Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I've opened another etsy shop!

Well, I've opened another store on etsy! This is my third one! I never thought I would do it but there are so many cute/kawaii things to sell and our other store is getting huge so we decided to open this one just for "decosweets" that is what all the cute decoration items/mini cakes/whip cream clay things are called in Japan so I named my store.... DecoSweets.etsy.com . I am totally loving this store. There are so many things I will be buying for this shop...clay, molds, books, kits, deco mini items etc. We will still sell some of these items in our other store FromJapanWithLove but we will focus on it in the new store!

Other news.... spring is in the air! Blossoms are blooming everywhere and the sky has been a wonderful blue! Kids are on spring vacation which doesn't totally thrill me since it can be quite a scene while I'm shopping. I mean literally piles of kids around me staring at me as if I'm some kind of alien. But often they get up the courage to say hi and then giggle like mad when I say hi back. It can be quite cute! What is really cute is when I see my little students at the shop. They are shocked to see me outside the school! Some will only speak Japanese to me but others will speak a bit of English. If I'm shopping at the cute stores and they see me with many memo pads/pencils/stickers etc I usually hear "iina!" which basically means they are jealous. The next time I see them at school they brag to their classmates that we met at the store!

Our new assistant tackled the "jungle" out back....seriously she did an amazing job! I can actually see the little tree now that the weeds are gone! A lot of older women in Japan love gardening...even though their gardens/yards are tiny compared to many of ours in North America. I'm so happy to see this little backyard of ours that I'm thinking it might good to have my honey's folks over for a Japanese barbecue....hmmmm. Will have to talk to hubby about that! Just the thought of grilling our own "yakiniku" (barbecued meat) makes me smile!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I can't believe it has been 2 weeks since I blogged!

Seriously, where has the time gone? Almost daily I promise myself that I will blog but by the time I remember, it is about 3 am!! Once I get my new mini computer I will blog at work or at least write it in word and up load it later...it will be so much easier! Did I mention that my other mini computer (that I got for 100 yen) broke and the company said it would cost about $180 to fix it? Well, we will put that $180 towards a newer model with more memory so I can have word and do more work between classes on my business!

Lots going on that I will blog about soon but one thing is that I have a new assistant! I've been busy training her. She is a sweet older lady that lives in town and drives (not all older ladies do in Japan). My student introduced me to her and we hit it off right away. She speaks NO English so I've needed my hubby around as she speaks super fast and I can't always catch what she is saying but she is so sweet! It turns out that not only will she be my office assistant but also my "gardener". Well...more like "weed puller". We moved in to the office last September and haven't touched the small "yard" in the back and we have weeds that are as tall as small trees! But half the time I forget and frankly, I have no time (and my honey has never ever worked in a garden so he isn't much help and he has no time either). She said it was nothing so I soon will have just dirt and a few bushes....and it will be nice to see the little tree. I was actually thinking that once it is weeded, it would be nice to have a barbecue (Japanese style). Time will tell if that will happen!

Thought I would leave you will some pics! The first 2 pics are from a fabulous store we sometimes go to. They are all decked out for spring...cherry blossoms are everywhere!

The next 2 pics are of my student's sister. In the first pic she is trying to make the peace sign!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


So it is tax time in Japan....(actually if you owe money, your taxes are due today) and every year in January I have received my tax papers with my name and address filled out in Japanese and the tax book written in English etc. But this year I didn't get one. So I waited a bit. Then finally we phoned the tax office and we explained that I should have received my tax papers etc. The guys phones us back with this explanation. Based on last year's papers and the fact that I got a refund last year, they didn't send me any papers because they assumed I would get a refund and they don't want to pay it to me. WHAT??!!! Seriously, the guy said I didn't have to fill out my tax papers and he said that the government paid out a lot last year and they didn't want to this year so they didn't send the papers!!

FYI-in Japan, most people don't fill out their tax papers...their employer does (as long as they only have 1 job and no other income). In Japan, there is a tax book and your boss figures out to the last yen how much to take off each month based on your salary so refunds are not normal here. The reason I have one is because 2 years ago when the government changed the tax amount, I told my boss to continue taking off the old amount so that I would get a refund. He was very confused but I said it is kind of like forced savings and since you get almost no interest in a bank account here anyway, I figured why not!

So back to my story. We insisted on getting papers because um...hello!!....I want my refund. Thankfully they have to give it to me! I'm so glad that starting next year, I hand everything...personal and business tax stuff to our accountant!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Japanese pizza

Japanese pizza is an interesting thing. The basic ingredients are the same for making dough, tomato sauce etc and yet it tastes radically different. Even a pizza made with "normal" ingredients like ham, pepperoni, mushrooms etc still doesn't taste like ours do in North America. I have to say that while I have eaten my fair share of pizzas over the last 10 years I would never have said that I LOVED them....until last night!! (now for those who read that I don't eat wheat/gluten....that is true for 99.9% of the time but occasionally due to lack of choices and whatnot, I breakdown and eat something with wheat).

In the picture above is the pizza I ate last night. The bottom half has chicken, red peppers, mushrooms, onion, nori (seaweed), mayo and mustard sauce. It was good BUT the top half was divine and totally weird in terms of what we are used to in North America. It has "mentaiko" which is spicy fish eggs (the red stripes) , "mochi" (chewy rice cakes)(the white lumps) , corn and nori (seaweed). I love all those items but I wasn't sure about it on a pizza but OMG!!! It was sooooo good. The mochi was chewy and I don't know how to explain it but it just worked!!

Things you probably didn't know about pizza in Japan:

Pizza in Japan is expensive. Forget 2-for-1 deals etc. The biggest pizza is 35 cm or 14 inches and can cost up to $38!! Needless to say the average family doesn't eat pizza for dinner often!

These ingredients are common on pizza:
potato chunks
sausage-not like ours but like long sausages kids would eat
And even though Japanese love fish....I can't find anchovies!!

So, if you ever come to Japan...I highly suggest you try some Japanese pizza!!


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