Hello, world. You're looking mighty pretty tonight! ^_~

Ballet rehearsals started last night. 30 minutes after class? HAHAHAHA. I left at 11. Contrary to last year's, this year's piece is much more typically classical, which means I can actually remember the steps; it's much easier to drill "pas-de-chat, développé écarté, tombé passe 2è arabesque" than "left arm up, bend knees, twist sort of left, head down and UP, turn drop shoulders".

"This year's word is 'elegance'," Inui-sensei said, looking pointedly at me. orz

Since there are only two of us, he spent nearly an hour correcting our starting poses and the first twelve counts. I kind of felt like a mannequin at times, like when, after having rearranged me to his satisfaction, he stood back and uttered a pleased little, "いいじゃん!" And later on, I was up on my toes but not high enough for him, so he came up behind me, grabbed my ribcage and lifted it, then walked me around the studio. I had a hard time not bursting out laughing, because it looked pretty funny. I laughed when he finally let me down. XD

Still, it was encouraging to get a "見て、きれいじゃん、これ。" when I finally managed to do the initial preparation pose (about two seconds of the piece, go me! :D) relatively gracefully.

* * *


The new JLPT, which I did on Sunday, is quite different! I did the old 2級 a year and a half ago, and barely made it out alive. With the the new N2, the kanji, reading, grammar and vocab are in one 105-minute block (instead of the same amount of time but split into two parts) and with only 75 questions, that was just a bit more than half as many as last time. No wonder I had time to finish all the questions! I may have read the last couple of texts pretty fast, but I closed my exam booklet with a minute to spare. Also, the listening section seemed pretty easy. Was it really? I'll find out in a couple of months!

* * *


I've been meaning to share this for a while: behold, one of the funniest texts I've ever received!

[Context: Eda and I had tickets for a U-KISS concert that was cancelled.]

I wrote: They should let us exchange the ticket for a couple of hours with the boy of our choice!

Eda: I agree! So for 9500 yen, that should be redeemable for:

- 2hrs with Kevin OR Kiseop
- 45 minutes with Kevin AND Kiseop
- 3.5 hours with Dongho (must show id)
- 4 hours with AJ or Soohyun
- 6 hours with Hoon (comes with free parfait)
- one month with Eli
["Because it would take him two weeks to even notice you; "Durr durr derp, a chick! 8D"]

Free parfait!!! When I read that I lost it and started snorting with laughter in the changing room at the ballet studio. XDDD

* * *


Arguably the best part of teaching the afternoon advanced class, apart from the fact that the kids are bright and sweet and hilarious, is correcting their homework. Comedy gold! A big part of their homework is reading, and we ask them to write a book report for each book they read, as well as choose five words from the story and write down the definitions in their notebooks. Then they have to come up with an example sentence of their own for each word.

This week's batch yielded some great sentences. (These kids are all six or seven; five of them graduated from our preschool program, and the other two are returnees.)

My friend has a Revolutionary War picture so she likes wars.

Raccoons are stinky.

I want give a survive to the daddy.

If someone kills an animal the animal cannot survive.

Animals don't play snow and animals don't make snowboll.
[This was from the "What I learned" section of a book report on hibernation.]

Male: Male is cute?

Things: I like things.

Diesel: My dad diesels so much he buys it every day.

When some bear is going to the forest then I don't go.

Bits & Bobs

Jun. 8th, 2011 10:31 pm
I most likely will never get around to writing about them otherwise, so here are some of the things I got up to recently. Please imagine these brief paragraphs as the elaborately detailed posts I meant for them to be, won't you?

K-Pop Extravaganza!

Last month, Eda got her hot little hands on a pair of tickets to the huge K-pop charity concert to raise funds for earthquake relief. There were a million or so acts and it was pretty much a sausage fest, as Eda described it; apart from two girl groups and IU (who is beautiful and adorable and I can't decide whether I want to do dirty things to her or watch her play with kittens), it was all boy bands. So just imagine us spending the evening bouncing along while mostly interchangeable Korean boys DID NOT RIP THEIR SHIRTS OFF on stage. It was actually a bit disappointing! The only guy who obliged was the one wearing the hideous skin-tight pants that he'd obviously stolen from the WWF. Also notable was that when ToHoShinKi (all two of them! XDDD) came out at the end, the entire Saitama Arena went red as the crowd got out its official penlights. "We're in Mordor! D:" I exclaimed. Best act for me was BEAST, who had lots of energy. And it's trashy dance music, what's not to love? Sadly (?!), "Every night I SHARK" actually did sound like "shock" when heard live. Oh, well. It'll always be shark in my head! ^o^

Moving Eda

Last Saturday, Sarah and I helped Eda move. It was pretty much the reverse of what Jill and I helped her do last year, in that this time she moved from Nippori to Nakano. It took two trips, same as last time, but the weather was gorgeous! We discovered that Pickled Nasu Lady has a buddy, Pickled Daikon Lady, in front of whose house I most rudely parked. Not in front of her door, or anything, but in front of the frosted glass window that wasn't even open! She came out and glared at me, but I ignored her, since she wasn't congratulating me on my superior backing up skills. And later, when we were getting reading to leave, she came and asked us what we were doing -- it was so worth it to hear Eda say, in possibly the bitchiest voice I've ever heard her use, "We're programming the navigation system." We didn't see her on the second run, but Pickled Nasu Lady was sitting by the side of the street, and told us, as we drove by, "There's no exit that way." I suppose my very loud peal of laughter wasn't very polite, but didn't she remember us from last year? XDDD

In between runs we had lunch at Big Boy, because that was the only place we could think of that had parking. I'd never eaten at Big Boy before (I only knew of its existence because of Austin Powers, to be honest), and the menu was pretty much just large chunks of meat, but I am in love with the salad bar! For Y600 you can eat mountains of salad, which I did. Who knew salad could be so filling! And I've done some research and found that there's a branch in Choufu within reasonable biking distance from my place. :D~~~

Game of Thrones

This series is SOOOO GOOOOOOOD! There are only two more episodes left to go for this first season, but that just means I'll be able to marathon them all. Tyrion is still amazing; Arya is great; Jon (and Ghost!) are finally getting to see some action; Tywin is perfect; I'll just stop there, because I'm too tired to go into details. Suffice to say, you should watch this series even if you don't know the books. Watch it!

