Archive for ‘Students’

1 July 2018

The Aunt who Glitters Learns to Love Spring

by misslampa

At the Bureau of Education here in Higashikawa and even in the schools I teach at, I’m probably best known as she who could not wait for winter in Hokkaido to be over.

Because for all its beauty, winter can and does zap your genki.

2018 Winter Doraemon

Even Doraemon doesn’t seem so crazy about it, see?


Or turn pedestrian crossings and sidewalks into skating rinks that make you fall on your butt.



How about we just slide to work today?




It’s pretty and all, but only if you don’t have to go outside.

But mostly, I’m not a fan because it gets freezing cold up here. The temperature outside ranges from -12 to -22˚C during wintertime in northern Hokkaido, and since I come from the Philippines where the average in Manila hovers just above 30˚C for most of the year, it really wasn’t a surprise that the cold got to me. Back home, we turn on the air conditioner to keep a room cool – and by that, I mean 21˚C. Positive.

People were amused when I started wearing scarves once the temperature dipped to low 20s. And then genuinely worried when I transitioned to thick down coats in November, when everyone else began using their scarves. (To be honest, I was worried about me, too.)

But when my kind boss told me in mid-May that I must be happy to be welcoming my favorite season, it was my turn to be amused. Because although I am not big on winter, I don’t ever remember referring to spring as the most wonderful time of the year. My thing is fall and its vibrant reds and yellows and oranges, and hearing the colorful carpet of leaves crunch under my feet. But I digress.


(Still digressing, sorry, but look at how pretty this tree in my town is in autumn!)



Truth be told, the main reason why I was looking forward to spring was because it marked the end of winter, which lasted for Seven Painfully Long Months this year. The spring flowers are a nice bonus, but I’m not really a flower person, either.

Well, I wasn’t. Until I am.

You see, one thing I didn’t see coming was how the park and the playground would once again be filled with children playing and coming up to say hi. Months of ice and snow that kept kids either indoors or on the ski slopes seem to have made me forget.

But the sweetest of the 3- to 5-year-olds compel you to remember. I pass by the pre-school playground on my way back from teaching an after-school English club and every week, without fail, they run up to me and ask to do a fist bump a la Baymax and won’t leave until we get to the fa-la-la-la-la bit. (My colleague and I taught them that, haha!) Or do a high-five but take my hand in theirs the moment our palms touch and just keep it that way just so I’m theirs for a while longer. Or hold my face in their hands and call me Oba Kira, which Google translates to “Aunt Glitter.” which is one nickname you won’t hear me complaining about because hey, it’s kawaii.

I am fully aware that those hands have been in places unspeakable before they were on my face, of course, but I try not to think about that.

It takes me a while to go through this routine with the kids, which isn’t really new since I did this back in autumn, too. But it’s springtime in Higashikawa now, so guess what the cute little munchkins scramble to give me right before I leave?

spring 2018 flowers

Some of this season’s super tiny flower bouquets, made up of flowers from whichever weed was closest to them when I start saying goodbye.


What an adorably cute way to be reminded of how simple and straightforward it really is to let someone know you like them back when the world has yet to train your heart to be afraid and hold back.

So from now on, yep, flowers are a thing for the aunt who glitters, too.