Friday, September 30, 2005

No cat left behind!!

Today went to the self-defense navy english conversation class...and as the two officers who came pick me up pulled out of the city hall parking lot, we were right at this intersection...and they saw this tiny little kitty cat right by the side of the road. It was quite scary, almost any moment that any car could just run over that little cat. The two officers were debating whether they should save that cat or not...and 5 seconds later, the officer who was driving pulled over by the side and then both of them went over to pick up that cat, and then contemplated whether they should put it in the garden of the house nearby or they should leave it in the bushes... and after about 10 min, they came back and we resumed to the navy base.. that's about the silliest, but the coolest thing! Yeah huh! they're the military men~~

Daniela brought me some macoroni and cheese from U.S. of A, and I finally cooked it the other day. Man, doesn't it look awesome?! I actually couldn't finish it all, so had to put half of it in the freezer... so I can eat it whenever ;)

It's funny how one bite of the mac n' cheese can trigger all the memory of 1st year in UofA, 3rd floor of MacKenze Hall... ah~ the good ol' days. The smell of margarine and cheese, all remind me of the crazy time I spent with the 3rd Mac people in 1998 and 99. Good times~

Was watching "Wonder Boys" (with Michael Douglas, Robert Downey Jr--when he was off the drugs, temperarily, Tobey Mcguire and Katie Holmes)... hee hee it was hilarious! I love the scene that when Michael Douglas's character started making up stories with Robert Downey Jr. when they saw a guy with interesting haircut and other things... I gotta try it at least one time. hee hee~~

Ah... have been working a little too much lately... today after the self-defense navy english conversation class, I got back to the city hall around 7:30pm so I could continue making signs for the world music festival this Saturday. I've been working frantically on the programme, posters, signs, stuffing envelopes and stuff... just so we could get the event rolling. My supervisor is too busy working on other things, so I am the only person who can do all these stuff. Worked until 9pm and my stomach was just growling terribly...then I remembered that I hadn't had supper :p I just had to leave... and there was my sup Kawahara san, working alone on that floor. Poor guy... But, good news! Next year when we do the merger, I won't go outside of the city hall as previous rumours suggested. Apparently they are gonna make an office for the International Exchange section on the 6th floor next to the Board of Education. So, that'll make all the "I need to go see Sandy for something" for the ALTs a bit easier~ hee hee. Oh, and probably less people in that room too, less pressure from people watching you while you work :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

So I suppose now I gotta do census in Japan too?!

Okay... now... I never liked it when I had to answer all these questions for Statistics Canada, and I thought doing it the same for the Japanese census would be just as annoying... hmm actually quite surprised that it was painlessly short. hee hee... however it includes questions like how big is your house... and they want like the exact square metres... I only gave them the approximate figure. How am I supposed to know...? Not like I was ever gonna measure it... ;p Anyway~ The people who are supposed to distribute the census papers are mostly from the city hall. I thought it would be somebody I know, but then hey, there are more than 600 people employed in the city hall, guess I wouldn't know them all ;)

Have been watching "Lost" season 1 these days and am, again, seriously addicted. I think sit com is out... and drama is so very in right now hee hee~ However, so many shows are just not the same anymore. Like "Gilmore Girls"... Seriously, I am SO not liking the show. If they don't fix it I might just stop watching it all together... but let's hope that it won't come to that.

The new season of "The Apprentice" is just so strange... everybody's so beautiful and apparently very successful in their own ways. And the people have gotten so fake that I can barely see the "reality" in the show anymore...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

This time I got it right!

SO, last night marks my second appearance on the Osumi Flash for KTS TV Station... 4 other volunteer staff in the KIEA and I were on TV last night to promote our event coming up next Saturday 10/1, the World Music Festival (starting from 2pm to 5pm... in case any of you are wondering *wink*).

I taped it but didn't remember to watch it when it was aired... Higashi san sent me an e-mail and said that she watched it,... then I remembered to rewind my tape and watch it. Hmmm actually turned out quite good and my voice sounded alot happier than last time when we did the Ajisai Matsuri.

