Tuesday, 29 January 2008
Monday, 28 January 2008
1. students must gargle between each class - there is a special solution called "husu" that sits in a pump pack, with piles of small disposable paper cups, in each room for this purpose.
2. the air in the classroom must be changed regularly - this means that in the middle of the class all the windows must be opened and the heater turned off, and this in sub 5 degree weather. Seriously. And of course the students don't want to do this, so what happens is they slide the windows back and forth, arguing about who has to have the cold air blowing on them. Apparently new air is good for the health. However, I tried to explain that maybe freezing cold air was not so good... not sure if I was understood!
Sunday, 20 January 2008
So he made me practice that kanji a few hundred times... and then he gave me a new kanji 'fun.' Even though it had less strokes, it was way harder, I kept making it look like a stick figure rather than a kanji!
After we had drawn our hopes we were interviewed by Hagi Cable Television - and will be on the news next Monday at midday apparently.
After class a couple of the Club members brought out sushi and beer and we had a little party!
Saturday, 19 January 2008
Today was the first time though that I have been to a sporting event - a Junior High basketball tournament and before and after each game the whole team (all the subs etc) come and stand on the court and bow to the scorer, to the umpires, the timekeeper, each other and the crowd at each end of the court!
Thursday, 10 January 2008
"Dear Sweet Dot: For the life that is ordinary with fabric of a dear sweet dot an accent."
First person to explain wins a prize!
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
I had sent them directions for the train/bus combo from Kyoto to Hagi, but someone at Japan Rail lied to them - so they skipped the Bocho Bus and took the later Japan Rail bus. The JR person told them that the JR passes weren't valid on the Bocho service, but that is wrong because other people use the passes on Bocho all the time!
Anyway, the driver also told them to get off at the Bus Centre, but I was waiting at the train station! Luckily Flick was on the bus, and when she got off and saw me she mentioned the foreign visitors, and I put 2 and 2 together and rode off and found them! Flick didn't actually know that the foreign visitors were my friends, but given there are 12 foreigners in Hagi (population 50,000 Japanese people) we generally notice any new foreigner, and speculate on why they are in Hagi!
So while they were here we drank sake poppers (yes you can buy sake in a box juice package in this country), did purikura (sticker photos) and they came and saw one of my schools - and the vice principal was rude, but let's not dwell on that. He wasn't rude to their faces, very unJapanese, but explained to me the in and out groups and that they were in the out group and thus not welcome in the staffroom - even though 3 foreigners in 1 place (myself and the 2 girls) was causing chaos in the corridor! Apparently permission for them to visit the school didn't include permission for them to be in the staffroom, at my desk!
Aside from that, we had fun, though I think they were cold in my little apartment because I didn't know how to work the heater (kanji for 'heater' is something I was yet to learn). On that note, I took the remote for the heater (really a reverse cycle air conditioner) to my office and they showed me how to make it a heater - no you don't just turn up the temperature! They also showed me the setting for drying clothes, and a setting for 'health' - symbolised by a heart!
Anyway, back to Erin & Teresa. I took them out for Hagi cappuccinos - cappuccinos with glace mikan instead of powdered chocolate on the foam, and we went out for dinner, and in to every bakery we went past so Erin could sample all the varieties of sausage in a bun! By the way, mikan is like a Japanese mandarin, and there are mikan trees EVERYWHERE in Hagi. It's the one fruit that normal people can afford to buy in the supermarket! I mean, usually an apple is around $3, but you can buy 10 mikan for $4 if you know the right fruit stand!
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
- being stared at for being a foreigner
- squealed irrashaemasens (those people who work in shops in Japan squeal irrashaemasen at people when they walk in, effectively, welcome to the shop) and hearing 5 people squeal it at you can be a little disconcerting, especially as social custom dictates that one ignores the squealers!
- the cold!
- lack of spicy food
- katakana english (how are you? i'm goodo!)
Monday, 7 January 2008
Despite all the options we didn’t really do that much shopping, though Geoff may disagree and think we did too much.
I bought some shoes – to fuel my obsession, and a few tee shirts. Geoff didn’t really buy anything except a tee shirt when he didn’t want to do laundry.
Sunday, 6 January 2008
Christmas sparkled, was whimsical, and was generally strange. It was my first Christmas not in
On Christmas day we woke up, and it was just like a normal day for
The food in
We had curry, and dumplings, and stir fries and many, many fresh juices. Also, to round out Christmas we bought Mince Pies from Marks & Spencer – which were fabulous.
We ate in a lot of food court/hawker centre places – where you can get a meal for less than $5, but we had a couple of fancy meals too! Geoff’s parents shouted us a meal at a fabulous Italian restaurant for our Christmas present (and I ate rabbit!). We also ate at a Brazilian BBQ restaurant, where Geoff went crazy over the meat selection: lamb, beef, ham, pork & chicken, while I ate the lamb and a mountain of olives. I have really been craving olives…
We had made a rule not to eat at the same place twice over the holiday – and we were going pretty well, trying different hawker centres and little restaurants which were all amazing, but then we went to Din Tai Fung – a dumpling restaurant on