Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas in my apartment

Here are a few pics of Christmas in my apartment this year. As always, I had a fun time decorating and have enjoyed looking at the decorations this month. I even got to share them with a few friends and students as they came over for classes and fellowship times.

One of my friends from the U.S. sent me some of the ingredients for homemade hot cocoa. This is my first batch in front of my Christmas tree. This was an easy and fun Christmas present. Thanks for the help, Donna!

My advent wreath on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Having this on my table gave me several opportunities to talk about waiting for Jesus' birth and how important His birth is to me.

The nativity scene in my entry. The angel in the back is new-thanks Cindy! I like the battery operated candles I got at the dollar store last home assignment. I can keep them lit while I am gone, too!:)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Saturday trip

On Saturday evenings I teach an English class to a very interesting and fun group of people. Last month we made plans to go to Universal Studios on the 13th to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere. Everyone else has been there before and two students even have season passes. I was excited to go for the first time!

The word of the day, according to Mrs. Fujiwara, was 忍耐, patience. I would have to agree!

We arrived at the entrance of the parking lot about 4PM, our planned arrival time. However, the parking lot was full. So, we went to another parking lot nearby-line of cars around the corner waiting to get in. Okay, how about the one by the station. Same situation. Well, let's just go down the train line to the next train station! Yes, there is a parking lot and only three cars were waiting to get in. It is now 4:20PM. At 4:50 the first car in line finally gets into the parking lot. Finally, at 5:20, an hour after getting into line, we get into the parking lot!

We take the train back one stop to the park and finally get in around 5:30PM. By this time everyone is hungry so we are about to head to a restaurant when we realize they are just lighting the Christmas tree. There is supposed to be a neat show beforehand, however, we missed it. It's okay, I saw parts of it on TV last week.

Finally, we start off walking through the park to a restaurant. The couple who have season passes have a restaurant they like so we follow after them to the other side of the park. We get there and the restaurant is closed! Okay, choose another restaurant. We end up at a Japanese restaurant-which has a line and at least 20 minute wait.

Finally, we get a table-for six on a busy Saturday night in December! The highlight of the meal was the fun drinks we ordered with blinking ice cubes! Naohiro, the engineer, took it out and figured out how it worked-we women just enjoyed the wonder of flashing drinks.

(Can't see the blinking light so well in the picture:)

There was a special at the restaurant to get an express pass for one ride and a dessert so we got that. Finally, at 7:30 made it to the Jurassic Park ride. Since it is a water ride and it is winter we bought the over-priced plastic bag to put over our coats so that we wouldn't get wet. The ride was fun-the drop at the end was way better than I'd expected.

Two ladies didn't ride so we spent the next 15 minutes trying to find them-I was mostly watching the Peter Pan show while others were looking. By now the roller coaster was closed. But, the shops were still open-and overflowing! So, for the last 45 minutes at the park we walked through shops. Fortunately, we did not try to stick together!

My first trip to USJ has left me wanting to go back for more. One gal said to me several times that we will need to go back for a whole day in the spring so we can go on more rides and see more shows and really enjoy ourselves-I agree!

Mrs. Fujiwara (the one who wanted to eat at the Japanese restaurant), Atsumi (the one with the season pass), and Chika (the gal who wants to go back)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

saving space

How we save space in Japan...

Yes, that really is a road, an expressway, right through a building in downtown Osaka! Apparently, the highway department bought two floors of the building so they could put a road through it.

Gotta have some way to get from point a to point b!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Japanese Husbands

National Chauvinistic Husbands Association
This is the name of an actual group in Japan! But, before there are any negative comments, let me assure you that they are not using the word chauvinist in a negative way. (That is the word they used to translate the Japanese on the English version of the news and then they explained what I just said.)

Every year this group has a shouting meeting at a busy train station in Tokyo. Each man who shows up shouts out his love for his wife. Now, this is a pretty incredible thing in a country where most couples don't even say "I love you" to each other.

In the news report they interviewed one 63 year old man who is part of the group. He said that when he and his wife had been married about 20 years they began quarreling a lot because they didn't understand each other. They decided that they would share their feelings with each other about everything, no matter how small the matter.

The man showed his membership card that contains the three rules of the group:
1) Don't hesitate to say "Thank you."
2) Don't hesitate to say "I'm sorry."
3) Don't be shy about saying "I love you." your wife.

A pretty amazing group for Japan!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

pie sheet cookies

Today two of my friends from choir came over with another friend and their daughters-4 little girls. We had a fun time making easy cookies from prepared pie sheets. Pie crust is not something I do.

We rolled the pie sheets out thin and then cut out Christmas shapes. Then place a piece of chocolate on one shape cover it with its mate and seal it together by pressing the edges together with a fork. We wiped them with beaten egg and put a slice of almond on the top.

The girls loved it! With the edges they chopped up some chocolate and made the dough chocolate chip, formed their own shapes and baked. It was a fun afternoon!

First batch is finished and ready to eat!

Cookies and hot chocolate!

Friday, December 5, 2008

fun with friends

Last weekend several of us from choir got together for cheese fondue and conversation. It was a fun evening hanging out and learning more about these ladies.

A visual delight and delicious feast!

How to help a dog fall asleep!

Final fun! Cleaning up and going home.