Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hugs From Home

Arrived home in California safe and sound yesterday!
As my mom was at work, Charlie was the first one to give me great big welcome home hugs & kisses. 
It's good to be home. 

The Bohan Children,

P.S. Pam, thank you again for the early airport pick-up!

[The Latest]

Google Search: Where to get additional passport pages
Tune: Accidentally In Love By Counting Crows.
Accomplishment: Staying awake for most of yesterday.
Obsessions: Chipotle.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

California State of Mind

Last working day before vacation.
Bring on the mexican food, fro yo, sandals and walks by the beach.
See you soon CA.

West Coast, Best Coast, 

[The Latest]

Google Search: Adam's apple in Japanese...translates to throat buddha, how cute is that?!
Tune: It's Time By Imagine Dragons.
Accomplishment: Four awesome Christmas lessons.
Obsessions: White chocolate from Hokkaido.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

FRIENDS in Class

Today at school, as well as last week as a matter of fact, we watched FRIENDS. 
And it was fabulous. 

If you're interested  here is how this lesson came to be. I walked into work one morning last week and gave my usual, Ohayyoo Gozaimasu to everyone. My fellow co-worker and buddy, Namiko turned to me with a sneaky look on her face. 
"I want to do something fun for the 3rd graders but I'm not sure what. 
I want them to practice listening, and maybe speaking." 
She just smiled her trouble maker smile at me. 
I chuckled, "I'll start thinking."

If it was up to me, English class would consist solely of crafts, English movies and TV shows. I try to incorporate those things into the classroom whenever appropriate, which is really only around the holidays, or after a big test. Turns out, I was in luck. The students had just finished their mid-terms so we were all looking for a bit of a break. I suggested the idea of TV in class to Namiko, who was more than supportive. We went over the logistics of the activity, and decided that we could spin it to be a listening and discussion activity. I told her I would find a clip on youtube.
A task that turned out to be much more complex than I had originally thought. 

I wanted a short scene that had simple English, needed no back story, was physical (in the sense that they weren't just sitting and talking, something that even silently could be funny), minimal sarcasm, no curse words, and obviously age appropriate. After sifting through sarcastic clip after sarcastic clip, and discovering that in English we speak more using innuendos than we do just saying what we mean, I found a few I thought would work. 

Namiko cleared the clips first before we took them to the classroom, though confessed the English was really fast. I had already planned to type up the dialogue, leaving a few blanks for the kids to fill in missing words, which helped everyone quite a bit. We watched the video over and over in class.
 With each run of the video, I could see the kids really starting to get it, a few genuinely laughed in all the right places, and most got all 5 missing words. I was impressed. As for Namiko, she laughed harder and harder each time the clip was shown. She laughed in anticipation of the funny lines, and right along with the laugh track. I laughed at the show I've seen a million times, but mostly I smiled watching all these Japanese middle schoolers understand something that was so very American, in fluent, very quick English.
Well done kiddos.


[The Latest]
Click here to watch the clip we used. 
Time: 4:22-5:55

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Curse

Photo of Tokyo Sky Tree and Mt. Fuji taken from the roof of our City Hall.
I moved abroad to gain a new perspective, to broaden my horizons, to have an adventure.  I wanted to see what else everyone was talking about. I wanted to be uncomfortable. I wanted to question things. I wanted to learn from strangers. I wanted to "talk" to someone who didn't speak my language. I wanted to learn about my life from living in someone else's environment. 
And I have. 
I have experienced all of that, and then some. 
I have been uncomfortable. I have been confused. I have made cultural faux pas. I have questioned my beliefs. I have been awkward. I have been the entertainment. I have been a nuisance. I have been a saving grace. I have been a teacher. I have been a student. I have been a tourist and I have been a local. 

What I didn't expect, was to still be hungry for more. 

I have found, the more I learn the more I want to learn.  
As soon as I come up with one question, a thousand more follow.
Curiosity is a never ending cycle.  
Through all my questions, and wonderings and wanderings, 
I have found adventure, new people, food and experiences, 
but what I have failed to find is answers. 

And yet, regardless of the frustration at the lack of answers, I find I am excited.
Thrilled, in fact, at coming up with more questions, meeting more people, taking on a new environment and challenging myself even more.

I have discovered the traveler's curse.

