Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Info I found on the web about this beautiful flower that comes out for about 10 days! I think possibly less time than cherry blossom in spring.

Beautiful red (sometimes white or pink) cluster amaryllis that mainly grows on the tops of the walls that divide the paddy fields. It appears just when the rice is at its most golden, before harvest. The sap is apparently poisonous and corrosive.

I love frogs!

Everyone knows I love frogs... This is how close I got. Millions of frogs were jumping all over the place. I went for a walk in the rice fields and they were trying to avoid me.

Just to let you know... Milla thinks my killer wasp is a Lady Bug - CUTE! But Milla, where were you when I needed you?

Oh and the Japanese name for the wasp is Suzume Bachi (sparrow bee). Named after a sparrow due to its size!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A typical morning scene

Waiting for the bus to school at 7.30 in the morning.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Abunai ne!

My first real introduction to Japan's scary and dangerous insect population (mushi). I have seen lots of creepy crawlies including some huge huntsman spiders (much bigger than at home), none of which has caused me too much stress. Thankfully (touch wood) I have never seen a mukade (Japanese, poisonous centipede). The worst thing so far has been cockroaches. To tell the truth, cockroaches don't scare me in the way that I think they will sting or kill me... Just that they are fast and gross!
Well tonight I got a scary one and I wasn't sure what to do! I arrived home from my adult English class at about 8.30pm. All was dark so I left on my front light. This usually attracts the mosquitoes (annoying but I can cope with them). I climbed the stairs unaware of anything dangerous... I got to the top of the landing and glanced up to see the size of the resident mosquitoes and THERE IT WAS! What I can only guess was a hornet. This thing was huge and hanging out in the warmth and safety of my porch light. I had walked right past it. It was a wasp looking creature the width and length of my thumb. My immediate reaction was to think about getting a picture to prove the size and ferocity of this animal, however, when it actually glanced over at me, I mean stared at me with it's huge black eye, my instincts took over and I ran back past it and down the stairs. I then called Lauren for help.
As a result of Lauren's advice, I knocked on downstair's door. The nice guy who lives there opened the door in his PJs. I stuttered about scary, dangerous insects (in broken Japanese). He caught my drift and climbed the stairs to have a look (in his PJs). He agreed that it was abunai (dangerous) and the went back into his own place for some strong spray and a fly swat. He totally doused the wasp (lets call it a hornet now) and ran back down stairs as it got angry. After about a minute, he bashed it about 10 times with the fly sway and dumped it in the drain. My hero! Finally safe. Ugh, ahhh, yuck.

PS. Just researched wasps and hornets in Japan. Turns out Japan has a bug inventively called The Japanese Giant Hornet. I am sure that was what I saw. Lucky me. Ugh, ahhh and yuck again!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Friends far and near

This is the lovely Miss April. She's the one on the left. This is a small entry to assure her that she is thought of often from the other side of the world. Here she is at a friend's wedding. Looking amazing I might add. Keep smiling April...

Miyajima in Hiroshima - Wonderful!

Tanya at Dazaifu in Fukuoka

The above picture shows Tanya following a Japanese custom. At temples and shrines, you can buy a fortune (almost always in Japanese). You carefully read the fortune and then fold it neatly and tie it to a particular clothesline like structure. These structures are usually jam packed with peoples fortunes but, actually any tree branch will also suffice. You can often see random fortunes tied to tree branches.

Kintaikyo - Beautiful, Famous Five Arch Bridge

Koi in Tsuwano

Our Mode of Transport - NEW SHOES!

Common Transport

Space World...

The wonderful, huge ferris wheel. We got to ride in special car number 4 (strange cause four uses the same word as death in Japanese). The car was all done up for Space World's 15th birthday celebrations.


Today I went to a brand new supermarket in my area. It is about a month old. It seems all nice and fresh. Clean and full of goodies. Actually it looks similar to other supermarkets that I visit. I looked closer at one particular object searching for the price. Here was where I got my surprise. Each and every item has a computerised display for the price. They are all along the shelves. I guess they are wired up and connected to a main computer. Ingenious. If prices change, specials come in, it all automatically changes. Nice touch. I bet that next they will have displays with neon flashing lights and music blaring. The Japanese touch!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Please Help!

