surroundings and comfort, the news was almost as if someone had passed away, and my immediate reaction was one of grieving while trying to make sense of my notes for the morning’s presentations. I shall attempt to complete “our article” as a fitting tribute to our former partnership.

Saturday, we are planning to take the all-day tour of Tokyo, and I was told to take plenty of yen as prices are high. I recall reading one of those Forbes lists, the one about the ten most expensive cities, and Tokyo topped the list. Perhaps on Sunday, I can get somewhere to have a view of Mt. Fujiyama, so that I can say I’ve really been to Japan.

As you might guess, most of the cars are Japanese, and from the same automakers that we know at home; however, almost none of the models here look anything like the ones in Thermopolis, and each brand must have at least 20 different choices. Most of them are small, and highly appropriate for the average size of the Japanese. I walk everywhere on the base, and have to be extremely cautious when crossing streets, not having become accustomed to vehicles bearing down on me from “the wrong direction”. Tonight there was very little traffic as I walked to the rec center; not to work out but to soak my back in the great Jacuzzi. Coming back, I passed two large tents selling rugs and knickknacks from Turkey; just what I want in Japan. The rug seller attempted to interest me in an “100% silk Herekeh (the best of Persian rugs)” for $750; he obviously didn’t know whom he was dealing with, as I clutched my chest upon hearing the price.

One of the unfortunate side effects of doing these school evaluations is that the staff provides a cornucopia of sugar-laden items for our snacking. My notable lack of will power in the food arena has added 9 lbs. to my once sylph-like frame, and I am dedicating myself to once again attaining slim perfection, over the next week. No wonder my lower back was complaining.

Well, I think I’ll lay off the writing for a few days until after the weekend’s activities; perhaps there will be something more exciting, like an earthquake, to describe

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