Thursday, 18 November 2010

Parrots, Flamingos and the Owl of the Abyss - Kakegawa Bird Park

So, a couple of weeks ago (October 30th, to be precise) a few of us decided to check out Kakegawa Bird Park. Kakegawa is a town just 25 minutes from Hamamatsu (on the JR train it costs 480円) where a couple of my friends live. It has some fun things to do there - a castle, shopping, food, the usual. The bird park gives you the opportunity to do what you always dreamed of doing - run away from flamingos, have parrot sit on your head and stare into the terrifying eyes of an owl. There's a map here - I'm not totally sure how to get there, as we just got into Saba's car! Entry for adults is around 1000円.

How freaky is this owl? As you walk in, there are a lot of owls looming behind glass panels. Owls have always held a strange fascination for me - they are beautiful and incredibly creepy at the same time. Some rotate their heads, while some fly angrily towards the glass. Others, however... they take your soul.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Adventures in Kyoto

Do you want to know what foreigners would look like in geisha make-up? Are you interested in autumn leaves and temples? How about playing Street Fighter II in a downtown bar? Then, please read on. I have now visited Kyoto three times. I'm sure there will be many more visits to come, as I am now dating an amazing person who happens to live 20 minutes from there... yes, that is pretty far from Hamamatsu. On the shinkansen (bullet train) I can get to him in about 90 minutes, but it will cost me between 6000-7000円 each way. For the slightly cheaper price of 4000円, it takes nearly 4 hours. Still, when you're here to travel and you really want something to work, you don't mind making these trips sometimes.

On my first trip to Kyoto, we visited Nijo Jo (二条城), the samurai castle.

If you are interested in its history, please refer to the Wikipedia article! You take the train to Nijo - behold, a map! It was very pretty, but the main thing that caught me off-guard was the lake and the garden.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Shopping for Food in Japan

So - what can you buy from a Japanese supermarket?

This is a question that you may have asked. You may never have realised that you wanted to know. Well, I'm going to show you, anyway. I took my camera to Seiyu (owned by Walmart... so basically the Japanese Asda) a couple of weeks ago and photographed a few things..

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Make Your Own Monster!

So, Halloween was last week, and I decided to get my first year JHS stud
ents (aged 12-13) to exercise some English grammar by creating, and writing about, their own monsters. Admittedly I was inspired by my friend Jenny's Pokémon battles, the results of which were being put on Facebook, and the "make your own monster" idea was borrowed from various ESL websites. Still, I thought that it would be fun to see what my students had to offer in the way of creativity. I was not disappointed!

Here are some of their creations:

"This is Dream Eater. He is white. He eats bad dreams. He doesn't eat good dreams. He speaks English. He likes children. His favorite children are small children. He lives in a box."