No curve was too sharp for them and their bicycle. No puddle was deep enough to stop them. -- Friends by Helme Hein

26 April, 2009

Yomiuri Giants vs. Chunichi Dragons

Baseball in Japan is as patriotic as baseball in America. They love their players (especially Ichiro Suzuki) and their chants and noisemakers. We watched the Tokyo home team, the Yomiuri Giants, play the visiting Dragons from Nagoya. Jesse almost switched teams for lack of excitement, but James made her hang on to the end. With a score of 4-2 Dragons in the bottom of the 9th inning, pinch-hitter Yoshiyuki Kamei stepped in to hit a 3 run walk off homer. The crowd went crazy, chanting KA-ME-I! Japanese men muttered "arigato" to themselves and the whole dome saluted their hero. We have a new home team to root for now. Good place to be on a rainy Saturday night.

Sea of umbrellas filtering out of the stadium. The average Japanese person owns 7 umbrellas. Being the Oregonian I am, I just put up my hood.

Tokyo Dome

There was a crazy wind tunnel as we left the game. People were sort of sucked out of the stadium and were screaming and laughing at the intense winds.

And lastly, a great article about baseball in Japan. This was our experience exactly.

Reconaissance Work

James and the other first grade teachers had to explore the Tokyo Toy Museum this weekend to see how it might work for a field trip. Huge wooden ball pit. Looks painful but actually really cool feeling.

Doing some note-taking in the ball pit.

Testing out the foosball table with Craig to make sure it works well for the kids.

Eating Adventures

Okonomiyaki is a sort of savory Japanese pancake. You order a bowl of raw fillings from veggies to seafood to meat and mix it with pancake mix and egg. Then you pour it on the grill on your table and let it fry. Top it with dried fish flakes, nori flakes and mayonnaise if you wish. The best part was the cellar like tables and cooking your own meal. It was good, but a heavy meal.

McFlurry Love

Only in Japan: Matcha (green tea) and Oreo McFlurry. Yum.

23 April, 2009

Andrea Does Tokyo

Andrea was my partner in crime at TASIS back in 2006-2007. And when I say crime, I mean, going home early from parties because we didn't want to socialize, or dealing with high schoolers sneaking out from the dorms. We lived in adjacent dorms and both had to take care of the 50 some 15 year old girls and boys. Even though my dorm duty job wasn't exactly peaches and cream, Andrea really got the short end of the stick. Imagine being the only female to live with 16 boys, aged 15. Smelly, loud and obnoxious. Needless to say, the experience put her off teaching and sent her into the banking world after only one year there....

Fortunately for me, Andrea's new husband Bryan works for Boeing and has to come to Tokyo for work sometimes. Here are a few fun pictures from her visit---our first Tokyo visitors! I have to give her credit for these pictures. It's nice to have a shameless tourist take some photos for me! Thanks, Andrea!
Just an average day in Yoyogi Park for these guys.

Tuan (another TASIS teacher) came from Hong Kong to visit Dan (another TASIS teacher who is now in Tokyo) last week, too. Reunion of sorts with them in Shibuya.

If you look closely you just might find me in this picture!

With Tokyo Tower in the back, all lit up in the Olympic colors in support of Tokyo's 2016 Olympic bid. Apparently the committee visited last week, too--and got to tour the stadiums with virtual reality goggles that allowed them to watch a simulation of someone breaking world records in track. Amazing.

Inside Kiddy Land--this is the 2nd floor devoted entirely to Hello Kitty. The 3rd floor is all Snoopy and Friends. There are 6 floors.

Food Show in the basement of Shibuya Station. The desserts are decadent.


Eating Ramen noodles at Tatsumi, our favorite noodle shop close to home. This has spinach, kimchi, a whole cooked egg and noodles. The more you slurp, the better.

At the Pink Cow, a local gaijin hangout with the only decent burrito in Japan.

06 April, 2009

Up Close

Just too pretty to pass by.

Temples and Shrines and Fertility Festivals

Entry to a huge Buddhist Temple

Sunday we checked out a fertility festival in Kawasaki. Somehow it turned into Drag Queens carrying penis shrines.


Hanami Party

All of Tokyo is awash in a pink and white cloud of blossoms. We are in love and awe with each bike ride we take through the fleeting beauty of the blossoms. This weekend we rode to Yoyogi Koen, one of Tokyo's largest parks, to have a hanami party with friends. The ride itself was peaceful and magical through the quiet back streets and small parks. People set out their tarps and picniced under any free branch. Yoyogi Park was a different situation. Every square inch was taken by multi-colored tarps that had been set out in the wee hours of the morning to mark their spots. People watching and eating took over the main attraction of the blossom viewing. The 45 minute wait for the bathroom. Lesson learned: wait to drink until you leave the park.

A few drops of rain thinned out the crowd.

With Craig and Charity drinking Chu-Hi and eating Pocky.