Tuesday, July 11, 2017
On our last trip to Japan, we went to Ishigaki jima, one of the most southern islands of Japan. On our way to our accommodation we travelled in a mini bus from the airport. Most tour guides and tourism staff are usually extremely polite and very friendly and full of smiles, but the young lady who was charged with instructing us, spoke in a very monotone and bored voice. She never smiled and gave the impression that she wanted to be somewhere else. We joked amongst ourselves that maybe she just broke up with her boyfriend and was in a bad mood.
We were in New Zealand recently and found that the Kiwis have a very funny sense of humour. For example, instead of using boring everyday instructions, our hotel door sign for the cleaners said 'Please make my room squeaky clean'. Also, the train service was disrupted, so they used buses instead. On the side of the buses it said " I am a choo choo!' Omoshirokatta desu.
On our recent trip to Wellington in New Zealand, we had an emergency in our hotel at 3o'clock in the morning. It was a big shock! We woke up to the sound of very loud speaker 'Emergency! Please evacuate immediately!' kowaikatta!
We took the fire escape. Luckily we were only on the 21st floor! We got to ground level car park and saw many people standing outside in the cold (It was the start of winter). Samukatta! Some people left their rooms quickly and were still dressed in pyjamas and dressing gown, but others took their time and were fully dressed with overcoats on and suitcases packed. After a while, we were allowed to return to our rooms. As we expected, it was a false alarm.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
We used to enjoy beautiful sunsets from our back yard until a new neighbour moved in. Shortly after they arrived, they built a giant shed. It is so big! I don't understand why they need such a giant and ugly shed. It looks like an airplane hangar. Anyway, it has spoiled our view and makes me want to move house.
Friday, December 30, 2016
I don't understand why people go crazy with shopping and panic buying when the shops close on Christmas day. It seems to be a kind of mass insanity. People behave like they are filling their fallout shelters for the apocalypse. You would think the shops will close for 2 weeks, not just a day! Baka!
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
My cat, Sakura is over 20 years old. Her hearing and eyes are not so good. Also, I think she has dementia. She sleeps a lot these days. Sometimes when she is lying very still, I wonder if she has already left this planet. So far, I have been relieved to find she is still alive.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Last time I went to Japan, I left Sakura with my friend. She has a three year old daughter who loves to play with my cat. Sakura is a big attention seeker and loves affection, so she also enjoys having a holiday there. When I went to pick her up after I returned, I saw the fur on top of her head was green! My friend apologised and explained that her little girl had coloured her with a crayon.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
I went to a nice Japanese restaurant recently. The food was very nice, but the young waiter had no idea. He had a terrible manner and no clue about how to look after the customers. He banged things down on the table without speaking and did everything in a clumsy way. At least he smiled.
We were driving on a busy road recently and passed a bus stop. There was a young guy there playing the trumpet. I don't know if he was being a kind of street performer entertaining the cars passing by, or maybe he was going to a recital or something and was doing some last minute practise.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
At a recent convention, two strange guys approached our table. They were chatting a lot quite loudly and it seemed as though they had been drinking. One of them aimed his camera at our pictures and I asked him nicely not to take photos please. He became very upset and protested that he wasn't taking pictures, he was just looking at some of his photos. He carried on a lot about how dare we accuse him, on and on he went. Eventually his friend calmed him down and they apologised. They even ended up buying some pictures.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
My darling left early for the market but came home an hour or so later as he had forgotten his phone. Fortunately, the market was in our town so he didn't have far to travel. Without thinking I said to him 'Why didn't you ring me? I could have brought it to you.' baka.
Last time I was in Japan, I took a night bus from Osaka to Tokyo. I selected a ladies only bus, but I didn't expect that we would have to load all our luggage by ourselves, while the driver sat and waited. Even an old lady was forced to struggle with this task. I'm sure that if this was in Australia, it would never happen.
During my last trip to Japan, I was staying at a hotel in Hiroshima. It might have been a coincidence, but all the men were seated and being served by the ladies. I don't know if hey were wives or business subordinates, but they were being a constant shuttle to and from the buffet waiting on the men. I might be wrong, but if this was in Australia, I might be the opposite.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
On my last trip to Japan, I caught up with some old mates I had known from school. We went out together with one of our old teachers for dinner. My friends and I all had trouble reading the menu and started to reach into our bags to put our glasses on, but our old sensei beat us to it and managed to read the menu aloud to us without difficulty. We told her that we thought she had aged much better than we had. She is still a very sparkling and elegant lady.
Friday, July 17, 2015
We stayed in a hotel when we were at a convention in Adelaide earlier this year. We got to our floor and were looking for our room when we saw a sign that pointed further down the hall, but then we found our room in the other direction! Very confusing!
