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Wobbegong Conquers the Sakamichi


Wobbegong

Travel Poll!   

17 members have voted

  1. 1. What's the farthest from home you've traveled in your life?

    • To another country far from my own
      12
    • To another country near or neighboring my own
      4
    • To another state/province/territory/prefecture/etc within my own country
      1
    • To a nearby city
      0
    • Across town
      0


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9 hours ago, Diadhuit said:

Love these stories, so happy for you!!!
You'll adapt your diet soon enough, take it easy, it's a big change! One day you'll see that you are using healthy Japanese food options and you will be surprised

I'll try to keep 'em coming! Usually when I go to a foreign country, I completely forget to write anything down, and then later I try to recall what I did on my trip and it's a big blank of general happiness. So this time I'm working on paying a little more attention and recording my experiences so I can relive them later. 

 

9 hours ago, zeroh13 said:

How feasible is it for you to take a trip to one of the larger towns/cities and stock up on some stuff you can't find near you? 

 

That's the best kind of cooking! Though I may be a bit biased since that tends to be my cooking style too. :P

It is very feasible for me to order anything I want online for delivery. Amazon delivers so quickly and cheaply in Japan that I have been informed Prime is a waste of money. Going to the nearest big town to shop would cost $20 in train fare ($10 each way) even though it's not very far, because I have to cross a district border. I also don't have a car here so once I get to the "big town" (Ito, population 68,000) I have to shlep around everywhere on foot and then carry everything I get back with me on the train. So it's been recommended that I buy online. 
 

6 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I am going to go ahead and be presumptuous and suggest that by the time you leave Japan this will no longer be your cooking style.  Japan is not really a place that embraces individualism (at least not like we do it in the west), and therefore trying to do things differently from the "normal" way will require extra effort, and after a while that extra effort just doesn't seem like it is really worth it.  

 

The stuff I am talking about I never noticed for the first few months I was there because I didn't know what I was looking at.  It took a roommate explaining it to me before I finally learned the way of the flavor (aji-do?) :D   

 

I spent my first 5 months in a tiny town on the west shore of lake Biwa (Shiga Prefecture) and every store had this stuff so I would be extremely surprised if they didn't also have it there

 

Look for things like this:

They are most likely going to be in the same place as the curry and udon, or close by

I'm not digging in my heels in protest over here! I think I'm probably in the same boat as first-five-months you and I just haven't learned what to look for. Thank you so much for the pictures! In the Japanese grocery store, everything is so brightly colored and similarly packaged my eyes kind of glaze over when I look at things (doesn't help finding specific ingredients!) but I'm sure as I adjust I'll get better. I'm not really used to shopping much in the "inner aisles" anyway but I will do my best. Thank you so much for your advice, please keep it coming! 

 

The way of the flavor... aji-do? Aji-kata? Docchi ka na? 

 

I have been to Lake Biwa! I saw the 10,000 fireworks festival there a few years ago when I was studying abroad in Kyoto. At the time I was doing a homestay in Nagaoka-kyo, so I'm no stranger to rural Japanese living, but unfortunately back then my host mother handled all the grocery shopping and cooking so I didn't get much of a chance to learn. 

 

2 hours ago, Iceburner said:

I'm getting so hungry browsing through here! :o ... 

Same, but I'm much too tired tonight to go through the whole ordeal of getting dressed in appropriate outdoor clothing and walking to the grocery store and sorting through Japanese mystery packets and coming back here just to then have to change again and cook. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will buy a selection and start having some fun. 

 

Everyone at the schools where I work is super aghast that I have to walk ALL THE WAY from Atagawa Station to Atagawa Junior High School (a little over a mile... 2km maybe?) because it's all uphill. Eventually after much distress they offer a, "I guess you'll get really slim?" (In Japan, NO ONE cares how much you weigh. It's a pretty amazing perk.) But I won't. I'll eat and eat and eat all the things WhiteGhost suggests and get really fat instead. :D 

 

Actually, today someone from the Board of Education (my employers) came over to assist in translation while my AC unit was installed (it was funny because she doesn't speak any English either, but we like each other and she's really patient with my constant "Wait, what is [xxx]?"s. She told me that all the older people at the BoE are really concerned about whether I'm eating breakfast and dinner (I get school lunch). She said, "I just keep telling them you're an adult!" Kind of makes me worry that if I do slim down a lot people will be really concerned... 

