Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Disneyland


Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays, but this year the formula changed...

Thanksgiving - family - football = SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

So this year we decided to skip the traditional festivities and visit a place devoted to happiness that is also overflowing with turkey legs...Disneyland!



We left around 5 AM and stayed until the park closed...

A Thanksgiving feast (part 1 of 3)


Many of us bought these character hats to keep warm and look awesome. 


Our future olympic tea cup team. We spun so fast I thought I was going to fall out. 


One of our favorite floats in the parade. 




It was a great day of fun and adventure. We just went to Disneyland! What are we going to do next? 

Go back to work. 


Saturday, November 19, 2011

American Life: Part 2


What do you want to be in your future?

Everyone asks themselves this question at some point in their life...


Personally, I would like to become a pilot that transforms into an airplane...


or maybe a food critic...


But along the way there are many life lessons to be learned...

1) You can always count on friends to be supportive...


2) Respect your elders...


3) How to make letters with your body...

creepy


more creepy


4) And deductive reasoning...


It's also important to learn about holidays, like April Fools' Day...



and Easter...

Still trying to find the egg in this picture

I hope you learned some things about American culture.

Disclaimer:  Unless you are a human pretzel or relative of Mr. Fantastic please do not attempt to emulate the pictures above. Transforming the human body into letters of the alphabet is very dangerous. This blog, its authors, and blogger will not be held responsible for any injuries.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Dollar Store is Better Than Yours


The dollar store is a place where you can buy mediocre items for low prices. The feeling of saving money mixed with the risk of the crap you bought not working can be quite exhilarating. One of the most popular ¥100 shops in Japan is Daiso...


They have so many items that are essential to my daily life...

like face cream...


awards to inspire you to win finish...


chemicals to keep rodents away...


and keep away pesky domesticated animals...


beautiful decorative signs...


and delicious snacks...



While ¥100 is really about $1.30 the items in this store are priceless.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scissor Salad


Today I was teaching school supplies...


They were actually doing quite well until we got to 'glue'. Instead of the actual word they would say 'blue'. Let's try it in a sentence...

My dad sold our horse to the blue factory. 

Some people sniff blue to get high. 


But the real trouble came when I tried to teach 'scissors'...


Daniel:  What's this?
Students:  はさみ!
Daniel:  In English, scissors.
Students:  Scissors!

Even though I was holding a picture flashcard I still saw many perplexed faces. Then one student was struck by genius....

Student:  Ah! I understand! Caesar salad!

I should explain that シザー (shizaa), the Katakana for 'scissors' is very close to シーザー (shiizaa) which means 'caesar', like the salad dressing dude.

Or maybe he was referring to these kitchen utensils...


Not sure. But if there are scissors in your salad someone is probably trying to kill you.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Inverview with a Foreigner


Today I had lunch with a 4th grade class. It was a very western meal of hamburger, broccoli and tomato soup with vegetables...


During lunch I had a very interesting conversation with a group of students. I will now attempt to recreate that conversation...

Daniel:  Hello
Student:  Hello

(awkward silence)

Student:  How old are you? (in English)
Daniel:  I'm 25 years old. (in Japanese)

The students discussed this for several minutes. How could I be 25 when I had previously told them I was 24? Eventually, they realized that foreigners must also have birthdays, but students still have many misconceptions about teachers...

1. Teachers don't age.
2. Teachers both live and work at school.
3. Teachers never leave the school.
4.  Teachers know the answer to everything.


Back to the conversation...


Student: Do you have a girlfriend?
Daniel: No I don't.
Student: Oh...ok. Do you have a boyfriend?
Daniel: No I don't

My kids are very accepting. So proud!

Student: How many times do you shave each day?
Daniel:  One.
Student: When?
Daniel: In the morning.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Baby on Board


During the 1980s, somewhere between pet rocks and parachute pants, the now famous "Baby on Board" sign made its debut...



It was not created to increase awareness of baby drivers, but rather to remind drivers that children ride in cars. So if a vehicle has this sign you should probably try to avoid a collision.

