Saturday, April 27, 2013

Little by Little

Little signs of spring, popping up here and there.

Please excuse the lack of posting.  Nathan's father and friend have been in town for the last week, so we've been running around here and there.  It's funny - most of the things we take them to aren't sightseeing spots, but restaurants!  There's just so much good food to share!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Odds and Ends

We're getting back into a routine here at the Robinson household.  Well, I am anyway.  After a two-month pity party, I'm back on the Japanese study wagon again.  I'm trying to be more serious about my studying, and doing a little something every day.  And I'm back to exercising again, after a two-week sick leave.  I love my zumba classes, and now that the snow is gone (yippee!!!), I can ride my bike again.  My little mama-cheri (what the little cheap bikes are called in Japan) has only one gear, so it can be quite a workout.  I also try to practice my ukulele every evening, and I'm getting pretty good at a few songs, if I do say so.

And it's good to be back in the classroom, after almost a month of not teaching.  The new first graders seem very sweet, and I look forward to teaching them all.  In fact, the more I teach at Keihoku, the more I realize that I am perfectly suited for this job.  Too bad it's not forever...

Anyway, here's some photos I've taken over the last week or so.  Just some odds of ends of my daily life.

Japan doesn't really have "bad words" like we do in English, so I don't think they quite grasp the meaning of this word sometimes, haha.

On the way to work one morning, I spotted this jacket.

Sometimes I just love the English on Japanese things.

This was Friday morning, and I was not happy about it.  Luckily, it melted by the afternoon.

A Japanese girl group.   Not sure I want to know what demographic they're trying to appeal to.

Ethan last night at karaoke, singing some Beastie Boys.  He's pretty awesome.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Change

Spring is finally starting to poke its head around Sapporo.  Every day last week there was above-freezing temperatures, which has made the mountains of snow more like small hills.  It's gonna take a while for all the snow to be completely gone, but I'm just happy I'm no longer walking on ice to work every morning.  I never thought I'd love to see pavement so much!

This morning, it's raining for what has to be the first time in a long time.  It's washing away a lot of the dirty, grungy snow that's still lingering on.  In more southern parts of Japan, sakura (cherry blossom) season - the herald of spring - has come and gone.  It takes a while for it to get up here to Hokkaido - probably not until May (always around my birthday.  Much better than the tornadoes that would always pop up around my birthday in Texas).

For most of us, Spring is always the symbol for new beginnings.  In Japan, I think even more so.  The new school year begins in April, and businesses recruit for the new fiscal year.  It's a time of growth and change.  An exciting - and often stressful - time.

I found this short animation on the blog Spoon and Tamago, and thought it perfectly illustrates the feeling many newly graduated Japanese must feel this time of year:

Tokyo University of the Arts student Maho Yoshida beautifully illustrates all the anxieties of shu-katsu, an abbreviated term for job hunting. In the 7 and a half minute video the protagonist, which seems to be Yoshida herself, is peacefully enjoying school life when she begins to notice that her friends are behaving oddly. Before realizing it, she is suddenly swept up in the whirlpool that is, “Japanese ceremonial job hunting.”
There’s no dialogue so you don’t have to understand Japanese to appreciate this animated gem.

(I guess there is a bit of Japanese at the end.  On her phone, she receives a message that says, "Rejected". )

Monday, April 1, 2013

We're Back!

It's the second week of Spring Break here for us in Sapporo-land.  It's funny - the school years finishes, and I think I'm gonna have all this time to catch up on one thing or another.  And then I got sick last week, and it's hard to want to do anything.

But let's go back a little bit to before I got this crazy sinus infection that just won't go away.  On March 23rd, Takuya and I had our first Live performance since September.  We had a friend of ours open for us, and then we got back on that stage together.  It was awesome, to say the least.  Takuya had a new toy in the form of a Looper, which makes our regular songs feel new again.  However, the biggest surprise for us both that night was the huge support of our friends.  About 40 people came to the show that night, and Monkey Bar was packed!  I'm still in awe that people still like listening to us, since we started singing with each other over a year ago now.  I think we have some of the best friends in the world - from all over the world!

We took a few pictures, but the lighting's not so great.  I look like someone who's telling a ghost story while holding a flashlight under my face, haha.

Sorry (Mom), but we didn't take video this time.

And just like that, we're back to performing again.  We're gonna start singing the first Wednesday of every month at Mellow, like we did last year.  In fact, if anyone reading this is in the Sapporo area, we'll be performing there tomorrow at 8.

We also have our own Sarah and Takuya page on Facebook, and honestly, I don't know why we didn't do this sooner.  We're no professionals by any means, but we thought it'd be a good place to put up videos, pictures, and announce shows.  Come be our friend here.  All the cool kids are doing it.