Work

Kids crack me up. I taught my advanced class today (all kids who either graduated from our preschool or are returnees) and the word "boss" came up. I asked them if they knew what it meant, and who their boss was. They came up with, "Mummy and Daddy. And my teacher." So I asked them if they knew who my boss was. Dead silence. "Your mummy?" one girl tried. "No, it's Ms. Y." I pointed at my boss, who was at her desk on the other side of the room, and the look on their faces was priceless. I guess until that moment, the teachers were all just teachers on the same level. Which makes sense, since we all, my boss included, go by "Ms. FirstName". XDDD

Later on, I was giving them sentences and they had to tell me what kind of verb I'd used. I said, "I believe the moon is made of cheese." Chaos ensued! Well, almost. It was the little kid version of OMGWTFBBQ?!?!?!?, so I had to explain the joke, such as it was. At least they all knew that some kinds of cheese have holes in them.

JLPT

My brain is starting to hate me, and I've really no idea how much of an improvement over my last score I can reasonably expect, but at least I'm studying daily! I'll do one of the practice tests this weekend to get a rough idea of how badly I'll do. I wish I were kidding. -___-;;; At least I'm motivated now! I've got less than a month to go, but I'm more or less where I'd planned to be in my studying. Ideally, I'd have been going through the grammar book again as well, but I don't have the time. I can skim through it easily enough, as grammar is not usually my weak point.

Lady Gaga

I spent most of Sunday with Hannah, eating caaaaaake and shopping wandering through stores and not buying anything. Except for Lady Gaga's latest CD, which is even dancier than I expected. I quite like it, though I'm a bit surprised by how retro it sounds. Sure, everyone was going on about how "Born This Way" is Madonna remixed, but I hear hints of TLC in it too, and more than a bit of late '80s/early '90s Bon Jovi in some other songs. I'm not sure whether it'll grow more on me or whether I'll grow tired of it after a while, as none of the sounds sound as unique to me as "Bad Romance", "Poker Face" or "Telephone".

Caaaaaaake

To get back to the caaaaaake, we hit up the Sweets Paradise in Shibuya at 11:00, expecting it to be full of gyarus, but it was mostly full of ordinary folks, including a birthday party of 8-year-old girls. I guess 11:00 is too early for them -- it takes time to apply those five layers of false lashes, after all!

Misc.

I've finally managed to translate my chronic (when can one begin to describe it as chronic, anyway?) fatigue into getting to bed at a decent hour. Go me! I've been averaging about 11 to 11:15, which is amazing, considering I used to rarely make it to bed before half past midnight. I feel better in the mornings, though I still can't get myself to study then most of the time, leaving it for the evening. On the other hand, I've been lazy with Travelpod. Bloh. At least I've been uploading pictures? XD;

Time for some reading before bed. I'm thoroughly caught up in World of Wonders, so lets see if I can manage another chapter or two before my eyelids shut of their own volition.
... tends to stay at rest. Or rather, a girl who doesn't update her lj tends to not update her lj.

Not like I have anything spectacularly interesting to write, but I thought I'd let you all know that the last few weeks have had my sense of time all askew, thanks to Señor Really Big Earthquake. Or should I say, Really Big Earthquake-san?

Anyway, my work schedule was supposed to look like this:

7th-11th: preschool and afternoon lessons;
14th-18th: preschool and afternoon lessons;
19th: graduation day;
21st-23rd: no preschool, afternoon lessons;
24th, 25th, 28th-30th: Spring School, no afternoon lessons;
31st & 1st: holiday

What ended up happening was:

11th: preschool, but afternoon lessons VERY VERY CANCELLED;
14th: came in early, left early (classes cancelled);
15th: came in at 10:30, boss sent us home after lunch;
16th-18th: school closed;
21st-23rd: no preschool, but we had afternoon classes;
24th & 25th: preschool (Spring School = cancelled) and afternoon lessons;
26th: graduation day;
28th-30th: preschool (Spring School = cancelled) and afternoon lessons;
31st: teachers' prep day (no classes);
1st: teachers' prep day, afternoon lessons.

So, yeah. Last weekend wasn't really a proper weekend, since we had the graduation ceremony in the morning, then the parents had rented the party room at Shidax and we spent the whole afternoon eating, drinking and singing. It was lots of fun, and it was really cute to watch and listen to the kids sing the Doraemon theme song over and over and over and over again. And then a Pokemon opening song at least 348904 times. And then Hyo sang at least half of Michael Jackson's discography. XD

Speaking of Hyo, I solemnly promise to share with you the Star Wars story he wrote on his last day of school. I took pictures of it (he illustrated it), which I haven't uploaded yet, and it's the funniest thing I've read in years. I should tell him to send it to George Lucas, because it's a way better script than the actual movies. XDDD

Since yesterday we had no classes, I took half the day off to get some stuff dealt with, namely sending in my application to take the JLPT in July, get my city taxes sorted out, and renew my international driver's license. All this took longer than expected because I dropped my bike off to get the flat tire fixed before going to city hall; the guy told me it would take about an hour, as they had lots of other bikes to fix before mine. Two hours later, they still hadn't called me, so I went back to the store and asked whether my bike was done. My "But two hours ago I was told it would take an hour..." did the trick, and a different guy fixed it right away. I was kind of relieved that I didn't have to pull the tearful "But I'm going to be late for work!" card -- my bike was ready in ten minutes. But as I was on my way to the drivers' license bureau, it suddenly started to pour and I took refuge in the entrance of an apartment building. An older lady was doing the same thing, and we ended up chatting about travelling and sakura and she kept showing my pictures she'd taken with her phone, of Shakespeare's house and of sakura in a nearby park. Finally the rain let up, I got my license, and was caught in another downpour on the way back. This time I was near a conbini, so I bought an umbrella a cycled to work in the rain.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'm sure there's other stuff I wanted to share with you, but it'll have to wait until at least tomorrow. I'm tired.
Working in a preschool is...

