Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Norm For Me A Chuckle For You

Today, my 13 year old 1st years had to write out a self-introduction that they were then going to come read to me.
I was walking around the room helping the kids fill in the three blanks that sat staring back at them. 

I am                      .
I am from                           .
I am good at                             .

I was helping one little girl change her bolleyball to volleyball, when I heard one of my favorite boys practicing his pronunciation. 

"IIIIIII am good at bas-KET-ball. BAS-ket-ball. bas-ket-BALL."

I looked over at him and all his friends that had taken to helping him, they looked back at me and we all smiled. I said it correctly a few times from across the room and they repeated. Focusing intently on each syllable, trying to stress the correct one. 
They weren't getting it. 

I walked in their direction, saying it about four more times before arriving next to his desk.
I looked down at his paper and stopped. 
He repeated the word again, stressing all the syllables so at this point he was just yelling the word while his friends looked on in laughter. 
I smiled and he followed my finger as I pointed to the word on the page. 

"This says, baseball." 

Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball, 

[The Latest]

Must Read: More women than ever are bread winners, which apparently is a bad thing??...FOX News. I paraphrased big time, but have we all seen this!? 
Google SearchPomegranate in Japanese.
Tune: Clarity By Zedd. 
Accomplishment: Some great communication with my cleaning crew. 
Obsessions: Thai fried rice.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today At School

Things have been crazy busy at work lately and I just haven't had time to blog. 
Today we did a lesson with the 3rd years that I for one thoroughly enjoyed. 

The kids had to work together in their groups to unscramble sentences. When they had correctly arranged a sentence and written it on their worksheet, they brought it to me where they had to read it aloud. I gave them a stamp for every sentence they assembled and read correctly, the goal being to be the first group to get 10 stamps. 
Simple enough. 
I used my little 'Kate' stamp that was given to me last year by a former student's mother.
Mini-Kate went over quite well with the students.
By the end of the day, I had stamped mini-kate exactly 300 times. 

Kate, Kate, Kate x 100, 

[The Latest]

Must Read: Rodman Not 1st Choice for N. Korea Trip...NY Times. That title might be an understatement. 
Google SearchPomegranate in Japanese.
Tune: Clarity By Zedd. 
Accomplishment: The fact that it has rained all day, but not from 7:45-8 when I bike to school. 
Obsessions: Spicy miso paste.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weekend Update

Highlights included...
[1] An awesome bowl of tuna before our May Meeting.
[2] Post May Meeting silliness with Mike. 
[3] Sunday Funday with bikes and body paint in Kamakura with Sayaka.




Hope you all had a great one as well and Happy Memorial Day to all you Americans!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013


How sweet is this...

Well thanks, C.S. Lewis. 

Word to the Wise,

[The Latest]

Google Search: 10 Ideas That Make a Difference TIME Mag.
Tune: Strawberry Swing By Coldplay. 
Accomplishment: A productive day. 
Obsessions: Lightroom.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Simple Pleasures

Last weekend was the first time this year that included happy hour drinks outside, followed by a long leisurely dinner with Sayaka and a shared bottle of wine. Over dinner, I looked at all our food and drink and my good company, and I smiled. 
"This is one of my most favorite things in life," I said. 
"Nooo. Well...yes, but no. Long dinners with good food and a bottle of wine. Love."
Which led to a fun discussion of a few of our most fave things in life. 

Here is what I came up with...
pancake breakfasts
live music
eating outside
a great quote
exploring a new city, ipod plugged in
a new coat of nail polish
buying a plane ticket
a new bathing suit
a cool photograph
going back to bed when you realize you're awake before your alarm
the moment you receive your scoop of ice cream from the man behind the counter
coming back from a run
crawling into bed when it's raining
fresh flowers
a nice candle
a new episode of new girl
checking off something on my todo list
early morning latte with any foam design
an act of kindness
wet hair
finishing a book
getting anything in the mail
late night frozen yogurt runs
anything beach related
an empty email inbox
tan lines

Would love to hear what little things in life make you smile!


[The Latest]

Must Read: Gary Winogrand's Photos...The Guardian.
Google Search: David Karp.
Tune: Strawberry Swing By Coldplay. 
Accomplishment: A mini workout before school. 
Obsessions: Heads Up! App.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Video: Okinawa

I made a little video of my trip to Zamami, Okinawa with Jeff during golden week.
Which turned out mostly to consist of Jeff dancing while I poked at every sea animal I came across. 'Twas a great vacation.

