This Is Why I Love Summer Vacation!

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So I was quite ecstatic when the coach of the track and field club (who I have been training with everyday) finally asked me to go swimming with the students this morning. The school pool has sat tantalizingly cool and refreshing across from my desk but realistically a world away up until now!
Anyhow I just finished up spending the last 90minutes swimming with my kids, playing games and whatnot. Now with what feels like retinal chemical burns, it’s painfully clear why the boys laughed at me when I said I didn’t need goggles…… Shouganai live and learn ^^;

Cycling The Awaji Longride 150 (淡路島ロングライド150)

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Having become quite the avid cyclist since arriving in Japan, recently along with a couple similarly crazy friends we decided to tackle the ‘Awaji long-ride 150’ (淡路島ロングライド150) an annual 150km bike marathon around the island of Awaji 淡路島.

For those that don’t know of Awaji island it sits neatly in between connecting 2 of Japan’s 4 major islands Honshū and Shikoku. Being very close to Kobe particularly where I live if you’re facing south it’s likely you will catch a glimpse of it on the horizon!

The island is separated from Honshū by the Akashi Strait and from Shikoku by the Naruto Strait. As of April 1998 it has been connected to Kobe on Honshū by the Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge 明石海峡大橋, at almost 2km in length it is the longest suspension bridge in the world (no surprise I can see clearly from my school).

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How to get there:
I person cycled to Akashi City 明石市 as its only about 7km from my house, however here is a little diagram showing how much to expect to pay if your taking public transport.
There is a ferry from there that cyclists can use to take their bikes over, as the bridges which connect Awaji with other islands are exclusive open to cars.
One way tickets for adults can be purchased for 450円 and a bike ticket for an additional 200円.

20130523-午前091654.jpg

Here’s a pic of the Awaji team (minus our photographer Pete) on the 7am ferry. We departed on the day from Gakuentoshi at around 6:15am, arriving to Awaji within 20 minutes (it’s all downhill).

It was stepping off the ferry on Awaji that the real challenge began, for the most part the ride is quite straight forward and flat, we chose to go around clockwise as the few mountains that Awaji does have around the coast, are primarily on the eastern side of the island.
After a long morning and about 70km of varying giant hills and flats we all met up in the town of Fukura 福良 at around 1pm for lunch, as this is about the halfway point I would recommend it for a stopover, that said the variety of eateries leaves much to be desired (コンビニましょう?!).

Now our ragtag team all had varying bikes (mines actually a mountain bike) and varying skill levels, unlike the professional looking teams in matching outfits we saw perpetually overtaking us. So for more than half of the ride I found myself alone with the road, it certainly gave me a good 13-14hours or so to think (and sweat). By the time we all arrived back at the ferry port having completed the 150km loop the sun had long since set and we managed go jump on the 8:10pm ferry home.

Despite our fatigue and burning asses we decided to man up and tackle the final 7km from Awaji back to Gakuentoshi. We headed straight for a nearby izakaya 居酒屋 (Japanese style bar) where after one beer the long 165km or so of riding finally caught up with us and we all realized the sooner we were in bed the better (I actually fell asleep in my chair :p).

Anyhow it was a crazy 15 hours or so of pain, however I couldn’t recommend it highly enough if your an avid biker in Japan! In fact my morning ride to school now seems far easier since (it might just be in my head), next challenge……. Lake Biwa!!

The Most Handsome Man in Space

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It’s been one of those shougakkou 小学校 (elementary school) days that are bad for my ego.
Three of my san nen 三年生 (third grade) girls got in a heated argument that ended in an epic janken battle!
Kana: Daniel you are the most handsome man (lit:イケメン) in Japan.
Hana: No you’re wrong, he’s No. 1 in the whole world.
Ayumi: No no no, in all of space too!

tl;dr According to 8yr olds I’m the most handsome man in space!

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 15 Gomatamago ごまたまご

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Welcome to another instalment of the Mochi Diaries, Chapter 15 Gomatamago ごまたまご! Once again these guys really aren’t mochi but in fact intricately designed cakes, however they are omiyage お土産 nonetheless and so kawaii I couldn’t resist!!!

