Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Family Affair

Our families came to visit us over the Christmas/New Years holiday. Though enjoyable, it was like taking 4 illiterate children on vacation. We have become somewhat accustomed to living in Japan, but to be responsible for someone who is new to international travel is exhausting wonderful.

We were always trying to get them to try new foods...

chicken kebab


gyoza dogs (meat dumpling in bao dough)

real crab soup

Japan also has a lot of history and many sights worth seeing...

famous monkey sculptures in Nikko

Oarai beach

Ushiku Daibutsu (Ushiku Buddha)

Fukuroda Waterfall in Daigo

To relieve some stress and look awesome we took shopping breaks...


and spent one night at the happiest place on earth (besides Krispy Kreme when the red light is on), Disney Sea in Tokyo...

Under the sea

Carousel on the Arabian Coast

We also spent time with the Kajiyamas. They have helped us so much and have basically become our adoptive parents in Japan...

breakfast with the Kajiyamas

New Years Day

and now I present the only photo with all of us...

Hope you had a good time in Japan. Come back anytime, but call first. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas In Japan

We had Christmas parties with some friends and English volunteers from Staci's school.

Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, but most Japanese people can agree this is what a Christmas meal should look like...

This delicious meal could be yours for only ¥3880 (about $50)

It should include fried chicken, a Christmas salad and a Christmas cake. Having fried chicken and cake on Christmas is supposedly an American tradition. I guess the holiday does celebrate a birthday...

Apparently, you must reserve a Christmas meal 2 months in advance and then stand in line to pay for and receive that meal. We missed that window so we had to make our own fried chicken.

After a delicious feast of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes and rolls it was time to play dirty santa...

Then we had a friendly competition of picking up beans with chopsticks...

And of course, Christmas cake...

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Evolution of Janken

One of the most popular games in Japan is janken. You might know it better as rock-paper-scissors. 

In Japan, students use it to decide the player order in a game, determine who gets an extra food item at lunch or just play it as a game. The results of janken are final and thought to be fate so it is a great way to make a decision. 

At lunch last week I played a game of janken I will not soon forget...

Daniel & Student:  Rock, paper, scissors, go!

The student threw scissors while I threw this...

Immediately, they let out a gasp and put their hands up. One student even said “Don't shoot!”  

After that the items followed a strange evolution...

two guns
a bomb
a cat
a rabid dog
a kangaroo
a butt
a fire

And for the last one, perhaps my favorite, the student faked a heart attack and pretended to die before he could finish the game.

Rock, paper and scissors work fine, but if you would like to mix things up a little you can use these signs...

Friday, January 6, 2012

English Testing

Every year, as English teachers, we must test our students on their speaking proficiency. It is the only time we can sit down one-on-one with every student and have a conversation. 

Some students found the test very difficult because English is a difficult language to learn...

Here are some of my favorite test conversations...

Daniel:  How are you?
Student:  I'm thank you and you?

Daniel:  Are you ready?
Student:  Yes. Let's English!

Daniel:  What time is it?
Student:  It's 10 fruity.

Daniel:  What day is it?
Student:  It's Fursday. 

Daniel:  Do you like dogs?
Student:  Yes we can.

This conversation with a 6th grader caused me to lose some sleep...

Daniel:  How are you?
Student:  I like fine. 
Daniel:  What's your name?
Student:  I like Keiko.
Daniel:  What food do you like?
Student:  I like sushi. 
Daniel:  Where is the library?
Student:  I like go straight. I like turn right.

My New Years resolution...

To teach students real good so they can English!