Monday, February 28, 2011

"February is merely as long as is needed..."

" pass the time until March."
-   Dr. J. R. Stockton

The month of February gets a pretty bad rap. Just try to look up positive quotes about February... it ain't easy. For my part, however, I enjoyed just about every day of February. Here are some reasons why: 

February 6th : The weather! 
Can you believe this blue sky?? Though some days were pretty 
wet and miserable, we had enough of THIS weather to lift my spirits. 
When the cherry blossomed bloomed, it really felt like spring. 

February 12th:  Pre-Valentine's Day Ladies' Brunch
I invited some really lovely ladies to my apartment to eat some 
heart-shaped pancakes and other delicious brunch food. 
It's a Valentine tradition that I love and hope to continue far into the future. 

I just love holidays. Even Valentine's Day. :) 
It's a great excuse to decorate, cook theme food, and dress up. 
These sugar cookies were for my co-workers. Yum. 

February 20th: I just love my little pet turtle. He's had an excess of energy lately,
 so I let him roam loose in the apartment. He looks happy, doesn't he?

February 21st: Shabu Shabu Party!
I've had this plug in Shabu Shabu pot since I came and have never used it before! 
Shabu Shabu is a Japanese winter tradition. Everyone sits around a pot full of broth,
 loads it upwith vegetables, and then cooks chunks of meat in it. Then you take out whatever
 you want, dip it in sauce, and eat up. It is an inexpensive, delicious, 
and fun way to warm up with friends during the chillier February days. 

24 February: Hamabe no Chaya Cafe 
The weather was SO gorgeous that I couldn't bear the thought of being indoors. 
Since I had no one to adventure with that day, I went for a little hike, walked on the beach, and ended up here with a cup of coffee, a salad, and a Murakami novel. Bliss.

25 February: Shibaechaya Cafe 
Fridays are long lunch days, so An, Max, and I checked out a cute cafe called
 Shibaechaya. Delicious tempura and really lovely views. Win. :) 

February may have been short, but it was anything but boring. I think this coming month will be just as full of beautiful weather and adventures (including a short trip to Seattle! Wow!).

(These photos are from my Project 365 on Flickr)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Idaho in Japan

When I first came to Japan I had to make a decision: to claim Idaho, my birthplace and high school home, or Seattle, my college city and futurehome, as my "hometown." I consulted with others who had been in Japan and learned that Seattle is an easily recognized name with concrete references in the minds of students: references such as Ichiro Suzuki and the Mariner's baseball team.

So, for the last two years I've told my students quite simply, "I'm from Seattle."

"Shi-a-te-roo?!" they exclaim; "Do you know Ichiro?!" they ask.

"Yes, of course." I reply, "He's my boyfriend."


However, this got a little confusing around Christmas time when I told my students I was going "home" for the holidays and they automatically assumed I meant Seattle.

So, when I returned from my vacation in both Seattle AND Idaho, I decided to inform them of both of my American homes. So in my first lesson back, I made sure to distinguish between the two places and showed video and pictures of both. However, when the word "Idaho" flashed across the screen, all I got were blank faces. Despite the map visual and all the photos of snow I could squeeze into 4 minutes, they still had no comprehensible point of reference to this "Idaho" place.

Enter: The Idaho Burger

Cue epic music. 
Leave it to McDonald's to take a giant hamburger patty, top it with a deep fried potato, slap some crazy sauces on it, and name it after an obscure state. But, it seems to be working. For the weeks following this new burger announcement, my mention of "Idaho" was met with slightly confused but somewhat comprehending looks. Hoorah!

As a proud native Idahoan, I vowed that I would enter under those golden arches and taste of this unnaturally delicious-looking burger. However, despite my best intentions, the final day of the Idaho Burger's reign quickly approached.

On that last day, I cleared my schedule, grabbed my friend Sarra, and walked eagerly into "Maku" only to be greeted with sparkling new posters of the "Miami Burger." Fearing the worst, I tentatively approached the counter and asked "IDaHo Ba-ga Arimasuka?" to which the cashier replied that there was, in fact, one burger left. I squealed with delight, whipped out 1000 yen, and waited for the cashier to bring me my hometown's japanese pride.

However, I was two minutes too late, the last Idaho Burger was gone, and I had to settle for a regular ole cheeseburger instead. 
My last small spark of happiness came when I decided to improvise. If I couldn't have the real thing, I would do my best to replicate it. 

French fries on a cheeseburger? Good enough.
In conclusion, while I may not have tasted it's potatoe-y goodness, this burger's short time on Japan was enough to give my students the glimmer of comprehension which my stories and pictures failed to elicit. I just hope that glimmer lasts longer than the burger itself.

*Photos by Sarra.

Dear Valentine(s),

Dear Valentine
Originally uploaded by ReBekha Michele
I wish you all a very happy St. Valentine's Day.

From Japan with Love,

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Month in Pictures

Hello friends, it's been awhile. :) I've had one of those months where blog posts will constantly pop into my brain but I lack the time and motivation to actually get them out. Today, I will break that horrible spell, and briefly update you on the last month of my life. :)

I've been wanting do start Project 365 (a challenge to take a photo every day for a year) since I joined Flickr years ago, but finally decided to start on January 1st. So, I will hopefully be taking a photo every day to document my third year in Japan! There have been some hiccups already (including a dysfunctional camera lens and a broken auto focus... grrr) but I've only missed two days and have made them up with extra weekend pictures. Works for me!

So, since January is over, I can now show you my month, in pictures. Click the link below each picture to read about what happened on that day, or why I took that photo.

January 1st

January 3rd

January 4th

January 6th

January 8th

January 9th

January 11th

January 16th

January 15th

January 20th

January 21st

January 26th
January 30th

January 31st

February 1st

I only included my favorites. To see all the pictures, click here