Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My other school...

Wed. Sept 30th... e-mail to mom...

Today Dad and I ventured off to my other school.

but it wasn't until after a disastrous morning. i had to go to a different high school first to get my yearly medical check. but on the way i got a flat tire on my bike. grrr.... then once there and doing all these bizarre tests and questionnaires they took a bunch of viles of blood and after that i broke into a cold sweat, turned white like a ghost with a tint of green as the other ALTs stated. they quickly sat me in a chair before i blacked out and shoved a banana, water and chocolate down me. ufffff.. not fun.

i had to lie down back at home.... and then the OTHER bike got a flat. grrr... so we had to go to the bike shop to patch em up in order to ride over to sapporo station.

we arrived right at the bell of our class so rushed in. dad received a standing ovation. they kids LOVED HIM. he was a rock star!!!!!!!! we played 20 questions and they listened to dad's stories.

at lunch in the hallway some girls RAN OVER and started screaming wanting to shake his hand. hahahaha... they were soooo cute. even some of the boys gave him a hug and dad taught them some handshakes. hahaha... soo funny. the kids at this school are WAY MORE energetic and crazy than the other school. I think dad was in shock. ;-)

after school a group of girls walked with us over to the lord of the rings crazy tower. they told me they never had so much fun before (poor girls)

for dinner we caught the train to the station and went to the top of the fancy dept store daimaru for dinner. OMG mom!!! you would have been in heaven. its a place called the buffet!!!! it was so fancy and DEEEELISH. with REAL food like salads, greens, fruits galore, pizza, make your own tacos, make your own ramen, sushi, miso, bakery, cakes and puddings galore and me and dads favorite - a HUGE sundae bar!!!! OMG. we had 2 huge helpings. i feel sooooo sick. hahah. but soooo worth it. we also met the cutest cutest family at the buffet. we exchanged gifts and phone numbers cuz they were so fun.

rode our bikes home and im POOPED! ufff..... time is flying.

tomorrow we'll go to school again but no classes. dad is being interview by the school newspaper.

i think we can leave early but we have the NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS game to go to!!! whooo hooooo cant wait ;-)

miss you! kiss yoU!

dad keeps asking if you wrote. write him please. ;-)

Thu. Oct 1

Today was a holiday at school because it was in between semesters. But the school was still full of students taking extra classes, studying and doing club activities. The newspaper club had an hour and a half interview with Dad. They were so cute and nervous asking him questions in English.

My Dad was shocked by the BUTA-INFLUENZA scare everywhere. lots of people in face masks and the school keeps making announcements of who is absent and sick from the flu. uh oh!!! they have hand sanitzer everywhere. ;-) (the next week all of the 2nd year students were sent home and a week later all of the 1st year students were sent home!!! ahhh)

In the afternoon we watched the club activities. Originally I wanted Dad to play tennis with the tennis club but when one of my JTEs asked the tennis coach if we could play he seemed concerned that there was a tennis competition approaching… ahhhh! Really??? They practice EVERY DAY, even on HOLIDAYS and on WEEKENDS… and they aren’t allowed to play a few balls with my Dad???? Really!???! There are barely ever any teachers there giving pointers to the students. They organize and drill by themselves… and my Dad who actually plays tennis wanted to help em out, have fun and give them a few pointers. Uff… I didn’t try to fight it. Instead we just wandered to the courts and watched.

Then we went home to relax for a bit before we went to see the fighters!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dad's e-mail to Mom about Sapporo ;-)

Can you believe I am now speaking Japanese?

Well, actually, I am still relying on Callie San to interpret for me...

But I'm trying.

At the welcome party her teachers had for me, we all had our picture taken with a strawberry whip cream cake that Miami brought.

It had a chocolate sign on it that said, "Welcome Callie's Dad."

So good....

But when we gathered for the picture I tried yelling out, YOKKATA, which means I am so happy.

The problem was what came out instead was "Yukata" which means summer kimono.

How embarrassing!


Callie has been the best travel guide in Japan, and takes me everywhere & answers all my crazy American questions about life in Japan.

I loved going to her school yesterday & meeting all of her students & teachers.

They were really interested in our pictures and slides about life in America, but so sweet but shy to ask questions.

Still they all came at lunch and after school, too, for English club and for a lunchtime party.

At the end Callie had them do the song "Chester have you heard about Harry?" and point to all the parts of the body as they sang the song faster and faster.

I was laughing so hard!


Of all the places and people here in Japan, my favorite is being with her friend Ikuya.

He is the nicest guy ever... so kind and thoughtful.

Great personality...

