Friday, January 29, 2010

Sakura Sneak Peak!

Blogs I've Yet to Post:
-Konpa (Japanese Group Date) Adventure
-Rock Climbing Progress
-Christmas Card Anecdotes
-Koyo High School Photo Blog

I am getting seriously behind! And this weekend is already shaping up to be extremely blog worthy! It is the weekend of Sakura (cherry blossom) Matsuris (Festivals) and I am going to be photographing and soaking up that festive atmosphere like nobody's business!

There is a festival in my town, Yaese.
At a park with this gorgeous outlook:
Instead of catching up on blogs now, though, I am going to take a minute to give you a quick glimpse of the cherry blossoms.

My friend-coworkers and I went up to Yaese Park after work today to check out the blossoms before the crowds arrive for the festival.

My crazy coworkers. :)
No crowds!
The cherry blossoms bloom earliest in Okinawa but are still pretty sparse right now.

However, there are still plenty to photograph!

I can't wait to go back tomorrow when it is full-blown party time! I love Okinawan festival music! And the food!! Droooool!
Festive lanterns light the way after dusk.
My battery died right before dusk. Oops!

One more sakura photo:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Heart on Your Leaves

My lovely friend posted a great site on her blog, and I've been wanting to try it out but have lacked inspiration.

Today, I taught my sweet friend the expression "heart on your sleeve" and she loved it. At lunch, when she accidentally replaced "sleeve" with "leaves," I found the inspiration I was looking for.
This is my second attempt. This touch pad mouse takes some getting used to.

I love interesting English errors. :)

Speaking of which, I want to post a blog with some of the expressions my students used on the Christmas cards they made me. Always classically entertaining, and terribly heart warming.

Speaking of heart warming:

I love my job.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Terrible Teacher >_<

Today I feel like a miserable, awful teacher. No matter how hard I try, I just can't get anything right. My students are lost, I am stumbling, the material is lacking... I don't know what it is! During first period debate class I couldn't get my point across with a sledge hammer. It doesn't help that I didn't have any coffee this morning and that the material is about as interesting as my blogs. (heh. ;) Sorry, readers.)

Some of the fumbles this morning were due to being under prepared, I must admit. During second period, I didn't have enough copies made and had to rush to the computer for more. My co-teacher looked at me like I had grown an extra set of eyeballs out of my forehead. uuugh.

I think the worst part about this day in particular is the wacky schedule. Koyo (my school) is holding entrance exams (for potential students) this week and everything is messed up. Really messed up.

For example:
Monday was Friday's schedule, but only in the morning. The afternoon was all entrance exams.
Today's schedule is Wednesday's full schedule.
Wednesday's schedule is Wednesday morning's schedule only with exams in the afternoon.
Friday's schedule is Friday afternoon's schedule in the morning with exams in the afternoon.

Thursday is the only day that is normal! So, I have my Friday afternoon and Wednesday morning classes twice this week, but my Tuesday and Monday classes not at all. Why?? I really, really don't understand the logic there.

This weird schedule lead to my final mishap of the day. I confused today's "Full Wednesday" schedule with tomorrow's "Half Wednesday" schedule and thought I was free after lunch. I was sitting at my desk doing some grading when my co-teacher rushed down to get me. Five minutes late for my fourth period class. GAH! It has happened once before with this teacher, too. I agreed to teach an extra Christmas class to some second year students, and then it slipped my mind because I didn't properly schedule it.

What an awful feeling.

Now I am actually free for the rest of the afternoon, but am so flustered and discouraged that I can't bring myself to do any work. I really need to. I have to prepare for my second Wednesday morning classes of the week o I don't have to come in early tomorrow, am not all exhausted, and don't make so many mistakes again.

I think I am going to go close my eyes in the tatami room for a bit. Have I told you we have a room just for napping? Yeah, there are advantages to teaching in Japan.

Maybe when I wake up this whole day will have been a nightmare.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sesame Seed Fried Rice

We interrupt this Subtropical Christmas series to bring you the latest breaking news: ReBekha can cook!

Now before you get too excited, you should know that I am starting slow. So far, it has only been simple recipes except where heavily assisted by others (such as the surprising turkey success), but I am doing pretty well.

Now, if you haven't known me for longer than a few months, you might not know that I have never considered myself capable of really cooking--aside from top ramon, that is. It isn't that I horribly mutilate everything I touch, I simply don't attempt it that often. Recipes tend to terrify me.

The exception is pancakes. I love to make strange pancakes. I even submitted my baked
apple & cinnamon recipe to the JET newsletter. :P Simple, but yummy.

Well, since I moved to Japan, and have this nice apartment to myself, and a huge assortment of strange foods to choose from, I decided to give the whole cooking thing another shot. My fantastic coworkers, Max and An Yang, come over to my place semi-regularly for a little cooking party, and that has definitely helped. An Yang is a walking cookbook of Japanese and Chinese recipes and makes it all seem so easy. One of the first things we cooked was cha han, or fried rice.

What I love about cha han is that it is so simple, so versatile, and so delicious. All the time.

Well, today, I made my own variation of cha han that I want to share with my other cooking-challenged friends. :)
Sesame Seed Fried Rice

It's easy.
1. Prepare the rice ahead of time. I use white rice in a basic rice cooker. Wheat rice would probably work just as well.
2. Combine diced chives, green peppers, yellow peppers, and tomatoes in a frying pan with seasame seed oil, sesame seeds, salt and pepper (to taste) in frying pan.
(I would also usually add fried egg, but I didn't have the energy today.)
3. Fry until veggies are crispy and oil is hot.
3. Add the rice to the frying pan, mix it with the other ingredients, and cook until fried.

I think the most important thing about this is to fry the veggies in sesame seed oil before adding the rice. It makes a major taste difference.

I've learned that I am not very good at measuring when I am cooking for myself, but I don't think exact measurements are necessary in this case. The beauty of cha han, for me, is being able to just toss ingredients together. So far, this is the best combination I have come up with. :)