Having the kids spend five minutes tying you to a support pillar with a pink feather boa and "handcuffing" you with an apron, then being handed two plastic potatoes to hold and being told, very seriously, "You have potatoes now, so it's okay."
Say, has anyone been friended by any random Russians lately? I got a notifications the other day that someone I'd never heard of had friended me, so I went and took a look at their lj. It's all in Russian, and there are a bunch of photos of different places, some of which seem to be stock photos (watermark and all XD). It's happened before, though one of them seemed to be an actual person who pmed me asking if it was all right to friend me. I said sure, but that I wouldn't friend her back, since I can't read Russian. Anyway, has this happened to you? *curious*

* * *


Lately, I've been feeling tired, stressed, indecisive, and insecure. Last weekend's Thanksgiving party made me feel at least 100% better, it was so much fun. Thank you, my friends, for making the time I spend with you so memorable. (Yes, there are pictures, I just have to scan our masterpieces and then I'll post everything at once.)

Part of the stress is from my upcoming ballet recital. At least Inui-sensei's been messing with the choreography, so that the parts I wasn't able to remember very well have been reworked, so I'm not lagging behind. I'm starting to think that I won't stick out like a sore thumb on stage after all! Well, I will, but hopefully not because of my dancing. XD;;;

Another annoyance, and I think it's related to the changing weather, is that the flesh around the scar on my back has been... not aching, exactly, but feeling sort of swollen. Like, "Hey! I'm a scar in the middle of your back! Just wanted to let you know I'm still here! :D"

This weekend, I really need to start work on my Halloween costume. I've got all the fabric, and I know what I want to do; I just need to measure myself vs. Brunhilde to make sure I make it my size, and not hers.

* * *


The kids are starting to get really excited about our Halloween party. This week, Hina kept asking all the teachers what their costumes would be. When she got to me, she announced, "Ms. Adele, you'll be a banana!"

"No, I won't."

"Then what?"

"Guess."

"Pineapple!" She stuck with the fruit theme until I told her I wasn't going to be any sort of fruit. Then she switched to "[random object]-man!" Finally, one of the other kids guessed that I'd be a flower. Hina looked up at me with a big smile. "A boy flower?" (This was after it was determined, by my two youngest girls, that I couldn't be a princess because princesses have long hair.)

* * *


In other Halloween news, I received a parcel of sugar sweets from Emily yesterday. She wanted to know whether Halloween goodies are traditionally the same in Canada as in the U.S., so here's what I have to say about that:

Tootsie Rolls: I always got a few of these when trick-or-treating, but to me they were in the same category as the toffee -- what you eat when everything else is gone. XDDD
Hershey's Milk Chocolate: Yup, we have these in Canada, along with the dark chocolate ones and (my favourite!) the cookies 'n' cream ones.
Butterfinger: We have these, though I've never seen/tried pumpking flavoured ones! Small chocolate bars given to trick-or-treaters (at least in my area) tended toward Snickers, Mars, KitKat, Smarties*, and Oh! Henry, though this could have changed in recent years.
PayDay: I had never seen or heard of this before! Very salty on the outside and very sweet on the inside, it's like the perfect answer for a sudden craving. I like this, though one per day is more than enough! ^o^
Pumpkin cookie: You gave us some of these last year, didn't you?
Sugary pumpkins: I might have seen these back home, but I can't recall ever having eaten any.
Candy Corn: The first time I ever ate candy corn was two years ago, because my boss buys seasonal decorations and things from American party supply stores. I'd most likely heard of it before then, but it was probably one of those things, like homecoming dances and temperatures expressed in degrees Fahrenheit, that only came up in American books and that I dismissed as a weird foreign thing.

As far as I can remember, my Halloween haul usually had a good deal of suckers (lollipops), Rockets*, Halloween toffee, various small chocolate bars, a few small packages of Nerds, Skittles, jellybeans, etc., and always some non-candy items, such as pencils or juice boxes.

Now I'm curious as well. How about the rest of you? What are the most popular goodies where you're from? Is candy corn common in other areas of Canada?

* This year, I learned that Americans have this strange idea that Smarties are little fruity candies. I just found out why: oh Wikipedia, what would we do without you?
Here's what I know so far about Sunday, that is, who's coming and what they're bringing:

Me: stuffing, something desserty, some sort of meat (I hope)
Kimberly: fried okra, possibly ham
Eda: samosas and chicken skewers (satay)
Jamie: something dessertish (?)
Kira: vegetables and dip
Tiffany: (potatoes?)
Marianne: ?
William: ?
Lindsay: ?

Please comment re: what kind of food you'll bring, or if you can't make it. I'm going by who responded to my original post and hasn't since told me they won't be coming.

Food suggestions: vegetables and dip, bread, cheese, anything that can be slathered on bread, meatballs (or anything that can be speared on toothpicks), drinks.

