Tuesday, December 30, 2008
In the one above the liittle beans says"Did you know, in France the Japanese word "tanpopo" (in English it is the word for the flower dandelion) means "peeing your pants".
In the one above, the little bean says "did you know, if you kiss....in one second 2 million viruses are exchanged".
In the one above, the little bean says "Did you know that a hippo's sweat is pink?"
In the one above the little bean says "did you know that a kangaroo's pouch is sooooo stinky?"
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Oh and here is a pic I took a while back but forgot to blog about. This is a Japanese version of a California roll. The outside is covered in tiny little orange fish eggs...I love it!! This version has lettuce and a kind of sprout, avocado and shrimp. This one is ok....not my favorite...I will take a pic of my favorite one another time.Oh and here are some pics of the latest starbucks mugs and cups in Japan.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Yesterday, we went into town to figure out what is going on with my cell phone. As I mentioned in another blog post I was over charged by $200 on my cell phone and I wanted to know 1) why and 2) how to stop it. So we went to Yodobashi electronics store.
First, we were sooooo hungry and we really wanted to eat at the Indian restaurant (the top floor in the electronics store has many restaurants) but it was closed so we went to a new "keitan" (round about) sushi shop. This one is hi tech!! Usually if you want to order off the menu you push a button and a waitress comes but at this place the menu is on a computer.
You push a bunch of buttons to order what you want and then it comes around on the conveyor belt with your seat number just before the sushi you ordered so no one is supposed to take it.
Not very "gaijin" (foreinger) friendly as most of us can't read Kanji (Chinese characters) and I almost took the wrong sushi! But I was with my honey so he taught me how to use it. It was good-I'm sure we will go back.
So....after lunch we went down to the cell phone area and talked to a guy about my phone. As he was playing with my phone I was sitting at the counter looking around. Suddenly there was "a happening". We were sitting next to one of the entrances and being Christmas eve, it was very busy with people coming and going. So...suddenly this guy goes running out of the store.....pushing people out of the way, including pushing a little kid to the ground-alarms are going off and then a store clerk goes running after him. I couldn't believe it....it was the first time in 10 years of living here that I saw someone steal something!!
Finally the guy finished with my phone (we are keeping our fingers crossed that it works) so we headed home. When we got to our town we headed to another mall to pick up a few things. Of course there was a line up at the KFC for Christmas dinner. We checked it out just to see what was on the menu and the only thing on the menu that was available were Christmas specials. One was $35 for 5 pieces of chicken, 12 chicken nuggets and maybe 6 chicken tenders! No thanks!
Then we noticed at McDonald's that there were no more plastic bags. Instead there are "eco" bags
Finally we got home and relaxed. I was hoping to watch some kind of Christmas show and the only one on was a musical "Scrooge" from 1970 that was more than a bit corny! My honey had never heard of "scrooge" or "bah humbug" so he learned a few things last night!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I didn't blog about that at the time as I was too tired (though I guess I just kind of did LOL) and I remembered something I saw on CNN. It was about a typical Japanese family. The husband and wife get up everyday at 5 am. She makes "obento" (lunch) and his breakfast. He has a 90 minutes commute to work. She stays home with their baby. He finishes work at 10:30 pm. He comes home at midnight (notice he gets less than 5 hours of sleep a night). He never sees his daughter-in fact his daughter doesn't recognize him and will cry when she does see him. The wife talks about the American movies she sees where the husband comes home early (anything before 10pm is early here) and plays with the kids and has weekends off and takes vacation-she says that is a dream. And after living here for more than 10 years I agree- it is a dream for most families here in Japan.
From August 2003-February 2008 I had to live this kind of life. Ok....I never got up at 5 am and I have never made obento for my honey but the rest is the same. We never took a vacation. He never had any kind of weekends. "Holidays" just meant he had to work longer and his normal working day was 12-17 hours long. His boss would call the house at midnight. He had to go to parties and pay for his boss (this could be 100-200 dollars). He could never question anything and he could never say no. I hated it. Thankfully he was laid off in February and thankfully my etsy business was growing enough that he never had to find another job. I know I might have told this story before but when I saw that Japanese family on CNN I had tears in my eyes because I remembered what it was like. I had tears in my eyes because I was so grateful that we don't live like that anymore.
Friday, December 19, 2008
My holidays have officially started!! Woohoo! But I have the big kids' Christmas party on Saturday and I have to go to work on Monday for 2 hours. Still....I don't have to go back to regular classes until January 5th. I love holidays!!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Well....I did something very Japanese the other day. I went to our local shopping mall and they are all set up with a gift giving section (it is a gift giving season here too...not Christmas but end of year gift giving time!) so my honey and I bought and paid to have delivered a box of canned beer for his dad and a box of sweets for his mom.
There many things to choose from....fish, coffee (nothing special...just regular coffee from the supermarket in a box and 2x the price!), boxes of oil (nothing says I love you like a box of cooking oil!! ^__^) but it was easy to pick out sweets and beer. It felt so weird sitting down and filling out the forms, answering questions about the wrapping (we choose "eco" wrapping btw-"eco" meaning environmentally friendly). The box of beer cost about $35 and the sweets cost about $30. I'm thinking they will be happy!
Speaking of "eco".... as I stated above "eco" means "environmentally friendly". In the same vein as "eco" is "my bag". "My bag" (literally spoken in English by Japanese) means any bag you bring yourself to use instead of store bag. We happen to have (thanks to my friend Clarie) Whole Foods recycled bags. The other day the taxi driver saw us with all these blue Whole Foods bags and said "ahh....my bag". Of course he didn't mean "his" bag but it was confusing when I first started hearing the words "my bag". I had a student write about it a few years ago. The title of her story was "my bag boom". Honestly, I thought she was talking about one of her bags exploding!!! I had to have my boss explain it to me!!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I'm thinking these kinds of things are only in Japan?!
We also went to get some more Hannari tofu cushions and we saw these Hannari Tofu ATMs!
How cute are those!!! And speaking of cute.....I took some pics of one of my little student's baby sister...I could eat her up she is so cute!! The whole time she is there she says "kore wa?" "kore wa?" as she points at things. It means "what's this?" In the first pic she is trying to make the peace sign!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
There is one very good thing about it being cold....
I just drew a bath. Taking a bath in winter in Japan is one of my favorite things. Sure it is "nipply" getting ready for the bath since it is -1!! But I open the window (love a cold breeze) and get in to the very hot water and honestly it is almost like an outside onsen or hotspring. My tub is very deep so I can get in up to my neck. I love it when it is breezy ....feels fab!!! I honestly can't imagine taking a bath in a warm bathroom in an "ankle and elbow" tub (this is how my Canadian friend describes typical North American tubs after trying mine here!).
But in the middle of the night I don't like getting out of bed to pee because it is FREEZING!!!!! Now, many Japanese have little heaters in the toilet room and in the bathroom (the "bath" room and "toilet" rooms are divided). I think that it helps prevent old people from dying of shock in the bathroom in winter....it is sad but true that it happens every winter!
So when my mom tells me it is cold in Canada...I totally agree (of course I agree cause it is damn cold) but then I tell her to stop complaining because she can't see her breath INSIDE her house!!