Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gluten Free in Japan: Week 2 begins/Confession

I must confess I am back to "Go" as far as gluten free goes.

I'm getting a little better day by day, but I have broken code last night (and faced some consequences- tummy ache, nauseous) but not sure if it is gluten or just other preservatives and flavors. I ate a chocolate brownie and half a processed pudding cup and had an immediate stomach ache. The pudding was worse and the artificial flavor left a really bad taste in my mouth.

But I slept and feel ok, luckily, and now know that I must be more strict with the diet than before.

I just wanted something sweet and exciting! But it was fake-flavor-y and painful.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In the Rose Garden Bracelet

In the Rose Garden Cuff Bracelet by ~pixipatrin on deviantART

Just completed another netted cuff! This one came out really nice, elegant, and expensive looking, I think! I called it "In the Rose Garden"

I've started an online ETSY shop which will sell my beaded work and some craft items from Japan. I just started so I'm not sure the direction I will go with it, but I will put beaded and other creations up there as they're produced.

You can visit my etsy here:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 5: Gluten Free in Japan

Day 5 and I will spare you the gruesome details, but my digestion is working at 95% normal :D

The cracks in my tongue are less, which means my gut is also doing better at getting essential nutrients!

Totally calm and in charge at today's classes! Even though it's Saturday and I was at the school from 12 to 8.

Also able to down a bunch of dark chocolate today- which is rich in iron and certain polyphenols and antioxidants. Of course, it's free of most allergens EXCEPT had soy... which I may or may not be slightly allergic to. Apparently that doesn't compare to wheat or gluten.

And I feel like I have so much more free time, energy, and drive now that the stomach pain is lifted off my shoulders AND I didn't have to go to the clinic to get a stomach camera-ing done. And all I had to do was go without wheat in my food. So that's easier said than done... everything has to be cooked at home from scratch and without wheat and without certain exciting things like soy sauce. But had some pretty good no soy-sauce Korean bulgogi recently. Maybe I'll be able to have smidges of soy sauce and kim ch'i again soon...

Now that I feel good I can start putting together pictures and stories about my November-December travels with Mumsie!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Powerful New Research in Functional Medicine: Neurological Approach

This shows that the dietary choices we, our governments, our societies make... do effect us in more ways than we can name or know. How impressive that this doctor made a journey from being, in essence, in the dark on what nutrients could help her condition- to realizing that her insufficient intake of these nutrients perhaps had everything to do with her condition and that where medicine continued to fail her, freeing herself of food allergens and increasing her intake of essential nutrients largely through diet could help her recover her ability to walk and function without loosing her job and livelihood.

I feel that education in industrialized and industrializing countries is failing us by not teaching us the basics of the power of natural plants and native diets... which are truly the basics of survival, and now they are being lost and becoming just the whispers of the ghosts which came before us, all is being lost for convenience.

Thanks to for drawing attention to this TED video. I admire Functional Medicine efforts and hope that it rises up in the place of the current medical system in the US that treats symptoms and not root causes. If only the subsidization of food would reward those trying to be proactive for their health (by healthy, unadulterated food), vs. the oversubsidization of grains, meat, and dairy, which in effect is a huge force behind the increased need for expensive and often ineffective medical treatments.

"Let food be thy medicine."

I'm now going to dedicate myself, more than ever, to getting well, saving money, and hopefully making it to naturopathic medical school or even MD, if not to get in on the exciting research that is functional medicine.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 4: Gluten Free in Japan

Woke up with marked less sinus pain/congestion. Still some pains in the gut but no cramps. Shortness of breath is less now too, and overall achy/tired/no drive/anxiety feeling is a little better too.

I eat a bowl of sweet potatoes instead of noodles or rice, and brothy soups made of meat, vegetables, water, and the kombu seaweed. Did you know MSG was originally distilled from the kombu sea vegetable? Now they use soybeans and whatever slop they can boil down to produce glutamate and attach it to a sodium ion, hence the name MSG. The part that has the "umami" is the glutamate. But anyway, the kombu and a few other spices makes a tasty, almost buttery broth without butter, msg, or even soy sauce. Which I'm still waiting on getting some wheat-free tamari. Even at the health-food store the organic tamari had wheat in it. Which I thought tamari-soy-sauce was supposed to be wheat free, but whatever. I also have sides of lightly spiced meat curries made with light curry spices and coconut milk. I don't use those nasty bouillon/processsed curry cubes they sell everywhere in Japan, these are just spices and not cubes processed with a bunch of altered oils, starches, artifical flavors etc.... Which I found were hard to find in Korea and Japan, but they are available if you keep your eyes out for them or go to a health food store (which is disappointing to me in comparison to health food stores in America/Canada/the West/any other country. I guess it's still hard for most people to believe these food allergies might exist.

