Thursday, December 27, 2007

Winter holiday part 1

My holiday started on the 19th, just a couple of days after my wife had started her holiday. We where already at her parents place, because we can relax there more than we can at our own little house and are having fun spending time together with them.

Oba-chan in Ako

On my first day off we went to Mayuko her grandmother, a sweet old lady with a funny way off talking (she can say stuff such as kuso baba (my own grandmother can't scold further than "you old pancake lady"), the last time we had been to her place was about a year ago so it felt nice to be back again. Grandmother (obachan) is living in a small city 1.5 hour west of Kobe in the city of Ako, once a samurai town with a famous story (which I have to search up for you guys but I can' use the internet right now...see below). We went there to clean her house, to have some nice lunch in a seafood restaurant, and to give some presents to her sisters whom are living in the same town. One of her sisters was cutting some fish when we came in her garden, the fish was still moving even though it had no head.

Rokko Island

On the next day we went home for a night (we were supposed to clean the house, but it was already clean... It really was), and in the afternoon we spend our time on Rokko Island (one of two large artificial islands that kobe has build in the last 60 years). There are a lot of foreigners on Rokko island, and because of that there is also a foreigner store called the FBC (Foreigners Buyers Club), they have a very large catalogue that you can order true the internet or by phone with stuff from Holland to Australia and from stuff from the states to India. Because we already had seen their catalogue we expected to see a lot of nice stuff in the store, but it was a bit disappointing because they only had a small collection in comparison with their catalogue... but yeah anyway we've bough some peanuts and sweet chili sauce that I really love (especially to put on my chicken). After our visit we went to the a very nice Okonomiyaki restaurant on the island called Fetsuya. Some say that it's the best Okonomiyaki chain in the Kansai area, and I have to say that I was not disappointed at all.

Osaka and the Yaki-Niku restaurant

On Saturday we did some Christmas shopping in Osaka, which was fun at first but after walking around for 2 hours in main Osaka (Umeda) it's wasn't that fun anymore... Osaka is such a crowded city (imagine Amsterdam on Queens day). I've bought some Dutch cheese, and cookies for the family, and also bought a nice one piece for Mayuko (early Christmas present). After shopping we went to a very nice Yaki-niku (Japanese bbq) restaurant, with Mayuko her Brother Takuya, his wife Aki-chan and the baby Nana-chan, where we ate some delicious meat, and with delicious I really mean DELICIOUS.

Jogging and the flu

On Sunday morning, I woke up early (as usual in this holiday, because I always wake up around 8 even though I am having a holiday) and decided to join my father in law with jogging (after he got an operation at his back last year he decided to do something about his condition so he is now jogging 5 times a week for about an hour... and that on an age of 60 years old). We first walked to the park which is about 15-minutes away and in the park we run two rounds (one together, one at own pace). It's been a while since I've been jogging and I really enjoyed doing it (too bad I can't really jog near my own place, because there are too many hills up their).

After we came back, my brother decided to go to the hospital to check his condition, he had not been feeling well for about 2 days so he wanted to check it out. Back from the hospital he came with the news that he had the flu. Because he did not wanted to infect my pregnant wife he went home straight after the lunch. There goes the Christmas together, but yeah the most important thing was that Mayuko did not get infected or the other family members.
He did not had a high fever, so he could drive home (took about an hour though).

Christmas and Wii

Because we were planning on going to Tokyo on Tuesday we had decided to have Christmas on Monday. In Holland we always start with a Christmas Breakfast with bread, smoked sausage, and other small snacks, so I wanted to do the same for my Japanese family. I woke up early to go to the supermarket to buy some stuff for the breakfast, but when I came back around 9 I saw that everyone already had woken up, and that my wife was already eating rice and miso soup... there went my surprise... I was a bit disappointed and started to have a fight with my wife on Christmas morning... nice moment to have a fight.

Anyway, after the fight, we cleaned the house together and the Dutch style breakfast changed into a lunch, which was delicious and the whole family loved it. Later in the afternoon my wife made a cake, and we played some Wii together. Wii fit, a game where you can play balance games on the balance board, and do a whole body work out and yoga. A lovely game, with a lot of games in it. We also have Wii sports (favorite is tennis and bowling), Being Olympics, and Super Mario party (anyone else here with a Wii, and some nice games?).