It goes like this...
(taken from here)

The more places you see, the more things you see that appeal to you, but no one place has them all. In fact, each place has a smaller and smaller percentage of the things you love, the more things you see. It drives you, even subconsciously, to keep looking, for a place not that's perfect (we all know there's no Shangri-La), but just for a place that's "just right for you." But the curse is that the odds of finding "just right" get smaller, not larger, the more you experience. So you keep looking even more, but it always gets worse the more you see. This is Part A of the Curse.
Part B is relationships. The more you travel, the more numerous and profoundly varied the relationships you will have. But the more people you meet, the more diffused your time is with any of them. Since all these people can't travel with you, it becomes more and more difficult to cultivate long term relationships the more you travel. Yet you keep traveling, and keep meeting amazing people, so it feels fulfilling, but eventually, you miss them all, and many have all but forgotten who you are. And then you make up for it by staying put somewhere long enough to develop roots and cultivate stronger relationships, but these people will never know what you know or see what you've seen, and you will always feel a tinge of loneliness, and you will want to tell your stories just a little bit more than they will want to hear them. The reason this is part of the Curse is that it gets worse the more you travel, yet travel seems to be a cure for a while.
None of this is to suggest that one should ever reduce travel. It's just a warning to young Travelers, to expect, as part of the price, a rich life tinged with a bit of sadness and loneliness, and angst that's like the same nostalgia everyone feels for special parts of their past, except multiplied by a thousand.

P.S. Read more about what this is in response to, here.

[The Latest]

Google Search: Nikon P310
Tune: It's Time By Imagine Dragons.
Accomplishment: Consistently studying Japanese in the mornings at work.
Obsessions: Museli.


For some reason this only dawned on me today. 

Can you?!

I can,

[The Latest]

Google Search: Birthmark in Japanese
Tune: Christmas is All Around from Love Actually
Accomplishment: A fun lesson today at school.
Obsessions: A new wine.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekend Update

highlights included...
[1] a beautiful friday sunset to kick off the weekend.
[2] a friend's christmas party complete with santa and reindeer darts. 
SANTA! I know him!
[3] sunday night jazz to go with my red wine.
[4] costco sized chips and salsa. im stoked. thank you kris!





hope you all had a lovely weekend as well!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

FIFA Soccer

Trekked all the way to the International Yokohama Stadium last night to watch Hiroshima and Auckland face-off in a FIFA Club World Cup game. A friend of a friend had extra tickets from work, so we bundled up and headed out. Between beers and snacks we took in the game, witnessing a few awesome saves from Auckland's keeper, ultimately one got through and Hiroshima walked away with a 1-0 win.

Getting excited for the 2014 World Cup!


[The Latest]

Google Search: Marvel Comics
Tune: Christmas is All Around from Love Actually
Accomplishment: A fun lesson today at school.
Obsessions: Lemon and Ginger Tea.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hair Cuts

Earlier this week Rachel, Kris and I headed to a friend's mother's salon for hair cuts. It always makes me chuckle when the other ALTs and I do things as a unit.
Doctor's visits, grocery store runs, post office runs, and now hair cuts. 

I dragged Kris and Rachel out into the cold yesterday, so I could play with my camera and we could document our new looks. I wish I would have gotten some nice clear before and after shots, but we're just going to have to settle for afters.
Here are a few shots from our alley photo-shoot. 




The long and the short of it, 

[The Latest]

Must Read: John McAfee Arrested in Guatemala...NY Times. 
Google Search: Friends clip for ESL students
Tune: Think Twice By Celine Dion
Accomplishment: Branching out with my hair. Though I have yet to decide how I feel about my new bangs...
Obsessions: BalanceUp bars.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

iphone phun

as of late, a few of my favorite, random photos...

Debster waitin for a train.
buddha from the awesome, and somewhat hidden, Fat Buddha Restaurant in Shibuya.
breakfast with Debs on her last morning in Japan.
this boy hasn't quite decided on who he is most thankful for.
it is always a toss-up between one's mom, english teacher and ALT.
beautiful sunset on my bike ride home. though, sad the sun was setting at only 4:30. (!!!)
my favorite San Francisco book store featured in a Japanese magazine about California.
ombre sky from the 5th floor of our city hall.
train travel 1
train travel 2
a photo sent by a friend from way back when.
overalls, kate?! my we've come along way.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Just a few words to make you chuckle.

And no...you can't come in

Funny Christmas Season Ecard: I wish there was a holiday deal on hiring someone to delete all the emails I receive about holiday deals.

Hahah this is great

Funny Christmas Season Ecard: This is my favorite time of year to be childless.

Funny Christmas Season Ecard: You're a hard person to half-assedly shop for.

Blah, Blah, Blah, 

[The Latest]

Must Read: Will and Kate are Prego! (I paraphrased.)...BBC. 
Google Search: Tuvalu
Tune: 12 Days of Christmas By Straight No Chaser
Accomplishment: A nice little meeting with my principal.
Obsessions: Mexican wedding cookies.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weekend Update

highlights included...

[1] fall in kagurazaka.
[2] a lovely latte from the new zealand coffee chain MOJO.
[3] went to see Argo (it's an amazing film, go!) and walked by some fish on the way into the theater.
[4] rainbow bridge and tokyo tower from odaiba.





hope you all had a great one as well!


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