on justice -Benedict/James Orbinski

''Justice only fails when we fail to imagine that it is possible. But like so many things, it depends not only on imaginings but on what we do.'' - James Orbinski

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Now... you may wonder why I have this weapon in my hands... and just who are these well-built ojiisans?

My first attempt at making MOCHI. Look at me go!

The men hard at work. Don't mean to discriminate... but I can't help but wonder - is this the one of the few "dishes" that Japanese men take part in?

It's a lot harder than it looks. And heavier, too.

「ルシア!すごいね!」 - ***

That's all it took to make me smile all throughout the day. =)))

* * * * *
One of the few things we can never be too generous of...
Compared to some ALTs, I really have nothing to complain about - in the contrary, I have much to give thanks for. The kind, family-like co-workers in City Hall, my beautiful average-populated city, the dynamic schools, the teachers... And when it comes to people, especially, I think I'm really blessed by God to be surrounded by so many kindered-spirits who are so generous with their time and kindness.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I've had several visitors since I came to Dazaifu-Fukuoka, Japan. This time, it was my aunt and cousin from Taiwan who dropped by.

Theresa, my aunt #1.

Isn't she adorable? I have 6 aunts in total, and she's the 1st one, #1!

Relaxing train ride, wonderfully-equipped Japanese-style inn with amazing, soothing, breathtaking HOT SPRINGS, very kind & welcoming staff, a FEAST for supper, little surprises like Japanese YUKATA in the drawers, already-made FUTON after 'onsen' (hot spring), a VIP pass to the special, exclusive Onsens (for reasons I do not know, but my aunt insists that it was because we were both just too cute), CREAMY PUFFS from the staff (again, due to our irresistable charm), and last but definitely not least - GREAT company.

I honestly can't recall the last time I was so full during dinnertime... But we did it!

Before we went in.... the VIP onsen!

Now, if you can read Kanji 漢字, you'll be able to tell the difference.
Actually - hehe, interestingly, the next morning when we went back, the door signs were swapped. At first, we thought that they made a mistake, until we bumped into the Cleaning Lady. She assured us that it's safe, and that they swap the Onsens day & night so that we can try both styles out - WOODEN style and STONE onsens. How great is that? ... we really were as happy and excited as we seem in the pictures. No exaggeration added whatsoever. Honest.

* * * * *
On the train, we chatted, laughed, read. And it's funny how sometimes the highlight of the trip could be the part before you actually even reach the destination. The excitement that builds up by the minute, I especially like the part where you'd talk, revise, and talk about the schedule - it just gets better and better. Of course, sometimes I'd be let down because I had expected way too much, and I let my imagination run wild - sometimes I should really put a chain on it; too much expectation really brings the dream crashing down. That kind of happened during the Okinawa trip, but a good time nonetheless. The point was, this trip was just IDEAL to say the least. This might be the first time I had such an unexpected good time on a trip. And we didn't get lost. Or, I mean, I didn't get us lost. =)

"We grow all the time. You never know, I just might grow after this trip, too." After my aunt said this to me, I began to accumulate what I think might attribute to my "growth". And surprisingly, there is quite a lot I've noted down ...

... in my diary.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." 1Corinthians 13:2-3

This is not the first time this passage has reminded me that the love I have to give is just so incomplete, so scarred, and so ... full of insecurity. But there should be no fear in love. But sometimes we're afraid to love, and that just takes away the very remedy for all of our fears, which entangle us so endlessly and finally, render us in becoming love-handicapped people, and... I have difficulty remembering where this argument is going.

My first attempt at spelling out the agony of being love-handicapped. I've failed miserably... Some other day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Como se dice '...' en Espanol?"

My first Spanish conversation.
Hola, buenas noches. Me llamo es Lucia. Mucho gusto. Tengo venti-treize anos de edad. Y soy maestro de Ingles. Y vengo de Canada, Canada es mui buenito! Ami me gusta tocar el piano, pero yo no puedo tocar el guitar. Ami me gusta la comida Japonasa!

