Thursday, August 10, 2006

Last day of work!

My favourite adult class.

Chihiro and Riko slurp their noodles.

Today is my last day of work at UFO Academy. This past week I have been busy socialising and saying my farewells to my students. So far only one student has set me off crying, my seven year old ekiwa student Riko started to cry as I got into my car, which set off her Mum, Izumi crying and then me. Hopefully I'll see them again soon as I offered to be their host mum in Britain, I'm pretty sure they will take me up on the offer and send Riko and Chihiro to England for a month of speaking english!

With my head full of what I have to do, I have been waking up early and last Friday I decided to get up and drive to Echizen beach. I had such a fabulous morning, I was the first person on the beach and had it to myself until about 11 am, when hoardes of Japanese families arrived. I took this as my cue to exit and headed up the coast, to one of my favourite cafes Mare. This cafe has an amazing view out to sea. I sat here and enjoyed a lovely lunch and contemplated my past 2 years in Japan. I have mixed emotions about leaving, I am very sad to be leaving the beautiful scenery, the people and how safe it is here. The kindness and sincerity of the people has truly amazed me. However, I feel it is time to move on with the job and I am looking forward to seeing friends and family back home.

I have four days left and I plan to visit all my favourite places to ensure those memories are kept sharp.

My favourite students, Chihiro and Riko.

Sarah and Laura sporting this year's must have a Yukata.

The view from one of my favourite cafes Mare.

This crocodile is often sighted in the waters of Lake Kyuzuru, silently he waits for his unsuspecting prey.

Teaching the basics of how to ski, best to start them young.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sayonara parties

Sayonara Elementary schools.

The lack of postings are due to an enormous amount of goodbye parties going on. Two years in Japan is rapidly coming to an end and it is time to say farewell to all the amazing people I met and children I have taught. I am so happy I came to Japan and experienced this fascinating culture. It is definitely going to be a difficult to leave.

I still have two and half weeks left so this is by no means the end of mamfainjapan.

Sayonara UFO ladeeeeez!

Sayonara to Mitch's bump and grindin!

Sayonara to the stitchers and the bitches.

Sayonara to my bestest friends.

Sayonara to UFO

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Big Smoke

The skyscrapers of Shinjuku

Kelly and I took ourselves off to Tokyo for one last trip before we leave. We caughty the night bus there and arrived in the city at 5.45am!!! After fueling on coffee and dumping our bags at the hostel we headed for Ginza, where we saw some lovely gold shoes in Zara...more on those later. In the Sony Centre there was a Beatles in Tokyo 1966 photography exhibition, this was the first of three exhibitions we saw over the weekend. Some interesting photographs by a Japanese photographer. Inspired by these photos we felt the need to see more so headed over to Ebisu to look at the World Press Photo's and Woman of Many faces exhibition.

After taking in one cultural sight in the morning, the Shrine at Asakusa near our hostel, that left sunday to shopping and eating, great. I of course bought the gold shoes from Zara... they were in the sale and they are strappy so therefore won't take up much room in my suitcase!

Fab trip and just about survived Monday after taking the night bus back.

Kelly contemplates the bright lights of Shinjuku.

Sam and Kelly with having a night cap in the woman only bar.

Steaming incense at the shrine in Asakusa.

Whilst wandering around Shinjuku we spied this bar attracted by the cool interior we decided to have a drink, it turned out to be a women only bar. Interesting concept especially when you want a quiet drink without letchy men!

J Boy hairstyles.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Stitch and bitch weekender

The girls in the strange bar.

This weekend the Stitch and Bitch crew headed north to Kanazwa. As with most nights when a large group of girls are involved it turned into a smashing night. Luckily, in the restaurant we went to we were given our own private room because the engrish menu created loud hysterics from most of the party. We also had to do the obligatory banzai at the end ( a loud Japanese tradition which involves lots of cheering). Unsure of where to head after dinner we asked the waiter, one of them kindly offered to escort to a "disco". Tilly, Caitlin and I were the first three to enter the bar, immediately clocking the man in drag sat at the bar, backing out we consulted with the rest of the crew that we simply had to have one drink in this bar. Well, we made this bar's night, the definitely male waiter ushered us to a table then appeared two minutes later with his red "dj" jacket on, he immediately took to the decks and bust out some good ole rock and roll sixties tunes. The owner offered us all three drinks for a fiver along with free food and ice cream was offered at one point, our drinks waiter "Caserine" with big poodle perm and high waisted trousers was definitely on his/her way to the female side promptly brought over our drinks from the two hegirls at the bar. The dj then brought the mood down by spinning some slow dance tracks and the owner of the bar rounded up any available, definitely male men to slow dance with a few of the Stich and Bitch girls. Spot light on miss Tilly Gore.

No knitting took place throughout the night only good times and much hilarity.

Waiter, waiter, there's a fly in my soup. It's amazing how the beer goggles create such arty photos.

I am the walrus.

This was just one of the many humorous translations on the menu.

Caitlin, Tania and Tilly in the Chopstick restaurant.

The party games begin, Caitlin's expression says it all, " What is Sarah B humming?"

Yaaaay arrival in Kanazawa.

Sarah H and Nic Coombes

Get on, get on, get on your groovy train.

Amanda and Tilly with their culinary delights.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Home from Home photo exhibition

Kelly and I recently organised an exhibition of our photos from Japan and Europe. We displayed them in a local organic cafe, where the owner Goru makes the most fabulous taco's and brown bread, which is a luxury in Japan. All prints are for sale please contact me if you are interested.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Japan Shrines

Nakano Shrine, Sabae

Inari Shrine, Kyoto



Icy Puddle





Mitch looking shifty.

Mr T

Girl with bubbles

Gangsta Sam


Plockton Palm Tree

Plockton Railway line

Eilean Dunon castle in the West Highlands

Exhibition Photos Lanterns

Green lantern

Stripey lantern

Blue Lantern

Monday, June 12, 2006

Get yer English cakes here!

Tilly and I with our not quite so silent partner, let's just say he wasn't shy about putting his tuppance worth in!!

Last weekend Tilly and I embarked on our cake baking marathon to sell at the fleamarket. This time we thought we had cracked making more of a profit by buying in bulk. Unfotunately this wasn't the case, perhaps because of the time of year and it being a nice day on Sunday the footfall at the fleamarket was down, sales were slow. We didn't beat our record in February and sell out in 2 hours. We did make some profit thankfully, and I bought a top from the stall next to us for 50p, can't say fairer than that!

Roll up, roll up get yer Flapjacks, banana cakes, carrot cakes ere!

The english cake stall once again makes an appearance at the local fleamarket.