Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas in Japan

For most Japanese who celebrate Christmas, it’s purely a secular holiday devoted to the love of their children, or for the younger couples. Japanese people don’t have a day off like we have. In Japan time to celebrate with the family is with the New year.

But my Christmas in Japan was a pretty nice and warm one. First of all what Mikawa Ossan said in his blog, the Internet community is just great, we wished each other a merry Christmas, and it is heart warming, even on distance and from people you don’t really know well.

The week before Christmas, I had bought some Christmas decorations (2 snowman’s, small wooden Christmas tree, and 2 Christmas socks). We had a Christmas breakfast with Rookworst, cheese, scrambled eggs, and coffee. After this we exchanged presents, Mayuko received her favourite perfume from Tommy Hilfiger, some clothes, and a nice letter including something so that she can care more about her health the upcoming year. In exchange I received a DVD, Socks, and a new Porter Wallet.

After this we made our own Christmas cake (lots of chocolate, cream, and strawberries), watched some TV, started working on our wedding invitation cards, and Mayuko prepared a lovely Christmas dinner.

I enjoyed this Christmas a lot, even though I did miss my family, and the Christmas atmosphere we have in the Netherlands, but yeah maybe next year we will choose a different style.

Merry Christmas (bit late, but it’s about the feeling), and a Happy new year to you all.

I love you Mayuko

It's an ugly picture, but I just wanted to show you guys that I Mayuko didn't make the cake by herself.

The presents

Mayuko and food...

Oishii soooo ne (looks nice ne)

Uncle Dave part 2 (many more to come)

On the 17th of December my brother in law and his family came over to the family house, and of course the little girl “Nana chan” was there as well.

The baby is so cute, but aren’t all babies cute? Well, anyway I think she is VERY cute haha. I am looking forward to get my own child, but there are some other things that have to be done before that … (sex … ).

Anyway here are some new pictures of the new born Superstar Nana chan + family


The Family, from left to right: Me, Otosan, Nana-chan, Mayuko, Okasan, Akiko, and brother in law Takuya.

Otosan and Nana-chan


My Birthday in Japan

The 13th of December was my 22st birthday, and my first time to celebrate it in Japan. I honestly have to say that I don't miss my parents a lot, because I am just to busy with my life in Japan. But on my birthday I actually missed to have my family around me, because the only person who congratulated me was my wife and some of the teachers... even my parents in law forgot about it.

They don't celebrate birthdays here in Japan as they do it in the Netherlands or other countries, here it is just a Happy birthday and most of the times that's about it.

I was so happy to receive a packet from my parents with a lot of candy, and presents in it! and in the evening Mayuko and I went out for dinner at a local Izakaya.

For my birthday I bought a Nikon D50 camera, and Mayuko helped my buying it.

Here are some of my first Pictures with this beautiful camera.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Uncle Dave

I am a little bit late with this, but since a month ago I have became Uncle Dave.

My brother-in-law has got a Beautiful little girl, named Nana. The baby is healthy and the mother Akiko-san is doing great as well.

I can't wait to baby sit on Nana-chan, and it sure made me think more about having a baby as well. But I think that will take another 1.5-3 years before we get one. But until that day... I will dream about it.

Here is a picture from Nana-chan 4 days after she was born.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It is 3.25 now, and I still have 20 minutes before school is over.

Life is doing well, and the schools are doing better than before. I am a little bit sick recently, so the last couple of days the schools where pretty though: Imagine yourself with 40 screaming kids, while you are having a cold and you have 6x 45minutes.

Only 1.3 week to go and I will be having my Winter Break, YATTA!!!(GREAT). I think I have been doing great the last months, even though things are not perfect yet. For example, my Japanese should have been a little bit better, and also my health should have been better as well. So my goals for next year are, 1. Do some sport (Yes I have been saying this too myself since I was 15 or something) 2. I want to join some Japanese classes (even though it is only once a week, I should do something about it).

I still have a lot of other goals for the upcoming years. But I shouldn't rush too much with things, I mean with Kids, buying a mansion, setting up my own business, and buying a nice BMW for myself, etc.

