Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Japanese things in America (1)

I got a new cell phone today, my first day back in Plattsburgh. I've already found some "Japanese things in America", and maybe I'll kind of do a series on that.

All Japanese cells phones have what foreigners call "ketai bling". I don't know the proper terminology for it. However, a ketai means cell phone...and bling..means bling as we know it in English. There are little hooks on the top of cell phones, which people put all types of souvenirs or memorabilia.

I was thrilled when I saw my cell phone has a spot for me to put bling on. I've got all sorts of bling as goodbye gifts and now I can use them.

My model and current bling is a gift that my ikebana teacher made for me as a goodbye present.

Honestly, I am so thrilled over ketai bling in America.

PS email me for the #!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I finally lost all control of my emotions and cried tonight. It was the farewell party for my adult class and I couldn't hold it in anymore. When I left Plattsburgh nearly two years ago, I felt so full of life and happy. I came to Japan and felt that I lost a lot of that. But, as I am leaving Japan, it's true, I am again, full of life and happy. I didn't think I could find such real and good friendship as I had found in Plattsburgh. But, I did...I found it in my students, my young students and especially my adult students, I found it in the other foreign English teachers this year, I've built it with other Japanese people who mean so much to me, my friend Yumie, my Japanese tutor, my ikebana teacher and co-student, the people at the board of education who help me...the list goes on and on. I always looked at my photos from the end of my life in Plattsburgh as a student and felt that I was looking at a truly happy Sara. Now, I look at the photos I am taking now...with my students, with my friends with everyone around me.....and I see a truly happy Sara again. I made the best decision of my life by staying for a second year in Japan...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Office, Japanese Style

One of my favorite TV programs is The Office. I nearly died when I saw this clip from Saturday Night Life combining my favorite American TV show with my Japanese life. It's quite accurate! I love it!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The T's in Tokyo

I met Mom and Dad at the hotel since I had to work on that Friday. The time seemed to pass so slowly taking the train from Ishinomaki all the way to Ueno, the district in Tokyo I decided we would stay in. As I walked through the doors, Dad was there waiting to meet me in the lobby. He took me by surprise. We took care of checking in and I finally got to see Mom upstairs in her room. I was ecstatic that they were able to figure out how to get to the hotel by themselves. I was worried that they might get a bit lost and need to call.

Our first dinner was in a small alleyway in the streets of Ueno. Mom and Dad tried their first real Japanese food dining outside. They really enjoyed yakitori, grilled chicken on a stick, edamame, and other food that evening. A drunken old businessman that wanted "communication" with foreigners sat down at our table and chatted my ears off. I felt bad since Mom and Dad couldn't understand. I excused myself after about a 20 minute conversation with the drunkard.

Our first full day in Tokyo was jam-packed of sites and I am so glad that we did it all on that day. We woke up early and went to Asakusa, a district I have been to uncountable times in the past. There's a famous shopping street and very large temple, 5-storey pagoda and Japanese gardens. As always, the street and temple area was full of visitors and sight-seers from all over Japan and the world. Mom was in heaven, we must have shopped on that street for almost two hours.

Afterwards, we took the Sumida River Cruise from Asakusa to the Hama Rikyu Teien Gardens. Claimed to be one of the best gardens to see in Tokyo. The river cruise was interesting, you see the looming towers of Tokyo around you and I believe in only this one stretch, we passed under something like 13 bridges

It was about a half hour long until we finally arrived to the gardens. The garden/park was really big and a good get-away from the craziness of Tokyo. There's a pond in it, mini-Fuji-san, lots of Japanese flowers and trees and just a nice stroll.

After that, we had lunch in Shiodome. We had curry-udon which both mom and dad enjoyed. Then, we went to all the different districts of Tokyo. We checked out Shibuya, which has the potentially the busiest crosswalk in the whole world. We watched people pass over it a few times before going to join the crowd. It started raining while we were walking around.

From there, we went to Harajuku, my favorite shopping district and finally to Shinjuku, the part of Tokyo that people probably see the most photos of. It's famous for it's neon lights and towering buildings. Unfortunately, by this time, it was down pouring, so we had coffee in a Mister Donuts. I decided to take them to an izakaya for dinner.

The next and our last day in Tokyo, it was still overcast when we woke up. I was able to take them to Tosho-gu Shrine in Ueno which is one of the few shrines to have made it through all the disasters that Tokyo has been through.

It dates back from hundreds of years ago. As it was the first shrine Mom and Dad had seen, they were very impressed. The rain started coming down hard as we finished. So, we spent the rest of the day, until 6pm at the National Museum. I think it was a good introduction of Japan for them. Our last stop of the day was to Roppongi Hills, an amazing living, working and shopping complex that took over a decade to build. We only saw one tower of the whole complex and it was fantastic. I can't even imagine how much it costs to live there. The restaurant we had dinner at was so Western, I completely forgot we were even in Japan anymore.

That was our last adventure in Tokyo. The next morning we woke up early and rode the shinkansen to Kyoto.

for all the photos of Tokyo, click here

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

My official return home date

I have put down a deposit and getting my tickets tomorrow. I'm flying back to the USA on July 27th. Whether I go straight to Plattsburgh or have time to go to Buffalo first depends on if I get my dream job. I had my second interview with them last night. I should know in a week or a bit more if I am offered the position. Either way, I am headed back to the USA on July 27th.

It's too soon.