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

Friday, April 27, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Walking to Bairing Park in Dazaifu...

School Outing!

Passing by a Tea Shop near Tenmangu Shrine

I thought I came prepared with a hat for UV Block, but according to most elementary (female) teachers, that isn't enough. They have giant hats, gloves, and bottles of sunscreen - "whitening" is something not to be taken lightly here. And this is Chinami, she really made an impression on me when I saw how genuine caring she is with the special students in her class last year. =)) When she smiles, I smile!

Lunch with the 2-nensei boys . The kids are crazy about snacks and are extremely enthusiastic about sharing. Nakanosei, the boy on the left (*peace*) is a funny kid. When I teach his class I would sometimes participate in the English activities as well, and I often had the students ask each other survey questions, so I'd also have a chance to interact with them ... and Nakanosei is one of those who shrugs and laughs everytime I ask him a question in English. Probably out of fear of embarassment, or simply put, by my threatning air, he'd always run away from me when I try to approach him with the hope of improving his English speaking skills. Anyways, I was finally, fortuntely reassured that he wasn't scared of ME, when he dropped by to sit with me for lunch. When I asked him to share his candies, he pretended to be mean and refused. Then, he made me hold out my hand and generously offered me all sorts of Japanese yummy snacks.

Then, more snacks sharing with the girls. Due to the hot weather, most of our chocolate candies became FONDUE.

On our way back, I got stuck in a VERY interesting conversation with these two boys and Nakanosei. One of them asked me: 「誰か本当に好きなんって、どういう感じ?」 *When you really, really like someone... what does that feel like?* Apparently one of the boys was confused whether or not he really liked a girl in his class. So cute... my students are struggling with their 初恋.  だけど、自分だって答えがわからないかな...


My first time going on 遠足 in Japan!
Next time, I'm getting one those giant mushroom hats and gloves... Hey, something you can only do in Japan, I guess! kkk.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why do people carelessly take away lives...?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kagoshima Trip: slideshow

One minute past my weekday sleeping curfew. I'm just going to run through this like there's no tomorrow.



White Bear Ice Dessert + Chinese Restaurant = go figure ...

Three girls (Michelle, me, Maggie) took the suggestion to go biking around Sakurajima, but suprisingly enjoyed it.. so, so much! Thx, Steve - Master of the ultimate food-poisoning joke. (unfortunately, I just can't bring myself to write it... hilarious vulgarity, one day, one day...)

"--Passion Lives Here."

We then hiked on a long, long hill...

Cherry Blossom along the way... actually, ALL along the way...

Tourists acting touristy. bring out the cameras!


Steve taking a snack break. Did I forget to mention this was a dinosaur park? My first time-and I deem it to be my last-walking through the butthole of a brontosauraus.

I didn't know Tim Burton made it all the way to Kagoshima to plant this tree. But I am convinced that he did.

A second meal at an exquisite Izakaya after a tiny, 60$ yakuniku dinner. Michelle looks a bit tipsy and Steve looks dazed.

Cheers! Kagoshima soju.

Breakfast at our hotel. And what a nice hotel it was... Onsen view was breathtaking and Maggie and I went back after Breakfast.

Shiroyama Kankou Hoteru.

Onsen for feet right outside the train station. We had exactly 10 minutes before we had to get on the train. The experienced lasted for approx. 4 minutes. After this trip, I think we've all become professional racers against Time.

Savouring Sweet Patato Chips and Starbucks.

Sneaked into the nicer cabin. Giggled like a bunch of teenage girls. Fun times.

Friday, April 6, 2007

'Light' Blue Mood

Today, when I went back to Jr High for their "Beginning Semester Ceremony", the former 3rd grade students came back for the first half of the ceremony. It was REALLY good to see them, and I can't help but admit I'm such a sentimental teacher. I WILL MISS THEM. Esp. the girls who always visit me in the office, and the boys who greet me so enthusiastically in the hallway.
And... one of my favourite bunch of Kokubu Elementary school, who are going to another Jr High this month. This was during their last class, making popcorns. One adventurous boy decided to create a new flavor - soaked in soya sauce and dipped in chocolate.

Speaking of my students, one happy encounter today. There's this boy in my Jr. High who NEVER returns my morning greetings and smile even though I always pass by him on the way to that school. Today, for some reason, he did!... for the FIRST time... ^-^

* * * * *

Still blooming...

I'm glad these beautiful flowers are still blooming ... Called Hiukei this afternoon while I was passing by the Cherry Blossom-filled bridge, and she was in the park, enjoying the same view in her town.

