Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I really had fun teaching at this school and my students are the most adorable people I’ve ever met. Naturally it’s quite sad to have to say goodbye to everybody, so I’ve been giving all my adult students little gifts. They weren’t much because I have a lot of students, but they all loved it. The little presents consisted of a Jip & Janneke (Dutch cartoon) magnet, a piece of speculaas (Dutch cookie) and a Pickwick teabag (my favorite Dutch tea). Of course, I’m not leaving the staff of the school empty-handed. I went to international supermarkets here in Inuyama and Nagoya and managed to collect a small batch of Dutch products. I got them Droste chocolates, peanut cookies, syrup waffles, Haagse Hopjes (coffee candy), Van Houten instant hot chocolate and a whole box of my favorite Pickwick tea (which I actually bought in the Netherlands during Shogatsu). I hope the staff likes it as much as the students did.
So today I’m teaching my last class here, I’m actually only teaching private lessons today because Sean, the teacher that is replacing me, is going to try the regular lessons today while I observe him. I hope he’ll treat my students well! And after classes today we will have a big farewell party at Al Centro, the Italian restaurant next door to the school.
The girl on the picture with the big nose, huge pink mouth and enormous thumb is me by the way, this is how Moe (the artist of this poster) sees me apparently! Unfortunately, only 30 students can attend because the place is quite small, but I know it’s going to be a great party! And we’re planning to do some karaoke after the Al Centro party, which I really don’t want to miss even though I have to get up really early tomorrow to move out of my apartment…
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The new teacher arrived today, his name is Sean and he came all the way from California:
I spent the whole day showing him the ropes here at school, and in Inuyama, which was fun. His arrival did make me realize, for real, that I’m really leaving and that I won’t be here next week to teach my adorable students… sniff. I’m sure he’ll do fine and so far he really seems to like the school and the students. Tomorrow, he’s going to teach one lesson, so I’m curious how he’s going to do.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Gui & Lou at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
This time the group was much smaller so we got in a smaller boat, and we were all facing each other. It’s a little odd at first to be looking right at a couple of strangers for an hour but the boat was actually way more comfortable, as we all got to lean our backs on the sides of the boat. The weather was not as good today as in Golden Week, but it was still good enough to not mind getting wet. And this trip down the Kisoriver was more entertaining too because one of the captains brought a bag of bread to feed the huge birds circling above us in the sky.
Sure, the trip down the river is a bit pricey but it’s totally worth it (even twice a month) and I recommend it to everyone who comes to Inuyama. And I’m probably going to do it a third time in Obon when I’m back here with my family.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
I wonder how they're planning to make money. After Nova being exposed as the fraudulent fiasco, you wouldn’t think any student would be dumb enough to trust this company with his or her money again. And apparently this is isn’t the only new Nova in Japan…
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Japanese women try to cover up everything and don’t mind looking silly in an effort to stay as white as they can, while I’m purposely wearing shirts that expose as much skin as decent to the sun, because I want a nice tan. Besides huge sun masks, long gloves and neck coverings, Japan goes a step further in their love of white skin: whitening creams. In Western stores you can find products to artificially tan your skin or speed up the tanning process while out in the sun. In Japan it’s almost impossible to find skin lotion or cream without whitener in it. So I can’t wait to go home and buy me some normal skin cream which won’t turn my skin even whiter than it already is.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
Sunday, May 04, 2008
The first thing we did after Jeroen was in Inuyama today, was check out my shoebox apartment. Apparently, Jeroen was under the impression that my room was even smaller than it really is, so he didn’t think it was that bad. Well, I still think it’s small especially compared to his luxurious multi-room apartment in Seoul, but it’s home and at least I don’t have a lot to clean. We also paid my school a small visit, which was closed of course, so Jeroen only admired the outside of the building. Still, he’s the first and only Dutchie to visit me here in Inuyama, so it was cool.
I decided it would be cool for us to take a small boat tour on the Kiso river, because what else are you going to do out here in the country and it was really hot and sunny, so it would be a great opportunity for us to get a bit of a tan. Our boating adventure started with a long wait for the shuttle bus, which wasn’t that bad because we got to catch up and start our tan in those 45 minutes. After we finally fought our way on the bus (too many people, too little space in the bus) it took the shuttle bus at least 30 minutes to get to the start of the boat tour, and once we got there we waited some more for the captains to finish their breaks and actually start the tour. But it was all worth it, because the hour-long trip over the Kiso river was awesome!
‘Shooting the Nihon Rhine Rapids’ was exciting and beautiful and not at all what we had expected. And we got wet (but the water was clear and beautifully green) and we got a tan, so what more do you want on a hot day? I liked it so much that I’m definitely going on the ¥3400 ride one more time with Yasu before I leave Inuyama.
Shooting the Nihon Rhine Rapids with some Dutch narration, but don't worry I subtitled it in English
After our thrilling boat ride, we walked down to Inuyama castle, which is Japan’s oldest castle in its original state and therefore a national treasure. It’s a tiny castle and hundreds of people wanted to see it today, so it was super crowded. There were even long lines to ascend and descend the steep and slippery stairs inside the castle, and the top of the castle was crawling with people. Yet, a tourist shouldn’t leave Inuyama without seeing this particular sight so we went. And afterwards I got to try sesame soft ice cream in the castle town, so that was worth it.
After our Inuyaman adventures we headed back to Nagoya for some tebasaki at Yamachan and coffee at Starbucks. And then it was time to say goodbye again. Even though Jeroen didn’t get to eat any kaitensushi, sing karaoke or dress up as a geisha (Kyoto is a bit too far from Nagoya), I think he did have a nice Japanese experience. And of course he did some sightseeing in Tokyo himself before and after his Nagoyan adventure, so I’m sure his visit to Japan was very satisfying!
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Exploring the immense graveyard and throwing water at the Buddha gods