Sunday, July 31, 2005

Purikura = print club

It is almost impossible to resist this fun obsession. The word purikua apparently comes from a shortening of print club. Makes sense I guess. Easier than saying "pu ri n to cu ra bu". A few friends an I take any opportunity to pose in funny ways in front of the camera. Afterwards, showing our artistic talent with the stamping wand and writing. As you can see, we often get carried away. Some of the machines even distort body parts. Amazing. Some of the Japanese teenagers take it very seriously and dress up for the occasion. Some of the dress as their favourite anime character or even something such as a nurse or policeman. Never ceases to surprise me. So much fun though! And, they are stickers!

Old Goats

You have to giggle really. This was a sign I spotted on the train home tonight. I think it is explaining the use of the courtesy chairs in the train ie please get up and let the old goats have a seat. I wonder how they depict a heavily pregnant lady?

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Wakarimasuka? What an interesting and useful word. It basically means "do you understand?" I find myself using this words and its many variations everyday.

Back at home, in Australia, we often speak with the kids about how it is important to get your meaning across in writing as well as getting spelling and grammar correct. I try to tell Japanese people the same thing. It is not so important to get the word order or grammar exactly right, way more important to get their meaning across.

I had a wonderful example of this. I had volunteered to help out at a summer school for kids. A few days before the event, I got a text message/email to my phone from the organiser. Her English is pretty basic and her message was too. Mostly I understood her but it still made me laugh. The following is the exact message as she sent it to me...

Dear Ellen ll
ll Hello. It is the tomorrow's summer school
Children of the kindergarten which was to participate get impossible to participate.
The participant finally became ten people.
Do not understand that a name of a participation student is not given on that day, but thank you.
The bamboo grass shallows

Wakarimasen! (I don't understand)

Sunday, July 24, 2005


We often laugh at the use of English within Japan. Sometimes the spelling isn't quite right, sometimes it is the grammar and sometimes both of those are right but the whole meaning is wrong. Like random words strung together in a logical fashion that make no sense what so ever. It really makes me wonder about the use of other languages in Australia. We sometimes use foreign words to look 'cool' or catch your eye. In Japan it is exactly the same. English words sell. They are very popular...

Today in the supermarket I discovered a new brand of soda water. I didn't even realise you could buy soda water in Japan until today. This bottle had wonderful English across the front. Read very carefully...

I will add a few more Engrish examples to get you giggling. There is often confusion about the use of 'r' and 'l'. Both sound the same to the Japanese ear. Yesterday I saw a cute kids t-shirt that said 'let's lelax'. I almost bought it. The following picture was taken in a music store. The CD's were sorted into areas that the bands hale from...

I am still intrigued about the third item on this menu. I wonder what the actual ingredients are...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A First Time Bug Experience

Hmmm, interesting.
I was driving home in the dark tonight and I noticed that the moon was full. Not just full but huge and orange. Stunning actually. I decided to go somewhere high to get a good look. Behind my house is a hill with a small temple on top (Mum and Jodi I took you there - remember?). You have to go up a really narrow road to reach the top. Part of the trip is through a bamboo grove. It is really mystical. So I ventured there tonight.
This is where the interesting experiences began. The bamboo grove at night, with no illumination but my headlights, was spooky. No sooner had I entered the grove than a big spider dropped onto my windscreen. I almost screamed! As I carried on toward the temple, I noticed that I was driving through many spiderwebs. Some drapped across the road and some hanging from the trees. A little creepy!
Suddenly in my high beams, I noticed a cicada emerging from its shell. I often found old shells on gum trees as a kid but I have never seen a fresh cicada. The picture doesn't show the vivid lime green colour (thanks flash!). It was amazing. I jumped out to take a picture and jumped right back into the car even quicker as I thought of the SPIDERS!!!

Do you really want vomit on your head?

I really have stopped being surprised about what the Japanese will put on their clothes. Any English will do. It still makes me laugh though.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Creepy Crawlies - Japanese Style

Okay, so I would have to say that I have grown up catching lizards, frogs and various bugs with my Dad. One would think he kind of wished for a son. During the summer months and over Christmas (summer in Australia), there are plenty of things to catch in a bug catcher, the favourite toy for Santa to leave when I was young. At times we would even catch the deadly redback spider in a jam jar. I remember one time, Dad found a nest and caught several. Over the next few weeks, we watched the female devour each and every male in the jar.

