Monday, September 23, 2013

My Diary

Today I wrote on the last page of my diary, so it's time to start a new notebook. Hahaha, I win!

When I started keeping a diary in December, I honestly never expected to run out of pages. I was hoping to use maybe half or two-thirds. But I actually worked my way through it, so maybe I'm not as much of a slacker as I always thought...

There's 100 pages in the notebook, but since I used a few for notes or ripped them out for random stuff, I have about 145 entries. (One on each side of the page.) Seems like about one third are just one or two sentences, though, because I was too tired or bored to write something interesting. In my next journal I want to write longer entries. Now that I have more vocabulary and grammar, it's easier to make a small event into something interesting.

On the last page I talked about a joke I made in Japanese. Now I think I'm able to be more like the real Stephanie in Japanese.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Summer pictures

Some pics from this summer which I was late in uploading. 

 There's an obligatory Miyajima deer eating its way through the possessions of people who came to see the fireworks. Nom Nom. Every inch of beach front on that side of the island was crowded with towels and bags. Strictly on the honor system.

I bought a new Miyajima deer. Because one of my friends was insane with jealously over my previous deer and wouldn't be content until I agreed to purchase one specifically for her.  I had to go to several shops before I found a deer I was happy with.

 Playing some jenga...

And there's the gate.

While in Miyajima, we were lucky enough to catch a Miyajima Hanabi on camera.

Next pictures from Yamaguchi--Kintaikyou bridge,

 This is the park nearby the bridge, but we didn't have much time to spend there. I want to go back.

And another shot of the bridge.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Hopeful Story

This story, shared by one of my online English students at work, made me happy. :)

So this one lady logged onto the class as usual to practice chatting English, and she was so excited because her husband had given her flowers for their anniversary. Moreover, it was a surprise because he had been unusually busy with work recently and she hadn't expected him to make such an effort. She also speculated fondly of how he must have carried the large bouquet on a crowded train!

We all took turns sharing about thoughtful gifts we had received, and each lady (it's mostly housewives who have time to do eikaiwa during the afternoon) remembered some gift from her spouse. One said she had never received flowers, but that's because her husband knew she liked chocolate more! (Hana yori dango -- sweets over flowers.)

Talking about kind gifts, even if a lot of them were simple, made me happy because recently I read an article on JapanTimes about the increase in loveless marriages and people too busy for relationships. Now, JapanTimes often isn't that reliable. This particular article had a rather patronizing tone of "Oh, you silly Japanese. You should take after Americans to learn what a successful relationship looks like." (Isn't there some saying about taking care of the plank in your own eye before going after the speck in your neighbor's? But I digress...)

The article might have been ridiculous, but I do feel like there are couples in Japan who act more like roommates. In general, Japanese people (especially guys) are less comfortable talking about romantic things. I would like to read an article about how an American person can encourage her Japanese friends in their relationships...That would actually be more helpful than another article complaining about Japan.

That's why I felt encouraged today, hearing ordinary, unromantic housewives who have been married 20 or 30 + years--and are usually more concerned with the mundanities of cooking dinner for busy husbands--reminisce about thoughtful actions their spouses had done for them.

Romance is not dead! Not in America and not in Japan!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Apparently there's an Oktoberfest in Hiroshima. But it ends in the middle of September. Someone was interested in German cars... Noticed it's still a right-hand drive, though. Souichirou was too embarrassed to ask permission to take a photo with the car, so I did. Or maybe this was a ploy to get me to speak up more...

It was raining that day, so we saw a lot of umbrellas. But I think a rainy day was the way to go because it wasn't too crowded.

The German beers were really big! Also the two guys next to me were speaking German. It must be weird for them to see the Oktoberfest in Hiroshima. Not to mention a band of Japanese performers wearing dirndl/lederhosen singing in German with a Japanese accent.

Anyway it was worth going for the beer!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Guide to Learning Vocabulary

This method is not based on what you find in textbooks. This is real life. It's based heavily on experience, and on logic, not at all.

(Sorry for sentences in romaji. My computer makes typing in non-english letters very complicated.)

Step 1. "My vocabulary sucks. I need to learn new words. I know the weekdays, how about seasons?"

Step 2. "Natsu means summer. Natsu. Natsu. Natsu."

Step 3. "I learned a new word today. Um....Dangit!!!!"

Step 4. My friend: "Kotoshi, natsu-yasumi ga arimasu-ka?"
            Me: "Um...?"

Step 5. "I want to write about summer starting in my diary...I think it starts with Na???"

Step 6. "That kanji looks interesting. I wonder what it means...Oh. I was supposed to know this."

Step 7. "I have no tiiiiiiime to study! Forget it!"

Step 8. "Those cards look seasonal. I'll bet that kanji/katakana means 'Summer Cards.'"

Step 9. "Oh, that clothing store is having natsu no se-ru. I should check it out."

Step 10. My friend: "Nihon no natsu wa atsui desu-ne."
               Me: "Um...hai! Saikin wa totemo atsukatta!"

Step 10. "My vocabulary sucks! I only know words that I've known forever, like the seasons! Haru, natsu, aki, and fuyu."

Do this, while simultaneously learning various other vocabulary and grammar points, while also trying to manage a full time job and a social life, and you will be following  the Stephanie method of learning new vocabulary. It is a fool-proof system, because it was proved by real fools.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Autumn Rain

Fall is definitely here in Hiroshima. For the past two weeks or so we've had sprints of heavy rain lasting up to five days at a time. Which probably is about  normal for this season, but for a California girl it's very trying. After a few days without the sun I start going, "Is this world even worth living in anymore????"

I had better get tougher before winter comes.

However, I did manage to buy actual rain boots before the heavy rain started in earnest. I've had a lot of fun wearing them around. After my black boots finally expired last spring (a bit of gravel worked through the sole without me noticing and since then the water seeps in), it's been good to have waterproof shoes again.