Maybe it sounds crazy but at least I'm feeling a little better everyday. I get so sad when someone gifts me something that looks delicious and I can't eat it ; - ; . But when my condition is under control I'll be able to handle everything again in small doses.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day... 2 Gluten Free

Day 2 of Gluten Free Folks


The epicness that occurred last month was my mother and mother-in-law's visit, a trip to Nagano, trip to Nara, and really all around business and craziness. When I think about the amount of gluten I consumed during that short period, compared to my relative abstinence from it for about 3 years or so, I ate roughly 3 years worth of gluten in 3 months. At my best in the U.S. I could eat a gluten item about once a week and have only slight ramifications: a little tired, or swollen feeling in my sinuses.

And still on Day 2 I'm feeling achy, exhausted, "tired but wired..." meaning exhaustion coupled with trouble falling asleep, sinus sludge, body aches, shortness of breath, slight stomach pain. Just need to remind myself that it is only Day 2, and there could be at least 2 weeks to a month for my body to heal from whatever reaction was set into motion by my dietary exuberance since I arrived in Japan- where I cast my doubts about gluten being bad for me to the wind and just ate it happily because that's what everyone else is doing. I hope that the same consciousness about food allergies will come to Japan (maybe almost inevitably) as it has in the U.S.

There's also the added awareness that there may be a few other sensitivities... including soy, potato/tomato, and citrus which my consumption of also increased dramatically since coming here.

Looking forward to getting farther along into elimination... I'm being so strict now Max made a soup with soy sauce in the broth and I had to refuse it. But with his rice allergy he also must avoid any soup made with say, mirin or miso, as they also contain rice.

Repressed the urge to go to the doctor. I'm kind of under the impression that there's nothing they can do for me. I just have to try this rest from known/long suspected allergens before I go looking for anything else wrong...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gluten Free in Japan: What to Eat/What to Avoid

Gluten Free in Japan: What to Eat/What to Avoid

Special thanks to Blogger Sofia, living in Kyushuu, who provides useful information on living Gluten Free on her blog

Eat: (generally homemade)
-For carbohydrate/energy: potatoes, sweet potatoes, nagaimo, satsumaimo, carrot , rice if you are not sensitive to rice (my husband was a Crohn's sufferer and his sole trigger was rice! Gluten causes inflammation for his sinuses and ears though...)

-All vegetables, cooked without gluten containing products


-If you are certain it's 100%, you may tolerate buckwheat noodles which are sort of a grey brown color, however wheat is typically added to these


-Soy Sauce, and Tamari (Tamari is in theory a light soy sauce that is brewed wheat free, however my husband just went tonight and our local supermarket's version contains wheat! how do you explain wheat-containing tamari is kind of ridiculous... but whatever...)

-All packaged food. It's impossible to know the origin or process involved in creating "artificial" ingredients

-Sauces (which generally will have soy sauce or MSG ingredients)

-Yakisoba Noodles, Udon Noodles, Ramen noodles

Eating out in Japan:

Avoid: Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, All Noodles and probably all fast foods, Crepes, Udon, Yakisoba

Seek: Sashimi, Sushi, onigiri, simple grilled fish (at my local mall instead of the food court I go to the supermarket deli and eat fish that's grilled without discernible sauce such as soy sauce, and grab some steamed vegetables, pain in the butt I can't just go and chow down happily, or am an inconvenience to a group)

HOPE: if your symptoms stabilize on the gluten free diet, depending on severity, it is possible to cheat once a month, or with certain foods, weekly or even daily. Just bear the initial waiting period of going gluten free until symptoms stabilize. I saw improvement in the on a diet that was reduced gluten and not 100% gluten free.

麦・むぎ  mugi wheat -- I think this basically includes all wheat products which may contain gluten, make sure the ingredients on anything packaged don't contain this

醤油・しょうゆ shouyu soy sauce

化学調味料無添加 かがくちょうみりょうむてんか kagakuchoumiryou mutenka Without Artificial Additives

味の素 あじのもと ajinomoto MSG

Good luck on your journey!

Shopping for those in Japan:

Western Import Shop (Items generally avaliable within 5-7 days in Japan):

last updated: 12/12/2011

Under the Weather... beginning of trying Gluten Free in Japan

In the West they really spell it right out for ya...
I've only seen one section which was a single rack in a supermarket (not even a portion of an aisle) remotely announcing itself as friendly-food for food allergy sufferers

So I'm not getting much done... been kind of under the weather off and on. Stomach and sinus issues, and symptoms which in my experience and research all point to food allergy: that is stomach issues, sinus issues, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms. All were somewhat under control when I was much stricter with my diet... maybe 1 or 2 servings of gluten containing foods a week in America (say, a whole wheat hamburger bun) to... I don't even want to know how much gluten has entered my diet since I came to Japan.

