Sunday, February 26, 2012

life in Japan via iphone photos

from left to right
  • It's the year of the dragon! This was made by students at my smallest JHS.
  • Two weeks ago, one of my students asked me if I have ever visited a pâtissier shop called, "Tanpopo." I said, "no." She was so~ disappointed because her parents runs the shop.  To make her happy, I told her that I would visit the place right after school. She and her friends tried their best to tell me where it's located, but their words were getting nowhere, so they drew me a map. Clever. I met her mother and she was really sweet. I bought a few things and she gave me a freebie.
  • Our annual "Friendship Day" in my town. English teachers from various countries living in the town teach a group of elementary students about their country, play games and cook a specialty meal from one of the countries. The flags shown represent the nationalities that were present. (Canada and New Zealand aren't shown fully.)
  • The specialty meal that was made was German. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of meal, but it was so delicious!!!! We ate it along with French bread. Yummy.
  • The sunset in my lovely town.
  • Yes, my students love me. (That's good to know.) This was written by a 15 yr old boy, by the way. It got a few laughs from the other students in the class. My name in Japanese characters is ダイアナ, but it's spelt out as Daiana. I guess that's why the kid wrote it in Japanese (he wasn't sure how I spell my name.)
  • This a from last weekend in Nichinan.
  • This one as well.
  • The view from the second floor at one of my schools. it seems that winter has disappeared again. It was a warm 19ºC (66ºF) with clear skies.
  • So, I went to Tanpopo for the second time two days ago and the mother was so happy to see me again. This time, I was able to meet her husband. She then gave me this figure, which is geared towards the upcoming Girl's Day holiday. It's so cute!
  • My guys (my 2nd favorite Japanese rock group, B'z) are releasing their first new single of the new year on April 4th. It's called Go For It, Baby! And I love it! It's currently featured in the PEPSI NEX CM (commercial).  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

winter vacation 2011 - amsterdam pt 2

Amsterdam, December 29-30

I spent these days hanging out with Bart (from Poland) and Sayuri (from Japan). We visited the Van Gogh museum, ventured through the Red Light district, sampled vending machine-like things that popped out hot foods and visited the "I amsterdam" hot spot. As we wondering around, we saw a huge outdoor chess board with actual live-sized pieces with two gentlemen playing a round. During the evening hours, we, along with a few other friends, went to a live house that played really great music (soft rock to jazz music). 

I've said this before, but I am absolutely in love with the architecture in this city. Many of these houses are really narrow with tall narrow windows to match. Quite a handful of these buildings, however, are tilting as you can distinctively see in one photo. It was really odd when I first noticed this, but it adds to the quirkiness that is Amsterdam.

Photo of us at the "I amsterdam" sign was taken with Sayuri's cellphone.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

my weekend

Exploring more of Miyazaki's costal line.

This time I continued from Aoshima and travelled about 45 minutes south to Nichinan City.

Just a few pictures I took along the Nichinan coastline. The area is absolutely beautiful!! 

A more detailed entry on places I visited, with even more photos, in a later entry.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, so I made these choco-covered strawberries for my coworkers at one of my smallest schools.  Initially, I wasn't going to make them because strawberries are so expensive this time of year (they're out of season), but I gave in and I bought a pack of 15 and it cost me about $6!!!  Oh well, it was a nice thing to do, so I didn't let the price bother me. 

Needless to say, my coworkers devoured these!! It was definitely a huge it!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

going solo isn't all bad

I traveled to Amsterdam solo last winter, however, I was rarely alone. During the week I spent in Amsterdam, I was solo for only about half a day! This is mainly thanks to the hostel that I stayed at. Being in a hostel is a great way to meet people - many of whom are traveling solo as well. I became fast friends with a Bulgarian girl and befriended many other people from various countries.


My bar hopping buddies in crime: Fred (France), Bart (Poland) and Anzela (Bulgaria).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

life in Japan via iphone photos

from left to right
  • the kanji (Chinese character) that means "smile" is written on a large wooden out at one of my schools. 
  • GLAY - my utmost favorite Japanese band ever. I absolutely love this 2012 daily calender  You know I'm in love with these guys, right? If I ever have the chance to meet them, I would die on the spot!  I recently got elected to purchase concert tickets from their fan club for their performance in Tokyo at the Budokan this April!! I. CANNOT. WAIT.
  • my "piggy bank." I've been saving all of my ¥500 (about $6) coins for more than two years. Saving up for a 30th birthday celebration vacation during the summer.
  • dinner with Japanese friends last Saturday. Pictured is a crab and shrimp stew... and we ate a whole lot of other stuff!
  • badges that my junior high school students made. Wish I had at least 10% of their artistic ability.
  • i don't like to drink alcohol, however, I do love to drink chu-hi, which is a favored Japanese alcoholic drink. I only drink about a can a month though.
  • i love to eat takoyaki! It's pretty much dumplings with a piece of octopus inside it -  Hey! don't knock it until you've tried it! My Japanese friends and I made these and we got pretty experimental. Along with the octopus, we added potato, kimchi, tuna and even pineapple separately into each ball. They were delicious!!! We also played a little game by adding a lot of tabasco sauce into one of the balls, randomized it and then we anxiously ate one-by-one until someone had the misfortune of eating that fireball. heh... at least it wasn't me!
  •  two more Japanese friends and I went to the onsen this past Sunday. I love going to the onsen (hot springs), especially when it's freezing cold like it is now.
  • our lunch that afternoon. This was only the appetizer and it was sooooooo good!!
  • we stopped by Mac Donald's for some coffee. All these American city burgers that are out are so huge!! I would never eat them.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

winter vacay 2011 - amsterdam pt 1

I arrived here on the night of December 26th from my 12 hour flight from Narita Airport in Narita, Japan. Needless to say, I was worn the heck out! To make matters worse, I got lost on my way to the hostel by taking the wrong train to Amsterdam Central. I didn't realize I was going in the opposite direction until I asked a passenger if this train was indeed going to Central. Yeah, this almost always happens to me when I'm in an unfamiliar area. I seriously have no sense of direction, but hey, I like to just write it off as being part of the experience!

When I arrived in city I was surprised to see how filthy it is. I dunno, maybe I've been too used to living in sparkly, clean Japan, but seeing cigarette butts on the ground everywhere wasn't a pleasant sight.  Anyway, as soon as I arrived at my hostel, I went to bed. Yup, straight to bed without eating dinner, I was simply too exhausted! I felt fully refreshed, however, the following day and set out into the city with a Bolivian girl I befriended at the hostel.