Saturday, August 08, 2009

Still Blogging Along....

This poor blog has really been left by the wayside in the midst of the pregnancy and move back to Australia. I do hope to come back to this blog at some point, but in the meantime, I continue to blog over at Kimono Reincarnate.

The big news in these parts is that two and a half weeks ago, I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nine Weeks and One Day

In nine weeks and one day, I'm leaving Japan.

In nine weeks and two days, I'll no longer be a gaijin. Well not technically at least, I think once a gaijin, there's always a bit of gaijin-ness that stays with us.

In nine weeks and two days, you'll find me on the Cairns waterfront eating fish and chips, possibly following that with a lamington for dessert.

In nine weeks and three days, I'll be picking up the keys for our new townhouse in Brisbane.

I'm not sure when I'll get to Japan next, after those nine weeks and one day. And when I do, I'm not sure for how long it will be. I'm so very sad about leaving Japan, but very happy about moving home. I'm excited and terrified about starting a new life.

Only nine weeks and one day left.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Japanese Ten Month Pregnancies

The first time I heard about ten month pregnancies, I was shocked and confused. I was talking to a student, incidentally, the same student that I had the "Cowfrog" conversation with. The student was quite heavily pregnant at the time.

"How many months along are you?" I asked.

"Nine months", she replied.

"Oh wow! So you could have the baby anytime now!"

"No, I still have a month to go."

"But you just said you were nine months pregnant....." I said to her with a confused expression.

"Yes, pregnancies are for ten months." She said, now returning my confused look.

"No.... they last for nine....."

"Really?? Japanese women are pregnant for ten months!"

At this point we both just agreed to be confused.

It does all make sense now. It's simply a matter of how you count.

So, in Japan, a pregnancy is considered to start at the beginning of the cycle, rather than from the actual conception date. This is how the English language pregnancy books and doctors count it as well. So that takes the gestation to 40 weeks. Divide that into LUNAR months, rather than calendar months and there you have it! Ten months!

This folks, concludes today's cultural and math lesson.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Real Reason I Haven't Been Blogging of Late

Do you want to know the truth? It has a lot to do with feeling very tired and quite sickly... you can find out all about it here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spelling Mistakes

Today was the last lesson with the students attempting to write funny stories. I had one more to share with you, not because it was a good story, but rather for the way it changed with its spelling errors;

.... He was a shy boy. He couldn't say
elotic words like "sox" and "possy"....

Personally, I'm not too sure who'd be turned on by those words, maybe a homie with a foot fetish?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

More Student Writing

It's all starting to wind down for the calendar year here at school. Tests are finished, marked and returned. We know have two weeks of classes before the winter break. So much of the school year is spent teaching for tests, that these two weeks are a great chance to let the students have a bit of fun with the language.

In the junior high classes, we've started doing Christmas activities and we'll continue those into the second week. In the high school class, we're playing a game and then putting the students in pairs to write some stories. They're encouraged to write a piece with some humor. The paper they are given has some pictures that they have to use to inspire them or to tie into the narrative. One picture has a couple kissing. It usually brings out the funniest results.

I thought I'd share a couple with you (both written by boys and I haven't corrected the mistakes)...

Piece one;

There was a man whose name is Hiroshi.
There was a woman whose name is Tetsuko. He loved her and she loved
him. It was hot. It was terrible hot. It was hotter than any
other thing.

But there was a man whose name is
Smith. He was very cool. Here was more cold than cool. He was
getting closer and closer to the couple. The temperature turned
down. It was colder than any other thing.

Piece two;

They are crossing their tongues. A man takes
off his wears.... It was exciting play.

Really, it doesn't take much to excite boys does it?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A list - about me

A fun little list of things I have and haven't done. If it's in bold, I have, if it's not, I haven't.

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.

3. Played in a band.
4. Visited The
Great Barrier Reef.
5. Stood under the stars in the outback, the real outback – think
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to the Gold Coast’s
theme parks – anyone, you take your pick.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sung a solo.
11. Bungee jumped, jumped out of plane, been paragliding or hang-gliding, hot air ballooning – you get the idea, you’ve been hundreds of metres about earth in a seemingly flimsy contraption.
12. Visited
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Had a child. Raised a child. Worked with children. (only worked with for me so far)
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Been to the
Snowy Mountains. (I’d say climbed Uluru, but the Aboriginal custodians would prefer you didn’t.)
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Visited the Brett Whitely
studio in Surry Hills, Sydney.
20. Slept on an overnight train or bus.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Been backpacking.
23. Taken a mental health day.
24. Been buried in sand with just your head and toes sticking out.
25. Held a possum, kangaroo or koala – or any other native Australian animal.

26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Been in a fun run.
28. Been on the Blue Mountain
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Played, or watched, summer cricket.
32. Sailed, kayaked or canoed our beautiful waterways.
33. Seen the
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Visited an Aboriginal settlement or mission.
36. Learned a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Toured the
Sydney Opera House.
39. Tried rock climbing (indoor or outdoor), abseiling or just simple bushwalking.
40. Visit Queensland’s
Gallery of Modern Art.
41. Been to the
Tamworth Country Music Festival.
42. Sunbaked at
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.

47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone fishing.
49. Seen Tasmania’s old growth forests.
50. Been to the top of
Q1, on the Gold Coast.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Driven the
Great Ocean Road.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited
Norfolk Island.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold
Girl Guide biscuits.
62. Gone whale watching.

63. Got flowers for no reason.
Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone jet boating.
66. Visited Port Arthur.

67. Bounced a cheque.

68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favourite childhood toy.
70. Visited the
Australian War Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.

72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in
Federation Square.
74. Been on the
Murray River.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Travelled, or
climbed, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. (travelled, would love to climb it one day)
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the
Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited
St Mary’s Cathedral, in Sydney.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Been to
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited
Parliament House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Saved a
95. Been to the site of the
Eureka Stockade.
96. Swum in
The Whitsundays.
97. Been involved in a lawsuit.
98. Owned a mobile phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.

100. Read an entire book in one day.

This is an Australian version put together my Katie. There's also the original American version going around. Join in, it's fun, quick and easy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Something to Blog About - by the absent blogger

I'm so terribly sorry for my blog absence of late, both in writing and visiting other blogs. It's one of those things, every morning I would tell myself that I would blog that day, and then either the day would run away from me or I'd get the chance and found I had nothing to say.

Nothing to worry about, it just seems that my headspace has been elsewhere. Since I blogged last, I've been a little unwell, nothing serious, nothing that won't pass, but it's just been zapping my energy. My focus has also started turning toward the move back to Australia next year.

I have been managing to write on my other blog from time to time.

Again, apologies to everyone and I'm very sorry that some of you were worried.

Anyway - I finally have something to blog about! Today, I ran into a student that I taught last year. She's the author of the very funny Love Triangle story. She had a new piece for me, all decorated with pictures of the animals she associates myself and fellow teachers as; me - a frog (I had a croaky voice for a while), Sam - a dog, my husband (not a teacher here but she met him recently) - a bunny rabbit, Adrianne - a piranha and Sean (the new teacher in town) - a teddy bear.

The message goes like this (please take it with a super-sized grain of salt);

"My teacher is Sean now. He is as good
as you. Do you remember me? Of course you do!! You like
me. Sean is very warm-hearted. We like him very much. But he
is a mystery man. My friend's name is NS. NS really turns Sean
(OK, I have to butt in here - I think that she meant to say that Sean
turns NS on, there's nothing suspicious about Sean's behaviour, now back to the message....)... Sean is a lady-killer. NS is
a knockout. But Sean seems to like Melanie. NS says "I can't handle
a man like Sean". I saw Sean and Sam walking close. Sean is trying
to make a pass at Sam. NS said "Look at me!!" She can't live without
him. Don't tell anyone. That is about all I know. It was a
slip of the tongue. Trust me. Love is blind. I'll never let
you down. You're so sympathetic. I respect you. Are you
impressed me? NS said "I wish I had never met him. He has beautiful
eyes. I want to know all about him. I think of him day and
night. There will never be another him. Smooch!!" But NS isn't
Sean's class. I'm surprised. But NS is a good student. I like
Melanie and your husband."