Apparently there's just not much discussion of food allergies in Japan, except for the few for which it's a matter of life or death. And it's getting there for me... stomach cramps nightly (which resolve... I was experiencing a weekend without pain until today... ate some instant noodles and some cookies and BAM, a few hours later now and I'm just dealing with a swollen feeling in my sinuses)

I don't know if its just because so much food seems to revolve around cash crops and commodity foods: soy, rice, and wheat. Noodles abound, and so many staple foods (and peoples favorites) just as they do in the west.... are FULL OF GLUTEN.

The most popular and prevalent foods in my neighborhood: PASTA PASTA PASTA (a nightmare... I recall having an aversion to spaghetti when my father made it for me as a child, and the bloating that would follow eating out at an Italian restaurant) My neighborhood is rather famous for its bakeries and pasta. Or if you don't want pasta you could have a big bowl of wheat-noodles "udon", or occasionally I've been making takoyaki, or octopus dumplings, at home) which is grilled flower with octopus in it. Or Okonomiyaki, which is also grilled flour. All is delicious but the food allergy symptoms begin almost instantly after eating these items... a swollen feeling in my ears and achiness and post-nasal drip the next day.

And for about 2 months (about a month into giving up on my strict avoidance of gluten) some intense stomach distress began. My most painful nights I recall are (1) day I ate udon (2) day I ate a cream puff and a piece of cake (3) made a mistake and ate another cream-puff. While Japanese sweets, pleasingly, are not as extremely sweet as their western (American) counterparts, they do also increasingly contain lovely altered sugar substitutes like sorbitol which are also irritating to the stomach.

As bummed out as I am, I'm also hopeful that today will be a turning point. I'm going to try to go gluten free in Japan. Which, I can tell you, is not as easy as America. Most people will probably look at you in confusion, suspecting the reality that there is such a thing as sensitivity to wheat. I've only seen one food section in a store advertised as one that's food-allergy friendly. I haven't seen any food with a giant "I'm Gluten Free!" label like they have entire aisles dedicated to back home... And one health food store, which I was disappointed looked exactly like the other health food market. But I'm going to be persistent and write about this new "project" of mine in Japan. These will be under the title "Gluten Free in Japan" in hopes I can help people living in Japan with gluten allergies, as well as those pondering travel to Japan who have gluten allergies.

I'm not ready to go home to America just because I have food allergies...

Special thanks to Blogger Sofia, living in Kyushuu, who provides useful information on living Gluten Free on her blog

Thursday, December 8, 2011



Kombucha, I miss you. :(





いつか、カリフォルニアで作ったおいしいGT SYNERGYのコンブチャが日本に輸入になったらうれしいな。。。誰かキノコだけでも買い方教えていただけませんか?

Friday, December 2, 2011















Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jigokudani Monkey Park Trail and Monkeys Video

Baby Snow Monkey Fresh from the Bath

Baby on the Shore

Monkey Couple

An Inn and Bath-house Within the Park

The Park Entrance, Me with Mom, Mother in Law, and Max!

For my first break (had 2 days off, 4 day weekend!) I was fortunate to go with my mother and mother-in-law to Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park near Yudanaka, Nagano, Japan. It can be a little expensive and takes some hours to get there, but can be accessed from Tokyo or Nagoya. We stayed at a Japanese style in that is oriented to both Japanese and Foreign tourists, called Shimaya. The couple that ran the inn was extremely friendly and helpful and the room was spacious with comfortable futon. The inn owners will give you a lift to places around town for free, and the price is reasonable. Japanese inns usually charge per-person and offer breakfast and dinner- usually you buy them in the per-person price per-night staying at an inn. Prices can become fairly high at those types of inns, but the price for the Shimaya inn was extremely reasonable for what was included. Enjoy the video and the monkey images.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Students of English: The Chaos Poem

Proof the English Language is Just Plain Irregular: Speaker's of English, Students of English, a Challenge!

The Chaos (by G. Nolst Trenit�, a.k.a. "Charivarius"; 1870 - 1946)

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.

Tear in eye your dress you'll tear,
So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer,

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,

Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written).

Made has not the sound of bade,
Say said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,

But be careful how you speak,
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak.

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via,
Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir,

Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,

Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles.
Exiles, similes, reviles.

Wholly, holly, signal, signing.
Thames, examining, combining

Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war, and far.

From "desire": desirable--admirable from "admire."
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier.

Chatham, brougham, renown, but known.
Knowledge, done, but gone and tone,

One, anemone. Balmoral.
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel,

Gertrude, German, wind, and mind.
Scene, Melpomene, mankind,

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, reading, heathen, heather.

This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet;

Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which is said to rime with "darky."

Viscous, Viscount, load, and broad.
Toward, to forward, to reward.

And your pronunciation's O.K.,
When you say correctly: croquet.

Rounded, wounded, grieve, and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive, and live,

Liberty, library, heave, and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven,

We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover,

Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police, and lice.

Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label,

Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal.

Suit, suite, ruin, circuit, conduit,
Rime with "shirk it" and "beyond it."

But it is not hard to tell,
Why it's pall, mall, but Pall Mall.

Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,

Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, and chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor,

Ivy, privy, famous, clamour
And enamour rime with hammer.

Pussy, hussy, and possess,
Desert, but dessert, address.

Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants.
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.

River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.

Stranger does not rime with anger.
Neither does devour with clangour.

Soul, but foul and gaunt but aunt.
Font, front, won't, want, grand, and grant.

Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger.
And then: singer, ginger, linger,

Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age.

Query does not rime with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.

Dost, lost, post; and doth, cloth, loth;
Job, Job; blossom, bosom, oath.

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual.

Seat, sweat; chaste, caste.; Leigh, eight, height;
Put, nut; granite, and unite.

Reefer does not rime with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.

Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, Senate, but sedate.

Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific,

Tour, but our and succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria,

Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion.

Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay.

Say aver, but ever, fever.
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.

Never guess--it is not safe:
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralph.

Heron, granary, canary,
Crevice and device, and eyrie,

Face but preface, but efface,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust, and scour, but scourging,

Ear but earn, and wear and bear
Do not rime with here, but ere.

Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,

Monkey, donkey, clerk, and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation--think of psyche--!
Is a paling, stout and spikey,

Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing "groats" and saying "grits"?

It's a dark abyss or tunnel,
Strewn with stones, like rowlock, gunwale,

Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict, and indict!

Don't you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?

Finally: which rimes with "enough"
Though, through, plough, cough, hough, or tough?

Hiccough has the sound of "cup."
My advice is--give it up!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mindblowing PI

I would love to give credit to whoever deserves it for this mindblowing picture.

Please enjoy the truth about 3.14 (which we lovingly know as PI)

If you know who to give credit/link to, please comment.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Homage to Meaphe~~

One Legendary ALT Vlogger Meaphe

One of the coolest peoples on Youtube to me is MEAPHE.

I think I introduced her vlog before... but anyway, she even inspired me to make my own. And while I am not as dedicated to working on my vlog as she is... she is still pressin on and showing a lot of her life in Japan to the world.

Thumbs up!

Anyway, you can of course find her at

And today I am doing an homage to her when I am announcing: 3 days until something somewhat epic happens, and 7 days until something REALLY epic happens! and there's another pretty freaking awesome thing going to happen sometime this week.

And through all of this I may have 2 more videos to put on my vlog. Leftovers from Halloween, and my most recent exploits of today.

Already halfway through November (nearly) and I've posted nothing! My views this month don't reflect that at all, so, I would like to thank my viewers.


Numbers in English: Teen vs. Tens and "TY"

Daily I'm starting to be confronted with just what a confusing language English can be. We have crazy spelling, inconsistent rules... (most languages do), but our spelling is just especially confounding because English borrowed from so many languages and made little changes throughout the ages. Anyway, this discussion is about numbers: there is confusion about there about "Teen" and "TY", especially in the situation of talking about years and dates. This how I have chosen to break it down (in Japanese)

Numbers in English: Teens and Tens

Teen: ティン(最後に聞く・言う音 13-19)  Tens: 最後の聞く・言う音は「ティ」 TY  

13  thirteen 20 twenty (ty)

14 fourteen 30 thirty (ty)

15 fifteen 40 forty (ty)

16 sixteen 50 fifty (ty)

17 seventeen 60 sixty (ty)

18 eighteen 70 seventy (ty)

19 nineteen 80 eighty (ty)

                              90 ninety (ty)


BEFORE 2000: 2000年前の年

例: 1989  (1)年を二つに分ける  (2)番号を一つ一つと言う

    (1)二つに分けたの: 19   89

    (2)分けた番号を言う: じゅうきゅう  はちじゅうきゅう

    (3)英語で言う: nineteen eighty-nine

1988 1949 1984 1999


AFTER 2000: 2000年のあと

Two thousand ( OO ) と言う 

例:2011 : two-thousand eleven (この場合にも、二つに分ける人もいます)

2012 2013 2014

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Engrish: Fab Candy and Product Names

Engrish: Fabulous Candy and Product Names

Everybody be Gettin "CRUNKY"- EXCELLENT
When you need a compliment of your Crunk~

Macadamia as the King of Nuts. Most Valuable.
By Meiji Foods

When "Creep" is not just for the guy who stole your underwear, Creamy-Powder has now been truly condensed to "CREAP"
By Morinaga Foods

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Funny Tiel

Cutie Cockatiel's Ma Name!

From Youtube Video at:

This is what cockatiels do when they want to be misted, get clean, or take a bath :D

Enjoy the random birdie!

Truth in Advertising: McDonalds

Tee Hee

Halloween Class Ideas

Pre Halloween Week Decorations!
It's holiday time at my school in Japan!

I've been invited and given the freedom to get as involved as I want at my school next week!

I'm inviting the children to come dressed in costumes. Some may show in costume, some may not. I may keep some ears and impromptu costumes. Good thing I have small classes! Four kids is the maximum size!