1 hour and 1/2 of Spanish lesson, twice a month... I just might be able to decode the Ko brothers' secrets in a year or so. Si? Si, si si... mucho mucho biene.

And one more thing, I had the weirdest --but nonetheless, fun-- time today during the 4th grade lessons. I had to teach the students ANIMAL names, and, get this, SOUND / 鳴き声. I had to leave out mouse, lion, and a few other hard ones. But I tried my best at imitating a HORSE, COW, CAT, DOG, WOLF, MONKEY, BIRD. More on this later... I'm still trying to digest all this craziness in one day. Great fun!

Tomorrow, 国分小学校!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet."

--From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Hehe, but what if I contradict that?



Good times, good times and they just seem to keep on coming!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Flour shopping with Hiukei

When I was making my schedule last week, I reserved today as my "baking day". It's time for me to experiment the super cool microwave with the OVEN function in my kitchen. Hiukei, let's go flour shopping - ! その手つくりクッキ、誰にやる?スターバクス男、何とかするよ!

ユーシ!My first try at baking here in Japan. I won't promise pictures.

Friday, February 9, 2007

An Omelette and a Glass of Wine

That doesn't sound so bad, actually.

Maybe one day, when I'm feeling oddly romantic. =p

Actually, I don't think I've ever received any recipe books as gift. Odd, when I think of it, ... don't people know that I [would] love to cook? Or even pastries! =) Jen, did you tell Hen about your cake-lover friend? He has connections to Top Dessert Chefs in California, right?

ありがとう、P & J & R! My first Recipe Book.

(Actually, it's more of "a charming and uncharacteristically intimate collection of culinary essays". Sounds interesting, eh?)

I hope I'm not being too much of a show-off. But I received a cute bunny package from a friend. Weird gifts these days, but nonetheless heartwarming & enjoyable.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Hablo español

Feb. 8, 2007, at around 7pm, I had my first introductory Spanish lesson. Hopefully in the following months, I'll be able to pick up the language, at least well-enough to converse at an elementary level. At the same time, I also wish to sharpen up my Japanese, Korean, Chinese and French. Oh, and English... only a few people know what an ironic/agonizing situation I'm in -teaching English and having problems expressing myself more... expressively. There is always room for improvement in any kind of knowledge, but Time ... just doesn't have enough room for all our daily chores, plans, and dreams. That's why I need to be more picky and only keep the priorities which I deem to be important. But then again, how I do that is yet another homework. Which daily chores, plans, or dreams are worthy to be stored in that room? - do I measure them with a Realistic Ruler, or by the intensity of my Passion for these things?

I'll need some time to figures things out. At least... for now, I need to "Hablo español".

And ... experience Japanese culture in greater depth. And the best way to do that is to wear a Kimono? ... nah. But the pain (the waist, around the waist...) did pave way for some cultural insights, though. Japanese women in the past were incredibly refined, patient and STRONG. I don't know how they withstood the tying of the OBI --- everyday.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


I've received flowers for my birthday before... but never a BASKET nor an ELECTRONIC one. =D A first of everything everyday~ keep 'em coming!


Monday, February 5, 2007

Students, Friends and a Gift from Above

Hehe, today, I have 3 stories to tell. Though generally speaking they are all related back to the last story, they are each distinctively important from another so I must (I must!) give them each their own title and an extensive passage filled with perhaps at times wordy, superfluous details. =) I may get carried away when I'm happy with what I'm writing.

So, here goes.