Mom will enjoy his sense of humor- really funny.

Dane will be a match for his dancing and singing.

You will both love him... I sure do!


His English is really good, and he is quick to pick up different expressions I use... and also teach me some Japanese.

He's an amazing architect - he took us to a museum in Sapporo Art Park that his company designed.

It was really beautiful... can't wait to show you the pictures.

Ikuya took us to so many places already... Otaru village by the canal with so many little shops was beautiful.

We went up the lookout tower and ate at a sushi bar.

Ikuya had to tell me what everything was as it passed by us on the sushi conveyor belt & then Callie told me whether or not she thought I would like it.

The ride along the ocean reminded me of Acadia Park in Maine, and the the fall colors are bright red and yellow like up at Devils Lake.

The color is changing already here because it is so far north.

Ikuya took us to a stone park where we met another Papillon- in a strawberry dress!

Then we went to eat at a shabu shabu restaurant where they bring you slices of meat and veggies that you cook at your table by dipping them in a pot.

Oishii.... DELICIOUS!

On the way out of the restaurant, the doors opened to a big party in the elevator with everyone singing and laughing.

What a fun country!


Hugs from Dad

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dad's first day at school and dinner at a student's house

On Monday, my dad came to my school!!! The students absolutely loved him. In one of our classes the students dressed him up in school uniform. (Sadly cause of privacy issues with my school I can't post pictures of him with the students....)

In another class my dad had me act like a dog as he taught the students dog commands in English.hahaha...

We had a lunch time party where over 40 students came to see his photos and hear his stories about America and trip to Japan.

After school he also joined in the tea ceremony! The students were giggling so much watching him as he tried to follow the strict rules of how to hold the cup, bow, etc... ;-)

On Tuesday he had the day to explore Sapporo on his own and then we went to a student's house for dinner ;-) She handmade New Year's sushi which were DEEEEELICIOUS and so beautiful! We also ate sukiyaki... YUM and loads of other dishes...

It was the mother's b-day the day before so we surprised her with b-day cakes and we sang Happy BIRTH day to her in Kenyan Sign Language ;-)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Walking Gon, Sapporo Art Park and Welcome Dinner

On Sunday we slept in after a crazy night in Susukino and then went for a walk with my neighbour's dog along the Toyohira river. The dog LOVED dad and even let him hold him when he got tired!

After our walk we headed over to Sapporo Art Park… passing by the Olympic Stadium and stopping over in Ishiyama park. There was a hippie fashion magazine shoot and we saw the cutest papillon in a strawberry dress!

We then went to see the building/museum that Ikuya designed in Sapporo Art Park. It was the one year anniversary for the museum so there was a small festival for kids!

We had a picnic in the park, wandered through the outdoor sculpture forest and then went over to my friend Mayumi’s house to see her baby Nana who was now almost 3 months old. She LOVED Dad!

In the evening we went to my Japanese teacher’s house for a welcome party for Dad. She was so sweet and let me invite some of the teachers from my school. They all brought over deeeelicious food. One of my teachers even brought a HUGE welcome cake!!!! YUM!!! Off to school tomorrow with Dad! ;-)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dad arrives in Sapporo!!! oh no!!!

For my Dad's first day in Hokkaido, Ikuya and I took him to Otaru - a pretty little canal/port town about 30 minutes outside of Sapporo.

Our first stop was for conveyor belt sushi!!! Raw fish was not a hit with my Dad so we ordered him some Shrimp Tempura, Egg sushi, cucumber rolls and soba noodles to fill him up.

He was AMAZED by the electronic plate counter which tallied up our bill at the end ;-)

After lunch my Dad loved wandering along the canal and window shopping in all of the glass, wood and music box stores.

We also made him pose in all the Hokkaido photo opp stations!!!

Yeah for bears and marimo!!!

We drove back to Sapporo just in time to make our reservation at a famous Nippon Ham Fighters Baseball Team Shabu Shabu Restaurant in Susukino. For more on the deeeelish swishing beef dish see my previous post:

After dinner, we went to take the elevator down, but when the doors opened it was PACKED full of a group of roudy elderly folk screaming for us to join them! My Dad said we would wait but they refused and starting screaming for us and cheering for us to get in!!!! we thought the elevator would drop from packing so many jumping roudy people in one little steel box.