Australia is pretty impressive when it comes to creepy crawlies and deadly things but Japan is far superior. I have a list of things I like and things I loathe. The top two creatures that make it on my loathe list are cockroaches (gokiburi) that fly and their closely related cousin, the boat insect (funamushi). Funamushi live on the stone beaches in their thousands. They scuttle and run all over the place. If you stand still long enough, they even run up your leg. Most of the time thankfully, they run away from you.

My few favourites include, frogs in varying sizes, butterflies as big as birds, lizards and cicada (semi). Tonight, at my English class, we ended up catching a few intruders. Firstly, Takana San came inside grasping a cicada in his hand. He proceeded to let it go and fly around the room. After about 15 minutes, it was caught again and I put it on my own finger. It seemed to snuggle down and didn't want to go anywhere (it was actually hard to get off).

Tanaka San is fast. He and his grandson, Yuuki, love catching anything that scuttles. I thought I would set him a new challenge. I had been watching a type of gekko climbing the window outside. I asked him to catch it for me at I like them. Dad and I usually catch lizards bare handed so I was surprised when Tanaka San put on some gardening gloves. He arrived back inside about 2 minutes later clutching the pretty lizard. Its big googling eyes peered at me as I stroked its back. Quite cute really.

Just a small warning, don't put your finger anywhere near its mouth - it will not let go!!! Here it is fiercely biting the gloved hand that holds him.

Oh, and this is Yuuki. He is holding his pet ushigaeru (cow frog). It is like a bull frog. It croaks like a cow moos. He is often in trouble and likes to get into mischief (Yuuki not the frog). We have lots of fun trying to communicate with each other. The frog is tethered. It has a large rope loosly tied around its belly so it can play freely in the garden and swim in the pond. Yuuki only has to find the rope and follow it to the end to find his frog.

Pottering About! I promise it is safe to read.

I am so happy to say that I am a third of the way through Harry Potter 6! I actually only ordered it last Wednesday. I love Amazon! The world wide release date was the 16th and on the 16th at about 11am... It arrived to my door. Nice actually. None of that lining up business.

Though I am only about 1/3 of the way through Harry is back at school and it is all starting to happen. Of course I won't tell you anything that happens but so far I am more into this book than number five. Five was hard to get into but great over all. This one has had my attention from page one.

If you haven't started reading yet... Get out there and start. If you can, reread number 5 to refresh your memory - I wish I had.

Have fun Harry fans!

Over Goodbyes

Okay so I have to say that this goodbye thing is wearing thin. I have got to know so many great people over the last year and about half of them are about to go home.

My family has meet so many interesting people from over seas, who come as visitors or exchange students, that I have come to know how hard it is to keep intouch. Everyone gets so busy once back at home that emails become fewer and fewer. Having said that, I must say the emails that make it through are even more cherished and special.

These people (and I am included) who get so busy will always be there with open minds and homes. I have been lucky to visit a few places and catch up with people after such a long time of little communication. Is is nice to fall straight back into friendships where they left off.

So it isn't that crazy to say "see you" to someone who is going home. That see you will sit in limbo until you really do see each other again. It is nice to know that you have friends all over the world. It always makes me feel close to friends and family.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Here I am

Here I am fellow boggers. This a pic back at home with Mum and Dad. Just testin out the photo options. Here goes nothing... And now I am pressing PUBLISH....

Well it is done. I have joined the Gang!

I can hear a few of you saying quietly to yourselves... It's about time. Well yes I guess it is.
I have joined the blogging group. Hmmm. I wonder how addicted I will get. The people around me are in varying states of addiction themselves. I know some people who now gravitate to any available internet connected computer. It is no longer needed to check their own email but to read up on everyones gossip on favourite blogs.
I will refrain a little from the gossip - sorry I know that is boring... I want to post some photos and write down a few funny things that happen to me. If that isn't what you want to get out of reading someones blog, sorry.
For those at home, here is a placeto checkup on every now and again to see what I have been up to. Enjoy. See you in August.