Showing posts from October, 2009

Kindergarten Halloween


Well I don`t look anywhere as cute as Suzanne did wearing the costume (and my wig was doing strange things all day), but it was very fun.. and look at my cute students...

2 Spidermans (spidermen?)
a princess
a Cinderella
a Snow White
a Batman...

so adorable ♥

(I am a little paranoid cos I had to sign a document at work saying that I would never post pics of the students on blogs or facebook or anything like that. I am 100% positive that no one from my work even knows I blog, let alone reads this one... but better safe than fired I suppose... hence the white faces. Sorry.)

I wanna kiss


This is the translated name of a VERY famous japanese song called Kiss Shite Hoshii (キスしてほしい),. This song was written by a japanese group called the Blue Hearts way back when I was just 6 years old (in 1987).

Anytime I go to karaoke (which admitedly is not very often these days) my bf`s older brother and his friends ALWAYS sing this song. It is a good choice for a karaoke song in my opinion (being of the vocally-challenged and tone-deaf type myself) because you can shout and sing along quite easily ... especially after a few drinks.


Even the TV commercial for one of the most famous karaoke chains in Japan (Big Echo) agrees.

The reason

My bf is just like every other 30 year old boy I suppose. And he is Japanese, so all factors included, he is not really a sensitive, romantic guy.

... but ...

a few days ago he said the nicest, sweetest thing. We were listening to his ipod and when this song (The Reason - Hoobastank) came on, he said the lyrics were just the way that he felt about me.

So sweet ♥

Show and Tell - in a Japanese kindergarten

Last Friday (as we do every Friday) we had show and tell at school. There are 9 kids in my class, all aged 4 or 5 years old.Here is some of the cool stuff that they brought to school.

1 A very heavy hard-covered book about insects (all written in Japanese).

2 Tomica Hyper Rescue Hyper Blue Police Sonic Runner - トミカ ハイパーレスキュー ハイパーブルーポリス ソニックランナー (complete with flashing lights and sirens).3 A toy doctor's bag made by Klein toys.

4 A kids magazine called Machigai Sagashi Family - full of games like 'spot the difference'.

5 A kind of pink electronic flute with flashing lights (it kind of looked like a girly light saber) which is featured on the anime-of-the-moment for young Japanese girls - Fresh Pretty Cure (フレッシュプリキュア).

6 A blank journal with lots of stickers and coloring pages featuring the characters from Fresh Pretty Cure.

7A huge praying mantis (かまきり) and her egg sac in a clear plastic cage - kind of disgusting, but at least it was real, and meant that this student left his ho…

10 things that make me smile Sunday

* Japanese cold medicine (some people say it doesn`t work as well as the stuff back home, but it certainly made me feel better)
* long newsy emails from home
* lying in bed all day yesterday and not feeling guilty about my messy apartment
* Kanata`s (one of Yoshi`s nephews) birthday party - he is now 3 years old!
* the ice-cream cake at Kanata`s birthday party (see above picture)
* playing with the totally awesome Tomica Circuit that Kanata got for his birthday...

* planning the big Halloween party at the kindergarten next Friday
* America`s Next Top Model - so bad but so good
* a huuuuge bag of みかん (mandarin oranges) from the supermarket for only 298yen - hands down the cheapest fruit in Japan
* blogging from bed - why have I only just discovered this?


I ate yummy Korean food with Yoshi last night at a restaurant named Kan no Oshiri.

`Kan` comes from Kankoku which means Korea.`Oshiri` means bottom/butt!I think the name comes from the original restaurant being located near the bottom of South Korea. It is such a cute name.

The food was delicious and reasonably priced. Their specialty is the Korean style nabe (hot pot) - really good! My favorite things were the Korean nori (dried seaweed) and mochi. So yummy.

My mini shopping spree

The thing is, that I have been trying to save 100,000yen every month since June this year (because I want to study Japanese full-time next year), so I haven`t done any shopping at all. It was a bit depressing not having any money every month ... so today I decided to let myself have a little treat.

I am just so smiley and genki after my little shopping spree today that I want to show you all what I bought.

A camomile candle from LOFT. Only 189yen!

3 mini eyeliners made by `mini Bourjois`. I have no confidence when it comes to buying (or wearing) makeup, so these little ones are good trial sizes!! Only 450yen each.

Body Shop Vitamin E facial mist. The weather is getting dryer here (compared to summer), so it is nice to have something to spritz on my face every now and then ( 1,680yen).