We somehow survived the elevator disco then gave him a tour of Susukino… full of the susukino boys with big fancy hair, girls in short skirts and crazy fashion, and people dressed in animal costumes…

We also took him to one of my favorite stores - Don Quixote which is 5 floors jam packed with great crazy shopping. My Dad spotted these Jesus body pills... I guess if you take them you too can have a hot bod like Jesus did. ;-0

We also stopped to watch the street performers and buskers along Tanuki Koji shopping arcade.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 6 and 7 : Kobe

I haven't heard many people talk about Kobe... I think he's always being overshadowed by his neighbors Kyoto and Osaka.... but my Dad and I decided to go over and and see how he's doing...

I actually really like Kobe... its small enough so you can walk around to almost everywhere... the first afternoon there we wandered through Chinatown on our way down to the pier...

My dad was sooooo happy to finally find PEACH JUICE!!! but when I told him to try buying it on his own... he put in the 100 yen coin and pressed what?!?!? not peach juice - but MELON CREAM SODA!!! which is a sugar brain attack of sweetness and grossness... oh dear... i had to help him select peach juice. hahah

The pier area of Kobe was really nice. We walked along the water front and watched all the boats coming in. Then we explored the Mosaic Mall and sat outside along the pier for dinner. They had funky art exhibited all over the pier and my Dad was ecstatic to find a big Danish flag! hahaha...

I took my Dad into one of the many dog clothing stores... He was shocked at all the fancy outfits, beds, carriages and more you could buy for your pup!!! They had loads of costumes also... every disney character imaginable and every animal under the sun...

but one outfit will set ya back about $70!

how can you put a price on cuteness???

He was also shocked at the crepe stores. This picture only covers 1/3 of the possible crepe combos you can buy!!!

spicy sausage crepes, hotdog/mac n cheese crepes, tuna salad and corn crepes, raw salmon crepes, potato and hot dog crepes and MORE!!!!

too bad we already ate dinner ;-)

At the pier they also had an amusement park for kids.... i LOVED these big animals you could drive around like a car for 200 yen!!! soooo cute.

p.m. e-mail to mom

did you tell dad i didnt have a dryer???

he got the brilliant idea to do ALL his washing tonight at 9:30 but didnt realize that japanese dryers actually DONT DRY. so he was up til midnight trying to dry them. then hung his undies and clothes ALL OVER THE HOTEL ROOM. mom.. HELP!!!

Mom's reply:

Yes i did tell him you did not have a dryer and did not realize the ramifications.

good luck

Day 2 in Kobe

the next day in kobe my dad and I went over to the earthquake museum. my dad remembered teaching about the earthquake in his classes and raising money so he was really interested in going to the museum... they had great exhibits and videos and a virtual reality theatre which shook and reenacted the earthquake.

To finish up our trip we decided to have a relaxing afternoon at Arima onsen - the oldest hotspring town in Japan...

It was about a 40 minute bus ride north of Kobe... we made friends with a local on the bus who ended up staying with us all afternoon and was so kind and patient to show dad the ropes of how to use a Japanese onsen. hahahaha....

After a relaxing soak in the hot hot waters we walked around Arima and used the golden foot baths dotted around the town.

On the way home we spotted yet another purple haired granny!!!! she was so cool... then took the monorail out to Kobe airport to watch the sunset and catch our flight up to HOKKAIDO!!!!!! yeeeeee ha!!!

Day 6: Day 2 in Koya-san

We were woken up by a gong at 5:30am to go to the morning prayer service. We went into the main hall and sat seiza for an hour as we watched the two monks chant and go through the meditation. After the service we went straight for breakfast for another round of the vegetarian cuisine. I had to keep from laughing as I watched my Dad peek into all the bowls and lids trying to figure out what everything was.... yet again...

After breakfast we went back to the room to relax and enjoy our zen room with the beautiful garden view. We took our bags down to check out. My dad wandered as I checked out… and as my Dad was wandering the monk began to CHAT ME UP!!!! Huh?!?!?! Are monks supposed to do that? He started off by asking me if it was OK to ask a personal question… I said of course… and it started off ok… he wanted to know what I was doing, where I was living, etc… so I told him I was a High School English teacher in Sapporo, Hokkaido. He was amazed and then was telling me how bad his English was. He then proceeded to tell me that if he had a beautifuuuul English teacher like me, then he would be studying every minute of every day!!!! Umm…. It didn’t feel right coming from a monk! Then my Dad came over and he said… ooooh… this is your dad? He is also handsome. Now I know where you get your bright smile and good looks from. Oh deary me!!! Hahaha… He then was hinting he was coming up to Hokkaido… but that’s when we said our polite farewells and took off. hrmm...

We spent the morning strolling around and exploring the temple complexes and venturing inside of them... I absolutely loved Koya-san and would highly recommend anyone to go there for at least one night!