So, what do I do now? What do I do when all the water coming from all my taps, is this colour? Actually this has improved from the dark coppery colour it was. I now have white and blue towels that are distinctly brown. My friend and I discovered this phenomena at 11pm. We are heading to bed and hoping it will be miraculously fixed in the morning. If not... WHAT DO I DO?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Too soon to say goodbye

It is too fresh and too raw to write about properly but one of my good friends died yesterday. He was a Japanese English teacher I have known for the last year. One of my favourite people... He had a brain hemorrhage (I think) and died at the age of 37. He leaves behind a wife and two kids aged 8 and 10. I feel numb right now but tears continue to flow every now and then.

Sadayasu Sensei I will miss you so much. Be at peace!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Yasui Ne!

Here it is. i bought my first piece of Japanese furniture. Well kind of anyway. I finally went into a shop that had caught my eye in Yanai to discover it was a kind of antique shop. Yeah. The first things to catch my eye were the sewing boxes that were scattered around the shop. The lady kindly explained that they were sewing boxes for making kimonos. Cool. Now my Mum bought one of these type boxes in Melbourne for a small fortune. I finally decided on the box pictured above. It is made from black persimmons wood and cost me a whole 2000 yen (about $22 Australian). Just some perspective - mum's cost about 8 times that. I wonder what I'll buy next?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Qoo anyone?

Seriously, how cute can a bottle of 'fake' juice get? I love the design and Lauren loves the juice!

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Yes there are a lot of FROG clips inside this box.
All huddled together.
Waiting to clip something, anything!
Oh why didn't I buy a box?

Let's Cool Together

Sugiyama Sensei is the head teacher at school. He beckoned me over on Friday as though he had a great secret to share. All he said was "let's cool together" and asked me to follow. We went into the Principal's room (he was out) and to my surprise, he turned on a mysterious air conditioner (the only one in the whole school). We then stood directly under it and chatted about my trip to Australia. He is such a sweet, lovely man. Ahhhh coolness!

The Day I Ordered a Cafe Latte but got Espresso

Coffee Boy... My pretty nice coffee shop. The place selling coffee that mostly resembles the kind I drink at home. I hadn't been there for a while, so thought I should drop by. I go so often that it is the only place I actually redeem anything on my point card! I kind of know the girls who work there too - at least their faces. They know what I usually order. So today I went in and was confronted with a 'new girl'. No problems I thought. Actually I didn't think about it much at all. I ordered my usual hot coffee. A cafe latte. I even said it in the Japanese katakana way cafe au lait (French influence I think). The girl then went on to clarify my order with a new phrase I had never heard before.

Side point... At this stage, I tell people that I have 'situational Japanese'. That means I have learnt how to order at restaurants, buy petrol for my car or shop at the supermarket. You quickly learn the few usual phrases that people will ask. Thankfully for me the Japanese don't move out of the mold too much. It becomes like a dance. Them, me, them, me and back again. At the end of the dance, a meal has magically been ordered.

We both stumbled over this new question before the girl politely added, drip or espresso. I gathered that she wanted me to choose if my latte would be made from drip or espresso coffee. Hmmm I thought to myself, espresso has got to be stronger. Espresso I told her. No worries. She asked me to wait and then proceeded to make my coffee. A few minutes later she came out from behind the counter to present my with my drink. I took it and immediately felt how light the cup was. I opened it and there in front of me was the espresso I ordered. Ahhhhhh! I wanted Latte. Instead of going through the process of explaining this to the girl, I added sugar to the cup and headed over to the supermarket to buy my own milk. Once added, I drank my interesting espresso with milk. Funny things happen all the time. I thought I'd share this one with you.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Cafe City... Coffee life

Ahhhh. Melbourne. I love this place. It is definately home to me. Nice to shop around with Mum and sample countless coffee and tea. The food isn't bad either. There is always something to do. The day pictured above, we'd just started shopping when it decided to rain. Coffee? Great idea Mum. There are so many places to choose from. Here in Japan I have a couple of places that are okay... almost nice but not like home. Actually, don't tell anyone, I even drink Starbucks here (NEVER at home!).