Posts

Showing posts from August, 2009

Osaka Central Library

Image
So I have been living in Higashi Osaka for over a year now, and paying taxes to the local government (no easy feat), and until today I had yet to visit the library and get some of my money`s worth.

Osaka has 2 big libraries, one in Nakanoshima (near Shinsaibashi), and one in Aramoto (just a few kilometres from my apartment!!).

The library in Aramoto is the 中央図書館 Central Library which opened in 1996. Surprisingly, it is home to a lot of English (and Chinese and Korean) books (more fiction than non-fiction), and they are all shelved together which makes things easier to find.


The lady who signed me up for a new library card didn`t speak any English at all, (and looked to be about 100 years old), but she was friendly and spoke Japanese slowly as she explained all the systems to me. Signing up was very easy (just remember to bring your gaijin card if you plan to get a card!).

Today I took 3 books home and plan to finish them all in the next 3 weeks.

I`ll let you know if any of them are any goo…

Yuto Miyazawa

Image
Another international superstar in the making...




A little shorter than Danyl Johnson (the star of my previous post), but just as cute!



"It is a summer vacation to remember for Yuto, the Guinness Book of World Record’s youngest professional guitarist. The (Japanese) fourth grader has been performing in the United States and appearing on TV shows since gaining an online following for his rock videos. His rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘‘Freebird’’ was viewed over 1.5 million times on YouTube and mentioned on message boards and blogs as he became the latest meme in an era of instant Internet celebrities.

The interest attracted the attention of U.S. media and promoters. Yuto has spent his summer learning about America by touring the country playing classic American rocks songs and sharing the stage with some of rock music’s biggest legends.

‘‘My friends are like, ‘Oh really?’ They think I’m just boasting,’’ Yuto said in an interview with Kyodo News."


Date night - Thursday August 27th

Image
Yoshi picked me up after work at 6pm and we went out for dinner at a Hawaiian restaurant named Hana-Dining-Pacific in the big Hankyu 32 building in Umeda.

The decor was VERY Hawaiian (well, as I imagine Hawaiian decor to be...) and the staff were very relaxed and friendly.


The view was incredible as we were on the 30th floor overlooking Umeda and the surrounding suburbs.


We shared an entree (smoked salmon and cream cheese pancakes) and a salad (roast beef and potato caesar salad), a big dish of loko-moko and a tuna steak with olive mash... very very tasty!

After dinner (and 2 glasses of red wine for me), we drove towards Shinsaibashi as I (in my semi-intoxicated state) had randomly decided that I wanted to play pool (billiards). On the right hand side of Midosuji (the huge road in Osaka that joins Umeda to Namba) there is a big shrine, and I noticed that they were holding a big bon-odori (bon dance) festival there!

I asked Yoshi if we could go and have a look, and we ended up staying for a…

Danyl Johnson

Image
So if you haven`t seen it already (and if you haven`t I am a little shocked because it is ALL over the internet), this is Danyl Johnson.



He is a cute ♥ 27-year-old school teacher and sings songs in his spare time. He went on one of Britain`s televised talent shows (the X-factor) judged by Simon Cowell and Danni Minogue, and he totally rocked...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FA5DkFUSxk

Check it out! (sorry I can`t embed the video because that function was disabled).

アメリカン カーフェスタ 2009

Image
American Car Festa (アメリカン カーフェスタ) 2009

Today I went to the American Car Festa held on Maishima sports island. It was a gathering of companies who sell, customise and maintain American cars, companies that sell products from America, and owners of American cars.

There were some very interesting cars about...

And some cool ones too...

The reason I went was to support Yoshi`s company 6Degrees who had a tent and a few cars on display.

One of the major sponsors this year was Rockstar (a new energy drink - which tasted similar to Red Bull but a bit milder?)

It was also a gathering place for fans of `campaign girls` and their long lens cameras (very very creepy!).


--> check out all the guys taking pictures of these two bikini-clad `campaign girls`.

A famous ex-sumo wrestler named Akebono also made an appearance - riding around on a 4-wheeled motorbike surrounded by security...

And the day ended with a nice sunset too! Fun, interesting day out.

Cute pressie

Image
Isn`t this the cutest?



Yoshi`s big brother`s wife made it for me over the weekend! She loves all things arty and crafty and bought a book with lots of cute jewellry ideas. She asked me what color I liked (blue of course) and she knows I love butterflies, so she made this ring for me!

Adorable! ありがとう Chika-chan ♥

My Obon pt IV

Image
DAY 6

We did nothing again today except going back to Yodobashi camera to return the Ipod accessory we bough yesterday. The sound quality was terrible, so we bought another one made by Buffalo. Much better.

We went back to his family`s house, and took his cute nieces (Kano and Koto) out for dinner at a local chinese restaurant. Very relaxed day!

DAY 7

Woke up late AGAIN! But today I really wanted to get out of the house and do something fun, so we drove to Kyoto. I had wanted to go to this shrine - Fushimi Inari - for a really long time, and he finally said `yes`!

This shrine may be more well-known in the foreign community than the japanese community here, because I saw so many foreign faces at the shrine - it didn`t feel much like Japan at all!!Fushimi Inari is the head shrine (there are maybe 40,000 sub-shrines) of `Inari` (the god of business), and many businesses have donated torii (red japanese gates) to help their companies prosper.


The icon of most Inari shrines is the fox, so there …

My Obon part III

Image
DAY 5

We were still pretty tired from our road trip (and the typhoon and the earthquake) so didn`t get out of bed until about 2pm.

Went to Yodobashi camera (a huge electronics store) in Umeda in the afternoon to buy a FM adapter for my Ipod and then went to watch a movie at Namba Parks (a big shopping mall with a garden on it`s roof).

