DeparturesSo sorry for the lack of posting. I handed off my internet to a friend in my last two weeks at work, and I just couldn’t bring myself to post at dial-up speed.

Luckily, not a whole lot has happened. By that I mean the following:

A good friend of mine, Kate (from Across The Sea blog) was the parade queen in the Tokyo St. Patricks day parade! I know a real-life celebrity! The day before the parade was a fancy-pants lunch at the Park Hyatt Tokyo with the most amazing appetizer/dessert buffet I’ve seen in a long time. The view was breath-taking, as usual. After our snazzy lunch was a farewell party for those leaving at a local izakaya.  Continue reading


Omotesando PartyLast week began the farewells, as I said good-bye to my third-years at my other school for the last time. It took some coaxing to get them to understand that they won’t see me again, but once they got it, they were clearly really sad about it. And these guys would get a “good-bye” whether or not I was staying.

It’s been a lot harder than expected! I’m not one to cry, but I can feel my self getting emotional at the farewell parties for the students. They gave me those lovely flowers and a small board with notes from students saying how much fun they had with me. The kids were honestly the only reason I really loved teaching here. I like my schools and my company, but what made me smile, what made me love it, were the kids.    Continue reading

A Bit of Extra Blogging

teaching-dinoJust to stretch my blogging legs (fingers), I’ve started writing a little bit for It’s a great site filled with all kinds of resources for those wanting to live in Japan or for us already living here. My first with them went live a few days ago, please check it out! It’s all about the strange relationship I have with my students.

Originally, when arriving at my school, I was like a rock-star. Students would scramble to get a look at me, or hang out of windows to get a “Hello!” Those who had more yaruki (doing spirit) than others, would run up and try to say in broken English various points about my appearance.

Read the rest here.

A Year in the Life

Ha Long BayTomorrow marks one year since I embarked on this journey. Well, it would be if it was a leap year and February 29th existed. But rather than dwelling on the mysteries of the Gregorian calendar, let me take a moment to highlight some of my favorite parts of this journey.  Continue reading

Rant: Driving in Japan

It's dangerous to go alone! Take this GPS! Oh wait... it won't help you.

It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this GPS! Oh wait… it won’t help you.

Driving in Japan is the stuff of nightmares. I like to imagine that Dante was mistaken when he said the 7th circle of hell is a river of boiling blood and fire. It’s definitely just continuous traffic on a highway in Japan surrounded by trucks. The Japanese people are so lovely and caring. They are considerate of one another and law-obeying (typically). This might actually be one of the problems. People get overly excited and want to let in that car waiting to turn left from 7-11.. and the car waiting behind them, and the next, and the– STOP! You’ve been nice to 3 cars now and really rude to the 15 of us waiting behind you! I appreciate the sentiment, but I want to get to work on time.  Continue reading

More Notes on Translation

An endless ocean of change

An endless ocean of change

Tomorrow marks 5 weeks until I return home to visit friends for nearly 1 month. 5 weeks. That’s just over a month. That’s 3 weeks at First school and 2 weeks at Second school. That’s 5 more Wednesday classes. That’s almost a year from leaving Florida.

5 weeks.

And where am I now?

People like to ask me “Has living in Japan changed you?” My answer is a distinct “Yes.” The natural follow up question is “In what ways?” To which I never have a response. I know I’ve changed. I can feel it in the way I look at others, in the way that others look at me. I can feel it in my body language, my responses, my decisions. I’ve definitely changed. But in what way, I don’t know.  Continue reading

The Moriya Half Marathon

Group poseTwo weekends ago, I dropped by Moriya to cheer on the ALTs running in the Moriya Half Marathon. Being a runner myself, it was really fun to check out the running scene in Japan and, for the first time, be on the sidelines! Just watching them made me tired, but I managed to snap a few cute pictures of the crew giving it their all. Paul ran the fastest (of the group) at 1 hour 27 minutes… wow. Second place to Greg, third to Becky the Banana. Good work guys!

Continue reading

The Whole Truth

Sunset over the school

Sunset over the school

I’ve just returned from a fun-filled 4-day weekend in Sapporo at the Snow Festival with none other than Becky the Banana. I’d be lying if I said I’ve recuperated already.

So, apologies in advance, but today I’m just going to post a link to, by far, one of the funniest articles I’ve read in a long, long time. I would call this “not safe for work” as you’ll surely be unable to contain your laughter. For those of you who don’t live in Japan (or never have) I’m afraid it might not be as funny but it’s sure to get you giggling on this groggy Tuesday. Mind you, it’s been passed around a bit, so if you’ve already enjoyed this piece forgive me for being so unoriginal today.

Without further ado, the truth about living in Japan:

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Living in Japan

Flu Battlezone

All who come near, be warned.

All who come near, be warned.

Every year in the states my friends, family, etc. get flu shots. Every year, I turn up my flu-resilient nose at them and refuse shots or even daily cautions. I’m a snob about growing up on orange juice and having the immune system of an alligator (google it). Typical Floridian, the flu isn’t a huge deal for us as we have warm weather and enough vitamin C to cure scurvy and have enough left over to make juice.

And then I experienced flu season in Japan.  Continue reading

The Japanese “Conbini”

The Candy IsleEvery time I chat with friends, I always talk about the magical “conbini.” Even in Japanese, the word for convenience store is konbiniansu sutoa but they often shorten this to conbini. In typical Japanglish fashion, we native English speakers have also adopted this fashionably short word. Often, in Japanese, names of stores or restaurants are shortened to just a few syllables. For example: Starbucks becomes staabaa, McDonald’s becomes Makku, and my personal favorite, First Kitchen becomes fahkin (say it out loud).  Continue reading