This past year I have been involved with my sons Elementary School PTA and have been in charge of the group taking care of the outside of the school. Organizing weeding days twice a year is one of the bigger chores I have, but the most important and challenging is preparing and maintaining the skate rink on the school grounds. The local community sees the skate rink every year and I could feel the pressure to make a good safe rink for our kids to enjoy. Izumino School has a water system that connects through a series of gates to the local area’s ricefield watering system. Once its set up the water flows up into the middle of the school yard. The school is at an altitude of 1000 meters and we live in one of Japans coldest areas so within a week the ice is strong enough to walk on. For the next 2 weeks we fight the elements to keep the ice in good shape for the kids to skate on. 3 teams take turns watering the ice each night.. It is a team effort, one day after a big snowfall I was pleasantly surprised when I got to the rink and saw many school kids trying hard to clear some very heavy snow off the rink. We had to ask the parents to get to the school before 6 a.m. a couple times to help shovel snow and some days people just seemed to gather and get the work done. I am very thankful for the helpers. In the end it was really only 3 weeks and when I saw both parents and children enjoying the evening skate sessions and the kids trying their best at the Skate race that finished our skate season it was well worth our efforts.