I had to stop by Dazaifu East Jr. High school this afternoon for a weekly English club I started a few months back. I remember when, at the beginning, at least 15 students showed up (Mon and Wed added together), all 3rd grade guys and girls, with the guys slightly outnumbering the latter. Oh... I assure you that I'm not scary, but the number went down to about 7-8 after the fourth week. And I was left with 8 boys: Kou, Tsukuru, Yuuta, Shuuta, Akira, Kouta, and Yuuki (x2). But every week, we have a blast =) or at least, I do. No, I don't bring out my secretly hidden karate skills and tame my students as Yangumi in Gokusen does (ごめんね、のぶえちゃん!). These boys are definitely one of the most unforgettable bunch in Japan, and will stay in my memory forever as the グレイトMAME CLUB MEMBERS. Oh, but unfortunately, none of them were able to make it today because they were waiting for their high school entrance exams' results. Yuuki (#1), who is the most talkative and energetic among the GMCMs, has regrettably, the poorest English. But, one of my favourite students nonetheless. Today, when he ran into me, I reminded him of the club. When he told me that he couldn't make it today in Japanese, I repeated 'Wednesday' a few times. He flashed me one of his trademark 'Not-really-sure-what-you're-talking-about--but-ok-sure-hahahaha' smile. I wonder what the word 'Wednesday' must've meant for him. =.=

After finding out that I had no club today, I walked towards the lobby, and that's when I heard some 2nd grader boys calling me - not by name - but by the one phrase I taught them in French before. It's funny how they can't recall the months in English, but are able to retain French and Korean expressions I taught them that one time. And, I don't think I've ever received as many 愛の告白before in one day. My name is now "Je t'aime!" , "Au Revoir!" and "Sarang-he-yo!"

Then, as I was preparing to leave school on my bike, I bumped into another student (not of the GMCMs), Konou, a more rebellious version of Yuuki (1). The one that I bumped into during Christmas break with Hiukei and Og! =) Anyhow, he ran towards me, attempted to get on the backseat, while trying to convince me to let him. When I told him he was too heavy, he immediately rolled his eyes and gave me one of his sneaky winks. "I'll ride it then!" He then half-dragged me off the seat, forced me sit in the back and then took over my bike. He had fun making large U-turns in front of the school, pretending to bump into a car, and laughing his head off. I was too busy trying not to fall off to notice if any of the teachers of the school Principal was nearby. @_@ Konou also rode past his group of friends, obviously proud that he could scare the wits out of me. When we got off, a few boys ran up to him shouting and one actually grabbed him by his collar, 'What the heck are you doing?!'

Wahahahahaha. I never had this many boys fight for me. =p

But Konou will pay next time ... watch out for unwilling in-class participation. >=)


When I arrived at home, I glanced in my mailbox and found a card from Canada. It was from a friend in Vancouver, who I met in McGill. Though we only met up a few times, I still receive spontaneous greetings from her time to time. What a nice surprise =) And while I know, I know... just how convenient E-mails & E-cards are, I just can't help but stress the wonders that hand-written letters & heartfelt cards can do to one's spirit after a long day of work. What a refreshment.

After I finished reading the greeting card, I noticed that I was also holding another yellow slip ... from the Post Office! The yellow slip is yet another wonder, my magical vitamin. When I read that the package is from CANADA, a few names came to mind, but one I thought to be almost certain... and right I was! ^-^


Also, my first Japanese Birthday Dinner with Saori's family! =D Unfortunately I was too absorbed in the happy, hilarious and heartwarming conversations during dinner that I forgot about my camera. Though it immediately clicked in my mind when Saori brought out the cake.

There's nothing like the gifts that God gives

When I was biking home from the Post Office, I catched a glimpse of the sky and had a sudden urge to just lift one of my hands and try to "catch" the Sun between my fingers. At that moment, the Sun was almost entirely veiled by the surrounding clouds, and was barely visible. But I did it anyway. And what came after that took my breath away.. Within the next five seconds, the clouds began to drift away while the glistening rays shone through these white, disappearing walls. It was simply amazing.. He compelled me to lift up my hand so that He could give me the Sun.

"If you, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11)

Saturday, February 3, 2007

"Silence in the theaters" - and they mean it

"Let them eat cake."

Today, I had my first Japanese movie theatres experience: I saw Marie Antoinette in WB theatres in Onojo City. First, the experience, and then the movie.