Most important things is that I am enjoying my life, I am learning from my life, and I am happy together with Mayuko ( and I know she is with me... Well most of the times haha)

Just some pics from my classes:

Monday, October 23, 2006


Okay time for an update of my life here in Japan.

School is doing pretty good, I am getting used to it now, even though some of the little guys are still asking for a hit ( joke!!!!… I just don’t like the Kancho). I had an observation last week from one of my managers, and of course I was nervous because I was afraid to make mistakes, to make mispronunciations and stuff like that (maybe they would fire me, and throw me out of the country…. Ahum) but I was nervous for nothing, because it went really good, he even said that if he had a video camera he would have taped it and shown it to the new trainees.

I don’t think my English is really great, because I make a lot of mistakes, in my sentences, and sometimes in my pronounciation. But in overall I think I can make the lesson fun, and let the kids learn in a fun way. I can communicate with the most teachers (hand gestures, and shouting…) so yeah, in overall I don’t think I am doing that bad ( a good teacher is a person with a lot of experience I think, and I need to get that in the next year(s) , but as I have said in my last post, I don’t think that I want to be an English teacher for all my life.

I started learning Kanji 2 weeks ago, and even though I don’t always have time for it, I am actually enjoying learning it. So I want to share some with you guys

(the last characters are the Kanji characters)
1 ichi いち 一
2 ni に   二
3 san さん 三
4 yon よん   四
5 go ご   五
6 roku ろく  六
7 nana なな 七
8 hachi はち 八
9 kyuu きゅう 九
10 ju じゅう 十

I still have a long way to go with studying kanji, but that doesn’t matter, because you don’t learn 100.000 characters in a day , right?

Last weekend I went hiking with two of my co-workers Jory and Mike (two American guys, we walked up to Mt. Maya (699m) from Shin-kobe station, Hankyu Rokko, a total walk of 7 hours. It enjoyed the walk a lot, and I hope to do some more hiking the up coming months, years. ( my goal is Mt. Fuji)

In the evening we went to some friends (co-workers of Mayu) drunk some beers, had a lovely dinner, and arrived back home around 12.30 am. A great day that was.

Sunday we stayed at home, because I was a bit sick, and we just wanted to do nothing… so we decided to watch ……. GONE WITH THE WIND … haha, a nice movie that was, even though I think 4 hours was a bit long.

I am chancing schools from next week, and I hope that I can get used to those news schools, but I think I can, because it isn’t that hard, and I am enjoying myself for the time being.

See you guys later!!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Just an update of my life here in Japan

Hello everyone,

First of all thanks for all you cool, sweet, and lovely comments. If I wouldn't get those comments, I don't think that I would still be writing this Blog, because I just need some feedback! So people who don't know how to do that. Just click the Comment button!

Okay, so you guys want to know how I am doing here? I have to say that I am doing pretty well, and I am enjoying my life for 80%(that's way more than I expected). I am getting used to the weather, county, people, food. I have a full-time job ( even though it is pretty hard so now and then, but a great experience in life), I am happy with my wife, and feel that we are growing to each other more and more. I am starting to find some friends in here, and also my Japanese speaking ability is going up little by little.

Of course there are bad things as well, for example I miss peanut butter, being able to communicate with everybody, watching Dutch TV ( believe me, most of it is better than Japanese TV), my family, and relaxing more.

But what can I say, I am only 21, moved to Japan, am one of the Youngest teachers in Japan, becoming trilingual, and getting life experience. So the question is where will I be in 10 years from now, while life is going so fast already. Of course I will get some heavy falls in life, because life is like a rollercoaster.

I hope to keep enjoying my life in Japan, with my wife, that I can grow as a human, that I can mean something for the community, and become successful in something else than teaching.

Thanks you guys.

Just a picture of my and Mayu-chan

Friday, September 29, 2006

Hanshin Tigers

Talking about my love for Japan again, I fell in love with Hanshin Tigers a couple of months ago.

