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カテゴリ:English Journal( 75 )

The most dangerous place in Japan Pt. 2

So if ankle-twisting gutters, side walks and streets filled with crazy pedestrians and cyclists, and really low doors aren't can't earn the coveted title of most dangerous place in Japan, what can?

The answer is the dreaded sushi train (kaiten sushi or kurukuru sushi)!

What makes the sushi train restaurants dangerous? I'll have to admit, there are very few actual physical dangers in a sushi train restaurant. Some restaurants have a "shinkansen" that delivers ordered sushi instantly, and I suppose it would mildly hurt if that hit your hand. The hot water taps for green tea might burn slightly, and I guess there's a possibility of getting a splinter in your eye when you pull apart your chopsticks, but those are all just far fetched and unlikely scenarios.

The real reason why these restaurants are dangerous is because they're incredibly delicious, cheap, and offer the most convenient way to order food!

A typical sushi outing goes something like this: I arrive with a ravenous appetite, and carefully arrange my green tea, ginger, wasabi, soy sauce, and chopsticks, all while watching the savory sushi go by in front of me. I don't take any plates yet; this builds anticipation.

After getting everything in order and taking a few sips of green tea, the chaos begins. I feel like I get run over by the sushi train. Plates come flying off the track left and right with wild abandon. No sushi is safe; the only plates that don't get derailed are the natto and french fry plates.

The stack of plates quickly adds up, and before I know it, the stack is over ten, then over twenty. Sometimes it approaches thirty! At this point, I feel like I have to get off, but the sushi train is unstoppable! The sushi just keeps coming. How can I say "no" to the delectable salmon that's coming my way? What about the cheesecake that's right behind it? There's no end!

Finally, once I'm in a raw fish and rice coma, I manage a weak "oh...eye....so"

For a native Japanese person, years of being around sushi train restaurants must help them forge an iron sushi will. Unfortunately, I don't have that yet.
by hello-eigo | 2010-08-26 20:28 | English Journal

The most dangerous place in Japan Pt. 1

Some places in Japan seem obviously perilous. The three foot deep gutters that line small streets, the narrow sidewalks where bicyclists and pedestrians (and quite often cars) clumsily dance and occasionally collide, or the low door frames that were built assuming you'd be entering hunched over with a magnifying glass looking for clues (presumably to solve the mystery of why people get knocked unconscious after entering the room).

Yet somehow, even after twisting my ankle in a hidden gutter, witnessing sidewalk collisions and taking part in one, and hitting my head numerous times going through various doors, I've discovered an even more dangerous place. Can you guess what it is?
by hello-eigo | 2010-07-19 21:47 | English Journal

Music at Work

Every day when I come to work, not only am I greeted by enthusiastic students and staff, but also with great music. It's one of the best fringe benefits of working at a language school that also happens to be a music shop.

I'm constantly impressed as I hear some of the amazing sounds coming from the practice rooms. It wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see some of the music teachers or students on the stage of a concert hall in the future.
by hello-eigo | 2010-07-12 20:11 | English Journal

Bow wow!

I love dogs! Every once in a while, when I'm riding my bike or taking a stroll down the street, I'll see someone with their dog and do a double take. I think it's been almost three months since I've played with, let alone even pet a dog, and I think I'm going through some kind of dog interaction withdraw syndrome! Symptoms seem to include staring at dogs for an undue length of time, feeling my hand twitch as I hold back the urge to pet the dog, and muttering "woof!" under my breath.

Speaking of "woof," even if I did want to communicate with dogs in Japan, I don't speak their language. Sure, I've got all the American dog dialects down pat:

Woof woof!


Bow Wow!

Ruff Ruff!

Arf Arf!

Yip Yip!

However, the Japanese "Wan Wan!" still eludes me. I haven't heard it enough to feel comfortable using it with an actual dog. I think the dog will see (or "hear") through my unsure attempt at communication and look at me with that classic, ears up, head tilted, "what are you talking about?" look.
by hello-eigo | 2010-06-18 15:49 | English Journal

Rainy Season

I've been told the rainy season will soon be here in Kurashiki. Will it be unbearable? Or will it come and go and leave me thinking, "That was the rainy season? Ha, that wasn't bad at all!" I'm not quite sure what to expect, so I have a great attitude to adopt if the humidity, or amount of water vapor in the air, seems suffocating.

