Japan Time

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another chapter in my toaster oven cookbook...

I spied some zucchini at Apita the other day and decided to make some zucchini bread. Hiromi has been anxious to try it (she's never has it before) so I invited her over to help.
First we went to an okonomiyaki place I've been wanting to try for dinner. It was a really cool place and my first experience with okonomiyaki was really good, but unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me and Hiromi's had a memory malfunction, so there aren't any photos of dinner. We want to go back though, so I promise to post some in the future.
After dinner, it was baking time! Hiromi was a great help and she loved the zucchini bread. Success!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A sugar coma may be in my near future.

I got an awesome package from my Aunt Sheila yesterday!

It was filled with all kinds of American goodies, like Blow Pops and Sour Patch Kids...things that I have really missed from the States. I shared some of the candy with my co-workers and students and brought the rest home for me.

Most of you know that I have a huge sweet tooth, so this package made me a happy, happy lady!

Thanks, Aunt Sheila!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Check out the day counter...

Past the 100 day mark, baby! Woot woot!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day...Japan style.

In Japan, Valentine's Day is kind of the opposite of the States. Women give gifts to men (usually chocolate) and women get pretty much diddly-squat. But, a month after Valentine's Day is White Day, which is when men give return gifts of chocolate to women. So, for the past month or so, stores have been filled with chocolate and other Valentine's Day type things for women to choose from for those special men in their lives. And if words can't express just how much they love those men, there's plenty of Engrish to help them out:

The small print says: "Valentine's Day is an important day in year once. Please spend happy Valentine's day."

"Have a nice day! Your smile is so beautiful. I will give you a heartful present."

"a first-class cook seasoned these dishes with advanced techniques and highest class materials. please enjoy this 'tastiness.'"

And if that special man doesn't like chocolate, have no fear. There are other options available for that perfect Valentine's Day gift:

How about a bowl of Japanese type food with heart-shaped...meat? Fish shavings? No one can be sure.

Or maybe some deep-fried Valentine's Day goodness? Maybe potatoes...but probably fish. This is Japan, after all.

And of course, the stores waste no time in reminding men that they own their special women big time in a month:

This was on the back of a Valentine's Day sign.

So, on a personal note, my Japanese Valentine's Day was pretty good. I started the day with a video Skype chat with Michelle and Laura, which was awesome. We ate together (breakfast for me and dinner for them) and caught up on things.
Then I headed to work. There are no adult classes this week so I had a bit of a vacation. I only had two interviews with potential students the whole day, so I spent most of my time organizing my room and preparing for next week.
After work, I went home, ate dinner, and then some students and my manager came over to hang out. I haven't really had many visitors to my apartment yet, so it was really fun to be a host.
My friend Mallory back in the States sent me a package last week and included some Valentine's Day candy, which I shared with my guests. They were very intrigued by the candy bracelets (apparently not very popular in Japan):

Thanks, Mallory!

Michelle and Laura got back online and we chatted with them for a while. It was really fun to introduce them to some of my Japan people and chat about Japan and the States:

I hope your Valentine's Day was great, too! Happy (belated) Valentine's Day from Japan!

Kenichi, Yukako, Michiko, Yousuke (who has hayfever, hence the mask), and me

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"lovers, keep on the road you're on; soldiers, you've got to soldier on..."

Tonight was the Coldplay concert!

I got up at 8 am (ugh) and did the shower-make-up-hair-breakfast-coffee thing and met Hiromi at Fujieda Station at 9:40 am. We took the local train to Shizuoka and had some more coffee before meeting up with Kengo at the bus station.

About a month ago, I taught a lesson to my co-teachers that mentioned line dancing, and specifically, the songs "Achy Breaky Heart" and "Watermelon Crawl." They could hardly believe that these songs even existed and we have talked about them and line dancing ever since that lesson. We want to have a line dancing party with our students in the near future. Well, since I knew we would have three hours to kill on the bus today, I downloaded those two very American country songs and put them on my iPod so my co-teachers could finally hear them.

"Look! Kengo's actually listening to Achy Breaky Heart!"

Kengo pensively listened to the lyrics and proclaimed them "cool"

After we had our fun with country music, Kengo and Hiromi very patiently helped me study Japanese. Once we got to Shinjuku, we had some fish and chips at an Irish pub and called Yusaku to find out what time to meet up with him.

Shinjuku - a very cool (and very crowded) city

We met up with Yusaku at Shinjuku Station and took the local train to the arena. We discovered a John Lennon Museum in the arena, but we didn't have time to go in, so we just said a quick hello to John and were on our way.

We headed into the arena, stopping for some photos along the way.

Then it was concert time!

The concert was awesome! Coldplay put on a great show and their music is really powerful live. I had a great time and downloaded a bunch of songs as soon as I got back.

We took the local train back to Tokyo and then took the shinkansen from there to Shizuoka.

Yusaku provided us with some candy for the way home

It was a tiring but really great day. I had a lot of fun hanging out with my co-teachers and seeing a great concert in Tokyo.

Oh, and P.S...tonight's concert will be on MTV! They are starting a new show called "MTV World Stage" which will feature concerts from all over the world. Coldplay's Tokyo concert will be the first one featured on the show on Feb. 27. Check it out!