Saying goodbye to my coworkers

Saying goodbye to the students was hard, but of course saying goodbye to my coworkers was harder. Our last teachers meeting in my classroom:

We also had a nice picnic in my classroom after work, laughed a lot (a lot!), and exchanged presents. I’m so happy they liked the ‘eleventh monkey weirdos’ I made for them. 

Tomomi, Yuko, Eddie, Yuka, Keiko (a.k.a. Manager), Duncan, Kazuko, Miyuki, Natsuko and Katie.
I’ve never been part of such an awesome team before. Everybody helps each other and everybody loves each other. I was so lucky to have been placed at AEON Senri Chuo, these people have made my life in Japan so much more enjoyable, and I’m sad I won’t be sharing my life with them anymore. I miss them already.

I was pretty strong and didn’t cry all day until that very last moment on the Osaka subway when I saw Miyuki cry. Then Tomomi also started to cry and then the three of us probably looked like idiots to the other commuters on the train. Especially when I hugged and kissed them both right there on the train  (things the Japanese never do in public). Looking at back at them from the platform in Umeda we burst out laughing through our tears and the public spectacle was complete. I only wish I had a picture, yet I’ll never forget the sight of the two of them sitting there laughing, crying and waving at me, when the train took off. It was the perfect last memory to make…

My third and last series of sewing classes

The best thing about special lesson weeks here at AEON is that us teachers get to teach something really different for a change. And I my case that means I get to teach sewing classes! This is the third time I’m doing this and this was by far my favorite kind of sewing class. 
The first time we made some fish, ghosts and ice lollies, but that was before I had found a good felt supplier so we used felt from the 100 yen store and they didn’t really have great colors at that time. The second time was for Valentine’s Day and we made hearts and kisses. Then we did have awesomely colored felt, but our creations didn’t have faces, and stuff is just cuter with faces and buttons for eyes.
And this week I taught five classes in which we made cupcakes, cookies and ice cream cones and they all had faces! Look at all these pretty ladies working hard on their favorite sweet treat:

This class was also the most successful of the three, because our creations were a little smaller, I did some preparatory sewing for each student sewing and I made everyone use a running stitch in stead of the more complicated blanket stitch. Students mostly finished within the hour and they all loved their little badges: 

I’ve taught at AEON for more than three years and these were absolutely my favorite classes! Wish I could do a few more before I leave Japan.

Lesson prep

I am very excited about the sewing classes I’ll be teaching in two weeks. A lot of students already signed up and these classes require a lot of preparation.

Like cutting felt, making personal material kits and a little bit of pre-sewing to make sure the students will be able to finish their plush brooches within an hour. But not to worry, it’s the kind of preparation I like love!

Sweet sewing

I’ll be teaching another sewing class in June, and this time we’ll be sewing sweet treats with faces! To get people interested I made Mr. Chocolate Chip Cookie, Mr. Cupcake and Mr. Ice Cream Cone:

Because they’re brooches this time, the plushies are a little smaller so that they’ll look cute attached to a jacket. The smaller size also helps the students finish within one hour, which has proven difficult in the past. I hope a lot of people will sign up this time again, it’s just so much fun to sew at school!

Teaching stitches again!

I wish my desk always looked like it does in the left picture, when I’m preparing for classes. And I wish that students always do what the student does in the right picture, when I’m teaching them.

That’s right, this week I get to teach another sewing class, like the manager promised! And this one is Valentine-themed. And here is the teacher showing off the examples sewn last month to entice students to sign up for the class.

Students get to sew a felt stuffed heart or kiss with their initials on them to give to some special friend on Sunday. As I expected the kiss is the most popular design, but I like the heart the most.

Not teaching English!

So this week I taught those sewing classes I was talking about! I had been so excited about them! It took me about 40 minutes each to create the two-sided fish, the ghost and the popsicle with a face, but most of the students took about two hours! Still they had a lot of fun and they were really proud of their little creatures! In total 15 students spread over 4 classes made 8 fishies, 5 popsicles and 2 ghosts:

Whatever the students are sewing in the next sewing class will have to be a lot simpler if we want to finish within one lesson. But that’s ok, I’m just so happy that the manager was already talking about a next time, because this was really fun!

Sewing at home, at Starbucks and at school

These days I’m slowly updating my blog, but mostly I’m sewing, everywhere. Currently, I’m sewing cats and dogs for my Etsy shop and I’m almost ready to put most of them some on sale. But I just wanted share some (low quality taken with my iPhone) pictures of what has been keeping me busy and happy!

I’ve also been very busy preparing for a couple of sewing classes I’ll be teaching next week. Next week is Silver Week, so we’ll have a four-day-weekend (yay!) and just a three-day-workweek. Regular classes have all been cancelled for that short week and replaced with numerous special lessons. Don’t worry I won’t get bored, I’ll still be busy teaching several different kinds of special lessons, of which the most exciting are the sewing classes! A couple of weeks ago a I sewed a few examples:

Since then students have been able to choose their favorite stuffed creature and their favorite color combinations and sign up for my classes. The fish is the most popular by far, and the least popular is the ghost, which happens to be my own favorite.

So far this week at school, I’ve been busy cutting felt and organizing embroidery floss and buttons so that next week the students can get right to the sewing, because one class only lasts about 50 minutes. I have to remember to take my digital camera with me, because my iPhone just doesn’t take very high quality pictures.