Tuesday, March 24, 2009

First, thanks to Mom and Dad, Dee, Charles and Zen, and of course our most loyal fan, Mikki! We are so happy you checked out our blog. Please continue to do so, as we are now definitely going to keep it up-dated.

Our long break is coming to an end (mid February-April 7), and although we have enjoyed our time off, it will be nice to get back to work. The cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom and the days are getting warmer!

This month, L’Shawn attended the graduation of this year’s senior class. Our friends Eriko, Ryoko, Sanae, Arisa, Ayu, and Hiromi graduated. You know how graduations are... (Doug started bringing books to them years ago.) Try having the whole thing in super-formal Japanese that you can't understand a word of! After the exciting ceremony, our friends Jon, Jordan, some of the graduates, and L’Shawn went to an Italian restaurant in Sannomiya (downtown Kobe). It was great fun, except that Doug wasn’t there, and we ate outside and it was particularly chilly that day.

A few days after the graduation ceremony, Jordan, Jon, and L’Shawn went to the graduation party, a fancy affair hosted by the graduates. It was in a swanky hotel, and we had to wear formal attire. Almost all of the graduates wore a special graduation kimono called a hakama. All the ladies were decked out in their best hakama, and their hair ornaments were stunning! (See photos). Towards the end of the party, all the teachers (including L’Shawn) were asked to come on stage where we were presented lovely flower bouquets. L’Shawn’s was enormous and *really* fragrant! It was a great party, but it wasn’t as fun as it could have been because Doug couldn’t be there since the party was strictly for Kaisei graduates and their teachers. (And everyone knows a party isn't a party without a Doug!)

After the graduation party, we had a going away bash for Jordan and Jon at a seafood buffet. We had a great time, and it was especially fun because Doug got to go to that party. A week after the farewell bash, we said good bye to our friend Jordan, who returned to Colorado, and a week after saying good bye to Jordan, we said good bye to Jon, who moved a few towns down the track from us. He will be working in Osaka, so we probably won't get to see him as much now, but we'll stay in touch.

We went to Costco with a couple of friends the other day, which was unexpected and more fun than it sounds. We scored a mongo jar of peanut butter, a huge jar of taco seasoning, and some brownie mix. We also had some pizza at the food court that was pretty good.

In other news, Mary Kay, who was once our boss, is replacing Jon both as our next-door neighbor and as L'Shawn's colleague, which should be interesting. We're looking forward to seeing her, showing her around, and doing some fun stuff together.

Well, that’s our news so far. More to come... Oh cool! Maha Go Go (Speed Racer) is on, be seein' ya! (^^)v

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Well hello!
I suppose we should update our blog, since it's been... 8 months! Geh!

We wouldn't want to bore all the people who actually look at our blog sometimes. Let's see, there's Mikki... and... OK, Mikki is the ONLY one who ever visits our blog. Thanx Mikki!

And to all the other people who don't bother - thanx for nothing! I've been publishing websites since the invention of HTML, and for what? Blah!

(Rant complete: continue blog.)

Anywho, our lives haven't been all that exciting since our last post. We went to the States and Canada, and brought Chihiro back with us. Pet immigration is such an adventure here! We had to take her to the vet like 60 times, and we got to fill out a couple of reams of paperwork. Then when we got here no-one even really looked at the paperwork! But she's here now, and back to her little hellion self.

Cameron and his friends Jay and Marty came to see us a few days after we got back, which
was a lot of fun. We did a bunch of short trips around Kobe and Osaka, then they went to Tokyo before going home.

We went to Tokyo ourselves the weekend of Doug's birthday. L'Shawn attended a conference, and Doug hung out with Eri-Chan in Harajuku. (Harajuku is so cool!) We also went to Shakey's and karaoke with Tomo-Chan, and she got Doug a birthday cake. We were lucky to have a chance to meet Kaya for lunch, too. Doug also checked out "Aki-Ba" (Akihabara). (Aki-Ba is ground zero for manga/anime stuff in the world.)

There were some cool figure shops, and a Rei Ayunami ita-shya. "Ita-shya" means "painful
car", (because it causes pain when you drive it because it's embarrassing), which can also be used to mean "guilty pleasure". This one was an actual "painful car", though. It was a van covered with images of Rei Ayunami from Neon Genesis Evangelion - one of the most popular manga and anime series ever. It even had a manikin made up to look like Rei-Chan in the driver's seat. (See picture.)
Later we went to a sushi restaurant with Jon and Jordan to celebrate Doug's birthday. Jon and Doug both had fugu! (Blowfish - very poisonous if it's not prepared right.)

We did a day trip to Kyoto with Eri-Chan, Ryoko, Jon, and Jordan to check out the fall
foliage at NiJoJo castle, and a temple we never heard of. It was really beautiful, but we had freezing rain all day. After that, we went to a "Mexican" restaurant in Osaka. It was expensive and mediocre, but we had a great time anyway.

Christmas was pretty low-key. We had a tiny tree, ordered Domino's Pizza, and got a nice
Christmas cake. (Traditional in Japan.) Doug's class had a Christmas party, as did L'Shawn's school. At Kobe Kaisei (L'Shawn's school) there was much singing and eating of fancy food! L'Shawn got some amazingly beautiful jewelry, and Doug got an airbrush.

New Year's was even more low-key. In Japan New Year's is a quiet family holiday, so not
much partying and such going on. The most exciting bit was when the ships in the harbour all blew their horns at midnight.

We went to an aviary in Kobe recently. (Also with Eri-Chan, Ryoko, Jon, and Jordan.) We
saw a lot of birds, and some of them posed for pix with us. After that, we went to Ikea on Harbor Island. If you haven't been to an Ikea, it's a lot of fun. (If you like home furnishings, of course!) We went again a couple of weeks ago, and ate there. (The Swedish meatballs weren't too bad.)

We also discovered a great kaiten sushi restaurant called Sushi Ro! Kaiten sushi
restaurants have conveyor belts with different stuff, and you just grab plates when you see something you like. The plates are color-coded for price, and when you're finished they just count your plates.

Doug's students introduced us to the Kobe Kokusai KaiKan. It's an organization that helps foreigners living in the Kobe area. We went to apply for Japanese classes, and met a couple of really cool girls from Russia and China! After our interviews, we all went to a great Italian place for lunch.

We both got Japanese teachers, so we're trying not to be so illiterate. Learning Japanese
takes a long time! We're pretty fluent in everyday Japanese, which fools a lot of people into thinking we can speak better than we can. So of course we have a lot of weird experiences as a result.

I think that's about it! We're on break now, and we *may* do something fun. In any case,
we'll post more often if it seems to be worth the trouble. Please leave comments so we know someone cares!