In the evening my wife and her mom had made a very nice Chicken Christmas Dinner, and gave some presents to the parents (a Hanshin TIgers calendar, and some beer bottles (Duvel, Heineken, Guinness, etc) for dad).

Destination Tokyo.... Stop... Destination Hospital ;(

On Tuesday we got ready to go to Tokyo, we first needed to go to Shin-Osaka to take the Shinkansen (bullet train). I had a bad sleep, and woke up with a lot of pain in my neck. It was busy in the train towards Osaka, and we needed to stand for about 40 minutes. Finally after Ashiya Mayuko could sit down (pregnant and unable to sit down isn't funny).

I stood there in the train and suddenly got a bad feeling, the sound around me started to vague away, and everything in front of me as well. I needed to close my eyes, and about 3 seconds later I noticed I was laying on the floor. Blackout... Mayuko ran up towards me, and a lady gave away her chair for me. When I sat down it went a little bit better, but than suddenly I told Mayuko that I needed to close my eyes again. Again another black out, this time I was even shaking for about 3 seconds. Someone pushed the emergency button and we got out at Amagasaki station where the train conductors came immediately with a wheel chair and was brought to the Hospital with an ambulance about 30 minutes later. I was feeling a bit better again, but was shocked about what had happened, and the same goes for Mayuko. I got an MRI scan, which was pretty scary and I prayed that there was nothing wrong in my brain (a tumor or something....). I even told myself not to sleep while I was in the MRI for 15-minutes.

We were both very relieved to hear that there was nothing wrong with my brain (even though I still have to do a small check for my brain waves), and that I probably had a black-out because I was tired and felt exhausted (I have had some pretty busy months with working 6 days a week, and taking care of Mayuko because she had the morning sickness during the whole day). When we were almost finished we had decided to also do a check if I might had the flu... which I indeed had... Mayuko also did a check, and did not had the flu.

In bed...

So here I am laying in bed for already 2.5 days, all alone with only Mayuko or her mom coming up bringing me food and drinks. It feels pretty lonely, especially because the last time I slept alone was about 1.5 year ago, but on the other hand it gives me some time to give my body and my mind some rest. Mayuko is sleeping downstairs and we won't be able to sleep together for maybe another 4-5 days... meaning we might not be able to spend our new-years night together snif snif. But it's all for the baby so I guess it's just the way it is.

We also tried to cancel our trip to Tokyo, but it was too late... so we can't get any money back for 2 hotel nights and a two person shinkansen return ticket... not the most important thing but still a waste of money.

I am feeling a lot better, and even though I am having the flu, I do not have any fever and can just enjoy watching TV, playing Nintendo DS games, and sleeping.

I hope all of you had a nice Christmas, and will have a great start in the new year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My birthday

Last week (December 13th) it was my 23rd B-Day. For the ones who had send me a message thank you very much, and for the ones who had forget about it... Don't forget my 24th B-Day.

Even though my B-day was on the 13th, we also celebrated it a week earlier because of Kimio and Takuya their Birthday. For them we bought an I-pod and a food massage machine. I myself got a Porter bag (very cool one!!!), a T-shirt from Kikuchi takeo, and a nice Edwin jeans from my lady ( I though it was the same as in the Brad Pitt CM... but no).

Minako, made us a B-day cake, and Okasan ordered some very nice o-bento's.

On my birthday itself, my mother woke me up in the morning with a phone call, and my dad give me a call later in the evening. We had a lovely dinner in Sannomiya with again some nice cake...and oww I almost forgot.. the kids at school were singing some B-day songs for me.