Also, if you have any board game or craft activity you want to bring, feel free! ^_^

* * *


Today I wore one of the t-shirts I got in Korea. It's black, with cats done in silver glitter and silver bedazzling. Shut up, it's cute. More importantly, the shoulders are actually the proper width for me! Do you have any idea how rare that is in Asia?

Anyway, my three oldest kids suddenly noticed the t-shirt, and were standing around me, touching the rhinestones.

Hina (rubbing little circles over one of the cats): Ms. Adele, this is cute!
Me: My breast thanks you for the compliment. XDDD
I just took the first tablet of anti-malaria medication. This, coupled with yesterday's shot, the fact that I'm flying solo today (co-teacher is already on vacation), and the fact that I'm already tired from having a million things to do this week, will make it an interesting day... And I can't take the kids swimming because of the weather, but since my period just started, it's kind of perfect timing, isn't it?

But who cares? I'm going to China tomorrow! :D

I think I'll leave work early today, because I still need to... let's see. Buy new earphones, get extra kitty litter, withdraw more cash, and probably do a couple of other things. And once I get home, I need to finish packing (got clothes mostly done last night, now I just need to figure out everything else!), write my Travelpod post and hopefully get one or two done in advancce for posting while I'm on the road, post the pictures from Emily's birthday, write down names of places I want to see (Beijing Fabric Market, I am coming for you! <3), finish my dress, finish the last chapter in my Chinese textbook... Oh, and maybe get some sleep? XD;;;

But first, I need to shower and go to work. Woohoo, just one day left, and no afternoon classes!

Cry Moar

Jul. 28th, 2010 12:54 am
In the pool today, Haruka was trying to get up the nerve to put her head in the water. She had her goggles on, and was pinching her nose shut. I could see her head bobbing up and down as she counted to three inside her head, over and over again.

Mai, who has no fear in the water, was beside Haruka. "Come on," she encouraged her. "It's easy! Let's do it together, okay? One, two, three!" And Mai would dive under the water, while Haruka stood still, her fingers on her nose and her shoulders hunched.

Watching them, I tried to remember the last time I'd done that, try to overcome my fear with a "One, two, three, JUMP!" but I couldn't think of when it was. I can remember doing that when I was a kid, standing on the edge of the pool, trying to get the nerve to dive in. I remember being eleven years old and locking myself in the bathroom for half an hour, crying as I slowly, slowly took the blood-stained bandage off my fresh scar (from the removal of the large birthmark on my knee), ignoring my worried mother who was knocking at the door and offering to help me. I remember sitting on an airplane bound for Paris, off on my own for the first time in my life, and being unable to do anything but close my eyes and will away the panic, reminding myself that I could do this.

And I could. I did. Those times when I make myself do something because I know I can, because I know I should, and because once the first step is taken, it'll all be downhill from there -- those are the easy ones. Worse than that is being unable to do something because I'm physically unable to. Not because I lack flexibility, or strength, or endurance, but because my wrist has been permanently weakened.

Tonight, as the teacher was showing us a new part in the dance, there was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I saw that there were two movements requiring my whole body weight to be supported by my right hand (this is the contemporary bit, not the ballet bit, as you may have guessed). Last week, there was a part where we had to support ourselves on both hands, which is all right, because I can favour my right, but tonight, I just couldn't do it; there was no way my wrist could take the strain without some kind of support, and it was heartbreaking.

And even more annoying than the fact that I'm extremely unattractive when I cry (my eyes get very red and my nose gets blotchy), my voice fails me, so I couldn't even speak up until Inui-sensei was going around to each of us, checking to see if we'd understood. I finally managed to explain that I couldn't do that jump-kick, and felt like the biggest moron ever when I couldn't find the words to explain that no, it wasn't an injury from using the computer, but from working with kids. At least I was able to explain, as he poked and twisted my wrist around, that it was only a problem when I tried to support my weight with it. He said he'd help me tape it up next time to see how it goes.

[Later on, though, we had a couple of good laughs; first, Inui-sensei explained a movement he wanted us to do as, "Imagine you're wearing a furisode -- think long, flowing sleeves." Apparently my furisode wasn't flowy enough, because he kept correcting me, and finally let out an exasperated, "Furisode! Geisha! Fujiyama!" which had all of us bursting out laughing. And then, while showing us a movement where we have to let ourselves fall/throw ourselves to the floor face-first (it's not a natural movement AT ALL), he said something to the effect of, "Well, it's a good thing you're not men, because then it would be much more painful! Imagine if you landed badly down there -- I'll stop talking now."]

Even now, the whole thing is making me cry. I hate this, I hate having this stupid wrist making things complicated. And yeah, you'd think that a wrist injury wouldn't be such a big deal for someone who does ballet, but in this case it is, unfortunately. But suddenly being forced to acknowledge it after a very long day, and with a million things vying for attention in my mind, it's unpleasant and depressing and discouraging.

But I don't want to go to sleep depressed, so to finish on a positive note, the women I'm doing the performance with are really very sweet, and I had a great time chatting with them tonight. My nihongo wasn't as failtastic as it could have been, once I'd stopped crying.

And also, though I can't do anything about my wrist, I can try to do something about my lack of flexibility. Inui-sensei wants 90 degree arabesques? I'll give him 90 degree arabesques. I've got to stop being lazy -- to paraphrase Elizabeth Bennett, when I find myself lacking, I prefer to suppose it's because I never took the trouble to learn. So now, it's time to improve myself.
I'm sitting in a net cafe right now, but I'll get to that later.

It's summer school now, so the pool is out, and I can join the kids in trying to cool off as best we can. Seriously, Tokyo? A whole week at 35 degrees? *melts into a little puddle of sweat*

Monday, I left my brain at home, along with my bathing suit and towel, so no swimming for me. Tuesday I was good to go, and got changed as soon as I'd finished eating. Hyo was waiting to use the toilet when I stepped out of the bathroom, and he looked up at me and laughed.

