Monday, February 26, 2007

Cherry Blossoms and Graduation

When I walked into the staffroom at school today, I was a little surprised to see some 10 foot cherry tree cuttings in a bucket.

I found out that using the warmth of the room, the teachers speed up the flowering of the buds. They can then use the spectacular cherry blossom laden branches to decorate the auditorium for the upcoming graduation ceremony.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Love Sushi

I know, it's another food based post. You may have gathered that food is important to me.

If/when we leave Japan, one of the things that I will miss is the availability of good quality, inexpensive sushi. Whether it is a take home pack from the local supermarket (yes, you can buy sushi at the supermarket), sitting down at the local Atom Boy (a sushi train chain) for a quick lunch or for a bit more money, a meal at a good sushi restaurant, sushi is one of my favourite Japanese foods.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Challenging Foods

Most Japanese I know like the fact that I try every food put in front of me, and that I enjoy almost all of them.

The are some Japanese foods that most gaijin agree take some getting used to. These include :

* natto - fermented soyabeans (Mel has forbidden anybody bringing them into the apartment)
* umeboshi - picked Japanese plum
* sliced raw chicken liver served with oil and salt (In Australia we are taught to never eat raw chicken)

Whether you try any of them or not is up to you, but if you visit Japan try to be open minded able your food options.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Getting a haircut

Although I have been to a couple of hairdressers since I arrived, I now go to a barber who is about a ten minute walk from home.

Even though he doesn't speak any English, he understands what I want and he does a great job. The session includes a shampoo and blow-dry and a neck, shoulder and head rub.

A great bonus is that when I leave I am given a takeaway pack of drinks. On my last visit I left with 3 cold sports drinks and on my visit before Xmas I walked away with 2 cold drinks and 2 cans of hot coffee.

It's hard to beat for only 2000yen.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Learning Japanese - On The Go

I have to drive to work and depending on where I'm working I have a minimum 35 minute drive every morning. I try to use the time as effectively as possible by listening to a Japanese language lesson/podcast by JapanesePod 101.

The basic lessons, which are the ones I'm doing at the moment are usually 10 - 15 minutes long, which means I have plenty of time to listen to the lesson and review the material. The lessons are really entertaining while still giving great content.

It's great to get some study in everyday, without feeling like I'm loosing all my free time.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Robots

Yesterday Mel's father and I went to the Robot Museum and store situated in Sakae in Nagoya. The store has a wide variety of robot based merchandise priced from a few dollars and going way up. If you want a present for anybody interested in robot based toys including amime, this is a great option.

Our first stop in the museum was a ride of the Segway, a two wheel self balancing one person transport. Although it takes a little getting used to, it was fun. The rest of the museum has exhibits of the history of robots in the media and in reality. Its surprising how many robot concepts started in film and are now starting to be seen in reality, although I think I would be worried if some of the super robot anime designs started to show up. (^_^)

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Gifu Castle

The weekend before last, Mel and I visited Gifu castle (Gifu-jo), situated high on Mt Kinka in Gifu. Neither of us was feeling like a hike so we caught the ropeway (gondola) to the top.

Originally built about 1200, the 3 level donjon is like many other Japanese castles, a reconstruction. I enjoyed roaming around the castle and the 360 degrees views from the top are great. An added bonus for me is that Gifu-jo, like most castles contain historic displays, which means I spent ages looking at a small but good collection of Japanese arms and armour, which included a good number of tsuba(sword guards) as well as katana(sword), yari(spear) and naginata(polearm).

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

School Lunches

At school, I eat lunch with the students, which is good fun. The fact that I eat the same thing as them means that I have tried a greater variety of Japanese food ( including natto) than I would have otherwise tried.

The food is always good and nutritious, but the food combinations that we sometimes get are not what I am used to. Yesterday is a case in point: a croissant, cocoa covered fried peanuts, cubed sweet potato with a sesame dressing, a soup with spaghetti pasta in it, yoghurt and milk. It was a good lunch, just not a combination I would normally put together.
(^-^) which is a Japanese :-)

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