In overall I had a very nice b-day, and will do my best in the upcoming year to grow in life, and to enjoy my stay in Japan.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Baby blog

As some of you might be aware of it, and for some it might be new: The lady is pregnant and you can follow all the news about it on a new blog I made about 2 weeks ago especially for the baby. Here is the link:

Here you will able to find photo's and updates on how everything is going with the baby Mayuko... and of course with me.. Papa-san ;)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

November Update

Today I went to one of the schools that I'm teaching at (I am teaching at 3 schools this moment). It's a school in Down-town Kobe, what you can see because the kids are a bit rougher and they have some more fights than other schools I have been to, but for the rest the kids are very nice, and closer to me than kids on other schools... I had 5 lessons today, from the 1st period until the 5th period, and I was teaching them about Feelings and Food.

This morning I also talked to Mayuko about what we shall do during our (3 weeks YATTA) winter break. A couple of months ago we were planing of going to Tokyo, but now Mayuko is pregnant a busy city like that is not the best option so we might go to Fukuoka if Mayuko her morning sickness has gone away a little bit more (doing better reccently).

We will also stay at the parents house for at least 2 weeks, where I want to try to give a bit more Dutch style Christmas and New year. Not sure yet how to do that tough... tips?

I am also planning of sending a box full of presents back home, I should because I promised them before....

But yeah, still 3 working weeks to go... ow I mean 2 weeks... dam this week went fast. ;)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Obon part 2

Sitting here in the train, playing with my mac computer… it’s weird because this is the first time I am actually playing a notebook in the train and it feels kind of weird to be honest… a well who cares.

Anyway, to come back to the Obon holidays, Tuesday Mayuko her sister came back home but unfortunately only for 2 days so we couldn’t go anywhere together (she also invited her friends over so we almost didn’t do anything with her. Because of that Mayuko and I went over to a Manga Kiss, where Mayuko was reading some Manga, and I was playing some games and played with the computer.

On Wednesday Mayuko and I had a very good, and necessary argument together about my life in here. We talked about that I should get more friends, do some sport, and study Japanese more… and you know what, she’s right. I have been here now for one year, and it’s time to do some more things. I got used to Japan, learned the basic stuff, got a job, and some friends… but there Is more. So yeah, tomorrow I will be playing futsal with some guys I have met on the net, and I started learning Japanese again since last week. I’m trying hard, and I will always keep trying.

Together with her mom and dad we went to Fruits and flower park, a 45min drive from their house up north. We had a BBQ (including Kobe beef… the cheap parts but still expensive if you ask me), played some putter golf, and did some go-karts with Mayuko.

On Friday we visited Mayuko her friend Chie, together with chiseru. This time Eisuke wasn’t the happiest kid on the block, but his sister Urara was. Was fun, and they are getting bigger every time we are coming.

On Saturday we had some lunch at a Japanese lunch room, it really was a Japanese style lunch with fish, rice and some more stuff… how much it was? 1000 yen a person.

Sunday was Mayuko her last day of the holiday so we just relaxed at home, watched a movie (Disturbia, a very good movie btw).

I started working again last Tuesday, and it’s doing better and better, so I really hope to find myself a job similar to this one in the upcoming weeks/months… before upcoming MARCH… おねがいします。

I hope the rest of you also had a nice holiday during this hot summer months. Enjoy life.

The key of life, keep thinking positive no matter what may happen.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This week it is Obon in Japan, that means that besides the fact that it is an annual Buddhist event for commemorating one's ancestors, we are also having some days off. Well, at least the most of us here in Japan. From Saturday morning we went to our Mayuko her parents (1hour driving), and we will stay here probably until tomorrow evening or Saturday morning.

On Saturday evening we played some Hachi-hachi a game where everyone will get 2 cards, and the highest card is the winner. You can bluff which of course works so now and again, and the bet is 100 yen a turn. We played it with 6 players so every time there was a minimum of 600 yen on the table, up to 3000 yen. It's a fun game.

Later on the evening Takuya and I went fishing from 1 until 3 o'clock. Which was fun because normally we go fishing in the morning, but again for the fourth time we didn't catch any fish.

On Sunday we went to Shiawase No mura, (trans. Village of happiness) were we had a pick nick together with Frederic, Mayumi and Yoshi. We played some ball sports, and had a waterfight. After that we went to some Izakaya kind of restaurant chain, and had a small firework party together.

