Saturday, February 27, 2010

What's in My Handbag?

Simmone Howell, Aussie YA author, posed this question to her blog's readers.
Here's what's in mine....

Weirdly I had no pens. That's something new to me but there was plenty of lint, grit and other unidentifiable dust like substances. ALSO the mobile missed the vlog as I forgot it was charging ...quite typical for me, never have it on my actual persons.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On the weekend...

I went strawberry picking.and got my fortune read at a shrine.
For those interested it health will be okay, I should live south, travel west, give birth easily, marry eventually and have so-so luck. I am tying my fortune onto this rope so that hopefully comes true, instead of the alternative.

And then I saw all this...

I LOVE Japan.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Come here...

I want to give you all a hug for dropping by here, leaving comments and sending me emails. It's much appreciated.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lateral Thinking

This little darling got sick of me repeatedly nagging him to clean up after he cut tasks out. Whereas most kids have scraps left over, he'd always have confetti.

This was his genius (and unprompted) means of tackling this dilemma. I have to give the little man major props.Not often a male impresses me and makes me laugh in one breath.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tour of My Village

Asabata Kita in all its Adele vlogged glory.

Classroom Tour

Most of the people who visit this site know me primarily as a blogger (or obsessive twitterer) but I am also a teacher. The core reason for coming to Japan was to teach.

Currently I am teaching sixteen three and four year old Japanese students. My class is called the Koala Class and they are beyond precious. I thought I'd show you what my classroom looks like (without children).

Classroom Tour from Persnickety on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vacay time...what to do?

I have two sets of holidays thorughout my time here in Japan. A week at the end of March and three weeks in August. In terms of being a teacher, it's not that much annual leave. That being said, I want to make the most of it.

My plan from the beginning was the fly to New York during the longer break. I would see the sites, wander around the MOMA and hopefully met some authors and bloggers that I know quite well. I would still love to but cash wise it seems a little bit of a stretch. Fingers crossed that an exceedingly cheap flight pops up and a clean but affordable hostel is free. Who knows?

I have also flirted with the idea of flying to China or another nearby Asian country and doing a tour. All ideas at this point.

However, it is the March break that is giving me fruit for thought. It will be a solo trip as both colleagues are out of commission so I will be on my lonesome navigating foreign cities and even foreigner transportation. I have decided that Kyoto will be the destination, thinking that a week there might be nice. But I have been assured that a week would be too long and that I could do it well in three days.

Okay then, what to do with the rest of the week?

Osaka isn't that far away from Kyoto and I was planning on visiting it anyway. This just saves me from paying for the Shinkansen (bullet train with expensive fare) an additional time. So I am currently checking out Shinkansen, train (normal) and bus times/fares for my week. It's all coming together quite well.

Kyoto is lots of walking, temples and other cultural marvels. Osaka's considerably more cosmopolitan in terms of tourism. I do want to visit Osaka Castle and the History Museum but Universal Studios (yes I know I am lame) is calling my name. I will be visiting Osaka again later in the year with a colleague who's very culturally tuned so I could reason that a visit to US won't be an option with her so I should go in March. Who knows?

I also yearn to visit Disneyland in Tokyo.

I am currently compiling a list of places I want to visit before my time here is over. I am five weeks in and haven't done that much. Tokyo to a small degree but that's about it.

The Hiroshima trip is three weeks away and is costing me a bundle. The transport alone is well into the hundreds and then there's accommodation, etc. Ugh.

But it's all worth it. I am stretching my wings and becoming a global citizen. I am expanding my outlook and learning to say penis in different languages. How cool am I? :)

Can I Get Fries With That?

Isn't this a sign of the times...and kinda sad? Macca's can be found anywhere...even in a place rich with tradition and well dressed beggar dudes.

*Note the beggar collects for his spiritual house...I think.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


This kind of incline surrounds my village. It's beautiful. All you can see is luscious green mountains covered in green tea rows and orange trees.
I think I want to marry a green tea plantation.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day

A Snapshot of Tokyo

Good food...I ate pork (rarely happens). It was beyond delicious on such a cold day. Bad case of hat hair but at least I could take all the layers off temporary. This was breakfast :)
A little ole Adelaide girl on the Tokyo subway. Insane. Beyond insane and yet I think I kind of understand it now.
We stayed in Asakusa which has a busy tourist area due to the sheer number of temples / shrines. I have many other pics but here's one for you.

The Lion King was fantastic. The costumes, the music, everything. Yes the whole performance was in Japanese but you pretty much knew what was happening if you'd seen the animated movie. Though I haven't seen it since I was a kid.

I also found a bookstore with a good range of English books (in the Foreign Books section). I bought quite a few and they individually wrapped each book in paper cover to protect it...lovely.

