Friday, June 30, 2006

Our computer is down for the count

After a number of months of stretching out the life of our laptop, it seems to have decided that the world really is too troubling to interact with. Fortunately, I just barely managed to save my final assignment for my course ont a memory key before it really began siezuring. Averatec seems to distribute decent screens, keyboards, touchpads and ... well, other stuff, but if our 3200hx is a normal case, they seem to prefer flaky DVD/CD drives, and like hard-drives with motivational difficulties and notable amnesia. I`m hoping we can get away with just getting a new hard drive for it (I hope the problem is that simple), and just live with the CD/DVD issues.

If you`ve been trying to email us, then our responses may be even more erratic than they were before, as we`ll have to access internet in free moments at work instead.

Oh, yeah, and tomorrow we`ll hopefully get up on some waves down on Ikumi beach. It`ll be fun, either way.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

' The heat is on. . . . . The heat is o o o o o o onnnnn

So, I started my 'who needs hot water' season today. After arriving last year, I don't think I used any hot water (notably for showers, but in fact we didn't have the heater on) until we were well into September.

Yesterday, I was talking to Aaron on MSN, when he mentioned that it was 32C back in Vancouver. I chuckled to myself, thinking how nice it was that I was enjoying the non-humid 25-ish degree weather here. Well, this morning, our alarm went off at 6:40 AM, and I looked at the clock, which also displays the temperature. It was 25 C at 6:40 in the freaking morning. Humidity was right up, and I saw the temperature shown as 33 C on some local bridges (pretty much every bridge has a big display to show the temperature - useful for the 2 days every 3 years or so that something might freeze in winter, but otherwise, it's nice to generally be aware of the temperature - for complaining and/or bragging, I'd imagine).

Anyway, today was my lucky day to go to a local kindergarten. The nice thing about Jr. High Schools is that the staff room is often air-conditioned. Well, kindergartens are not, and the kids don't like being still too much. It was fun, but man was I sweating and ... basting.

After that, I got to drive my portable oven (Well, at least until the AC helped bring things to a tolerable level) to a cell-phone shop, to try and figure out why my phone had suddenly gone into hermit mode - not wanting to communicate with anyone. I got a svelt white loaner with pink detailing, so now at least I can look cool when I pull it out to use the stopwatch in class.

Anyway, with a number more errands to do, I baked and cooled many times (the buildings were all AC-ed!) that now I think I must have a good temper. No-one has ever really said I was 'edgey' - but now at least I may be able to hold whatever edge I do have.
(note from Julia: Ben is making a joke. I had to ask him about it, but metal is heated and cooled to form it. Well tempered metal is strong and not brittle, able to hold an edge. Kudos to you if you got it before my note!)

In other good news, my final exam for my distance course is now booked, and the whole thing will soon be over!

Well, I feel all blogged out now.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hello Kitty

This was the Hello Kitty dance show at Universal Studios.

I love events that are based on food!

(Happy Birthday Mom and Bekah!)

It's been a busy weekend. Saturday we planned to go to the local beach to clean up garbage with Ben's Eikaiwa group. We thought it started at 11, but at 10:20 we got a call saying they were on the beach. Turns out it ended at 11, and we got there in time to catch the end of the closing ceremony, and have a juice box. Anyways, the point we were looking forward to was the after BBQ. So we feasted on not only our home made burgers, but the full Japanese BBQ experience as well-small beef cuts, chicken, prawns, cabbage, egg plant, mushrooms, onions, etc, all thrown on the grill.

After going home and getting in a nap, we got ready to go to Tokushima city for Ingrid's Birthday party. Ingrid is a kareoke bar owner in the city, and is a favourite of the foreign (and some Japanese) people here. She organizes a lot of parties for all of us, including a great Halloween party last October.She also is amazing at remembering everyone's names, and takes an active interest in us. She's pretty much the Queen of Tokushima, and we went to celebrate her. It also gave us a good excuse to dress up, which we don't often get!

This morning we went to a Bangladesh cooking class. The teacher was a student at the local Techinical College who is from Bangladesh, and we had an amazing chicken currey and a mutton rice dish. It was wonderful, although all the instructions and recipies were in Japanese, so I didn't get the recipe to make at home. Too bad.

Now we are having some nice down time, (lazy sunday). Because it is the rainy season, it's been pouring the last few days, and it's a curl up and take a nap sort of afternoon. Conviently, rainy season is only in June, and the beaches officially open July 1st. And then.. Typhoon season! Yay!

On another note, we've been having some issues with the header image. It shows up great at home, but not so much at our school's computers. Please leave me a comment and let me know if it shows up-always-sometimes-never for you. (if you never get it, it is a picture of hills and terraced rice fields).
(edit: the top picture should work now, but it seems we can only get 1 picture to work.. and now the bottom one doesn`t)
Cheers, and have a good weekend.

Monday, June 19, 2006

so that's how they make sashimi!