Hanshin Tigers is a Japanese Baseball team and their home is located in Koshien (Nishinomiya, between Kobe and Osaka). They have won the Central League five times (1962, 1964, 1985, 2003, 2005) and the Japan Series once (1985). The have a change to win the the Central league again, but it means that they have to win all games from Chunichi, and Chunichi have to lose a couple of games. Ganbare!! (goodluck)

My parents-in-law (especially my Okasan(mother)-in-law) are big Tigers fans since they were children, and because of them I am getting a big Tigers fan. I love the game because I can watch it everyday, they have a great team, and especially the Tigers Fans are just CRAZY!! They sing the whole game, and cheer for the tigers in good and bad times, and are very loyal to there team.

You won't only find Hanshin tigers in the Kobe-Osaka area, but also in the whole Kansai area and true out all of Japan.

The fight song of the Tigers "Rokko Oroshi" (The Wind of Mount Rokko) is a popular song in the Kansai area. It can even be found at karaoke boxes.

Rokko Oroshi
Rokko oroshi ni sasso to
Soten kakeru nichirin no
Seishun no haki uruwashiku
Kagayaku wagana zo Hanshin Taigasu
O-o-o-o Hanshin Taigasu

Toshi hatsuratsu tatsu ya ima
Nekketsu sude ni teki o tsuku
Ju-o no iki takaraka ni
Muteki no warera zo Hanshin Taigasu
O-o-o-o Hanshin Taigasu

The Wind of Mount Rokko
(An official English version, not a direct translation)

Dashing swiftly through the wind blowin' from Rokko
Like the big sun soaring in the clear blue sky
Mighty spirit of the youth shows the victor's grace
The name that shines in glory "Hanshin Tigers"
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Hanshin Tigers
Hooray, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!

Powerful hits and skillful pitch achieved a thousand times
Trained with every discipline here at Koshien
Crowned with constant victory glorious, matchless feat
Always proud, invincible "Hanshin Tigers"
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Hanshin Tigers
Hooray, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!

Hanshin Tigers their Official Website:

Forever Love to Tigers!!!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The first working week

Wow, that was my thought of my first day of working for elementary kids in Japan. I had a lot of fun, even though I was just soooo tired at the end of every working day. I will tell you what happened the last week.

This week I went to 5 elementary schools, 2 in Kobe, and 3 in North Kobe *Kita-Ku*. I had 4-6 lessons a day, from 3rd grade up to the 6th grade. The lessons where only 45 minutes, and I did a lot of small games to practice the target languages ( what is it? It's an apple. What month is it? It is January).

It is funny to see how children look up to you, and sometimes even look down a bit. When I walk in the hallway, I hear things like: aaa ego no sensei *English teacher*, even 2 times David Beckham,and they greet me with a big smile. But sometimes, in the class, I hear Baka or Aho *stupid* because I try to be funny but of course not everyone thinks that I am actually really funny. But I am getting 250.000yen a month to teach some kids English, and to act stupid sometimes... so I don't care about hearing names like that haha.

I needed to make a lot of preparations for the lesson plans last weeks, from making lesson plans up to thinking about games. But I have for example lesson 1-5, 20 times in 1 month, and lesson 1-6 10 times a month, so this week I don't even have to make any preparation anymore :D.

I work from 8.45 up to 3.45 *on Wednesday it is even shorter 1.45/2.45* I have all public holidays, and some extra weeks. Sometimes I only have 4 hours a day, so it means that I have 2 hours were I can do nothing, or prepare for the next lessons.

All by all I think that I have a great job, I can make children smile, can enjoy myself, etc. The only thing is that I have to get used to the hours * waking up at 6* the amount of children in the class *40kids a class, while I normally am to shy to speak in front of less than 10 adults* the school, and teaching English.

So wish me luck for the upcoming weeks, and I will be writing more about this later on.



Sunday, August 27, 2006

Job Hunting

Since I have been in Japan, that's longer than 2 months now, I have been hunting for jobs. I think I send me resume to over 50-100 schools now, and have had around 10 interviews since then. Especially last week was a busy week with 5 interviews, and all of them where in Osaka.

