After a great day at work I decided to treat myself to something delicious. Sushi! the surprising thing…. The lady next to me paid for my meal without my knowing. This is the second time something like this has happened to me. First time was in Vancouver. ^^ (this happened about 2 weeks ago)
IT WAS AWESOME! It was only 1000 yen! I’m sorry, but I’ve never seen an owl before….let alone hold & touch one for the 1st time in my life.
1000 yen basically covers 1 drink and 1 hour (40 minutes in actuality) of petting the owls, taking pictures of them and letting them perch either on your finger, your shoulder or your head!
I’ll let a few of my pictures explain how awesome the experience was ^____^
For those of you that don’t know what Wagashi means….
“Wagashi (和菓子, wa-gashi) is a traditional Japanese confectionery which is often served with tea” – Wikipedia
I just went to my first ever Wagashi Class in Kyoto, Japan. The lesson was entirely in Japanese, but I had my friend translate for me and show me the ropes. Instead of a cooking class where you start from scratch, it was more or less like a sculpting/ edible clay making class of delicious Japanese confectionery :9
For today’s Autumn class, we made a Higashi Kizato (raw sugar) in the shape of a momiji (maple leaf), a Jou-namagashi Uiro (mochi like dough w/ sweet bean jam inside it) in the shape of a kimamori (left over persimmon fruit (?)), a Jou-namagashi Neri-Kiri (mochi like dough with anko (red bean paste) as filling) in the shape of a maple leaf, and finally a Jou-namagashi Kinton (mashed sweet bean jam) that was supposed to look like a “hanabi” of maple leaves.
It was an enjoyable 1 hr class. (2000 yen) If I were Japanese or understood Japanese, I’d probably go again during Spring.
Kiyomizu temple and higashiyama place (@ HIGASHI shop) kyoto-shi higashiyama-ku chaya-cho 511-1
I just sat on the JR line for an extra 120 minutes because someone decided to commit suicide with a train. I really wonder….why? I know the suicide rates in Japan are probably ranked #1 in developed countries, but still…
Is life really that stressful? Is there really no other option? Is there really no one out there who’d shed tears for your death? What are you thinking? Is there really nothing in your life worth living, struggling or fighting for?
Why? Why? WHY?
It’s unbelievable! Just yesterday I was complaining about how I’ve been unlucky enough for the past week to suffer from a sprained ankle, a few major headaches, the flu, scorching hot water and etc. But today, I feel like all my complaints are unworthy and I should just be happy for how fortunate I really am. I find out someone I’ve known for 4 months and one of my sister’s best friend died in the Nairobi Mall terrorist attack in Kenya. She’s only 29 years old. And I will forever remember what a wonderful person she was. She was like another older sister to me. She took care of me when I was in New Delhi. She was a true gem, honest and a delight to be around.
It’s one thing to read about terrorist attacks in the news, it’s another when you can put an actual image of a specific person to the horrific news. Words can’t seem to express what I’m feeling very well.
However, here I am, sitting at a coffee shop and looking at the people around me going on with their own lives, with their own worries and everything else that is of concern to them. As sad as it may be, life goes on. Right now, it feels really weird, i’m still shocked and crying unexplainable tears. However, I feel that the pain said person’s closer family and friends must be 100? No…1000 folds more unbearable and much deeper.
All I wanted to say here is…cherish life! Live with no regrets! Tell the people you love, be it family, friends, lovers or pets that you love them. Even if you’re overseas and feel like you have no time. there’s always time to drop a line or contact the ones you cherish. I did. Life’s too brief to leave things like that unsaid or uncared for.
And may the wonderful lady I’m thinking of rest in peace. If there’s heaven, let her be with God. If there’s reincarnation, may she be given a more wonderful next life.
Live life with no regrets.
It was a weird feeling. I sprained my ankle a few days ago. So while I was limping to the bike parking lot. Along comes this nice, tall and cute Japanese guy. He asked me what was wrong so I pointed to my ankle. He offered me a lift even though he didn’t know where I was headed to. I said I’m ok, “daijoubu”, a few times but he didn’t budge, so I took him up on his offer since I could actually see the parking lot in site, I had a backpack that weighed a ton and my legs were killing me from limping the entire day (well….~2.5 hours to be exact). He kept talking to me in Japanese even though I told him I didn’t understand Japanese, “nihonga ga wakarimasen”.
Honestly, at first I thought he was just being a nice Japanese person… I mean, just the other day, this Japanese lady asked whether I was okay and offered something in Japanese, but my Japanese is so shitty, I just kept saying, “daijoubou. daijoubou. arigatougozaimasu.”
It wasn’t until he dropped me off at the parking lot and seemed like he wanted to continue to chat with me even though I didn’t really understand Japanese, along with a few other hints (?) did I go “oh….maybe, he’s hitting on me?”
From the tidbits I picked up, he asked me whether I was Chinese, where was I from, whether I was married (danna sama) or had a boyfriend (kareshi).
It was when he asked whether I had a “boyfriend” in English, I thought to myself…okay “gotta go”. We can’t really converse when the only English word he knows in English is “boyfriend”. So I went like “arigatougozaimasu” bowed, and left.
I still don’t know whether I was being hit on or not. Maybe I should have stayed a bit longer and tried to chat, but I was so tired. Regardless, the event left a pretty good feeling.
Too bad he doesn’t speak English, Chinese or a bit of French.
