Sunday, March 29, 2009

March Madness

Already, its been almost a month since my last blog so this will be a lengthy post. Its been about 4.5 months since I have been in Japan. A ton has been going on so weekends fly by. Work is work. While its sometimes enjoyable, its frustrating other times. One of the funniest moments I've had so far is one of my 4 year olds complaining he was hot so he decided to pants himself... although, that was a little weird but hes my favorite kid and just the cutest/smartest little boy. Good thing my manager happened to be watching the class and wasnt going to think I was crazy when I spoke to her about it. Anyway, onto the busy month of March...

First weekend of March, I went to Ghibli Museum with some Eric, Justin, Jasmine and Junko. Although I never watched a Ghibli movie before going (i still have yet to finish an entire movie), it was still a lot of fun and interesting. These movies are called Ghibli movies because they are created by the animation artist, Hayao Miyazaki in Studio Ghibli. If you remember Kiki's Delivery Service, that was a Ghibli Movie. The museum shows the tidbits of all the animation and how it started. Totoro is one of the more famous movies and there was a huge Nekko (Cat) bus for the little kiddies to play on. I just want one as my bed!
After the musuem, we walked through Inokashira Park to Kichijoji where we saw some plum blossoms and ate Indian for lunch!

A few weekends later, I took a weekend trip to Nikko. Nikko is a beautiful little town however, it was unfortunate that we were too constrained by train and bus schedules to see any of it. Nikko (日光) is a world heritage site in Japan registered with UNESCO in 1999. The most famous shrine in Nikko would be Toshogu Shrine but there are three shrines in the Nikko World Heritage Park. Toshogu is known for the three monkeys: "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil"
The entrance fee included all the temples and shrines and hiking ground in the park but it costs 1,300 yen. Nice little place. Before the entrance to the park lies Shinkyo Bridge (Sacred Bridge). Legend has it that the hermit who settled Nikko was carried across the river here by two serpents. In feudal times, the sacred bridge could be used only by the emperor. The Shinkyo has long been considered one of the most beautiful structures in Japan, its simple elegance contrasting with the wildness of the river gorge (Daiya River), the green hills, and the tumbling waters. From here, a road leads into the park, threading through 16,000 towering cedar trees.
From Japan - March 2009
After strolling in central Nikko, we headed up north to OkuNikko a place known for the hotsprings as well as skiing/snowboarding. The local bus ride up to Okunikko took an hour and 30 minutes. Along the way, we saw some wild monkeys and Lake Chuzenji. Our hotel was called OkuNikko Konishi Hotel. It was a western/japanese hotel. There was some cool igloo in front of the hotel so thats me \/(. .) \/ Inside the hotel were public onsens and private onsens. The picture is of the private onsen and it connects to the outside which was really nice. For dinner, we had Kaiseki cuisine. Kaiseki cuisine is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. We chose 11 courses instead of 12 or 13. For food pictures, see my picasa.

From Japan - March 2009

The next morning, we enjoyed a fusion buffet style breakfast and headed to Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall. Unfortunately the weather was real shitty and rainy and cold. On a sunny day, people would rent kayaks and pedal boats on the lake. Real pretty.
From Japan - March 2009
One of my students who is about 70+ years old keeps herself real busy and invited me to watch her blowdarts class. I went and tried it and agreed to sign up for some classes. Classes are about 1,000 yen a class for an hour (equals about $10). It supposedly helps you control your breathing and strenthens your lungs and increases your lung capacity. Haha, hopefully I'll get better!
From Japan - March 2009
Cherry Blossoms began to bloom March 21 so I decided to go to Kudanshita (Kitanomaru Park) for to see them. They were only about 1/4 blossomed but they were still very nice and crowded. If you have allergies, take your allergy meds before you go! Down the street was a Sakura festival with games and food! People were at the fairgrounds pretty early to reserve a spot and have a Hanami party! (people basically just sit in the park with food and alcohol and get drunk, good times)
From Japan - March 2009
Lastly, I will leave you with this :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Random stuff

This post wont be worth much but why is it that the Japanese have a lot of skin issues? I am just really curious, do they not use lotion or something? I would say 3/5 kids have eczema. Women's and kids, even 4-5 year olds have really dry skin and its just not baby smooth like it should be!

Why do all Japanese babies (infants, toddlers, elementary school kids) have rosy cheeks?! They're way cute. :)

Also, Japanese households are so different. Husbands prefer their wives not to work even if they dont make a whole lot of money. They believe happy wife = happy home and vice versa. They dont want to come home to btchin' wives if the wives work, which I can see but at the same time, I consider it to be open lines of communication. Japanese husbands also do not like to do chores, help children with homework (most), and take care of any housework. I have a friend who is Taiwanese but is married to a Japanese guy and they have a 4 year old daughter. Her husband said it was okay for her not to work since she used to complain about her job. He would just rather her be in a good mood when he comes home. So in order for that to happen and not risk her being upset, she takes baking classes, cooking classes, Japanese classes and really fills up her sched with hobbies. I mean, she bakes bread for him every morning, dough rolling and everything! I think that is pretty awesome that she gets to do whatever she wants and spend time with her family on weekends but at the same time, people that she interacts with are limited (mostly, other housewives). If you are a female, would you want to be a Japanese housewife? If you are male, would you work extra hard so your wife can be a housewife and spend your money on hobbies? What do you think?