Home > Pre-Japan > Thanksgiving Number One, and 学校閉鎖

Thanksgiving Number One, and 学校閉鎖

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

As promised, this following blog will touch on two points, as the title explains.

1. Thanksgiving! (The first one)

2. I will finally (after much ado) explain what exactly those weird lines and hooks mean.


But first, the delicious. Last Monday I spent the day in Hita with a bunch of great people, having a bunch of fun, and eating a bunch of food. Since we don’t get the day off for Thanksgiving (shocking, I know…) we kind of had to plan ahead. Monday we had a national holiday (one of many.) I believe it was actually Japan’s “Thanksgiving” day, having nothing at all to do with anything even remotely related to Indians, but more akin to what we Americans might call “Labor Day.”

What better day to celebrate American “Thanksgiving” than on Japanese “Thanksgiving”? One of the Hita JETs, Dave, had earlier in the day undertaken the long trek to Costco to procure a whole Turkey. Most people showed up around 3:30 PM (well OK, I showed up at 3:30 PM, but really since this is my blog, that’s all that matters.) We then spent the next 4.5 hours cooking and hanging out. I brought my (now country famous) kabocha cheesecake, and some rather unfortunate looking, but fortunate tasting truffles with a caramel…let’s just call it a crust, because drizzle just sounds unappetizing. There were a few JETs there who had never experienced an American thanksgiving, so they were enjoying helping out making stuffing, turkey, and mashed potatoes. Hooo boy were there mashed potatoes. There were regular mashed potatoes, sure. But then on top of that there was also a sweet potato casserole. Enough carbs to make Mr. Atkins have a visually stimulated heart attack, that’s for darn tootin’.

All in all there were about 13 of us there, from all over the world, which made it an incredibly enjoyable and internationalization-y dinner. Following are a few select photos from that night.

From left to right, top, then bottom: Dave, Grant, Dean, TMFMIJ (Noor), Yours truly, Melissa, Judy, Shirin, Freda, and Una. Countries represented: 5.

Lucci carving the turkey!!


The spread

Thanksgiving and chopsticks! They go hand in mouth!



2. 学校閉鎖 stands for がっこうへいさ (gakkouheisa) or “School closing.” The past few weeks Swine Flu (Shingata Influenza as it’s called here) has been gaining a foothold in the Nakatsu school system. Kids were sick left and right, and many of the classes were being told to stay home because at least 25% of the kids were out with the flu. The way it works here in Japan is such: The numbers may not be entirely correct, but I think in general they are fairly educated guesses. If 5-6 children from your class are sick with the flu, your singular class will be sent home for 2-4 days, depending. This is called 学級閉鎖(がっきゅうへいさ, gakkyuuheisa) Class closing. Then, if all classes in a certain grade have similar numbers of sick kids (or perhaps if 25% of the combined year) is out with the flu, we get 学年閉鎖(がくねんへいさ, gakunenheisa) Year closing. This means the entire year is sent home for four days. For example, the 3rd or 4th graders. Then, when a significant number of students in your entire school are sick with the flu, it becomes 学校閉鎖, school closing.

On Tuesday, the teachers at my biggest school had an emergency meeting, and the principal, after consulting with the board of education and other principals at surrounding schools, decided the entire school had to be sent home. I rejoiced for a few seconds, before asking the vice principal (in a sly and subtle way) whether it was just the students who got to go home? Indeed, the teachers had to stick around and finish the school day. All the kids were sent home after lunch, and the school was closed for the remainder of the week. Luckily (I suppose) Tuesday was my only scheduled day at that school, so Wednesday through Friday were fairly normal. Tuesday I taught only one class, however, and spent the rest of the time studying Japanese at my desk. I am fairly certain this will not be the only time it is going to happen to me, though I spoke to my principal later and he informed me that closing the whole school like that is an extremely rare occurrence generally only used in cases such as these, with special flu outbreaks such as swine flu. They do not worry about the regular flu so much.

Categories: Pre-Japan
  1. Stu
    November 30, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I thought it was hilarious that you labeled the picture “Lucci carving the pumpkin!” rather than “the turkey”, given that the way he appeared to be going at it with that knife, he may have thought it was a pumpkin. 🙂

  2. Dash
    November 30, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I don’t know what you’re talking about! It doesn’t say that at all! You should check your eyes…;)

  3. Stu
    December 2, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Lame, the original was so much better.

  4. Dash
    December 2, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Had I been able to claim that it had been intentional, I certainly would have left it…

  5. December 7, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    “the teachers had to stick around and finish the school day” What a awful and lame rule

  6. Dash
    December 8, 2009 at 4:44 am

    Have I mentioned we work during the summer as well? It’s kinda crazy, but we are getting paid fairly well so it’s only fair, I guess.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: