Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Say What?

On Saturday, Wayne and I finally got a day to spend together. It has been ages since we've had free day just to be with each other, which is not good when we haven't even been married a year yet.

Our lives have become so busy. We both work full time, Wayne has almost two hours of commuting time to work every day, I teach three extra private classes, we both try to study Japanese (life would be easier here if at least one of us could communicate easily in Japanese), I try to get to the gym (I'm continuing to pile on weight which isn't good for either my health or my happiness), I have two businesses, we both have a number of blogs, Wayne trains in Iaido twice a week and then we try to catch up with friends on the weekend who are mostly an hour's drive away. To add to that, we've had a number of visitors and will continue to have more in the next few months. There hasn't been much time or energy left to put into "us". Wayne, who usually isn't one to complain actually said to me the other day "I want my wife back". I can tell you, the tears streamed after that!

So anyway, on Saturday, I had to pick up some paper for my card business in Australia, so Wayne and I decided to go for a drive together for the day. It was really nice. We stopped into Mino to get the paper and then headed towards Gifu city. There we went to a lovely shrine that was tucked into the bottom of a mountain. I always find the serenity of shrines food for the soul. We then went to the castle at the top of the mountain. It was a replica filled with museum pieces. Wayne was very happy as there were many different things to kill people with. Sometimes it concerns me how much my mild-mannered husband loves weapons. Returning home, we took a leisurely trip through a town I used to work in.

On our travels, we had a good giggle at a sign we saw. It said;

I am happy if you play it easily

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Why Translating Software Doesn't Work...

As I said in a recent post, I've been drowning in marking. Thankfully, I'm getting towards the bottom of the pile. I also mentioned that Jason is getting really good at writing the kanji for "translating software" to remind the students NOT to use it. Here's an example of a student's work that used the software;

I break a top in many case and brust into laughter and I write it and am character ized by a style of special signs such as a letter. (onomatopoeia.) movement, line, a concernation line, and comics are the general term of a style to express information for creation mainly on a picture and a letter. It can point at comics work as entertainment in a narrow sence.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Junk mail

I just got a new phone today. I was very excited about it. After being in the country for about 10 months, I finally have a phone with email. For those of you not in Japan, if I want to send a message from my phone here, to a friend's phone who isn't on the same network, I need to use email.

As I said I WAS very excited.

It seems that my phone email address I chose was way to easy.. so for the last few hours my phone has been buzzing with numerous junk mail messages! I've had four offers to buy cheap viagra in four hours!

I have been trying to work out how to change my address, but so far have had no luck! Help! I really don't need any viagra!

*Mmm just had a thought, I wonder if the mention of "viagra" in this post is going to change the advertisement at the top of my page to an offer for cheap viagra... hope not....

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Not sure what sauce to use?

If you're having trouble deciding what sauce to use on your dinner tonight, maybe this video will help. Then again, maybe it won't but it's still good for a laugh.

Bonus points to anyone that can pick the really bad pun.....

Friday, January 19, 2007

Super Robot Anime

I'm currently sitting at my desk at school drowning under a pile of marking. We've given our Ko1 (high school first grade) students the task of preparing a presentation. While the actual class is a breeze to teach, there is so much checking of work to do afterwards. The correcting of garbled English and the boredom of hearing about the same baseball and soccer players is quite draining. Jason, who teaches Ko1 with me, is getting great at writing the kanji for "translating software" 翻訳, reminding students NOT to use it.

Every now and then though, a gem comes along and revives me. This is an introduction that came from a student;

I like Super Robot anime very much. It is the anime where active robots appear as heroes. Oh, who says "Gundam" now? What a fool man! Super Robot anime has a power that the other cartoons don't have. The power is called "Nekketsu" in Japanese. The power gives me the vigour to live every day. So I like it very much. Why don't you watch it?

I just love the "What a fool man!" and the fact that the robots' power gives him vigour to live. This kid is a classic otaku. He's really sweet, puts so much energy and expression into his presentations and is very passionate about his robots.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hello Kitty Trivia

Do you know how tall Kitty-chan (Hello Kitty) is? She's five apples tall.

Do you know how much Kitty-chan weighs? The same as three apples.

How cute is that!

This is just one of the useful pieces of information I've been learning in my high school classes at the moment.

*In answer to your question Jason, I'd say you'd be able 18 dried mangoes tall (full mangoes, on their side if you want to be precise) ps I thought the text colour would go well with your shirt from yesterday ;)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

My Warrior Husband

Wayne had his Iaido grading today and recieved his first level. Congratulations honey!

It's a bit difficult to explain Iaido, so I've made my very first video. It was taken while he was doing the grading.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

New designs

Just before I went back to work, I finally got my design day I was needing. I had actually taken one before our visitors arrived, but was so flat and no inspiration came and the designs reflected that.

After my fabulously manic visit from my cousin Danielle, a really talented jewellery designer, I was all fired up and ready to create again.

For those of you who don't know, I have a business in Australia, called ki creations, and I design handmade greeting cards that are Japanese influenced and use yuzen paper. They now sell throughout Australia and in a few stores in the US. In Australia, Bayswiss is one of my biggest stockists.

My range really needed some new life to it and these are some of the new designs. I'm hoping they'll go well.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Not just tissues

I just opened a new packet of tissues today and had to smile at what was written on the packet;

"moist. No, not all tissues are created equal. An antibacterial facial tissue with specially designed moisturizers to be extragentle on your delicate skin. Baby yourself with the gentle cleansing touch of nature. We value a life-style that's easy on people and nature. Uruoi monogatari (moist story??), for your daily life."