Yume-chan couldn't hold any of the boards (too little) so she just stood next to me and look cute while I was reading off the script. She's so cute... and if you talk to her she would just say whatever it is that she wants to say, doesn't matter if it's related to what you were talking to her about or not. hee hee~

Speaking of kids... on Thursday morning, I went to this other daycare centre... and I got LICKED!! by a girl. At first she was grabbing my hand and kept saying:"Sandy sensei," and I was distracted at the time... and then sure enough, I felt this wet streak from my wrist all the way to my elbow... ewwww... Seriously, I'm NOT a lollipop! And when I quickly pulled my left arm back, she was gonna go for the right arm too! geez... I just got away as soon as I could.

Oi, kids...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Addicted to reading recaps?? Who would've thought?!

Yes, so these days I've been reading what the glorious recappers have been writing in the "TWoP (Television Without Pity)" about shows that I'm watching. It's almost sinful to read about the sarcastic comments that they wrote in the recaps... hee hee but it's just too funny to pass. Since Mike is gone, I need someone to give me that dose of American sarcasm with class. My favourite recapper is Miss Alli who handles the three most popular shows, "The Apprentice," "The Amazing Race," and the "Survivor." She was also the same person who wrote that great blog entry that Medea had linked on her page... Oh what the hey, I might as well linked it here. It was a blog entry about the lack of humanity shown by President Bush when confronted with the Hurricane Katrina. Miss Alli ain't one to take no s**t.

Went to school visit in Oaira Elementary school and I can honestly say that I'm just spent. So tired that as soon as I came home I took a shower just to feel a bit less tired. I started sweating as soon as I arrived the school and began to change into my "indoor shoes" (I never understand that idea of indoor shoes in schools because frankly it's just as dirty inside the classrooms as out in the school ground. But hey I'm just a foreigner, who am I to judge, eh?).

Anyways today's school lunch was packed with carbohydrates that I am gonna regret eating at all. It was a huge roll of bread (white, I might add), some warm spaghetti with random veggies and bacon pieces (all steamed), and some of that black veggie hijiki with some other veggie salad. Other than the hijiki salad, I didn't quite enjoy the bread or the spaghetti at all. It was too much. I think so far the best kyushoku (school lunch) would have to be either that Haraigawa Elementary when they had the Tanabata Cake for July 7th, or that nice curry (very sweet) I had at the City Daycare Centre. hmmm can't decide which one...

I played soccer (actually, just watched or rather coached) with the 3rd graders. They listened to my advice and scored 2 goals. It was quite good except I was sweating furiously and feeling a bit dizzy because of the sun. Man it was scorching hot today! Seriously, it's almost October, and there's just no cooling down!

Taught the kids how to say father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister...etc. It was all good and the kids recognized the Simpsons pictures (idea courtesy of Daniela!) from the CC Lemon labels (Don't ask me why the CC lemon drinks company used the simpsons... maybe because they're both yellowy..??) And they could almost all say how many brother or sister that they have. Most of the kids have more than 1 siblings, and I'm intrigued that most of them have brothers... quite alot in fact. So does that mean Kagoshima, or just Kanoya people have more boys than girls?? wow, that's quite impressive.

Now I have a headache and simply falling asleep at the keyboard. What's wrong with me?

Maybe it's the weather... or maybe it's my body telling me that it's time to get out of Kanoya again..?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

When the weather outside is frightful...

... you drink some shochu at town hall~~

hee hee that's exactly what happened in Fukuoka on the 6th when typhoon #14 hit Kyushu, two kacho (division director) were drinking shochu in the town hall, and then the vice director joined in as well... when they were supposed to be manning the phone and make sure that they're ready to respond to any emergency. After that the superintendant of the BOE saw the fun and just had joined in. Then the town mayor walked by, saw the otsumami (snack to go with alcoholic drinks) and nibbled a bit too. The town mayor claimed that he didn't know they were drinking shochu (Just how do you NOT know that they were drinking shochu?? the smell can't be ignored!) SO all of them are punished... (no idea how they were gonna do that) and the town mayor will have his salary deducted.

