Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shhhh...don't let their moms know I'm going to take these cuties back to the States with me! They were so adorable as they worked hard to trace their hands and feet to make these.
(but, yes, they had help with cutting them out).

Well, I hope your turkey is plump and juicy,
that your gravy is just right,
that your stuffing is as stuffing should be (?)
and that you can hug your family tight!

OK! OK! I'm stopping, I'm stopping! more Dr. Seuss for me...
but seriously, cheers!
And a big THANK YOU to all of you who read this & make comments,
THANK YOU to all of you who send me letters & care packages!
I hope you know that it's because of you that I'm
strong enough to do what I do here.
You have really been there for me, and I truly appreciate it!
Happy Thanksgiving!

PS - have fun with the little Thanksgiving food survey
I set up over in the left margin there ;)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My kyoto sensei is an artist!

Wow! I had the neatest experience last week. In my Japanese painting class, I'm working on designing and doing my own nengajo (New Year's card). People send nengajo out at the end of the year and I believe they are all delivered on New Year's Day.
My teacher gave me a list of kichigo ("lucky/good fortune" expressions) and in deciding on which to use for my card, I asked the Japanese teachers here at school for their recommendation. Suddenly they got the kyoto sensei (assistant principal) involved, and he started showing me books he's made of all the inkan (stone/wood carved stamp or seal) he's done!

Here are some of his designs - oh - sorry - I forgot to put in something for a reference to the size of these. They're quite small, these are at most about 5cm that makes them really difficult to carve!

I don't know what these say, but I'll print out this page for Kyoto sensei, and maybe he'll make a response... :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

just hangin' around...

The other day I rode my bike up to Omura (about an hour ride along the coast) to take a really wild dance class. I'm sure there will be another post about the class at a later date once I catch my breath...
Anyway, on the way home I saw some of these persimmons (kaki) hanging, and I can only assume they were doing this to make hoshi kaki. I wondered if the person who did it realized what an excellent example of a complementary color scheme this is!

Here are the hoshi kaki 'in context'. I love all the colors. Notice the basket on the right - that's all the peels. It looks like they used some kind of fishing basket, which would make sense, since this house is nestled right in a little fishing neighborhood right on Omura Bay.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hoshi kaki & Mogura

So one of the otoshiyori is campaigning hard to be my Japanese boyfriend. Heh! No, the furry guy below isn't a picture of him! This morning after I did my little run and joined up with my friends, my wanna-be suitor handed me these 2 shrivelled things wrapped in plastic. Fortunately it wasn't the first time I'd seen hoshi kaki (persimmon that have been 'dried' while they hang on a line - you can even see part of the tie on the left one), so I didn't think he was really trying to be a dirty old man. (but the jury's still out on that one!). I like kaki - but prefer them when they are hard and ripe - this version is a little too sweet for me. But they're generally perceived as beautiful objects as seen drying on the line.
So once I was settled with my kaki, another man pulls out a sizable dead mouse/rat and gingerly picks it up and asks me if I've seen one....WHAT?

No one else seemed remotely concerned...the ladies even seemed to think it was CUTE (remember, I've seen some of them FREAK OUT over a moth that got trapped in a room). Upon closer examination, I realized it was not what I'd thought, it was actually a mole! Apparently they're quite rare in these parts, and I don't know why he had it, but I (hopefully) graciously declined his offer to give it to me to bring to school...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

my fans

One of these days I may, just may, begin to like running...but for now, I really count on my smiling supporters I see every morning at the sports park. I've been dragging myself out there most mornings before school to run, and afterwards I try to practice my Japanese with the otoshiyori ("elderly people") who gather at the park every morning to do rajio taiso (an exercise routine set to music that is broadcast every morning). I happened to see these extra fans on my run this morning ;)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

snail mail

I love getting real pieces of mail. Some of you reading this are reeeally good about feeding my mailbox every now and then, and I reeeeally appreciate it. When I was at university, my mom wrote me all the time, and it really made me feel grounded. Today is her birthday (I'll be celebrating by throwing a "ChocoChoco Party" on Saturday - you're welcome to come! I figured it was a good way to rationalize eating a bunch of chocolate without feeling overwhelmed with guilt). I kind of wished I could have used one of these pretty gold stamps on a birthday card to Mom, but at this point she'd probably tell me not to waste postage and just have a bit of chocolate for her :)

ps - I scanned this one, so you can click on it and see it clearly on the enlarged photo

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I ordered some pumpkins for my students & the neighborhood kids this year and they had a great time carving them. Everyone was so surprised that these pumpkins are hollow! So cute! I think they first thought something was wrong with them!

Here are the little ones tasked with the job of finding & cleaning all the seeds, while big brother and sisters were designing their jack-o-lantern faces. If they're lucky, they might even get some of those seeds back roasted...but they're reeeeally tasty, so I don't know! ;-0