Twitter

Whether or not to join twitter…thoughts anyone? If you could do a two-week trial membership, I would be all about that.

Camp

Last week I went to camp for the second year in a row. And, though the weather was very overcast and blah, camp was great! We made bread, and a Japanese treat called mochi- sticky rice dough covered in a sweet powder (it is delicious, I promise), kites, smores, had a BBQ, played in the river, drank juice from ginormous leaves, and did all kinds of other fun things.

My group this year was completely awesome!!I think that they were the best group. I had fifteen kids and our group name was Team Green Tea. Haha! Our color was green and when it came time to choosing a name and making our flag, they totally came up with green tea all on their own. I just laughed and high-fived them. My kids were all really sweet and fun. The girls like holding my hands and playing hand clapping games, while the boys enjoyed all the funny faces I made when we ate our meals and giving me high fives as hard as humanly possible. I also had three of my students from last year in my group, so that made me quite happy!

One downside to camp though was the discovery that I am mildly allergic to insect bites of the ant variety. Well, at least we are fairly certain that it was ants that seemily drilled mini holes into our legs, causing us to bleed no small amount, while at the same time numbing the entire area so that there was no warning as to what was happening below our knees until it was too late! While everyone else simply experienced irritation and itching, my bites bruised, formed angry red rings around them, and even my left foot swelled to such disturbing proportions that I very nearly went to the hospital when I got back. But my bites are looking much, much better now, more than a week later, so all is well. Please enjoy the variety of camp photos!

Weather Alert

Apparently, I have discovered that there is actually another season between rainy season and summer in Japan. And its called the totally-fake-you-out-into-thinking-it-was-summer-but-in-reality-its-going-to-monsoon-everyday season. Yeah, I know the name is kind of long, it just doesn’t translate so well. Seriously, we had maybe a week of sunny skies, maybe a week, that’s being generous. And for the past week solid, it has done nothing but rain and be overcast and crappy. And when I say rain, I mean RAIN. None of that light drizzle business, but full-out downpours, often multiple times a day.

On Sunday, my train was delayed a total of three hours because the massive rainfall had flooded the tracks further up in the mountains so that the trains couldn’t run at all. Luckily, I just caught the last hour of it, but a normal 15 minute train ride home took a solid hour. Talk about frustrating. And now the end of July nears and if it keeps raining like this into August, I might seriously pull my hair out. Don’t get me wrong, I like rain, really I do. But when it is not the normal, prescribed weather for the time of the year, it can be extremely frustrating!

It’s Laundry Day!

Out of all the household chores that every adult finds themselves forced to do, laundry is, by far, my least favorite. I know, I know, its so easy. You just put a load in and then you can do other things while your laundry just takes care of itself. But that is exactly why I hate doing it so much! Sometimes I would seriously forget my head if it weren’t attached, so of course there is no way that I am going to remember that I started a load of laundry that will immediately need to be taken out of the washing machine in order that wrinkles don’t set it since practically no one in Japan, Jen and I included, own dryers. And which I personally agree with this sentiment. I mean, it is so not eco-friendly to have a dryer when there are so many available spots to hang dry your laundry around the house. And you never have to worry about shrinking your clothes that way either.

But I rarely ever remember to take my laundry out promptly when the buzzer goes off, half the time I never seem to hear anyway. So, I always end up having to iron a good portion of my clothes, all of my work clothes obviously. Wrinkles are so not business professional. And I really hate ironing. I would vote it as my least favorite chore, if it were not for the fact that forgetting to take the laundry out necessitates the excess of ironing that I find myself  doing on laundry day. Well, the large pile of clothes that always accumulates on my ironing board after laundry day at the very least. I am not nearly as committed to ironing as my grandma. I always just chose to wear something else if the article of clothing that I actually want to wear needs ironing until the lack of any clean, wrinkle-free clothing forces me to spend an hour ironing, which is very close to happening today. Luckily, I am leaving for summer camp tomorrow and might be able to avoid it altogether.

