Thursday, November 25, 2010

10 Japanese Fashion Flops

I saw this article and just had to post the link!  These fashion flops are mostly seen in Tokyo but I have seen  #7 Engrish shirts, # 6 Flat tires and # 2 Shoes beyond repair  even here in my small city.  I have to say that # 6 really really bothers me!! I am constantly wanting to tell people to put their shoes on properly and pick up their feet when they walk...the noise people make when they walk is amazing!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

A lovely lunch and the New York Times

Yesterday, my Friday class took me out for a lovely lunch! This restaurant is small...only 2 tables and is booked all the time. It is seasonal so the food varies. I also believe that there isn't a menu per se but that all customers are served a 6 course meal (at least that is what we had).  It is a beautiful place filled with gorgeous hand made pottery, tatami mats etc. Of course, you have to take off your shoes.

Here are some pictures of the food....they are bit dark due to the restaurant's lighting and I used my cell phone.

The first picture shows there is a bit of cooked octopus on top a bed of steamed mizuna with a lovely sauce, a little  dish of black beans with real gold flakes, inside the green "packet" is a little mochi filled with sweet adzuki beans and the little pot had a mix of "kazunoko" (fish eggs) mixed with wasabi mayonnaise and something else which we weren't sure of. There was also a real ginkgo leaf for decoration

Then we were served some sashimi.

Then we had some sushi with a slice of "kabosu" which is a green citrus fruit.

Then we had a piece of salmon that  had a sesame crust on it...very delicious.

I forgot to take pictures of the other dishes but our next course was rice, Japanese pickles and soup followed by coffee and a bit of matcha ice cream with black sugar syrup.  It was really lovely! Thanks ladies!!!

In other news:

I just found out that we had been mentioned in the New York Times again!  It was a nice surprise!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A sponge won't cut it this time! last post was a cute one about how I got a sponge when Japan Post messed up. A sponge won't cut it this time!

So today I woke up and while drinking coffee I browsed the Etsy forums. Thank God I did. Another seller in Japan had posted something about Japan post not shipping any package over 453 grams (1 lb) via airmail to the States starting tomorrow. WHAT?!

We called Japan post and the lady I spoke with said that the American government asked the airline companies not to carry any package that weighed more than 1 lb. That means all packages that weigh more than 1 lb must be sent via seamail. Now I asked the lady if she wasn't mistaken because all I could see on the Internet was that only ink cartridges weighing more than 453 grams were banned due to the terror plot. She said no...ALL packages.

So..I quickly rushed down to the office to pack up a few packages that I knew were over that weight. Then we rushed to the post office to mail them off. The guy at the post office said the same thing to me.

So...I then went on the etsy forums again...funny...only Japanese sellers were complaining of this. Some sellers from Canada and the UK said that only the ink cartridges weighing more than 453 grams were banned. Hmmm....

Now...Japan post is a big company and I usually assume that big companies have people who speak different languages but I'm guessing that somewhere along the line something was drastically misunderstood because there is a huge difference between 1 kind of package being banned and ALL packages being banned!!! this point it looks like Japan Post just decided that  ALL packages going to the United States that weigh more than 453 grams are banned. WTH???

To all our American customers:

From November 16th, any orders weighing over 453 grams (1 lb) will not be able to be shipped airmail, EMS or SAL. If possible, we will try to divide the order into 2 (perhaps more) to send them airmail but if isn't possible we will be in touch and discuss sending it seamail or refunding your money. We are so sorry about this but there is nothing we can do. We will update this as we find out more. Hopefully it won't last long. And ...  you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be phoning and complaining! this case a sponge will not be enough to say sorry for all the inconvenience this is causing us and our customers!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nothing says "I'm sorry" like a sponge!!

I'm guessing that what I'm about to blog about qualifies as "only in Japan" but I could be wrong.

Our post office is a wonderful friendly little (really little) place. The people are very nice and I realize that I'm quite lucky with how few problems we  have ( I'm especially  grateful after reading people's posts on the Etsy forums about post office problems).  Of course no place/no person is perfect so the occasional problem  happens but how it is dealt with, I believe, is very different. For example, there are times when they might forget to give us our copies of the EMS forms.  They have someone drive them over to us and they give us a towel (very handy for cleaning)  to say sorry. The other day, my hubby went without me and it took an unusual amount of time. They apologized and gave him another towel but then the next time we went in, the boss  apologized again and gave us these- a sponge, a cell phone strap (charm) and a pack of band aids.

You might notice that they say "JP BANK" because in Japan, post offices are also banks.  How cool is this? Most of the items are useful so that is even better! I almost time we got a box of plastic wrap...again with the logo.

We also regularly get "thank you" gifts. I have received  pens (so many that I probably never have to buy one again), small tissue packs, hair scrunchies, chopsticks, special envelopes, candy and other things. I right in thinking that is a "only in Japan" thing? And am I the only one that finds it a bit ...hmmm...odd (but still cool)...that Japan post has all these items made up with it's logo? 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remember this little guy?

Back in 2008 I put up this picture of my student's little brother (with my student).

He was sooo cute and he let me play with him and pick him up. I loved Thursdays because I could play with him. he is my student! He is 3 and is in a "mommy and me" class. We sing ABC and other songs. He is learning  colors, numbers etc. His pronunciation is soooo cute-"fish" is "pish" and my name is "sopia". He belts out the ABC song and apparently sings it all the time which his sister (the girl in the above photo) complains to me about! is his latest picture. He is still a cutie!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It used to be a hobby!

I've been neglecting my blog!!  And the reason is simply that I have been crazy busy with what used to be my hobby....making rings!  I have been busier and busier and last month I sold over 225 rings!!

It's funny -I never started this part of my business thinking about being successful...rather I've always been creative and I thought I might as well try to sell them since I'm already on Etsy for supplies and just made sense.  It used to be that Sundays I would go downstairs to the office where I have my "studio" and I would make some rings (pendants etc) while watching Suze Orman on itunes or listening to Harry Potter (book on CD-Jim Dale's version) on my ipod etc-it was fun and relaxing. But now I'm making them 4 days a week....3 nights after work and on Sundays. That of course doesn't include taking pictures, listing them or preparing orders for our assistant (she does all the packing for our 5 on line shops-thank God for her). 

I'm so happy to make and sell rings!!  I'm not complaining at all! I just have to try to balance it all- 5 online shops, a full time job, all the crazy daily accounting that has to be done here in Japan and I'm trying to have some kind of personal life-this is proving to be stressful at times. I can't even imagine what it would be like if we had kids!

Anyway, now you know why I haven't been blogging as much as before.

In other news....

Here is something I thought would interest you. From now until February 19th in Nagoya you can take this "oden" train. It's once a day and lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes. It costs 3,500 yen ($43 USD at today's exchange rate) and that includes beer "nomihodai" (all you can drink beer), a bowl of oden (boiled food you eat with spicy mustard-very popular in winter and quite yummy), some snacks and 1 glass of sake. There is also karaoke. This local train company started this in 2007 as way to attract more customers in the winter season (apparently they have a summer version as well).


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