I am quite proud of my little vid, enjoy!

Golden Zamami from Kate Bohan on Vimeo.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekend Update

Highlights included...
[1] A blueberry pancake Saturday morning with Kim.
[2] Date night with the stunning Sayaka. 
Drinks at G Stand and dinner across the street at Pizzeria Mateo
Pizzeria Mateo comes highly recommended if you're looking for good Italian food in Tokyo.
[3] My awesome sand dollar from a day out at Kujukuri beach.
[4] A little fish drying farm we passed on our way home from the ocean.





Hope you all had a great one as well!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Norm For Me A Chuckle For You 10

I have been in Japan almost three years now (whoa) and can function pretty effortlessly throughout the day. My Japanese is minimal but definitely functional. I can make friends, I can ask where the bathroom is, I can give my self-introduction at the drop of a hat and most importantly I can order a beer. 

But God help me if I try to order from Starbucks or McDonald's. 

You see, before I go any further, you need to know that the Japanese language has a few different alphabets, three to be exact. 
Hiragana is what you might think of as the traditional Japanese alphabet. You sound out the characters, it makes a word, and you translate the word in your little head. ね - こ, ne-ko, neko means cat. Boom. You just read a Japanese word. 
One alphabet down.

Then there is Katakana. 
My arch nemesis.
Katakana is another alphabet with characters different from hiragana, though corresponding sounds. This alphabet is reserved for foreign words (ie: my name is always written in katakana) and makes teaching English in Japan 1000 times more difficult than it should be. Basically, there are a ton of English words floating around in Japan, but what the people have done is taken them and made them fit the sounds that are available in their alphabet. 
Which means...
set becomes setto
and becomes ando
coffee becomes co-hi
orange becomes orengji
soccer becomes sakka
table becomes teiburu
present becomes puresento
hamburger becomes hambaagaa
starbucks becomes sta-bakkusu
mcdonalds becomes makudonarudo 
The kicker is, that if you say these common katakanized English words in English, no one knows what you're talking about. So, if you're at McDonald's and you want to order a McFlurry, you can't just say...McFlurry. I know. I tried. What I needed to say was, makkufuru-ri, but when I couldn't figure that out, I simply leaned across the counter, pointed to the machine and said, in Japanese, "That one, please. With oreos."

Last Monday, we had our weekly ALT meeting at city hall and I was given the date I need to be out of my apartment. I knew it was coming, but I still left the meeting kind of bummed. 
I decided a cinnamon roll would remedy my problems. Obviously. 
I walked into the only Starbucks in my city and was greeted with a very genuine smile and konichiwa from my favorite Starbucks lady. I ordered my vanilla latte flawlessly after years of practice, substituting the v in vanilla with a b to make everything go smoothly. But my need for a cinnamon roll caused a touch of a hang-up. I didn't have the energy to try to katakana-ize the word cinnamon roll, the sign was written in English so I simply just read it. 
The lady looked at me and smirked. I laughed and asked in Japanese if she understood since it was clear I wasn't really doing my part to transform the word in to Japanese. She starting laughing and shook her head. I apologized saying, "I don't know katakana," and we walked over to the pastry case so I could switch into the universal language of gestures. She couldn't see what I was pointing at so she came around to stand next to me. Though I was all smiles, she could tell I wasn't my usual upbeat self and in the midst of the cinnamon/shinamon roll debacle, she gave me a hug while the lone cinnamon roll and entire Starbucks staff looked on. 
Then we practiced. 
I said shinamon and all three of them said cinnamon in unison twice.

A few hours later when I was on my way out, another employee held the door open for me, I smiled and said, "Thank you!" 
She bowed, whispered, "cinnamon," and giggled. 

One banilla co-he and shinamon ro-ru seto please, 

[The Latest]

Must Read: Beckham Retires...NY Times
Google Search: Amazon Japan.
Tune: Chocolate By The 1975. 
Accomplishment: A well done lesson in front of visiting parents. 
Obsessions: Chocolate pie cookies.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Conversation Journals VI

It's been awhile since these guys were around, but never fear, we are back in action. With the new school year came a new batch of students to get to know.
Meet class 2-1.

