The past two days have been filled with cherry blossoms (called sakura (桜) in Japanese) and 花見 (hanami; cherry blossom viewing).
These photos are from a few different places; around the outer walls of Nagoya Castle (名古屋城), at Meijo Park (名城公園), and at Tsuruma Park (鶴舞公園).
On our way to the park, we passed by the castle. There were a lot of people out, since it was a lovely day. All along the castle walls are cherry blossoms, and when the wind blows it looks like it’s snowing. We were lucky to have an absolutely beautiful day.
Spring is fast approaching, and in Japan one sure sign of spring is the ume blossoms! I’ve never gone anywhere to specifically check out the ume (梅), or plum, blossoms before. I honestly wasn’t really able to tell the difference between ume and cherry blossoms, so I did a bit of research to see what I could find.
The other day I brought a fresh pack of toilet paper home from the pharmacy. It was just sitting in the bathroom, and I happened to notice that on one side it had “How to” instructions.
Then I learned that I had been using toilet paper all wrong.
A house is not a home without a dog.
Welcome to the first in my new series, Owning a Dog in Japan, in which I’ll talk about interesting things I’ve found about having a four legged friend while living in Japan.
But before we begin, meet my dog, Rhea. She’s the inspiration and reason why this series exists.
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and girls in Japan are hurrying to get everything ready! The holiday is quite different here, as February 14th is a day when only the girls do the giving. Stores are packed with a variety of “make your own (insert treat name here)” sets, and adorably designed boxes of chocolate. I have to admit, there are some pretty awesome looking sets, and I love the “dig-up” chocolate, where you get to be a paleontologist and dig up some yummy chocolate dinosaur bones!
So you’re thinking of becoming an English teacher. More specifically an English teacher to non-native speakers of the language. You may notice two different terms associated with English language teaching that keep popping up from time to time: ESL (English as a Second or Subsequent Language) and EFL (English as a Foreign Language).
For a lot of people EFL is a term that they may have heard of but aren’t overly familiar with, and I know that I’m often asked what exactly it is. It’s also commonly confused with ESL, which is similar, but not the same.
I have a confession.
I’ve been living in Japan for about five years, and I do not own a yukata. While it’s not something everyone living in Japan must have, I feel like I’m missing out a bit.
I’ve thought about getting one in the past, and recently I’ve been revisiting these thoughts. Of course I’ve worn yukata at onsen and hotels, but I’ve never had one of my own. I guess part of me felt that since I’m not Japanese, it’s weird if I wear one. Almost like I’m an imposter. However, the more I think about it, the more I realise that it’s just clothing, and it’s part of Japanese culture. Why not jump right in?
So what exactly is a yukata?
When you think of “stereotypical Japanese things”, what comes to mind? I imagine that many would respond with sushi, samurai, green tea, chopsticks, cherry blossoms, and technology.
Japan has become synonymous with technology, and it’s an association that has been well earned. Despite the abundant technological advances that have been made here, it’s not like every day life is overrun with robots, and insane gadgets. The craziest that I personally experience on a daily basis are smartphones, and electronically embellished toilets. A lot of the time you forget how much technology Japan really has.
This post is dedicated to a few spiffy inventions that have made me smile. I’ll be the first to admit that they may not be overly surprising, but they make me happy. If it makes you smile, then it’s done a good job.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I teach a Mommy & Me class, for mothers and their two and three year old children. Every week we have a different theme, and the theme for the past week was one of my personal favourites; shapes.
There are six different shapes we use: circle, star, heart, square, triangle, and diamond. I’d say they’re pretty standard shapes, and aside from triangle, the kids can usually remember them quite quickly.