Showing posts from November, 2009

I watched Ramen Girl

My little sister (in NZ) recommended that I watch `The Ramen Girl` (ラーメン・ガール) . It is a movie made in 2008 and stars Brittany Murphy as an American girl living in Tokyo who decides (after being dumped by her American boyfriend) to work in a very japanesey Ramen restaurant.

It is a cute, sweet and easy to watch movie; and as with most movies these days, gets mixed reviews. Basically every review I read mentions that if Abby (Brittany Murphy`s character) didn`t cry so much, the movie would have been loads better.

There are a few moments where people who live or have lived in Japan may have a little giggle (like when the old ladies say that Abby speaks Japanese `fluently/perfectly`, when she says `do itashimashite` = `you are welcome` after they thank her), and other moments that over simplify or stereotype Japan / japanese culture ... but overall, does a better job than `Lost in Translation` - a similar type of movie that got a lot more (undeserved in my opinion) hype!

oooh, and by the way…

10 things that make me smile Sunday

10 things...
* my diamond ring!! (yes, it is still making me smile!)
* the 100yen shop... managed to buy 6 metres of tinsel, 6 kids santa hats, and a classroom clock for less than $15!
* being asked if I had eyelash extensions (and I don`t)
* soy milk shabu shabu
* Thursday date nights
* my cute new tee shirt from forever21
* my cute new shoes from forever21 (much more like charcoal grey in real life)* getting excited about going back to NZ for Xmas (less than a month to go, and I`ll be able to wear forementioned tee shirt and shoes)
* my new Ipod touch applications (brain training and solitaire make for quick train journeys)
* leaving work at 5pm and it being almost dark... in a weird way I kind of like winter (so dark and mysterious)

+ 2 more (cos I am super smiley today)

* watching Japanese dads play catch with their sons outside (a rarity indeed)
* only 2 weeks of work left before the Christmas holidays!! yipppppeeeee :)


So on date night this week we ate soy milk shabu shabu(Tounyu shabu shabu 豆乳 しゃぶしゃぶ) one of my all-time favorite Japanese foods!

Tonkons was one of the first restaurants I found when I was living in Tenroku (Tenjinbashi-suji-6-chome) and fell in love immediately!

They serve a shabu-shabu set which comes with the pork, veges, and an appetiser. When you have finished all the pork and veges, they use the leftover soy milk to make your choice of carbonara or risotto! Sooooo good!

The interior is really cute too...

See all those pig drawings on the wall? Each pig has a different facial expression (angry, sad, confused etc..) and Tonkons claims to use only really happy pigs in their food preparation.

Breakfast on your face!

So I have just tried an egg-white mask on my face, followed by a moisturising egg-yolk mask. My skin is so soft and even glowing a little!!!!

Sounds weird, but I love trying new things on my skin - especially all-natural, cheap face masks!

If you want to try this one, give it a go...(I copied the instructions from ricebunny - a cute beauty blogger)...

1. Take one egg and break it. Separate the egg whites and the egg yolk.

2. Take a fork and beat the egg whites until they become foamy. When you do this, the egg whites become easier to apply .

3. Now evenly apply the egg whites on your face while avoiding the eyearea. Leave the mask on for 15 minutes or whenever you feel the mask isdry. You should feel your skin tightening.

Results?? The egg white mask is known to shrink your pores giving you a temporary skin lift. It also helps to combat oily skin and to help calm acne!

If your skin feels dry, try the egg yolk mask after you finish.

1. Wash off the egg whites with warm water and pat your skin …

Strawberries, sekihan and manjuu oh my!

So yesterday I made apple crumble and took it to Yoshi`s family home to serve for dessert. It was so yummy and tasted great with some french-vanilla icecream!

This morning when I was about to leave his house, his mum gave me a bag with some yummy looking strawberries, some sekihan, and some manjuu.

What is sekihan?

Sekihan (赤飯) is traditional red bean rice. It is sticky rice, steamed with azuki beans which give it its red color.

