Saturday, August 25, 2007

From "Japan Today" online news

"More and more young teachers can't stand firm when parents confront them. Such teachers tend to be vulnerable to mental breakdowns. "
Kazunori Nakajima, head of the psychoneurotic department at Sanraku Hospital in Tokyo, commenting on the threefold increase in the number of teachers taking sick leave due to depression and other mental illnesses over the past decade. (Yomiuri Shimbun)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nothing like a little shopping to get rid of the blues.

I've let a lot of things pile up this summer, just little errands that had to be done but were being put off because I had to do them in Japanese -like open up a new account for paying bills and changing the address over on my drivers license. Well, I got through 99% of them today and to reward myself I went to Takaoka for a bit of a shopping spree.

Takaoka has a big shopping centre with a movie theatre. It might not sound exciting to you, but I live an hour's drive from the nearest movie theatre. I happened to arrive just as Ocean's 13 was starting, so I took advantage of the 1000yen matinee ticket price (it's usually around 1700 -about 17 bucks) an went in. After a couple of hours in the comfort of an air conditioned theatre, I headed straight to the English section of the adjacent book store and managed to use up the rest of the coupons I had acquired a couple of years ago as 'thank you' money at an English camp.

I then slunk through the shoe stores (didn't buy a single pair!!!) and wandered down to the Body Shop for a few goodies (needed goodies of course, a girl has to have her moisturizer!). I splurged on some bath mats and a few other home decorating treats in two of my favorite 'home' stores before filling up my cup at Starbucks and filling up my belly with a Dutour's bagel sandwich. Sufficiently suffoncified, as my father would put it, I hauled my packages to my car and set off for home -listening to NPR podcasts (I've already caught up on all the CBC ones...) -in one of the best light shows I've seen in a while! It's been thundering and flashing all day, clear across the prefecture. I stopped only once to restock my alcohol and chocolate supply at yamaya - I've been out of Bailey's and red wine for a while and I found some Honey Ale that I'm looking forward to enjoying on this weekend's trip into the mountains.

A happy and relaxing time all by me-self, a great way to spend a summer evening.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Happy B-day Johnny P.

Good thing you got out of Japan when you did - it really aged you!!
Miss you, wish we were heading to Sakura Sweets for some eats, but I'm sure Sista K is lookin' after you just fine.

Fantasia at the Water's Edge (水辺のファンタジア)

On Saturday, Ichiro and I went to Oyama to watch a performance that my friend Lee was taking part in.
We didn't quite know what to expect, but we knew there would be live music, dancing, and a shadow show.
We arrived early enough to get pretty good seats, directly in front of the "stage".
The stage was on the river's edge, just under a (man made) waterfall.

We watched WAYNO -one of our favorite bands -most of the members are from South America and they play an awesome blend of music which is great to sit and listen to on a muggy summer afternoon.

There was a great assortment of music and dance performances which are hard to describe in words. Needless to say, it was a little surreal to be sitting in a riverside in Japan watching images being projected onto the mountain side and dancers and singer interacting with the 'natural' surroundings.

Ooyama is famous for glass blowing, and in amongst the performances you could see hundreds of hand made creations, holding candles that were lit at dusk.

More pics from the evening.

We finished off the night at an Okinawan restaurant before Ichiro took my back to Kurobe.
A great time!