I discovered the American franchise, Denny's. We stopped there for desert and I order a chocolate fondant that was moan worthy.
Oh yeah...there was some snow on the way there (three hour bus ride one way).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Won't Be Eating That Again

Above it the counter for Mos Burger (Japanese Burger Place) where the burgers were plentiful in variety. Why did I pick what I did then?
Shrimp burger is obviously an acquired taste like red wine, beer and cigarettes. I don't have the willpower (or tastebuds) to nurse a like for them.

That being said, the onion rings and melon fanta were tremendously good.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nice Wheels...

This could have been a one off at the park ... but it wasn't. There were several Thomas the Tank Engine bike/trolley/thingymegigs. The thing between the handlebars housed little trains that ran around a track as the bike moved. Very cool.

Friday, February 12, 2010

At Least Something on My Body is Model Sized

Size eight-nine feet are considered LL here. I have model sized feet.

Why does that make me feel better about myself :P

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lunch Today

This is rice topped with a meat pattie, covered with an egg. It is then surrounded by curry. It was unbelievably delish!
This is what my colleague ate and it looked freaking delicious...even with the purple shredded radish on the top.

It was so filling on this freaking cold day and only nine bucks a piece!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ShabbyGeek Teases Me With American Food That I Can't Have

Yesterday you were presented with the uncomfortable footage of myself eating peanut butter. Today you get to see the lovely package packer introduce me to more American food that makes me salivate as well as talk about Suzanne Collins.

Enjoy...and now I present ShabbyGeek in all her luminous glory!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

If You Like Pina Coladas

Last night I went to a parent's house for dinner. It was delicious AND we drank a lot. Pina Colada's and Apple Juice Sake (as above) were consumed, I was a newbie to both. It's made by some firm called obviously my colleague and I immediately started calling it 'Perkins'. It comes in a carton and can be bought at supermarkets. It was much tastier than the straight sake I tried last weekend.

Good thing about Japan - alcohol isn't taxed. It's cheap. A bottle of Vodka....1000 yen ($10-$11).

Village People with Rupert Homes (Escape - Pina Colada Song)

I also learned how to say 'oh really?' in Japanese. That's seven words now :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Ceremony) is the day before the beginning of each season in Japan. The name literally means "seasonal division", but usually the term refers to the spring Setsubun celebrated yearly on February 3 as part of the Spring Festival.

The bean throwing (or in this case - peanut throwing) is usually performed by the toshiotoko of the household (i.e., the male who was born on the corresponding animal year on the Chinese zodiac), or me in this situation. I threw peanuts out the door of the classroom and at a co-worker wearing an Oni (demon) mask, while chanting "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" (translates to "Demons out! Luck in!") The peanuts symbolise the driving away of the evil spirits that bring misfortune and bad health with them. Then, as part of bringing luck in, it is customary to eat the peanuts, one for each year of one's life.

And here's how it went down....

Oh my.
Scrabbling for peanuts...literally.
Oh what a haul!
Little Miss S. did rather well for herself, didn't know she had it in her.
A parent gifted me these two origami boxes filled with candied and salted peanuts. She'd made the boxes herself and I was just blown away. How lovely of her. Didn't see this in Australia!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Outdoor Ed.

Once a week my students have music lessons. Half of the class goes inside my boss' house for 45 minutes and I teach the other half this building (if you can call it that). The thing is ... I didn't really know the circumstances of this classroom and so I was unprepared for some of the issues with the lesson I had planned for.
This was right next door.
We made paper flowers which involved colouring in, cutting out, sticking and pipe cleaner manipulation. All relatively challenging when your fine motor skills aren't great but even more so when the wind blows everything away time and time again. Sigh. They looks great though.
And they worked well despite my minor panic attack every time a paper went flying into the next door rice paddy.

How's your classroom equipped?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snuggle Bunnies

It's amazing how quickly I have adapted to teaching youngins again. I haven't taught five year olds (mind you, mine are three and four) since 2004. I am impervious to snot and tears now, I figure that children spilling bodily fluids on you is their way of bonding. Argue if you will, but don't ruin this for me :)

We are allowed to hug the students. When a three year old is crying because they miss their mummy or someone stole their sword made out of blocks then sometimes only a hug does the trick.

I have found myself in this position most days.
You notice I never show pictures of the kid's faces, I am sure you understand. This little one is the baby of the class. He's a snuggle bunny and cuteness incarnate. He also happens to closely resemble the son of one of my lovely Adelaidean friends, if said child was a little older.

That being said, of late the hand has been raised in a stop motion (like a traffic cop) and 'STOP CRYING' said firmly. I have no problem with tears over missing mummy or being sick but if it's a toy, I have no patience.

I am a bitch.