So okay, there I am Dave (in a suit) going to interviews where they ask me questions about my career, if I have a Uni. degree, why I can speak English so well while it isn't my first language, and sometimes they even wanted me to do some small lesson for them. I had good and bad interviews, one of the bad interviews was in Kobe on a Sunday evening: I came there in my suit, on my Sunday ( I am not a Christian, but Sunday is Holy to me) and I had this interview with some guy from Seattle, who told me after 1 minute that they don't hire non-natives.... Excuse me? What am I doing here? So I told him that I didn't like it and after 1minute I walked away without saying properly goodbye to everybody.

My good one was probably last week, maybe not a good one but it sure was interesting: Interac is a big company in Japan that sends teachers to Elementary, high schools, and companies. The interview took 1.5 hour, and she asked me a lot of difficult questions on what my good points and bad points are, what would I do if .... and what would I do if ... I had prepared a small lesson plan and she and a co-worker acted as kids of the age of 7-8. After this I needed to do a personality test, grammar test * aaaaaaaaaaa*, Japanese culture test * who is this man on the 10.000yen bill?* and a normal question form about where I live and my background.

She send me an email last week saying that I was not selected, and she told me she would get in contact with me if another position would open up.... and she did :D this morning she gave me a call, and she wants me to come to the training tomorrow, and I can work from next week until March .. Fulltime

It feels good, even though I am doki doki * nervous *, teaching 40 kids at the same time, instead of 6 * what I am used to as a max*.

For me it was maybe less important to get a fulltime job ( part time would give me more time to study) but for Mayuko this was most important in the first months of my stay in here. So yeah it is a relieve for both of us. And now we can spend some more money on .... haha.

I must say that we don't do bad with an income of around 430.000yen a month, and an apartment for 23.000 yen * this will rise up the upcoming year to 50.000 I think*.

I am a happy person, even though it is really difficult so now and then to life here, and I also feel lonely so now and then.

Time is there to learn

Friday, August 18, 2006

Trip to Hiroshima

First of all I want to apologize for being lazy about writing on this blog. To make it up with you people I will tell you about the trip we took to Hiroshima the last couple of days.

We (Mayu and I) took the bus to Hiroshima Tuesday morning on 7.45, and arrived in Hiroshima within 4 hours. ( we choose to take the bus because the shinkansen was total 40.000 yen, the normal JR train 28.000yen, and the bus was only 18.000 yen for a 4 hour drive) The bus ride was okay, we slept talked listened to some music on the Ipod ( top 100 love songs haha).

When we arrived in Hiroshima, we decided to leave our bags at the station, so that we could do some sightseeing before we would go to the hotel. We walked from on the beautiful streets of Hiroshima, where we saw a lot of neon lights, and some nice shops (Hiroshima is not a really big city, and I think visiting it for 1-2 days is enough). We turned left and suddenly we saw almost out of no where the A-Bomb Dome. It looked peace full, but thinking about what have happened on this place 61 years ago made me sad (on August 6th, 1945 when a US B29 bomber 'Enola Gay' dropped the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima which eventually killed around 140,000 people and devastated the city). We had walked around the building, and went to the peace park right next to it where we saw the children's monument and the Peace Memorial Museum where we could see pictures, read information , and see video's from the day the bomb fell on Hiroshima. It was impressive and no word I write in here can describe how it made me feel 100%. But one thing is for sure, and that is that when you walk around in this museum, and in the peace park: you will realize what peace is, and you can smile that we are in peace but inside our minds we know that we are in constant danger because there are still so many atomic bombs in the world, and wars going on.

For everyone who is going to Japan, visiting Hiroshima is something what should be highly on your list.

In the evening we went to some building where they had 3 floors of Okonomiyaki restaurants... Hiroshima Okonomiyaki. The food was great, and watching those cooks was even better.

After this we went to the Hotel, because the day was just too hot and we were tired. The hotel wasn't very big, but we had enough space and the place was clean. The hotel stood right next to Hiroshima station so the location was just perfect. We watched some TV, talked about the day , .... , and fell asleep.

