Monday, March 29, 2010

Exploring

Our favorite thing to do these days is bike around Osaka. Especially when it sunny and a little cold, it’s really refreshing. It doesn’t really matter where we’re going and we usually end up in some newly discovered Starbucks (I wonder how many different ones we’ve already tried in Osaka).
And when we bike back to Tsukamoto at night we’re always treated to a beautiful view of the Osaka skyline from the Yodogawa riverbank. I love this season, and I hope that that pesky summer weather is still very far away.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

11th monkey introduces the pandas

My newest creatures are a couple of pandas, Sachi and Peanut. I think they’re adorable!

Sachi the Panda loves mini muffins and playing volleyball. Peanut the Panda loves fried bananas and walking barefoot. Sachi already found a friend to hug her, but Peanut is still looking for a new friend and he loves hugs too.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A new year

The Japanese year starts in April, that is when the new school year and business year starts, so lots of things change. For our school that means Sachi is leaving and being replaced by a new Japanese teacher. Of course, we had to have a farewell/welcome party to celebrate this!

Of course, I’m sad Sachi is leaving but I’m excited for her and her new job. And I made her ‘Sachi the Panda’ to accompany her on her new adventure, and she really seems to like the little panda. And it’s always fun to get to know a new teacher and I’m sure Yuka will fit in well at our school.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Reusing

In between classes we like to do our part for the environment. Like reusing items instead of just throwing them away. Tomomi got some coffee at our favorite coffee store today and the paper carrier actually urged us to find a creative way to reuse, reuse, reuse and eventually recycle it.
The bag had many viable suggestions printed on it already, like using it as a sketch pad or book cover, but as you can see we found our own novel way of reusing the Starbucks bag. As a hat for our midday karaoke contests with the fake microphone in the teachers' room.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

eleventh monkey on other blogs

Well, I know I love the creatures I make and like to show them off here on my blog. And sometimes other people show off my creatures on their blog too! 

I found the love skulls on Super Cute Kawaii and Hannah the Horse on Cutable. And Irene, one of my Indie Biz classmates, wrote a story about me and my hand sewn creatures on her blog Irene Design. Yay!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dutch cuisine in Osaka

Eating Dutch food in Japan is still really fun for me. And it tasted really good! We had bitterballen, pannenkoeken and Dutch fries. And we were so full afterwards!
We had two different kinds of pannenkoeken, a bacon-cheese-onion (like last time) and an apple one with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Yum! And from a previous visit we already knew that we absolutely loved the ‘friet speciaal’ (fries with mayonnaise, Dutch spicy curry-ketchup and chopped onions), so we saved that for last and we ordered it twice because we didn’t want to share :)!

Crab crab crab

Taking pictures with the huge Dotonbori crab (for Eyes for Lies) made us hungry for some crab. So lunch today consisted of expensive but really delicious crab sushi.
It came with a cute soy sauce container in the shape of a crab, which I hope to use as inspiration for a crab creature some day soon.

Waiting to shop

I think everybody knows the clothing store H&M. Well, I have known it ever since I was a child and I still really like shopping there. Every time I visit the Netherlands, I go on a small shopping spree there. In Japan H&M is still very new. The first Japanese store opened in 2008 in Tokyo and two weeks ago Osaka’s first H&M opened.
But forget about having a quick browse through the store, because in true Japanese style you’ll have to wait in line for a long time before you’re allowed inside. People line up outside next to the store and special queueing cops escort the patient customers to the entrance when it is finally their time to spend money. No thanks.