"You're like Lady Gaga!" he exclaimed. His mother is big into music, so he knows his stuff. Still, I wasn't wearing a dress made out of balloons, or shoes with platforms two feet high, or a lobster on my head.

"I do? Why?"

"No pants!" he answered, delighted.

I must add that "Ms. Adele has no pants!" is always a great hit with the kids. A few months ago, I spilled my soup on my jeans, and changed into my ballet clothes (which I luckily had with me that day) to let the jeans dry out. The kids thought this was the funniest thing they'd ever seen, and they still bring it up on occasion.

"Remember one time Ms. Adele knocked over her soup? No pants!" And they all start laughing, even the ones who weren't there at the time. XDDD

Hmm, there's a guy snoring a few booths over, but otherwise it's nice and quiet in here.

Right, so I'm at a net cafe because my hair appointment was possibly the quickest ever, in spite of the fact that I got a full dye job. I was in and out of there in under 2 1/2 hours, for reals! Since I'd not planned on going home before going out again for those scrumptious desserts, and had lugged all my things into Kichijouji, I figured I might as well update my Travelpod -- which I didn't do last night because I was too exhausted -- and stay where it's cool.

Anyway, I told the stylist that I wanted really short, and the colourist that I wanted really blonde, and that's what I got!

I absolutely love the cut; it's exactly what I wanted. The stylist got it perfectly just with my explanation (I couldn't find a reference picture close enough to what I wanted), and he seemed really excited about giving someone a super short cut (there was a lot of "Cute! So cool for summer! ... Do you mind if I cut this bit a little shorter?" going on).

As for the colour, well, I asked for "kinpatsu" and I am definitely "kinpatsu" now. XDDD I suppose that since I didn't specify that I wanted a shade of blonde actually found in nature, I shouldn't be too surprised. It was quite a shock to see myself in the mirror, like, "Is that really coming out of my head?!" I'll be doing double takes for days, but I think, on the whole, I like it a lot. It's certainly dramatic! Though I feel like I should wear equally dramatic make-up with it, or at least some better powder/foundation than what I use now. And dangly earrings, definitely!

Kimberly's reaction was, "O_____O Wow, now you really look like Lady Gaga! Can I touch it? XD"

I'll post pictures, I promise.

All right, now I've got to decide what to do with the rest of my afternoon. I have my Chinese stuff, so I need to find a place to study. Doutor was too crowded earlier, and probably will still be, but I don't want to have a family restaurant smell clinging to me for the rest of the day... But I should eat, because so far today I've only eaten two very thick blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and bananas, and I don't want to eat too close to the Time of Dessert.

Oh god, those desserts are going to be amazing. *___*

Fluff

Jul. 17th, 2010 10:17 am
First up, some announcements:

Fireworks! Here is what's going on in Tokyo this summer. I can't do anything between the 31st of July and the 15th of August, but any takers for some of the other ones, maybe on the 29th? *hopeful*

Birthday! My birthday is the 17th of August, but I'll be working that day, and will have a ballet class afterward, so there will be no partying that day. However, I would like to get to the Tamagawa Fireworks on the 21st (Saturday). Those are my favourite fireworks (after the Edogawa ones, which are happening while I'm away), so I hope they're just as good this year!

Birthday, Take Two! Apart from the fireworks, I'd like to have my birthday celebration on the 29th of August (Sunday). So far, my idea is to have Greek food (or possibly Turkish or Moroccan, depending on what restaurants are to be found), and also purikura and maybe something else. Reserve that date for me, please! ^_^

Desserts! To reward ourselves for sticker sheets completed, Eda and I will be hitting up that fabulous dessert place in Ginza on the 24th of this month, probably around 6:30. Who wants to join us? :D

Heat )

Girl, I want to make you sweat )

Fruity individuals )

Smile if... )

Counting the days )

Wow, getting up early on weekends is great, it's only a bit after 10 and I feel I've done so much! Well, I haven't actually done much, it's just that I've gotten my daily tooling around the internet mostly done. Still, I've done laundry, am uploading photos for my next Travelpod post*, and last night I got fabric out for a (few) new project(s). Because I really need to start new things, when I'm in the middle of a bunch of others.

All right, time to get some sewing done, then I need to go over my budget (the next few months are going to be tight -__-;;;), then I'm going to see U-KISS in Nakano! Because Eda is awesome and got us tickets. <3

* Picture #666 from The Great Train Adventure is of... the giant reclining Buddha in Shimabara. I giggled.

ETA: Here's what Tabitha thinks of the heat. You can't make me move )
It's becoming clearer and clearer that I fail at remembering anniversaries, so this one is nearly a week late: last Monday marked the date that I'd been living in this apartment for two years.

Two years! Incredible. You know how when you start something, or go through a change, and everything seems so new and fresh and the days ahead seem to stretch out forever? Then, suddenly, you've blinked and it's two years later and you can't imagine how you initially thought, "Well, I have two years here, then who knows?" because you're so comfortable and why on earth would you want to change anything now? You're just getting started!

* * *


Friday night, I was in bed by 11:30 and slept until 9, I was so exhausted. Sometime between yesterday morning's brief awakenings and further bouts of sleep, I dreamt that I had signed up for a ballet competition, but I couldn't find the venue. Once I found it, I couldn't find the dressing room and kept walking into the auditorium by mistake. When I finally found the dressing room, I realised I had no idea of when I was supposed to perform, and the weird way the order of the performances was listed on the wall wasn't helping. Oh, and also it turned out that I had signed up not for one dance, but two! Then I couldn't find my costumes. And I had no idea what music I was dancing to, and I'd forgotten all the steps.