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During my last top to Tokyo 東京 I picked a box of Gomatamago ごまたまご (Lit. Black Sesame Egg) cakes on my way home as the packaging intrigued me. Furthermore Gomatamago are a meibutsu 名物 (Specialty product) of the Tokyo region, so it’s not as if I would have the opportunity to purchase them again in the near future.

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As far as omiyage go these are on the pricy side of things at 700円 for a box containing 8 pieces, that said they are each individually wrapped and sizeable.

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The centre is a sweet paste consisting of kurogoma 黒胡麻 (Black sesame seeds) and anko 餡子 (red bean paste) which is supposed to constitute the ‘yolk’ of the egg…… Perhaps they are piitan 皮蛋 (Chinese century eggs) ( ^ω^ ).

This ‘yolk’ is then coated in a thin layer of kasutera カステラ (castella cake), a type Japanese cake originating in Nagasaki through trade with the Portuguese in 16th century that is immensely popular here. Finally the tamago is coated in a thin layer of white-chocolate to form a delicious crispy ‘shell’!

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All in all I was quite impressed by this tasty treat, I imagine they to well hand in hand with a cup of afternoon tea.
The centre retained a perfect level of moistness and was not overly sweet.
If your ever in Tokyo give a box a try! 4/5

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Kobe JET Scavenger Hunt 2013 (SCUNT)

On the evening of June 1st 2013, dozens of costumed, slightly inebriated Kobe JETs descended upon Sannomiya for another year of mayhem!

For this was the night of the annual Kobe JET Scavenger Hunt (The SCUNT)!

For those have been with me for the long haul the 2012 SCUNT was one of the first things I did when I arrived in Japan a year back, if you wanna take a peak I blogged about last years https://nihonomnom.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/kobe-2012-scavenger-hunt-scunt/

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The basics of the the game are as follows.
Prior to the event ALTs can put together teams of up to 8 people with a theme of some description, as points are awarded for ‘best’ dressed’ crazy costumes are a must.
Teams assemble at ‘tits park’ at 7PM of the night of the event and are given a list of clues to solve ‘the mystery’ by interviewing ALTs playing on the ‘home team’. As one successfully interviews ‘suspects’ they receive more and more clues, meanwhile additional points can be scored for taking specific ‘crazy photos’.

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Anyhow this years events theme was ‘Digital Kobe’. The following letter was the letter we received prior to its commencement.

Greetings,

First, on behalf of Aztechnology, I would like to thank you for volunteering for this peculiar mission. As you may or may not know, we function as the technological intelligence and advancement sector under the US Air Force. We create anything and everything from programs to Nano technology.

Recently, we’ve had a disturbance in our Master Server; –programs have started to malfunction or disappear. Then about 2 days ago a virus appeared in the system. It started rapidly corrupting files. We aren’t sure who’s behind it but whoever it is hides their tracks very well.Our biggest concern is our multi-billion dollar AI program N.A.V.I (Neural Artificial Visual Interface). For some strange reason she’s appearing and disappearing from the system as if she’s hiding. When we can access her she functions fine. So we are sending you and your teams into the server. Projecting human forms into the digital world is still a little new to us. However, we’re sure you’ll be fine.

You have 3 missions:

1.) Find out who’s behind this. Programs ALWAYS leave a bit of their coding somewhere; search for them. Also some of our programs are still functional but not accessible from here. Find those programs and get whatever information you could get from them before they are corrupted or officially off-line.

2.) Find NAVI, each group that finds her and take a “Screen Cap” saves part of her data.

3.) Find the virus dubbed “the Black Plague. We don’t expect you to terminate him but by taking a screen cap you will isolate him in an area for about 10 minutes.

I’ve created a anti-virus who will be your point of contact in the digital world. Her name is H.A.V.O.K (Hatter’s Anti-Viral Optimal Killer – Yes! We like acronyms !) Sadly, she was created in a rush and full of bugs. A patch was created for her so she won’t mistake you for viruses.

I’ve already created a direct link to your team captains. I’ll try to keep you informed about what’s happening out here.

Safe journey and good luck

Signed

J. Hatter
Chief Technician

So basically this years ‘interviewees’ were actually all computer programs. Each had a unique interface and teams had to use the proper technical commands to effectively extract information regarding ‘The Black Plague’.

