Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mom and Em visit Asakusa

After navigating the Tokyo Subway system we arrived in Asakusa and found the shopping area leading up to Kaminari-Mon (Thunder Gate). We had a lot of fun stopping at the random shops to look at things.

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Mom got one of these cute little ones for her Christmas tree – not exactly what it’s meant for, I’m sure, but it will make a great ornament.

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We tried freshly made dango (balls of mochi with kinako powder on them).

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These ladies were preparing the dango for the customers.

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The Skytree was playing hide and seek while we were walking around.

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Kaminari-mon at the end of the shopping street.

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A cute posed shot.

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Making new friends.

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Look at how crowded the place was!

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The Sky Tree came out to play again.

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The hand-washing station at Kaminari-mon.

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Emi-ya! We found the Emi store. Do you have an Emi to match ours?

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After walking around in the rain, we decided on Kaiten-Sushi (the sushi that goes around and you pick what you want). Unfortunately we got there after the lunch rush, so there wasn’t anything going around. But this nice sushi chef took our order and even tried to speak a little English.

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More of the many faces of Em.

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A Sakura (cherry blossom) tea.

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Mom’s new favorite Japanese beer.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Home and Culture shock

Every year I go home and have a tad bit of reverse culture shock. Things that I just don’t understand about my home culture. Here are a few of them:

Wait. I have to take my shoes off for airport security? Where are the slippers?

Why does the light switch outside the door not turn on the light inside the room?

Shoes? On carpet?

Aren't you driving on the wrong side of the road?

It costs less than $10. Look in coin purse. Oh yeah, we have $1 and $5 bills.

Why is all the tea in the supermarket sweetened?

I thought we had central heating in all houses, this house is cold!
Now for the pictures . . . 

A ukulele performance from the youngest sister

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Jeff’s next job – Southwest Airlines’ Airplane. I think he'll make a wonderful airplane when he grows up! 

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And the award for cutest couple goes to – Mandie and Jeff!

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An afternoon of tubing with the siblings. I was surprised at how not cold Mt. Hood was for a mountain that has snow for skiing year-round. It was only 0C/32F the whole time we were out. 

Hokkaido doesn’t have snow year round but we hit –20C/??F!

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Waiting for the littlest one to come back up.

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Made the trip to visit Uncle Chris for my yearly hair cut. I love having short hair! It’s SOOOOOO much easier than having to deal with long hair all the time.

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I think dad photo-bombed us!

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Em and Grandma were all over the making of cake balls. They were delicious.

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Joined grandma for New Year’s Mass and a chili feed. It was fun getting to meet all of Grandma’s friends from church. We forgot to take a picture, so we took one in the dark car.

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Ringing in the New Year, moustache style!

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Though not in middle school yet, this kid is a math whiz! She had so much math homework to do over winter vacation that this was a common sight.

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When Michiko came for a visit, we went to Powells, I had a lot of fun catching up on some of my picture book reading that I can’t do in Japan!

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We took Michoko for tacos, which of course had to include my favorite – Tacos al Pastor!

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As a Portlander, it was beginning to get a bit ridiculous that I hadn’t been to Voodoo Donuts yet. So we made a late-night trip and had a donut – they’re open 24/7!

Of course I had to try the maple bacon bar. How could that flavor combination be bad?

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A random selection of what was in their display case. So many crazy food and flavor combinations!

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A week later than planned we had Snow Week Reunion with some of my best friends in the whole world.

This is the first time I’ve seen this crazy girl in maybe two years. And in that time she started dating, got engaged and then married to a really great guy.

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As proof of what a great guy he is, here are a few pictures he took as we hung out.
C read us a story while we hung out in the book/coffee shop.

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We of course made several attempts before we finally got everyone looking good and doing what they were supposed to for a picture.

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Jess’ really great husband? Here he is, pushing Kenzle around in a Safeway cart.

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Jess’ husband is not just great because he pushes Kenzle around in a cart though, it was a lot of fun to see how much he cares about her in person.

After the supermarket, we headed to C’s house to call Ben and Mel (the long lost crazies) and play hand and foot, but we got a little side tracked by turning C’s living room into a fort. . .

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But forts are the perfect place to play hand and foot, so really it was good that we got distracted.

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I took Em for our annual frozen yogurt trip. We had a lot of fun piling all kinds of random toppings on top of our frozen yogurt.

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Not sure if it’s a good thing, but Em is a pro at self-portraits. We had a mini session with my phone. This is one of my favorites.

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On my last night we went to Nicholas. It’s Lebanese food and SOOOO incredibly delicious. I wanted the waitress to get a photo of us so you could actually tell how giant that bread in the middle of the table is. Unfortunately we’re a bit blurry.

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On my last morning, Lucky didn’t want me to go. He tried to get in the car and block me from leaving. Unfortunately, I had to get on a plane.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

JLPT N3 results

I passed!

It's not exactly new news if you're friends with me on Facebook, but I just got the little result sheet today, I passed!

It's very good news because I had no idea whether I was going to pass or not. And it's very much improved from my N4 pass by one point, this time I passed by 11!

Here's the proof:

Updated blog design

After a bit of time ignoring my blog here is a fresh, new way of looking at it.

If you’re getting this via email, click here to see it.

If you’re wondering why the change, it’s because I kept looking at blogs I liked and noticing how simple they are. Then I’d come back to my blog and notice how busy it was with the image in the background. Hopefully this change will make my blog simpler and easier to read.

What do you think? Any suggestions?

In other happy news, it’s chai time!


Because Ros brought me real Indian chai from India!