Gee, you think I might have been stressed about something? XD

Actually, it's post-traumatic stress of sorts, after a crazy week at work. I tend to sublimate immediate stress so that I can function, and my body reacts by either developing a cold sore or storing it up and releasing it after the event, so that after Friday's ballet class, I was nothing but a little blob of spent muscles and liquified brains.

* * *


The reason work was so crazy was that we had Culture Day on Friday. The parents were invited, and each kid had to dress in the traditional outfit of the country of their (read: their mother's) choice, and bring some sort of food from that country. We had the kids sing a song in four languages (Tagalog, Spanish, French, and English), and presented a dance performance. We had a ballet troupe (I led that, of course, and had made their costumes), a hip hop crew and a hula group. OMG the kids were so adorable! Some of the mothers really put a lot of efforts into the costumes, and the food was great. We'd told the kids, who had brought their lunch as usual, that they had to try the special foods before their could open their lunch boxes. I was so proud that only one out of ten kids was even interested in her bento! It helped that the mothers had chosen to make things that kids would like, but it wasn't all desserts. The Swiss rösti was extremely popular, as were the Korean sweets and the French bread with cheese.

* * *


I really like Friday's ballet teacher. She's kind of like a female version of Inui-sensei, but I need to find a good nickname for her; it seems disrespectful to think of her as Perfect Ass-sensei, no? Anyway, she's not so much hands-on, but she's really precise in her corrections and pinpoints exactly what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it, so that it feels like a revelation. "Ooooooh! That's why my position looked off! :O" The only trouble I have is that she sometimes uses imagery in her explanations that I have trouble following. Friday, she resorted to English (her English is quite good) when I wasn't understanding why she was holding her hand out while saying something about my fingers. I do appreciate that she asked me if it was okay to use English, because I'd told her during my first lesson with her that I was fine with just Japanese.

The windows in the studio were open, and near the end of the class, a wasp flew in. At first it hovered around the lights, then started inspecting us. It landed in my hair, and I brushed it away, but it came back.

"Wasps like bright/light-coloured things, don't they?" someone said. The wasp, grown tired of my rebuffs, flew over to the only grey-haired woman in the room. Then, somebody had the idea to turn off all the lights and open the door to the hallway; the wasp flew right out.

* * *


It seems unfair that breasts as small as mine are should become this sore when my period is about to start. Or maybe because they're small, the swelling is proportionally more severe, thus more painful? Bloh.

My period has been doing its usual thing again, i.e. timing itself to come at the most inconvenient times. I'm pretty lucky in that I don't get severe cramps or anything, and I'm fairly regular, but it's nearly a given that whenever I travel, I'll have my period. Last year, it happened a whole three days early, right in the middle of my Hawaiian vacation; it started on the night Emily and I left for our Great Train Adventure; it started the day before I left for Europe this year; and guess what was happening over my weekend in Seoul?! Naturally, the timing for my trip to China is perfect, and I won't even need to be early or late for my period to coincide with my travels. Given that I haven't travelled for more than two weeks at a time in years, and my cycle is an even 28 to 29 days, this seems suspicious.

* * *


I was astonishingly productive yesterday, even though I didn't take a shower. I earned three stickers for my sewing page. THREE! :D I made myself privacy curtains -- I've always found that term funny, because hello, they're sheer! though I understand why they're called that -- for my bedroom window, and then another little curtain for my bedroom doorway using the same fabric, thus using up a whole sari. Do you know how long those things are? I think it was the very first sari I bought off Ebay, so that would have been back in... 2004, possibly 2003. Now the light coming into my room is pretty and green. <3

My third sticker was for finally finishing the curtains I started back in... before Christmas, I think. They just needed to be hemmed, but for some reason I'd thrown them aside in disgust (over my inability to measure stuff properly and cut in a straight line, most likely) and hadn't touched them since. They're woefully out of season now, though, because when I think summer in Tokyo, bare trees are not the first things that come to mind. But at least they're something! It turns out the way to get myself to make curtains is to wash the only ones I have, so that I'm forced to put up something before it gets dark and I want to change my clothes.

Tabitha did her usual thing. Because she wouldn't be a true cat if, faced with nearly 2m of fabric laid out on the floor, she didn't sit right in the middle of the six inches I was trying to cut off.

* * *


When the weather gets hot, my vacuum cleaner has this annoying habit of overheating and shutting off, then taking at least a quarter of an hour to cool down enough to start working again. Last weekend, this happened after I'd only vacuumed half a room, which is bad even by Ion-kun standards, so I was worried. I emptied it, left to cool down for over half an hour, then tried plugging it in again. Nothing, not even the green "I'm plugged in!" light. Uh oh. Hoping I wouldn't need to try to get it fixed, or buy a replacement, I did other stuff for another half hour, then tried again. Still no green light! Sighing in frustration, I looked up at my ironing board and noticed that though the vacuum didn't seem to have any power, the iron was plugged in and working fine. XD;;;

Yesterday, I managed to vacuum the whole apartment in only three "sessions", which is much better than I'd expected. Not that it did much good, because Tabitha made sure there was fur over everything again before the day was half done. But it was nice while it lasted!

* * *

Today I hope to be just as productive. I've already studied for an hour (sticker! yeah!) and written this long post; next, I've got a Travelpod post to finish (the last of Team Okinawa's adventure down south). Afterward, I need to shower (definitely!), then decide what I'll do with the rest of my day.

