3 months update?… Sorry!

So it has been forever ago since I last updated the blog. Sorry! Lots have been happening since my last post but I have been truly busy at work and just enjoying summer. So I’ll try to give a quick summary of what has been going on over here over the last few months.

Well, the last post was about my trip to Thailand with my mom. Can’t believe how fast time goes by! That happened 3 months ago already. Alright , so I got back from Thailand and began working really hard. Right before Golden Week my co-worker and good friend Sarah left us, so some changes took place and I got some extra classes that left me with little time for much else.

I’m also taking a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Course. I think I chose the wrong time of the year because with all the summer activities I haven’t been the most studious person around here. But I’m getting through it slowly but surely.

Summer is most definitely here! It is ridiculously hot, 32C seems to be the regular temperature at all times of the day and night.. and it only gets hotter from there. Last week I had to teach a kindergarten class and I saw the temperature rise steadily from 30C-33C in the one hour I was in that non-air conditioned classroom. Some good things about this heat? I’m drinking tons of water, which I’m not very good at in winter, and I know that I am quite thin but I definitely put some extra unnecessary  pounds during winter and I can tell that they have begun to go away. I have also picked up swimming as my new hobby. I’ve been going to the local swimming pool almost everyday for the last 2 months and the first time that I went I swam 50m and thought I was going to throw up right there and then. 8 weeks laster I can proudly say that I can swim 1000m almost on a daily basis. I didn’t even know that I could do that! So I am planning on getting a membership at the local club once the  local pool closes for the season at the end of August. Swimming has definitely taught me some discipline and as mum says: everything is 1% inspiration and 99% hard work.. no kidding!

Summer time is a bit of a sad time too though. Is the time when the ALTs that decided to finish their contract go back home and new ones come instead. Goodbyes are never easy or fun, and this year was no exception. 5 people left us and so there were a lot of goodbye dinners, get togethers, trips and parties. Some tears were definitely shed, but we all had a great time together and who knows where life will take you, right? So most likely this is not goodbye, but see you soon in America/Canada/Scotland/Paris?!

Summer is so full of activities: I went rafting twice already and had an absolute blast! I went on a bike ride across the Shimanami-Kaiko bridges and got the worst tan ever and found the ice cream shop closed! (disappointing), there are many fireworks festivals, dance festivals, the rice fields are growing steadily, the children are on holidays, you never stop sweating and you discover the biggest and strangest creatures you have ever seen in your life crawling across your kitchen floor every so often. Summers in Japan are the best! ..

Keeping you posted!

Advertisements

Sakura!

Well, the cherry blossom season came and went.

Cherry blossom season is already over in Japan (at least in Ehime). It went by so fast too! Just a few days of full bloom and then the fluttering began and there were no more cherry blossoms. I tried to take as much advantage of this beautiful time in Japan as I could, so I went to as many different parks as I could and tried to be outdoors as much as possible. My students say that this spring has been much colder than in many previous years, and I wouldn’t know any better, but it really has been cold all the way until now. So the cherry blossoms were beautiful for only a few days since the rain came and brought them to an end.

A lot of people ask “what is it with people living in Japan and cherry blossoms?.” My answer is that you got to experience a Japanese winter to be able to appreciate cherry blossoms. Japan in winter can be gray, cloudy, cold and rainy, and they tend to last a long time. So for me at least seeing the cherry blossoms reminded me that Spring is around the corner and nature knows best. Also in Japan the school year ends in March and begins again in April, right at cherry blossom season. So, all things put together remind me of constant change, nicer days and the reality that nothing really lasts forever, so you really got to enjoy what you have at the time.

I took hundreds of pictures, because I thought that everywhere I looked it was so beautiful!!

Keeping you posted!

My new cooking challenge!

Let’s just say that cooking isn’t my forte…

I have now been living in Japan for a little bit over 8 months and I must admit that my cooking skills have not particularly improved in the time I’ve been here. Sure I have never been too talented when it comes to cooking, but I figured that once on my own I would be forced to become the next Jamie Oliver, but alas that has not been the case. I have learned a few tricks around the kitchen here and there but I don’t think I would like to subject too many people into eating my creations.

