Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A-okay Hokkaido

In the summer holidays we went to Sapporo, in Hokkaido, for a week to study Japanese at a little school. We went because we thought Sapporo would be nice, and that the weather would be slightly milder (this year's summer = the hottest on record). Both of these things were true. We were studying a lot of the time so we didn't do a lot of sightseeing, but here are some things that we did see.

We took a 15-hour ferry ride back to Sendai, and slept in a big tatami room with dozens of other people. It was actually pretty fine though!

Friday, September 24, 2010

And some more Mori, Onegaishimasu!

As well as the Sensing Nature exhibition, the Mori Museum also featured an interesting, but a little hokey, dinosaur show.

We liked all the snaggletoothed ones.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

nya nya Jenga!

In Japan cats don't say meow, they say nya nya  にゃにゃ

Here are some cats we know in Japan:

Recently, to my great happiness, I have started dressmaking classes. This occasion requires a celebratory pin cushion! A cat pin cushion with laser eyes NYA NYA

We are all poets

Here are some poems written by some of my students. They were given a formula to use and a dictionary to look through and told to write about anything they liked. These are my favourites.

eat food
crying, raging, laughing
what a so cute

my friend
runs very fast
runs faster than bird

many stars
making, living, losing
Noone is larger space

it's cute
Beard, nose, ears.

I wont it's the game
play the baseball player
It's Koyodai School the hospital in New York
You don't book the like in what is this
She a the how.

Friday, September 17, 2010

1 Year in the rice fields

September 2009
Our first glimpse

*** a few months are missing here when it was just too cold to be running around in fields - I will remedy that this year - promise ***

March 2010
After the snow melted

May 2010
Almost rainy season - its time for planting

July 2010
Things a-growing

And right now...
the beginning of harvest fever!

Friday, September 10, 2010

On this harvest moon

Our friends in Shiogama, on the outskirts of Sendai, invited us to a barbecue a few weeks ago, to celebrate the summer harvest. They have a little plot of land, and had grown so many wonderful vegetables. It was really lovely.

Some of the delicious, fresh vegetables in question. おいしかったよ。

DIY tempura.

Around the corner was a little neighbourhood party, and we poked our noses in to see what was going on. They were doing a traditional bon dance with fans, and as soon as they saw us they roped us both into joining in. It was really easy, and pretty fun, too. The song that they danced to was maybe two minutes long, and they had it on repeat for a long, long time. We danced about five plays, accepted our applause, and then left them to it.

For the rest of the evening we could hear sporadic announcements over their little sound system reminding everyone that New Zealanders had come to their party. It was pretty cute.

At night we had fireworks.

Thanks, Aya, Reiji, Asuka, Kaori, Danke and everyone else!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'll give you a golden bell

These photos were taken agessssss ago during Sendai's junior high school baseball tournament in June. It was the middle of the rainy season and everyone was most anxious about the weather.

A week before the tournament students started hanging up these awesome ghosts called Teru-teru-bozu in the classrooms to ward off rain.

Here is a translation of a very famous Japanese nursery rhyme about them:

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
Like the sky in a dream sometime
If it's sunny I'll give you a golden bell

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
If you make my wish come true
We'll drink lots of sweet rice wine

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
But if the clouds are crying
Then I shall snip your head off

The weather turned out to be glorious (thanks to these little guys perhaps?).

And we came first!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

adorable adorable

An adorable cafe in Tokyo called Hattifnatt - named after the mysterious electric Hattifatteners in the Moomin stories.
This cafe was recommended in the Hello Sandwich Tokyo Guide, which we were able to buy from the lovely Ebony herself at the Tokyo Art Book Fair.

Gareth was a giant there. He barely fit through the door.

The walls were covered in happy animals.

I read a book about a polar bear and a jar of jam with a tricky lid.

adorable adorable.