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42 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

The way of the flavor... aji-do? Aji-kata? Docchi ka na? 

I just randomly picked do from bushido or aikido, but it turns out that aji-do would be written 味道 which just happens to be the actual Chinese word for flavor.  I didn't even make the connection until I saw your question :D 

 

44 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

I have been to Lake Biwa! I saw the 10,000 fireworks festival there

I had forgotten about it that but I got to watch it too.  Blew my mind at the time

 

46 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

please keep it coming! 

If the grocery store is far or inconvenient, Japanese conbinis are amazing.  The various breadstuffs are all usually really good and they also have tons of other tasty treats.  If you have not tried a buta-man (or niku-man) - get thee to a conbini RIGHT NOW!  They are the best!    Also I assume you have had the triangle onigiris they have but those were also a favorite of mine (especially the salmon or tunafish ones).

 

As for street food, my all time favorites were (still are actually) yakisoba, okonomiyaki, and takoyaki (honorable mention for toriyaki).  I suspect these are all old hat for you though.

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Today was my first day at elementary school and omg the kids are SO CUTE. I can't handle it. Everyone wanted to practice their English with me, which in most cases meant shouting "HELLO" in my face and grinning, but in some cases meant a lot of staring at shoes until finally a mumbled "sank you" came out. 

 

Every day there are six class periods with four before lunch and two after lunch, and between the second and third classes there's a twenty-minute break (the other breaks are all ten minutes except lunch, which is an hour). During the morning break, 1st grade students were wandering the halls looking for teachers to introduce themselves to. They had hand-made business cards (just their names and a cute design) and a sheet with pictures of all the teachers and space for us to write our names. Since it was my first day, my picture wasn't on the sheet, but several kids asked me to write my name down anyway and practiced handing me their "business card." SOOO ADORABLE!!! 

 

As far as actual classes, it looks like I will only be working with 5th and 6th graders, who are for the first time starting this year being graded on their English classes, while 3rd and 4th grade students are getting the old ungraded 5th and 6th curriculum. There are two classes of 6th graders and one of 5th so I have no afternoon classes at all, but I've been asked to wander around the school and visit classes and help teachers and students as needed, and to do class prep work in the teacher's room if there is any. I didn't get a chance to practice today because of the whole AC installation thing (I left during the lunch hour, with permission and with instructions not to return for the day), and honestly I'm a little nervous about it next week. There is another ALT working at the elementary schools, a woman who came from America by way of the Philippines, and she has lived in Japan for close to 30 years. Her Japanese is perfect so all of the teachers just talk to her and have her translate for me, but she doesn't work in the afternoons, so I don't know how I'm going to figure out if I'm doing what's expected of me or not. 

 

The 5th and 6th grade students are also all really cute. Today the 5th graders learned the numbers from 11-20, and we sang a number song that went really fast, so they didn't like it. With practice, I'm sure they'll get there no problem! The 6th graders are learning "I have/Do you have." We played a card matching game kind of like Go Fish but with alphabet cards (since it's the beginning of the year and a suddenly-more-strenuous curriculum, the 6th graders are doing review and catch up at the same time) and the second class of the day was really good at it but the first class kept asking "Do you like" instead. "Do you like E?" "Do you like Y?" But they're all good learners and we had a lot of fun. 

 

Slowly but surely the elementary school students will learn to recognize me and then I'll get cute kids coming to say hi to me when I walk around town! I walk past the elementary school to get anywhere but the train station, so I see the kids around a lot. I'm really excited that soon they'll know me and greet me instead of running away! 

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3 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

I just randomly picked do from bushido or aikido, but it turns out that aji-do would be written 味道 which just happens to be the actual Chinese word for flavor.  I didn't even make the connection until I saw your question :D 

Sometimes "method" or "way of" is do (road) and sometimes it's kata (method). I was recently trying to figure out what the Japanese word for "Japanese counting words" is so I can ask "what's the counting word for ___?" (For those in the audience, Japanese doesn't have plural but does have a really complicated system of suffixes that modify numbers to count different things. People are counted with -nin except for one or two people, which are hitori and futari. From three, it becomes sannin, yonin, etc. Small animals are -hikki, large animals are -do, some animals have special counters. There are easily over a hundred counting words for various things.) I was told there is no word for counting word and I should just ask "What is the way of counting ___?" (kazoekata)

 

3 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

I had forgotten about it that but I got to watch it too.  Blew my mind at the time

I was actually kind of surprised that it wasn't more exciting? Admittedly I had a bad view, but the fact that all the fireworks were circles and ovals was not that impressive. With 10,000 at play, surely you could add some other fun shapes??? But the sheer number was pretty amazing. 

