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Tag Archives: Tokyo

Toyota City – Days 5 and 6

The staff at the elegant Shinagawa Prince Hotel in Tokyo was helpful and friendly. I will miss Tokyo.  It’s a happening city — very much like what I envision New York City, where I’d like to visit one day.

Saynonara Tokyo!

Day 5

Going on a ride in the Shinkansen (bullet train) was a lot like flying in a plane, except everyone must board in 60 seconds or you are left behind!

What a cool experience! We zoomed all the way to Toyota City in 2 1/2 hours; by car this would take about three times longer!

Mount Fuji was spectacular! This picture doesn’t do it justice since we were going too fast, but we could see it from our seats.  It was a bit surreal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Family, travel, Uncategorized

 

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Tokyo – Days 1 and 2


Despite jet-lag, I’m having a splendid trip.  Here are brief highlights:

En Route:

Bumpy ride, but not bad overall. Kept busy.  Believe it or not, the food was decent and there was plenty of it!  They served shrimp cocktail, salad, chicken with paella rice, fruit, bread, fried rice and more!  The beverages, including beer and wine, were complimentary.  Need I say more?

First Impressions:

The airport was surprisingly quiet and, after getting my luggage, I HAD to check out Japanese toilets!!

It’s recessed into the floor and you use it by squatting, facing the top.

Ah….no way.

I fancied this one. It had BUTTONS!


There was a bidet, spray, and a “flushing sound”, if you absolutely need that sound as you go.

To my complete surprise — it was NOT humid when we arrived at our hotel – about 7:30 PM.  It was a little nippy Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in travel

 

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Japan Adventure Begins!

This is it! I’m leaving for Japan in less than 8 hours!

Since it’s about a 14 hour flight, this means I’ll be there (U.S. time) about 5:30 AM tomorrow.  With the 13 hour time difference (Japan is ahead), it will be about 6:00 PM Japan Standard Time when I get there.  Oh boy!

I look forward to the new experiences.  It will be a little tricky sometimes, but I’m confident I’ll figure it out.  Money is one of those things.

For example:

  • 1,000 yen is = $12
  • 5,000 yen = $62
  • 10,000 yen = $124

Good thing I’ll have the internet!  I’m renting a pocket wifi so I’m good to go!  Speaking of going….gotta run now!  Sayonara!

~~ Maggie

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in travel, Uncategorized

 

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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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Update: Summer Travels

Ahh… Summer!  I missed you, my dear dear friend.  I’ve looked forward to your visit for several reasons: of course, the SUN – the SUN!!!  If that wasn’t enough, there’s also my trip to Japan and my wedding anniversary. Alas, one wasn’t to be…*sigh*, but the other is TOTALLY ON.

JAPAN:  Postponed! *sob* It wasn’t meant to be this year. Actually, it was my decision. Otherwise, I’d be there right now, in fact. Thing is – after the horrific tsunami and subsequent nuclear explosion, the U.S. issued a travel alert to avoid travel to Japan. This was back in May. Frankly, the radiation threat scared me — I’m a mom and can’t take the chance that I’d get cancer.  Also, part of my trip would’ve been a home stay and I just didn’t feel right about burdening a Japanese family, who had other things to worry about.  The U.S. travel alert says it’s safe now, outside a 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

So – in the spirit of traveling to Japan NEXT YEAR, I’ve compiled 10 interesting facts and figures about Japan:

  • Japan has vending machines that dispense BEER;
  • Literacy rate is about 100% — ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!!;
  • A musk melon (like a cantaloupe) can sell for about 31,473 yen (that’s $300.00!);
  • About 70% of Japan consists of mountains and there’s about 200 volcanoes;
  • Japan consists of over 6,800 islands;
  • The unemployment rate is less than 4%;
  • Has the highest proportion of elderly in the world: 21%;
  • Central Tokyo has a population of 12 MILLION people — the Greater Tokyo Area is about 35 million;
  • Japan is slightly smaller in land mass than California;
  • The most popular pizza topping in Japan is squid, followed by mayonnaise, corn and seaweed.

So, Japan wasn’t to be — YET. I look forward to next year, minus the pizza toppings. Squid? Oh boy! But, the good news is that I have new summer plans.

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY: To celebrate our 25th, the hubby and I are heading to….VEGAS! It’s my first time to the Entertainment Capital of the World and I can’t wait to soak it all in.

Here are just ten fascinating facts and figures about the Sin City, Las Vegas:

  • There’s more than 15,000 MILES of neon tubing in the Strip and Downtown;
  • The neon cowboy (Vegas Vic over Fremont street) is the world’s largest mechanical sign;
  • There’s an average of 315 weddings PER DAY;
  • Marriage license costs $35;
  • It has one of the highest divorce rates in the U.S.;
  • Average cost for filing divorce papers is $450;
  • There’s about 200,000 slot machines;
  • Of the 20 biggest hotels in the U.S. – 17 of them are in Vegas;
  • About 37 MILLION people visit each year;
  • 1,700 licensed gambling places.

I’ve been researching what to see, where to go and what to do. In a word: overwhelming!  There’s retail therapy, hotel hopping, strolling the 13-block Strip, eating at fabulous restaurants, taking in a spectacular show, or two, and soaking up the pulsating nightlife scene. *sigh* So many places to go, people to see! Viva Las Vegas and all that!

If you have any tips for our Vegas trip, please POST them. I’d greatly appreciate it!

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2011 in Family, marriage, news, 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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