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
After a successful event one weekend, we decided to celebrate and have dinner at a Korean restaurant. The waitress was a very nice young girl who was always smiling, but she couldn't speak much English. With some difficulty, we managed to order some beers, entrees and a main course to share. I emphasized for the entrée to come out first, before the main course was served. I asked again to make sure and the waitress smiled and went away. After a while our food came to the table. We wanted to say cheers with a beer first, but the main course was served, then came the entrée soon after, followed by our drinks...with a smile, of course.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
We like to attend pop culture conventions as exhibitors. We always have a fun time there admiring all the wonderful costumes people wear. One day, I left the convention centre to buy some lunch. I stopped by a convenience store nearby (we call them kombini in Japan). In the queue for checkout, were several 'cosplayers'. I knew why they were dressed up, but the poor checkout lady looked a bit surprised and confused by all these strange looking people.
Sometimes we are stallholders at St. Kilda esplanade market. There is always a very colourful mix of people there. People watching there is always interesting and enjoyable for me. One day, soon after we arrived and set up our stall, we could hear someone singing. We looked around and saw a man standing outside the Palais theatre with a book in his hand, singing to...well, nobody. We wondered why he chose such an isolated place to perform. After a while he moved on. Maybe his neighbours at home complained about his loud singing.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
My cat, Sakura regularly cries out to me straight after I finish my dinner. Even though she is an old lady, she is a still a big attention seeker and loves to be held over my shoulder and bounced up and down.
We call it 'shoulder bounce-bounce' time.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
One day at a market, a man and his son approached asking about drawing lessons. My darling already has a few students that he teaches cartooning to and so said he would be happy to have him. The dad asked if he could come too. We said 'Of course. The classes are always done with the parents in attendance'. He said 'No, No. I don't just want to watch, I want to have a lesson as well!' We were both very surprised but said 'Why not?'
My darling is sometimes paid by the hour to draw caricatures for various organisations. He is very popular when people see the 'Free' sign. There is always a long queue. One day, a very obese lady sat down to have her picture drawn. My husband is always very kindly to draw them much slimmer and prettier than in real life. Unfortunately, they only provided us with one of those cheap plastic garden chairs. Suddenly the chair broke under the heavy load and the lady came crashing to the ground. I was so embarrassed for her. I suppose this might be a more common occurrence these days.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Soon after the change room egg incident, I unexpectedly received some more eggs. My husband was at a market recently and was situated nextdoor to an egg seller. By coincidence that guy was also married to a Japanese lady and he could speak Japanese fluently. He asked if he could have a caricature in exchange for some eggs. My darling agreed, even though the caricature was double the price of the eggs. Actually, he offered more eggs but there are only two of us at home and it would have been too many. It's a good thing my darling loves tamago yaki.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
When I was at the sports club, getting changed, a lady came up to me and offered me some eggs. I had not met her before and was quite surprised at her approach. I thought she had chosen a strange venue to sell her produce. She explained that she had chooks at home and was going on holiday so she needed someone to adopt her excess eggs. They were not only free range but also free of charge. I gladly accepted the stranger's kind offer.
Sunday, May 10, 2015
A while ago, we went to an Indian restaurant in our town. It might have been a Monday night or bad weather, anyway, we were the only people there. After we ate our entrée, we overheard the young, Aussie waitress call out to the kitchen staff, 'Table 8 is ready for their main course' or something like that. I wondered why she had to specify the table number. No one else was there.
A while ago, I went to an air show. I really enjoyed all the spectacular stunts and wonderful aircraft. All of the crowd was watching a stunt pilot flying up and up in a vertical climb. A dad with a small boy on his shoulders leaned back to get a better look, more and more he leaned back looking up, until he finally lost his balance and fell down. No one was hurt. Just embarrassing for him. Funny for everyone else.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
My cat, Sakura is very old. She is 19. As well as hearing loss and maybe slight blindness, I think she has a touch of dementia. Her miaow is very loud, and she often cries out for no reason. My darling jokes that she is arguing with ghosts. He says they are calling her to the next world and she is screaming 'No! No! I'm not ready yet!'
At some of the markets we go to, there is a Japanese pancake maker (actually they are Vietnamese people and they are not anything like authentic Japanese dorayaki). Anyway, they bought a new trailer to make and sell their products. It is like an old VW combi van. I wonder where they got it from. It's really cool!
Friday, February 20, 2015
I was in a checkout queue recently and saw that the woman in front of me was wearing a badge. I moved around to get a closer look, because my darling and I make badges to sell at markets, so I was curious about hers.
