Australia オーストラリア

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to visit Australia for the first time. A substitute teacher stayed with my students on Thursday and Friday. Both days, I kept looking at my watch thinking, "Oh, it is the carpet time now. I hope everyone came to school in a good spirit" or/and "Oh, it must be lunch time now. I hope everyone is eating a lot." I could not help to think of them.

The city I stayed during this trip to Australia was Melbourne. Sydney was a place to transit from an international flight to a domestic flight.

There were some hours to spend at Sydney airport, so I decided to take advantage of that opportunity by going out of the airport. I took a train to Central Quay Station and briefly saw the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Although it was a simple, short trip (15 minutes one way), I very much enjoyed it. It reminded me of how much I enjoy traveling places I have never been to and figuring out how to get there.

I left Maui very early morning on Thursday (I only slept one hour the previous night), and I arrived in Melbourne at 10 pm on Friday (1 am on Friday in Hawaii) because I passed the International Date Line. It was a long trip. Then, I left Australia on Monday afternoon and came back to Hawaii this morning. I landed at Kahului airport at 9 am, and I drove myself to work.

Although I was tired, as soon as I saw the students running towards me as they were shouting, "Akari!!!", I felt so much warmth in my heart. They all gave me a warm hug. I picked each of them up and put my cheek against their cheeks. I thought, "This is why I cannot quit being a teacher." I could go through the day because of them.

As soon as I came home, I took a hot bath, and it helped me to relax.

More details about this Australia trip would be written in the near future...

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シドニー空港では乗り換えの時間が随分あったので折角の機会だと思い、空港から出てみました。電車(地下鉄のようなもの)に乗り、Circular Quay Stationまで行き、また空港へ戻ってくるという単純なものでしたが。(片道15分ほど。)往復でオーストラリアドルで$19.40(1176円くらい)でした。高いような気がしましたけど、まぁかの有名なオペラハウスとシドニーハーバーブリッジも見れましたし。






Kids & Photography 子どもと写真

I take about 400 photos of my students every month. (I cannot help it!) I upload all of them to my on-line photo album site, and I send invitation to parents and families, so that they can see how and what their children are doing at school.

Last week, I taught my students (age between 3 and 5.5) about photography.

I am neither a professional photographer nor have studied photography before, so I am no one to teach kids about it, but I wanted them to have an opportunity to take photos, not being taken all the time. I consider photography as a form of art. To me, capturing the moment that grabbed you is being in touch with the essence of life. A photo can speak thousands of words.

I found a company where I could buy a disposal camera for $1.65 each. I ordered about a dozen of them. One day, I showed children different photographers' books. We talked about what they see, what feelings they feel when they look at them, and so on. Then, I briefly explained the mechanic of the camera. I tried to keep it simple because I wanted the photography to be something approachable and fun for them. Also, I had faith that they would figure out how the camera works sooner or later.

I wrote each child's name on the cameras. They were proud when they got their own camera. For some of them, this was their very first camera to possess. (I felt a generation gap when they asked me which button to push to see the photos they just took... They are in the digital generation.)

I told them that they could take any photos they like.

Some of them were eager to take photos and finished their cameras in one day, and others carefully chose what to take. It is not good or bad; it was interesting to see each child's trait that way.

Now, I am going to develop them, and children will get to pick their favorite one and will frame it in the picture frame they decorated.

I cannot wait to see the world seen from their points of view.

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Letting My Heart Go 放心

After I woke up one morning, I went to a bathroom, and I saw this shadow on the wall made by the plants outside of the house and the morning sun coming in from a window. I thought, "How beautiful!" It was a moment when my heart openned because of the beauty. Everything stopped inside of me for a second. I wonder letting my heart go means and feels like that.

(Japanese) ある朝起きてからお手洗いに行ったら、窓から差し込む朝日と家の外にある植物の葉っぱによって壁に影が出来上がっていて、「何てきれいなんだろう!」と思って感動したそんな朝。心が放たれた瞬間。一瞬全てが私の中で立ち止まる。放心ってそういうことかしら?

This window made the beautiful shadow on the wall.