Here are some good FREE websites for Halloween Activity ideas:

Disney Family

Enchanted Learning (Not all Content Free)

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Back Seat (Story for Discussion)

The Back Seat

One night a woman went out for drinks with her girlfriends. She left the bar fairly late at night, got in her car and onto the deserted highway. She noticed a lone pair of headlights in her rear-view mirror, approaching at a pace just slightly quicker than hers. As the car pulled up behind her she glanced and saw the turn signal on-- the car was going to pass-- when suddenly it swerved back behind her, pulled up dangerously close to her tailgate and brights flashed.

Now she was getting nervous. The lights dimmed for a moment and then the brights came back on and the car behind her surged forward. The frightened woman struggled to keep her eyes on the road and fought the urge to look at the car behind her. Finally, her exit approached but the car continued to follow, flashing the brights periodically.

Through every stoplight and turn, it followed her until she pulled into her driveway. She figured her only hope was to make a mad dash into the house and call the police. As she flew from the car, so did the driver of the car behind her-- and he screamed, "Lock the door and call the police! Call 911!"

When the police arrived the horrible truth was finally revealed to the woman. The man in the car had been trying to save her. As he pulled up behind her and his headlights illuminated her car, he saw the sihouette of a man with a butcher knife rising up from the back seat to stab her, so he flashed his brights and the figure crouched back down.

What's the moral of the story?

Image source

Story source: unknown, but I think maybe it came from Dave's ESL or similar website.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Salmon in Curried Celery Sauce

Tastes similar to Panda express. Naughty, but pretty nice.
Beef, Pork, Tofu, or Chicken could be nicely substituted.

1-stalk celery, keep leafy top
2-1 hunk salmon, cut into bite size pieces
3-1/4 small onion
4- Just enough flour to coat the salmon chunks

1 tsp mashed garlic, 1 tsp mashed ginger
Salt, Pepper
3 tbsp vinegar (any kind)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp curry powder spices (turmeric, curcumin, fenugreek, fennel--your desired mix)

1) Powder the salmon chunks and fill a pan with 1 cm of oil to tolerate med-high heat.
Grill until the salmon skin is crispy, or the meat is cooked through.

2) Drain oil. Reserve meat to the side.
Lightly cook the seasonings and celery in the same frypan and drizzle over the cooked meat.

I accidentally added the sauce ingredients to the meat, and the result came out ok. But it would look nicer if the sauce is made separately.

Engrish: Mood of Cleopatra Bath

I really enjoy bath salts, anywhere in the world.

This one happened to have some fun Engrish.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cooking: Takoyaki

Max and I taught ourselves how to make takoyaki! It went well!

Hakuna Matata

Shared from a sharing on a friend's facebook:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

ESL With Young Learners

That's pretty much what I do with the little ones. I try to change up the names and also incorporate storytime. Really high level students can already basically read and we practice activities that mimic spelling. They're capable of so much, it's just a matter of finding out what level the little ones are at, I feel. It's still really new to me but I think I'm doing basically the same as the guy in the video. :D

Other Helpful Sites About ESL for Young Learners:

ESL Songs and Activity Ideas: Great gathering of Resource
They are selling CDs but there are many free and helpful resources on the website.


ESL Songs and Ideas for Young Learners
Good for ideas but the sitemaster is promoting her book and CD, ESL, EFL For Children
Curriculum Guidance Website:
This site gives some insight into subjects typically covered in Kindergarten curriculum. See how your classes' curriculum measures up to what is typically taught in kindergartens. For when you're running out of ideas, want to check progress of your students at your school, or design a curriculum.

Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum Guidance Website

Words of Wisdom on the Role of Educators and Early-Childhood Educators in Students' Lives

ESL: Why Games, Stories, and Movement Activities Work

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Malia Earns her Flight Wings (Desk Apple)

I think the previous teacher wrote "Bai Bai" Actually...
And then the little black marker was a student writing...
Then I wrote (Heart) you too!

I must say, before I left the U.S. I was pondering what other jobs might be open to a Japanese speaking person with a lot of people-experience through teaching. One job I considered was Japanese speaking flight attendant for Delta. That may have been exciting, but I decided I would rather have something a little more settled that would still allow me to be in touch with Japan and seeing the world (or Japan, at least) rather than just the world's airports in the world's biggest cities.

I'm very happy with my decision.

My work started at long last, just over one week ago. (Although I came to Japan 3 weeks ago) So far so good. Funds are tight but the necessities of life are pretty affordable. I should be able to start saving in no time if I stop train-traveling around, which I find is my biggest expense.

