Kobe Days

34.6911° N, 135.1973° E

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In which I got extremely well-acquainted with 筋肉痛

I’ll admit that I’ve had very little interaction with snow. I’ve lived my whole life in a sunny tropical island and had never visited anywhere that was covered with white. (I suspect that’s because my dad hates that stuff.) Even in Japan, both my previous home and current home are situated in warm places.

So when Peach had a sale and we ended up heading to Sapporo for a March snowboard getaway, I found myself somewhere between excitement and dread. Lots of snow! Freezing temperatures! And snowboarding…something I have no idea if I actually can do without injuring myself. (It didn’t help that an acquaintance broke her wrist while snowboarding a couple of weeks before my own attempt.)

Our trip up north started on the Thursday before school actually ended, which meant I had to miss my ES graduation. I was gutted, but consoled myself with a message to be placed on their congratulations board. I knew I would still see most of them (minus those heading for private junior high schools), but they would no longer be “my” kids…and I really loved them.

Ah, well. しょうがない。 Back to the main story.

Click to read long yarn…


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英検3級舐めんな!(Don’t look down on my Eiken Level 3!)

I honestly think this CM is getting too little love. When I first saw it on Mr Brown’s twitter, my first thought was why hasn’t it gone viral in the ALT community yet! But after reading through some comments online, it appears that only Japanese office workers (サラリーマン) are identifying with it.

To spread the love, I thought I would put a little background to the story. With globalisation being the watchword, companies in Japan such as Uniqlo and Rakuten have decided to use English as the language of communication within the company itself. Needless to say, it’s causing a lot of panic and concern among the current workers, many of whom have not studied English since graduation.

Workers have to prove their English ability by taking the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), where 990 is the highest score. 英検 or Eiken is the English equivalent of the JLPT in Japan, and 3級 or level 3 is at a junior high level (ie not very high).

In the CM, the general announces that English has been made the language of communication, to the shock of all involved. One worker moans that he scored 300 on the TOEIC. Another worries that he only holds Eiken level 3. They march bravely to meet their foe, their new native-English-speaker boss.

Nissin states on their website that they want to help the current generation of young people “survive” the new hardship and difficulties that they face, hence their theme 「SURVIVE!」 You have to eat to be strong enough to fight, so Nissin cup noodles are there for you.

Having chosen to research and present on this theme of globalisation and English education in my speech classes in my university in Kyoto, I feel a lot for the workers in the CM. I thought this concept was both hilarious and brilliant. Awesome job, Nissin ♥!

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I’m Dreaming of A White…CNY

All right, pardon the title. If I were more creative, I’d have been a writer, not an English teacher. 😛

So for the Japanese national day in February (fine, the correct name is 建国記念の日. Happy?), the 3 of us Kobe JETs decided to take a bus tour to see the light-up in Shirakawa-go. We had hoped to book accommodation in the valley itself, but that was impossible since it was a 3-day weekend. So, we settled for the next best thing – a guided tour to the valley including accommodations nearby.

We booked our trip through Club Tourism. Prices were not cheap, but it was okay for the itinerary they had to offer. We would depart Sannomiya early in the morning on the 9th, see the light-up that night, stay overnight at a hotel before visiting some other places in Gifu and Nagano. CNY was on the 10th, so we were going to be spending 除夕 in the hotel in the middle of the mountains. White CNY!

Continued here…

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Akan datang (or coming soon)

I haven’t had the mood to blog for a while now. Part of it is just laziness…sifting through hundreds of photos to select a few choice ones for an interesting post isn’t something that can be done on a whim, you know. The other part of it…well, let’s just say things haven’t been going great here for a while now. Don’t worry, it’s not terminal, but blogging isn’t really on my priority list for the moment. In any case, now that the new batch of JETs are getting ready to move in, there will be a new surge of Japan! blogs to read.

Anyhow, let’s get on with some catching up. Since my last travel post on Seoul, I’ve been to:

1) Shirakawa-go 白川郷, Gifu (9-10 Feb)
2) Niseko & Sapporo, Hokkaido (20-24 Mar)
3) Round trip of Kyushu (27 Apr – 4 May)

There was also the Himeji hanami trip, the animal shelter volunteer trip to Osaka and the kimono shopping trip to Kyoto.

Not to mention 給食 diaries Mar and Apr.

…ok. Any wonder why I stopped blogging now?

I’ll start with Shirakawa-go on a new post, so this is just an akan datang post to let you know that I’m still alive. Wish me luck with my photo uploading! (So gonna need it >_<)