Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I've stayed at Yoshimi's house a few days in a row a couple times, and they are starting to feel like a second host family, they are so nice and hospitable. And Yoshimi is hilarious, I love her. She is going to study english in college, so me being there was good practice for her.They have two dogs, a big labrador named Andy and a tiny old girl named Shizu. They remind me of my dogs when they play like this. At first Andy looks really skinny, but he's actually quite strong and healthy. When we take them on a walk it's more like he's walking us.

Here is Andy right before we went on a walk. The litte bag is for his poo. haha. It's so cute, he literally walks us the whole way. And he has his own chair, and if you tell him to he jumps up there.

Here is a picture of Yoshimi and I, and her sister; Satomi.

On one of the days I stayed at Yoshimi's I helped Yoshimi and her mom make Okinomiaki, a popular food that is basically a pancake made out of cabbage, fish, meat, shrimp, and some kind of batter. Then you cook it and cover it with a sweet brown sauce, drizzle it with some mayo(I know, I was surprised by the mayo), and top it off with some fish flakes. I didn't really like the fish flakes, so I put ginger on mine instead. It was really really good. While we were cooking Andy was staring at me longingly out of his cage in the living room.

You can see Yoshimi's mom; Rika in this photo. She is so nice and cute. She always teaches me how to cook, and even though she knows very little English, we have become very good at charades.

After that delicious lunch, we went to downtown Gifu to meet up with Yoshimi's friend, Yuka. We met up and went to Karaoke, where Yuka amazed me with her karaoke skills and excellent english.

Then we took a bus to the mall to see High School Musical 3, which is super popular in Japan. It was quite hilarious, and I was laughing out loud in the theater, but then I realized that no one really laughs in japanese theaters, it's dead quite. haha so I stopped laughing. I don't know why it was so funny to me, maybe because it makes High School seem really glamorous.

The next morning I had ice cream from a bag! It was really good.

Here is shizu being cute. She reminds me so much of my dog, Big Mac.

I had so much fun, and I told Yoshimi that if she comes to America, she can stay with me.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Last weekend(I know, I'm behind on blogging), Ayako and I got up early, because we were going to a futsal tournament at the airforce base near our apartment. We had our usual delicious breakfast of fresh fruit with yoghurt and honey, and then Aya's dad made me a big traditional japanese breakfast, which was a bit intimidating at first, as there was a whole fish on my plate. There was also a triangle shaped rice ball with seaweed, some veggies, and a pickled plum.

But the fish was really good, almost sweet, although it was tricky to eat because of the bones. The veggies and the rice were also delicious, and I've decided that I love seaweed. But the plum was kind of shocking when I ate it, because I was expecting sweet and it was really salty. haha, sorry this picture looks kind of gross, with the half eaten fish carcass.
So then we hopped on our bikes and rode for a while, and then we got to the gate of the air-force base. We were surprised that they didn't check my passport or anything. I've never been in a military base, and it was weird because it was like a mini version of a town, with some shops, apartments, a hospital, and a huge gymnasium, only instead of cars most of the people rode bikes around.

These are our bikes parked at the soccer field. Ayako knew one of the guys in the tournament through her mom, so thats how we got in. There were a few other people there to watch, a lot of wives and children.

Here is a picture of Ayako with her cute ear-muffs. It was freezing cold that day, but luckily Aya's friend brought us blankets and we brought handwarmers. It was cold but it was beautiful and sunny, so I was able to take some shots of the game. Sorry there's like a million photos of people playing soccer, haha I was excited to use the sports setting on my camera.
Some are a bit off focus, because the game was so fast pase, and it was really intense.

I like the keeper's facial expression in this one.

The way this guy is bending looks quite unnatural. haha I freaked out when I saw it.

This one also looks really weird. like the guy is floating.

Unfortunately Aya's friend's team lost one of the games, but they got pretty far and I think they had a lot of fun. So after that Aya and I rode our bikes to the mall, where we shopped, ate lunch, and met up with Yoshimi.Then we rode to a karaoke place. We bought snacks beforehand and snuck them in, because I think food is expensive there.