I work at a casual small-business language school, not a chain or corporation. I'm not an ALT. So my experience is different than other bloggers out there. I'm very happy. Of course, no place is perfect, but I've found myself an excellent fit. I get to see all ages and all personalities, every one of my students is so different- there is never a dull moment at my school. I'm on my feet all day. I don't get the vacations of ALTs, or the down time in the teacher's room... And even though although maybe one day I would still like the immersion into a Japanese school, but for now I am ever grateful to my school and to the city I'm living in. It was good to me in high school when I was an exchange student and it is good to me now when I am working-same city! I'm going out with one of my host family's tonight. Their ages are very close to mine... maybe 10 years old. Only 5-7 years older than my husband. We're in the same age group. Even though I'm ineikaiwa it's not corporate. Like I said, it's a small business and exchanges with my boss and co-workers are warm. We're paid fairly and it's good to be working with happy people.

For the first week I was training under the teacher who's leaving. Since I have experience with returnee students, middle, high, college, and adult students I was able to start out in those classes on my own from the beginning. All they require is patience and skill in moving from subject to subject and keeping the students talking (and knowing when to nix the Teacher Talking Time... because Teacher already knows English ;) ) All that ended yesterday when I took the reigns and did six classes or so... all age ranges. It was just fine. First week was a lot of planning and going to school early and staying late, but I think I've more or less got the hang of it. Just need to expand my repetoire of games for the kiddos. Usually we spend the last 5 minutes of our classes playing a game to leave them with a positive memory of English class.

Anyway, one of my little girls wrote "Bai bai" to the last teacher and "Malia-Teacher" on the white board in front of our school. It was a d'aww moment and my first little kiddo note about me. The picture is in the blog.


Monday, October 3, 2011

The Hook (Story for Discussion)

The Hook

(Source unknown, but probably an ESL resource website)

A teenage boy drove his date to a dark and deserted Lovers' Lane for a make-out session. After turning on the radio for mood music, he leaned over and began kissing the girl.

A short while later, the music suddenly stopped and an announcers voice came on, warning in an urgent tone that a convicted murderer had just escaped from the state insane asylum,--which happened to be located not far from Lovers' Lane--and that anyone who noticed a strange man lurking about with a hook in place of his right hand should immediately report his whereabouts to the police.

The girl became frightened and asked to be taken home. The boy, feeling bold, locked all the doors instead and, assuring his date they would be safe, attempted to kiss her again. She became frantic and pushed him away, insisting that they leave. Relenting, the boy peevishly jerked the car into gear and spun its wheels as he pulled out of the parking space.

When they arrived at the girl's house she got out of the car, and, reaching to close the door, began to scream uncontrollably. The boy ran to her side to see what was wrong and there, dangling from the door handle, was a bloody hook.

What is the moral of the story?


I'm not sure what to think of this story, I found this going through the ESL resources at the school I'm teaching at. Hm. Probably from Dave's ESL cafe or something... I'd love to give the original author credit though.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Randall's Narration of the Honey Badger: Enjoy!

Thank-you, Rene my friend! I love this!

Vlog Day#2 Thrift Store Finds

This one is called Hard-off. It has a chain-store called book-off. I think it means that there is money-off, however, these words are ambiguous enough to be construed in multiple ways. Also, enjoy my fridge. My friend knows much more about these things and, if the bottom drawer does not freeze the items, perhaps it is to be used for vegetables. Japanese people consume a lot of them so I would believe that's what such a big compartment could be used for... but I'm not sure yet. If a Japanese friend comes over I will ask them. :D

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Appetizer: Boiled Lotus Root Gazpacho Salad

Sorry... another lotus root recipe! But it's the season!


It worked out pretty well as a meal too

Boiled Lotus Root Gazpacho Salad:

(1) Prepare Lotus Root: Wash, peel, clean, and slice thin, about 2 mm thick. Boil enough water to boil the root in, add the pieces, and once it boils again boil for about 1 min or until the root is of desired hardness. Add dressing ingredients while it is warm, after straining. (3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1/3 tsp salt, pepper to taste)

(2) Chop: cucumber (1), tomato (1), onion (1/4), and sashimi grade fish (tuna or salmon work well), and minced parsley (1-2 tsp), toss with 3 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Serve mixture over the root salad.

Thank you Orenji Peeji (オレンジページ2011 10/2)

About Lotus Root

Lotus root is the root of the popular lotus flower and used in a manner of ways: soups, stews, salads, stir fries. The uses are infinite, comparable to potatoes. It is a nutritional superstar, rich in Vitamin B1, B6, as well as choline (which is great for brain function) as well as minerals manganese, magnesium, and potassium. In the store it looks like a dirty potato, nothing like it does when prepared. If you're feeling adventurous, visit your Asian grocer and give this delectable root a try.

They are grown in swampy areas. If the root is covered in dirt it is easy to tell whether it is fresh or not, because the mud will dry after its harvesting.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Around My New Home: Japanese Apartment Tour!

I apologize for the figeting. At least vlogging will allow me to critique myself so I can try to make myself a more powerful and less awkward figure! Anyway, enjoy. Maybe I can show more details in the future. It's a beautiful day and I'm heading outside now!

