Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Box with lid

Desk organizer


Hello! Things are fine here. Still hot, but I'm learning to deal. Today I'm heading out to lunch with my oshie teacher, Yumiko. I'm looking forward to it, and I'll be going to a town I haven't been to before. I have some new photos of my most recent washi and oshie projects. The little girl in the kimono represents the Star Festival, called Tanabata, which is celebrated in the month of July. There is a lengthy description of the legend associated with the festival on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanabata

The other news around here is that I've decided to try teaching English. My friend Makiko asked me if I'd tutor her son one hour a week, and yesterday was our first class. He's a great kid and already speaks and reads English well. His dad works for a Japanese car company and the whole family just spent the last four years living in Michigan.

Okay, I better get going. I have to catch a train soon!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Today I discovered something at the grocery store that may help me get through this summer heat. Blendy Coffee! It's coffee in a bottle, and you can serve it over ice. It comes unsweetened and sweetened. I took a guess that this bottle was unsweetened, and I was right. I added a splash of my sweetened creamer and yummy! It's quite refreshing. Does this mean I'll be really hyper all summer? Um, maybe?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hello! Here I am, standing in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building.

View from top of building

Makiko and Seiko

Kumade, a type of broom with lots of different items attached to it. It is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity.

Explanation of kumade

Hello Kitty gumball machine!

Lots of Hello Kitty bling-bling!

Hello! It's been a while since I last wrote. I am doing pretty good over here, trying to survive the hot and humid weather. I learned a new Japanese word yesterday for this kind of weather---"mushiatsui." I am such a wimp, I know.

I have some new pictures to share with you of a trip I took to Shinjuku on Tuesday with my friends Seiko and Makiko. We took the train to this very busy section of Tokyo to visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building and to do some shopping at another large craft store called Okadaya. I got some pretty good views of the city from the government building but was happy when we were on the ground again. In the entrance, they had these large decorated brooms called "kumade." I took a picture of the explanation so you can read about them.

After the government building, we headed to Okadaya to do some shopping! Like Yuzawaya, it has several floors (seven!) and oodles of craft supplies. I think Yuzawaya is my favorite so far, but I enjoyed Okadaya too. They had a great costume section and a very nice selection of craft books. After our shopping, we ate lunch at this wonderful restaurant that Makiko recommended. It was probably the fanciest restaurant I've ever eaten at, and the food was delicious. And the price wasn't bad either. I hate to think what it would cost for dinner though. I wanted to take a picture of my dessert, but it just didn't feel like the best time or place to haul out my camera.

On our way back to the train, we walked by a store loaded with sparkling Hello Kitty treasures. This time I wasn't shy about bringing out my camera and taking some snapshots. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 5th of July! I can't even get sneaky and say that technically it's still the 4th of July back home, because it's not. As I write this, most of you are in bed after a day of hamburgers, hot dogs, and lots of fireworks. I hope your day was fun. I spent the 4th at the navy base with some friends. Zach had to work, but he could see the fireworks from his office, so I was happy about that. They put on a good fireworks show, and as a bonus, a big lightning storm was taking place about 40 miles north of us, so we had two shows for the price of one.

Today is super hot! I managed to get outside and pay our electric bill, but I was so happy to get back inside afterward. Here's something interesting that you may not know. We pay most of our utility bills at the local 7-Eleven or mini-mart. There are a couple of different mini-mart chains we can pay the bills at, but we usually go to 7-Eleven. (Yes, they have 7-Eleven here. And AM/PM.) The clerk scans the bill, you give them the money, and then they stamp the bill to show that you paid. It's all pretty slick and fast and convenient.

I also killed a spider today. He was HUGE, and yes, I know they do good things but they are not welcome in our home. This little bugger was fast, and big, and creepy, and just like his cousins before him. Zach had to kill the first one that entered the house a long time ago. He tormented Zach for a few days before he met his end with a large, heavy box on top of him. I am so not a bug person, and this is not a good thing, because Japan has lots of bugs that I have never seen before. Ugh. Why can't they just be happy and stay outside? I'll leave them alone if they leave us alone. I think that's a fair deal.