Sunday, January 29, 2012

Udon at a soba restaurant

Naho and Han-sensei ordered "udon" noodles at Kagetsuan, a great "soba" place where the owner prepares the noodles from scratch. I'm sure he didn't mind our order as three of us enjoyed his delicious buckwheat noodles. I had never heard about soba allergies until I came to Japan, but while in Victoria I was also surprised to hear that many children in Canada are allergic to peanuts. In any case, I think mine is probably a more unique case as most people are surprised when I say I'm allergic to pork!

Kokusai Koryu Kenshu in California

Twenty two students are going to take part in the 国際交流研修 in California in February. Our pre-departure classes started this week. On Friday we practiced Japanese sign language so that we can teach some Japanese to the students at the California School for the Deaf on February 22.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday night: thunder, earthquake and snow

What happened Monday night? The thunder was quite scary and then I started feeling the shakes--not big but small and long--and after that the snow! This region is not prepared for the snow and of course there were train delays and traffic problems. I ended up taking a taxi to JIU today but I had to wait two hours for one.

Chancellor Shu Go

Chancellor Mizuta with Chancellor Shu Go from Tianjin University of Foreign Studies in Tokyo on Friday. We had the opportunity to see him and Professor Li.

Friday morning: Coconut time

Another coincidence: coconut. In my last communication class on Friday, I invited students to have tea and some sweets in my office and coincidentally I had lots of coconut sweets from various countries there. We enjoyed food from the Vietnam, Singapore, the US and Brazil. That doesn't happen that often but for some reason different people gave me different souvenirs last week and four of them were made of coconut. I LOVE coconut, so it was a very pleasant time for me and a good opportunity to introduce coconut to students who are not used to the taste.

Great steak at Takedaya

We had not planned this, but we were working late and decided to go out for steak Thursday night. We also wanted to say hi to our students who work at Takedaya. It was a last minute arrangement and it was great that the four of us were finally able to eat together--hard to believe that had not happened before.

"Checking" on En-san

The other day En-san (left) told us that she is now working at Yutaka, so we decided to go say hello to her. We had this wonderful "goma dango" for dessert.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dinner with Professors Huang and Shi

We had dinner at Takedaya where one of their students is now working.
Enjoying a good combination of French and Japanese cuisine.

National Kaohsiung Univ. of Hospitality & Tourism

Professors Huang and Shi from Taiwan visited JIU on Tuesday. Their three students are going to be studying in my department until August. They are the first students to study on the Togane campus. Most of the students live in Kamogawa and are in the Faculty of Tourism.


Big and nice coincidences happen once in a while and on Tuesday something quite unbelievable took place in my office. On Saturday I went to Takemi to talk about the internship possibility for one of my advisees from Taiwan (left). There I met a Aoki-kun, a JIU student (right) who works there, and I told him to come see me in my office one of these days. With the owner of the restaurant we talked about Toru who had worked there when he was a JIU student. He graduated two years ago and I had not seen him since commencement. Then on Tuesday when Aoki-kun was in my office, my Taiwanese student showed up a minute after him and I was able to introduce them to each other. That was great as they'll be working together from now on. I thought it was a great coincidence that they showed up more or less at the same time. However, it didn't stop there. I got a phone call from the office saying a former student wanted to see me and then Toru showed up in my office! It was hard to believe that all three "Takemi connected" students gathered in my office around the same time without any kind of planning. I don't know how to explain this, but I'm glad it happened.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Eating well after days of eating soup only

This past weekend I ended up going to two of my favorites restaurants in the area for New Year greetings and also to try to eat well. It was the weekend of the "Center Nyushi" (entrance examinations) here and two stressful days for high school students.
Japanese fillet and sirloin on Saturday....
....and sushi with salt on Sunday.... Don't worry. I only ate four pieces.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Disney Internship participants are back

The students who participated in the UC Riverside/Disney College Internship Program returned to Japan yesterday after two weeks in California and six months in Florida. They all looked great!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

International Students' Presentations

As we approach the end of the semester, the international students who are here for only one or two semesters gave their final group presentations on Wednesday. Some were extremely creative in the use of their Japanese and the way they talked about Japan.


I would never line up for hours to buy any "fukubukuro" on New Year's Day, but I have bought the Godiva New Year's bag the past two years. Here's what was inside this time. I was told twenty years ago that the fun of the bags was that you didn't know what you were getting, but times have changed as it seems like everyone knows nowadays what's inside.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone! I apologize for not uploading anything for the longest time. There were some serious technical problems with the blog and after that I was sick for about a week. (I thought I had the Norovirus, but the doctor told me I had something else.) I am back now and hope to be able to write on a daily basis. May 2012 be a year of less suffering and more positive energy in the air all over the world.

Photos taken at Jindaiji in Chofu, Tokyo, on December 31.