There are lots of goodies at my youtube channel now. I don't know if I'm going to be able to vlog daily, but I'll try to put things up once in a while for the folks at home.

Shrimp and Lotus Root Mayo Salad

Shrimp and Lotus Root Mayo Salad
Renkon (Lotus Root) 1 cut ... 8cm 300g
Onion Stalk (the green part), 1 piece ... 150 g ... 1/2 of a small onion
Shrimp (1 tray)

Salad Oil, Mayonnaise, Salt, Pepper

(1) Prepare the lotus root: Peel, clean, and quarter lengthwise, then cut into 1 cm thick pieces. Wash thoroughly and pat dry. You may also soak the pieces briefly in water with vinegar, wash, and dry. Also cut the onion into 1 cm thick pieces. Dust the faces of the shrimp with starch.

(2) Oil a pan and sautee the shrimp until cooked. Add lotus root and onion, sautee for 1 min. Add 1 tbsp alcohol , cover and steam 2 min. Add 3 tbsp mayo and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Thank you Oreji Peeji! (オレンジページ2011 10/2)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Daikon Steak with Curry Meat Sauce Garnish

Daikon Steak with Curry Meat Sauce Garnish

This was served over daikon shoots. So it's kind of oya-ko daikon steak :D
Parent and child on a plate together ;)

Daikon Steak in Curry Sauce
Daikon (large) ... 8cm 300g
Ground Pork ... 150 g
Minced Onion ... 1/2 of a small onion
Watercress (or sprout, salad vegetable) ... As Desired for Garnish or Crunch

Salad Oil, Tomato Ketchup Salt Soy Sauce

(1) Oil a pan 2 tbsp. cooking oil, med. heat, sprinkle with salt, make incisions to speed cooking in hatched pattern and grill on both sides until the daikon is nicely browned. Then cover and simmer for 5 min or until daikon is of desired hardness.

(2) Set daikon on serving plate with watercress garnish (or sprouts, or salad vegetables)

(3) In the same frypain, sautee minced onions 3 min. Add ground meat or Tofu (and minced potatoes or carrots optional) When they are finished, add curry powder and 1/2 cup water. Simmer with a dash of ketchup and soy sauce. Cover, simmer 5-6 min, allow to thicken. Also delicious with some milk or soy milk or other milk substitute added.

(4) Pour sauce over daikon and serve.

Thank you Oreji Peeji! (オレンジページ2011 10/2)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Things to Enjoy in Korea: Adult Playground Toys

Children's Park

The Children's Portion: Freaking Adorable!

Description of my Favorite Machine

My Favorite Air-Walker Machine For Opening the Hips

Max on Crappy Exercise Bike... and this Booby Rotating Device!

Don't take this the wrong way boys and girls!

I was surprised that in my neighborhood in Korea the apartments have not just playgrounds with the regular swings and teeter-totters that are normal in the US, but also recreational exercise equiment for adults. I very much enjoyed the air-walker as much as anyone on an infomercial. I gotta warn you... the exercise bikes have no resistance and neither do the elipticals, so you may need to buy an affordable gym membership at city hall anyway.

And then they have fitness machines you have never seen in the US. It surprises me because the people around the area have big enough apartments to have these items in their houses, but considering the population density its not that easy to jog or bicycle. so these machines seem to fulfill the need. Or you can just walk through the manicured grounds of the apartments. Regardless, enjoying a Korean all-age playground should be on your list of things to do. I can't say anything for downtown Seoul, but in this country-suburb of Suji-Yong-in, the parks were quite enjoyable.

My area also had a baby chick mural, which made me happy :D

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Travel Oregon: Mathieu Lakes Region, Dee Wright Observatory

My Dad and "Three Fingered Jack" in the Distance

Stairs at Dee Wright Observatory, Scenic Byway Hwy 242, Oregon
Life is Found Even in This Environment

One of Oregon's Many Mountains. There are plaques with names and windows facing the mountains in the Observatory

Max Dramatic in Oregon, One Year Ago
Observatory Assembled of Weathered Volcanic Rock

This area is located on Highway 242, 15 miles west of Sister's Oregon.

You can only visit this place between late July through September. The highway opened up really late this year due record snowfall. They decided they would have to just wait for the snow to melt because the plows just couldn't get through it! (So I couldn't go on my camping trip I took just before leaving Oregon)

There are spectacular views, and the Willamette forest on the side of the mountains on the McKenzie Valley to Eugene has some of the richest, cleanest, most soothing air you will ever breathe. I miss that place. There are more things to do in the Willamette Valley which I will post pictures of. I was there in fall and the area was spectacular when the colors changed.

For the meantime, enjoy these photos of a surreal environment and the diversity of Oregon's nature. They are all my own, I finally pried them from my camera's internal memory!

I miss my home, but I am on to my next adventure: Living in Japan! (For at least one year!)

