Learning the language…making haste slowly

29 07 2009

Benno’s been demonstrating excellent Japanese language skills lately (even if he doesn’t think so).

1. He made a reservation for our return express bus trip from Nagoya to Takayama by phone in Japanese. He was even able to ask about payment methods and how to collect the tickets.

2. He booked cabin accommodation in Nikko over the phone. They were booked out for our first option so he was able to change dates and cabin type and confirm the costs.

3. He filled in Japanese forms (in Kanji) at the bank so now my health insurance is direct debited from my bank account. He could write all our address details in kanji. However, we needed some help with the bank terminology so the lady helped us fill in the bottom half. Even in English bank forms can be troublesome so yay for Benno!

All that listening and speaking and reading and writing!!! The study must be paying off. 🙂 Gambatte Benno-san.


27 07 2009

Stumbled upon some things while doing random reading on my holidays.

Turn your photos of Japan into Meiji era relics.

Ume Blossoms from Kisarazu, April 2009.

Ume Blossoms from Kisarazu, April 2009.

Old Photo from the Meiji Era.

Old Photo from the Meiji Era.

And for something funny, we watched this video, laughed our heads off, then while waiting at the bus stop the next morning I asked a japanese school kid if he had studied hard for his exams and he used fluent japanese in reply (head tilt “schhh”). Hilarious- it really works!

Exam time

15 07 2009

It’s end of term exam time. While that means I’ve been super busy writing exams, photocopying and designing the Inter newsletter it also means that now I only have half-days at school. The students have exams block 1-4, then the bus leaves at 12.50pm. So I’m sitting at home doing some marking in between reading on the internet and getting distracted by the elementary school children walking home.

I feel a bit spoilt as mum send a parcel with new clothes. I wore the white skirt to school this week and it was nice and summery. Today I wore my new linen pants from UniQlo. I forgot to say that when you go to the changerooms you take off your shoes. While you are trying on clothes the shop assistants rotate your shoes so they are facing you when you exit the changeroom.

Recently we also received a backpack in the post that we got from ebay. It’s to make our Kansai travels easier – no way I want to be dragging a suitcase around the train stations!

In theory, I should know 42 verbs after working through the ‘Instant Japanese’ book. Let’s hope I can remember them.

Better get back to my marking…but first, have you ever seen a yellow watermelon?

Yellow and Red Watermelon. Available now at Apita.

Yellow and Red Watermelon. Available now at Apita.


30 05 2009

mendokusai – the students’ favourite saying when they can’t be bothered, roughly translated as ‘difficult’ or ‘i can’t be bothered’. Lazy bums.

saturdaybentoSaturday’s bento

I have a long way to go before I have bento looking as pretty as o-bento’s. However, my bento are vegan and don’t contain quail’s eggs. Satuday I had (from left to right) peppermint chocolates, leftover miso pasta with a triangle yaki-onigiri (grilled rice cake), a fluffy white cupcake (with heart strawberry) and popped corn, flower peanut butter sandwiches, strawberries and chocolate cake penguin(?!) with kiwi fruit belly.

Tofu Tonkatsu

Tofu Tonkatsu

To add to our list of Japanese foods we have tried (miso, onigiri, umeboshi, okonomiyaki) on Saturday we made tofu tonkatsu (tofu pork cutlets). We basically followed the recipe from here and they were pretty good. We don’t know how authentic they tasted, but they were yummy and successfully dirtied every plate/dish in our kitchen in the making.

The weather this week was a little dreary – raining most days. However it didn’t stop Benno from having an excursion in Tokyo to see MxPx in concert at the LiquidRoom in Shibuya-ku and going to an Australian Embassy party for Adelaide University graduates. Thanks to Atsu for showing Benno around and letting him stay!

Lunch Buffet at Saishoku Kenbi.

Lunch Buffet at Saishoku Kenbi.

Benno enjoyed a gyoza.

Thanks to everyone who Sykped us for Lara’s birthday or for SSS – we enjoyed catching up over the phone with our Australian friends and family this week!