I'll be back with more.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Wedding anniversary, a new car, and my summer job.

Welcome back on my blog, and thanks to all of you whom are reading it and giving me comments. I love reading your responses so if you have any, don't hesitate to write me something.

Well, first things first. Last Friday was our wedding anniversary, we have been married for 2 years now and are planning on many more anniversaries as well.... so please check this blog again next year around this time ;)... anyway, we went out for dinner at a place called Sanda-ya, a famous restaurant here in Kobe with some delicious beef and a wonderful (even though they should have cleaned the windows a bit more... but hey you can't have everything, right?) view over the Akashi Kaikyo bridge. Mayuko gave me some great tickets for a Hanshin Tigers match (finally!!! I have been a fan for over a year, and this will be the first time that I am will be seeing them), and I gave Mayuko a nice neckless.

Because my brother in law had bought himself a new car last week (a nice Nissan Elgrand Rider to be precise), he was so nice to give his old car to us. And we are, we really are, soooooooooooo happy with it. Because we now have our freedom to drive to places in the weekend, go shopping by car instead of by bus and her mothers car.... We can watch TV in the car while we are driving (I did yesterday... wow). So yeah the car is just great. It's a Toyota BB, has a lot of power, space and drives very easy (according to Mayuko, because poor me doesn't have a driver licence yet).

last but not least, last week I also started working at my new summer job. I am teaching some kids from age 4-7 in groups of 8 students English at a school 1.5 hour away from here... which is a bit far, but it's work isn't. I guess it's not to bad, and it's really good for me resume but I will keep doing my best to get a better job a.s.a.p. ... if things work out.

Have a nice hot (it's over 30 here) week.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Going for a drink

Yesterday evening we went out for a drink together with 2 friends of us; Frederic and Mayumi. We went to a little Izakaya near Sannomiya. Everything in the Izakaya was 350 yen, even the beer. We drunk some beers, had some chicken, akashi yaki, meat, udon, and more before Mayumi her brother Masa and his girlfriend Emi-san came joined us.

Ltr: Masa, Mayu-chan, Frederic, Mayumi, Emi

Later on the evening we went to Bar Trinity a little bit north of Sannomiya where Mayuko her work partner from last year was playing the DJ. It was a small bar, packed with foreigners (5 co-workers of Mayuko were there as well), and some Japanese as well. The music was splendid and I was wondering what this guy (Dee) was doing in this small place... He got some radio interviews on Ibiza, and is working on a CD with some big companies in Germany and The Netherlands as well.

We danced a bit, drunk a bit and well, just enjoyed our evening. The only thing was that when we came home we were both pretty dead so we jumped into bed after we took a shower.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Tale of Genji

About a year ago I had decided to buy myself "The Tale of Genji", but due the lack off time, interest, and all the other excuses you won't read here I did not started reading it until last week.

The tale of Genji is written by Murasaki Shikibu in the early eleventh century and is known as the first modern Japanese novel. Here is a the plot (coppied of course from Wiki):

The work recounts the life of a son of a Japanese emperor, known to readers as Hikaru Genji, or "Shining Genji". Neither appellation is his actual name: Genji (源氏, Genji?) is simply another way to read the Chinese characters for the real-life Minamoto clan (源の氏, Minamoto-no-Uji?), to which Genji was made to belong. For political reasons, Genji is relegated to commoner status (by being given the surname Minamoto) and begins a career as an imperial officer.

The tale concentrates on Genji's romantic life and describes the customs of the aristocratic society of the time. Much is made of Genji's good looks. His most important personality trait is the loyalty he shows to all the women in his life, as he never abandons any of his wives.[citation needed] When he finally becomes the most powerful man in the capital, he moves into a palace and provides for each of them.

Genji was the second son of a certain ancient emperor and a low-ranking concubine (known to the readers as Lady Kiritsubo). His mother dies when Genji is three years old, and the Emperor cannot forget her. The Emperor then hears of a woman ("Lady Fujitsubo"), formerly a princess of the preceding emperor, who resembles his deceased concubine, and later she becomes one of his wives. Genji loves her first as a stepmother, but later as a woman. They fall in love with each other, but it is forbidden. Genji is frustrated because of his forbidden love to the Lady Fujitsubo and is on bad terms with his wife (Aoi no Ue).

