Category Archives: A Girl in Japan

My three years living in Japan.

Updates on Me vol. 2 THAILAND Vacation!!

So I’ve been ridiculously busy lately, and I’m sorry I haven’t updated a bloody thing on here.  But… I’m done being busy now, so I have time to catch up. On the 6th was the PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) Birthday Bash.  You might remember me talking about it last year, too.  This was my second year running the show and I think it went well.  Hopefully there will be a newspaper article on it and I’ll post that later.

On the 27th of August I had my last day at S and S Bilingual Institution.  By the way, the Japanese website has lots of videos of me.  (http://www.sands-kinder.com/ English site) (http://www.sands-edu.com/ Japanese site with one video of me) (http://www.sands-edu.com/prog/index.html several videos of me).  If you’re bored, you can see what I did everyday here in Japan.  When I get more time, I’m going to put together a DVD of all the little clips I’ve got of me teaching.

Goodbye to students in Japan

Then, on the 29th, I went to Thailand.  I’ve been working hard on learning how to swim, and I am proud to say I’ve been upgraded from “Swimming for Potential Drowning Victims” to “Guppies 101.”  As my reward, I got to swim with dolphins in Thailand.

Swimming with Pink Dolphin in Thailand Read the rest of this entry

It’s BROKEN!

I can’t believe this! I stubbed my toe (HARD) on a little desk at school last night before my late class. I was wearing toe socks (for the babies) and caught the desk leg in-between my toes. It quickly swelled up and turned purple. I knew I had to get it checked, but I still felt bad going to ER with the possibility that it was just painful but not fractured. Everyone at ER kept saying “not to worry, it’s not broken,” so they kept me waiting for hours (four to be precise). When the x- ray tech came back he asked me if I thought about investing in steel- toed shoes for work. Clear as day I had a full break with a nice diagonal and a big gap between the bones of my toe. If you, like the doctor, are wondering, which toe, just look. I’ve gotten a ‘lot of “Which – OH!, that one!” The doctor did that, too.  They can’t do anything more for me than pain killers and a soft cast, which I think sucks, but the doctor said I should be happy, it’ll heal straight this way. All I know is it hurts!

Broken Toe in Soft Cast with Pedicure

Still jealous of my fancy pedicure?

Broken Toe in Soft Cast, Broken 4th Toe

The line is where the break is and its direction.

I’ve never broken anything before. This sucks!

Theatre Presentation Pictures

Japanese School Bus

In Japan, several of the private pre-schools have very special busses. One of my favorites is this dog bus. It goes by my school daily. I want to know if it barks for a horn. There is an old fashioned train bus near the base and it toots for it’s horn. I can never get a great shot of it though.

dog school bus

school bus in japan

Stuff in the Mail

A few people have asked me about the kinds of things that we can’t get here that can be sent in  the mail. A lot of it I’ve adjusted to living without, even  though I miss it. I’ll keep adding to this list when I think of stuff.

Post cards, American stickers (I use them at school), Beef Jerky, Fruit Leather, See’s Candy,  Idahon instant mashed potatoes, kitten food pouches (they’re almost $3 a pouch off base and my  kitten won’t eat the canned stuff, she likes cuts), Blistec or Carmex or Burt’s Bees chapstick (I’m still addicted to chapstick), honey candles or any votives not made in China (I’m still anti-lead in my wick and  everything here comes out of China), tiny hair rubber bands, …

The other question I’m still getting a lot is what do I miss most? Well, food is a big one for me. I  like Japanese food. I liked going to Japanese food once or twice a month back in CA. The Sushi Marina in Ventura is the best! And very authentic. But now I’m faced with Japanese food  everyday for lunch and dinner. I eat with my students, and I have to be careful that they don’t
learn that I live on the base. It’s in my school contract. So I suck it up and have been learning to  make my own “obentou,” or lunchbox. I miss Fast Food and hamburgers. I miss In ‘N Out. I miss going to Black Angus and getting that big slice of chocolate cake. The idea of desert in  Japan is fruit, or sweet potatoes, or red beans in rice flour balls. No wheat flour, no processed sugar, and very little chocolate. That means no cake, no cookies, no sweet stuff. When I am  given a sweet potato ball, the moms always ask me if it’s too sweet. Are they kidding? I made  cupcakes for everyone to show them American sweets. Two of my students didn’t like them and  wouldn’t eat them. I was shocked! I also miss music. If anyone wants to burn a CD with new music, I’d be grateful.
So that’s it for now. I’ve been taking my camera out in town with me more, so

I’ll have new  photo blogs up soon.