When I lived in Iowa, which was very hot and humid during the summer, I would occasionally be irritated by the unrelenting heaviness in the air. On one particularly hot and humid night, I complained about it to my friend. She said, "It's alright. This high humidity is just the air giving you a hug."

Well, how could I stay irritated after hearing that? It's just the air giving you a hug! I'll remember that wisdom as we enter Kurashiki's rainy season.
by hello-eigo | 2010-05-24 18:08 | English Journal

What starts and ends with B?

Greetings and salutations! My name's Bob.

"B" as in "Bob"
"O" as in "One and only Bob"
"B" as in "By George, it's Bob."

The official name for Bob is Robert, the short version of that is Rob, and the nickname for Rob is Bob. Also, who can forget Bobby and Robby. I've never heard of anyone who goes by "Bert" by dropping the "Ro" from Robert, but I suppose it's a possible variation. Lately my name has been "Bobu," pronounced /bɒbu/ or "Bah-bu," the interesting Japanese pronunciation of my name.

However you spell or pronounce my name, one thing remains the same- I'm looking forward to a great year in Japan, meeting you, and teaching at HELLO!
by hello-eigo | 2010-04-17 18:05 | English Journal

Goodbye, Japan!

Well, after one year of living and working in Japan, it's time to say goodbye. I had a wonderful year learning about Japanese culture, food, traditions, etc. Sushi in America is too expensive and not as good! It will be very strange to be able to understand everything everyone is saying when I go back to America, since I'm so used to not being able to understand almost anything!

I will miss my students very much and can't wait to see them grow up (through email pictures!). Japanese people are extremely generous and I have really appreciated their kindness over the last year. Good luck to everyone with your English studying and please contact me if you ever come to America! Bye!
by hello-eigo | 2010-03-30 15:25 | English Journal



I am a big music fan and have really enjoyed listening to some Japanese music this past year (I really enjoy Bump of Chicken, a suggestion from one of my students!). One thing I have noticed that is very popular in Japanese music, or JPop, is that the songs always have at least one phrase in English. I've been told that this is because they think English is cool, but it always sounds a little strange to me. Especially since the English in the song is usually incorrect or sounds strange! Either way, it always makes me laugh.

My favorite kind of music is rock/folk and jazz. I also love music with a lot of piano solos. The only kinds of music I don't really care for are rap and heavy metal. Here are some of my favorite artists: Ben Folds Five, Gavin DeGraw, Billy Joel, Norah Jones, Pete Yorn and Sarah Harmer.

Happy listening!
by hello-eigo | 2010-03-19 14:00 | English Journal



My favorite word in Japanese isn't even a word at all. The Japanese equivalent for "really?" seems to be "ehhhhh?!" and I love it! When I first came to Japan I thought it was the funniest thing I have ever heard. Everyone says it and they say it quite often too.

I never thought I would get the hang of saying "ehhhh?!" but shockingly, I now say it all the time! I can't help it! I don't even consciously think about saying it, it just comes out of my mouth. As soon as I say it, I surprise myself and put hand to my mouth but it's always too late. I guess I'm becoming more and more Japanese every day!
by hello-eigo | 2010-03-12 13:24 | English Journal


Last Saturday, my Japanese teacher took me to Kagawa to eat some udon. Everyone in Japan always talks about how udon is the best in Kagawa so I was very excited to try some! We first went to a small restaurant and had a little bowl of udon. VERY delicious! There was also a window where you could see the chef rolling and cutting the udon.

Next we went to a much bigger restaurant. By this time it was almost 12 o'clock so it was very crowded. People were waiting outside in the rain to enter the restaurant so I knew that it must be good food. We had a large family style bowl of udon that we all shared from. Of course, we also had some tempura. Mmm Mmm!

It was definitely the best udon I've ever had. But I still don't like slurping up the noodles. Too noisy!

Also on a different note, I'd like to acknowledge the fact that all 7 of my Oscar predictions were correct. Genius!
by hello-eigo | 2010-03-11 15:20 | English Journal


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