He also engages in a series of unfulfilling love affairs with other women. In most cases, his advances are rebuffed, his lover dies suddenly during the affair, or he finds his lover to be dull in each instance. In one case, he sees a beautiful young woman through an open window, enters her room without permission, and forces her to have sex with him (see rape). Recognizing him as a man of unchallengeable power, she makes no resistance, saying only that "Someone might hear us." He retorts, "I can go anywhere and do anything."[4]

Mary Arnold points out that, "Women in medieval Japan had little protection against male domination. The customs of the time expected women to be submissive to men, even to the point of rape. Men had no fear that they would be punished for rape, as evidenced in Genji's attitude."[5]

Genji visits Kitayama, the northern rural hilly area of Kyoto, where he finds a beautiful ten-year-old girl. He is fascinated by this little girl ("Murasaki"), and discovers that she is a niece of the Lady Fujitsubo. Finally he kidnaps her, brings her to his own palace and educates her to be his ideal lady; like the Lady Fujitsubo. During this time Genji also meets the Lady Fujitsubo secretly, and she bears his son. Everyone except the two lovers believes the father of the child is the Emperor. Later the boy becomes the Crown Prince and Lady Fujitsubo becomes the Empress, but Genji and Lady Fujitsubo swear to keep their secret.

Genji and his wife Lady Aoi reconcile and she gives birth to a son, but she dies soon after. Genji is sorrowful, but finds consolation in Murasaki, whom he marries. Genji's father, the Emperor, dies; and his political enemies, the Minister of the Right and the new Emperor's mother ("Kokiden") take power in the court. Then another of Genji's secret love affairs is exposed: Genji and a concubine of his brother, the Emperor Suzaku, are discovered when they meet in secret. The Emperor confides his personal amusement at Genji's exploits with the woman ("Oborozukiyo"), but is duty-bound to punish his half-brother. Genji is thus exiled to the town of Suma in rural Harima province (now part of Kobe in Hyōgo Prefecture). There, a prosperous man from Akashi in Settsu province (known as the Akashi Novice) entertains Genji, and Genji has a love affair with Akashi's daughter. She gives birth to a daughter. Genji's sole daughter later becomes the Empress.

In the Capital, the Emperor is troubled by dreams of his late father, and something begins to affect his eyes. Meanwhile, his mother grows ill, which weakens her powerful sway over the throne. Thus the Emperor orders Genji pardoned, and he returns to Kyoto. His son by Lady Fujitsubo becomes the emperor and Genji finishes his imperial career. The new Emperor Reizei knows Genji is his real father, and raises Genji's rank to the highest possible.

However, when Genji turns 40 years old, his life begins to decline. His political status does not change, but his love and emotional life are slowly damaged. He marries another wife, the "Third Princess" (known as Onna san no miya in the Seidensticker version, or Nyōsan in Waley's), but she is taken advantage of by Genji's nephew and bears his son ("Kaoru"). Genji's new marriage changes the relationship between him and Murasaki, who now wishes to become a nun.

Genji's beloved Murasaki dies. In the following chapter, Maboroshi ("Illusion"), Genji contemplates how fleeting life is. Immediately after Maboroshi, there is a chapter entitled Kumogakure ("Vanished into the Clouds") which is left blank, but implies the death of Genji.

The rest of the work is known as the "Uji Chapters". These chapters follow Niou and Kaoru, who are best friends. Niou is an imperial prince, the son of Genji's daughter, the current Empress now that Reizei has abdicated the throne, while Kaoru is known to the world as Genji's son but is in fact fathered by Genji's nephew. The chapters involve Kaoru and Niou's rivalry over several daughters of an imperial prince who lives in Uji, a place some distance away from the capital. The tale ends abruptly, with Kaoru wondering if the lady he loves is being hidden away by Niou. Kaoru has sometimes been called the first anti-hero in literature.