 

3 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

If the grocery store is far or inconvenient, Japanese conbinis are amazing.  The various breadstuffs are all usually really good and they also have tons of other tasty treats.  If you have not tried a buta-man (or niku-man) - get thee to a conbini RIGHT NOW!  They are the best!    Also I assume you have had the triangle onigiris they have but those were also a favorite of mine (especially the salmon or tunafish ones).

Japanese conbini ARE amazing but the Valu-Max is actually closer than the nearest conbini. The Valu-Max also shares a parking lot with a Daiso, Aeon, and McDonalds (guys don't cringe I haven't been yet but I hear McDonalds in Japan is actually good), so it's pretty convenient. I will have to find some buta-man or niku-man, I haven't tried them yet but they sound delicious. Is it bread stuffed with meat? 

 

I have had the triangle onigiri, and the Valu-Max has them but a pretty sad selection. Usually by the time I get there in the evening it's just tuna-mayo yet, which I haven't tried because I'm afraid it's canned tuna. Which I guess might be fine? (Really not my favorite, I'm sorry.) On my first day I got lucky and there was a konbu onigiri left over. Shio-konbu onigiri is my favorite but regular konbu will do in a pinch. 

 

3 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

As for street food, my all time favorites were (still are actually) yakisoba, okonomiyaki, and takoyaki (honorable mention for toriyaki).  I suspect these are all old hat for you though.

I haven't found any street food vendors yet. Maybe they only pop up during festivals? I've been keeping my eyes peeled for a food cart, like an oden stand or something, but so far no dice. It's all brick and mortar restaurants. I really like takoyaki except for the tako (I'm a bad person who doesn't eat octopus). In my experience yakisoba is great when it's good but really sad when it's bad. There's a wide range there. On the plane ride over I had perhaps the worst yakisoba of my life, but, you know, plane food... 

Okonomiyaki is amazing and delicious but I haven't seen ANY signs for it yet. If you were living by Lake Biwa you'd've been a lot closer to Osaka (home of okonomiyaki) than me out here in Izu, so maybe that's why? But when the students ask me what Japanese food I like and I include okonomiyaki in the list (they like to hear me say it without tripping, very impressive) they all show serious appreciation, so they must have it here. (For the record, I also tell them I like sashimi, because I've been asked about fifty times since I got here if raw fish is ok, and natto because there is a myth that foreigners can't eat it and I'm doing my best to represent, and curry-rice and ramen because it makes the kids really happy to know I like the same comfort food as them.) 

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4 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

natto because there is a myth that foreigners can't eat it

That's no myth, that's gospel. Even locals can't eat that (except the weirdos up north) :P

 

7 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

I haven't found any street food vendors yet. Maybe they only pop up during festivals? 

If Izu is anything like Katata, the street vendors won't actually be on the street unless there is a festival. They will probably have a little shop that have to find like some kind of easter egg.  I was lucky because I roomed with someone that had been there for months and already scouted out all the good places. :)

12 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

Osaka (home of okonomiyaki)

Actually a few different places all claim to be the home of okonomiyaki, each with their own style.  Each of them are good in their own way except Hiroshima style which should be a crime :D

 

I juat realized that Izu probably doesn't have a Gyoza No Osho (it's a Kansai chain) which means that you are going to have a sub-optimal Japan experience. That makes me sad 

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2 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

That's no myth, that's gospel. Even locals can't eat that (except the weirdos up north) :P

Excuse you natto is delicious and so far I've only met one Japanese person who stated outright they don't like it (also my host mother was 75 and totally done with that nonsense but she bought some for me so I could try it). I don't eat it over rice, though, if that's what you're thinking. People who eat natto like that should be locked up. 

 

2 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

If Izu is anything like Katata, the street vendors won't actually be on the street unless there is a festival. They will probably have a little shop that have to find like some kind of easter egg.  I was lucky because I roomed with someone that had been there for months and already scouted out all the good places. :)

Actually a few different places all claim to be the home of okonomiyaki, each with their own style.  Each of them are good in their own way except Hiroshima style which should be a crime :D

Thaaaaat makes a lot of sense. There are a bunch of little restaurants all over the place here (it seems like 50% of businesses here are restaurants, and the other 50% are all the other necessities: banks, cellphone stores, bookstores, groceries, etc). I'm still a little shy but probably in about two weeks I'll have enough courage to start going to restaurants on my own. I know the chances of me doing something really stupid or offensive are low and the people here would be nice about it if I messed up but still... no.  

