Saturday, December 29, 2007

Silent Night

On Christmas Eve I was able to go to Mass at the cathedral in Fukuoka with my Aussie friend and her Japanese mother, pictured here. Though the Mass was all in Japanese, some things still translate.

It was so beautiful at the end of Mass, when we all held candles and sung "Silent Night" (once again in Japanese, of course). Notice the lady in the veil there - it's common for the Japanese women to wear veils at Mass here. Of course I really missed being with Dad and Chris, and seeing/hearing Dad and the music group play, but, I managed to make it through. Maybe they can join me here next year :)

And, ahh, yes - the new traditional Christmas Eve dinner - yakiniku (grilled meat).

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Not only do people's hearts grow at Christmas, but so do Japanese apartments...well, mine must have, anyway! Yokatta! I was delightfully surprised to have so many people show up for my Christmas party on Sunday. The bus station manager, the man who runs the Hokka Hokka Tei shop, my eikaiwa students, my adopted Japanese moms, my crazy inakajin friend...even a handful of neighborhood kids showed up! In the top photo they're holding up the Christmas trees they colored, and then you can see them drawing AmpanMan, Santa and Christmas dinosaurs on my windows (with dry erase markers - thanks for that idea, Chris and Stacey - BRILLIANT).
I thought this shot was so cute. I was showing the kids how to trace a star - and they were just so eager. They made these really cool 3-D stars, which you see hanging from the curtain rod in the last photo. They reeeally liked decorating the stars with glitter glue....

Here's the whole gang! We ended with Christmas crackers, so I made the kids don the crowns and grabbed a picture of them in front of all their little Christmas projects that we did. If you look closely, you see a pink paper on the left - apparently they were excited about coming to my party, and they made this for me. It's a picture of me (with Japanese hair) and they wrote about how much fun they were going to have and they hoped I'd like their dance. Haven't yet seen the dance, but I'll let you know how that goes...

Monday, December 17, 2007

a Kanji a day...

I've tried something new at the bottom of the blog: a kanji learning tool.
For those of you who don't know, there are several components to the written Japanese language.
"Romaji" is romanized ("English") characters for the Japanese words.
The "kana" include 2 syllabic alphabets:
"Katakana" for words from other languages, especially English
"Hiragana" for words that come from Japanese or Chinese
"Kanji" characters are ideograms originally from the Chinese, many of which have multiple meanings and/or represent general ideas.

Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see a kanji character, the "readings" (how to pronounce it - but you need to know how to read the kana - sorry!), and some of the major meanings of the kanji. It'll be different each time you visit the page, so, enjoy! 頑張って、下さいGanbatte, kudasai!
(remember, you might have to set something in your alphabet settings on your computer if you see gibberish rather than really cool Japanese characters!)

At the 水族館("Suizokukan")

Hisashiburi desu! ("Long time no see!") I've finally returned from my trip to the States for Thanksgiving, etc. I was actually physically back last week, but I managed to limp through the whole week on auto pilot, and now I think I'm finally over the fog of all the traveling. I had to deal with a lot when I went "home", but I'm glad I went. I got to spend a lot of quality time with Dad, and on one of our outings he took me to the Georgia Aquarium ("suizokukan") in Atlanta. Subarashii desu, yo! I can't think of any better company for that little field trip; he's probably the reason for my affinity for sea creatures. Dad knows just about everything about all the stuff that lives there, so it was nice to have a personal tour guide. :)