I have only read about 15 pages of the book so far, but I find it very amusing to read about their love life, and the way the story is written. It's a very difficult book for me (My English level is high, but this is higher than mine), but it's a challenge.

Here are some more links if you want to know more about "The Tale of Genji"
The Tale of Genji (wiki)
UNESCO - Tale of Genji

I will post more about the tale of genji, when I have read some more in the book... it's going to take me a while though.

Anyone else have been reading this book?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Run a typhoon is coming!!!

Well, it wasn't that bad as in the title for me, but it sure was for the people living in the south and south-west of Japan on the island of Kyushu.

About a week ago, I heard from someone on the forum where I am always at (jref) that a typhoon was on it's way and that it was a big one. I have followed it the whole week and it hit the islands of Okinawa first on Thursday/Friday, and it hit the mainland yesterday morning until today. On Okinawa the power fell out in a lot of area's and a lot of warnings were given by the Japan Meteorological Agency. Warnings such as high waves, hard rain, storm, thunderstorms and floods.

It hit this area last night and some warnings were given, but I almost didn't noticed anything except for a lot of rain and some more wind than usual.

Here are some news report on the typhoon called; Man-yi.

Strong typhoon hits western Japan, 2 dead, 2 missing, 68 injured

Warmer seawater is secret of typhoon Man-yi's strength
Tyfoon treft Japan

I feel sorry for the people in Kyushu, because whenever there is a typhoon or hard rain they are always the ones to get hit. Take care.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Presents and letters.

Well today was my last day at one of my Elementary schools, and what do you get on your last day? Presents and letters... All in Japanese (in exception of some). I expected to get some letter, but I really did not expect this much.

The pumpkin sure was original.

Thanks all you kids from F... ES, you have made me smile a lot the times I was at your school

Monday, July 09, 2007


Because this is my last week at the elementary schools, the schools are asking me to give a "Goodbye, thank you, I have enjoyed this school so much" speech in front of all the staff.

Of course I already knew that the school where I went today would ask me to give such a speech, but they also wanted me to give a speech in front of all the students.

So there I stood in front of about 500 students giving a "Goodbye, thank you, I have enjoyed this school so much" speech in Japanese. I guess it wasn't that bad because all the students said good morning, replied on my "how are you" with "I'm fine" and "I'm great", and some of the teachers complimented me after wards.

So, today I actually noticed that this (giving speeches like this) is one of the things that I have learned in the last year. I don't want to say that I am good at it, but I can say that I can do it.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Saturday Class at my kindergarten

Today was my fifth time to work at the Saturday class at a Kindergarten in Toyonaka. I normally teach together with Noriko, my Japanese partner, but she had a day off today so I was working together with Mayu (not Mayuko).

We started with circle time, and introduced Mayu to the kids whom of course were a little bit shy *which was cute in some way*. After that we practiced Shapes, the alphabet, phonics, and this months new Vocabulary with the topic "In the sky". It was the first time to do the whole circle time by myself so I was a bit doki doki (nervous) for that, but it went very well.

After circle time we wrote in the journal, textbook, had lunch, played outside and last but not least we were watching 15minutes of "Lilo & Stitch" (one of the kids needed to cry because he was scared of stitch... how cute is that).

I had a very good day, well actually it was my best day at "Kinder kids", so I am very happy about today. But I am also very tired (Mayuko wanted to go shopping after work...), so I won't do anything tomorrow besides some small things.

Have a nice Saturday, and don't forget to smile just for nothing so now and then (or is it now and again?)

Friday, July 06, 2007

76 students

Because I only have 2 times left at one of my elementary schools (shougakkou), they asked me to give a special lesson to the second grade what of course was fine by me because I love the small kids.

The only thing was that I was not going to teach 1 class with 30 students but 3 classes with a total of 76 students in the Taikan (the sport hall). Because they are little I didn't notice the amount that much, but hearing their loud voice it looked like there were over 100 kids (especially in a sport hall). It went pretty good though, we did some "head, shoulders, knees and toes", "Color D.D.R", "Introducing yourself game", and the "B.I.N.G.O" song. The kids seemed to had a lot of fun, and that's what I think is most important of teaching at shougakko's.

