Japan Time

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another fun SAU visit!

This weekend I got to host some more SAU students who are spending the summer in Chiba as part of the same semester I did three years ago. Mike, Krista, and Sarah took the bus from Tokyo to Shizuoka on Saturday and stayed until Monday evening. We had an action packed weekend!
On Sunday we went to church and then on a Mt. Fuji hunt. Since they live in Chiba, they hadn't seen Mt. Fuji yet, so we drove to the waterfall I took the other SAU students to. Michiko, Kenichi, and Mike, a teacher in Shimizu, came, too.
We had much better luck seeing Mt. Fuji this time around and could spy it right away in the parking lot of the waterfall:

There was a lot of Japanese food to be found at the waterfall, like grilled fish on a stick:

And squid, oysters, and octopus on a stick, too:
During the drive home, there was a rainbow near Mt. Fuji after a little bit of rain:
See it? Mt. Fuji on the left and the rainbow on the right.
And a really beautiful sunset over some other, not-Mt. Fuji mountains:

Then, karaoke:

Today, we headed to Mochimune Beach (where I went last weekend). The sky wasn't very blue this time around, but the scenery was still beautiful and we had fun:


I had so much fun hosting Mike, Krista, and Sarah and showing them around Shizuoka prefecture. They have about three weeks left in Japan before they head back to the States, so I hope their last few weeks here are memorable and they have a safe trip back home!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The first blue sky day in a long time.

It's rainy season here in Japan. Which basically means I haven't seen the sun in months.
Okay, maybe not months, but for a long time.
But today, after so many dreary days, the sun graced Shizuoka Prefecture with its presence and I must say, we were very happily reunited.
I couldn't waste the sunshine by staying in my apartment all day, so on my way home from my Japanese lesson, I made a detour to Mochimune. I've passed it hundreds of times on the train and have always seen the ocean over the tops of the train passengers' heads across from me, but today was my first time to actually stop and check it out.
There's a little beach about a five minute walk from the station, so I relaxed there for a while, read a book, and of course, took photos. You can see that I've really missed the blue sky since it's the subject of pretty much every photo!

And here's a little rice farm across the street from my apartment. Rice just looks better against a blue sky:

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I went out for yakiniku with my co-workers last night. We had all kinds of great things, like beef, pork, shrimp...cow tongue (again), pig intestines, pig stomach, and chicken cartiledge. Yeah. They weren't all too bad, although I don't think I'll be eating any of them again any time soon.

As you can see, the meat isn't actually that big, but hey - this is Japan, after all. The concept of "big" is completely lost here.

Beef, shrimp, and pig intestines.

Norko getting ready to grill up some pig stomach.

And there was dessert. Awesome!

Monday, July 6, 2009

My videos!

I've decided to start taking more videos of my experiences in Japan with my little Nikon. I'll post some here, of course, but you can see all of them on my YouTube channel:



Tanabata Festival: lots of people, good food, pretty decorations, and an excuse for a Western girl to try out some traditional Japanese clothes.

In Japan, July 7 is Tanabata, which is a holiday that celebrates the reunion of two lovers (stars) that have been separated by a river (the Milky Way). The two lovers can only see each other one day out of the year, so to celebrate, many Japanese areas have festivals. Yesterday I went to the Star Festival in Shimizu, which is where I go to take my Japanese lessons.

Many Japanese women wear yukata to star festivals, but since I obviously don't have one just lying around, Michiko let me borrow one of hers, a beautiful bright blue one. Her mother helped me put it on correctly and made sure I was tied in nice and tight. Really tight.

A group of us, foreigners and Japanese, headed off to the festival in the evening and walked though the flood of people (I will never cease to be amazed at just how crowded Japan is - I always feel like I'm a part of a herd of cattle at these kinds of events). There were handmade decorations in front of the stores and lots of food, like okonomiyaki, yakitori, and yakisoba. Even chocolate covered bananas (I bought one, of course).

After walking around and getting quite tired of walking around, we went to an izakaya and enjoyed some drinks and food. It was a great time, with a good mixture of English and Japanese and lots of laughter.

All origami! I can't imagine how long it took to make this...

Yes, SpongeBob is even in Japan.

The four ladies: Michiko, Kana, Mika, and me.

Chocolate bananas.

There were even Obama decorations!

Flamenco dancing in front of a Spanish restaurant.

Making takoyaki.