Sunday, January 31, 2010

Adele's First Night Out

Last night was my first official outing in Shizuoka. Several of the student's mothers invited myself and two of my colleagues out for dinner and drinking. Drinking being the operative reason. Yes, these Japanese mums can hold their alcohol. The speed in which they were putting away the drinks put me to shame (and I captained the St. Marks College winning skolling teams (1999-2003).

I had a great time and met some lovely people, both parents and other Shizuokan locals.
One of my co-workers handed this can to be on the bus. I love that it's called Cocktail Partner and tastes nothing like oranges. It's sweet, fizzy and was ultimately tarnished by the residue toothpaste in my mouth. Regardless, it was a help :)
The street in which the restaurant was on in Shizuoka. There are so many trees covered in lovely lights. Of course I had to be the embarrassing tourist and whip my camera out. This was taken at 5pm, it's getting dark pretty early.
I don't know what this was but it was tasty. It was the first dish of the banquet at Asian King and then heaps more came. Needless to say I got distracted by the yummy food and neglected my camera.
Check the beehive! I think it's more fabulous close up and I got her to promise to do it to my hair.
I have been mocking my students for their automatic peace fingers every time a camera surfaces. It only took me less than three weeks to break.
Later that night at the pub, Our Boozer (yes that's it's real name). I shared a bottle of Cafe de Paris (a sparkling, sickeningly sweet white) with a fellow teacher. It was 3500 yen ($35) which is ridiculous as it was probably only worth 1500 yen ($15) if that. It went down a treat though.

At the end of the night, another teacher and I found ourselves at one of the mum's houses eating marinated carrot/squid and another octopus dish. We meet the whole family including the masseuse Grandmother, drank sake (not a fan) and talked about how European cheese was better than Asian cheese. Mind you, this was at 2am!

The funniest part of the night...I have used chopsticks a grand total of three times before coming here. I was in this family's lovely house using chopsticks, fairly well considering, and the Japanese speaking grandmother shuffled off and came back silently placing a fork next to my dish. I swallowed down the giggles.

The people here are so delightful. So lovely. I am very fortunate.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Vlog: Foreign Foods Episode 1

Foreign Foods - Episode 1 from Persnickety on Vimeo.

Note that I am fully fledged sick and thus puffy and paler than normal. I also apologise for the volume of the surprised me as much as it surprised you. Mind you that second bite was a vegetable of much liquid so normally I am not that loud when eating.
Yakitori -
... grilled chicken, is a Japanese type of skewered chicken.
It is made from several bite-sized pieces of chicken meat, or chicken offal, skewered on a bamboo skewer and barbecued, usually over charcoal. One of the most popular kind which is prepared with chicken thighs and leek.

Gyoza -
...typically consist of a ground meat and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by pressing the edges together or by crimping.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Can't Believe I Wore One!

Guess who needed to wear one of these to protect the little ones?

It's horrific. Not only is your speech muffled, your ears achy and you're facing getting a rush of heated breath but it's not attractive either!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Playground

Simple pleasures.
Future engineers clearing roadways.
The sandpit...or tarpit...maybe gravelpit?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tell Me This Wouldn't Have Freaked You Out...

As a teacher this is one of the things you never want to see on the floor of your classroom.

When Chocolate Gets Down

Get your crunk on!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Writing Spot...

Some of you know that I have begun working on something that I am really excited about (see gushy vlog). This is where I have been writing when it's not abominally cold.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Beautiful Lunches continued....

This is torturous. Having children eat this in front of me is a new form of torture. That and they laugh (not kidding) at what I bring in for lunch. Four year olds mock my lunch!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I've met someone...

Look...I didn't think it would happen but I've met someone.

He's perfect for me. He makes me look petite. He lets me dominate the conversation as he's the strong, silent type. He's bright and bubbly. Kids love him. He's just perfection really.

Here's me and my new man.
A bright yellow Rhinoceros play statue...I call him Boris.

Boris the Rhinoceros.

On a slightly more serous note, I've conquered a fear. Some of you have called me courageous for moving to a country where I don't know the language, working at a school I was unfamiliar with when I had never travelled before. This is patently untrue.

Courage is picking up a frog.

Courage is taking a photo with said frog.

The only thing worse than a frog would be a) a rat or b) a snake.

Kermit is pretty cute though.

Have a good day.

Notice the smile isn't entirely genuine...and also not a great angle :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Point 1: I don't have clown feet, they just look that way in these awesome slippers.

Point 2: Staff and students at my school remove their shoes and don slippers or other soft shoes inside. I have size 8 feet (small for my height) and they still look giant compared to this four year old's little footsies!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Surprising Activity

Early in the year I was sent Surprise! (Karen Andrews / Kim Fleming - Miscellaneous Press) to review and I thought it was a great book to inspire children to do something nice for another person. Intrinsic rewards and all that jazz!

Today I read that book to my class of Japanese kids and you can see what they drew and how they responded to the book. The class has 15 students (three and four years old) with very little grasp English, there was a big focus on the pictures and what was happening for them. I had some visiting kids from the older classes as well.
They all wouldn't have been able to put their pictures in the back of my book so I made a Surprise Envelope.
Hard at work.
One of the younger student's work.
A starry concept.
Looking back over the story.
A Japanese spin (and no I have no idea what those characters mean).
Putting their surprises into the envelope.
A great self-portrait. Isn't it fantastic!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Whoa Lunches...What My Non-Existent Children Will Never Get For School Lunches!