Have a good Sunday, people! *kisses*
Wow, I'd forgotten how small kids are. It's one thing to work with them each day and hold them; it's quite another to make dance costumes for them. So. Damn. Tiny. (We're having Culture Day on Friday, and as I'm in charge of the ballet troupe, I thought I'd make little vests for the boys and skirts for the girls. We're dancing to The Nutcracker. We've also got a hula group and a hip-hop group. They're all going to be so cute. <3)

Kids being kids )

In news unrelated to kids, I feel I've been rather unproductive today. Though I did go to a ballet class, then to the travel agency to hand over my passport so they can take care of getting me a Chinese visa (less troublesome than going myself, though more expensive), then went and bought some clothes even though I'd told myself I wouldn't. At least I got a whole outfit? XD;

Oh, well. Tomorrow shall be a Day of Sewery, so I'll be able to at least finish a few things, and add a few more stickers to my sewing page.

Speaking of which... Check this out! )
I'm not sure why, but these past few months have seen me feeling things more intensely. I've always been d'humeur égale, prone neither to extreme highs or lows of mood (not without a good reason, anyway), but today I've been full of so much love for everything that I feel warm and mushy and I just want to hug the world. I don't know if it was waking up to Tabitha being incredibly affectionate, cute and cuddly and purring like a tractor, but the rest of the day was lovely. I got up early to cook lunch and it turned out really well; I discovered my new favourite song* and beat my record time for walking to work; the kids were just so adorable and bright and funny today that I wanted to hug them and gnaw on their cute round cheeks forever; after work I met up with Eda and Jamie and we parked ourselves at Coco's to study (Korean for Eda, Mandarin for me) and draw (Jamie); I got home to a postcard that Jill sent me from Thailand, informing me that even the ladyboys have larger boobs than I do.

Well, if they didn't, I'd say that they'd really wasted their money!

* Lady Gaga's "Optimist" which I love and makes me stomp fiercely through the streets, mouthing the words.
A Sunday where I don't have to get up early because there's something I MUST do?! *shock and disbelief*

The graduation went swimmingly, and of course all the teachers teared up many times. If it wasn't the kids being sweet and adorable, it was speaking to mothers tearfully express their gratitude for us. Oh, and being made, without warning, to give a little speech to our graduates. -__-;

Us teachers were all hungry afterwards, so we went to Royal Host. I intended to get dessert, but ended up having a full meal... and then headed off to [livejournal.com profile] later_uk's farewell dinner. The Lockup was full, so we went upstairs to Arabian Rock, where the five us of squeezed into a booth meant for four, and ate. A lot. But it was good! And we got to yell, "FAIYAAAAA!!!" And anyway, even when I overeat now, I can always tell myself, "Well, I'm still not as full as I was in Okinawa! :D *gurgle*"

Today, I have ambitions. Let's see how much I can get done, shall we?

- Put away clean laundry
- Hang up the laundry that's currently in the washer
- Make tea Drink tea
- Do dishes
- Burn pictures to DVD for Laura
- Tidy up apartment
- Vacuum
- Buy new lightbulb for the bathroom
- Shower
- Get an international driver's license
- Go to farewell lunch for Laura
- Brush Tabitha (maybe I should do this before I vacuum? ^_^;)
- Make something for my lunches this week
- Try to make my nails look halfway decent
- Sew
- Post to Travelpod
- Answer emails/comment on ljs
- Spam lj :D
Your responses to my last post were encouraging, so let's do this!

At my school, at the end of each day, we give a sticker to each kid who's been good and has followed the class rules all day. They put that sticker on their sticker sheet, and when it's completed, we give them a certificate and let them put a coin in the Anpanman capsule machine we have (which we fill with Anpanman stickers). The 2- and 3-year-olds especially get excited about "Anpanman gacha-gacha! :D".

I'm not suggesting Anpanman stickers as a reward for reaching personal goals -- though far be it from me to deny you such a thing, should you be a closet Anpanman fan! XD -- but cute stickers for small goals and a big reward (left up to each participant's discretion) after having earned x number of stickers? And a certificate, of course, that goes without saying!

So, your thoughts? Create a lj community specifically for this? Elect officers? Have a special badge and a secret handshake? 8D

Now I'm off to complete a simple goal for this evening: be in bed before 12:30.
Yesterday, in honour of American Thanksgiving, five of us made the perilous journey from Nishi-Tokyo to Chiba, to partake of chicken (lots of chicken), various vegetables (porn and peas! :D), mashes potatoes, stuffing, cranberries (in various states of solidity), and pie. Lots, and lots of pie. And cake.

Quote of the evening: "It's a basic human right to not look like Horio."

It's true. In fact, the people who drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are kicking themselves right now, thinking, "How could we have forgetten the most obvious one?! DX"

In other news, I called in late for work because I just couldn't drag myself out of bed, and felt ready to keel over all day, culminating in a dizzy spell during my afternoon lesson that nearly had me calling over to my coworker, "Can you take over for a minute while I pass out?", but I couldn't get my voice to work, so I refrained. It passed after a moment, and I was all right after that.

Then I went a spent a bunch of money on gifts for my family. Mostly. Part of it was spent on The Coolest Belt Ever, which I can't wait to wear tomorrow! <3 And also a few cheap long-sleeved t-shirts, because layering is no longer a fashion statement, it's a must with the chill setting in. I'm glad I found some which are supposed to be long and kind of wide on tiny Japanese girls -- they fit my shoulders!

When I was in a menswear store getting stuff for my brothers, I was asked if I needed help finding a size. I'm wondering whether the clerk thought I was shopping for myself, because I was wearing a hoodie I bought at that very store.

When I came home, I had this glorious list of stuff to do, and set about doing it... but got mired in item #3, which was "prepare Christmas parcels for family". I had about a million things to separate into little bags, so it took longer than expected. That's my excuse for the dishes still languishing in the sink.

Tabitha is sitting on my lap, keeping warm. She'll no doubt complain when I make a move to get up...
To get this post off to a cheerful start, an amusing exchange with a student:

Him: Ms. Adele, why is your hair brown?
Me: Uh... it just is. What colour do you think it should be?
Him: Black.
Me: Black? But I'm not Japanese.
Him: Yes, you are.
Me: XD Actually, no.

