Sunday, February 25, 2007


On Sunday the girls, David and I (Orlando was playing golf in 37 F weather) went to the little town of Kurashiki about 2 hours by car from Hiroshima. Here we are looking hot (actually it was quite cold) as always:
The town had a very cute preserved area which is surrounded by shops and museums. In one of these shops I found a Japanese doll representation of my family, Mom, Dad and 3 girls as you can see below:

I also found some very comfortable and modern looking Reefs (a brand of flip flops) in one of the little shops:
We where lucky enough to run into a wedding, check it out:
I wonder if we could have crashed the wedding....I don't think so, but hey it would have been extremely educational. Here is a close up of the happy bride and groom:
He's thinking "I love you even though you have the world's worse wig on". Seriously you can't notice it on the picture but I could have bought a better wig at Halloween USA. Now that is commitment. Our initial intention was to go sightseeing but we got "derailed" and ended up shopping most of the day. He we are happily carrying our bags:

We also had a chance to go to the Achi Shrine as you can see below:To those of you who are wondering our pour Taxi driver/camera man/body guard/bag carrier, I mean David, survived driving 2 hours each way and shopping with 3 girls for 5 hours. Golf Claps please!!!! I'm certain Orlando would have given me money to take the train back home after 1 hour of shopping. Inside the shrine there where some "Daruma dolls".
These dolls are hollow and round wish dolls. Using black ink, one fills in a single circular eye while thinking of a wish. Should the wish later come true, the second eye is filled in and the doll is taken back to the temple where it was purchased. I found that out from a colleague on Monday, when I was actually there I just thought they where funny looking, but it's good to know that they actually have a specific meaning. Here is an artsy picture of the shrine:

It is traditional for the visitors to a shrine purchases a wooden tablet, writes a wish or prayer on the tablet, and hangs it at the shrine. For those of you who are planning to visit start thinking of a good wish. Your going to have to send me your wish 3 months ahead of time in order to figure out how to write it in Japanese.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Very Japanese Weekend

After having to work on Saturday to make up for the National Holiday On Monday (God forbid that everyone just takes a day off) we went to Fujimoto-san's house (one of my co-worker's). He invited us to stay over at his house on Saturday in order to play in a volleyball tournament on Sunday. Our German friend Elmar came to play with us. He is over 6 feet tall and can spike the ball like no one's business, basically he was our secret weapon. Our friend Yoshi (who lived in the US for 8 years) drove us to the small town of Onomichi which is about an hour away from Hiroshima. Finally a real house!!!!!!!! well at least for one weekend. It was the first time we had ever stayed in someones house. The funny thing is that no one in the house speaks English. Fujimoto-san is learning how to speak English, between what he had learned and my 59.5% knowledge of basic Japanese we some how understand each other. Here we are eating with his family on the floor:

Fujimoto-san is the guy in the couch and judging from the picture I'm sure you can understand why we get along besides the huge language barrier. His wife and daughters, who are 15, 11 and 8, where really nice and attentive to us. The only one who did not like us was the dog Minto.

It was the first time we slept "the Japanese way", on top of a futon on the floor. We also had 2 mini pillows that felt like you where sleeping on a giant Bennie baby.

I think the dolls did not come alive in the middle of the night. Or did they?!?!?!?
The next day we where off to the Volleyball tournament. Once we got there we met the rest of our team. Aren't we intimidating or what!?!?!?!

We played with 4 complete strangers who could not speak any English and somehow ended up in third place. In my opinion we did well. The girls came to see us play and hang out for a while.

After the tournament we went to eat Onomichi's famous ramen noddles in a little shop near by. I'm almost certain that the people there had never seen a foreigner in their lives because they stared at us like we had 3 arms the whole time. I did not care because the noddles where damm good.
In general I think this weekend was a good experience for everyone. We got to practice some Japanese and Fujimoto-san's family got interested in learning English so that they could talk to use next time. On Monday when we where all back to work Fujimoto-san came over and said how grateful he was that we encouraged his girls to speak English. I told him that we where the one that where grateful for his family's sincere kindness. He said that his dream was for them to be fluent in 2 languages. I told him that my father (we are 3 girls also) had the same desire and it came true. I realized that things are not so different after all.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sushi Party!!!!!

As you can see we had a sushi party at the Mosley's residence on Saturday. You can see the "Sushi Master Erin" hard at work teaching everyone how to make sushi roles. Don't worry we actually cooked all the food before putting it in the sushi, so last I checked we are all still alive and kicking.

Here I am with my masterpieces.
Orlando is hard at work making some shrimp and steak sushi (hey don't judge, it's make your own sushi night you can make whatever you want). As you can see on your left presentation is important.

Our new neighbor Noi joined the party with her husband Cheyenne (not to be confused with Puerto Rican Hottie Chayanne The least I could do was help her out with her sushi since they where nice enough to let us borrow their RX-8.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Update on Japanese Test

As some of you may remember I took a basic level Japanese language proficiency test in December of last year. Yesterday I finally got my results and of course I failed. I'm ok with that because even my Japanese teacher had told me I was not going to pass. The issue is that I needed to get 60% correct in order to pass the test. Does anyone want to guess how much I got? Anyone? Well I got a beautiful 59.5% and apparently the mathematical rules of rounding a number up do not apply in the Japanese Language test office, so I failed by 0.5 %. Basically if I would have know one more Kanji or one more verb I could have passed. I think my Japanese teacher said it best: "If you pass after 5 months only, it crime". Ohh well, a certificate was not going to save me from a menu full of Kanjis in a restaurant. I will just have to find comfort in the fact that at least I can order take out pizza, thank God for Pizza Hut.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

It's Snowing!!!!

Today I woke up to this view from our apartment (8th floor), IT'S SNOWING!!!!! I'm cursed there is snow everywhere I go!!!! It follows me!!! I can only be thankful that we don't have to shovel the school yard!!!! There are going to be a bunch of mad parents when their kids get home wet and muddy!!!! Check out the snow in the balcony's safety rails!!!!
What's funny about the whole thing is that it only snows here once or twice a year since the average temperature for February is from 33 - 48 F, but we are just soooo lucky. I'm not complaining because back in Michigan (average temperature for Feb. is 20-36F) poor Orlando would have shoveled the drive way many times by now.

In order to add insult to injury, our neighbor asked us to switch cars with him for 2 weeks (he has a bad back) so we went from our beautiful Verisa with it's 133 hp engine ( I call it the lawnmower):
To this:
A 220 hp RX-8!!! What a perfect rear wheel drive vehicle to have when it snows!!!!!!! You know we don't care. I'm sure we will survive this small "inconvenience"!!! Needless to say we will continue "sacrificing" ourselves driving this little monster around.