On Wednesday we went to Miyajima, and island just 40minutes away from Hiroshima center, and can be reached by ferry. The island it's main attraction is the Itsukushima Shrine with the famous torii. ( Miyajima is on the world heritage list)
Which was the main reason for us to visit this place, and I have to say that it looked beautiful. There were a lot of other temples, and shrines on the island, and especially the ones up Mt misen where amazing. We took the ropeway, and from the station we needed to walk another 30minutes up to the top ( 534meter) we had a great view over the island, and over the whole area from here. When we went down we took some foot bathing in the small river and had a lot of fun in the water. Cooling down was important because it was another hot hot hot day. We had some lunch, looked at the beautiful torii, and went home around 5 after a splendid day at Miyajima.

In the evening we went to some nice Izakaya in the center, and did some Karaoke ( which I didn't like that much because of the sound system at this karaoke center just sucks)

On Thursday we decided to take it easy, and that was needed because we were both broken from the walk up the mountain , and the hot weather from the previous day. We did some shopping, went to some ramen restaurant for lunch, did some karaoke ( again) and bought a present for Eisuke.

We left Hiroshima at 5 pm, and came home at 10. I had some wonderful days, and some great new memories of Hiroshima. Let's never forget what happen in there and enjoy life.

I am looking forward for my further trips the next years to places such as Tokyo, Nara, and maybe Okinawa.

Thanks, and I hope to write something more the upcoming weeks.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Gion Matsuri part 2

Gion Matsuri

Last week, Mayu-chan and I went to Gion matsuri, Yama-boko Junko (山鉾巡行, Yama-boko Junko) to be more precise.

Before I will show you the pictures, I will first let you read something about Gion Matsuri and Yama-boko Junko.

Gion Matsuri (祇園祭;, Gion Matsuri) is an annual festival that takes place in Kyoto and is said to be one of the most famous, if not the most famous festival in all of Japan. It spans the entire month of July and is crowned by the beautiful parade, the Yama-boko Junko (山鉾巡行, Yama-boko Junko) on July 17th.

This festival first originated as part of a purification ritual. In 869 CE the people were suffering from plague and pestilence which was thought to be a result of the rampaging deity Gozu. The emperor ordered that the people pray to the god of the Yasaka shrine, Susano-onomikoto. Sixty-six stylized and decorated halberds, one for each province in Japan, were prepared and erected at Shinsen-en Garden (at the intersection of Oike Street and Omiya Street, Nakagyo Ward) along with the portable shrines (omikoshi) from Yasaka Shrine.

This became a somewhat standard practice and was repeated wherever an outbreak would occur. In 970 CE it was decreed an annual event and has since seldom been broken. Over time the increasingly powerful and influential merchant class made the festival more elaborate and used the parade to brandish their wealth.

In 1533 the Muromachi shogunate halted all religious events, but the people protested stating that they could do with out the rituals, but not the procession. This marks the progression into the festival's current form.

Yamaboko Float Details

The floats in the Yoiyama Parade are divided into two groups, Hoko and Yama, and are collectively called Yamaboko. There are 9 of the larger Hoko which represent the 66 spears used in the original purification ritual, and 23 of the smaller Yama which carry life-size figures of famous and important people. All the floats are decorated with beautiful tapestries both from Nishijin (the finest in all of Japan) and imported from all over the world. In addition to the art, there are many traditional musicians and artists sitting in the floats.

Each year the families that maintain the floats draw lots at special meeting to determine what order they will take in the festival. These lots are issued at a special ceremony before the parade, during which the Mayor of Kyoto dons the robes of a magister.

Hoko Floats

Weight: about 12,000 kg

Height: about 25m from ground to tip / 8 m from ground to roof

Wheel diameter: about 1.9 m

Attendants: about 30-40 pulling during procession, usually 2 men piloting with wedges

Yama Floats

Height: about 6 m

Weight: 1,200 – 1,600 kg

Attendants: 14-24 people to pull, push or carry

More to come!

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Girls High school behind our house. (yes only girls)

Hanshin Tigers Vending Machine!!!!!!!

View over the city a couple minutes walking from our house

Some small shrine on a small island in a small city called Ako

A small shrine on top of the mountain 2 trainstops from our house (that were some HIGH HIGH stairs hahaha)

Well, this picture says enough


Nunobiki Ropeway, from shinkobe station

Nunobiki Ropeway

Nunobiki waterfall, view from the ropeway