Red Bean Rice is often served on special occasions throughout the year in Japan, for example, birthdays, weddings and some holidays, such as Shichi-Go-San (a special festival for 7, 5 and 3 year-old children which Yoshi`s youngest niece took part in this weekend!!)

It is believed that Red Bean Rice is used for celebrations because of its red color, symbolic of happiness in Japan.

It can be eaten hot or at room temperature (served in a bento box) and is usually served with gomashio (a mixture of lightly toasted salt and sesame seeds)

And Manjuu?

Manjuu (饅頭) is a veeeer…

Too many apples

After being given a whole bag of apples from Yoshi`s mum last week and having no time off to eat them (and have you seen the size of a Japanese apple?? it would almost be enough to feed a whole family!!), I decided to make a good old-fashioned kiwi (don`t know if the recipe really comes from NZ and don`t care) apple crumble!!!!

It is cooking in my tiny oven as I write this, and smells divine.

p.s. image from - because I haven`t served mine yet ;)

10 things that make me smile Sunday

(image from juicylucydesigns)

* my new diamond ring
* Yoshi (my new fiance)!
* hearing the happy reactions when I told my parents I got engaged
* wintery nights snuggled up in my bed
* the final of ANTM - gotta ♥ Nicole
* skype conference calls with my sis and dad (NZ, Japan and England all talking for FREE)
* getting through a tough week at Kindy
* having a day off tomorrow (another 3-day weekend here in Japan)
* wearing woolly tights - sooooo comfy
* looking back at old photos

He put a ring on it!

I am not so sure that drunken blogging is a very good thing - but as with many things, it may be better than nothing, so here goes;

I am sorry that I have been out of touch all week.

I have had a HELLISH week at work (don`t want to use my blog to complain about my job so will leave it at that).

I haven`t been home for enough hours this week to put a load of laundry on, so I literally have two big piles of clothes and towels on the floor of my LDK (whites and colours of course) ready for me to get organised. And tonight I went out drinking with some lovely people from work to vent about all things kindergarten related - hence the slightly drunken blogger I have become...

... but this is the week - the only week in my whole life - where I got engaged!


Someone in this world loves me enough to want to spend the rest of his life with me... kind of unbelievable when I put it like that.

SO last Wednesday - the 18th of November 2009 was a lucky day on the Japanese calendar --> (大安 = tai…

10 things that make me smile Sunday

* Yoshi and my anniversary last week!
* giving Yoshi a PS3 (because he had been saying he wanted one all month) and seeing his happy face
* the FABULOUS italian dinner we had to celebrate 4 years together
* watching 2 of my cute students playing their violins at the concert this morning
* eating cake at school twice last week - love birthdays (my 5-year-old students, not mine)!
* eating lunch and gossiping like old ladies with my best friend T and my friend Mamie
* people-watching from the balcony of a restaurant right next door to a busy wedding chapel on a sunny Saturday afternoon
* my room steamer
* counting down till I go back home for Christmas (only 30 days to go!!)
* practicing with the other teachers for our crazy Winter Celebration performance at school. This is what we are trying (in vain) to reproduce...

oh my god! All we can do is laugh.

They got Ichihashi

This is definitely the best news I have heard in ages! They got him!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Japanese police have arrested the man they believe murdered British teacher Lindsay Hawker and left her naked body buried in a bathtub filled with sand.
Tatsuya Ichihashi was caught just hours after Linday's mother appealed on television for him to turn himself in.
The arrest comes just days after police released new images of what they believed Ichihashi now looks like after undergoing a raft of cosmetic surgeries while a fugitive.The Foreign Office has confirmed the arrest.
Read more:

RIP Lindsay ♥

10 things that make me smile Sunday

aaaagh cute little sea turtles (image from AP photos)!!

