Saturday, July 31, 2010

Otaru!

Today, I went to Otaru with one of my JTEs. Some of you will know it for its music boxes! This photo was taken at a music box shop!

BTW, on July 31 last year, I left home for Nashville!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Another of my favorite things

I love the sight of a train pulling into the station to take me on adventure! I'm actually on that train now!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dreary and cheery

Just in case you hadn't already noticed this, I love to see things that are both ugly and pretty. This summer, that has worked out well for me here.

Last weekend, we had beautiful weather. By beautiful, I really mean UTTERLY FANTASTIC! Other than that, though, things have been pretty dreary and bleak. The skies have been gray, and everything has just been damp. It hasn't been particularly hot, just blecky. So, I have been completely grateful to the good citizens of Wakkanai who have planted flowers everywhere and painted their houses happy colors. The bright spots of tiny gardens everywhere - intentional or not - and happy houses have really helped to keep everything from turning into a big mass of gray.

It has been interesting to see those juxtapositions of dreary and cheery all over town. Although, sun, wherever you are, I would be more than happy to not enjoy the juxtaposition for a little while should you feel like appearing!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fail...pass...fail

Sometimes, in learning and using a new language, the line between pass and fail is quite blurred. For example, today was filled with language failures. I couldn't properly pronounce the words I was trying to use when I called for package delivery and I had a hard time understanding what the man was saying back. Then, I went to get some dinner and tell someone something. I couldn't put together a sensible sentence.

...On the other hand, I made a phone call in Japanese this evening
and went out, ordered dinner, and delivered the message I intended to deliver!
As you can see, it's a pretty blurry line.

This photo was specially included to show that my nails have reverted to their proper teacher state. Although, technically, it IS 夏休み now.... (summer vacation).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gold! Or maybe just a zucchini...

Hello, zucchini! I've missed you! I can't tell you how exciting it was to find you in the supermarket today!

...by the way, you were delicious in my fritatta!

The nuggets of good advice

As everyone knows, living in another country requires not only a whole new vocabulary, but a whole new set of cultural rules. Before I came to Japan (and even when I got here), I heard a lot of things about Japan's cultural rules. Some advice was good, and some turned out to be just plain wrong.

One place in the home that doesn't really have an exact equivalent back home is the genkan. Basically, the genkan is an entrance room. The genkan is where you leave your shoes before you step up into the house. It's pretty handy, because it usually has a concrete floor. My apartment has some nice shoe storage as well as places to hang coats and various other winter items. My toilet is also out there in its own tiny room.

Before I came to Japan, I heard that the genkan area was considered by some to be a public space and salespeople might just walk in to that area if the door was unlocked. It took almost a year, but today I discovered that advice was correct when a stranger opened my door and started talking! Thankfully, I remembered the Japanese phrase for just a minute, and he went away.

Even though I had heard that advice last year, I was still really surprised when it happened! Normally, I leave my door locked, but apparently I just forgot when I came home this evening>

Monday, July 26, 2010

Yes. It is true. My friend and I joined the hatted minions and took a tour bus. To commemorate the occasion, I even purchased a hat to blend right in. Somehow, my hat made me look more like a goofy explorer in the Outback, but oh well.

The bus was really a nice way to see a lot of the island in a short amount of time. we had a lot of fun and saw some bee-yoo-ti-ful sights!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dinner for two

I have a friend visiting for the weekend, and we cooked dinner this evening. It's fun to share dinner with friends!