Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 26: Judo Tournament & Disney interviews & Dinner

On December 26 there was a big judo tournament for high school students at JIU. There were participants from all over Japan. I took this photo when the students were warming up.
A small thank-you dinner with the students who helped me clean up and helped me with the large number of New Year cards I am sending out this year.

Christmas: good wine, good food & good company

Han-sensei brought this cute cake which is part of the Christmas tradition in Japan. We had panetone with this kind of jam from Hungary--a perfect match!
Pão de queijo, marinated olives, lots of cheese, cashew nuts from Brazil, artichoke dip, crab dip....
French and Hungarian wine.
Fondue...all this before the main meal. It was an all-day-long eating day, but I think all of us enjoyed spending time together and eating food from all over the world.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tiring shopping in a busy mall

Wow, in twenty years in Japan I had never seen so many people at Chiba Sogo. Actually this is probably the first time I went there on December 23--a national holiday in Japan. We were lucky we decided to be there at 10. When we left around 4:30 there was an announcement saying people had to wait 90 minutes in order to get a parking spot! In any case, the crowd made shopping really exhausting and not fun at all. Shiori, Shuko and I enjoyed eating though! We went to two different restaurants.

Great news: a new teacher is born

"Takeshita-kun" was offered a teaching position at a school in Ichihara on Thursday. I had never seen him this happy. Congratulations, Mizushima-kun!

Wakui-kun's visit

Wakui-san came visit on Thursday. I was so glad to hear he is now working for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel not because I use the hotel but especially because he is now back in Tokyo. Considering it's a six-star hotel, unfortunately I don't think I'll ever be staying there, but now I have a good excuse to go there for a good French or Cantonese meal. I initially told students who showed up in my office that he graduated five years ago, but he quickly corrected me and said he graduated almost ten years ago!
The sweets he brought were just superb! Definitely six-star quality. Thank you, Wakui-kun! Welcome back to Kanto and good luck at your new job.

Gift exchange with the seniors

On Wednesday my fourth-year students exchanged gifts. Unfortunately this was the last time for them as they'll be graduating in March. Takano gave me a great tea pot. She knew I needed one!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

End-of-year party with my Extension students today

Look at the huge peanuts that Takamiya-san planted and cooked for us. It was bigger than a radish!
Lots of beautiful food!
A lovely gift! Thanks, Tanaka-san. She made it with material from her garden.

Christmas party on campus

We had a Christmas party on campus yesterday.

Hungarian Christmas in my office

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What a nice surprise!

I received this beautiful orchid as a gift from the parents of one student of mine yesterday. Orchids are one of my favorite flowers. Besides their sophisticated beauty, they remind me of my mother who has at least a hundred in her collection. I've decided to keep it in my office this week and then I'll be taking it home with me for the holidays. Thank you so much!


This is how our popular and delicious Calpis is commercialized in the United States.

Los Angeles on December 15

I had the pleasure of meeting with faculty members from the California State University, Long Beach on Thursday, December 15 in Torrance. It was nice seeing them again and I think it was actually the first time we were all together. We hope to be able to exchange more students from 2012.

Dinner at the Animal Kingdom

UC Riverside invited us to dinner on December 14 and we enjoyed a great meal at Sanna in the Animal Kingdom. We had lots of great food to enjoy including samosas, kachumber, basmati rice, beef short ribs and chicken with red curry sauce. Everything was excellent.

The dessert trio: chocolate cake, chai cream and tropical fruit kulfi.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Disney Graduation

The JIU students at Disney graduated yesterday. It was quite a large celebration as hundreds of students participated in the event. Congratulations!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Disney World 2011

Greetings from Disney World! I arrived here in Florida Monday afternoon and asked Mei to come see me at the hotel. She is the leader of the group of students who are here on the UCR/Disney Hospitality Certificate Program. They will be graduating later today.
Dinner with Mei.
Lunch with students on Tuesday.
In my Yacht Club area--the hotel where I'm staying.

At the Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Distinguished Professor Award 2011: Professor Bald

Professor Bald received the Distinguished Professor Award on Saturday. We were so proud and happy that she had been selected. She played a key role in the establishment of the graduate program in 1996 and since then has been coming to Japan every year to teach both undergraduate and graduate courses. I wasn't able to take any photos of the ceremony because I was on the stage with her, but here are some photos we took right after.

In the studio being interviewed by Kaoru.

Professor Dr. Maté Szabó at JIU

Dr. Szabó is the Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights in Hungary. He came to JIU Friday afternoon and gave a one-hour talk to our students about the constitutional reforms in his country and mainly about his role.

Graduate School: food culture

On Friday the students in my graduate school course cooked food from their countries and we had the opportunity to learn more about the customs and the food culture from each other's countries. We ate lots of great food from China, Norway, Japan and Brazil. I think the "unique" one for the Chinese and Japanese students was the Norwegian rice porridge. They said they are not used to eating sweet rice especially with cinnamon on top. Brazilian are used to that and we call it "arroz doce." I love it so I was very pleased and ate my whole bowl very quickly! Everything tasted really good and that's especially because everyone took the time to cook the food. I made "bacalhoada" using Norwegian cod fish. It's one of my favorite dishes.

Seminar: Pot-luck lunch

My third-year students had a pot-luck lunch on Wednesday. As there wasn't much time, we basically ate and exchanged gifts. We do have classes until December 21, but five students are going to China on a special program from the 20th so we decided to celebrate the holidays a little early. I think everyone was happy with their gifts--and the food. We ate lots of chicken!

I received a beautiful candle.

Earthquake in December

I wasn't that worried about the earthquake last Saturday as nothing in my apartment had broken despite the long 30-second shake. I was very sad when I opened my office door Monday morning though. I found some things on the floor including this beautiful tea pot that my seminar students gave me on graduation day two years ago.

Mr. Takeshi Okada

Mr. Takeshi Okada from the Japan Football Association gave a talk at JIU on December 2. Unfortunately we are not allowed to upload the photos we took, but I'm sure all Japanese know who I'm talking about after all he was the coach of the national soccer team in the last World Cup when Japan did pretty well. It was a pleasure meeting him and especially talking to him about Brazil where he lived for a while, according to him, many years ago. He is a very passionate and really smart person. His talk was excellent and despite the full hall, I wish more of our students had chosen to go listen to him.

Job interview and Italian dinner

My Taiwanese students had a job interview last week. While studying at JIU as exchange students, they need to work at local restaurants as part of their internship program. They both passed the interview and are already working at Takedaya. Junko and I had an Italian meal with them afterwards.

December 1: Day 1 for the junior students to start their job hunting activities

In preparation for their job search activities which officially started on December 1, the male students came to my seminar dressed for a job interview. We went over neck tie and shoes choices. The female students focused on make-up that day. Finding a job in Japan involves going through a lot of stages and being extremely well prepared is vital.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Seminar students at my place

Some of my third-year seminar students came over this weekend and besides "studying," we played domino. I am always surprised to hear that none of them had ever played it.

What are the chances of you getting these dominoes?


Twenty-seven seminar students went out to dinner to celebrate the success of the JIU Festival. We went to Yutaka which is probably one of the only places in Togane where they can accommodate so many people and don't charge that much for such delicious food.

Dinner with Bald-sensei

About two weeks ago we had the pleasure of learning how to eat Indian food appropriate with Bald-sensei. We went to Garam Masala for authentic curry.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Special Talk by Chancellor Liu

On Thursday, Chancellor Liu from Dalian University of Foreign Languages came to our Togane campus for the very first time and gave a talk to a full auditorium of more than 500 people.
Meeting our mascots J and I.