Wow! we just went for sushi at our local sushiya. We had a wonderful meal and mentioned to eachother how fresh the fish tasted, which brought about the conversation of how one would cut a fish, say, camping, as to enjoy its full raw freshness. (it makes me feel a bit like gollum from lord of the rings... "don't cook it, you're wrecking it!!") (also, one should not eat freshwater fish raw, only seawater fish is ok) As we were paying, a guy comes out with a net to the large fish tank in the entrance. He picked out one of the smaller (10 inches) fish, and took it behind the counter. Anticipating a lesson in sashimi, we quickly shifted over to the window in the wall, firmly blocking the doorway for the cashier who was stuck on the wrong side of the counter because of us. The sushi chef firmly held down the flapping fish, and within 3 cuts had one side of the fish's flesh off. three more and the fish was nothing but head, bones, and tail. Weirldy though, the mouth was still opening and closing (trying to 'breathe') and the tail would flap now and then. I stood there watching, mouth hanging open at the swiftness of his deft strokes. And the kitchen staff stood there chuckling at me gawking at the process! I'm sure they enjoyed the show of my expressions as much as I enjoyed seeing how they cut up the fish!

In response to our last post, the video, Ben showed it to one of his Japanese co-workers, who confirmed our suspitions that the subtitles is in fact what the people are saying, and no, it was not funny to her. "Probably funny to a foreigner though" she said.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

After 10.5 months here, we've only now learned that the whole "traditional Japanese food" thing is a hoax. Unfortunatly we had to learn it by coming across a video on the internet. (did you REALLY think they ate RAW fish? come ON!)
click here: the bitter truth

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Teaching English is serious business you guys..

My mom wanted a picture of us up, so here it is. It`s from April, from the cherry tree party in Tokushima.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Just to make you feel at home, ...

I figured I'd post something here just to make you feel at home. As I continued to think about it, though, I probably don't really know anything about what would make you feel at home - especially after I've spent this past year living out here in Japan, and the concept of 'home' has become much more abstract. So, I guess you'll have to be happy with a wish for a general sense of feelingathome.

On a different note, you may be interested in reading some of our previous posts, from our old blog (which we got rather frustrated with), at:


the title

The title, I have yet to clear it with Ben, but for me, it feels like we are all puzzle pieces, and that we might enjoy other places, but we really only fit one place (in the world). I love travelling and experiencing new things, but I am Canadian, and it`s the only place where I feel I make sense.
(the title has been edited, although this statement still stands true.)
So, I`ve actually made a few blogspot blogs, usually when I was frustrated with Now, again, it`s been really annoying, so here I am, making a new blog. The reason I waited was that I like`s picture album option, but I don`t like how they`re doing that anymore, so here we are in our new home! We have some work to do to feel at `home` here, but I will be working on it this week when I have time.

Ok, and Universal Studios was a lot of fun. It was strange as it was very much like the American ones, but with Hello Kitty, and all the rides spoke in Japanese. The spiderman ride was my favourite-we sat in a `news vehicle` and chased the bad guys (octopus man, electric man, hydro man, and two more-correct me `cause I don`t know their real names) around while they sprayed us with water and heat and jumped onto the hood of the car (3D). So great. My other highlight was the `build your own burger` resteraunt that had banana peppers and salsa for the burgers! that made it worth the 14 bucks for a burger, small drink and a few fries!

I had the Canadian cooking class on sunday. The fridge in the place wasn`t working, so our Nanaimo bars were pretty soggy. Funny, `nanamo` means `7 potatoes` in Japanese, so some of them thought we were making some kind of potato desert! I did a little geography lesson so they would know that Nanaimo is a city on Vancouver Island. The burritos were great, and there was lots of salsa, so they got to take some home and introduce their families to salsa for dinner! I would say it was a success

Lastly, we were woken up this morning by a earthquake at 5am. We`ve had one at night before, but it was over before we could get up, but this went on for long enough we finally got out of bed and got under the doorframe. (which, I`ve been informed may not be the best place to be.. comments on this?) It was in the news this morning. It sure woke us up fast, but at 5am, there was still another 1.5 hours before we needed to be up, and getting up when the alarm went off was a lot harder than when the house is swaying back and forth!!

(edited to add interesting/useless information)

The Japanese scale for earthquakes is different from the Richter scale and goes as follows. (We had a 3 where we were, the centre was a 5, just under the quake that recently hit Indonesia)

The JMA Scale runs from 0 to 7, with 7 being the strongest. Sometimes roman numerals are used, as in the Mercalli Intensity Scale; however this is not the usual practice in Japan. The real-time reports are calculated automatically from measurements of ground acceleration. The JMA reports the shindo based on the ground acceleration, which can be written in the SI metric units meters per second squared (m/s²).

7: In most buildings, wall tiles and windowpanes are damaged and fall. In some cases, reinforced concrete-block walls collapse. Peak ground acceleration greater than 4 m/s²6+: In many buildings, wall tiles and windowpanes are damaged and fall. Most unreinforced concrete-block walls collapse. 3.15–4.00 m/s²

6−: In some buildings, wall tiles and windowpanes are damaged and fall. 2.50–3.15 m/s²5+: In many cases, unreinforced concrete-block walls collapse and tombstones overturn. Many automobiles stop due to difficulty in driving. Occasionally, poorly installed vending machines fall. (only in Japan is this a determining factor of the earthquake intensity!) 1.40–2.50 m/s²

5−: Most people try to escape from danger, some finding it difficult to move. 0.80–1.40 m/s²

4: Many people are frightened. Some people try to escape from danger. Most sleeping people awake. 0.25–0.80 m/s²

3: Felt by most people in the building. Some people are frightened. 0.08–0.25 m/s²

2: Felt by many people in the building. Some sleeping people awake. 0.025–0.08 m/s²

1: Felt by only some people in the building. 0.008–0.025 m/s²

0: Imperceptible to people. Less than 0.008 m/s²