For more information about taking an adventure to this area of Oregon, check out this online guide which gives great detail about many adventures Oregon has to offer:

Regal Purple Netting in Purple and Silver

Design: Barbara Klann, Bead and Button Magazine supplement

This 2 drop peyote band stitched up real fast and easy, the netting took a little longer but was intuitive, and can certainly be adapted to any free form design and whatever little goodies and beads from "bead soup" you may want to put in the design. It came out wonderfully and any number of closure techniques would look good. At the Dongdaemun bazaar I found these beautiful white buttons and chose to use them. Buttons are not the most secure method to close a bracelet, but I think this one stands well as an art piece and the buttons will be more long lasting than snaps, which often can have their threads cut through by wear too quickly.

Some other applications:
-Use this design to bead a quick strap (shorter than a band), glue to a firm base, and attach as a hair pin
-Create a head band

Those are some things I would like to use this design for in the future.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Engrish: The Types of Noodles

Click on the Image to ENLARGE
(File Guaranteed Safe)

Make of it What You Will

How do you like your noodles?
Do you like normal the best?
Is a Soft Noodle too Easy to Get Soft in Too Short Time and Become Untasty?
Let me know what you think.

Tongue in cheek, wink wink.


This place was at Oasis 21 in Nagoya.
Should've known in a crowded area not to eat in a restaurant that isn't also, well, crowded.
It was awful.
Even Max the garbage disposal couldn't digest that one.
I made it because I didn't drink the broth, which was oily as all get out.

Things to Enjoy in Korea: The Food (Grilled Meat)

Don't Go Without an Appetite (Or Do Go and Find One)

Customizable, eat it how you want to!
The Leaf is Called a "Sesame Leaf"
It comes from a different plant than the popular "Sesame Seed" Most Know
Why don't we eat it in the U.S.? It's delicious!

Grilling away, no, we don't eat like this everyday.
This place sells premium beef so it's more expensive.

Grilled meat, Barbecue Meets the Table, This is Common for Grilled Meat Restaurants

My hubby, Teenie Weenie Shirt, and Side Dishes

Close up on Side Dish

Ahh Korean food. For the most part I love it. And I would dare say I enjoy most dishes much more than Japanese food, even. I think it blows Japanese food out of the water on my parameters of carb to protein and vegetable ratio (although traditional Japanese food should be high in veg?). It's savory and satisfying and has tremendous variety, especially at restaurants. Most have their own unique side dishes. I never leave the table hungry if I go to a restaurant. It's also quite affordable compared to the US and Japan.
Even if you can't do spicy there are plenty of options. And if you don't do bland, there is always a spicy option. Fats are paired with enzyme rich fermented foods which help you digest them. I have no complaints for this diet (except I'm a little fruit sensitive, and my insulin resistance makes me really have to cut my portion sizes on the rice)

That being said, vegetarians and vegans may have a hard time eating socially, but there are legume-protein rich foods available as well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cairo Collar

Design: Susan B. Swanson
Published in February/March 2011 Beadwork Magazine

"Cairo Collar"
This one in blue.

It took quite some time to complete. I feel that it could be easily embellished and personalized beyond what you see I completed. But this was a first run and I learned some new techniques. Enjoy.

It was a great design to use up a great mass of seed beads I have in my collection.

Moonstone Bangle

Moonstone Bangle from Mixed Angles and in Mixed Light

This one is a design all my own. Unfortunately, it involves only simple bead stringing.

I have discovered Moonstone and fallen in love. I found some great quality grey moonstone and am incorporating the rounds into bracelets and maybe a necklace. I can make many bracelets but probably only one necklace with what I have left.

Engrish: When it Rains it Dumps

It's Shit Rain!

Hwaseong Palace, Suwon, South Korea

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Things to Enjoy in Korea: Tea Shops

Traditional Tea Shop Interior

There was an appetizer tea, which tastes kind of like Chinese medicine.
The herbs involved are more savory. (left, small cup)

Then there is Jujube Tea , which is supposed to promote youth. It has a nutty berry-like flavor, and the jujube fruit is often referred to as "Chinese Date" (DAECHU)
It is rich in Vitamin A, B6, and B1,2,3 vitamins, and some Minerals
This fruit works itself into a variety of Korean stews, broths, and of course, tea.
Expect pine nuts. My mother in law sweetens this tea with honey.

My other favorite tea is called OMIJA tea.
It's served very sweet and either warm or iced.

Further behind the tea-cups are traditional Korean sweets: rice cake, fried flour sweet soaked in honey (YAKGWA) , and more rice. As my husband is allergic, he can't really touch the stuff.

Lights are dim and the mood is relaxing, although tea places come in a variety of themes. This one is traditional style. Many of the modern places are actually chains and have witty Konglish names like "Angel-in-Us", "Yoger Presso", "Caffe Bene" Herbal Teas and others are usually available.

These pictures came from a very nice outing with a friend from ballet class.


There are usually little places like this in the tourist areas around Seoul (e.g. Insadong). One of them even keeps little finches.