Today is Monday, August 22 and we have an important appointment at Osaka International School today. The kids have assessment tests to take to see what level of learning they’re at and also to see if they really speak English. I hope they can speak in complete sentences! Summer break has a tendency to make kids forget everything they know. Pokemon Go has completely replaced my sons’ native language so I’m a little worried. J/K.
We hauled out the bikes for another ride to school. Today is as hot as can be! We are going to try a new way to school this time. We will ride down the “busy highway 171” (not busy at all compared to California) and take neighborhood streets on the way home. Sounds like an okay plan, but about 3 minutes into our ride John missed the turn onto the big road and decided not to turn around because we’d just come down a slight incline. He said he didn’t want to go back “uphill.” He also said, no problem, I’ll get us there another way!
Here is Avalon for a recap of the ride to school:
Hi and, yes, the bike ride was horrible! It felt like it was all up hill and all just was torture to me. It was a living nightmare for this nine year old! My Dad is never to be trusted again, or at least he should never be in charge of directions for the biking. What made it so bad is that he kept making wrong turns and then that got me really mad so then I said I wouldn’t go up any more hills and the next thing I know I’m going up another hill. Well now at least he owes me something! And at least Kaiyo did not stop in the middle and side of the road three times today. He stopped two times. Once in the middle of a hill and once in the middle of the street. Once (after what felt like an hour) we finally got to the school all sweaty and hot but at least we got some air conditioning in the school but that’s it for the beginning of the trip. The way back home is it’s own story!
After we arrived at the school, just soaking in sweat, we were escorted to the business office. The kids’ appointments were at 9am. We were to pay the admissions application fees in cash this morning but wouldn’t you know, we had only USD and some yen. We forgot to get Japanese yen out of the bank to pay this fee. If it were the US I have a feeling the fee might have been something in our wallet. But this fee was $400 per student. Times three kids and the math makes that $1,200 total. So the lady at the office directs us to the nearest ATM, at a Family Mart down the street, and urges us to hurry since we’re supposed to have this paid before the kids’ appointments. John jokes with her about bringing her back a Starbucks coffee (it’s across the street from Family Mart) but she says he should go to Starbucks after he pays the bill!
We can’t believe this, but you can withdraw up to 200,000 yen ($2,000) from the ATM at one time. If this is not enough you can get special permission from the bank to be able to withdraw up to 500,000 yen ($5,000) at once. I think our daily limit at Bank of America was about $400 at once. So we get $1,200 out of the ATM and pay the bill. Today is an expensive day already and it’s only 9am! When Halyard is ready to fill out college applications we will be relieved if the application fee is only $100 per application. At this rate he can apply to 12 colleges for the price of three kids trying to get into this school.
Now for Kaiyo’s thoughts on the day:
So, when we got to the school, we all got visitor passes and a couple of teachers brought us over to the testing area (one at a time). After the testing, which wasn’t too hard, we waited in a room until it was time for the family interview. We could have left but our Mom and Dad spent FORTY-FIVE MINUTES in Starbucks after getting nothing but some coffee. And my Mom doesn’t even drink coffee! During the interview, the head of the school and principals of each section (Jr./Sr. High School and Elementary) asked us each a couple of questions, and, personally, I think we did pretty well. Once that was over, we basically left the school and started the journey home, which is a whole other story (as Avalon previously stated).
These photos show the art classes section on the top floor of the school, the student lounge, the indoor swimming pool and the outdoor courtyard.
I have no idea what the “whole other story” for the way home is. It was a pretty mundane ride home since we stuck to the main road and didn’t deviate. We did stop for lunch at Q’s Mall near our house – it’s a large mall and I have no idea who or what Q is! But it’s Q’s Mall.
[Update: Our friend Makiko wrote to say that the Q in the mall’s name is a reference to the company that runs the mall, which is Tokyu (Toe-queue) — where “Kyu” sounds like the letter Q. In the Japanese alphabet the characters Ki + Yu = Kyu.]
At the mall, John insisted on looking for shoes for Halyard at the shoe store. He actually managed to find a pair of Vans that he liked and they actually fit. Hooray for big shoes in Japan!
Oh I want to add in here that during the family part of the school interview, the Head of Admissions let us know that three days ago was the hottest day on record in Osaka. 38.5 degrees Celsius! I had to look that up for the conversion… 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit! And we’re biking around town in this crazy heat and super high humidity. I’ll have to go back and look at my own blog to remember what we were doing last Friday on the hottest day ever in Osaka.