Stuff and life...
Bless! Look what they've done to help a disabled dolphin in Japan: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4021993.stm - brought tears to my eyes. But I am a softie really.
Talking of softies, or not - I have a class with two 3 year olds who are the cutest kids and very sweet natured and gentle and always burst into my class with big grins on their faces. They're a boy and a girl and work really well together. I think I've woken up the devils in them. I always make activities fair so if I tell them to find something there's enough things for them both to find (a blue triangle or whatever). Although even with that the competitive edge is becoming noticeable! 'Spot' however is a different matter. You know 'Spot' - as in 'Where's Spot?', the lift the flap book? Last week I introduced them to it and they loved it. This week I asked them, 'who's spot'? and their faces lit up and they pointed to the book which was amongst a heap of other stuff. We sat down and the passive little angels were practically elbowing each other out the way to lift flaps and yell 'no'. I even noticed some glares being passed.... Little sweetie girlie is going to be putting men in their place for ever more, I feel!
And as for little sweetie girls. There's a big festival for children here every year called the 7,5,3 festival, where girls of 7 and 3 and boys of 7 and 5 get dressed up in traditional gear (shichi-go-san festival) and taken to a temple for blessings. I'm off to one on Sunday to take lots of piccies. A couple of students were telling me the other day about how the kids get put into kimonos and their hair gets sculpted into weird do's and they have make-up put on, etc. It's common the month before the festival for kids to be dressed up for pics, and today I saw two of one of my cutesy 7 year old girls (okay, all Japanese kids are cute!) looking beautiful - she verges on tomboy normally - dead cheeky and bright, with hair all over the place. Bit like me really. Anyway, seeing lipstick on her in the pics made me shudder. Like all the American beauty pageant kids...... It's just SO wrong, imo. Maybe it's just me that feels uncomfy by it though.
Teeth. Have I mentioned teeth before? Not mine, but Japanese teeth? Maybe beautiful teeth and good dental care are a Western thing but I'm truely horrified by what I've seen here. The amount of rotten teeth in people's mouths (black, grey or dark brown), or black spots, thick thick layers of plaque, teeth leaning every which way and badly overlapping sometimes. Considering how much care and attention Tokyo-ites take with their appearance, I'm totally shocked by this. Cutesy 7 year old is case in point. All of her teeth have black spots over them. Too sad.
[Gah, I hate this laptop sometimes, it just deleted two paragraphs!]
Anyway, shorts and short skirts are still very much in abundance here, despite the cold. This is on kids and adults, mind you, and generally worn with long socks or long boots, or sometimes little shoes and, gasp, legwarmers (euw, euw, euw). There have been no sightings of tights so far... And I freeze in a suit.
I know have three umbrellas outside my apartment and one at one of my schools. Well, it was raining very very heavily this evening, and you borrow one, you leave one, you know how it is. Anyway, this evening has been nasty, nasty and when I got back to my station I had to decide what to do with my bike. I don't pay for it anymore, choosing instead to leave it outside a random bank with loads of other bikes. By loads of bikes, I mean it takes up to ten minutes on an average night to get it free. Anyway, tonight I could have left it where it was, in the hopes of staying dryer, but then it could have been nicked, and, if it's dry tomorrow I'll want to use it. Okay, both are unlikely, but still. This meant getting it home. If I'd been Japanese I'd have hopped straight onto my bike and, holding my umbrella over me, sped off home. I'm not however, and saw the likelyhood of me killing myself as pretty high. Or at the very least I'd have gotten soaked to the core. Instead, I manaeouvered (nope, can't be arsed to check spelling) my bike with one hand, umbrella with the other and walked the 15 minutes. That was enough of a feat. I'm glad I didn't try to cycle!
In my desire (desparation) for Japanese friends, I answered a language exchange ad in the weekly English language magazine for ex-pats that comes out here. No, really, I'm looking for language exchange not a boyfriend! Anyway, one woman advertised who lives close to me and I emailed her. We're going to meet next week. She's a housewife, about my age, with two kids and loves everything about England, including the Bay City Rollers. Should I tell her?
This isn't meant to be a 'pick on the Japanese' post, what with everything I've already said, but another thing we teachers here commonly agree on, is the lack of imagination most of our adult students have when asked to do simple hypothetical or imagining exercises. People put it down to the education system here. But I do wonder....
I love the little sachets of dried things you get here, that you just pop into water and suddenly it's grown into a full three course meal. Okay, not quite, but for example, the seaweed you put into Miso soup (yuuummmmy!) is tiny and dried one minute and kerblam - it's taken over your bowl. Likewise, the pot noodly things you get here that have 2 or 3 sachets of ingredients and sauce or oil to put over the noodle. It's all shrivelly and then the second the hot water hits it...
And thanks to everyone who's left a comment or stuck a pin in the map!