Cute short Zara skirt. It is black and white and has a weird floral/fan/dancing skeleton pattern. Thought it looked very Japanesey and it fits perfectly! (3,690yen)

Hairspray (with a free mini hairspray) - 328…

10 things that make me smile Monday

So this weekend I worked Saturday and had Monday off instead, so `things that make me smile Sunday` has been temporarily replaced by `things that make me smile Monday`

* the fact that it is now past the middle of October and the outside temperature is still close to 25degrees!
* cute headbands from MixBaby
* haramaki (I bought myself one and adore it already)
* having a Monday off
* being able to go shopping and not battle with the million other weekend shoppers (because it is Monday)
* the fact that I`m going home (for a 2-week holiday) in less than 2 months!
* Beyonce
* Beyonce`s hot male backup dancers ;)
* Japanese persimmon - kaki (柿). Never liked them before I came to Japan, and love them now...
* buying a skirt and a cardigan and leggings and spending less than 10,000yen (gotta love Zara)

たまいれ (Tamaire)

So I found out some more information about the ball-throwing game that I saw at Sports Day. It is called tamaire = たまいれ = 玉入れ.

According to the AJTA (All Japan Tamaire Association)
“Tamaire” is a game traditionally played by elementary school children at sport festivals. It takes about 200 stuffed balls, 2 baskets and 2 poles to hold the baskets. Any number of children can participate. The winner is determined by seeing how many balls can be thrown into each basket within a certain time. Traditionally there are two teams; one is the Red-team and the other is the White-team. Each team has about 100-stuffed balls colored Red or White. The balls are placed on the ground first and the children pick them up and throw them into the basket, which is on a pole about 1.5 meters or 2 meters high.
Here is a funny video (I found on youtube) of some adults playing the game. Obviously the basket is positioned much higher for adults than for kids.

Cute headbands

I love headbands, but sometimes wearing a headband all day gives me suuuuuch a head-ache. Apparently, there are other people who feel the same way, like Terri from `MixBaby` who decided to design, make and sell her own headbands after getting head-aches from other kinds.

I found her website and ordered 2 headbands. They took about 10 days to be made, and sent and delivered to Japan (from the US), and since they arrived about 1 week ago, I have already worn each one twice. I LOVE THEM!

If you want to check out her website, it is here


and here are some pictures of her wearing her cute headbands.

If you order from her, she will give you instructions how to wear your hair like hers too. So cute ♥.

My first Japanese Undo Kai (Sports Day)

Today it rained... but it didn`t ruin sports day completely.

I had to wake up at 6am this morning to go in to work early and help everyone set up for sports day. This included stapling paper flags to pieces of rope, packing up pom-poms and relay batons and then taking everything to a nearby high-school (which has a big sports field).

Sports day in Japan is pretty intense. We started everything off at 10am on the dot with speeches from the owner of the school, the manager and the 2 head teachers. All the kids lined up and marched onto the field.

All the kids then proceeded to do their Radio Taiso performance (that we have been practicing every morning for the last month or so) in wonderful unison, and then the elementary students did a kind of line-dance, while the kindergarteners shook their pom-poms to the beat.

All the kids marched off the field and then made smaller groups to take part in 4 different activities spread around the field. The activity that I was responsible for was a kind…

Hiraoka Matsuri 枚岡 祭り

Last night I went to the Hiraoka Matsuri! It was so huge, there were so many people (and lots of Mikoshis too), and I was nearly flattened a few times.

Hiraoka is the next station away from Yoshi`s family home. He told me about the festival and we decided to go with his sister and 2 nieces after I finished work yesterday. Yoshi`s brother-in-law was helping to carry one of the Mikoshis, so we thought that we might be able to lend some support.

The 2-day festival was packed and there were families, couples, kids and loooots of sweaty, rowdy, drunken young men (all there to help carry the Mikoshis - I think there were 23 of them - and pick up girls!!

Check out some of the pictures I took...

This is one of the many stalls selling food. This one sold Tamago Senbei (fried eggs on a huge shrimp cracker);

And here is Yoshi about to eat his Tamago Senbei;

Here are Yoshi`s super cute nieces playing a kind of super-ball scooping game...

And here are some of the 23(?) Mikoshi;

I am sure that there are so…

I ♥ Beyonce

BEYONCE @ Osaka Jo Hall October 13th 2009

So last night I went to see Beyonce live at Osaka Jo Hall. I went with 2 of my ex-colleagues (Ami and Mamie) and Mamie`s sister. We had awesome seats, in the stands, but really close to the stage. I have been to one of Beyonce`s concerts before (about 2 years ago) and I can really say that she is only getting better as a singer and a performer. She totally rocked the whole concert!

It started at around 7:20pm and ended just after 9pm. She sang some of her new songs from the `I am... Sasha fierce) album, some of her older songs (from `B-day` and `Dangerously in Love`) and even some songs from her movies (Dreamgirls and Cadillac Records). Surprisingly, she also sang a couple of Destiny`s Child songs too!

She has an all-female band, and some very sexy dancers (both male and female). One of her dancers had their birthday yesterday, and Beyonce serenaded her at the end of the show. So sweet.

