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Tag Archives: Kyoto

Travel Tip – staying connected for cheap

My adventures in Japan included walking about town in Asakusa where locals ride bikes everywhere.

Vending machines were abundant.

You could even buy BEER from vending machines. Hmmm…

Needless to say, I saw a lot of different customs.  To combat the culture shock, I was happy to stay in touch with family and friends back home.

I played Draw Something … on the bullet train en route to Hiroshima, Japan.

I introduced my host Japanese family in Toyota City, Japan…to my family back home in Michigan.  They even got a tour of my home (thanks to my daughter) and watched a YouTube video of my son’s garage band gig. How cool is that?

I kept up my blog posts, including pictures, during early jet lagged mornings and airport layovers…in Japan and later Seattle, Washington.  Writing as I went helped keep things fresh.

I exchanged texts with my teenagers in the U.S…while I was in Tokyo, Toyota City, Hiroshima and Kyoto.  I loved seeing what they were up to and they knew they could text me any time. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Kyoto – Days 9 to End


Prior to leaving Hiroshima, we toured the Calbee (snacks) plant. What’s unique about these snacks is that many of them have shrimp!  Also, at this particular plant, none of them are fried.  I loved the snap peas snack the best.  I hope their snacks will one day be in America soon.

Like at most places we visited, we wore slippers (gray ones).  Then, when you go to the bathroom, you switch into bathroom slippers (pink ones).  I also switched to bathroom slippers at my host family’s home.

After the tour, we headed off to the train station.  Isn’t this little guy cute? In Japanese you say “kawii” –rhymes with Hawaii. The children learn to take train very young.


Their public telephone doesn’t look like ours, but what’s similar is that people only use it for emergencies since Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in kids, travel

 

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Zoom Zoom! 2 week countdown

So much to do before my trip and these next two weeks will zoom by like the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train)!

Some of my tasks are more complete than others.

 
 

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Countdown to Japan Adventure

I still can’t believe it!! In only five weeks, I’m heading to Japan for a homestay with a Japanese family, sightseeing in Tokyo, Toyota CityHiroshima and Kyoto and teaching English to fifth and sixth graders.  It’s part of the International Educators to Japan program, as explained in a previous post.
In preparation for my visit, I’m learning about the Japanese culture and a little of the language. Fortunately, many friends and family have been to Japan and have advice for me.  Here are just a handful of their interesting tips:
  • don’t look people straight in the eye — it’s rude
  • change into a different pair of slippers before entering into someone’s bathroom
  • carry baby wipes or handkerchief for washing hands in public bathrooms
  • have lots of business cards handy and let the other person hand theirs to you first to avoid rudeness
  • bow, only slightly, when meeting someone
In anticipation of my trip, I’ve posted some Japanese pictures on Pinterest of the places I’ll visit.  It all looks so beautiful, but believe it or not, what I look forward to the most is meeting the Japanese people and embracing their culture.  My brother-in-law lives there so I’ll be meeting up with him.  Also, one of my ELL students will be there during my visit and I plan to see him and his family.
I feel so honored to be chosen for this Japanese adventure.  I’m the only one from my entire school district and one of eight participants coming from Metro Detroit.
The countdown begins today! Woohoo!
 
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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Teaching, travel

 

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Konnichi wa

I can’t believe it! I was selected to go to Japan this summer as part of an international educators to Japan program!!! This includes a home stay, sight seeing and school visits. During the school visits, I will observe their classroom as well as teach a lesson to the Japanese students. I’m a little nervous but keep reminding myself that I already teach ELL kids and it should be similar. Right? 🙂 I feel so honored to be part of this program and will post my thoughts on my blog as the days get closer and of course, during the two-week trip.

How did this happen? First, I attended a Japanese School Open House — pretty amazing stuff — and learned about the IEJ program. Then, I was recommended by my school principal and submitted an essay about why I should be selected.  I’m pretty blessed because they received applications from all over the world and they picked me! Woohoo!

We will be about 30 participants in the 2011 program — from Michigan, California, Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Canada, UK and Belgium. I can’t wait to meet everyone.

So — how do I prepare for this (other than updating my passport)? Well — I decided I want to learn as much as I can about the Japanese culture, the country and the language prior to the visit. So far, I’ve learned a little Japanese etiquette (from AT&T On Demand) and I’ve checked out a number of library books and programs.  Of course, I’m not going to be fluent by summer, but something is better than nothing, right?

Just today, I received a tentative schedule and it looks like I’ll start out in Tokyo,  go to Hiroshima and then end up in Kyoto.  I plan to meet up with my brother-in-law who lives near Kyoto. It’s wonderful that I have family in Japan who I’ll get to visit.  So excited!!

So….today’s word of the day is Konnichi wa — hello.  Simple, but it’s a start.

If you’ve traveled to Japan, post your advice here!

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Family, kids, Teaching, travel, Writing

 

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