Have you heard about Hachi? It is a very old Japanese story about a cute and loyal dog who waits at the train station for his master to come home from work every day. There is even a statue of this dog at Shibuya station in Tokyo. Absolutely EVERY person in Japan knows about this dog and his amazing story.

It has been remade by a big American movie studio and stars Richard Gere as Hachiko (the dog)`s owner. It is a very moving story and I (and all the other girls in the theatre) cried a lot. I don`t want to tell you too much about the story but it is very cute and I recommend it!



We went to Cocos (a cheap family restaurant) for dinner. The food there is alrig…

My Obon pt II

Image
DAY 2 .. nothing .. bliss..didn`t even leave the house ;)

DAY 3

The boy and I went to Tokyo this morning by shinkansen (bullet train) to bring one of his customer`s cars back to Osaka for storage. The best thing about this journey was that there was no truck involved!

We left Osaka around 12:20 (because all trains had been delayed due to Typhoon #9 which hit Japan the previous day), and arrived in Tokyo around 3:30pm.


Here is how we travelled back to Osaka...


Pretty cool huh? It is a Cadillac DTS Limousine (almost the same as the one that President Obama has).Lots of people turned to watch us as we drove past, no doubt imagining some super hot celebrity sitting in the back seat - hehe!
Sounds great, eight? Except the drama started almost the moment we started the engine, and didn`t stop till we arrived back home. About 40 minutes into our journey, we saw a huge sign on the highway announcing that a truck had overturned and the highway had been closed. CLOSED! So we were re-routed through 3 …

My Obon

Image
DAY 1

Woke up at 6am (guess my body forgot that today is the first day of my 9 day holiday!)

Wrote emails to friends, checked my facebook page (and played farmville - so addictive).

Got ready and went to Shinsaibashi (about 10 minutes by train from my house) for my very first laser hair removal appointment. The salon name is Musee Platinum and is found all over Japan. Their website is -> http://musee-pla.com/ and they have some English information here -> http://musee-pla.com/en/index.html (but some of the translations are a bit funny).

I had about 1 hours worth of `counseling` to make sure that I understood their system, prices and to see if my hair was ok for laser treatment. Everything went pretty smoothly, considering that all the information brochures, contracts and guides were written in japanese (and I couldn`t read any of it)!

After I had finished the counseling session and paid for the treatment, I made my first appointment. It seems that laser hair removal is getting pretty…

Kids in Japan :)

Image
Since I started working at the kindergarten (an "international" school here in Osaka, Japan), I have noticed some very interesting things about children and schooling in Japan. I can't say if these things are common throughout Japan (or even amongst international schools here) but they are certainly interesting to me.

1. Children must have their temperatures taken and confirmed by their parents each morning before they swim at school. If their temperature falls in the "safe" range, and it is signed off by their parent(s), they are permitted to swim.

When I say swim, here at my school, the pools (there are 3 of them) look something like this...

(sorry about the super cheesy picture, but this was the best representation of what we have here at school)!
... so there is very little chance of a child really swimming, getting their hair or face wet, or being exposed to the elements!


2. Children in Japan (expecially kindergarten and elementary aged students) are obsessed w…

Obon

Image
Obon is the next BIG holiday (well, really it is the only big holiday) this year. Obon is the Japanese Buddhist festival which honors the departed spirits of one's ancestors. The custom has evolved over time and is now a time for family reunions, when families return to their ancestral homes, clean their ancestor's graves and wait for spirits to return to the household altars.

The official Obon (or Bon) period is 3 days (this year falling on August 12, 13 and 14), but is usually combined with a weekend to give businessmen a 5-day holiday (and for lucky ones who can take an extra 2 weekdays off - it becomes a 9 day holiday!!).

*The above picture shows one of the Obon customs - people floating lit paper lanterns on the river (this one taking place in the Sasebo river)

My school will be closed for 5 school days, and of course the weekends on either side, so I will be one of the lucky ones with 9 days off.

Lots of people also choose to travel abroad and domestically during this time w…

My early morning visitor...

Image
Small, black and unassuming, until he started buzzing, then flying erratically around the room bumping into everything (including my head)...



It was 4:30am when I discovered him, an average-sized Japanese cockroach, attracted by the small red glowing light on my pedestal fan.

I have to say that I am not really afraid of insects (especially the crawling kind which can be stepped on or picked up in a tissue). But cockroaches in Japan really are in a league of their own...

"Those fellows are the spawns of Satan. Japanese cockroaches aren't just big, they're HUGE--they're sneaky and they are crazy-smart . Japanese cockroaches know how to seek revenge. (The stories I could tell! But I'm not going there today.) Oh, did I also mention the buggers could also FLY? And when provoked even just a little, they will kamikaze your face or your nice fancy hairdo." - taken from an interesting blog about life in Japan.

It kept me awake for about an hour while I tried to corner it …

Action Plan

Image
The first day of a new month is always a great time to start new things, or things that you have been putting off for a while.

Today, August 1st, is a Saturday, so it is even easier to start doing things without work getting in the way!

I always read the blog of a very cool Aussie girl living here in Japan. She is a hoop dancer amongst other things, and has suggested that August 1st be the start of Hoop Boot Camp (http://sushizume.com/2009/08/01/day-1-hoop-boot-camp-action/)! I hula hoop from time to time and have to admit that my cute purple and silver hoop is gathering dust, so I will take her advice and pick it up today...



Another thing which I want to start doing today is laser hair removal. I have met so many women in Japan who swear by this procedure, some of whom have it done over their entire bodies. I met one girl who started having it done on her 26th birthday in the hope that she would be `hair-free` by her 28th birthday!!

Apparently, blond hair cannot be removed by lasers whic…