Some of the lucky VIP seat holders (who paid 20,000yen for th…

Haramaki = warm and happy tummies

Originally worn only by Samurai and old people, Haramakis are making a GLOBAL comeback!

Hara means middle, and is also used (mostly by men) to mean stomach here in Osaka (as in `hara hetta` = I am hungry).Maki means wrapped up/rolled up (as in `maki sushi` - rolled up sushi).

People wear haramakis to keep their tummies warm, and to improve digestion and circulation.

Some haramakis are just bands worn around the waist, and others are connected to underwear.

I have noticed in the socks/tights/accessories stores that the haramakis are becoming cuter and cuter, adorned with flowers, bright colors, patterns and even characters like Hello Kitty!

Some people outside of Japan are even making and selling haramakis to be worn inside AND outside of clothing!

Check out some of the cute ones that I have seen here in Japan...

I don`t have one yet, but am seriously tempted as my apartment has a wicked draft in the afternoons and evenings... brrrrrrrrr.

10 things that make me smile Sunday

* waking up this morning and knowing that I still have 2 full days of weekend left! (it is a 3-day weekend here in Japan)
* yet another sunny blue-sky day
* being able to clean my apartment today from top to bottom without my kitty cats getting in the way (I left them with Yoshi`s mum last night!)
* new `rain boots`
* being able to diagnose and fix a computer error that threatened to cut me off from the outside world by disconnecting the internet every 2 minutes
* new uniqlo jeans (only 3,000yen)
* double cheese bread from Life supermarket (only 180yen)
* the lively, happy atmosphere of the matsuri in my neighborhood
* the smell of the new トップ laundry detergent and its funny slogan `the fragrance of fruit and flowers gives a better, more enjoyable laundering experience`
* hugs

What is my problem?

So for the last few nights, the locals in my neighborhood have been practicing for the Matsuri (festival) that took place this morning. Each evening at around 10pm they have been parading down the streets banging their taiko (drums) and marching in time to the beat, carrying a big mikoshi (kind of little house on sticks).

I wonder to myself every evening, `What kind of festival is it?`, `Who is involved?`, `What does it all mean?` etc...

This morning, as I was walking home from the supermarket with arms full of groceries, I passed by a group of middle aged men wearing happis (short sleeved Japanese coats and shorts?) and drinking chu-his. One of them shouted `hi` (in English) and said `Matsuri desu yo` (`this is a festival`). I nodded politely and smiled and carried on my way.

As I walked away I started wondering why I hadn`t tried to talk to him. He made the effort to start a conversation with me, a foreigner in his neighborhood, and probably could have answered all the questions I had …

Kitty cat drama

So I came home from work yesterday to find that my cats had managed to rip half of the paper off one of my Japanese screen doors. My landlord warned me that if I decided to keep a pet, I would have to pay for all the damage that they inflicted. Stress.

I felt so angry, but I guess I cannot be truly mad at them... they play and have fun and they are only animals.

And just now when I went into my bedroom to get something, I found them... like this...

... really? who can be annoyed at something so cute?

Typhoon Thursday

So the Typhoon closed my school yesterday and I saw absolutely no reason for it - except for the incredible happiness of all the teachers! The day turned out to be stunning - much better than the weather we had had all week in fact. Blue cloudless sky and a warm breeze...I managed to do so much yesterday.


Woke up at 6am to get the call about the school closure, and then back to bed for an extra 3 hours sleep. Bliss.

Got up, showered and took a walk to the train station.Rode to Shin-Ishikiri station (somewhere deep in Higashi Osaka) and started the walk to Yoshi`s family home. It isn`t the closest station but it is the cheapest way to get there.

Stopped off at UNIQLO and bought some 3D skinny jeans for only 3,000yen!

Stopped off at Yoshi`s sister`s shop and chatted to her, and browsed the cute knick knacks she had for sale. Eyed some very cute `rain boots` (gumboots) but looked away after seeing the price. I am sure that gumboots cost like $10 in New Zealand. Guess they aren`t re…

A surprising day off!

I got a call from my boss this morning at 6:38am to tell me that because of this...

School would be cancelled today!

This is typhoon Melor (the 18th of the season) which has played a large part in bucketing my apartment with torrential rain for the last week or so. Weather experts predicted that it would affect the main island of Japan most strongly on Wednesday night, and Thursday morning - and they were right. Last night at around 10pm, the rain got stronger and crazy whistling winds were all I could hear, as people cowered inside their apartments. Some people in Osaka and Nara (Osaka`s neighbor) were even warned to evacuate!

Check out this awesome picture (from CBC news) which shows the waves caused by Melor hit the coast of the town of Tatsugo in Southern Japan. Melor is the first typhoon to make landfall in Japan in almost 2 years.

Bizarrely, a few hours after the call that school would be cancelled, it has stopped raining and I can hear the birds chirping. I wonder what that means?