So it turns out that lunch doesn't get delivered to my students every day. Some days, parents make their kids lunches in the cute little bento boxes.

Except nothing about them looks homemade. Apparently the parents at my school are very's the only thing that makes what these lunches (FOR KIDS) look like make any sense!
That's a soccer ball sushi. Inside that rice and seaweed is a ball of tuna.
Um....why can't I have a lunch that looks like this? Ahh yeah right, I am lazy.
My vegemite sandwich (and apple) memories so don't measure up!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

How to mangle an English phrase...

Above is another view of the town in which I am living, Kita. It's part of the Shizuoka province (gosh I hope I got that right).
This notebook was a must buy simply due to the lovely phrases on it. Phrases I have yet to hear in Australia. Maybe 'Life is Cute Style' is a New South Wales expression?

Some other unique phrases you might not be able to read...
  • ...many dreams that we cannot talk about them all.
  • Just moment.
  • The dream has grown up a size larger than before.
  • I hope a big dream.
  • A pleasant story.
  • It's our hope.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Hunting in Shizuoka

Day 5 - Book Hunting in Shizuoka from Persnickety on Vimeo.

English books shelf at bookstore - everything together but you might spot some Cabot and Rowling. There are two more columns but you get the picture.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Lady Bits Shower

Needless to say the shower isn't the selling point of my new dwelling...but moving on. As you can see the mirror is curiously placed. While it's perfect should you choose to stare at your reflection while showering in a sitting position, it's not much more useful that that. Although should my lady bits want to stare at themselves, they can.
And no, none of those products are my attempts at buying shampoo and conditioner. (Although I did bugger that up by buying the same product in different packaging types sigh - I am working the greasy look with aplomb.) The teacher who's going home temporarily is coming back and I am nicely NOT using her stuff :) The shower is cleaner that it seemed to come up in the photo and the adjustable arm has been great as I am tall and the shower head socket thingy isn't. I out-measure it by at least 10 cms.

How was your day?

(Cheetos packets consumed....5)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My school

I won't lie. I am utterly and completely exhausted. I've also seemed to have caught a cold at some point. The weekend is looking very nice. Perhaps one where I spend a lot of time in my futon bed. Japan will have to wait as Adele's back is screwed (thanks to planes and cold weather).

Additional note...I wimped out and bought gloves. It was too cold and I like to feel that my hands are attached to my body.

I made my first meal in the kitchen here. Burnt myself. The very exciting eggs on bread (there's no grill or toaster). It was okay but still not sure they were chicken eggs, the yolks were full on orange. The Cheetos fixation is well and truly hitting me hard, my mother (a diehard Twisties fanatic) would be in love.

Toilet is finally fixed and I no longer have to hold until I get to school. It was nice to be able to pee in the comfort of my own place...don't ask me how I managed, I still don't know.

Now onto my school...

The view from my classroom. Big lush, green mountains that rise out of nowhere. You can also see the school's playground to the right. Unfortunately you can't see the snow crystals falling but that's what captured this little piggytailed lovely's interest.
The school. It has three classrooms catering to four year olds to six year olds. Each class has roughly fifteen students. At night and after school, language classes take place on premise - three nights of which I teach English to other kids.
Just to the left of the picture above. These are the lovely mountains I was telling you about.


It's too hard to explain. Lunches are provided to the kids through an outside provider...insanely good, sweet smelling lovely lunches. The kids have these little cutlery sets (fork, spoon and chopsticks) as well as a place mat, cup and thermos. It's insane, I didn't even eat this well at boarding school. And no, we don't get to partake.

Here's a glimpse...


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 2: Vlog and Gallery

This is upon arrival in Shizuoka by train. The quietest, cleanest train ever. Also the crappiest day compared to the 42 degree (108 F) I left in Adelaide.
The view of my street as I walked home from the supermarket a nervous wreck brandishing only Pringles and what I thought were rolls...they weren't. This was at 5.20pm. Luckily my second expedition to the supermarket went better as described in the vlog. I now have more healthy fare + Cheetos! (Also ...Mum its perfectly safe and I felt very's 200m max!*)
The lighted up, LSD trip isn't a casino. It's the chemist that doesn't seem to fit in the sleepy town atmosphere of Shizuoka. I talk about it in the vlog. It's name? Wunderland.
The view from my poor-excuse-for-a-driveway. Awesomely makes up for the horrid exterior of my abode. This was at 8.50am this morning. How's that for a wake up call? The mountains here are breathtaking and they surround our jam packed hamlet.
Hungry? Thirsty? Need of a ciggie? Have no fear, just head to your nearest intersection. And this wasn't a main intersection either.
The Boss lead us down the wrong platform for our train from Tokyo to Shizuoka, can you blame her?

Apologies for the double chin but the laptop was on my lap hence the flattering low angle view!

Day 2 from Persnickety on Vimeo.

*Mum I will be shocked if you read this. Comment if you have!