 

2 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

I juat realized that Izu probably doesn't have a Gyoza No Osho (it's a Kansai chain) which means that you are going to have a sub-optimal Japan experience. That makes me sad 

Izu doesn't have a lot of things, but I'm sure my experience here will be fulfilling anyway!! There are some things I have to say I'm grateful to skip. One of the ALTs who came at the same time as me posted a picture on fb of a monkey sitting outside her kitchen window. No thanks. (To everyone who is cooing over the monkey, if you are out there, know that Japanese monkeys are not considered cute. They probably bite, and they steal your stuff.) Izu is famous for its hot springs so there probably are monkeys here or up in the mountains but I thankfully haven't met any yet. 

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2 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

Today was my first day at elementary school and omg the kids are SO CUTE. I can't handle it. Everyone wanted to practice their English with me, which in most cases meant shouting "HELLO" in my face and grinning, but in some cases meant a lot of staring at shoes until finally a mumbled "sank you" came out. 

Fiancé and I spent a couple of weeks doing all the tourist spots and there were often a few packs of school kids looking for native English-speaking tourists to interview. They were also impressed when I said okonomiyaki was my favourite. Still searching for a place in Australia that can make it for me! But if you get to do a field trip like that with the kids I'm sure you'll have a ball.

 

Also I had to laugh at your comment on the monkeys. Our tour guide asked us why guests were always so excited to see monkeys, and we explained it to her this way: if you came to visit us at home you'd be super excited to see the kangaroos, but since we see them all the time so they don't seem that special to us. And then one of the monkeys scratched me so I understood her point of view as well ;)

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@WhiteGhost tasukechatta! I found everything you pictured and more at the grocery store! A bunch of them are great because they tell you everything else you need to buy. I got a few, so in the future I can just pick one up, look at what veggies and meat it needs, and viola, grocery list! I hope they taste as good as you've promised, but either way I'll have a fun time finding out! Thanks!! 

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On 4/21/2018 at 1:16 PM, Wobbegong said:

@WhiteGhost tasukechatta! I found everything you pictured and more at the grocery store! A bunch of them are great because they tell you everything else you need to buy. I got a few, so in the future I can just pick one up, look at what veggies and meat it needs, and viola, grocery list! I hope they taste as good as you've promised, but either way I'll have a fun time finding out! Thanks!! 

I am really glad I could be of help :)

 

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Today I hiked Hosono Plateau and I'm a little surprised by a few things: 

 

1. Hosono Plateau looks a LOT like my local mountain in terms of flora and general landscape

2. My feet hurt so much??? It was only a 10km round trip??? 

3. Every other part of my body feels amazing I'm so glad I dragged myself out of the house for this (I almost took a nap instead, can you believe it)

4. There was a moment when I was climbing when I suddenly felt a lot of my stress fall away. I hadn't noticed I was carrying so much stress, but clearly I need to be more careful about seeking out nature in the future

5. Hosono Plateau is NOT the high spot I thought it was but still beautiful (no outlook over the town, though) 

 

After taking a bunch of pictures, I decided I'll finally get an instagram so I can conveniently share them with people here. So expect that at some point in the near-ish future. 

 

I met some kind of lizard or newt or salamander type creature that was at first very frightened by me but eventually came out and posed for pictures. It even showed me the inside of its mouth but I wasn't prepared so no picture of that. On the way back, I found a headless snake, and snapped a picture so I can look it up and learn more about it. No one has mentioned snakes on the list of local dangers so I assume it isn't venomous, whatever it is, but I'd still like to know. (I have no idea how it lost its head but I assume either by cat or by car. The number of stray cats wandering around here is truly preposterous.) 

 

I also somehow managed to break my laundry hanger thing (the magic rectangle form with all the clips hanging off it) so now the clip part keeps falling off the hook if I put too much weight on it. Of course, wet laundry is fairly heavy, so this represents something of a problem... For now, I'm just loading it very carefully, but if it gets worse I may just have to buy a new one. Thankfully they're not terribly expensive. 