I believe there is partial confusion here due to the fact that the younger kids take a while understand the difference between Japanese-meaning-nationality and Japanese-meaning-language and which verb to use in which context. I often hear things like "Sakura is Japanese!" when they mean she's speaking Japanese. My response is always, "Yeah, so are you!" which confuses them. And then I laugh.

Anyway, the next day I asked Taiga:

Me: So, why did you say my hair should be black?
Him: *looking at me as though explaining that water is wet* Because hair is black.

This was even funnier because this kid's hair isn't black, it's truly brown. It made me wonder, though, whether any of the kids think that K (who is fairer than I am) and I dye our hair.

* * *


I meant to post something interesting about Okinawa, or at least answer the meme questions I was asked, but I really don't feel up to the task. Still, I forced myself to at least try to catch up with my studying this evening, and got more done than I'd hoped. Funny how I actually kept up in Okinawa, it's in the days since I've been back that I've completely slacked off, for no reason I can discern except that I'm damn tired.

Self-pity goes here )

While I'm really looking forward to the test being over, I also wonder what I'm going to do with my time once it's free. I want to keep studying, so I'll have to think up a way to get myself motivated for that, and I also want to settle on some other goals. Anyone have any suggestions on how to do this? Advice? Want to start a Goal of the Month club with me so we can be slave-drivers to each other? :D [offer valid only after the 6th of December]

Re: 12月6日, Eda and I are going to meet up after the test and we're going to get drunk. Anyone else want to join in? :D

And then she went to bed.
Some recent gems, courtesy of my students.

[Overheard during playtime, while two kids were "speaking on the phone" with each other]:

"I am in Estonia. And I am busy."

* * *


In which we learn what happens when you let kids mess around with karaoke, or possible Guitar Hero: )

In which I learn about the afterlife )
In which I am accused of assaulting a politician )
I was up at 8 this morning for some good ol' nihongo taimu. I've taken to having the tv on with the volume down low as background noise while I study, because who knows? It might reinforce what I'm reading. XD It being Sunday morning, I fell on that silly kiddy show about two guys in one suit, which I hear some of you people like. It was pretty hilarious, I must admit. Since I wasn't giving it my full attention, I didn't quite get some bits. Like why did Dance-Boy -- his actual character name, of course! -- suddenly run through a police cordon, set up his boom box and start dancing in the middle of what was presumably an off-limits area?

This was also research, in a way, because to be a good teacher, one should try to be in touch with what interests the students, and my preschool kids love this show. They adore it with the passion of four- and five-year-olds who think that guys running around in weird armour suits are the coolest thing ever. At least three times a week, they ask me (since the other teachers just look at them blankly when the subject comes up) if I like Philippe. The colour drawings half in one colour, half in another. During playtime, they argue over who gets to be which character (Kid A: "Me is Shoutarou!" Kid B: "No, me!" Me: "How about you both be Shoutarou? XD" Kids: "Okay! :D"), then jump around, striking poses and shouting "Dabburu!"

"It's 'Double'," I correct them. " 'Dabburu' is Japanese."

"Double! Metaru! Toriggaa!"

"Metal. Trigger."

"Metal! Trigger!"

Since I've been correcting them, they're starting to catch on that those cool-sounding names are, in fact, English words. The other day, during a writing activity, Chikara suddenly asked me, "What's 'cyclone'?"

Wondering where he'd heard the word, and thinking it might have been some nature program or book (he's interested in science), I answered that it was a storm with very strong winds. He nodded and went back to his worksheet. Ten seconds later, he asked me, "What's 'Joker'?" Ah, now I see where this is going, thought I with a grin.

The weekend is over, which I think is very unfair. I did a lot, though, so at least I didn't waste any time! Friday was [livejournal.com profile] art_house_queen's and [livejournal.com profile] chimericalyours's joint birthday celebration at everyone's favourite cheap izakaya, and I got to take my fantabulous sequined shoes out on the town while meeting some very nice people. Yesterday, K and I nearly finished the Halloween costumes -- save mine, which I really need to get working on! -- and my apartment looks like a princess factory exploded in it. It's rather disturbing. Today I met up with [livejournal.com profile] akahannah and [livejournal.com profile] lizstarsky for some studying at Saizeriya, and we were kicked out! Well, we were very politely told that it was peak meal time, and if we were only studying and not ordering any more food... That's the first time that's ever happened to me, and I could only think, "This would never happen at Skylark!" XD

[livejournal.com profile] lizstarsky and I needed to head over to Shinjuku anyway, because we were meeting [livejournal.com profile] later_uk and [livejournal.com profile] nekonezumi to book ourselves a trip to Okinawa, which we did with minimal difficulty, since the flights and hotel we'd kimeta-ed (<-- actual English verb, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise!) were all available. So we're going to have ourselves a girly resort trip! I've never done that before, so I'm very excited! Afterwards, we met up with [livejournal.com profile] nekonezumi's parents, who are visiting for the week, and had Korean food for supper. Her parents are so sweet! I hope they have a lovely time in Japan.

Anyway, I've got some more benkyouing to do this evening to keep abreast of things. So far I'm doing quite well with my study plan, though I've not been able to manage as much as I'd like regarding kanji. That's the section that's going to slay me come test time. If they're shown in context, I might manage, but otherwise I'm afraid I'll be relying a great deal on my super wild guessing skillz.
It's always about the gay penguins. Where are the lesbians?!

At lunch, Chikara was telling me about his dessert:

Him: I have penis butter!

Me: ............................ PeaNUT! *dying of laughter on the inside*

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