Ahh.. it's like going to a day spa each time I blow my nose....

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blogging in my head

I'm just wondering if anyone else blogs in their head. I have to confess, I do far more blogging in my head than actual blogging. Is "blog" going to become a new verb in the English language, or is it already one? As in "Oh, I'll have to blog that.".

Is blogging in your head the new daydreaming? Or the new talking to yourself? Is blogging in your head a sign of insanity or sanity?

Anyway, this morning I was blogging in my head about the fact that I'm becoming more Japanese (though we won't reference the song here - that is NOT the meaning I mean!). I was blogging about how for breakfast I was having mochi with soy sauce and seaweed. I was thinking about how I've started craving certain pickles... As I was busy blogging in my head, I discovered we'd run out of soy sauce, so I tried mochi with sweet chilli sauce - rather yummy I must say!

Now in all this "turning Japanese" stuff, I'm waiting for the language to suddenly kick in...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Recycling Day

Today was recylcing day and I hate recycling day! I hate getting up early in the morning, walking up the road with all my "Non-combustable" rubbish and sorting it out under the watchful eyes of complete strangers. OK, it's actually the getting up early part that I hate the most.

Wayne and I realised last night that we had to do the recycling this morning. The day comes around every couple of weeks, but we actually only go every couple of months - when our recycling bin gets full. After our day of putting together furniture, we were too tired to do the sorting, but planned to be good and get up early today. Of course, we slept in and so as usual, it was a mad rush to get there before the 8am finish. I had on my usual grumpy face. Walking home afterwards, we passed a group of bright-eyed elementary school girls looking cute in their yellow hats. They smiled at us and then commented to each other how white I was. Mmm thanks for that.

It's funny how attitudes change though. I used to think that the Japanese way of disposing of rubbish was a little backward. I looked at the way it is done in Brisbane. Everything recyclable gets thrown in the one bin, picked up by the city council and taken away to be sorted. Stress free. I've since come to realise, however, that if something isn't as stress-free, it forces you to really think about it. I'm now much more aware of what I buy and how it's packaged. It forces me to think about if I really want to buy it and makes me take more responsibility for the rubbish I produce.

I still think that Japan has a long way to go in terms of reducing it's packaging, but the country is becoming more aware. Our local supermarket has given us a card on which we get points for each plastic bag we refuse. Once the card is full, we get a discount. It works out to about 5yen a bag. There is a recently a movement of "Mottainai" (もったいない) which roughly translates to "it is so wasteful that things are not made full use of their value". It is being used to equate to the English version of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". I've seen news articles over here about groups trying encourage children to use "furoshiki", which is a square piece of cloth, traditionally used for carrying things. In the schools, these groups are showing kids how to tie the cloth to make different bags and then giving the kids free reign to see what different, creative ways they can come up with. I sometimes carry one with me and use it for a carry bag when shopping.

On this site there are some diagrams on different ways of tying the furoshiki:

I found this sweet little video on the furoshiki.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Tech problems

Arrgghh! I seem to be having trouble with some of my photos on my blog! My face is now just an X.... hoping to fix it soon.

Wayne and I worked our butts off today and we now have a new set of shelves, computer table for Wayne and TV cabinet. I was so proud of my boy, putting it all together when all the instructions were in Japanese! Of course, I would dearly love a lot more space. I'm dreaming of a house tucked away in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, a short drive to the beach, with a customed designed, walk-in wardrobe and a studio with large windows, clutter-free work tables, lots of shelves with matching boxes for storage and a wall covered in cork so I can pin any inspiring image to it.... Until then though, my little apartment with two tatami mat rooms will do just fine.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!


Happy New Year! I hope everyone has had a great start to 2007.

It's been crazy here! We've had visitors for most of the year so far! My brother and his wife, Carl and Leigh, arrived on the 31st, left on the 3rd and then my cousin, Danielle, arrived on the 4th and left yesterday morning. It's going to take me a few days to catch up on the washing and getting the apartment back to normal.

It was great to see everyone and I had a ball. Carl and Leigh's visit was rather low-key and I really appreciated having time to get to know Leigh much better. Danielle's visit however was manic! We fitted in about 20 hours of shopping in a 48 hour time period! I kid you not! Danielle is a very talented jewellery designer whose work has a strong Japanese influence, so I took her to a bunch of funky department stores, craft shops, 100 yen shops and second-hand kimono stores.

Wayne and I now have a few days of holidays left, so we are trying to tackle our lack-of-storage-space problem. We also became a two computer family again, so I need to give him some space to use it as well as get my office space workable. We hit the "home centre" tonight and got lots of ideas. We've then since come home, measured spaces and will be back there tomorrow morning. I vow to try to get it all done tomorrow with no tears...

One great thing about New Years Day in Japan is recieving Nengajo - or New Years Postcards. Our card that we sent out this year is pictured at the top. It's traditional that if you were married the previous year to use a wedding picture. Families with young children will often use photographs as well. As this is the Year of the Boar, we also got many cards with boar images. Oh, talking of Boar - on January 2nd (Wayne's birthday - Happy Birthday Wayne!), we had a lunch of nabe with wild boar. I must say - it was delicious!

今年も どうぞ よろしく
** Update
I'm not sure on the best way to reply to questions from comments, so thought I'd give this a go...
Thanks for the comments Kelchan! I had the dress and Wayne's shirt made. I had a good idea of what I wanted, but am not a great seamstress. The designer we used was great with amazing attention to detail, so they did a great job on Wayne's shirt and even made corsages from the fabric for our families.
The boar was yummier than I expected. Was just like a tender pork really. We were told that it was most likely from a female boar - as they taste better. Go figure.