Mr. Kitai is their English teacher... and Vice Principal.
Number 3 is my favorite.
I really wanted to answer, September 23rd at 4:11pm.
I'd say that sums me up in a nutshell...
I really thought this kid was trying to write 'alcohol'. Glad I googled. 
Some international movie trivia for you.
Asia does blood type like the west does horoscopes. 
I laughed out-loud at this. My response is below.
Before you think I am being extra sassy with this kid, you should probably know that Abe is Japan's Prime Minister.

Obama's BFF,

[The Latest]

Must Read: Gun-toting robot controlled by your Purple with the $90 cup holder, please.  
Google Search: Axolotol.
Tune: King and Lionheart By Of Monsters and Men. 
Accomplishment: Successfully helping a few kiddos today. 
Obsessions: Othello iphone app.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Just a few to make you chuckle...

For some reason I thought these were extra funny today. 
Happy Wednesday, all!


[The Latest]
 I laughed for a solid two minutes at this...

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful moms out there! 
Since I am miles, and miles, and miles from my mom, the best that we could do today was a skype call to say, a quick Hello and I love you. 

It's a good thing we got that out in the first 15 seconds of the call because the remainder of the time we spent discussing what was going on with skype, and why it was ruining this Hallmark holiday for us. 

In the end, we decided to move Mother's Day to Friday.
Crisis averted. 

Love you, Mom. 

Eileen's daughter, 

[The Latest]

Google Search: Apple store Ginza station exit.
Tune: King and Lionheart By Of Monsters and Men. 
Accomplishment: A lovely weekend. 
Obsessions: iMovie.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Today is one of those days that I feel like I have it together. Nothing magical or exceptionally different has happened, and yet, for some reason today I feel like I could take on anything. I have come to notice, as my departure date from Japan nears, days like this occur among many other non-together, but rather haphazard, sort of days. The days that I realize how much my life is going to be turned upside down in just a few short months and all I want to do is dig my heals into the ground and throw a tantrum, and not let anyone take me away from the sweet little life I've created. 
And then I remember. 
I remember how absolutely magical this experience of living in Japan has been. 
I remember that just because we are leaving a Japan doesn't mean I will never see my fabulous friends from Japan back in the US or some other part of the world.  
I remember all my friends in the US.
I remember all the weddings I get to be apart of when I arrive home.
I remember how excited my mom and Charlie are for my impending arrival. 
I remember how much I am looking forward to good Mexican food...
and Yogurtland, bagels, JamabaJuice, In-N-Out, and all things from Trader Joe's.
And then then I remember how I'll still be me now matter where I am. 
And just like that, for the time being, I've got it together.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Here and Now, 

[The Latest]

Must Read: Body Worlds in NY...NY Times. If you get the chance, go! So amazing!
Google Search: Spicy sitr fry recipe.
Tune: Walk the Moon By Anna Sun. 
Accomplishment: Answering quite a few emails. 
Obsessions: Chocolate covered pomegranate seeds.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Norm For Me A Chuckle For You 9

Finished my taxes yesterday and feeling like a real adult now. US citizens living abroad get an automatic two month extension, no one worry, they'll be on time. Not only will they be on time, but will arrive in style with one of the few envelopes I had on hand. 

I just really want America to get that I'm living outside the country. 
Mission accomplished. 

Consider the IRS kawaii-ed, 

[The Latest]

Google Search: Columbiana Movie.
Tune: Walk the Moon By Anna Sun. 
Accomplishment: Getting to leave early today! 
Obsessions: Mozzarella cheese. I mean...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

iphone phun: okinawa

I had big plans to upload tons of pics from my last few days in Okinawa, but my mac was giving me attitude so I took it to the Apple store last night. Turns out he had to be admitted for maintenance. So, for now we are going to have to go with iphone pics while mac makes a full recovery.

Without further ado, here are the stunning pictures from the week my friend Jeff and I just spent on Zamami Island, an hour by ferry off the coast of Naha, Okinawa. Zamami comes to you highly recommended: laid back vibe, small town feel, not at all touristy and more beautiful that you could imagine. 
Go. Just do it. You won't be disappointed.


Island Refreshed, 

P.S. Get well soon, Mac!

[The Latest]

Google Search: How to play Othello.
Tune: Walk the Moon By Anna Sun. 
Accomplishment: Unpacking. 
Obsessions: Brown sugar covered peanuts from Okinawa. 


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