Saturday, October 15, 2005

Origami in Japan

Amy, Dave and I did an art education class where we attempted to do some origami....

Pictures of the Fish Market

Posing in front of some huge pieces of tuna...

The sun rising over the city (taken from the fish docks)....

Getting a little too close to the tuna!

The busy streets of the fish market...

There were rooms with aisles upon aisles of fresh fish to buy. This room had red snapper.

These were little fish that you could buy and eat raw. We called them Japanese M&M's!

Live eels! There were buckets of them!

Looking at some extra fish parts. NASTY!

This is one of the auction rooms where everyone is checking out the fish to bid on.

Who knew those little cans of tuna came from something so big!


I just want to apologize for any mistakes in my next few blog postings. I am now writing on a Japanese keyboard and it is very confusing! Please do not take off points for my proof reading! :)

Thursday and Friday in Japan....

Greetings from Tokyo!!!

I am going to condense these next two days into one entry b/c I am having a hard time getting Internet access. The meetings for the past two days centered around specific educational issues. We listened to people talk about the status of women, art education and economics. It was all very interesting, but it is a lot of information to take in!

Friday morning started VERY early. I woke up at four a.m. and went to the fish market with some of my friends. It is a HUGE warehouse with nothing but fresh fish. They pull up in boats and deliver it in the early hours of the morning. There is every fish you can imagine (and some strange ones you can not!). We walked in all the rooms and saw bins full of live eels, lobsters, red snappers jumping out of tubs into other ones, octopuses and other strange strange things. They also had a silent auction for fish like tuna. The tune was huge. It was bigger then me (do not worry, I have pictures of me laying by it as proof- and one of me kissing it! Yuck!). It was such a fascinating event....smelly, but amazing!

The best thing I did was Friday night, the start of our free weekend...I went to a baseball game! We saw the Swallows play which was an experience! They already had a league champ, but the game was still played to determine stats. The fans were crazy! It was unreal! Everyone came with bags of items to use at different times during the game. They had clappers, umbrellas, megaphones and a bunch of other things. Everyone would pull them out and go nuts! I had a noodle bowl and green tea ice cream at the game. It was very interesting to sit and eat a bowl on noodles with chopsticks at a baseball game. Where was the peanuts!!?? I think this is one of my best experiences so far, I had a great time!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Baseball Pictures

Here's some of the group that went to the baseball game. What an experience! :)

Where else can you go to a baseball game and eat a noodle bowl! Ryan and I show you the fine art of noodle bowls at a baseall game. Who needs hot dogs!?!

Here's a shot of the crowd with their crazy props that they bring!

A shot of the crowd with their strange!

The's not as good as watching the Tribe! :) Or Fenway!

Cheering our team on! Our team was who???? Ha!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Japanese Toilet...Gasp!

I toilets were used in the taking of this picture! In fact, I never used a "traditional" Japanese toilet. Oh darn! I thought I'd put a shot on here, since my students were so interested in my description!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Kyogen and Kabuki presentations

Our Kyogen Theatre presentor...

Different masks used in Kyogen theatre...

Kabuki Theathre presentation...

Fear Factor Food

Today we listened to more speakers (I feel like I’m a student!). We had some important people come and talk to us, including a lot of representatives from their government. I enjoy the speakers a lot, but I really get a feel for Japan when I am out and exploring the city. The people here are so polite and nice. I learned that in Japanese culture you are expected to help someone if they ask you. It is unacceptable to say “no” or admit that you don’t know the answer. This means that you need to take extreme measures at times such as walking around with the person until you find the answer or taking them to the location.

After our meetings, we boarded the buses of some site seeing! We went all around the city and saw places such as the Imperial Palace and the Diet (which is what they call their government buildings). After the city tour we went to a giant shrine. It was all covered in gold and read with lanterns and incense burning. There was a wall where you could pick a fortune for 100 yen (one dollar), so I was all for it. Guess what…I got a bad one! I was so mad! It was about the worse one you could get! You shake a box that has sticks in it and pull a stick out. You then find the spot on the wall that has the same number and your fortune is there. I tied my fortune to the wall to leave the bad luck there! Dang it all!

After the shrine we walked around a huge market place and I bought a lot of touristy stuff including a TON of candy for my students. I made sure to get the good stuff such as seed weed hard candy and something black the has a bark like substance sticking out of it. Aren’t you all excited for me to return so you can try it!!?? Dinner was the highlight of the evening. We went to a tempura restaurant which is deep friend fish, meat and vegetables. We arrived at the restaurant and had to take our shoes off. They put them in a bag and if you have to go to the bathroom they have special bathroom slippers. However, it’s a big “no, no” to wear the bathroom slippers out. It’s kind of like walking out of the bathroom with toilet paper on your shoes! I made sure not to do that!

