Well for the most part it seems that my funny  experiences (except the sandbath experience...see below) are becoming pretty  rare.› I'm fitting in the culture here and not having too many  difficulties.› Considering all of this I've decided to focus more on  reporting the differences between America and Japan...for there are many.›  One such difference is graduation here which happened last friday.›  Remember I work at a Jr High School so that the 3rd years, or our equivalent of  9th grade, graduated.› This day is a huge day in their lives much like HS  graduation is in America because the good students go on to many different  highschools all over the prefecture or country, and the bad students that didn't  have the grades to get into highschool have to find a job at the age of 15 or  16.› Needless to say the day was pretty emotional because these students  grew up with each other and now they are all going their separate ways.›  The ceremony is really structured.› Each student is given his/her diploma  and at the end of the day they all walk out as everyone claps for them.›  Then the audience moves outside as the 1st and 2nd years make a procession  line.› The graduates walk through the line receiving applause as they walk  home.› Many take pictures with their teachers...I think I was in about 40  or so.› Pretty amazing. ››› Unlike graduations in America  though school for everyone else continues. The graduates have a few week  vacation as they find out if their test results were good enough for HS and if  they didn't take the test or failed it they can work to take it again before HS  starts up again after springbreak.› Like I said school continues for  everyone else until springbreak which is in a couple of weeks.›   ››› Today the graduates found out  their test results and many of them came in to thank the teachers for preparing  them.› I thought that was pretty different from America.› In the U.S.  sometimes you see students thank their teachers, normally years down the road,  but it is still pretty rare, but here it seems rather common.› I even got a  few.› ››› ------->A couple weeks ago  a few friends of mine decided to go to a place that specializes in a unique  process.› The direct translation of the Japanese is SandBath.› Here's  what happens.› You take off all your clothes...put on this robe..and go to  a big sand box where the workers have dug a nice hole.› You then lay down  in the hole (yes I had the same thoughts many of you are having now), and they  proceed to bury you up to your neck.› The fun part is the fact that the  sand is being heated underneath so the whole point is that you sweat out all the  impurities.› One thing I didn't like though was the fact I couldn't move my  arms...and I felt like a corpse.› Oh yeah and the fact that my right side  was closer to the heat than the left and I was burning my right bum and  leg...ouch.›› ››› So you sweat and sweat and  every couple minutes the workers come around to spray cool water on your face  and wipe it with a wet cloth while making sure you are not passing out.› I  did the introductory time of 15minutes and after you get pulled out of the hole  they give you a little massage and you have to take a shower.› The fun  continues when you are told to sit in a lazy boy recliner...in a new robe...and  have warm towels placed on your body as you drink all these different teas that  prevent all kinds of diseases...sweating the whole time...but in the words of  the owner "this is pure sweat."› My favorite part is when they  spray this really sweet smelling stuff on your face that is great for your  skin...that is until I found out that it is made from chicken dung...I still  don't know how I feel about that...still the experience was an experience so I  can check that off. --------->People here think that ALTs are the best and the brightest  and therefore we know everything.› One instance of this belief is when the  music teacher asked me what some of the language was on a musical score of  his.› It, I believe was Italian.› His question "What does it  say?"› Well that doesn't compare to the next time when the same thing  happened but the language, I think, was Hungarian...again "What does it  say?"...well I haven't studied Hungarian lately but I'll keep him  posted.›› -------->Speaking about studying languages I  am studying Japanese and so far so good.› Again watch out for using the  wrong words though they sound very much the same.› Shiba-shiba means  "often" while Shibu-shibu means "unwillingly" so when  someone asked me if I study Japanese of course I mixed it up and said  "Shibu-shibu...oops...uh shiba-shiba?"› laugh  laugh.›› ››› Well that's all folks›