With my mom visiting in exactly a month I have begun to panic because quite simply what am I going to feed her?! So I am going to challenge myself a little and try 4 new Asian cuisine recipes in the next 4 weeks. My goal is to be able to cook 4 meals; they don’t have to be ridiculously difficult. As a matter of fact the simpler, the better. So I will be looking around for a recipe to try this coming weekend. I will search it, make it, try it and give you my verdict.

I want to leave Japan being able to be self-sufficient when it comes to cooking. A lot of my friends around here are amazing cooks and when I asked them what their secret is they all said the same thing: practice. Also they all have their own style, so I’m going to find mine too… wish me luck!

Keeping you posted…

Purikura Fun!

So I’ve become a Purikuraholic.

Purikura also known as print club is a photo booth machine, and there are photo booth machines all over the world but I don’t think anything comes close to purikura. In Japan, purikura is hugely popular. I have seen complete floors filled with purikura machines. They are all different and they offer you all sort of ludicrous things: from being able to add bubbles and stars to your pictures, to changing the colour of your eyes and adding extra long eyelashes! When I was in Hiroshima I saw a group of girls coming out of their purikura photo session wearing the highest heels, the most amount of makeup and the highest hairdos I have ever seen in my life!

My favourite machine is in the shopping mall in Niihama, and you can pretend to be sitting on a paper crane or you can pretend to be coming out of a watermelon. And as with anything in Japan even purikura can be a struggle as the machines ask you to choose from a number of options and since we don’t understand Japanese we just click all over the place or wait for the machine to choose for us, so quite often we finish with the oddest backgrounds. So although I really wanted the paper crane background, I am yet to figure out just how to get it.

My friend Alexa really likes to do purikura and at first I didn’t really see what the big deal was, but after spending over an hour at purikura last wednesday, I have come to the conclusion that I love it and will probably be one of the main things that I will miss once I leave Japan. I am posting some of our creations!

Keeping you posted!

Update…

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. I have just returned home from a 10 days trip to Kyoto and Osaka. We have summer holidays here, so I took the opportunity to go out and do some exploring of my own.

As you can imagine I have lots and lots of things to tell you all about. Right now I have begun sorting through the over 800 pictures that I took. So I will begin updating the blog soon again, but it will be a while before I have everything sorted out, so be patient.

I think it will be well worth the wait! =)

Keeping you posted.

The heat continues…

… and it just keeps getting hotter and hotter!

The temperature has continued to climb steadily over the last few days. What gets to me is not the heat, but the humidity. Any type of physical movement seems like a huge effort. You just walk out and begin to sweat.

Some water bottles come with a handkerchief for your face. Japanese people never stop to amaze me, they seem to have thought about everything.

In all of my adult classes I am always being asked how I’m doing with this heat. They all feel sorry for us and seem very concerned about whether or not we have AC in our apartments. They also tell me with a very apologetic look on their faces, that summer has not even arrived yet. According to them this weather is to continue until September.

They also say that winters can be quite cold. Somehow I cannot imagine that at all right now…

So, to keep cool we go to the river on our days off for a swim. I have never been a fan of cold water, so I just put my feet in the water and said that that was as far as I would go in, but was insisted upon to actually get in and stop being a chicken about cold water. So I went for the plunge and after the first shock it actually felt so good!

I only took 2 pictures, but I’m sure that there will be many more trips to the river in the near future. I also must apologize for the second picture as it looks like something out of a Pathfinder Truck commercial. That will also improve over time.


IMG_0028

IMG_0027

Keeping you posted!

Convocation

I guess this story really begins with Convocation. On Tuesday June 16th, the Faculty of Music, Trinity College and Innis College students celebrated their Convocation.

I approached my Convocation with mixed feelings. On the one hand is a great opportunity to celebrate your accomplishments, but on the other hand is also a reminder that unless you are pursuing Grad studies, it is time to get yourself together and think about the next big step. Perhaps trying to look for that first job or taking some time off to unwind, but always believing that in the end things work out, and remembering that most likely the other 500 people that were in Convocation Hall with you that day are probably on the same boat as you.


IMG_3314

Previous Older Entries