"The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here."
-Robert G. Ingersoll

We had a successful class yesterday,
the 7th graders and I.

We learned how different
the minds of Americans
and Japanese

We played a game
where they guessed
what picture I was holding in my hand.
I gave them clues, according to color and shape,
and that's when the class erupted.

"Tigers are yellow!"
No, they're orange.
"Onions are brown!"
No, they're pink.
"The sun is red!"
No, it's yellow.
"Stoplights are blue!"
No, they're green.

Teaching can be mundane,
because it's selfless.
But, if I let the days of the week pass me by

without a second glance,
I throw away moments of life.

To quoth Keith Urban's music:
"These are the days we will remember,
and these are the times that won't come again."

I learn so much
by living here.

There's nowhere else on Earth
I need to be
right now.

{Music via The Lovely Bones. Gorgeous film. You must watch it.}
{Quotes from "Hawksong" & "Eclipse"}

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer,
it sings because it has a song" -Lou Holtz

Every day of the week should be celebrated.
And that's why I gave Tuesday a holiday.

Tuesdays are the days I fill the tub
with sauna-hot water
and relax.

Sometimes I bring a friend.
A book, I mean.

What holidays or traditions
have you made up, on a whim?

{Outdoor Tub found here}
{Bunny Tub found here}
{Castle Tub found here}
{Puppy Tub found here}
{Oriental Tub found here}

Growing up,
Thumbelina was
one of my favorite love stories.

When I was recording this:
I kept choking up
and twirling around the room
with my arms outstretched.
No, it's okay,
you can laugh.

What are your cherished childhood films?

{Downloadable Here}
{"Thumbelina" & "Prince Cornelius" via Don Bluth}
{"Let Me Be Your Wings" original song via Barry Manilow}

A student asked me today,
"What is the word for 'eternal love' in English?"
{Japanese: eien no ai 永遠の愛}

"It's eternal love," I said,
but he pushed on.

"How do you declare your eternal love?"

"Uh... 'I'll love you forever'...?" I replied.
And then I was lost in contemplative thought.

In Japanese,
to pledge your eternal love,
you simply say, "eternal love".

Bryn had a similar idea, actually,
before he flew to London.
And together,
we invented our own simple word
that we use sometimes, to mean,
"I'll love you forever".

So, a question:
Is there an easier way to say,
"I'll love you forever"
in English?

Or, do you have your own little word?

{Book via Papertissue}

... not like my mama, anyways.
But I've discovered something here in Japan:
making up your own recipes is really fun.
{And it sure keeps yer pocketbook lookin' healthy.}

"Cheese-Please Rice Bowl"
+ white rice
+ daikon {Japanese radish}
+ mild cheddar cheese
+ baby mushrooms
+ fresh broccoli
+ renkon {Japanese lotus root}
+ brown egg

Do you have recipes of your own?
If so, I'd love to try them!

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
-Margaret Atwood

One day at school,
I had 7 hours of nothing to do.
Well, besides my homework, but pffft.
So, I told the staff I was taking a walk
and headed down the street to the post office.

But then I saw the Family Mart
across the street
and had to get an ice cream.

Which led to spotting a very green,
very grassy hill

And the next thing I knew,
I was climbing the hill
and crunching along the gravely path
of the Greater Pond of Kakogawa
{Kako Ooike 加古大池}.

I didn't take out my camera
until the stroll was almost over,
because I was practically floating in the clouds
the entire way.
But I'll go back
and show you all of it sometime.

{"Clair de Lune" via Claude Debussy}
"Just be famous. You'll feel better." -Marc Johns

1. Japan's weather forecasts are accurate 9 times out of 10. That's more than I can say for Utah (but I guess Utah's weather is kinda hard to pin down).

2. "Screamo" music sounds just as bad in Japanese as it does in English.

3. Sushi tastes even better wrapped in a leaf.

4. The Japanese don't even know how to speak Japanese sometimes. This gives me hope.

5. The American dream of a friendly, efficient, economical country is possible; Japan does it every day.

Mistakes make life super fun,
so, I won't let the humiliation
of telling my coworker, "I have a flat chest"
{pecha pai}
rather than, "I have a mosquito bite"
{ka ni kamareta}
get to me too much.

Oh, Google Translate,
you get me into trouble sometimes.

{Photo taken in Amagasaki's mall.}

"Aerodynamically, the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly.
But the bumblebee doesn't know it, so it goes on flying anyway."
-Mary Kay Ash

Akemi found out I like the zoo,
so she took me to a BIG one in Osaka
during Japan's Golden Week.

Japanese time!
Let's learn animal names:

Elephant. Zou.

Clouded Leopard. Unpyou.

Giraffe. Kirin.

Coyote. Koyoote.

Hippopotamus. Kaba.

Bubbling Hippopotamus. Kaba o babburingu.

Owl. Fukurou.

Hyena. Haiena.

Let's take a breather and listen
to a cute little girl.

Ready for more?
Hip hip!

Chinese Pony. Chuugoku ponii.

Hyrax. Hairakkusu.

Ostrich. Dachou.

Lioness. Mesu raion.

Goat. Yagi.

Cougar. Pyuuma.

Eagle. Washi.

Zebra. Shimauma.

West African Crowned Crane.
We'll skip this one.

Camel. Rakuda.

Tiger. Tora.

You made it! Good for you.
Isn't learning fun? :D

Oh, what a big nose you have!

Glad my nose ain't bein' poached.
Though, having skin as white as a chicken's butt,
I sometimes feel like I'm a zoo animal.
Just sayin'.

{"Dog Tail" via Martin Buxbaum}
{Gif via Sesame Street}

"I'm gonna be free, and I'm gonna be brave. I'm gonna live each day as if it were my last--fantastically, courageously, with grace. Let's go everywhere, even though we're scared--cause it's life, and it's happening, it's really, really happening, right now."
-Christine Jesperson

Happy Children's Day!!
Also known as "Boy's Day",
but girls get to fly koinobori
{giant fish streamers} too.
Score for the ladies--two special days in one year!
This is also the last holiday
here in Japan-Land.
And now it's back to school.


{kitty found here}