Japan Time

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I have really great friends.

I got a wonderful package from my friend Laura today:

The very same Laura who had open heart surgery on Friday.
Before she had open heart surgery, she was sure to send me a package of American things I miss.
How incredible is that?

Thanks, Laura! (by the way, I talked to her mom yesterday and word is that Laura's recovering nicely)

Life in Japan.

I went to Shizuoka yesterday and wandered around for a while. Here are some "unique to Japan" things I came across:

I used to buy these same candles in the States...for about three bucks. Sigh.

Coca-Cola with green tea flavor.

This has to be one of the things I dislike most about living in Japan. Election time is coming up, so there are many vehicles with shouting people telling citizens to vote for their respective candidates. They're incredibly loud and obnoxious. Shouting vehicles are used for all kinds of things: advertising food, warning people that it's dry season so be careful of any open fires, blah, blah, blah. I've been woken up many mornings by these annoyances.

I have no idea.

These are different kinds of bath bubbles...yeah - mayonnaise and ketchup bath bubbles...

...and of course, what would a ketchup or mayonnaise bath be without a bread sponge?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A night of good fun and crazy Japanese photo booths!

Tonight I had a lot of fun with another teacher at school, Aya. Aya lived in the States for about three years and is one of our newer teachers. There's a yakiniku (Japanese barbeque) across the road from my apartment that I've been wanting to try, so we decided to go there. It was soooo good - I love yakiniku! We had shrimp, beef, sausage...and cow tongue. It wasn't too bad!

After dinner, we decided to partake in one of Japanese greatest inventions: purikura. "Purikura" is the Japanese pronunciation of "print club" and basically it's a super high tech photo booth.

purikura booths in an arcade in Fujieda

First, we paid only 400 yen ($4) and stepped into the photo booth, which was big enough for about four people. And then, the fun began:

After we finished being supermodels, we got to add all kinds of "kawaii!" (cute) decorations to our photos, very Japanese-y stuff like hearts and big creepy anime eyes. We also sent the photos to our phones with the Japanese version of bluetooth. You have to love technology!

And finally, we got some prints to show off to our friends:

Here are some examples of the final products:

Um, yeah.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

A shameless request for stuff.

So, Mom and a few other wonderful people have asked me what I need from the States, and here are a few American things I am running low on:

Cover Girl make-up (color: Buff Beige)
mascara (black - any brand will do, really)
shampoo (Neutrogena T Gel Stubborn Itch Control...because I have an itchy head)
toothpaste (Aquafresh Extreme Clean)
concealer (Maybelline...color: white)
hand santizier

Okay, that's it. Of course, Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids are always welcome, too!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It was a wonderful day at the beach...even if it was a fake beach.

Yesterday I went to Atami, which is about an hour and a half from Fujieda by local train. Atami is famous for hot springs and its beach, which is apparently constructed of fake sand. I don't know exactly what fake sand consists of, but it looked and felt like real sand anyway.
It was kind of a hazy day to start with and in the afternoon a thick fog rolled in. Even though the weather wasn't bright and sunny, a day at the beach always relaxes me, which was perfect after the crazy hectic week I had at work!

high heels on the beach...only in Japan

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Everybody wants to go to Japan.

My friend Chris (of the Chris and Nozomi wedding I will be photographing in September) made this video about life in Japan:

I like it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Umeshu...whoo hoo!

My favorite drink in Japan is umeshu, which is sweet plum wine. Tonight my Japanese teacher, Keiko, showed me how to make it.
Here's how it's done:
First, get some unripe plums, shochu, special umeshu sugar (I forgot the name), and a umeshu jar.

Then, wipe off the plums and remove the little black thing from the top:
Put some plums in the jar:
Add some sugar:
Pour in the shochu:
Seal it up tight:
And wait. For three months:

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I've gotten some pretty sweet awesome gifts this week, which is great, because I've been really busy and more than a little stressed at work...but these gifts have really brightened my spirits!

I got a traditional green tea pot and some green tea from one of my private lesson students. She is a master of the Japanese tea ceremony, so she's pretty much the best person to give anything green tea related!

She even wrote out little instructions for me.
And today I got an incredibly awesome package from Matt and Kelly!
Full of things I've missed from home...I guess I've been in Japan (the land of smallness) too long, because the first thing I thought was, "Dang, those cookie packages are HUGE!"

Thanks, Kelly and Matt! This was the perfect thing to get on a crazy busy Saturday. You have made me a happy, happy lady!

Only in Japan: Oreos and green tea.

After my Japanese lesson last week, I decided to treat myself to this Japanese goodness:

Maccha (green tea) and Oreo cookie bar. It was pretty good.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Going out for a drink with your friends or co-workers is a little different in Japan than in the States...

Usually people go to an izakaya, which is basically a bar that also serves a variety of food:

Of course, there is always sushi.

Shizuoka Prefecture is famous for sakura ebi, which literally translates into "cherry blossom shrimp"...tiny little shrimp served in salad, sushi, or by themselves.

Looking for something non-ocean dwelling? Try some chicken cartiledge...


Squid is popular, too...Aya's a big fan:

Miho enjoys some pickled eggplant.

As far as drinks go, you can always try some shochu:

But always be sure to wait until your neighbor pours your drink for you...pouring your own drink is bad luck.

After the drinks and food have been ordered, sit back with your friends and enjoy!