 

Today I tried the yellow ajinomoto cook-do box that @WhiteGhost pictured. I have to say it was not as good as the red one, which I had last night. The yellow box seems to be some kind of Chinese-style sweet and sour sauce and it is too sweet for me. Luckily, this is more solution than problem: the point of buying several options was to try them and figure out which ones I like, and having such a distinct preference so far makes me think making choices in the future will be easy. I'm calling this a success! 

 

That's all I've got on the attentiveness report, but I think tomorrow I'll look around Daiso to see if I can't find a cloth tape measure. I'm getting very curious to know whether my shape really is changing or not. Tomorrow is my last day of new schools (Atagawa Elementary), so expect to hear from me again soon! 

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Sounds exciting! 

Nature really is a natural stress reliever, though I've found it can be stressful when the day goes longer than expected as well :P But oh if there's sunshine it's always worth it.

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18 hours ago, IAmInfinite said:

Sounds exciting! 

Nature really is a natural stress reliever, though I've found it can be stressful when the day goes longer than expected as well :P But oh if there's sunshine it's always worth it.

It was very sunny! It's been raining on and off all week so the sunny weekend was really refreshing. (It was actually too hot on Sunday and I was really pleased that at the top of the plateau the wind was really strong so it was very cool up there.) I love the rain too, of course, but I forget that it does sort of have a downing effect on me... 

 

13 hours ago, Bookish Badger said:

Following for culture studies! I have a coworker who lived in Tokyo for a few years and mentioned the ginormous crows they have there. Do you have jungle crows out where you are?

Not only are the crows enormous, they talk funny. I've been waiting to tell someone about these crows. The crows where I lived in the States said "Caw! Caw!" This is, I think, pretty normal for US crows. The crows here, however, say "BWAH! BWAH, BWAARK!!" They are way louder than the crows at home (this was difficult for me to wrap my head around when I arrived because the crows at home like to sit fifty to a tree and cackle, but seriously these crows are LOUD) and they sound like crows imitating people imitating crows. Or like a mix between a crow and a seagull and a really unhappy duck. 

 

 

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Today was my last first day! The teachers at my Monday elementary school are very gracious and helpfully came and got me and said "my students are doing PE, please come watch" instead of "walk around the school and help where you're needed" like at the other school. Srsly how am I supposed to know?? 

 

There was a point in the morning before I was whisked off to phys ed when someone in the teachers' lounge suggested I take a tour of the school by myself if I had nothing to do. I think she was implying I should be more useful, but again, how the heck do I know when I'm needed? My only skill is speaking English, and most students aren't studying it. I went ahead and went on the tour, and was very interested to discover that the entire third floor of the school is dedicated to advanced art projects. Like clay throwing, large-scale basket weaving, and sculptures made of metal and wood. I have no idea if the kids made all that stuff or if it's just being stored there for some reason, but it is added to my list of things that are totally normal in Japanese schools and would be pretty much unthinkable in their US counterparts. (In this case, because many parents would not be ok with elementary-aged students handling metal- or wood-cutting tools -- although I suppose it's possible that a teacher managed that part.) Also on the list is unicycle riding without helmets or supervision, which is a popular break time activity. Also having three pairs of shoes for a single day of school (one to walk there and back in, one to wear inside, and one to wear for PE). 

ANYWAY. I'm really glad that I'm finally done with self introductions (until next year) and that I kind of have a feel for how the work day goes. I had nothing to do at school in the afternoon today, since all my classes were in the morning, but someone gave me the school magazine so I translated a "scary story" about Yokai for practice. One of the words I learned through this exercise, "a few years ago," was immediately useful in a conversation I had with one of the teachers about the drought in California. Also all of the teachers laughed at me for picking the Yokai story but when I said I like Yokai they all became serious and said "That's really good, thank you, please continue." Is there a local curse I should know about? 

While I was watching PE today, which was a mixed group of 6th and 4th grade students, a tiny little girl climbed up the steps to me, said "Hello, nice to meet you" with perfect diction, stuck her hand out to shake, and then turned and climbed back down without another word. Her handshake was terrible but I am prepared to forgive that in the face of her courage overall. (Literally everyone I have shaken hands with here has a limp noodle shake. In general hand shaking isn't done here so I think people just don't understand how it's supposed to work.) 

