2008 March 20 Thursday.

Today is a National Holiday in Japan known as 春分の日 which means the Spring Equinox.

As such, my classroom and a lot of other schools and government offices were closed for the day.

Therefore, I had a lot of free time today to enjoy the spring-like weather and we got out and around to see a few familiar places.

I was even so bold as to wear sandals with no socks today, for the first time in many months.

It felt great until the sun went down. Then my tippy toes began to feel cold.

All of the snow in the lowlands has not yet melted, and the night time temps, are hovering at zero, or just below zero. Socks and shoes are a must for the happy hiker, who is walking around at night. Our first out of classroom experience for today, was a short walk over to Crystal Hall, where we listened to the 旭川市ななかまど少年少女合唱団 第23回 定期演奏会.

Two of my students belong to this group and they asked me and Ikuko to come and listen to their performances.

This chorus group is made up entirely of elementary, junior high school and high school students, only.

In a word, they were excellent!!! What beautiful sounds they could make with their young voices. The entire show lasted almost 2 hours and I enjoyed every minute of it. After the show was finished at about 16:30, Ikuko and I went for a drive along the back roads to Biei and then up to the ShiroGane Onsen 白金温泉 area.

The gate at the road leading up to the Mt. Tokachi Dake Observation 十勝岳 望岳台 area was still closed because of snow on the road, so we had to turn back and return to Biei Town. There, we stopped at 山頭火ラーメン and ate dinner.

After that, it was a slow drive along the dark back roads from Biei Town to Asahikawa City.

For the first day of spring, it was an excellent day indeed.

Many more like it to come, starting again tomorrow.