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.
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Japan

Police.

March 8, 2013

Throughout my time here in Japan, I have fortunately had very few encounters with the police. However, the other day I witnessed a policeman interacting with a citizen, and the whole scene left me more or less dumbfounded.

Naturally, I wanted to share.

And just as a note, although it seems like there are scandals involving police here every other day, I never keep up with that sort of news. So this post is based solely on what I have experienced or observed first hand.
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Teaching

Brothers who are trees.

March 6, 2013

Teaching children always lands you in interesting waters. Work is never boring, and I get my fair share of chuckles every day. I can honestly say that the students I teach are all good kids, and even when I’m tired and not feeling my best, they make it easy to do my job.

So here is a little collection of some of the things that my students have said (or written) over the past little while that gave me a laugh.
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Travel

Sakura season is coming!

March 2, 2013

The weather is starting to warm up, which means that spring is just around the corner. As many people know, spring in Japan means sakura (cherry blossoms) and hanami (flower viewing).

I always love the time of year when the cherry blossoms start to show, and everything turns into shades of pink, and white with a spattering of earthy browns and greens. My absolute favourite thing to see is the wind blow the petals around like a soft, pink snow.

So while I enjoy cherry blossom time, I never knew much about that. I decided to rectify that, so here are a few interesting cherry blossom facts.
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Japan

Most Traumatic Moment of 2012

February 18, 2013

This is a good month and a half overdue, but it’s officially 2013, so Happy New Year to anyone who stops by!

I realise that I haven’t been putting much time into this blog as of late. However, I’m not going to throw the towel in just yet. I have many things to talk about, and hopefully many more adventures to be had.

So to get the ball rolling, I’ll share with you my most terrifying moment of 2012.
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Japan

Suntory brewery tour

November 24, 2011

We didn’t really have any plans for Monday, so instead of spending a lazy day inside, we decided to venture out into the chilly air, and headed to the Suntory Musashino Brewery for a tour. To go on a tour, you just need to call ahead of time to make a reservation. It’s free, so as long as you can be there twenty minutes before the tour time you choose, you’re good to go.

The facility itself is really nice. When you go into the visitor reception area, they have a shop with all sorts of Suntory goods, as well as a beautiful display for their the Premium Malt’s line. We checked in, go our brochures, took a look around the store and then waited for our tour to start.
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Japan

Nagoya castle blue for diabetes

November 18, 2011

This past weekend, Nagoya castle was lit up blue at night for diabetes awareness. I had no idea that it was happening, but apparently there was a poster advertising it on the subway. So, Monday night, after nightfall had set, we headed over to take a look around.

We were hoping that the gates would be open and that for the special occasion we could get in, but no such luck. Instead, we took a walk around the entire perimeter of the castle, taking photos along the way. It was a crisp night, but the view was lovely.

On our quest to get into the castle (and constantly finding out we’re locked out), we found a bunch of stray cats. I wish I got a photo of one, it was beautiful! It was completely white, so elegant, but strong looking. It walked like it was a panther. I’m not a big cat fan, but I would have taken that one home in a heartbeat, haha.
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Japan

Maiko

November 10, 2011

In June of 2009, a friend of mine came to visit. During her stay, we took a day trip with a couple of my friends to Kyoto. We were lucky to have some beautiful weather, and spent the day visiting the a few of the most famous tourist spots in Kyoto.

Before we took off to see the sights, we stopped at a little shop where you can get made over to look like a maiko (舞妓), or an apprentice geisha.

I guess technically we were all too old to be maiko, but it was a really fun experience.
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Teaching

Craft time: Pumpkin bags

October 29, 2011

For Halloween, Christmas and Easter, we do special events at the school. This also includes special themed lessons for my Mommy and Me classes.

Since the students are so young (two and three), they don’t attend the school’s Halloween event, because let’s face it, the activities are geared towards children that are a bit older, and a lot of the costumes and so forth are just too much for them. So instead, we do a special Halloween event during class time, and the kids are encouraged to dress up.

The first 15 minutes of class are usually a normal routine, with a Halloween story thrown in for good measure. Then for the second half, we do our vocabulary and craft (all Halloween themed) and then a short trick or treating stint, where the kids knock on the classroom door, I open it, they (try to) say “Trick or Treat?”, and get a snack. This year I’ve been giving out two (wrapped) cookies and a sheet of stickers.
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