Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Marinated & baked chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli, corn & green beans, red beans and rice, quiche, wine & beer.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Teaching English to little kids is hilarious. Here's just one example:

I have a class of 5 kids, all between 6 and 9. 2 boys, 3 girls, and they all have major personalities. One day for our warm-up, I did the usual game of finding things around the room.

"Find 1 dog." Screaming and running until someone spots a dog.

"Find 2 birds." More screaming and running and pointing.

"Find 3 strawberries." This one takes more time, but they get it done (screaming and running of course).

"Find 2 bananas..."

This is where it all fell apart. We have two plastic bananas as part of a fruit basket set, but that's not enough for each kid to hold one. The boys got to the basket first, so the girls figured out another way to participate.

"BANANAS!!!!!" one girl yipped as she held her hands around a long imaginary object in front of her jeans zipper. "BANANAS, BANANAS!!!!!" the other chimed in as they imitated the same hand gesture. Then someone swiped a plastic banana from one of the little boys and used it as her prop.

Exasperated, I tried to steal the plastic bananas away from them, but it was too late, the madness had taken over. Truthfully, I was trying really hard not to fall on the carpet laughing with them.

(A week later at a festival, a Japanese man gave a small, baked sweet potato to one of my friends and then explained with his hands and words what he thought it looked like. We were mortified. He must have met my students.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Japan the beautiful

We've taken some amazing pictures recently, and here they are!

Rainbow in Tokusa, on our way to pick apples

Cosmo flowers on the river side in Yamaguchi

Two little girls playing in rice husks in Tokuji

A serene morning lake view in Shikoku

View from the top of Mt. Ishizuchi, the tallest mountain in Western Japan, complete with a shrine.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saga 30th International Hot Air Balloon Festival (pt. 2)

Picture post!

Last morning's "drop the flag" competition. This is only a fraction of the balloons there.

Solo shot of one of my favorites.

Brian's camera: Nice shot showing a good number of the balloons flying over harvested rice fields.

Us being dorks at the nighttime event.

Shaped balloons! Jerry, a fox, Babybel cheese unwrapping itself and an elephant (there's a panda hiding in the back too)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Photos from Tuesday morning of the 30th annual Saga International Balloon Fiesta!

The balloonists were competing to try to drop a 'marker' into a big target X on the ground. Whoever drops theirs closest to the center wins I suppose...

Last night was too cold and windy for the La Montgolfier Nocturne... we're hoping for more favorable weather for tonight's Nocturne.

Today's Balloon Fantasia, an exhibition of interesting-shaped balloons, didn't have any inflated balloons due to high winds.

[more photos here]