Take today for example. I decided to do two loads of laundry so that all of my clothes would be nice and fresh when I came back from camp. I put in all my work clothes first and then left the bathroom/laundry room, started watching a movie, and proceeded to completely forget that I had started laundry. Well, the movie finished, I went to the bathroom, saw the pile of dirty clothes on the floor, and realized that my load of laundry had finished about forty-five minutes prior. I opened the lid, pulled the clothes out to find them full of wrinkles that I know will not come out once theyre dry. Suck…

But I vow not to forget the load that I have in now. Hence the blog on doing laundry. If I keep thinking about my laundry, the chance of forgetting about it drops significantly. We shall see.

Hold the Elevator!

Recently, I have observed a very strange human custom. I say human custom because people in every culture do this. Well, I can only account for the cultures that I have visited and/or lived in, but I would put a lot of confidence in this being a world-wide custom. Why is it that people very willingly and even aggressively stick body parts into closing elevator doors?

If you can honestly tell me that you’ve never done this, then stop reading this blog right now and never visit again because I think there’s a good possibility that you are a liar and I don’t really want blatantly poor liars reading my blog anyway.

But I know that I am guilty on multiple occasions of sticking, most often, my arm into an elevator door. In my mind I think that I am doing a favor for whatever person needs to get on. The other day I realized just how dangerous it really is to put your hand or foot in the elevator. I know, I know, elevators have these motion sensors in the doors that are made for just these kinds of situations. But seriously, why do we put so much faith in technology? I mean, there’s no guarantee that the motion sensor is actually working. And in the case of Japan, most of the motion sensors are functioning at a 1970’s efficiency level. I have had and have seen more close calls in elevators in Japan than I think should happen.

Even today I saw a woman try to forcibly push open the closing doors on the elevator. Okay I just wanted to yell, ‘You are no match for that door! What are you even doing? There are small children who would be traumatized if you lost your hand!’ But, of course, I refrained because that would be impolite, not to mention the fact that she was Japanese and wouldn’t have understood my panicked English exclamation anyway and probably would’ve thought I was a crazy foreigner in my ensuing attempt to act out what I was yelling. And after the week I’ve had, I have no desire to be thought of as crazy.

Here’s the strange thing in this elevator conundrum. There are these very convenient buttons that you could push that actually send a message to the doors faster than the motion sensors. But no one bothers to push the door open button when they’re flustered. Why is that? It actually seems that it would be closer since you always stand closest to the control panel anyway for convenience sake. It would actually be smart, if not a little strange-looking, to see someone with their finger perpetually hovering over the door open button. I don’t know. Maybe elevator companies should send out a world-wide memo or something to suggest safer alternative methods of re-opening closing elevator doors because it just seems that the threat of limb loss just is not worth catching that elevator.

Where’s my ride?

Pick ups

In between the bike garage and the station is this special area for cars to hang out temporarily. It is custom in Japan for parents or spouses to pick up their kids or spouses from the station. During the day its not so crowded, but you should see it after nine. That place is jam-packed! There’s a waiting line on the street! Seriously, it is insane! People have no idea how to make it home on their own in this country. Some of my friends will call their parents at 11:30 or 12 at night for their parents to pick them up and take them the few kilometers from the station to their house. Jen and I cannot believe that parents in particular would do this for their kids. We both agreed that if we had lived in Kasugai when we were in junior high or high school and lived anywhere within a 20-minute bike ride of our house, our parents would’ve laughed in our faces if we called for a ride home, and rightly so. Kasugai is not dangerous and there’s no need to further co-dependence on ones parents.

Summertime

I hope that in announcing this, I wont be jinxing anything but…summer is officially here.

I woke up this morning to sun, heat, and humidity, and that remained the status quo all day- unlike yesterday, which started out very sunny and hot, but downpoured in typhoon proportions in the late afternoon. So, with the summer comes the end of the rainy season, yay!, but the beginning of the true heat of summer.

Daily Weather Forecast until Mid to Late September

Weather: Sunny

Temperature: 90-105

Humidity: 90-100%

Wind: Not if your life depended on it

Sweat: Heavily and All the Time

Basically, its like living in the South, only without A/C. Wow! I am so excited!! Man, oh man, how long until fall is here?