Ahh.. how I miss teaching her class.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Sweetest Pocky

My day hadn't started well. It had me feeling sad and full of regret. I needed a good dose of quiet and calm to know where and how to step next.

I was in Kyoto at the time so headed off for Ohara, in the Kyoto hinterlands. Getting on the bus, I was happy to have gotten the last seat for the hour long ride. After a couple of stops, three sweet old ladies hopped on. I have to confess, I did consider staying in my seat, my feet sore from two days of walking. Instead, I got up and offered my treasured spot to one of the women. After a short protest, she gladly took it.

The bus was crowded but I was lucky enough to have a good view out the window. I watched the landscape change from bustling city centre, to city outskirts, to rural towns to the wooded mountains.

When we finally arrived at our destination, the lovely old lady who had accepted my seat rummaged through her bag. She produced a box of Pocky, a Japanese snack of chocolate coated biscuit sticks. She handed it to me, telling me it was to thank me for the seat. I was so touched and the gesture really made my day. Pocky has never tasted so sweet.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Going Bananas

For a long time now, I've always eaten a banana with breakfast. While I wouldn't claim it to be my favourite fruit, it's high up there. It's convenient (no washing or cutting); unlike most fruit, it's filling; it's tasty; it's one of the few fruits I'm not allergic to and it's a fruit I can buy cheaply, all year round in Japan. Until now.

A couple of weeks ago, they disappeared from the supermarkets. Why? It all has to do with a fad banana diet. A friend of mine watched the TV show that tested the diet and the ironic thing is, it didn't even work for the woman trying it out. And yet it seems like the nation is eager to get on it.

Last weekend Wayne happened to be at the supermarket at opening time. He went straight for the bananas. He and everyone else. He ended up walking away for a while, surprised at the rush. After picking up the other things we needed, he went back. Then the crowd around the banana shelves had thinned but was still four people deep and he had to fight to get us a bunch.

I wish everyone would get over this latest fad. I want my morning banana again!

Photo by -eko-

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Teaching Position Vacant at my School

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are looking for a native English speaking teacher for an immediate start at my school. The school is in Aichi, just outside Nagoya.

I've written a bit about my school and the students on this blog, and you can get an idea of the position in this post, scroll down to the paragraph that starts "My second job in Japan..."

If you're interested please email Trevor Wilson at wilsont411(at)hotmail(dot)com. Make sure you put something like "Job application" in the subject line. Please don't send any applications to myself or through this blog.

*** Update - the position has been filled ***

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Earthquake Day

For a while, there has been talk of a large earthquake predicted in the area of Japan where I live, Tokai. My students were very serious when they told me that thousands of people would die and that buildings would be destroyed. It's referred to as the "Tokai Dai Jishin".

Well, some psychic has predicted that it will happen this coming Saturday. Honestly, I wouldn't have thought that people would give much credence to the report.

I was wrong.

I've heard a few people talking about concerns for their plans for that day because "the earthquake will happen." I've even heard of a dance class that was cancelled purely because of the earthquake prediction.

Personally, I don't believe it will happen, but just to be on the safe side, cross your fingers for me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Once More With Feeling

Summer holidays just flew by and I'm now back at school. Even though a lifetime of holidays would be wonderful, it is good to be back at school. I love how much the kids make me laugh.

This week in the high school classes, they are learning how to give advice for different health problems. We're really trying to encourage them to put lots of emotion into the conversation they are learning and to ham it up with gestures.

Last year, I taught the same lesson to my Domestic Violence class. In one group, a boy wasn't doing the gestures. His partner decided to help him feel the part. He swiftly, punched him in the head, and then with innocent eyes asked "What's wrong?" As the partner rubbed his forehead, he answered with the phrase on his worksheet "I have a headache."

That's one way to get your partner to do what the teacher asks.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fine Dining

By day, a taped up cart. By night, a noodle restaurant complete with milk cart seating. Shot in Tokyo.