* trains that arrive RIGHT on time, and come every 5 minutes
* being just cold enough to wear my ugg boots
* getting my hair cut and colored and treated - and now it smells sooooo good!
* looking forward to mine and Yoshi`s 4-year anniversary next Thursday
* buying a great anniversary present for Yoshi and wrapping it up
* UNIQLO heat-tech tops (in very cute colors this year)
* having 2 national holidays = days off this month
* hearing that my Mum (in NZ) and Dad (in England) are both happy and well
* deciding to upgrade my cell-phone and perusing the Softbank brochures
* autumn food!


I know that the news about this creep is everywhere, but this is something I feel really strongly about and want everyone to be really careful.

Linsday Ann Hawker (a British girl working as an English teacher) was murdered here in Japan (in March 2007) and her killer is still on the loose. Lots of people are blaming the police, but I am sure that there is more to the story than has been reported, and it has been so long since anyone has seen him, someone (or many someones) must be helping him to evade arrest.

The latest news is that he has visited a plastic surgeon here in Japan and now looks something like the second photo...

I say he looks something like this because the 2nd picture was taken by a plastic surgeon BEFORE his most recent treatment in Nagoya.

Police have revealed that the doctor at the clinic contacted them after performing a procedure on Ichihashi's nose on October 24 and that officers were prepared to swoop when he returned some days later to have the stitches remove…

Dinosaurs in NZ?

My kids at school always get confused when I say I am from New Zealand. `Disneyland??` they scream excitedly... I suppose they do sound a little similar - across a 24 year and 2 language gap.

However I just stumbled across some news on the New Zealand homepage which does make New Zealand sound something like Disneyland - well Jurassic Park at least.

Check this out -->

Dinosaur footprints have been discovered by scientists in Nelson.The 70 million-year-old footprints were the first dinosaur footprints recognised in New Zealand and the first evidence of dinosaurs in the South Island.

* The video is sooo boring I know, but couldn`t find any pics yet... will try to update more later.

Ginkgo Nuts

My sister (in New Zealand) calls them `poo berries` because they smell so bad when they are squashed all over the pavement.

In Japan they are called ginnan 銀杏 (ギンナン), they are an autumnal delicacy and I just adore them...

Last night they were a big part of our yummy dinner at an Izakaya we went to in Umeda. Harvest season is undoubtedly the best time in Japan to eat out. So fresh, so delicious!

Bunka no hi

So tomorrow is Bunka no hi (文化の日 = Culture day),, and maybe more importantly for some, it is yet another day off in the Japanese work year ~!

Until I started working at the kindergarten, all these national holidays just meant more students coming into the Eikaiwa (English conversation school). Now, I get lots of random days off!

Culture day (celebrated on November 3rd every year) is a holiday to promote culture, the arts, and academic endeavor. Apparently, typical festivities include award ceremonies for great artists and scholars, art exhibitions and parades!

Every year on this day the Japanese government gives out Bunka Kunsho (the highest rank of Culture Award) to a few people who devoted their lives to promoting Japanese culture or higher achievements in academic fields. Photos featuring the recipients and their spouses taken in the Imperial Palace grounds will be found on the front pages of Japanese newspapers on this day.

Another interesting fact is that Culture day is a popular da…

10 things that make me smile Sunday

image from Pronounced You

* new babies - and their new baby smell!
* Halloween
* November 1st (and the weather still feels like September)
* 12 days till Yoshi and my 4-year anniversary!
* 14 days till my best friend T`s 29th birthday!
* blueberry muffins
* Japanese nodo-ame (cough lozenges) in every flavor and color known to man - and then some!
* finding my wallet (3 days after I thought I had lost it) in Yoshi`s car
* lying in bed and listening to the rain
* non-verbal communication (have lost my voice and haven`t been able to speak for 3 days... have to get quite creative to explain some of the things I really want to)

Sou くん

Introducing Sou ♥ (the Japanese kanji for his name means `blue`)...

This is Yoshi`s newest nephew. He is now 6 weeks old and the cutest (I may be biased) baby ever. I got lots of cuddles last night and fell in love. Too precious!