(if you can read Japanese, here's the link.)

Rumour has it that "some oyaji" in my city hall did the same thing... hmmm... interesting...

Anyways, am really glad that hockey season is gonna start AGAIN soon!! I know that I can't watch the games here, but it's good to know that NHL will be back. GO OILERS GO!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

If one more person ask me...

...whether I'm voting for Koizumi or not... I swear... arrrgh!! SO many people around the office asked me if I am gonna vote tomorrow for the Japanese election.

Seriously guys, you've gotta be kidding me, right? I mean, it's one thing to forget that I'm not Japanese because I look Asian, but that can't mean that I have voting rights too!! After I replied:"no, that would be silly. How is it possible for a person to vote when don't have citizenship in that country?" Then they just said:"Why not? You live in Japan!"


I suppose they're somehow right. There are so many foreigners living in Japan, and in some ways we are entitled to make our voice heard. I mean, sure for those of us who are only staying for a couple of years, I guess that doesn't matter... but what about the Zainichi Chinese and Zainichi Koreans! They were mostly born in Japan, and some of them can even only speak Japanese... They should have the same rights after they turn 20. They shouldn't have to carry the alien registration card like us the actual gaijins...

The other day I was reading Japan Times and an article mentioned that some of the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party in which the PM Koizumi is the leader) members in the Diet were trying to pass this bill to force all foreigners coming or currently residing Japan to carry the alien registration card that is an IC card which would have ALL our personal information, including our name, birthdates, nationality, visa number, passport number, school or employment status, and whatnots. If that happens, I'm outta here. Despite how many Japanese people think that you can just marry a Japanese person to become Japanese, I know better. (Jenn, I'm sure you do too.)

Anyways... today's Saturday... while there were a few schools having their sports day (the Tasaki-sho had theirs and it was friggin loud! I heard so many pop songs but it was all echoing around the neighbourhood. Quite annoying. And then once in awhile you would hear the election trucks passing through with their annoucement adding to the "excitement."

Went to this yakitori place just off the Internet cafe place with Rina, Joe, Nanette and Alyson (she's this girl who teaches at a local engish school. from the states. Really cool gal~). After awhile Nha-thy came and joined us too. It was a nice change from all the nomihodai and tabehodai. It's seriously bad for your diet...

Especially I went to a nomikai with my office last night too. And I gotta tell ya, it was a weird thing... And I discovered that Japanese men (esp. Kyushu men) can dish it out but they can't take it in. Maybe it's just my co-worker... but seriously... you gotta grow up! Geez!

Yeah, marrying a Japanese man. That'll happen... not :p

Friday, September 09, 2005

Typhoon #14...

I felt terrible for escaping to Nagoya when there was typhoon coming. But we had decided on the expo trip long time ago and I simply can't change… and you think I wouldn't have loved to stay at home when not having to go to work?! I would love to sleep away half a day and then wake up to watch some DVDs.

On the morning of the expo day, I even got a phone call from my section chief (kakari cho) and he sounded really worried: "Sandy, the storm is very strong so don't come outside. Just stay home today, okay?" I was standing in front of the bus terminal and waiting for Aki and Tanicchi with Nami, and felt extremely guilty as I told him: "actually, I'm in Nagoya right now…" He was shocked but relieved that I wasn't in Kanoya. After that I kept getting e-mails from friends in Tokyo, family in Canada and Taiwan calling to see if I was alright. Apparently the Typhoon # 14 was quite famous even in Canada. My mom was so worried that she called many times even after I told her that I wouldn't be back until Wednesday.

This time the typhoon was serious, and at least 5 people were confirmed dead because the landslide in Tarumizu. I became really worried after watching the TV news when I was in Gifu (couldn't book any hotel in Nagoya so had to stay in Gifu), so I started e-mailing all the ALTs to see if they were alright. It was good to know that they were mostly fine, except for some blackouts.