Eyes for Lies photo-shoot

One of my favorite blogs on the internet is Eyes for Lies, I've been reading it for years. It is written by a real-life truth wizard and she’s a natural at identifying clues to deception. She often evaluates suspects of real crimes and it is fascinating to read her opinions. She recently had a poll on her website and discovered she has readers on every continent and asked us to show her where we live. So this weekend Yasu and I went out and took pictures for her in Osaka.
These are two of my favorite spots in Osaka. Yasu is posing at Yodogawa river with the Osaka skyline and the Umeda Sky Building right under his arm. I’m in Namba on the Ebisu bridge over Dotonbori canal running with the famous Glico Man.
Osaka is the city where people eat till they drop, and ruin themselves by extravagance in food (kuidaore). Osaka’s regional cuisine includes takoyaki and okonimiyaki (mentioned on the sign behind Yasu) and kushiyaki (held by the freaky statue Yasu is imitating). Crab is also very popular here on the Dotonbori, both to eat and to take pictures with.
The whole Dotonbori is a huge tourist attraction here in Osaka, so Yasu posed once more with the whole street in the background. And I posed once more with the extravagantly decorated (including an actual working ferris wheel) discount store, Don Quijote. We took a lot of pictures for Eyes for Lies today, but we narrowed it down to these six favorites. I hope my online friend likes them!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Potatoes on White Day

Remember when I cooked Yasu Mexican food for Valentine’s Day? Well, today Yasu cooked me German potatoes in honor of White Day! Isn't he the sweetest?!
White Day is a Japanese invention. It is the day men give gifts to the women who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day. It’s all super commercial and Yasu and I usually don’t play along at all. But since I cooked Yasu’s favorite food for him a month ago, he wanted to cook my favorite food today. I was very surprised, and I love (and miss) potatoes, German, Dutch or whatever, so I was very happy! And the potatoes were delicious.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Moem in Tirol

My mom went skiing for the first time this week with Guido and Opa Nelissen in Tirol, Austria. And she took Moem the Cow with her on the cross-country-ski adventure.

The trip started with a long traffic jam to Austria but when they finally got there, there lots of beautiful and cold snow to ski on. Moem the Cow was attached to my mom’s bag and therefore enjoyed the trip just as much as my mom did. Except for the funny Austrian food sometimes.

Back in school

My online class has started and I’m working hard to be a good student. Of course, I needed a place to keep all my hard work safe, so I made a binder. The cover is decorated with hand-cut felt letters, buttons and of course a little monkey. I also made my own dividers with pretty polkadot sheets and hand-sewn felt tabs. Oh, how I love felt!
 
I’ve also registered a domain! I wanted www.eleventhmonkey.com, but some domain squatting company already scooped that up :(. But, www.11thmonkey.com is mine! And for now, www.11thmonkey.com just links to my blog.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Cows

Ever since I made a cow as a present for my mother’s birthday, I’ve wanted to make a few for my shop. Life is busy, and finally 6 months after I finished my first grazing friend, I’m adding two proud cows to my Etsy shop.
Betty the Cow loves cooking and flowers and she’s my 57th creature. Ulla the Cow (I love her name!) loves cleaning and meatballs, especially the Swedish kind, and she’s my 58th creature.

Monday, March 01, 2010

I do like sake

Before today I’d only had sake once, I bought a cheap cup of sake at a konbini in Yokohama and it tasted like rotten rice. And I was convinced I didn’t like sake. Still a visit to a sake brewery is always interesting, so today Yasu and I visited the Shu-Shin-Kan brewery in Kobe. This brewery still uses traditional handcrafting techniques to produce their first class Japanese sake called Fukuju.
After a tour of the brewery we sampled a lot of sake, even Yasu who detests the taste of alcohol. Surprisingly, I really liked all of their sakes, from dry to sweet and even bought two little bottles. I thought Yasu was enjoying the sake as well, but he later told me he was just being polite. Of course, we didn’t just get drunk there, we also learned how they make sake.
The tour started with a video in English for my benefit, explaining all about sake and this brewery and then we went through the factory and saw all the machines while the tour guide re-explained everything in Japanese. It was very interesting, I love factory tours. Next, I want to visit a plastic food factory!

Mrs. Kindness

Way before I moved to Japan, Yasu worked part-time at a small company in Kobe. Next door was an insurance office where a very friendly older lady worked. He always referred to her as Mrs. Kindness and always talked very fondly of her. Today I finally met her over lunch in Kobe!
Her real name is Masumi, I only found that out last week, and her English is amazing! She only studied English at a conversation school for one year and self-studied the rest! Her use of idioms was especially inspiring, and besides that she really is super kind and really interesting! It was great to finally meet her.