Another nice thing is that we will probably get a present from my brother in law: His car. He is going to buy a new car so he doesn't need this car anymore. It would be great to get this car, because it sure would give us a lot more freedom in the weekends.

Have a nice weekend everyone... I have to work tomorrow and my partner is off so I will be working with someone else... I'm a bit doki doki.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It's getting hot

Well, I guess it's the time of the year again: Summer time.

It's about 26 degrees in the house, and last week was the first time to put the airco on again after it hasn't been used for about 7 months. I don't mind the heat, but it can be so humid that your body sticks to your clothes after just walking up the hill... it's annoying so now and then. But the summer also brings good things... Summer festivals.

I really hope to go to some nice festivals this year, especially some small local festivals (Matsuri). I have been to the Gion festival last year, which is one of the largest festivals in Japan, but it was too crowed for me and my girl. We will go to the Kobe firework festival for sure *which is on the 4th of August*. If anyone knows some nice matsuri's in the Kobe region than please let me know.

My summer holiday will start in 2 weeks from now, and I will be having 6 weeks off (maybe will do some summer work, but we will see). I am planning to work on my website and finally give it the long/needed re-design, study on my Japanese, make more friends, and find some sport in Kobe.

Beside that we will also probably head towards Takayama with the whole family for 1 or 2 nights. Looks like a great small village to relax and do some sightseeing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Hello everyone, I know I know... It has been a while. 3 reasons for that:

1. I'm busy with my work
2. I couldn't log into my account, because of the new google account (google is taking over the world)
3. well... I should not find to many excuses but just post so now and then.

Okay, now back to what's going on in my life.

Since half June I started teaching at my new Elementary schools. This time I have 4 schools, and all of them are (again) in Kita-ku (north of Kobe). The schools are alright, and I have no problem with any of them. I'm also teaching at the smallest elementary school in Kobe, a school with only 19 students in total... a lot isn't.

Since 3 weeks ago I also started teaching at a Saturday class for "Kinder kids", the same company where my wife is working for, and I must say that it's a whole difference from teaching at elementary school; age (3-5 against 7-12), activities (singing, dancing, and phonics against keyword games, and bingo games), English level (Eigo ha wakarimasen *I don&t understand English* against "can I have ..." singing "incredible iguana"). It's fun to do, but because it's been a while it is a little bit stress ful for me.

Working 6 days a week isn't that bad, but I just have to get used to it.

I also want to thank everyone for their comments on our wedding party. It really was the best day off my life, and I do realize so now and then how much I miss my parents so now and then. It feels lonely here in Japan so now and then, even though I have my sweet wife *who really takes care of me a lot*, finding friends isn;t that easy.

Well, from the 19th of July I will be having another 6 weeks off (I know, it's also stress full), and I hope to find a summer job or a new job at that time. Wish me luck.

P.S. How's life in Docomo?

Friday, March 30, 2007

The parents, and "the Wedding"

It has been a while since I have posted on here, but I have been really busy with my last weeks of work, my family that came over to Japan, and the preparations for my wedding ceremony.

My mother and her wife came over half march and left Japan today. It was great fun to see them again, and we have enjoyed a lot together. I took them to Kyoto, Himeji, USJ, and other places around and in Kobe. We also went to Karaoke together where they song songs from Frank Sinatra to the Backstreet boys. It was sad to say goodbye today but they have enjoyed a lot and could see that I am in good hands with my wife and her family.

My dad and my brother came over the 23rd and will stay until the 11th of April. They also came to USJ and other places. Next week they will go to Hiroshima for a 2 days, and we will go to Osaka and Nara with them.

The wedding ceremony was just perfect, after weeks of preparation the big day had finally arrived. Mayuko arrived around 14.15, while I arrived around 14.45. Mayuko had her hair done, and we both put on our wedding clothes, I had a tuxedo, and Mayuko had a princes line white wedding dress. The ceremony started on 16.15 in the garden of the place, where I first picked up flowers from the guests to make a bouquet out of it. Then 5minutes later Mayuko arrived and I went down on my knees (again) to give her the bouquet and proposed my love to her. We then swore our love in front of each other and signed the papers. My brother was my witness while Chie was Mayuko her witness, so they signed after us.