I guess this tells us that we probably shouldn't joke about not having much typhoon this year… as how natural disasters are… they caught us off guard when we least expected.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Aichi Expo 2005

WARNING: If you haven't been to the Aichi Expo or would prefer not to know what are inside the pavilions or anything that goes on in there… please skip this entry. Oh and the entry might be a bit too long for some…

On Sunday morning, I boarded the airplane from the Kagoshima Airport and therefore escaped from the crazy typhoon #14 (there will be another entry for the typhoon). After I landed in Chubu International Airport (Centrair), I was overwhelmed by how hot it was. It wasn't much of the sunny and sweaty hot in Kag, but those really irritating humid, wet kind of hot.

Maybe it's because of the sudden increase of people flooding into the city for the expo, the garbage on the streets increased as well. Last time I came it was at least clean, but this time… ah…

Then I met up with Aki and Tanicchi for supper, had some nice yakitori and great agedashi tofu (it tasted almost like cheese!). We decided to get up early in the morning and meet again at the bus centre at 7:45 to board the shuttle bus to the Expo. The ticket was 1500 yen for roundtrip, about 200 yen more than the price for taking Rinimo shuttle train. (But, we were glad to have taken the shuttle bus because we were all able to sit, whereas if you take the train, there's a possibility that you would have to stand or rather squeeze with other people for 35 minutes or so.)

Next morning, Nami and I were so excited to see each other we chatted on the bus the whole time, but Aki and Tanicchi decided to catch some sleep (after they were late for the meeting time, and they blamed it on the typhoon…)
(LEFT: Nami and I posing in front of the Korean pavilion which was one of the most popular pavilions in the Expo. Becauese the Han-ryu Boom [Korean Craze] that's going on, many people in Japan are suddenly very much interested in Korea.

After we got off the bus, there were people herding us to the entrance… It was only 8:30 am, and we were already lining up to get in. It was at that point, Aki said that we'd better give up any hope for getting in the Toyota group, because there's no way we would be able to get in with this number of crowd. And sure enough, when we got in, there was already a long line of about 100 people lining up to get the ticket for reservation of Toyota group.

We first lined up to see the Orange Hall + Mammoth Lab. I already made reservation for it, but then Nami and Aki wanted to see it too, so we all went anyway. Before we got into the Orange Hall, they gave us this card with small pokey edge that has a hold for listening and we were to get the magnetic strip side facing all the red bars on the ceiling so we can hear explanation about each exhibit. The Orange Hall also had a high definition show of many beautiful places in Japan. Kyoto and Mt. Fuji were of course expected, but then suddenly I saw a rocket launch scene… hmmm it can't be?! And sure enough, it was our Kagoshima's Tanegashima Space Centre!! I was surprised that Yakushima was not on there, but oh well. After that we lined up to see all the interesting knickknacks that were collected from the Moon (the moon rock brought back by Apollo 17), and some technology used to navigate on the Moon. When we walked by the real size model of Mammoth, the lady there held up a sign for those people's ticket number ended with 06 or 80 can get a free photo postcard with the Mammoth. It turned out that Aki's ticket number ended with 80 so all four of us stood in front of the Mammoth as the lady who took our picture said:"Manmosu (Mammath in Japanese)" and we said:"Daisuki" ("We love it"). Aki promised to scan the photo and send it to us… We'll see how long it would take~ hee hee.
(LEFT: A musical performance in the Mongolian Pavilion. The big cello kinda like instrument is called "Matochin 馬頭琴" and we actually have a small one in our Museum in Kanoya! It was nice to watch it live. There was also a video montage of Mongolian Fashion show. Really cool stuff.)

