25 April 2006

Teaching about travel

In about forty minutes I will teach my first "Travel and Study Abroad" class. The students are mostly in their second, third or fourth year of uni so I'm hoping for a bit of conversation and discussion. It's been fun getting together the materials for my first class. I've got a world map for them to locate the places they want to travel to, some 'getting to know you' activities so they can meet each other and feel comfortable in discussions (This can be very important in Japan as the students tend to be quite shy), some relaxing background music, and some of my old journals to show them. I'm hoping to get them on the journalwriting bandwagon by showing them what a rewarding experience it has been for me. And, no, I'm not going to let them read the details! I'll just show them that sometimes I write, and sometimes I sketch or stick in photos or tickets and other mish-mash I've picked up. It's been really cool for me to look back at them, too.
Well, I've got to start lugging all this stuff to the classroom now.

20 April 2006

An onigiri for every occasion

Onigiri time has become as much a part of my day as tea time. I love these little filled balls of rice! Usually I eat them to tide me over in between meal times but sometimes I use them as a filler when my lunch is too small.
Up here in Niigata, I noticed that the convenience store people always ask me if I want my onigiri heated up. Must be a 'cold place' thing. It doesn't sound good to me as I've only ever had them cold. But, I recently went to a local restaurant where they brought us fresh shiso (a Japanese herb) and umeboshi (pickled plums) onigiri that were warm...delish!
This link goes to a BBC food site. It's been about 8 years since I left Britain now and there was very little if any Japanese food there then. So it is kind of interesting to me to see onigiri discussed in detail.

09 April 2006

Final profile photo

Got bored trying to post last photo on my profile so here's the new one. Shame you can't see it well on my profile page. At least I figured out how to shrink the file thanks to Cheeseboy.

Off and running in Niigata Prefecture

The move has finally been made to Niigata. Despite being April, it was snowing for the first three days after arriving. Pi Dog is pooing himself that every flat has got a snow shovel outside and we can't get warm at night with a duvet AND down sleeping bag when it should be plum blossom season (That's Japanese for 'beginning of spring'.).

But things are really cool so far. The flat is amazing for someone who hasn't lived many places that were very cosy since vacating the parental abode about a thousand years ago. It's got three rooms, a kitchen, bathroom, toilet and entryway. So it's a veritable mansion compared to our last place that was only one room. We have been swinging numerous cats just for the hell of it.

The other two teachers are OK in my book since we'd got down to some serious wine drinking by about day three. We've even been round the bosses house already for food and wine. I think I like this place!

Pi Dog (Hereafter refered to as 'Cheeseboy' due to various antics that ensued on that first fateful wine night.)is still looking for work in this small town, poor sod. The good thing is that everyone, I mean EVERYONE, has been looking around for him. He's had a few good leads so far and we're hoping that something will happen this week... for both our sanity.

We're back on the ol' free-internet-bandwagon temporarily. But so far, it seems to be pretty reliable here. I'll try and blog more when I've got a bit of a routine going. I don't start teaching until Wednesday so I've been just swanning round like a lady of leisure recently.

Only two shaking episodes so far!