Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's not That kind of snack...

Old snack bars in Jiyugaoka

I love learning new things about Japan everyday. Some things are strange (the weight-loss supplement called "Jesus Body"?!) and others are just plain funny (cream for your chest called Booby Master).

Here is something random I learned this week: Cash's Yochien is located behind a few buildings down an old street. At the corner where I wait to pick him up, there is a sign that says, "SNACK"--and I have often thought, "Hmmm...what kind of snacks?"
**Note: This sign is attached to a building that has no windows, almost exactly like the above picture**

A few days later, one of my students was recommending a gyoza restaurant and told me where it was--but said, "At night, it's dangerous! SNACKS!!!" we talked some more about "snacks". Snacks are "snack bars"--the Japanese name for host/hostess clubs, where you can go to a bar and be entertained by a hostess who will then charge you a super high price for entertaining you. There are host clubs, too, but not in the smaller cities. Some snack bars are very clean and professional--but I guess the ones in our area are quite gaudy. The hostesses stand outside in tight, bright clothes yelling to businessman and the elderly (yep) to try to lure them in.

You can read more about them and see some pictures here and here--and in that last article, I love how it says, "You can tell it's a snack bar, because it doesn't have any windows!" Very very true.

I'm just glad I didn't take Cash in for a "snack" after school :)
Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ten Things I Learned From My Dad

I found this cool little 52 lists in 52 weeks project over at getthewordsout, and I thought I would play along. I obviously have a problem sticking with stuff, so I doubt I will do all of them. But I love making lists, and I am interested in art journaling. If I ever find a cool notebook here that doesn't have Hello Kitty on it, I will write my lists on that but for now, it's my good 'ol random blog.
So...this week is...

Ten Things I Learned From My Dad
**Side note--every year on my family's birthdays, I write a page in my journal of all the things I love about them. So, this list will include things about my Dad that have not already made it into my journal**

1.) Always wear natural fibers! The only exception is velour anything--in that case, stock up!

2.) The correct ratio of honey to peanut butter in a peanut butter and honey sandwich. That's tricky and precise business, right there.

3.) Homemade cookies make the best presents.

4.) How to put a baby to sleep. From the butt-pat-n-shuffle-step to various pressure points and pinches that induce sleepiness, my dad is a font of knowledge in this area. He once put baby Cash to sleep in less than 5 minutes!

5.) Do what you love, even if it's different. My Dad lives this! For example, he has been known to drive 2 hours for a ballet-stretch-fusion class in which he is the only male in class--and he loves it! He also is big at sharing his passions with others.

6.) A love of hypnosis. Hypnosis is a huge part of my life, and I grew up surrounded by hypnosis script books and relaxation tapes. I have never once thought hypnosis was weird--and I have been able to help many people view it differently and benefit from it--thanks to my Dad.

7.) BBC makes the greatest stuff! Downton Abbey, Cranford, North and South--My Dad loves drama and relationships and always shares the good shows he finds.

8.) Music is the great joy of life. And it's worth the money to pay for songs that move you. And it's worth the time to search out new music to fall in love with.

9.) How to take care of yourself. My Dad was very active in my personal hygiene until I moved away from home--nothing weird, just made sure I was cutting my toenails properly and flossing. He also exercises a lot and puts a lot of emphasis on health.

10.) Laughter is the second great joy of life. My Dad loves to laugh, and everyone loves to hear him laugh. He makes it a priority to watch shows and read books that are funny, and everyone in my family has absorbed the good humor into their lives!

Why is this the only picture in my computer of my Dad? is a good representation of him, though. His grandkids are always messing with him, and he loves it!
Friday, June 17, 2011

Scene from a Preschool

The other day, I saw a scene that made my heart so happy. I was walking Cash to his class at preschool, and this is what I saw in the preschool yard(I know, I should have brought my camera!):

--A group of 5 year olds with work boots and mops, cleaning out the school's rabbit cage.

-- Another group of children sitting around a low table with piles of wood, nails, and full-size hammers. They were happily nailing wood together and had very little supervision. There was a teacher standing over them, but she wasn't freaking out like I would have been! Cash brought home his wooden "Transformer" yesterday and was so proud of it.

--Another group of children with watering cans watering the schools garden. Each child planted either eggplant, tomato, or onion in April and this week, the veggies were harvested by the children. The harvested veggies were then cooked up into lunch for the kids.

--Some 3 year olds feeding the fish in the school's fish pond.

--A group of 4 year olds sitting around two aquariums full of baby turtles. They had science books with pictures of growing turtles, and they were comparing the pictures to the live turtles. A boy called Cash over to give him a handful of baby turtles to play with.

--And inside Cash's classroom (he is in the Usagi--rabbit--class), a group of children sat around a table with milk cartons, building castles with tape. At the other table, the teacher's aide was helping the rest of the children with origami.

The preschool here is all about developmental play. There is no letter learning or reading until actual elementary school. The children are read to, sung to, and hugged by all of their teachers. There is a strict no junk food policy for lunch time, and in fact, the teachers ask to please pack the child's lunch with foods they hate so that they can get used to the food.

The weather is good now, so most of the children run around barefoot and play in the mud. They do all of the cleaning themselves and also brush their teeth after lunch. It is very cool. It is also really neat to see Cash pick up Japanese words. I still think the preschool, 5 hours a day, 5 times a week, is a bit too long, but it definitely has good things going on!
Monday, June 6, 2011

&hearts Two Loves Combined &hearts

   Q: How many zombies does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Why are you watching zombies change a light bulb? Shoot them!

Two things in life that I really enjoy are #1: Zombies!

The sweet birthday cake my bro and sis-in-law made for my 26th birthday!

I love zombies a lot, for a few reasons. First, I think (if I haven't created this memory, which I tend to do) my mom made me watch Night of the Living Dead with her when I was younger. Did I create this memory? Anyone? Also, I have seen many, many scary movies, and zombies are the only things that have not given me nightmares. Aliens? Yes--scary! Zombies--not so much. I think my zombie movie watching days are over, though, as I no longer watched R-rated movies. Third, I think every girl has had a conversation with at least one male about what to do in a zombie apocalypse. Boys just genetically meditate on this type of problem-solving.

Which brings me to another thing I enjoy in life (Okay, yes, boys--but something else): Public Health. This was my major, so I have a sweet spot for it. I think disease prevention is really interesting!

So, I thought this was so cool:
CDC Creates Zombie Preparedness Plan
This was all over the news a few weeks ago.

While I think it's important to be prepared, it's also important to stay healthy enough to outrun any possibly fast-moving zombies. There is a fitness program called ZombieFit that has a program that gets you agile enough to jump over fences during the zombie apocalypse. Amazing!

So, get prepared! Or at least, when the time comes, pretend like you are a zombie and maybe they won't notice!

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