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The ever amazing organizer JoJo

Alas with the following information at hand we set upon our task, meanwhile Chief Technician J. Hatter frequently sent updates via a Captains thread regarding the status of the viruses infection and whereabout!

Now on to my team!!!
This year I wanted to put my own crew together and so I set about rounding up the creative types from Gakuentoshi uniting us under the banner of the greatest cartoon ever made!
What time is it? Adventure Time!!
(Really Richie and I just wanted to be Finn and Jake as we find their characters very ‘relatable’)

Meet the crew!

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Finn and Fiona

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BMO and Lumpy Space Princess

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Princess Bubblegum and The Ice King

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Jake the Dog

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And last but not least Marshal Lee

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For those of you who don’t know what Adventure Time is…… for shame!
It is an amazing cartoon that resinates with demographic decades above its target market, allowing 20/30 somethings a nostalgic adventure into their childhood imaginations and so has gained has a colossal fan base (myself included)!


Here is the video of this years event with the results. Our team came in 3rd place however we would have got the most points for photo objectives ^^
We also won best video for our hilarious Harlem Shake!!! (Feat. Drunk Salary men)

And now onto the photos!!

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Being naughty on the train on the way there.

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Hugging a stranger.

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Kumi-taiso #1

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Kumi-taiso #2

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Kumi-taiso #3

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Vitruvian Man

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Under an umbrella

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Eating an onigiri

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Totem pole

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In a guillotine

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Man on a scaffold

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Torii barricade

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Invisible bike

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In water

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Fighting

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Chugging a can if drink in front of a combini

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Power Ranger posing

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Biggest phallus

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Hengao-ing

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Face covered in paper

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On a pachinko machine

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On one team mate

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In the air

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2 girls one pockey

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In a locker

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Does this make me any less of a man

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It’s a new fashionable hat

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Between to pillars

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Twin elephants

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This is why we can’t have nice things

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Call me maybe

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In an elevator

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Pig chef

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The iron throne

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You call that dancing, this is dancing

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A boy peeing

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This is going to hurt

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Heaviest breasts

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I am superman

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Kissing a rival team

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Haduken

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Nanpa-IMF an ojiichan

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Happi coats

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Inappropriate use of nameko

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Dancing with a stranger

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Kibasen with strangers

Of course there were another 8 teams we were racing against, check out some of their awesome costumes.

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ALT: Arkham League of Terror

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Hula hula nuku nuku apua’a

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Kitchen Invaders

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And of course a special mention to the ‘the Black Plague’ Jarryd!!

Catch ya next year kids……

One Piece Lesson

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Today I taught a 1年生 (first grade) One Piece themed lesson that I had been working on all week and needless to say the kids went crazy for it, BIG SUCCESS!

After class one of my students came up to me and was like ‘This is Tako-Sensei. He is my hero’ (Today’s grammar point). If you are an ALT and would like to check it out or use it I have uploaded it in the link below.

He/She is ~ ONE PIECE EDITION

#meltedhearts #clichéilovemykidspost

Special Kyuushoku!

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Today my Tuesday shougakkou 小学校(elementary school)made up a special kyuushoku 給食 (school lunch) for the teachers on account of me, as the kids one had shellfish in it which I am allergic to.
Having had a near death experience eating school lunches in the past it’s nice to see they look out for me.
So far 3 of the teachers have thanked me for having allergies since today’s lunch is abnormally delicious (^^;;

Cycling The Awaji Longride 150 (淡路島ロングライド150)

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Having become quite the avid cyclist since arriving in Japan, recently along with a couple similarly crazy friends we decided to tackle the ‘Awaji long-ride 150’ (淡路島ロングライド150) an annual 150km bike marathon around the island of Awaji 淡路島.

For those that don’t know of Awaji island it sits neatly in between connecting 2 of Japan’s 4 major islands Honshū and Shikoku. Being very close to Kobe particularly where I live if you’re facing south it’s likely you will catch a glimpse of it on the horizon!

The island is separated from Honshū by the Akashi Strait and from Shikoku by the Naruto Strait. As of April 1998 it has been connected to Kobe on Honshū by the Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge 明石海峡大橋, at almost 2km in length it is the longest suspension bridge in the world (no surprise I can see clearly from my school).