We sat down on pillows and ate on low tables. I got to use my chopstick skills and eat my meal. The tempura was really good, but there were some scary scary things on the table. There was a blob of yellow jello with beef in it (augh!) and a deep fried fish head (needless to say, I gulped that delightful treat down fast! Ha!). We had seaweed to wrap our rice in which was really good and some strange new fruits. I made a huge mistake, though, at the end of dinner. I put my boots on on the wood floor and got a lot of dirty looks! I’m trying here, I swear!

All in all, it was a very busy day!

A Day in Japan....

Whew, the first full day in Tokyo was very busy and my jet lag didn’t help much! I have a feeling that I will be tired a lot for the next few days!

I ate breakfast this morning at the restaurant that is at the top of my hotel. It’s a huge dome and is all glass. It’s on the fortieth floor so it has beautiful views of the city. It was a western style breakfast so all was safe! Ha! After breakfast we had a lot of meetings that were very interesting. The first meeting was about the educational system in Japan. These kids sure do study! It sounds a lot like the United States and our educational system. I thought it was interesting, though, that you need to go to school five days a week by law. This means that if there is a holiday, the students will have to go on a Saturday do make up for day they missed! That doesn’t sound good at all!

After a buffet lunch (where I did try some strange Japanese fish things….think Fear Factor), we watched a performance of Kyogen theatre and Kabuki theatre. The Kyogen actor used all different masks for his performance. The Kabuki performance was very interesting. We watched the dancer put her make-up on and it took over half an hour to make her face all white! The speaker said that they make their faces white because the theatres use to be very dark. I can’t imagine what she went through to take it off! I was fascinated by the costumes, because they were straight out of Memoirs of a Geisha one of my favorite books!

We had a huge welcome dinner (again!) and it was held on small tables that you stood at. I guess that is the tradition for big dinners in Japan. They had all kinds of Japanese foods, and I was daring! I tried some strange strange things…..things that are haunting me still in my nightmares! I will share pictures when I return!

Now for the best part….

After dinner we went to Karaoke! It was soooo much fun! In Japan you rent a room with your group and it’s private. We had a huge video screen and flashing strobe lights. There was about fifteen of us that did it. Miss Alpine sang some good tunes! Ha! We stayed for a few hours because it was so much fun. I don’t think this helped my jet lag any!

Pictures of the Shrine and Tempura Dinner

Asakusa was so beautiful here.

Fast forward to the tempura dinner. Notice the girl next to me. She doesn't look too thrilled to eat her dinner!

My dinner...hmmm....some good, some very very bad!

The fortunes at the shrine. You put your money in and pick one from the box.

Picking out my fortune. Too bad it was not a good one! :(

Cleansing myself in the incense.

The busy center of the shrine.

A latern at the entrance of the shrine. These were enormous!

Sunset at amazing!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

For Perry High School Students...

Hello, Everyone...

I can't get my school e-mail to work for some reason. I can read the e-mail, but I can't respond to it. Please send any questions to me at or post them to this blogsite and I will get back to you.

Thanks! :)

Miss Alpine

P.S. The Approach Paper submission is now avaliable at Thanks for the concern!

In Japan....

My first dinner in Japan!!! Not too glamorous!

Whoa, I am finally here and it is all starting to set in! The city is amazing, however the journey was not! I literally felt like I was on the plane ride that lasted forever! We left at seven-thirty a.m. to the airport on Sunday in California. We hung out in the aiport for a few hours and boarded a plane that had two levels and room upon room of seats. It was huge!

The flight was sooooo long and I didn't sleep much. Blah! We sat in the plane for an hour because someone didn't get on the plane but checked their bags. They had to go through hundreds of suitcases to find those bags. It took a long time and made me a bit nervous! The flight was about eleven hours long and they just kept feeding us. I felt like a slug! Ha! I did watch "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and loved it (thanks for all my student recommendations!). I read a lot of my book and talked to my new friends. There were points where we would actually get up and do laps around the plane to move our feet!

After arrive at the airport, we drove through Tokyo. What a city! It's so big, but it is not exactly how I pictured it. It is very very clean and the people are so nice and gracious. My hotel room is awesome! It has views of the city and some very interesting Japanese items (I will take pictures). It has a heated toilet...hmmm...and slippers and a komino to wear around the room. I only get CNN in English, so I will know a lot about the news!

I want to write more, but I am very very tired. I will update this when I have time. I miss everyone! :)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

California....(sung in the OC theme)

Well, I am here! It's been a whirlwind!

First, I arrived at the airport and my suitcase was too HEAVY! Hmmm....must have been the eight pairs of shoes that I packed! So I had to throw things out and put them inmy second suitcase, which wasn't suppose to come outuntil we got to Japan. But...desperate times call for desperate measures!

I slept through the long flights (I tried to watch"Batman Begins" but it put me to sleep!) and then we had a ton of meetings and met a ton of people who talked all about the trip and got me really excited. We had a fancy dinner tonight and now I'm about to hit the sack for my six a.m. wakeup call (yes, I get to sleep in an extra half hour!).

I will write more whenI have time, but I miss you all tons! good! :)