 

Of course, I won't see any of them again until May 7 since next Monday is a holiday (Golden Week! Whaaaat!) so by then they'll probably have forgotten me again, but no matter. I actually see this school the least, since there are so many holiday Mondays: a total of 33 times in a year. Not quite one day in ten. So my expectations for them to get to know me are pretty low. The other elementary school has the next-fewest meetings with me, 39 total in a year (probably by design). It's kind of unfortunate that I like the Atagawa teachers better and see them less frequently, but I have some great students in Inatori and I think I'll warm up to the teachers (and them to me) as I get more into the swing of things. Here's hoping, anyway. 

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27 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

Also having three pairs of shoes for a single day of school (one to walk there and back in, one to wear inside, and one to wear for PE). 

The one I found kinda strange but probably useful is students bringing their own toothbrushes to school. So they can brush after lunch . It makes sense cause korean food is often rife with garlic and koreans care alot for personal hygiene, but I always thought that was interesting.

 

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Not only are the crows enormous, they talk funny. I've been waiting to tell someone about these crows. The crows where I lived in the States said "Caw! Caw!" This is, I think, pretty normal for US crows. The crows here, however, say "BWAH! BWAH, BWAARK!!" They are way louder than the crows at home (this was difficult for me to wrap my head around when I arrived because the crows at home like to sit fifty to a tree and cackle, but seriously these crows are LOUD) and they sound like crows imitating people imitating crows. Or like a mix between a crow and a seagull and a really unhappy duck. 

 

 

 

I had the same thing with crows when I moved from Italy to Ireland.

Italian crow

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRBq1qVWzSGFAUAVb8EPuTNoteiMZF1An5svZp7ZVNPtm-yZYb_

 

Irish crow

800px-Raven_croak.jpg?itok=kyUlEHf3

 

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I had always assumed that the big ones in Japan were actually ravens, which was why they were larger and had the more throaty caws.  

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Level 2 Ninja

Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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2 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I had always assumed that the big ones in Japan were actually ravens, which was why they were larger and had the more throaty caws.  

2 hours ago, Rainelf said:

Ravens really do make a weird metallic sort of noise - as well as being big!

We have both crows and ravens where I used to live, since it was on the edge of suburban and rural, and in my experience ravens have a head crest, are shaggier than Japanese crows, and do not flock (they hang out with one or two buddies at a time, not 5-30). The Common Raven at home was also significantly larger than the Japanese crow, which is noticeably larger than the American crow but still nowhere near the size of a raven. 

 

As it turns out, there is a word in Japanese for raven as distinct from crow (watarigarasu, as opposed to just karasu, which is crow) which indicates to me that both also exist in Japan. HOWEVER, in my experience Japanese people are extraordinarily bad at animal identification (someone once asked me if penguins were fish, and despite bats being common no one appears to recognize one when they see it), so it could well be that watarigarasu is just a formal word for raven and karasu, which can mean crow or raven, is usually translated as crow but actually describes ravens. 

 

Since crows and ravens are fairly closely related, as birds go (also jays), it is also possible that the Japanese crow is evolutionarily somewhere between the Common Crow and Common Raven of the US. 

 

I would like to state for the record that I am not an expert on birds and everything I write here about them is knowledge gained through personal experience and is therefore anecdotal evidence. (Except that time when I complained that the turkeys are non-native and ruining my local ecosystem. That information came from research and is established and demonstrable fact.) 

 

2 hours ago, Diadhuit said:

 

 

 

 

 

I had the same thing with crows when I moved from Italy to Ireland.

Italian crow

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRBq1qVWzSGFAUAVb8EPuTNoteiMZF1An5svZp7ZVNPtm-yZYb_

 

Irish crow

800px-Raven_croak.jpg?itok=kyUlEHf3

 

Uh ok I have to say that Italian crow looks like it would barley qualify for the title but given how tiny it looks I can see why you would've been startled when you moved. But also yeah the variation among crows around the world is really impressive, so again, there are lots of things the Japanese crow could be. Also also, their raucous cries sound a lot like seagulls, so maybe there's a benefit to that type of squawk in watery areas? And maybe the Japanese crow, an island bird, learned to be obnoxious because it's better for communicating over the sound of the ocean? (Were Darwin's finches also loud? Someone find out.) 

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On 4/23/2018 at 7:28 PM, IAmInfinite said:

The one I found kinda strange but probably useful is students bringing their own toothbrushes to school. So they can brush after lunch . It makes sense cause korean food is often rife with garlic and koreans care alot for personal hygiene, but I always thought that was interesting.

