Archive for April, 2006

Food festival

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

We went to the St. Maurs food festival yesterday, which is held every 6 months. I decided to take the bike and Evan was keen to start with. I reckoned we could get to Yamate from up the hill, as that’s the whole bluff area, but we ended up going full circle and Evan was complaining that he wanted to go home. Nevertheless, I persisted and we finally, after much mucking about, got to St. Maurs.
Evan saw his “girlfriend” there, Erica, Joanne’s daughter. We had lots of different types of food and met up with Michael and Ruth (from Germany and Equador) and Rebecca and Will (NZ and Ireland).

We started to make our way home and it suddenly poured down with rain (doshaburi desu) and by the time we got home on our bike, we were thoroughtly drenched. We quickly got our wet clothes off, hopped under a blanket and watched Thomas with a cup of hot chocolate.

Crows

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Nicole had been shopping and wanted to visit the neighbour for just a minute. She had bought some frozen fish sticks amongst other things and figured the groceries would be safe enough when she hung them on the gate of the house.

When she returned, she found a crow, who had managed to pull out the frozen fish sticks, open up the package and eat each of the 6 frozen sticks! Funny, that’s all he ate…

Earthquake

Friday, April 21st, 2006

We had another nice earthquake here last night – it woke me up from my sleep even! It was only 5.5 on the Richter scale, but for some reason it work me up. Either that, or I was dreaming, but a bit of a co-incidence. I did feel one in the office during the day, so perhaps it was my imagination if I was already thinking about earthquakes…

Videos now on bittorrent

Friday, April 21st, 2006

I’ve been sharing my videos of the kids using Bittorrent, which is really cool. The Azureus client allows me to share the files, and even works automatically through my router/firewall! I’m not sure how it does it, but it works. Mum and Dad have been able to get the videos pretty quickly after I set them up using bittorrent. It’s a brilliant way to share my videos and will nicely recover if my IP changes or I have to shut down the computer – it will continue off where it left off. Very cool! I suppose and ftp session or something would be quicker to transfer, but this is pretty idiot-proof (not implying anybody’s an idiot!).

Internet Banking

Friday, April 21st, 2006

Well I finally got myself sorted with internet banking here and it was a bit of a struggle. I worked out how to pay off the Amex bill, but struggled when entering in the data. The bank details for Amex needed to all be done in Katakana, so I had to figure out how to install that darned IME for windows, so that I could enter in the text. The bank address had to be done in Japanese, and I couldn’t cut-and-paste from the internet, so I had to write it in single-byte Katakana. I know enough Katakana to write it, but entering it was a different story. Anyways, needless to say, I managed to get all the information for Amex right, and was able to pay off my bill! Sweet!

Solar panels

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

I sometimes come across things that really make me appreciate I’m in Japan. Usually they’re simple little things, but they make me think. In Japan, on the roads, they often have solar panels which recharge flashing lights, so during the day, the batteries recharge, and at night they flash along the road. No need for external power! Great!

Easter

Monday, April 17th, 2006

We had a great easter with the kids. We had easter-egg hunts for the kids in the house and they enjoyed finding the lollies and even more fun eating the chocolate! Lauren is a chocolate fiend, and will manage to open up chocolates that not even we know how to open! She’ll usually stuff the whole chocolate into her mouth, even if it’s too big to fit!

I got some chocolate Marzipan and gave the kids some. Evan seemed to enjoy it, but Lauren didn’t really like it.

Japanese lessons

Monday, April 17th, 2006

I started my Japanese lessons today, which was great fun! I’d never really spoken proper Japanese with anyone, and it was really nice to have a general chat with someone. My teacher is quite nice and she said that she’s been teaching for 3 years now. She used to work for the government before and she said that they’d work until midnight every day! Amazing to see that from a government! But I guess that would be a typical Japanese company, with the heirarchy etc.

Anyways, we practiced introductions, how to say hello and goodbye to people and what you should say when coming or going from the office. We spoke about people and their professions and where they came from. Then we went through numbers, dates and times.

The teacher Shimomura-san said it was pretty good and said I could probably skip the first 5 or so chapters in the book! I was pretty chuffed with that.

It was also one of the first times that I read sentences etc. in only hiragana or katakana. It was very interesting and rewarding when I could put together the words and sentences.

The book I have looks to be really good. Minna no Nihongo I and I spoke about wanting to try to get my Japanese proficiency test 4, as a goal. I need to learn about 100 Kanji for that. Should be a good goal.

Sushi

Monday, April 17th, 2006

We were invited over to Yoshie’s and Fumio’s house on Sunday for some sushi. Fumio’s university friend was also there and we had a great time. Yoshie cooked some great food, including make-your-own sushi with some amazingly yummy fish. She also had some yummy clam miso soup and mixed veggies. So yummy!

Evan had a great time with Fumio, who was rough with the little guy. Then we played Uno, Evan’s latest favourite game. Evan loves playing that game – thanks Grandma!

Tennis

Monday, April 10th, 2006

I’ve signed up for a tennis tournament with Fumio in May. Last night we had a training session, which was great fun. It was really nice getting out there on the courts again. I didn’t do as badly as I expected and even was winning 2-0 at the beginning, but lost the game at 6-3. Oh well. The tournament is a fun tournament, which means there should be beginners to pros at the tournament. Should be fun! The tournament is a mix of local Japanese and Gaikokujin (foreigners) and there appeared to be mostly Americans in last year’s event, although I saw an Ausralian and 2 Canadians in the list. I’ve not seen any New Zealanders, so it might be a bit more international this year.

So last night Fumio, Yoshie and I went to the public courts around the corner and played a few sets. They put gravel-like stuff on the astro-turf here. Not sure if other places to that, but I found it a bit slippery. At the end, we all used the big rakes hanging up to straighten out the gravel, so it looked a bit like a Zen garden. I thought it was really clever that everybody cleaned up at the end and gave a useful way to warm down from the tennis! Very clever!