Our badges have funny cartoon characters on them, like super heroes and ninja turtles, etc. but this only had writing on it. I managed to get close enough to read it. It said 'Want to lose weight? Ask me how?' She was wearing gym wear, so I guess she was a personal trainer or something like that. What I found interesting was that she was quite overweight herself and I didn't think she was a good advertisement for her business.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
I recently saw a couple walking together. Not only were they the same body shape, but they were wearing the same clothing. Matching shirts, shorts, hats, etc. I wondered if they bought the outfits in bulk on special or they just decided one day to dress alike. I don't really understand.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
I recently bought some fish heads and was really excited and looking forward to a delicious meal. When I showed my husband, he asked 'Why are we eating the part we usually throw away?' and showed me an unhappy face. After I told him this was a very yummy, Japanese delicacy he bravely ate it. This is another difference in our cultures. He was very thankful that he didn't see me eat the eyes earlier.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
Recently we went to kaiten-zushi or a sushi train restaurant as they call it here, we enjoyed some delicious food but were concerned about the fashion conscious employee who had her long hair hanging down over her face. Not only was I worried about finding a hair in my food, but I also thought that young girl might slice off a finger because of her impaired vision. abunai! My husband really enjoyed the food but had one other complaint...they don't sell sake!
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
My poor, old cat, Sakura is more than 18 years old now. She's becoming skinny and I think she has dementia. Often she cries out to be fed and after her meal, she forgets she ate. recently she has been losing her balance and sometimes falls over when she walks. She might not have much longer on this earth. Every time I tell this to my darling, he says 'You've been saying that for five years! She'll outlive us all.'
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I was in a queue at my local supermarket when a very loud and chatty guy in the line suddenly pulled up his shirt and injected himself in full view of everyone. Some ladies behind of me were shocked. Me too. I guess he was a diabetic. I guess he was also an attention seeker. Most other people would do that in private, I'm sure.
Friday, October 31, 2014
We have been attending some Pop culture events these days as an opportunity to sell my darling's pictures. Many people come in fancy dress. It's very entertaining and lots of fun to see all the amazing costumes. But I just wonder about the body shape of some of the people in costume. There are some young ladies dressed as super cute anime girls (e.g. maids, etc. ) and game characters and men and women as super heroes, but some are very flabby and even obese. Many have tattoos too. I'm sure they check in the mirror at home, but how do they really see themselves?
Thursday, October 30, 2014
I have been going to the sports club frequently to keep fit and stay slim, usually 3 or 4 times a week. I do Zumba (my favourite), water aerobics and other group classes. Last week I took a challenge to try Pilates. The class was very enjoyable. We did lots of stretches using our 'core' muscles. The next day, I was in a lot of pain in my stomach. It lasted for several days after too! I guess these muscles have not been put to the test for a long time. itai!
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
We were stall holders recently at Oz Comic con. A kind of pop culture convention for otaku. Thousands of people went. Many people dressed in cosplay, ( fancy dress) as movie characters, super heroes, etc. It was very entertaining! I was surprised to see one mum holding hands with two young children. She was dressed up as a super hero, but her kids were in normal clothing. I thought it should be the other way around.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
I almost forgot that smoking is still allowed in many restaurants in Japan. Especially in izakaya, which I love. Almost everyone was smoking except for us. It almost spoiled our meal. I hope that smoking will be banned from all restaurants and cafes soon!
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
We went to see the Ginza matsuri. There were huge crowds including many foreign visitors. The university marching bands were so great! The young people were very professional and must have trained a lot. We even saw a Japanese Scottish highland pipe band! There were a lot of interesting things to see including traditional dancing, but we had to rush to see a very special performance. We made it in time to see four beautiful Tokyo geisha performing a dance.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Minna-san, sorry for my late posts in English. Now I am in Japan. We arrived last week in Tokyo. On the way here, I tried to sleep, using a blow-up pillow, an eye mask, a face mask, ear plugs and a blanket wrapped around me. When my darling woke up, he couldn't recognise me and wondered if it was really me underneath all that.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Since moving here, I discovered my Sakura-chan really loves to sun bake. She never did this at my old place. I wondered if she was scared after the birds attacked her. Anyway, now I often see her stretched out, basking in the sun, even on scorching hot days. Actually a few times I wondered if she was dead, because she lay motionless for such a long time, but she just loves the hot weather. Well, I suppose she is originally from Burma, after all.
Since moving here by the sea, I wondered where a good place to buy fresh fish was. A friend told me about caravan fish shop down by the beach. She recommended Boar fish, and said she made sashimi from it. When I went there early one morning, they were already sold out of Boar fish, so I bought Garfish instead. It was lovely and fresh. As recommended by the man, I enjoyed the garfish, grilled with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
I later found out that my friend had gotten there earlier than me and bought the last Boar fish!
P.S Most fish shops clean the fish for the customer, but here they don't. I managed to do it myself, sweating.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
I was at a different market a week or two later and saw another guy drawing caricatures. I thought I should gather some more information about my darling's competitors. So I walked up near his stall and pretended to be just another interested person at the market (actually I was). Then I sneaked out my phone and secretly took a few photos. I felt a bit like a spy or something.