Japan, Photos

Agricultural Center & Ume

March 15, 2014

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.
Continue Reading…

Japan

Alice on Wednesday

March 5, 2014

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Continue Reading…

Blog, Japan

Toilet Paper Rebel

February 26, 2014

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.

Continue Reading…

Blog, Japan

Vol. I – Adopting Your New Friend

February 17, 2014

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.
Continue Reading…

Japan, Teaching

Valentine’s Day & Printables

February 11, 2014

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!
Continue Reading…

Teaching

What are EFL and ESL?

February 6, 2014

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.

Continue Reading…

Japan

Yukata

June 5, 2013

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?
Continue Reading…

Japan

Robot(ish)

May 20, 2013

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.
Continue Reading…

Teaching

Craft time : Crown of shapes

March 25, 2013

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.
Continue Reading…

Japan

KAFUNSHOU

March 10, 2013

Friday was a lovely March night, and I was getting ready to teach my last class of the day. This particular class is comprised of students between the ages of twelve to fourteen. They have pretty high level English skills, and they’re all great kids.

The clock (we don’t have a bell, we have a singing Hello! Kitty clock) chimes, signalling the start of class, and my students shuffled into the classroom looking more zombie-like than usual. More than half of the class was sniffling like crazy, their noses puffy and pink. Their eyes were watery and red, and they couldn’t help pulling a sleeve over their hand to try and scratch away that nagging itch that has settled right at the corner. Every now and then a loud “ACHOO” was released into the air.
Continue Reading…