Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Help me name them

I have had the help of my sister and of a student here in Japan... Can you also help me? If you click on the photo, you will go to flickr and you can see the ones I have already identified...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fresh green growth of summer...

Rainy season has started. The positive of this fact is that everything seems more green. I love that!

P.S. Does anyone know the name of the above plant? It seems to be a kind of fern or palm.

It is actually a cycad or そてつ in Japanese. Very old. From the time of dinosaurs and often mistaken for a fern or palm. That is why I made the mistake.  Actually, I think it is specifically this one native to Japan.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Takes Delight in Cheese


Famous Australians in Japan

The new drink, Thorpedo, has hit newspapers in Australia. Read about it here .

Four degrees of separation

The generosity of Japanese people never ceases to amaze me. People help out in any way possible. They want to share their own part of Japan with me. I am going to miss this so much.

Last night, a classic and amazing example of this generosity occured. I went to my Tuesday English class. These people alone are so kind to me. As I entered the room, one of them came over and presented me with a box. As I opened it, the student exclaimed in excitement...

"They are bookmarks. There are 50. They are a present for your students in Australia. They come from Hokkaido!"

(I have added several words and particles here to help his English make sense!)

It turns out that he does a computer course with a particular lady. Her sister lives in Hokkaido (the most northern island in Japan - far, far from here). The sister in Hokkaido made 50 origami dolls and placed each of them into a plastic envelope. They are the most beautiful bookmarks I have ever seen. This lady made them as a going away present for me! Really amazing. I can't stop thinking about the connection from Hokkaido to my students in Australia.

Lady in Hokkaido...
Her sister in Yamaguchi...
Her sister's friend in computer class...
My students in Australia!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Plastic sushi

Plastic sushi
Originally uploaded by Really Turning Japanese.
Click on this shot and be lead to the fabulous world of flickr. I have added notes to this photo that tell you what each sushi actually is.

I haven't forgotten blogger...

I just want to write and apologise for the lack of blogging. There are several elements in my life that are contributing to this, least of which is Flickr.
People who know me, know I am photo obsessed. Flickr is amazing. I have been uploading lots and sorting, organising etc. Check it out.
Also... time is ticking down to me leaving Japan. I am trying to create a balance between socialising and packing/cleaning. Socialising wins most of the time unless I have no money. I actually don't enjoy the feeling of doing things for the final time. I am trying to ignore this fact and just enjoy each day. I know those at home can't wait to see me (I can't wait to get there) and the people here don't want me to go (I don't want to leave). The fact is, as time ticks down, by August 3rd I will be at home. Strange!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sweet Chicken Curry

I was finally able to make this delicious curry thanks to time and a recipe from my aunt. She even brought all the unusual (for Japan) ingredients over when she visited me. Thanks Janet!

Don't be scared of the apple in this. I made it last Saturday and it was divine. A friend who came over is quoted as saying,

"I don't usually go for fruit with savouries but this is delicious!"

4 Chicken fillets
Vegetable oil to brown the chicken
2 tablespoons of fruit chutney
1 cup of chicken stock
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup of coconut milk
2 apples pealed and sliced
2 tablespoons of green peppercorns in brine (use a small tin)
1 tablespoon of curry powder
Shredded coconut to serve (optional and I couldn't find it in Japan)

Cut chicken into pieces and pan fry in oil until golden. Put in an oven-proof dish with lid. Combine remaining ingredients (except coconut) and pour over chicken. Bake in oven (I did mine on the stove top) at 180 degrees for 30-40 minutes until chicken is cooked. Stir occasionally. If desired, sprinkle with coconut just before serving and serve with rice.


We did it!
Australia 3 to Japan 1.
Japan got their goal in the first half.
Australia got their three goals in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Very exciting!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi!

Tomorrow I will be cheering on the Aussies or congratulating the Japanese after tonight's game. Eitherway, it is exciting. Kickoff will occur at 10pm Japan time (11pm Australia time). Go get 'em Aussies!


地震 This is the kanji for jishin or earthquake.

災害 This is the kanji for saigai or disaster.

The event even made it to Australian newspapers.

This morning at precisely 5am, I was rudely awoken by a level 4 earthquake. Why do these things feel so much more exciting during the day and just plain scary in the middle of night. At that time in the morning, I am usually fast asleep so it was a shock to wake and bound out of bed in the same breath. One problem for me this morning (get ready to giggle) was the fact that I wasn't wearing anything. It has become quite hot at night and I, at times, go to bed with nothing on. When I felt the earthquake I was thinking of gathering at an emergency centre in my birthday suit. Of course this added to my panic. I grabbed my jeans and pulled them on. Then I was torn with standing where I was or dashing outside (after putting on a top of course). This particular earthquake has to be the longest I have felt. Those earthquake simulators at science centers are pretty accurate but they don't add the sound of the paper doors in Japanese houses shaking like crazy or the feeling of being torn from sleep. We were lucky to get it at level 4 in Hikari, as in the center (Oita) it was around level 6. I think one of my Japanese friends summed it up perfectly in an email she sent me...

Of course I felt it. It was so scary that I covered with ふとん (futon) myself.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Making the most of the nice weather

Time is running out fast! My calendar is pretty much full between now and leaving, so with a final free weekend and fair weather, Lauren and I went out for a drive. There is an area close by that we always forget about as it juts into the sea and we travel through and bypass it. The area is called Kaminoseki. I finally decided it was time to take a drive out there. Lauren was my cheerful (though slightly car sick) companion. Think windy roads, blue skies, ocean, mountains, rice fields and you can almost imagine being there. I had a lovely time but I came away thinking that an area so close to where I live, actually feels like the most remote area of Japan (way more remote than Oshima!).

The following photo was taken at the top of a fabulous look out at the top of a mountain. The 365 degree views were breath taking! It gave me a chance to appreciate that Japan is actually made up of thousands of small islands!

Tsuyu means rainy season

On Friday, school was a buzz about recent news reports; rainy season had come! I thought it was an interesting observation as it had poured rain all Thursday and was still raining Friday morning. If you just glanced out the window, you could see for yourself that it was raining. Each season is announced on the news in Japan; the arrival of the cherry blossom and the arrival of the rainy season. I was then intrigued and delighted with the afternoon weather as pictured below. BLUE SKIES!!! Few and far between. I love them. The weekend has been mild and fine too. At this point, rainy season has lasted around 24 hours. I am sure we will get more rain this week though.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wow...He can count to eight!

AJ a drummer at 4 and a half.

I think that was a sneak peek at 'twinkle, twinkle little star'. I have never head the drum version before. If you want to see what else AJ and Milla have been up to, visit them at superrelish.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fireflies and cute frogs

Thanks to Matt (and Crystal) I have a couple of cool photos to post. I took them to my 'secret' firefly viewing spot. Not really that secret, but very cool. Matt had his camera and Crystal's tiny tripod. He set up his lens to stay open for 15 seconds. The initial tripod shots turned out okay but then Matt had the bright idea to actually chase the firefly as it flew. The following photo illustrated this effect.
We then went hunting frogs with my tiny torch. This is an amagaeru (rain frog). I love this little guy. These are the frogs I hate killing on the roads when it rains. We sat and watched them singing for ages. You could actually see their throats blowing up to make noises. It was like being in a Discovery channel show!
Thanks for the photos Matt...

Roof lines and red

Made over at Flickr. Cool huh?

I love Flickr

Flickr has been updated!

Lots and lots of new photos to look at...