Although we all gave up on the corporate pavilions, I did manage to make reservation for the Mitsui-Toshiba pavilion so Tanicchi and I went there when Nami and Aki went to line up for the Korean Pavilion (which was quite nice too I heard). The Mitsui-Toshiba was like a "futuristic casting system" where they take CG pictures of all of us and then put our faces on the characters, hence the futuristic casting. There were so many rules on how to put your face correctly so you can be photographed, and also to make sure there's no hair or glasses… I couldn't get my bangs out of the way, but then there's nothing I could do. Then we watched this short movie completely done by CG. The story line is basically how a crew living on this new planet found a sound echoing in the galaxy (which was the sound of ocean) but couldn't figure out what it was. Then they decided to go back and look for the source of the sound. And then encounter this mysterious girl who… (I had no idea what was going on because we were too busy looking for oursevles on screen.) Anyways, so there's the film with our group's people's faces on the characters!! It took me awhile to figure out where I was, but then I was surprised that I didn't realize it sooner! I was the girl who stands next to the Captain of the crew. And I had a nice sexy voice J hee hee But too bad we couldn't figure out where Tanicchi was. Either he didn't photograph well or we just completely missed him. The funny part about it was that a little boy (about 5 years old) had a sticker on his face. It was not a teeny tiny sticker, but a HUGE square one. So as his face appeared on the screen, everyone laughed while he was like:"あれ?あれ?" ("huh??") wondering why he was on the screen. And his character actually was quite big in the film too…lots of speaking. Hee hee it was hilarious.

The rest of the time we spent mostly going to the global pavilion. The Asia one was mostly comprised of souvenir booths. We went to the Yemen pavilion ONLY because Aki saw the TV program introducing Aichi Expo and that the Yemen people are "great" sales people. They would just put bracelets, rings and other things on your hands, and when you said you are not interested, they would just keep putting on more as you take the others off. Eventually, some people couldn't escape and ended up buying some things they might regret when they get home. Nami and I went in and started walking around, then this guy extended his hands holding this shiny bracelets and motioned to put it on my wrist. I quickly put my hands behind my back and shook my head. He kept saying:"Kawaii, Kawaii" ("cute" in Japanese) to Nami and I, but we just shook our head and said thank you then walked away.

To show my Canadian Pride, we also went to the Canadian Pavilion and checked it out. It was actually a lot better than what I expected. Heather had told me that it was kinda abstract and some people might not appreciate it. But I thought it was quite fitting for Canada. We lined up for about 30 minutes and then got in to stand in front of this wall of mesh. Then the show began with music and rainfalls, basically sound of nature. With visuals of northern lights, the Rockies, and the Niagara. After that we moved a bit to the other side and then watched another big screen introducing 6 ordinary Canadians (they said ordinary people, but I know better…) from Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax and Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) and their daily lives. One thing that's interesting to me was that the Charlottetown person was the lady who plays Anne in the "Anne of the Green Gable" musical play in PEI. Hee hee very Canadian indeed! After the show, we went into the other room full of computers with further info for the 6 cities and the 6 people. Then there were lots of postcards of Canadian nature for people to take. (yes, free!) I couldn't find my friend Teanna who was probably not working on that day. And I heard the rumor that if you told them you're Canadian, you can get a pin too… well, I did mention that I'm from Vancouver, but then there's no pin giving out… :p

Most of the popular pavilions were all full of people lining up. Nami (who had been to Germany 4 times and studied German) really wanted to get in the Germany one, but the waiting time was like 2 and a half hours just to get in. Too bad it was Theresa's day off, otherwise we would've gotten in with "connection" and enjoyed one of the few rides available in the Expo. We went to the Ireland one, which was quite nice too. Photos of Irish greens and the lambs… Also the Celtic crosses were there for people to take photos with. Then we lined up to see this short film introducing Ireland and the natural habitat…etc. We waited for about 25 minutes, but it was well worth it. I don't mean that the film was interesting (well, not bad), but the sitting was REALLY relaxing especially after walking all day long. It was like a couch, but then reclining so you can see the film projected onto the ceiling, and the speaker was right next to your ears (but Nami used her speaker as a pillow). The position was so nice and relaxing and soothing celtic music was playing in the background with the narration. We were too relaxed to hear what the narrator was talking about. Aki fell asleep (couldn't blame him) and woke up with a jolt for some reason, hence woke up Tanicchi who was also sleeping next to him.