Karaoke was really fun, and then Aya and I rode to a place near her house to get some dinner.

Here is a delicious fried appetizer we had, I think it had some cheese and chicken.

For dessert we had this very strange but delicious thing. They had ice cream wrapped in rice cake, but the rice cake was baked crispy brown.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Class

This is my 2nd grade class, it's very loud compared to american classrooms, i think. But they are all really smart, they all have their times tables memorized and can recite them quicker than I can(but thats not very hard.. haha). Everybody calls eachother by their first name and then "san." San means Mr. or Ms., I think. They call me "Sara-san," or "Sara-sensei," which means Sara-teacher. My favorite part of the day is when we all get in a big circle and clap and sing and jump around, even though I can't understand what we are singing about. I don't remember the name of these 2 girls, but they are very sweet and smile at me a lot.

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This is Koshi, the one that likes soccer and walks with me to school. I think he lieves on the 5th floor of our apartment, or "Mansion," as they call it.

This is Kendo, he is the fastest with multiplication in the class, and he is very smart. He sits next to me and I always watch him as he does experiments with glue in the drawer of his desk, where he pour glue in a pile with other objects, and then when it's dry he takes it off and examines it. He reminds me of my cousin, Xander.

This is Kaho, one os the girls that i play with a lot. I think she's trying to avoid the camera in this picture. There is a main group of girls in my class who I play with, and they teach me words everday, like "ostei," which means push, which I learned when we were playing on the swings. Often they will just point at things and say what they are called, and I've learned a lot by that too.

Here is Kaho and Kae, they show me around a lot and teach me. Kae is really cute and shy.

This is Kae and Akiko. Akiko just started to play with me and show me around more, she is really cute.

Every second grade class in elementary school does a print, and we made monsters, or "Oni." We made the different body parts and then put them together, using bubble wrap and yarn to add texture. It was really fun, and the kids were really creative.

Here is Kae again, she loves getting her picture taken.

I don't know the name of this girl, but my teacher told me proudly that she has read the most books in the 2nd grade.

Here is one of the kids showing me their Oni.

My teacher is in this picture, to the left helping the kids with their Onis, but you can't really see her face. She is so nice, she told me that seven years ago, she went to the U.S. for 2 weeks and her host family was so nice and helpful, and so she wanted the same for me. She has really good English, and she is excited that I'm here so she can practice some more. She's a great teacher, and you can really tell how much she loves the kids. A couple times there has been an altercation between 2 students and my teacher will take them aside and help them work it out. You can see my Oni in this picture too, up on the chalkboard.

Here is Kaho showing me her monter.

I can't remember the name of this girl, but she always says hi to me and is really nice. She said she is from Brazil, and Ayako told me that many people in Gifu are from Brazil.

Here are a bunch of kids from the other second grade class, they're getting ready for lunch. For lunch at the elementary school food is left outside our room, and the kids put on masks and aprons and serve it to the class. We all wait for everyone to be seated, then we say "Itadakimas" and we dig in. I think it's a prayer, and we do it at Aya's house as well.

This was the lunch that day, and I actually really like the lunches I've eaten there so far. The milk was weird for me at first, because it's very strong compared to american milk. But I've noticed that nobody leaves anything on their plate, they finish everything, unlike my elementary school, where most of the food was thrown away because it was less than delicious.

Here is my class getting ready to be dismissed. I don't know why, but on Tuesdays we have class only until 2:20, while every other day it goes until 3:00. And every day has a different schedule of what classes there are.

Here are me and the girls I walk with going home.

The girl on the left is Megumi, she's not in my class but I walk home with here everyday, and she has pretty good english and loves to practice on me. Kae also will ask me the same questions every day when we walk home, because they're the only ones she knows in english. haha, it's so cute. Everday she discovers that my favorite fruit is strawberries, and I learn that her favorite color is yellow. :)

I think this is a shrine, but we walk past it every morning.

This dog, or "i-nu," is always tied up next to the road when we walk home, and I always pet it because it's so excited to see us.

This is Megumi, she asked me to take a picture of her in front of her house. :)