(Japanese) この窓があの影を創り出してくれてました。

As usual, I am busy, but I am doing well. When I come home from work at the end of a day, I usually sit on a bed or on the floor and go to the "absent-minded" mood for about 5 minutes. I mean I am present, but my mind gets quiet and blank. This blank period of time helps me to reset and re-energize myself. It is only recently that I started do something like that. Before, I did not even know how to even if I wanted to. Well, I am learning. It's about time, right? I can enjoy being busy instead of feeling it as a source of stress. It is like a game; I challenge myself how I could be creative to enjoy being busy, and I try to make a friend with it instead of to fight with it. I also learned to let go of tasks that I could not finish. It is not the end of the world.

(Japanese) 相変わらず忙しくしておりますが、(余談のため文字サイズ小さくなっております)どれくらい忙しかったかというと、(最近CDを整理するために、昔(高校生のときとか)から持っていたCDを聞いてどのCDをキープするか決める作業をしており、)友達からもらった浜崎あゆみさんのあるアルバムに入っている「No More Words」を仕事に行くときにたまたま車の中で聞いていて、その曲の歌詞の一部が「もしもこの世界が勝者と敗者とのふたつきりに別れるなら ああ僕は敗者でいい 敗者でいたいんだ」とあり、それが「もしもこの世界が商社と歯医者とのふたつきりに別れるなら」と聞こえてしまい、「そうか、歯医者さんになりたんだなぁ。歯医者さんと商社マン、どっちが年収いいのかな?教師の2倍かな?3倍かな?私は教師でいいや。」なんて自分の給料について考えることの多い今日この頃だったもので、しみじみ考えておりまして、暫くしてから「いや、違うぞ。そんな歌詞は変だ。もう一度聞いてみよう。あぁ、商社は勝者で歯医者は敗者と言っているんだな」と気付いたくらいです。



26th Birthday 26歳の誕生日

I became 26 years old a week ago on 10/27/08.

I thank those of you who sent me cards, called me, e-mailed me, and prayed for me.

I grew up to this point because of all the people who have loved me and cared for me.

According to the way we conceive time here, 26 years have passed since I came to this planet in a physical body. I am here now because of the each day of those 26 years. I have faithfully walked my path one step at a time as I confirmed if I was walking the path I wanted.

On my birthday, I had a date with myself all day and had more conversations with myself than usual.

In the morning, I went to surf at Hookipa Beach. A good size swell came in, so the sizes of the waves were pretty big. I chose to surf at the point instead of the pavilion side where I usually surf since it was crowded. I think I was in the water for about 2 and half hours. Each time I dropped in and stood on my board, I fell, so I did not really catch any wave, but I had fun just being in the water. I thought that one of my goals for my new year is to go surf at least once a week.

Then, I went home to change and get ready to go to my annual birthday ritual place, Haleakala. I arrived at the summit of the mountain before the sunset time. After the sun set, I stayed in the car to preserve my body temperature because I wanted to go to the top of a hill where I can look down the crater at 8:12 pm which was 3:12 pm in Japan time. I was born at 3:12 pm on October 27th, 1982.

Around 7:30 pm, I got out of the car and started to walk the trail to the top of the hill. Uniquely, there was only me that night (no other star gazing people). I found a cozy place to sit and sat down with a blanket around me. I looked up the sky studded with millions of starts, looked down the enormous crater opening its mouth, and thought to myself, "Yes, yes. This is where I want to be."

A quiet, large, empty, yet so filled place.

And me existing there.

I repeatedly felt that inside of me became quieter, larger, emptier, and more filled.

I brought a charcoal, so I lit it up and put down sage, sweet grass, and cedar. As I was surrounded by their gorgeous yet sacred smell, I was led into inside and inside.

I prayed for my parents, brother, my great parents, relatives, ancestors, friends, each child I work with, important people, and me last. I thought, "I am glad that I am me." "I am glad that I have a friend like me." I thanked myself. I was always there for me no matter how hard situations were. As I felt that way, a feeling of love and appreciation for myself welled up, and I thanked God for blessing me with this friendship. Then, I realized that the friend was God which meant that I was always with God. I cried. The next moment, all the stars in the sky shined more brightly as if they were winking at me, and a shooting start jetted from down to up. My tears got hotter because I felt like all the beings in the universe said, "We love you, too, Akari."

I love myself from the bottom of my heart, and I love you from the bottom of my heart. Have I been doing a good job telling you that?

I will keep telling you that by using the love and kindness you give me as fuel.