Sunday, February 22, 2009

That's an owl in the supermarket!

Weird thing just happened. I ran out to the supermarket with my wife to pick up some things for our lunches tomorrow. As we stood in line waiting at the checkout, a small commotion began. The woman in front of us in line started speaking to my wife. I was confused. Asked my wife what was going on and she pointed to the front of the store (close to us).

There, close to the checkouts was a man, maybe in his 50's, wearning rubber boots and holding an owl by the wings. A real owl. A live owl. He stood there for about 10 minutes and then walked away. He apparently had found it somewhere close by (injured I assume) and was waiting for the police to come. I'm sure the local police would have no idea what to do with it either!

Of course, this was about the only time in 6 months that I didn't have my camera with me. Normally i put it in my pocket every time I leave the house. Tonight I thought, "Nope, I don't need it." I wish I had brought it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Suntory whiskey and big boats

It's been a busy week. Valentine's Day and a trip he the Suntory Yamazaki Whiskey Distillery all on Saturday. Good stuff. The Yamazaki Distillery is a stones throw from Kyoto and was a great tour. Although in Japanese, I had an English translator device I could wear around my neck. I'm really not into whiskey too much, but it was cool to see how it's made and have a few drinks.

Earlier in the week we had a day off. Last Wednesday was National Foundation Day. Mai and I hung around in Sannomiya and then wandered to the waterfront in Kobe. There was a very cool tall ship called the Nippon Maru docked close to the Oriental Hotel. I love ships like this. Growing up in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, we would often have tall ships come to our harbour during the summer. I often daydreamed about being a crew member on a ship like this.

Unless they let me wear a pirate hat, I don't think I'd be wiling to do it though!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

1000 subscribers!

Yay! Just a short post today. It's National Foundation Day here in Japan which means it's another public holiday. I'm not complaining at all! I'm quite happy, especially since it falls directly in the middles of the week.

So, news in my little world. As of last night, I finally reached 1000 subscribers on my You Tube channel. Once upon a time I used to focus most of my energy on blogging, but the inner clown in me finds it likes to perform in front of the camera. I spend a lot of time making videos and have a lot of fun doing it. If you watch my channel, you'll know they're mostly about aspects of my life in Japan.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Do Monsters Like Poo?

Quick excerpt from a conversation yesterday between myself and one of my students:

Student: "Mr. O'Shea."
Me: "Yes."
Student: "Do monsters like poo?"
Me: "I don't know. I think some might, but most probably don't."
Student: "Do monsters drink poo?"
Me: "No, I don't think monsters do that."

Yep. It's too weird for even my creative brain to make up! Previous to this discussion, my class was watching the movie Monsters Inc. In one scene in the movie, a monster was drinking a cup of coffee. Some students argued that it was coffee, while others thought it was feces! Kids can have a warped way of looking at things sometimes!

On another note, I posted a video this morning on You Tube showing some of the problems I've faced over the years that I've been abroad when it comes to speaking on the telephone. It's amazing how much we rely on nonverbal cues when speaking to someone who doesn't use English.

Culture Shock: The Telephone

Here's the original.

Ah....tomorrow morning I'm running in the Kobe Valentine's Love Run. That's right!! I didn't make that name up either. That's the name of the race I'm entered in. I'll be running the half-marathon starting at 10:30am.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Watch out for the Demons!

Today is Setsubun and it's almost over. I spent part of the morning being pelted with soy beans. Oh yeah; did I mention I was dressed as an "Oni", or a Japanese demon. Each class in my school took turns pelting the beans at me in order to "symbolically" drive away the evils of the year and welcome in good things.

One Japanese tradition is to eat soy beans after you've pelted them at the man dressed as the "Oni." You're supposed to eat one for every year you've been alive. I was apprehensive at first, but once I began chomping down on these little brown things, I instantly realized that they taste pretty awesome.

Another tradition for many Japanese people on Setsubun is to eat "Norimaki", which is a sushi roll. When I came home from work, my lovely wife had one for each of us as well as a special miso soup and a large sardine to eat. All traditional food for the day and it was pretty damn delicious!

This was one of my students' lunches today. Her mother had prepared this at home for her. I love the rice, in the image of an "Oni." Very cool dtuff indeed.

By the way, it was amazing how so many students were able to throw beans into the eye holes of my demon mask. Wow, some of them really stung!