IF he wasn’t hitting on me…YaY to good Samaritans in Japan.
IF he was…wow. So Japanese people aren’t actually all that shy. Japanese Stereotype immediately refuted.
So in another week I’ll have officially lived here for 4 months. My thoughts?
Osaka’s an interesting place to live in. It’s not as expensive as I initially thought. The people are really friendly so long as you’re not asking to borrow their cellphones. When it gets humid, you can sweat in places you never thought you could sweat. The bugs here are crazy and huge compared to Vancouver. At one point in time, I had over 100 mosquito bites all over my body. I still get bit now, even in malls and restaurants. Most Japanese here still don’t know how to speak English, but it’s a lot better than 10 years ago. They’ll understand the simple stuff….and if you have an iphone translator app (or any other smart phone with unlimited data), you’re gold In fact, that’s how I managed to get a hospital and a dermatologist to receive me as a patient. I whipped out my handy iphone translator. Otherwise, they would have turned me away since I couldn’t speak or understand Japanese.
The food here is Awesome with a capital “A”. Although the shops/ restaurants/ stores CAN be small…I think everything is really well thought out and carefully considered before implemented in different businesses. Japanese people in general are really minute to detail. It’s something I think everyone can learn from. (only possible issue….for some restaurants, the designated smoking areas and non-smoking areas are literally so close to each other that it makes no difference)
In terms of fashion…there’s quite a bit of variety, but not as much or as extreme as I had hoped to see. From time to time you see people in Kimonos (especially during Summer Matsuri). You can see more kimonos year round if you visit Kyoto. It’s crazy how they can wear them even though it’s so “HOT”. While they’re in their crazy, yet beautiful kimonos, I’m sweating profusely in my tank and shorts.
I have also noticed the prevalence of crocs/ fake crocs on the mass, that you can easily get at a 100 yen shop. Backpacks here are HUGE!! They’re like more than half the size of the kids/ teens. It’s crazy how much they have to carry. It’s also really surprising to see all the trinkets and stuffed animals high school girls have added onto their backpacks as decorations. I mean, isn’t your backpack heavy enough already? Why Add more weight to it? I’ll never understand. Oh, and applying make-up publicly is completely acceptable. You see girls with their huge mirrors everywhere putting on make-up.
Kids here are really cute, but can be a lot louder and cheekier than the ones back at home. They’re adorable.
It seems like people from Osaka are generally friendlier than people from Tokyo….at least in my experience, that was the case.
Some sites I find useful….if you ever do decide to move to Japan:
http://www.hyperdia.com (It’s good if you don’t know Japanese. It doesn’t always offer the cheapest route though)
http://www.gaijinpot.com (good site to gather some info)
http://www.meetup.com (great way to meet people in a foreign country with similar interest)
It’s Been 6 Months Now Since I’ve Been in Japan (November 27 2013)
Overall, I quite enjoy life here.
However, to list a few cons of living here:
HOME: Small kitchen sink, lack of counter space to do food preparation, drying machine for the winter, my mom’s homemade soup, family and my dog WHISKEY.
WORK (iTTTi Japan): I have a busier workload than any of the other native teachers here. I’ve seen schedules where the other native teacher works less than half the number of hours I work. At one point in time I worked with 332 students per month. I now work with close to 400 students per month. It’s quite difficult to remember all their names.The evening work time aint ideal for me. Pretty much my social life is limited to the weekends and holidays, which aint too bad, considering the fact that I can save up for travelling to different places. (I go to Kyoto quite often, went to Tokyo during O-bon and I’m planning to go to Tokyo again in January). Last, but not least, working with kids ranging from age 1-17 and the mom’s of the younger kids can be quite the challenge (<=Pro & Con).
But honestly, it’s really not too bad living here…
Pros of living here:
HOME: Independence and full autonomy!
WORK (iTTTi Japan): Great coworkers, the number of hours we work here is less (or much less for some other native teachers) than back at home for what we can make here (salary wise). Basically, the pay for the number of hours we work here aint too shabby. If you do have a nightmare class/ troublesome student, you probably only have to see them once or twice a month at most. The majority of the kids are actually good/ cute kids that actually enjoy my classes or learning. The younger ones are quite a handful…but for the most part they’re just so cute and adorable.
PERSONALLY: Personal growth, personal enlightenment (a bit), a wealth of experiences in a completely different culture, and I picked up the basics of Japanese without really even having to try too hard. It really is different when you immerse yourself in a culture completely.
Overall, for me, the pros outweigh the cons.
Moving on…random tidbits…
In October, the weather becomes a lot chillier than before , but it’s a nice change from the humid heat. It’s the season for Momiji (maple leaf) viewing. A great place to visit would be Minoo Park.
I actually found shoes my size at Forever XXI in Namba.
So far, I’ve gone to an awesome Owl Cafe in Osaka, a maid cafe in Namba, an Alice in Wonderland cafe in Umeda and a Ninja cafe in restaurant. I can’t wait to visit some other cafes or the Ninja cafe again.
I really enjoyed myself at the Kaiyukan/ Osaka Aquarium and got myself a yearly pass. It might be insignificant for someone who lived in Australia all their lives, but if you’re from Vancouver like me and haven’t been to many aquariums in your life, the enormous fish tanks are the bomb.
And NOMIHODAI’S ARE AWESOME!!
And I can’t wait for my 14 days Christmas break.