Tuesday, August 14, 2007

check it out!

So I've made about 7 videos now. Each one the editing gets a little better. This is the last one. I'm pretty happy with it. Of course I like the song too. The effects are at the beginning and end, so if you get bored with the song, check out the end before you turn it off! LOL.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Talking about Milkshakes...

So one of the things that I sometimes find myself missing from America is milkshakes. Milkshakes are hard to find in Japan. There are very few stores who sell them, and the one's I've tried weren't up to par at all. So for a while I was definitely lamenting the loss of one of my favorite drinks.

But eventually I found a suitable replacement.

It's called Coolish. In Japanese they call it a -8 degrees C ice cream drink.

What it actually boils down to is: a milkshake in a bag! Even comes with a handy dandy lid! Great!

I really like it. Here is a picture of my two favorite flavors. Good old vanilla, and my new favorite, Matcha! (Matcha is Japanese green tea, but a powdered version. It's really really really yummy!)

You know you've lived in a foreign country to long when...

《insert guess here》

Nope! You're wrong! haha

I had a “cultural moment" yesterday. I was planning for a retreat with a girl who has only been in Japan less than one year. Well we are all aware that I tend to talk with my hands. We also know that different gestures mean different things in different cultures. So it stands to reason that offensive gestures could be made by mistake. Normally not a big problem. Right?

Well we know I'm not a big fan of following the crowd. So what do I do in situations like this? I of course do the opposite of what any normal person would do. Instead of using an innocent American gesture that causes offense to a Japanese person, I used an innocent Japanese gesture that causes offense in America. Ha! I didn't even realize it either until the other girl pointed it out to me. I've become so used to things like this that I copy them naturally now. I now use many Japanese mannerisms instead of American ones. For instance: I now point to my nose when referring to myself rather than pointing to my chest. It's funny the things you pick up without ever noticing it.

So you may be wondering, what exactly was my mistake?

So in Japan the middle finger has no special significance. You often see people casually pointing to things with their middle fingers. So by now you must have figured it out. Yes. I, in my cultural confusion, flipped off my fellow American!

Monday, August 06, 2007

What a difference a year makes.

So I've been talking to people about this year's summer camp and I came across a wonderful revelation. I can speak Japanese! Well, at least there is a marked difference from last year. Last year there was also a summer camp. I remember playing with the kids, but I also remember saying a whole lot "I'm sorry, I don't understand Japanese." This is a hard concept for kids to understand. When you speak any Japanese at all, they think you should be able to understand it all. I usually turn it into a game where I try to convince them that I am in fact not speaking Japanese at all. They usually don't believe me. LOL.

But this year, I noticed that instead of saying "I don't understand" every five minutes, I probably said it only 5 times a day!! How exciting is that? I could even understand 80% of a children's movie!

It just goes to show what a difference a year makes. I know it's hard for me to see my progress sometimes. Especially since I don't really have anything to gauge my language learning by. So this is a great way to see the progress. Next stop, understanding adults! LOL.

But I am in fact speaking more and more Japanese lately. This is a good sign. I can even talk with Mako these days! (He uses a lot of really strange words. He takes great pleasure in teaching me strange dialects as well.)

Speaking of Mako, here's a really cool picture from this weekend.

Also, you will find a Japanese man wearing pink shoes with hearts on them. Only in Japan.

And finally a traditional style Japanese "hotel" room. Not really a hotel, but you get the point.

I'll try to write more again. Later!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 03, 2007

Summer is here!

Well, summer has finally arrived! I'm really happy. It's the end of the rainy season, so my mood has improved noticably. Of course it's hot and nasty, but you can't have everything.

So this week, I went to a Summer Camp for the Sunday School. About 13 kids went. 6 of them were my English school students. It was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures. Yeah, I got a new camera and I went picture taking crazy. I took almost 400 pictures in 2 days. Don't worry, I didn't put them all in the slide show. Hehe.

So here's a picture album of my first camp of the summer. (one down, two to go.)

Sunday School Summer Camp!