Not suprisingly, many parodies soon made their way onto windows...

"Baby I'm Bored"
"Elvis On Board"
"No Baby On Board Feel Free To Drive Into Me"

Many other similar signs can be found all over the world including Japan where I found this...

On some of these it says "I am safety driver" at the bottom. 


So why not create my own sign? One that would let Japanese drivers know they are amongst a foreigner. Some examples...

Yes. I realize they are a band, but they are still foreigners.

'Gaijin' is a slang term for foreigner. I must turn into this creature in public places. That would explain the staring.


And my favorite one that cuts straight to the point...

 Translated, it reads "Foreigner! Dangerous!"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lost in Translation

Last week at the video store Staci and I left frustrated because we were unable to find a movie to rent. Certain factors make searching more difficult in Japan (i.e. the different language). But, last night we discovered another potential problem...the renaming of English movies...

In many non-English speaking countries a movie title can be “translated” and end up with a different meaning...

In France, do not spend too much time looking for “Home Alone” because the title there is “Mom, I Missed the Plane”



Or in Finland looking for “Bad Santa”, or should I say “Santa is a Pervert”


In Japan, this is also a problem. Here is what we have found so far...


“Jerry Maguire” becomes “The Agent”


“Up” was obviously too abstract so it was changed to the more descriptive “Old Man Carl's Flying House”

“Freaky Friday” becomes  “Fortune Cookie”


 “Shallow Hal” becomes “Beloved Rosemary”


“The Fast and the Furious” becomes “Wild Speed”

 

“Anger Management” becomes “NY-Style Happy Therapy”

“The Blind Side” becomes “Happiness's Hiding Place”

 
And my personal favorite, “Bedazzled” becomes “Let's Do Bad Things!”

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Miso Hungry


 Miso ramen (pronounced mee-so) with udon noodles that you add yourself. A very fluffy bun filled with meat and mizuna (water greens) with tuna.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ishinomaki


This last weekend I traveled to Miyagi Prefecture, home to the cities of Sendai and Ishinomaki. It was one of the hardest hit areas during the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Ishinomaki, along with structural damage, experienced waves higher than 25 feet. There was considerable damage...


More than 50,000 residents had to live in shelters and nearly 4,000 are reported dead or missing.


Sadly, for some affected areas progress is slow and 7 months later they are still in desperate need of assistance.

The group I worked with spent the day tearing down ruined drywall and insulation. The waters reached the ceiling in this house...


There is still a tremendous need for assistance in these affected areas. If you live in Japan, there are great volunteer organizations like Be One Tohoku Aid.

If you live outside of Japan, there are several organizations accepting donations like the Japanese Red Cross and Be One Tohoku Aid.

がんばれ日本 !

Monday, October 17, 2011

Big Gulp!

We have 7/11 here, but no Big Gulps.

A fellow AET's picture.

No Big Gulp = No Happiness?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Monkey Suit

I am in a monkey suit. Actually, that is a terrible name for business clothes. Everyone knows that if monkeys wore suits they would be of the track variety...

The best picture I could find. Apparently,  a monkey in a tracksuit is the only image that can't be found on Google.

Of course if monkeys were civilized enough to wear tracksuits they would be doing things like leaving the toilet seat up, talking in movie theaters and cutting in front of you at Starbucks.

 
Anyway, the reason for my wearing a suit today goes back to Fall 2010. Last October, my English teacher informed me that the following week I should wear a suit because we were taking school pictures.

The next morning I arrived almost on time, in my suit and snapped the picture in 10 minutes. Obviously, that is not the end of this story.

Come to find out all of my morning classes were canceled. Why, you may ask? So we could walk to a field and dig up sweet potatoes...


What could I do? I put on some gloves, rolled up my sleeves and dug up some potatoes from the manure-rich soil. But the kids did most of the work...

Today,  I found a bag of potatoes on my desk.

I wore the suit because history is always destined to repeat itself whether it's fascists, fashion or romantic comedy plot lines. Be prepared!