Friday, June 25, 2010

Special Advertising Section

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That’s right. I’m in the brochure!
With my students! In my classroom! Looking like a real teacher!
I even put those nice posters up on the wall.

if you come to our school, we have awesome Bridget-sensei to teach you English. hehe.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I went to an ocha-kai today in Kiryu! I’d never been to a tea ceremony before, so I was really happy to have the chance to go! There are so many small details in a tea ceremony, like the color, shape and design of the serving vessels, the type of sweets that you’re served, even the way the tokonoma is outfitted with a scroll and a piece of ikebana, that it’s almost overwhelming to a beginner. I’m serious! It’s hard to take in all of this stuff on the first time!!  It was a really cool experience though, and I would really like to go to one again, now that I know a little more about it.
On a separate note, I felt severely underdressed. I SHOULD have worn my yukata, but I am unfortunately not able to put it on (in a decent manner) by myself. Had I known this was a yukata-appropriate occasion, I would have worn it.
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It would have matched really well with all the purple hydrangeas and irises, too. Bummer. One day I’ll get to wear it! One day!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

夏の始まり Beginning of Summer

It’s the beginning of summer! You can totally tell because the hydrangeas are coming out in full pink, blue and purple force, and the rainy season has started. There’s also some kind of old tradition about eating unagi around this time of year. Its supposed to keep you healthy for the duration of the summer or something. I went to dinner with one of the teachers from one of my old schools last night for this unagi tradition. If it’s a tradition that involves eating delicious foods, I’m all for it.
The past couple of weeks were pretty nice. There is a row of azalea bushes behind my apartment and I really enjoy the fact that they are highlighter pink. I try to keep my back windows open so I can enjoy them while they are blooming. I had a visitor as well… I didn’t even realize that there were geckos in Japan until I saw this little dude crawling up the screen.

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Last weekend I played the last show with Z and the Vicelords of Valhalla at Gokurakuya. I’ll be very sad when they are gone. However, for foreigners in Japan, existence is extremely transient. So many people are here one day and gone the next. I think that Japan intends to keep it that way… which sucks. What about the people who want to stay? What about the fact that the population is declining ever so steadily? One day, this country isn’t going to have anyone left. However, that day is not to-day, and I plan to make the most of my time here, without timelines or deadlines for leaving. People ask me: “How long will you be in Japan?” I always like to answer '”Indefinitely”  or “well.. I like it here, so I’m not sure.” I like to think that it makes people a bit nervous and probably slightly uncomfortable. It sure doesn’t make me feel very welcome to have someone asking me when I’m going to leave.

I went to Nikko with Lindsey and Shin-chan and gave them the guided tour (you know, since I am a native Tochigi-an and all). Nikko is beautiful, but man… there are so many people and ridiculous pitches for o-mamori that it sometimes gets to you after a while. It was still fun and AWESOME to hang out with two of my most awesomest friends from Gaidai!

On Tuesday, I went to a firefly festival up in the hills AND to a new Indian place here in town for dinner. The fireflies were SO cool… and one of the signs that summer is here! I wish I could have taken photos, but it was so dark, my camera definitely wouldn’t have been able to capture anything. Anyway, just imagine small greenish yellow flickering dots against a pitch black background of trees…or who knows? I couldn’t really see because it was so dark. Hundreds of them. It was probably one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. I know we have lightning bugs back home in Pittsburgh, and it made me homesick, but I know they’ll be out when I get home this summer!

I got completely drenched going to school  I mean.. like.. I brought extra clothes to get changed at school, because I looked out my window and saw that the rain was just not planning to let up any time soon. I sincerely loathe the rainy season and the fact that I nevertheless must commute to work in inclement weather. Subsequently, I ordered some rain boots from Rakuten… hopefully I will get them before the end of the rainy season. I do have a raincoat…. and of course a nice big umbrella, but a torrential downpour is a torrential downpour, if you know what I mean.

Stay dry.
Bridget Beaver

Monday, June 7, 2010


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I went to the Sunshine City Aquarium yesterday with Lindsey and Shin-chan. It was a nice way to get out of town and see some awesome crazy people from Gaidai. They had these super adorable yellow and white eels… which are apparently commonly called Splendid Garden Eels. They are not so common as they are adorable!! Unfortunately, this aquarium was seriously lacking in Deep Sea Fangly Fish, as most aquariums do. They had two big マンボウfish! We even named them. Alex Trebek and Tiger Woods. Yes. We are creative. Going to see fish always puts me in a good mood.

June 004 It’s so funny. When you go to an aquarium in the U.S., people talk about the beautiful fish. When you go to an aquarium in Japan, you can always hear at least a few people saying that the fish look tasty. Sashimi tabehodai, anyone?