20130523-午前094431.jpg

How to get there:
I person cycled to Akashi City 明石市 as its only about 7km from my house, however here is a little diagram showing how much to expect to pay if your taking public transport.
There is a ferry from there that cyclists can use to take their bikes over, as the bridges which connect Awaji with other islands are exclusive open to cars.
One way tickets for adults can be purchased for 450円 and a bike ticket for an additional 200円.

20130523-午前091654.jpg

Here’s a pic of the Awaji team (minus our photographer Pete) on the 7am ferry. We departed on the day from Gakuentoshi at around 6:15am, arriving to Awaji within 20 minutes (it’s all downhill).

It was stepping off the ferry on Awaji that the real challenge began, for the most part the ride is quite straight forward and flat, we chose to go around clockwise as the few mountains that Awaji does have around the coast, are primarily on the eastern side of the island.
After a long morning and about 70km of varying giant hills and flats we all met up in the town of Fukura 福良 at around 1pm for lunch, as this is about the halfway point I would recommend it for a stopover, that said the variety of eateries leaves much to be desired (コンビニましょう?!).

Now our ragtag team all had varying bikes (mines actually a mountain bike) and varying skill levels, unlike the professional looking teams in matching outfits we saw perpetually overtaking us. So for more than half of the ride I found myself alone with the road, it certainly gave me a good 13-14hours or so to think (and sweat). By the time we all arrived back at the ferry port having completed the 150km loop the sun had long since set and we managed go jump on the 8:10pm ferry home.

Despite our fatigue and burning asses we decided to man up and tackle the final 7km from Awaji back to Gakuentoshi. We headed straight for a nearby izakaya 居酒屋 (Japanese style bar) where after one beer the long 165km or so of riding finally caught up with us and we all realized the sooner we were in bed the better (I actually fell asleep in my chair :p).

Anyhow it was a crazy 15 hours or so of pain, however I couldn’t recommend it highly enough if your an avid biker in Japan! In fact my morning ride to school now seems far easier since (it might just be in my head), next challenge……. Lake Biwa!!

Why Not To Use Google Translate

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Time??? Try Fuck!?

So this isn’t actually from one of my students but a good friend of mine sent me this the other day, completely baffled as to what one of her students had written.

Any ideas deciphering this little gem…….. No well here’s a great example why you shouldn’t blindly use google translate without double checking!

In this case the student had google translated “タイムトライヤル” (time trial) … However google split the ‘trial’ into ‘try yaru’.

Now yaru 殺る in Japanese literally means ‘to do’ however can also be read using 犯る…… Which is ‘to have sex with’

And so of corse google translated yaru into “fuck” hence “time try fuck”.

All the LULZ!!! (^_^;)

Thank-you Letter From The Principal

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Nawwwww after writing my principal a thank-you letter for supporting me last week during my self introduction in front of all the principals in Kobe.

I came to school this morning to find he had written an article expressing how impressed he was with me in the weekly staff newsletter.

All day the other teachers have been telling me how surprised they are I learned to read and write (to be honest I’m still terrible). Feeling fair good about life today (*^^*)

I typed up copy below and provided liberal translations.

◇ 先日ALT紹介と,勤務説明会がありました。
ダニエル先生もしっかりと日本語で自己紹介していましたよ。

At a briefing for work the other day, the ALT’s introduced themselves.
Daniel spoke his self introduction firmly in Japanese.

「私は〜〜台中学校のダニエルといいます。好きな食べ物は餅です。八ツ橋は最高に美味しいで〜〜〜す。」

(Quoting some of my speech)
「I am Daniel from (my schools name) JHS, the food I love is mochi. Yatsuhashi (a specialty from Kyoto) is the most delicious’」

他校の校長先生からも大ウケでした。

It was well received by the other Principals there.

そして翌日,校長先生の机の上に,ダニエル先生からの手紙とチョコレートがおかれていました。とても優しい内容に嬉しくなりました。

Also the next day, on my table in the principals office, Daniel placed a letter and some chocolate (Terry’s chocolate orange in fact *^^*). His kind actions made me very happy.


仲間って良いですね!

He is a very good friend of mine!

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Here is a copy of the letter I have him.