We also went to the UK pavilion and it was quite interest as they have many biotechnology on how to observe nature and how to preserve the nature and all that stuff. They have hands-on things for you to play. Like a virtual book that you can just put your hand on the virtual page and do a page turning motion, the page will follow your hand and move on to the next page. (like the photo on the right!) The souvenir shops sold some tea and biscuits and stuff… but then they were mostly made in Japan (actually I think they were ALL made in Japan so what's the point of buying them there in the pavilion, right?)

Yeah the food… Since there was no outside food allowed in the Expo, we all had to buy lunch and supper inside. We had chicken curry with nan at the Indian Pavilion and supped at the main food court. I bought bibimba in the Korean booth… and it was only okay. The egg was very well done and there was no meat whatsoever. Hmmm… should've gotten bulgogi, at least it would've been hot.

We also went to the Italian one which exhibits some artworks and also the Italian brands... (most Japanese OL can relate to, easily) There was also this statue that was only on exhibit in this expo before it would go into storage or some repair or touchup or whatever... and then we walked in this room smelled REALLY nice... while we were walking, there was this little girl who stretched out her hands to touch this car shell... and her father jokingly said:"Miss, please refrain from eating the exhibit." And that's when I realized, "OMG! This car shell is made of CHOCOLATE!!!" No wonder it smelled so good!! hee hee leave it to the Italians to make an autobody into gourment~

Overall, it was a great experience, and I couldn't have enjoyed it more if I hadn't gone with my old friends from Shizuoka University, Aki, Tanicchi and Nami. They were awesome and we pretty much just had fun ourselves. The rain was never a problem, except when there were a couple of times I was very close to being poked in the eyes :p) Good time, man, Good time...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Well, isn't this ironic...

Okay okay, I know that Alanis Morisette had the meaning of "ironic" all wrong in her song, but I just think this is kinda the same thing she was getting at in her lyrics..

As I'm preparing to go the Aichi Expo (FINALLY!), guess what I see when I was watching TV news weather forecast? A TYPHOON!! great.. so it's gonna rain all day, plus a slight chance that my flight might even be cancelled because of the storm. FANTASTIC...

Well, I don't really have a choice, just gonna go to the airport tomorrow and see how it goes. Oh and I wrote 40 postcards (by hand...) to register for the Satsuki to Mei no Ie house that was in Totoro movie... no reply, so I guess I didn't get it. I probably used up all my luck when I got the tickets to see the DCT concert... oi..

Last night a bunch of us Kanoya JETs and some other friends from Miyazaki, juku teachers... we got together at Weiss and had a few drinks. It was good time~ I like that bar, such a nice little place with great music videos playing in the background and some blacklights to make your shirts and drinks glow.

These days I've been cutting comic strip clippings and getting them off internet... thinking of making a English conversation class with some comic strips. They're nice and short. Mostly they don't use big words, so pretty much like daily conversation type of English.

Oh yeah, the other day I got told that a lady complained that a girl picked up the phone and didn't reply "Otsukaresama desu, Osewa ni narimasu." blah things they always say when they call... okay, so there's not many female around and the only person who would do that is just me... Well I was told that I should answer it no matter what. But in my defense, they were talking so freaking quickly, the best I could do is to listen intently of who they wanna talk to and then just transfer the call. heck, if I say that WHILE they were saying the name of the person they wanna talk to, how would I know whom to transfer the call to??!! Anyways... after that I'm just gonna say it no matter what... just to prove that I can do it... although it's just stupid... if I've never talked to them, how do they "osewa ni naru" me??

Well that concludeds today's rant... tomorrow morning I'm off to Nagoya, to meet up with Tanicchi, Aki and Nami. We're going to see the EXPO!!!!!

oh... gotta pack my umbrella too...