こんにちは！ Sorry I’ve been a bit late posting this update. I had a busy weekend of doing absolutely nothing, and it was glorious! That being said, there’s not much to report this week.
I found some cute omiyage on my desk. I loved this omiyage for its cute message:
Omiyage is a small present that you give your friends and coworkers after you’ve traveled. I find piles of cookies, sweets, and savoury treats on my desks after summer and winter holidays!
As the recipient of omiyage, it’s a wonderful snack if I’ve missed breakfast, and when I travel around in Japan, it’s no problem to find omiyage for my coworkers – anywhere remotely touristy you might go, you can find many shops selling boxes and boxes of individually-wrapped treats. I can buy enough omiyage for 60+ people for around $20-25 (I teach at two schools, so I have to buy enough for all the teachers at both). It’s much more of a (pricey) problem when you travel abroad to places that don’t have this tradition.
Using google translate to go between Japanese and English is extremely tricky, and beautiful meanings in Japanese can sometimes be lost in silly (but charming) translations. Like on this cookie package!
One thing I love about the Japanese language is how concise it can be; what might take us several words to explain in English can sometimes be summed up in a single word in Japanese. For example, the most beautiful word I learned recently is kazabana. Kaze (風) is the word for “wind,” and hana (花)is the word for “flower.” Together they become kazabana, a word that describes a flurry of snowflakes in a clear sky, blown from the snowy peaks of the mountains by a breath of wind.
A teacher left a note telling me her class was canceled for that day. I was so happy when I saw the note – most times if teachers leave notes for me, they’re in English…but not today! Here was a great opportunity for me to practice my reading skills! (And she also added furigana, which is written above the kanji in case the reader can’t read it!)
Too often I have teachers who are afraid of the potential “embarrassment” of miscommunication, and when they come to meet with me before class they try to use only English (most genuinely just want to practice their English with me, which is totally fine, but those few who do it because they think it’s too difficult for me…it can be frustrating!) Often it causes even more confusion, because they try to directly translate from Japanese to English, and it doesn’t always make sense! (For instance, last year I heard a lot of teachers say to the students,”Good challenge! Good challenge!” It took me ages to realise that they were simply meaning to say, “Nice try!”)
I have a much easier time understanding when the teacher speaks to me in slow, simple Japanese. I can figure out words, understand a more precise meaning, and, best of all, I can feel proud of myself afterwards!
As ever, my 6th graders were entertaining…
…And we had a good week of school lunch!
Last Friday was what the Japanese call haruichiban, or basically the first day that feels like spring. It was about 20C, around 68F, and it was absolutely glorious! Paul and I went out for a walk, and discovered these beautiful plum blossoms!
The house it was attached to was pretty nice, too. Lots of fancy landscaping!
We celebrated a friend’s birthday that Friday as well. We played a fun card game called Cards Against Humanity, and since he’s from England, he had the British version! I pulled the best card:
And finally, I just have to plug my husband Paul’s awesome artwork from his tumblr (you can see his website here):
I’m in love with the woman warriors he’s been drawing recently.
And that’s about it for this week! Until next time! またね！