Tomorrow, Kagoshima Trip!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


I promised more pix, and here they are! From yesterday's 飲み会 / Drinking Party with 国分小学校!

First off, 乾杯!I'm liking 日本酒 (Japanese Sake) more and more...!
Though I've learned, through experience, that it is an unpleasant mix with beer - a fact only to be discovered the next morning with a huge headache.

This is 悦子先生(Etsuko), who used to teach with me but is teaching 1st grade starting from this term. ...><... She's so soft-spoken that I'm afraid the kids will swarm over her - so 優しい

Now the guys... 岡村先生、西村先生、Matt and 大輔先生. We had such a great time, and partly I think it's because of the overwhelming enthusiasm from the teachers. I guess it's not everyday you drink with 2 foreigners, speak Japenglish, play Janken to decide who gets to eat the fish's eyesballs, learn about an alternative word for 'porn', introducing new nicknames at the table, all-you-can-drink, tasty Japanese dishes, and ultimately having a blast. We've agreed to make this a monthly activity now.

Cheers! ... and peace! v^-^v

One of us pulled a FLOWER pose. The rest of us were regrettably uninformed beforehand ... or else it would've been a very, very cute picture indeed.

Next time... Karaoke!
* * * * *
I was told for the FIRST time in Japan that...

Monday, April 2, 2007

Fun times, and more to come!

Recently, I realized that I've been keeping my FUN pictures all to myself for a while. So I reckon it's time ...


めぐみ先生, a teacher from 国分小学校 who is one of the most adorable people I met in Japan - who, by the way, just got married! I believe she's on her honeymoon in Australia =)) おめでとうございます!!

純歌 (すみか), one of my former students from Jr. High - just graduated last month! ^^ Bumped into my pretty student in the Sticker Picture Machine/Arcade. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe I look younger than the Mature Sumika.

This is Maggie, whose beautiful eyes are twice the size as mine (hence, 豆豆), another JET in a nearby city who is from New Zealand! Absolutely adorable personality and I fear we both have a fetish for CLASSY RESTAURANTS... which brings me to the next picture.

Ta-da! If anyone is familiar with old Japanese drama... and if you are, then you probably have seen 美味しい関係. This restaurant is a mix of that particular atmosphere and of the place in the newer drama ANTIQUE CAKESTORE. It's the perfect place for...(can you hear the fake *cough*?) デート... ;p My first French Dinner in Japan.

Picture taken outside the place for Drinking Party in Dazaifu East High School. This is 寺岡先生, the English Teacher I work with. I always enjoy our brief chats on the way to the class, and she is also an informative Cosmetic Shopper. kkk.

This is just last Friday - Drinking Party with the people at City Hall. It was a Farewell Party for the lady on my right is 二瀬さん, one of the first people I met in Dazaifu. Maybe that's why I feel so at home when she's around, I'll miss her! The other is 花田課長, again, one of the cutest people I know in Japan. Words are really inept in describing just how cute, kind and funny he is. Today, when I was pouring coffee, he came up behind me to inform me that when his wife and him drove past me this morning, his wife thought that I had gained a bit of weight since December. Then, he scratched his head a few times, laughed with me, making gestures to indicate my inflating cheeks and went straight back to work. I could take the Chubby Cheeks comment from 花田課長 with no offense taken whatsoever ... but to my dear friend John who might be reading this, Shush..... say no more..... it's the cakes doing its magic. I simply can't resist.

緒方係長、阿部さん、水上先生。I believe I already introduced two of these wonderful people from City Hall, but not the one in the middle, to whom I give the nickname Superman. Why? Simply because he looks strikingly familiar to Clark Kent.

水上先生, also known as Mr. Niko-niko (*Smile-smile), and 大山さん, who makes random (sometimes uncomprehensible) jokes when he drinks.

花田課長and森木さん, who is wearing his tie over his head. His adorable, childlike personality unravels as soon as he has couple of drinks, and is especially enthusiastic when it comes to Karaoke. Also, thanks to him I got to see SMAP in concert.

* * * * *
Today, I received a sincere compliment; I was glad to hear it but it made me think; just how often are compliments sincerely given and thankfully received? I read somewhere that one needs to be generous with compliments, and while that is [arguably] a proper behavior, I wonder if we should also filter them through the sincerity net we should spread out before 'something nice' eagerly slips out. Something about superficiality with words seem to bother me these days. Is it because I myself am susceptible to such hypocrisy?
Okay, I'm going to leave that thought here and head to bed. A day at City Hall with one of my favourite bunch of people here, and then a Drinking Party with one of my favourite schools at night to look forward to. Expect more FUN pictures to come! (^-^)v