My School’s Website

I have spent a long time trying to hunt down this “great website” that my school has. And here it  is:

http://www.sands-kinder.com

In Japanese, it’s: http://www.sands-edu.com

There is another web server we use that hosts our e-mall, and so far all I’ve found there Is  this “Goodbye Mr. Mike” page. At least I’m in it, right?

http://www.imageup.ne.jp/SS

Our school was also on the Japanese news not too long ago. I missed it because I don’t have a  TV, but I was told that the only video clip they used (after spending an hour at the school) was a  video clip of me. 🙂 Kinda cool. Still trying to find that, too. I just thought I’d share what I  found so far. Check back later for the real link – I swear I’m going to find it!

Fashion Plus – In Japan

I was really surprised by the number of people who e-mailed me back with questions about the Japanese fashion stuff, so … I’ve decided to do another Culture Twist update on the fashion here. Keep in mind, these are my viewpoints, and nothing more, but I have been here a full year now with no car, so walking and taking the train everywhere I see things.

Fashion Lingere in JapanThe Japanese fashion is famous for it’s unique “grammar” or “language” (yes, I stole that from Gwen Stefani, I know, but she is popular here.) What’s the real difference? They aren’t afraid of color and they love to layer. On top of that, their idea of sexy is different than ours because the Japanese chick has a different body shape than we American chicks. Different? What? Yes! You know what I looked like before I came here. I’ve lost a pant size (almost 2) since coming here (because they don’t understand this concept we have called sugar! – and I walk everywhere) and despite my slimmer figure, I wear an EXTRA LARGE! Yes, you heard me right. Of course, I’m too tall for their pants, but in everything else it’s so sad so feel so big. I can’t shop in many of the trend fashion shops because they simply don’t cater to “big girls” like me. (Don’t worry, when I get back to the base and I see some of these other Navy wives I remember that I’m not fat.) I’m so big because I have hips and a butt. In Japan, having a straight figure is considered beautiful. Think about kimonos – they cover up any chance of waist-to-hip ratio and even go so far as to use a think plastic piece around their waste to ensure this.

Read the rest of this entry

Kitten Update (aka more pics!!)

KITTEN!

After fostering many baby kitties, I’ve finally found the one I’m going to keep. Her current name
is Sprite, but I think I may name her Bina, as in Columbina from Commedia dell’Arte. Her face
looks like a Venetian mask with the diamond patterns. She also reminds me of Rose from “A Rose
for Pinkerton.” She’s got the green eyes and big ears, but Rose was all orange. She’s a tri-color
kitty, or “Mikeneko” in Japanese. I have thought of naming her Mike as well. She doesn’t hold
still yet as she’s about 4 months old, but here are a couple pies for now.

Japanese Cat

Japanese Tri Color Cat

Japanese Tri Color Cat

My Yukata (The Kimono Looking Thing)

As you’ve probably seen from my profile, I have a new Yukata. It looks like a kimono, but really isn’t. Kimonos are silk and carry high price tags. I will get one someday, but I need to come down from the $4,000 tag
before I can decide on one. What I’m wearing in my pictures is made of cotton, with a quick-bow obi (the pink belt). The sleeves on all Yukatas are short because they’re meant to be worn during the summer when it’s baking outside. Traditionally, young gals wear these while out with their boyfriend watching the fireworks (which are somewhere every weekend in Japan in the summer). On a normal kimono, short sleeves are only for married women.

Purple Cotton Kimono, Purple Yukata

The earrings and hair goodies are also cotton and made from Yukata fabric. I think they’re very cute. I also have all the undergarments on, which include about 3 ties hidden under the obi. I decided to get the whole set-up. The sandals are just plastic and cheap, but they were thrown in with the deal I got for buying everything at once. They’re a bit small (I hate all Japanese women for their small shoe sizes) but I can at least pose for pictures in them. I’ll find something wooden next summer that I can wear and actually
walk around in.

Japanese Yukata on American

So anyway, that’s the Yukata in a nut shell. I know a lot of you like these cultural updates, so I thought I’d share.

I know I haven’t done a phrase-of-the-day in a while, either, so here are a few key words you may hear me say when I’m back home again …

“so” … yes, it is.

“so so so” … yes, yes, I agree.

“neh?” … really? or huh?

and a fun one to say …

“doko” … where? This is one I use a lot sliced into my English just because it’s fun. Especially when I’m looking for me keys.

TTFN!