December 3, 2004 – Restaurant in the hills

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Today I had an early shift at Mishima NOVA. I was the only teacher working in the morning, which was an unusual experience. At Kawasaki NOVA there was always a minimum of 4-5 teachers at any time. Despite being the only person there, the teacher’s room still seemed tiny.

My third lesson of the day was empty, so I got the staff to ask the students from my second lesson if they wanted to stay. Three had other plans, but one stayed for another lesson. I think I earned some brownie points from the staff for helping sell a lesson.

After work, I went out for dinner with The Penpal and her parents. It was our first time to all have dinner together, so they took me to a nice restaurant in a fancy mountainside hotel. The hotel is called “New Wel Sunpia Numazu“, and it is one of several government owned hotels across the country that are funded by pension money. The hotel is an investment using national pension funds, and offers discounts for members of the pension plan. In addition to hotel rooms and a restaurant, there are also meeting rooms and sports facilities. The whole facility is located on the side of a mountain and offers fantastic views of the city all the way to the ocean.

We ate kaiseki, which is a multi-course traditional meal with many small dishes. I am not really sure what I was eating, but it was all delicious.

It was great to get out and have dinner with The Penpal’s parents, but I learned that I really need to improve my Japanese if I want to communicate with them. I would like to be able to have more of a conversation without relying on a translator.

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