Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rare "nagarami" shells

I visited some friends last night and to my surprise they had prepared some "nagarami" for dinner. Apparently here in Chiba they ate lots of that 30 years ago, but nowadays it's hard to find them. This is actually only the 5th time I enjoy them in the twenty years I've been in Japan. There was one that had what I thought a dead shrimp inside the shell--that I saw for the first time!

The sashimi was great as well!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Unique flowers

I had not been to my favorite flower shop for a while and yesterday I stopped by and saw these cute ones called "kurukuma." I didn't have a good camera with me so this is not a very nice photo, but you can have an idea.

Ishiwatari-kun at JIU

What a nice surprise. Ishiwatari-kun showed up with great snacks from Gunma Prefecture where he is now working. We had some "gobo" chips and "negi karinto." Many thanks!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Party at JIU

The Center for Language Education held a Halloween Party on Wednesday. International students, children, Japanese students who have studied abroad and students from the Department of International Exchange Studies got together for a fun party.

Leeward Community College at JIU

Steve Jacques from the University of Hawaii, Leeward Community College visited us on Wednesday. I was very glad he was able to come the day of my "Ryugaku Planning" course so that he could meet my students and directly talk about the English language program at his institution. Kaoru, our senior student who was there for a semester two years ago, also answered some of the questions students had. Steve had lunch with Chad and Joseph who transferred from that institution to JIU this year. This was a very short visit, but Steve is planning to come back in April and stay longer.

Camosun College at JIU

Geoff Wilmshurst, Director of Camosun International, arrived at JIU on Tuesday. He was appointed director only six weeks ago and we actually met in Victoria his first day of work. We have been sister schools for a long time and we are looking forward to more cooperation and more programs in the future. On Tuesday Naho, Hanako and Kazumi took him on a campus tour. We enjoyed some Japanese steak for dinner and on Wednesday he came to my "Ryugaku Planning" course. It was a short visit, but I'm glad our students had the opportunity to meet him and learn more about Camosun College.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I love persimmons and that's one of the reasons I love the fall season in Japan. I've been eating two or three a day the past two weeks. I was not planning to buy any dishes yesterday, but these caught my eyes and I had to have them. I love the design of the cup and how the artist hand painted the fruit.

Hungarian wine

Maki lived in Budapest and we both wanted to buy some Hungarian wine. We found this one at Chiba Sogo and tried to order some other types, but we were told this is the only one they carry. Well, better than nothing. If you have never tried any Hungarian wine, please do try to find some Tokaji. It's great!

A bad day at Chiba Sogo

I had not spent an afternoon shopping for quite a long time. Maki and I met at Chiba Sogo and I told her over lunch that my day was not going well and that I thought Taurus was probably listed worst in the horoscope for the day. Before lunch I had tried to buy something to wear and the woman at the shop took the liberty to tell me that I should "lose 4 cm around my waist and also hip in order to look more beautiful." I should tell you that I had not asked her for advice and actually I had given her enough signs indicating I didn't want her to talk to me. I guess I was wrong.

Then we ordered lunch and because all dishes contained pork, I told the waitress to please prepare my salad without the ham. Maki's chicken was brought to the table first--a common practice in Japan--and my salad WITH pork was put in front of me quite a long time after that. We had to complain and then wait longer for the new salad to be prepared without the pork. I was annoyed especially knowing that Maki would not eat her food before me. I told her to please go ahead, but you can imagine her eating little bits very slowly as her chicken turned really cold. Finally the waitress came and said in an extremely soft and annoying voice that she was sorry. I then had to explain why that was not OK and felt bad that I had to tell her myself that most people in Japan are extremely polite and in that situation Maki would not eat before me and the restaurant didn't even think about that. She then offered to prepare Maki's food again and I said, "Oh, and I would have to wait 15 minutes ?" I really appreciate the politeness of people who work at restaurants in Japan but I cannot put up with lack of carefulness about allergies and also with the concept that it's OK to just say "I'm sorry about that."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Canada group dining at Yutaka

The group that went to Canada in August gathered tonight at Yutaka. All members gave a brief presentation on their research about Canada and after that we enjoyed a good Taiwanese meal together. I forgot to take photos of the food, so what you see here is only the dessert....
....and all the empty dishes.

Karen and Yvette in Togane

Karen from UCR and Yvette from Disney World visited us this weekend. The weather was not good on Saturday but we still had a good time.

Meeting a Brazilian at JIU

I met a Brazilian who's been studying in Japan for six years on Saturday. She is interested in our department and came to take a look at our facilities.

Intensive TOEIC Course

We have been studying hard in preparations for the TOEIC on October 22.

Dinner with Ayami: finally!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Talking about Canada

This week Tom and Sharla from Victoria came to our lunch-time "koryuu" hour to talk about Canada. Forty minutes was not enough and they will be coming again next week.

Mizuta Noriko Scholarships to Hungarian Students

Ten Hungarian students were officially awarded the Mizuta Noriko Scholarships at a ceremony at the Josai University Educational Corporation in Kioicho today (Thursday). After the ceremony we all went to the Hungarian Embassy where the Ambassador hosted a party to welcome them to Japan.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

PTA in Niigata

It was a national holiday in Japan yesterday but some of us traveled to Niigata City for the PTA meeting of that region. I was able to meet with the parents of some of my own advisees.

I bought some of my favorite "sasa dango" at the train station, but I just realized I haven't eaten any yet! It was a crazy busy day today again!!

Congratulations, Chiaki!

I attended Chiaki's wedding party in Tokyo on Sunday. Look at how beautiful she was in the two different kimono and then the white dress she wore the same afternoon. It was great to see some other former students at the party as well. They all looked great!

Meeting Potter Kishimoto

I had heard about Kishimoto-sensei (front row, left) and his pottery for a while. I actually own a very beautiful plate made by him that was given to me by the parents (back row, center) of a former student. They are fans of Mr. Kishimoto and I had been looking forward to meeting him and his wife. On Saturday I finally had the opportunity to visit his place in Ichihara City. They were in Mexico for a while teaching and managing a pottery school.


Two celebrations on Friday: Professor Schalow's official appointment as the Director of the All-English Program at JIU and Kawano-sensei's wedding. We wish them both all the best!

Sushi with Saito-san

About ten days ago Saito-san came visit and we went out for sushi. I ran into two elementary school teachers at the restaurant and ended up talking to them, too, all night.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hungry girls?!?

All the empty dishes.... I guess we were hungry Thursday night and enjoyed our Indian meal....

Morita-kun modeling

On Wednesday Morita-kun was kind enough to put on the things I brought from Brazil for the research presentation on the Amazon Festival of the Boi Bumbá.

Congratulations, Kawaguchi-san!

Kawaguchi-san received her diploma on Tuesday.