Work Humor

These magnets are on the cupboard in the staff room. The photocopy lady says she put them there because Japanese teachers “never have time for smiling.”

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Japan’s Weird Food: Mini Kiwi

I love the food in Japan. LOVE IT. Usually it is delicious and healthy and interesting. Of course, there are some things missing like cheese (CHEESE!) and healthy breads and ethnic foods such as Italian, Greek and Mexican, but over all it is fabulous.

That said, there is some weird stuff available here. Some delicious, some not. Hopefully I can share some of these things with you!

First up: Mini Kiwis – these may not be so weird, but I’ve never seen them before, so there’s that!

These are delicious and if they weren’t so expensive. ($4 for a box) I would be purchasing them all the time to eat. Excellent both plain and mixed in yoghurt! The other thing about food in Japan, especially fruit, is that it is often available for a limited time only… so I’ll be eating as much as I can before it disappears off the shelf.

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Learning Ikebana

We found a place in Chikugo where we can go and learn Ikebana, the art of flower arrangement. It’s a traditional art that has been around for 500 years and although we don’t understand most of what the teacher says, it’s quite relaxing and interesting!

Here’s my first attempt.

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Planning a trip to China!

It’s down time here at work, the students are all in exams, and I have only two more lessons per class until the end of February.  I probably should be using this time to study Japanese, but instead, I am planning a trip to China!

Yeah, that's right, I have a Barbapapa Schedule Book!

At the end of April, beginning of May, there are four national holidays in Japan, and they call this week ‘Golden Week’. For golden week we are going with some friends to China! So far on the itinerary:

Tiananmen Square

The Forbidden City

Olympic sites – Bird’s Eye Stadium!

The Great Wall

Terracotta Warriors

and of course, FOOD!

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Dazaifu Tenman-gu

The most famous shrine in Fukuoka is Dazaifu’s Tenman-gu shrine – dedicated to the God of learning and built on his grave. Ever year thousands of students come to rub the horns of a lucky bull, buy omamori, good luck charms, and pray for good studying and good grades. We went to visit just as the plum blossoms, Fukuoka’s prefectural flower, were blooming. Beautiful!

Plum blossoms at Dazaifu

As you approach the shrine you cross a pond built in the shape of the Japanese character for heart. The two bridges signify past and future, and you apparently shouldn’t walk over them with your current boy or girlfriend, as it leads to the end of relationships. Whoops.

Dazaifu is also home to the Kyushu national museum, where we saw the visiting exhibit on Van-Gogh.


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Bloom culture in Japan

White Plum Blossoms

In the spring when the cherry blossoms pop out, Japanese people have large “cherry blossom viewing parties” or hanami. While hanami season is not quite here yet, the plum blossoms are already sprouting and I think they are super beautiful!

Pink Plum Blossoms at Dazaifu Shrine


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