So all of the teachers at the school I was at today did this and I felt kind of awkward about not having a toothbrush, like maybe they were judging me for having an unhygienic mouth, but like... tell me these things in advance?? I am still fuming over not being told how many schools I would teach at in advance. I purchased a pair of shoes for in-school use but since I'm at a different school nearly every day I have to carry them around with me to and from every time! What a pain! Every school has designated shoe locker space to me and I can only use it for eight hours a week because I don't have enough shoes?!  

 

23 hours ago, Bean Sidhe said:

Okay, so I am following for all the fun stories and to watch you get settled into your new routines. I love the stories and the kids sound adorable.

Yussss please enjoy my life I hope it is entertaining. I am being super thoroughly entertained over here. Story time. 

 

Today I was working with my favorite teacher and before the class she asked if I would be ok role-playing as her husband for a short dialogue related to the grammar exercise we were doing. I assured her I was fine with being a man for a few minutes, but she remained somewhat concerned. In Japan, gender roles can be pretty strict, but we didn't have time for me to explain that where I grew up and in my friend group gender fluidity was pretty normal, and I've definitely acted both as a friend's boyfriend and as a friend's girlfriend (gay) publicly before for one reason or another. Anyway, it was 100% fine with me but she seemed a little edgy. 

 

So we get to class and the time comes for the role play, and since I'm her husband Bob of course I adopt a baritone for the purposes of authenticity. Midway through I have the line, "Hi honey, I'm home." (Literally my exact words.) Which I say after walking across the classroom to "come home" from the "park." Something about my delivery was just way too much for her and in the middle of class she doubled over laughing, which of course set the whole class off and me as well. I don't know if it was that line in particular because I was suddenly standing right next to her, or because I was unconsciously adjusting louder because I had been behind the class and had moved to the front, which put me farther from the students, or the ridiculousness of the line (probably not that) or what, but she could not handle it. Later, she told me, "You just seem so quiet! I wasn't expecting you to get so into it!" Which is... fair I guess, because there are several things I'm shy about, but role-playing as a man for educational purposes is not one of them. 

 

Anyway, it was funny enough at the time, but then later somehow the teachers in the lounge got onto the topic of surprising things that happen at school (we started with a student who came into the teachers lounge, saw a very nice teacher the student was inexplicably afraid of, and burst into tears) and my teacher friend recounted the whole thing. I was asked to demonstrate because of course I was and AGAIN everyone was in stitches. 

 

Tell me true, is my false baritone really bad?! (It probably is really bad lol but tbh a large part of the point of getting into character in class is to help students feel less nervous about talking. If I can look ridiculous, it's not so bad if they also look ridiculous.) 

 

11 hours ago, Tateman said:

Sounds pretty great so far there.

It is great! But today at dinner I ran into my landlord and mistook him for a local hotel owner (they are both older Japanese gentlemen who like to speak to me in English, the only two in town) which was slightly awkward for me (not him, he just said "what" and I said "excuse me sorry" and we kept talking like nothing had happened) UNTIL AFTER DINNER I WENT TO THE DRUGSTORE AND RAN INTO THE HOTEL OWNER. WHAT. Small towns, man. The hotel owner was delighted to see me again and helped me pick out the appropriate bug spray to kill anything that might visit my home. I also picked up some mosquito-repelling panels that I am to hang near my doors. I sincerely hope they work because every time I make it through the night without a mosquito waking me up buzzing in my ear feels like a final victory and then usually the next day I find another mosquito and kill it and wonder where the other two are. (They always enter my apartment in threes it's terrifying.) 

 

If anyone has any suggestions for how to keep mosquitos from entering in the first place that don't involve yeast or screens, I'm all ears. (Yeast because I would have to order it online and I don't want to deal with sorting through yeast options in Japanese and screens because I have them already, the mosquitos hang out on them and when I open them to pass through they come in.) 

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Okay, I can totally see you being a great guy for this exercise. I can think of a couple plants that might help, but I don't know if you can get them in japan.

 

The article also has a DIY bug spray, I am wondering if you can get the stuff for those and maybe spray them around the windows, (or at least on you and the bed before bed).

https://www.countryliving.com/gardening/garden-ideas/g2479/plants-that-repel-mosquitoes/

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Current Challenge ---> Bean Si Vs Chaos No energy for a title

You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream - C.S. Lewis

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