Monday, April 27, 2009

Rice fields and changes over the years.

The other day a customer asked me if I went to Japan to start an internet business and that question really made me think.11 years ago when I came here the internet was a baby.Twitter-blog-phishing were not words.Cell phones in Canada were big clunky heavy things.I never could have imagined that I could/would be blogging and sending pics from my cell phone.As my friend said last night...remember when a phone was just a phone? I do remember.I also remember looking out from my class and seeing only rice fields and wondering what the heck I was doing here. Now I love the rice fields and now I know why I am here.My hubby would say I came here to meet him...that it was destiny and maybe he is right.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Testing sending pics from my cell phone.

This pic shows what happens every Thursday after my youngest class is finished-juice time!

Poodle Flowers and haha no hi!!

The other day my honey and I took a walk to a shopping mall near by. The weather was fab....ok ....a bit windy but still just wonderful!! So, I took some pics of the "river" near the mall.

Then we did our shopping and on the way out we saw these flowers....I did a double take because I wasn't sure what I had seen the first time I glanced at them!! Most look like poodles to me but there are some others in the 2nd pic that look like foxes but I'm sure that can't be right!

Now, having lived in Japan so long I kind of forget what things are like back home so I'm not sure if this is a Japan thing or not but the carnation is the "haha no hi" flower (mother's day flower). Actually to be honest, most mothers are lucky to get even carnations....most kids don't give anything which usually means I end up sort of scolding them in class and reminding them how hard they work. And husbands don't give anything to their wives on mother's dad always gave my mom presents on mother's day!

Anyway, for the amount of work Japanese moms do, they should be given diamonds in my opinion!! I mean cleaning the house everyday, waking up a good hour before everyone else so she can make fresh rice for the bento lunches ....and don't forget punching cute faces out of nori for the kids' rice balls.....cutting sausages into 1 piece of broccoli, 2 fried chicken, fresh veggies etc...and this is before making breakfast! Driving her husband to the station! Oh and doing laundry everyday and having it hanging outside as the sun rises (or at least before 9 am-I had a student who told me she felt guilty if she put her laundry up after 9 am....what would all the neighbours think?!). And most Japanese women grocery shop everyday or every other day!!( Oh and I have just realized that I'm the only one who walks around with a shopping one has a shopping list but if you are only buying food for 1 day or 2 days, perhaps you can remember everything you need!!) Other things they do.....airing out the futons which involves hanging them over the balcony and beating the bejesus out of them with a special "stick" if you have 3 kids...chances are you have 4-5 futons to beat (4 if the husband and wife sleep on one futon....5 if they don't). They also air out the pillows and blankets so there is a lot of hauling of bedding out to the balcony!! Then of course there is preparing dinner and remember Japanese eat many little dishes of food so there is a lot of dishes to prepare and to clean later on. And many husbands come home after 11pm and expect a hot meal so they will cook at that time. I know a woman who cooks every night for 2 hours!!!! And many husbands come home from work, sit on the sofa and demand beer and snacks! And remember most kids and husbands do NOT help out at home or at least not much!! that I've rambled on a bit (can you tell this topic drives me crazy!!) I should stop! I will, of course, be reminding my students to buy their mothers something for "haha no hi"....perhaps a poodle flower!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How cool is this?I am blogging from my cell phone on a train in Japan!

Ok-maybe this isn't cool for you but I love this! The other day I logged into blogger and saw that you could set up your cell phone.I almost didn't because I assumed it wouldn't work but I tried it and it works! While I am sure blogs from my cell phone won't be long I like the idea of it a lot.Only time will tell if I use it.

Anyway, I am on my way into town to meet my friend and eat Indian food ane of course go to starbucks.Girl time here I come!(^-^)

Question-would you find it annoying to read a blog with lots of short-twitter like-entries? I stopped using twitter for a few reasons but one is because I can't set up my cell phone in Japan which is how I wanted to use twitter.Opinions welcome!

Monday, April 13, 2009

UGH! Signs Of Summer Already!!

It's raining right now and I'm sooooo happy!! It's been unusually hot and a bit humid in fact, I'm already wearing sandals! While right now is still fine in terms of heat and humidity I know what it leads to....hell!!! July~October....I wish I could live in Vancouver during this time-big blue humidity...heaven! But no....I live here in hell.

The one bright spot is that I'm planning to go back to Canada for 2 weeks and my mom lives near a lake so the weather will be fab!! I will also be able to go barefoot!! I am sure that you all take going barefoot for granted. Summer equals walking on your wood deck or in your yard or a park or a beach barefoot. This is something that most adult Japanese NEVER do! I mean NEVER. I once visited my friend's house-they have a big (big by Japanese standards) wood deck and I was about to walk out on to it from the living room and they quickly pointed to the outside shoes I was supposed to wear. I wanted to cry. I miss my feet touching dirt, grass, sand,wood decks etc. I tried to explain to students about how wonderful and healing the feeling can be to walk on grass in your bare feet but I'm not sure they got it. That makes me sad.

They also generally don't eat outside. Now, granted by the time July rolls around I have little interest in eating outside as the weather is so humid I lose my appetite but in spring when the weather is great they don't eat outside. They might have a barbecue at night sometimes but I mean people don't grab a cup of coffee and sit out and read a book. Or eat lunch. Some people don't have yards (or as they say-gardens) big enough for that but those that do don't do it. I miss this a lot too!!

When they do sit out for "hannami" (drinking party under cherry blossoms) or go to the beach they use these blue plastic sheets to sit on. I remember the first time I sat on one-I just got to Japan and my boss was sweet and took me many places and one day we went to the beach. It was sooooooo hot and humid that day but I thought maybe it would be ok because we had a big umbrella to sit under BUT we sat on one of these terrible blue plastic sheets. Talk about uncomfortable!! It's plastic....on a hot day....on the sand so I was sweating like a pig on that thing and sand was being rubbed in even more due to the plastic....I didn't not enjoy myself! At "hannami" they use the sheets on hard dirt....again, not comfortable. I don't know about you guys but when my family went to the beach or a picnic we used old blankets and big big towels to lay on. My one student was shocked when I said that. I did explain that the blanket's only purpose at that point was to be a beach's not like we went home and put it on our bed!

The one good thing here in Japan is the summer food. They have cold tofu dishes, cold noodle dishes, "kakigori" (snow cones) everywhere oh and many summer festivals. After almost 11 years though, I still have to say that I hate Japanese summers!! And if you aren't used to this kind of weather...never visit Japan in the summer!


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