Well, there hasn't been a post for a while. Sorry about that. Thanks for not giving up on me. The truth is I became so busy that I simply did not have time to finish this post until long after the date.
So here it is. The end of my story in Shibukawa.
Here is a picture taken of my very last class. As the time for me to leave got closer and closer, I got more and more nostalgic. I was on the verge of tears at the end of nearly every class.
I had a rather large lump in my throat by the end of this one. Here is the classroom, empty after my students had all left.
And here I am saying goodbye to the librarians at one of my schools.
And saying goodbye to my Japanese class.
I have thought and thought about which stories to tell about my last 3 weeks in Shibukawa. I could tell about how I got thank you cards from about 1000 of my students. I could tell you how I acted in a farewell performance for the 6th year students in one school, and I broke down crying in front of the 6th grade students in my other school when one of my students read me a thank you letter which he had written in English. I could tell you about the last day of cleaning the school, and the last night of cleaning my room. I could tell you about how the teachers at my school bought me running shoes. I have lots more. But I only have one story to tell.
Everyday I rode my bike to school. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I passed an old man who always sat on the side of the road. Every time I passed him I said "Good Morning" in Japanese. Every time he heard my "Good Morning" he looked surprised and mumbled something. Finally, on my last day in Shibukawa, after I said "Good Morning" he stopped me. "Are you Japanese?" he asked. I looked closely at his face for the first time. His eyes were gray and white and looked in very different directions. This man, I realized, was blind. "No," I replied, "I am from Hawaii." "Oh," the man answered "Then you are an English teacher at the school." I told him I was, and that it was my last day. "Well thank you for always saying 'Good Morning'." He said as I mounted my bike. I saw a glimmer of something in that moment. I had actually had an effect on the town of Shibukawa, perhaps. Maybe I had actually made a difference in people's lives. As I rode away I though to myself "I did a good job."