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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Great songs ... by two great voices.

So I'll admit to this: I've been listening to way too many Asian songs - and the only English songs I do still play are oldies like Nat King Cole, few good selections of Norah Jones, Michael Buble, and Brian McKnight. Fortunately, I still have Youtube at the tip of my fingers, so it's easy to look for good songs whenever - however old they may be, too.

And this is what I found recently.

But guess whose version I listened to first...




方大同‘s version

我很偏心...but Khalil's version is AWESOME!!
...Isn't it?
What a magical voice.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Friend from Montreal, and Family in Japan

This past week, a friend from Montreal came to visit....! My last roommate, JI-A. 
People say we look alike, or, 『雰囲気が似ているね!』

This is me agreeing to pose as the ''Got Milk?'' model...
Actually, we had FREE サービス cappuccino from Mont-Blanc, my favourite cake shop in 天神area. The owner of the shop decided to treat us an extra sweet following the mousse cake + strawberry sorbet that came with our lunch set and Mont Blanc + Cheesecake - our after lunch dessert...
And of course, we couldn't possibly refuse such a nice gift.
Another similar trait, we are both very agreeable.

And then came work...
I can't remember how many times I've stressed and repeated this... 
But did I mention that I love my job?

Aoi, is a 4th grader student who looks exactly like...........

........ one of my favourite people in the entire world.
Mr. Og Lee.
(snickers in the back)

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Today was my last day at one of my elementary school... Kazuto's school!
I had lunch in one fourth grade class, and sat at Kazuto's table. 
He had something to say about everything during lunchtime. 
After lunch, the kids presented the ''farewell present'' - which is a big poster with all their cute little messages and creative drawings of themselves and 豆豆「マメマメ」先生。
The most colorful one came from Kazuto:

The other ones look like this [with just as much creativity but with less facial proportions]:

Kids' drawings are the best!

Later, while we were chatting, when they realized that I have an actual home in Canada, too, they asked me to tell them my home address. 
''Write it on the board!!'' 

I thought that the entire address in English would be way too long and difficult for my 4th graders, still struggling with their alphabets, but I still gave it a try. 
And they REALLY gave it a try. Most of them spelt everything right! (though some of them gave up halfway and pleaded me to finish copying for them. ''You write faster!!'' they whined. I couldn't find a better reason why I shouldn't do them this favor.)
Then, out of nowhere Kazuto suddenly popped up beside me (he's so small and it's super convenient for him to scare people like that) and tugged at my hand.
''Hey, write your phone number up there, too.''
''Really? You're going to call me?''
As chatty as he was during lunchtime, he just stared at me on the spot as if doing so I'll just cave in and do what he commands.
And I did.
Then, I got pulled away by other students to help them with copying down my address that ''just has too many words, and why are addresses in Canada so complicated?'' (This is about when Kazuto tiptoed away, disappearing behind his giant classmates.)
When I turned back, he was writing something on his desk. At the same time, he kept turning back to the blackboard.
I stretched my neck to take a closer look...

''6...0...4... 4...3...4......''

He was copying down my phone number.

This is Kazuto:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

''La Raclette Fondue''

Yesterday's dinner was unlike anything I've ever eaten... in Japan. It was colorful, tasty and surprisingly FILLING. It was probably the fullest meal I've had so far - considering the price, too. 2000yen per person for a 9-course meal - 4 appetizers, Fondue and THREE main dishes. And it's more extravagant than it sounds, really. Imagine that!

Here it is....

Table of the most chatty/noisy girls in the restaurant.

Dipping bread crumbs into hot boiling and EXTREMELY creamy basil cheese...

Fresh sautee chili peppers with chicken - to be dipped with the best bread sticks I've ever had. Ever.

And the long-awaited.... 


I'm definitely going back there... who's coming with me?
(Jia... I'm bringing you there...)

* * * * * 

And I didn't have to worry about burning off extra calories... I had a full schedule at an Elementary today.

My cute sixth graders - 2 years already and they haven't changed much. 
I'm glad. 
I'm going to be such a whiny mom, I know.
They had a special program planned - a QUIZ to see just how well I know their school, QUESTION TIME (... they had fun messing around with my age again. Apparently I'm old enough to be their mom... ''only a skinnier version, too'' - one boy kindly pointed out.) ... AND of course, PICTURE TIME!

My cellphone is my favourite camera.

The boys jumped in and flashed their 招牌 smile. These are the two class clowns/troublemakers/人気もの. Can you tell?

Say Cheese Everyone!!!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Someone ordered Lemonade?

Quote from a friend of mine in Toronto:

''If life gives you lemon, make lemonade.''

One of my all time favourite quotes:

''Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.''

-Philippians 4:4-7

So I won't complain about the unpleasant orange jam filled chocolate I just happen to pick from the box (since we never know what we're gonna get), but I'll look forward to the next best thing...


Friday, May 16, 2008

薛凱琪 方大同 復刻回憶 MV

Sometimes when old songs are re-sang, modified, added with new [amazing or awful] harmonization - it could either be a disaster or ... the complete opposite.

This song was re-sang by 張學友,and I don't know if there are others, but this version by Khalil is smart and sweet.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I ended my last post with one particular line.
I'm not taking it back or anything, but let me add this to it:

Teaching is physically demanding.


