Finished month two! I was going to say conquered, but I think May conquered me more than I conquered it… Month two was better. I don’t think I needed as much coaxing off the ledges as I did in April, but I still have many doubts.
Ah man, where to begin, where to begin. I started off the month sick, again. Lost my voice for a week, again. But somehow still managed to finish off the month strongish with healing sunburn and the travel bug creeping back up on me now that I’ve seen basically all of what Toyohashi has to offer.
A lot of good came from May. I found the beach for one! It wasn’t a swimming friendly beach as there was a sign warning against the strong rip currents, but it was a beach and it satisfied my longing to hear the waves and feel the sand. It also gave me some gnarly sunburns and I’m still slightly peeling from it, but we’re not going to talk about the sheets of skin falling off my shoulders. Ew.
I continued exploring the culinary scene in Toyohashi with a coworker. Her and I both teach a late night English class on Friday’s and some nights when we’re done we look at each other and go, “so what are we trying for dinner tonight?” Two weeks ago it was Korean and last week it was Japanese with nice big portions. Both very good. And of course this is all in the name of research, I’m just building up my repertoire of places I can recommend when all you come out to see me!
May also had two big field trips, the zoo and the big parents’ field trip. The zoo wasn’t that great, it was a concrete jungle with sad looking animals, but the kids enjoyed it and that’s all that matters. Then the parents’ field trip was the big one of the month for the whole school. The school rented three big Coach buses (or Japanese Coach equivalent, almost as big as the ones in the USA) to take all the students and at least one of their parents to a big park for games, lunch, and playing. It’s a 45 minute drive and the English teachers are expected to be the MC’s and entertainment for the bus ride over, so we had to prepare songs, games, and crafts to do on the bus with the kids and parents. It was interesting, but overall a good day. One of the highlights was watching a Dad hold his thumb over the drinking spout on a water fountain to spray his daughter full in the face. That and watching all the usually talkative kiddos turn super shy in front of their parents around all us English teachers. It was cute. I know if I could, I’d still hide behind my Dad at social gatherings, so I can’t really blame them.
I started off May in Nagoya with Golden Week, which seems like a distant memory at this point. The past four weeks have been long. I completely missed that is was Memorial Day back home and was extremely jealous that you all had Monday off. Hope all the BBQs were fun!
Also found the Japanese equivalent of Aldi’s and Anthropologie. Two separate stores, not some weird food/home decor amalgam of cheap food and over priced merchandise. The Aldi’s twin is called Gyomu Super and I have a whole post coming later on that gem of a store. Cheap food, cardboard box displays, and cash only – my kind of place! And the other is called On Seven Days, and it sells super super cute home goods, kitchen gadgets, clothes, and beauty products. Bit pricey, but it was so much fun walking around looking at the stuff I could buy.
I also discovered Japanese Worcestershire sauce, which almost tastes like the Lea & Perrins brown paper bottles we know and love, but is not quite as tangy? Western Worcestershire sauce used tamarind as a base while its Japanese counterpart uses raisins as base, which makes it less tangy and sweeter. Personally I like the acidity of the brown paper bottle ones more. But I picked up a bottle of this stuff by chance (well okay, I picked up a bottle because it was on sale and everyone else was grabbing it and I didn’t want to miss out) and it turns out its very good on many things. Eggs, veggies, meat, rice, haven’t tried oatmeal yet, but you know it’ll probably happen sooner or later!
Looking back, I learned a lot. I know I still have many many many things to work on, but again, none of my kids have tried to eat strange things they picked up off the floor or tried to put anything (besides their fingers) up their nose. So based on that alone, I’m going to say May was a mini success. Let’s see what month three has in store! Two down, ten to go!