The Return of Sakura Homemaker

So, today I was a complete rockstar! It’s my last Monday off before the official beginning of my new contract, and I get Thursdays off, and I took full advantage of the day. I made myself a to-do list seventeen items long, and I did them all! I know, you can be shocked, especially now that you know that pretty much all of them involved cleaning.

I did a thorough scrub-down of the bathroom, toilet, my bedroom, the entryway, and room three. I also did three loads of laundry, ironed some work clothes, studied Japanese, and went for a run. Yes, I have started running, and I tell you what, it’s horrible! But I know that I’ll like it in a week or two, so no worries. But, I digress…

The reason that I was Sakura Homemaker today is because Jess Benner is coming to visit me in two days!!! She’ll be here Wednesday, and will stay for about two weeks. So, I had to make the apartment presentable for her, so that she’ll falsely believe that Jen and I are always super cleanly. But, she’ s a pretty lucky girl because Room 3 is looking so clean and big, and it’s for her particular use while she’s here.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to cleaning the kitchen and the living room, but there’s always tomorrow. And there’s only so much that a girl can do in one day, especially considering that girl needed to take some time to relax on her day off, and cleaning is not considered a relaxing activity.


Adventures at the Grocery Store

Given that Japan is an island, it’s safe to say that they really like seafood here. I’m not sure what kind of fish this is, but I would have to say that of all the fish offered at the store, this is definitely one of the tamer versions. I mean, there’s no head and it’s neatly packaged. It’s almost reminiscent of American meat…almost. For the most part, they just put whole fish on ice with tongs next to the display. I haven’t seen any corresponding bags, so I’m not exactly sure where you’re supposed to put the fish that you wanna buy. My personal favorite are the extremely large jumbo shrimp that Livin has out right next to the yogurt and milk case. If I didn’t know better, I’d say those shrimp were still alive. I’ll try to sneak some pictures of it soon. I felt ultra devious just taking this shot!


Earth Hour

This evening from 8-9, Jen and I participated in Earth Hour by turning our lights off for the whole hour to show our support for the need to take action to stop global warming.

And for us, Earth Hour consisted of lying in our living room with the candles lit and having good discussion about a variety of serious topics. But in actuality, if that’s all you need to do for Earth Hour, we probably have our own Earth Hour nearly every week.

And furthermore, Jen and I are pretty environment savvy over here in Japan. We both work in the evenings, so our lights and other appliances are off for a large chunk of the time that most other people use them. And we’re all about recycling, as are pretty much all Japanese. We sort our garbage really well, and recycle what we’re able to.

So, if you’re reading this in the states, it’s not too late for you to participate in Earth Hour. Just turn your lights off from 8-9 PM on March 29th, and enjoy life in candlelight. Check out for more information and a chance to sign up!

The Color Game

One of my all-time favorite warm up games to play in my FTLs is the color game. Students take turns naming colors. I know that it might sound really lame and easy, but if you play this game with higher level students, it’s absolutely awesome! Because after two rounds, depending on the number of students, you run out of the basic colors like red, yellow, and green, and you have to think creatively. My only rule is that you can’t repeat a color that’s already been said.

I hate to be negative, but Japanese don’t really know how to think outside of the box, so this game can be a little tough at first. But once they open up, they have a lot of fun. My favorite color to date is “ecstasy red.” That one was volunteered by one of my favorite Explorer students at Obata.

So We Come to the End of the Road

Yes, I just had to use a Boys 2 Men song to express my feelings on this subject. The school year is finishing this week, Thursday to be exact. Although, contrary to Boys 2 Men, it’s not unnatural, and neither do I feel that all my students belong to me. And along those lines, that’s a little too possessive in my mind to say that someone belongs to you. Hmm…the quality of love songs…

But that’s all beside the point of this blog. I am now in the final two days of my 2007-08 school year! I know that I should sound so excited to finish, because I really do enjoy all my students and will miss them, but I’m so sick of long commutes and crazy days. I’m just excited to have my own schedule with my own students from day one. So, the past week has been a week of goodbyes, and it has been sad, especially yesterday at Obata. The students and the staff there are just so lovely, that I’m really going to miss them and it was a school that I was really bummed not to go to again next year. But, I’ve definitely been taking photos with students and saying my goodbyes.

Today is my last day at Ichinomiya, but last week was my last kid’s class there!! I know that I sound really excited to be done with that class, and I am really excited, but if you had that class you’d totally understand. They were really sweet and really smart, but not so well-behaved. I kinda felt like a zoo keeper every week in class. So, last week was supposed to be a review lesson of the past three weeks. We basically spent in playing all their favorite games, and the last ten minutes was devoted to an intense game of boys vs. girls dodgeball. It was pretty awesome! I don’t know how the parents or staff watching felt about it, but at least when my kids left they were smiling and thought that English was great!

Reasons to Go to Spain

Now, let me preface by saying that Discoverer’s are my favorite level students. Usually, they’re pretty excited about learning English, but their vocabulary isn’t the greatest and they’re just starting to learn complex structures. Now, maybe that doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, but I’m going to tell you why I love it so much.

Yesterday during FTLs, I had a Discoverer lesson. My students, four men, were talking and using the structure “do you wanna,” ex. ‘Do you wanna go abroad?’ ‘How do you wanna use your English?’ They were doing a fantastic job with the whole “wanna” concept and two of them were talking about traveling abroad. My one student was explaining that he really wanted to go to Spain. When asked why he said that he wanted to see the fighting cows.  I really almost started laughing at that point. But the kicker is that he knew that fighting cows was not correct, and he looked at me for an explanation. When I told him that he wanted to see a bullfight, the three of us really did start laughing at the use of fighting cows. And even though it was extremely hilarious, I had to give the guy major props. He didn’t know the vocab, and instead of just skipping it, he worked out a good alternate explanation. It sounded hysterical, but I knew exactly what he was talking about. He still communicated his point, and he ended up doing it with humor. And the best part was that since he had already said fighting cows, I didn’t have to explain bullfight to his partner! But then his partner was talking about the man who fights the bulls, you know the one with the red carpet…oh well, you can’t win every conversation.

Easter Eggs

Jen and I colored Easter eggs this morning! We had a tye-dye kit, but we couldn’t quite figure out how to work the tye-dye part, so our eggs are just kinda colored more than anything. But we had a grand time coloring eggs in our PJ’s and laughing at each other’s color combinations. FYI, purple and yellow mixed together makes your egg kinda turn brown. Yeah, Jen definitely made a lot of fun of my so-called brown egg, but cut a girl some slack, it was my first egg and I really had faith in the whole tye-dye concept. But it dried nicely and doesn’t look brown now. Feel free to check out the photos.