Yesterday afternoon the whole school went out to the playing field to prepare it for the Sports Day we are having next week. The playing fields in Japan are just dirt and dust, no grass. But on our field there is a little bit of tough, scratchy grass on the edges trying to survive. Soooooo while the male teachers and grade 12 boys set up the stands (piece by piece) us girls got down on our asses and weeded the field!!! Yes, that's right! About 200 people spread out along the edges of the field, pulling out the dreaded grass, blade by blade.
Most people just pick at the ground a little so that it looks like they are doing something. Other people have the job of collecting the little piles of grass and putting them in the wheelbarrows. Then other people have to dump the wheelbarrows in the corners. It's quite an operation. Really, it's just an opportunity to sit around and chat with your friends, which wouldn't be so bad if the blistering sun wasn't beating down on you. I liked talking to the girls and I taught them a new question. "Do you like weeding?"
So I enjoyed my weeding experience this year. I was prepared, and being prepared in this country is the KEY to everything. I had on my grubby clothes, my hat, my sweat towel, gardening gloves, and runners. We were only out there about an hour and a half and we actually cleared away quite a bit of grass.
Last year was a different story. No one told me it was weeding day. I showed up at school with a skirt and nice shoes on. I didn't actually understand what the hell was going on until we were on the field. Disbelief was the best way to describe my feelings. So I squatted down on the field and started pulling at some grass, trying to avoid getting dirt under my nails, wondering if the other ALTs were doing the same.
Ahhhh, good times!