Ten things [I want to do] when I'm in the middle of a cold - some more realistic than others:

*10 睡到自然醒
*9 看看舊電影 (尤其是all my favourite Disney Classics (actually, I really want to watch 101 Dalmatians for some reason), Sound of Music, You've Got Mail, Turn right, Turn Left)
*8 吃白稀飯+醬瓜+肉鬆+青蔥炒飯 (Daddy's 手作り)
*7 Ride on the ferris wheel with a warm blanket
*6 邊翻著相簿邊聽〔聽不膩的〕老歌 (這時候方大哥就方便暫時休息一會兒,讓位給﹣﹣﹣Engelbert Humperdinck!... I'm just kidding. I meant Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett)
*5 趴在地板上悠閒的拼圖 (現在有點小後悔去高雄時沒把那盒『紅酒拼圖』給買下來)
*4 畫畫,寫卡片,畫畫
*3 拆禮物 (Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens/Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens/Brown paper packages tied up with strings/These are a few of my favorite things... 我的 brown paper packages呢?)
*2 打電話回家 ﹣ if my throat is not burning
*1 Planning the TEN THINGS I WANT TO DO once I'm recovered

And, if my stubborn cold decides to stay, that will be my schedule for tomorrow.

I have no more voice to shout:

『ロック!シザーズ!ペーパ!One...! Two... 』



-in 高雄 with Shing-Huiちゃん

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Kids

One day - more specifically after my JET contract ends - I won't be able to hear all the funny things 'my kids' in Japan have to say. But, while I'm still here...

Last week, at an elementary school, I didn't get to teach my favorite class, but I did luckily bump into the cute, miniature bunch in the school hallways. (And... I can't believe the tiny 2nd graders I met when I first came are now in the FOURTH GRADE!!)

Kazuto, my favourite 4th grade student rarely smiles, speaks like an adult, and often looks like he's lost somewhere in space - he likes to dictate other kids how to mop the floor correctly and remind the forgetful ones that although my nickname is MAME MAME (豆豆), my actual name is RU-SHI-A (ルシア), and not RUSSIA (ロシア) - and that I'm indeed not Russian, but Canadian.

So the little 4th graders tagged alongside as I was walking towards the Teacher's Office. And Kazuto, appearing aloof as always, looks at me and says:

『背、のびたね。』(trans. [Japanese often omits pronouns for some reason] ''Grew taller.'')

I looked at the tiny boy with the funny hair, and thought he meant for me to notice his height - which, unfortunately, didn't seem to have changed just yet --

『和人が?背のびたの?』(trans. ''Kazuto, you grew taller?'')

He stared back at me, a bit patronizing me, even - if he was taller than me, he'd be looking down at me and shaking his head. His eyes were looking up and he let out a sigh - I think he really was patronizing me.

『違うよ。ルシア先生だよ。』(trans. ''No. RUSHIA teacher, YOU did.''


* * *

At the end of the day, I stopped by the Math class that my friend was teaching, which coincidentally happened to be Kazuto's class. About ten students were left and they were as chatty as ever. High fives were requested, and I held up my hand as high as I could, but I underestimated these jumpy, energetic bunch. My palm became red and a bit swollen - this was after five Third graders' classes, too.

When they left, I stayed behind to chat with my friend, when she suddenly cut our conversation short with a small gasp.

''Kazuto! you're still here?''

Our favourite student was kneeling beside a big poster of SPACE, and right I was, looking as though he was lost in space.
Apparently he's a big fan of planets and things like that.
My friend took the poster off the wall and winks to both him and I -
''Here, this is for you. I don't think anybody looks at this stuff anyway.''

He skipped out of the classroom with a smile.

We, in turn, smiled and knew what'd be said next:


Teaching is a JOY. =)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Montreal Nostalgia... in Taiwan

This time back in Taiwan, I was so blessed with the meeting of two Montreal friends...
Time becomes such a funny factor when I meet with old friends. We talk about the old times, how back then, we imagined our future to be such and such, and how we would turn out ten years later - which is right about now. Did we meet our expectations? Mmm...

We reminiscence on our ''future talk'' in the past - and it's just so much fun, mixed with feelings of nostalgia.

NOBOE-chan & I, sipping coffee just like the old times, after Japanese class in McGill. Except this time, we're in 台中,and 2 years older. (But we don't look it, eh?...hehe..)

DUCKY & I - exploring 夜市, and not putting any strain on our never-ending appetite.
我們怎麼那麼會吃呢?我都不好意思寫上我們的menu of the day. C'etait incroyable, eh!

And ... a poem - to my good friends!




Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"Leaving on a jetplane..."

"All my bags are packed I'm ready to go,
I'm standing here outside your door,
Already I'm so lonesome I could cry..."

This is my song for farewells - my little bro Aug usually hums this (off-key) whenever I'm actually packing my bags.

Time for me to leave Taiwan.... and back to Japan.
Packing will conclude tomorrow morning.
And as soon as I get back to Japan, I'll be starting to pack my boxes for Canada.

Packing... Unpacking... Packing...

I think I'm getting used to this 'lonesome' cycle ... recently.

But! What a great time and fun vacation I had in Taiwan!
I'm going to miss visiting my grandparents' house, chatting with my dear aunts, funny cousins, reminiscing on old times with old Montreal friends... TAIWANESE food.

* * * *

A Beautiful Poem that I probably posted before but will post again and again, until I remember this by heart, word by word:

'Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
of night and light and the half light
I would spread the cloth under your feet
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.'
--William Butler Yeats
'Cloths of Heaven'