I recently started to have friends over my place for movies, cakes, and chats - and the last friend I had over, she told me how much fun she had. "I can never laugh as freely or loudly when I'm watching movies at the theatres, or even just at home with my friends!" When I inquired why, the only and inadequate reason she gave was that "I guess we're just shy. And it's weird." Okay, I thought... I want to experience that kind of silence. And maybe break it.

But I didn't... not really. To begin with, I guess Marie-Antoinette isn't realy a Comedy, so that kind of saves me from the condemnation for being too cowardly to thwart Japanese social norms out the window... but I did not stifle my laughter during the really funny parts, or, at least what I thought were funny. Louder than a giggle, but not as freely as I wished to laugh. With this movie, I'm just not completely certain whether it's because it's difficult for the Japanese to understand English (or pardonnez-moi, French) humour, or that "Silence in the theatres" really is an unspoken yet widely acknowledged rule in Japanese society.

I'll look into that... and the next film that will assist me in this quest for truth (hehe) would be Shrek... 2.


If I had to use only one word to describe what I thought of the movie, it would be, Dazzling. Maybe that has to do with the fancy, lavishedly decorated sweets exhibited throughout the movie, or the irrational abundance of her exquisite clothes. But I thought Kirsten Dunst outshone through all of this, and really embraced her role as she took on the crown of France as a confused teenager, a heartbroken daughter, a desperate woman, and a girl at heart who simply longs to live a life of her own. She stepped into the eccentric shoes of Marie-Antoinette and brought her to screen in a new, stunning light.

As for the pop music and modern dialogue, I found it to be surprisingly natural and fitting for the movie, and thought the segment of "I WANT CANDY" quite enjoyable. One thing which fell short of my expectations though, was the abrupt scene editing and the unsmoothed sound editing. But overall, it was amusing, loud at times, serene at others, exquisitely dressed, delicious, strong, and dazzling.

p.s. I stopped by my favourite cake shop, Le Couple, this morning and spotted a "Marie-Antoinette". It'll be my dessert after breakfast tomorrow morning. それとも、誕生日ケーキね。

Friday, February 2, 2007

A friend who's family

It's been 6 months since I came to Japan, and I guess if I had to count the number of friends I made here, I wouldn't be able to keep count. But - if I had to count the ones who are dear to me, I wouldn't need an extra hand. And SAORI, is one of the amazing people God has given to me as an irreplacable gift in a place far from home, and far from my family and friends. These people, God-granted, are there to fill that emptiness for my two years in Japan.

I guess there are just some people with whom you can feel completely at home with. It's funny how I sometimes conceal the ugliest side of myself in front of others, but only grant my family that special priviledge of being exposed to it. But that's only because I know that I am accepted as whoever I am at home. And when someone makes you feel at home, then she or is is truly family, and that, I believe is just precious.

And I will be spending my 23rd birthday dinner with Saori and her family tomorrow!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Dazaifu 2007

Cafe Imagination in Montreal, April 2006

This was a time of...

...studying Classical Chinese, writing papers on Film analysis, brainstorming for corny lines for an upcoming Japanese skit, savouring healthy soy-based cakes in Commensal, munching on rasberry muffins and sipping cafe au lait in Premiere Moisson, Praise and Worship meetings at Juan-ayi's house, practices at church, JOYful gatherings, always getting that Second Cup of coffee after church service, worrying over my JET application, finding out my placement is Dazaifu, in Fukuoka city ...
And here I am. Writing about updates of life in Dazaifu, beloved historical city of Japan (!)
Hmm, a whole new blog with the same topic - everyday life.
First day... because there is a first for everything =D
Today, I had my very first time of biking in a snowy weather, feeling the wonderful - harsh, nonetheless, hehe - winter breeze, and the cool, sparkly snowflakes on my cheeks. I also tried tasting it - snow tastes the same wherever you go. I miss Canada, a bit. =)