After the ceremony we went back inside again, and Mayuko and I had a 10minutes break before we entered the party again. We had an openings speech and after that my dad and Mayuko her brother held a speech for us. We only had a couple of speeches because we didn't wanted everyone to fall asleep. I was glad that Mayuko her best friend Chie had a speech and our friend Yuka (whom we have met in Australia 3.5 years ago).

We changed into our Japanese clothes later on, Kimono and Hakama and cut the cake in the garden. The whole evening we were so busy that we had no time to eat the delicious food, so I really wanted to eat a part of our wedding cake that our friends and family had decorated while we were changing into other clothes.

In the end we had a speech to our parents, which was really emotional for both of the parents, and a speech to our guests.

It was a great day, and I could write a lot more about it, what I will maybe do later on.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wedding ceremony

On March the 25th we will have our wedding ceremony here in Kobe. A lot of things need to be arranged before that, from clothes to flowers. I have only been to one wedding (my mom and her wife) before, so I can't compare too much with Dutch weddings but a Japanese wedding is on an average far more expensive than a Dutch one. An average Japanese wedding is about 3-4 million yen, (157 yen is 1 euro, so do the math).

Our wedding isn't that expensive, we will only spend 2 million yen (which is still a lot of money). But the good things are that first you will really have something nice for your wedding, and the second thing is that you will get back around 30.000 from everyone (we will invite about 45 people, so 1.350.000) so you will get half of the money back.

We have chosen our clothes, wedding dress/tuxedo and kimono/hakama, we have almost send out all our invitation letters, so the next thing will be what we want on the ceremony itself. After this we should choose the food (which was delicious when we tried it a couple of months ago), flowers, balloons, hotels for people who have to stay over, wedding gifts, etc.

Most of the guest are Mayuko her friends, I will only invite 2 because I havenÂ’t made a lot of friends yet (I am desperate please mail me I need friends ;), no joke), her family, and my family will fly over from the Netherlands (my mom and lientje, will stay for 2 weeks, and my dad and my brother will stay for 2.5 week).

I am looking forward to all, but I am also excited to meet the whole family, and if the two families will get along with each other should I care about that?

I am looking forward for some comments from people who also had their wedding in Japan.

Greets, and matane (see you again)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Photo's from our holiday in Toba Mie-ken

With the winter holiday we went to Toba for 2 nights and visited some local tourism spots, here are some pictures:

Here am I and the Meoto Iwa (夫婦岩) or the Husband-and-Wife Rocks. They are joined by a shimenawa (a heavy rope of rice straw) and are considered sacred by worshippers at the neighbouring Okitama-jinja. In Japanese Shinto belief, the rocks represent the union of creator gods Izanagi and Izanami. The rocks therefore celebrate the union in marriage of man and woman. The rope, which weighs over a ton, must be replaced several times a year in a special ceremony. The larger rock, said to be male, has a small Torii at its peak.

Futami Sea Paradise, which had some great shows!

Ninja Village near Ise, it was funny to see ninja's haha, normally you only see them in movies but this time I could be like a ninja, see ninja shows, and one even tried to attack Mayuko (I tried to hold him off with my umbrella but his fake Katana was to strong)

An Ama is a female pearl diver, and she did a small demonstration for us (it was really for us, because on that day the weather was pretty shitty so we were the only ones who were watching. See more info

Playing with dolphins at Futami Sea Paradise. First time for me to be this close with these beautiful animals, and to really play with them using balls was fantastic.

Together eating dinner in our hotel room :D

An attraction in Park Espania, where it was minus 31 degrees... cold.

Our dinner, more came later one. It was all Japanese food but I enjoyed it a lot.

Our morning view on the ocean from our hotel room.

Our room :D

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Mothers and their children overseas

This post is for my mom.

My mom is a wonderful woman, and lives in the Netherlands far away from where I am now. Well the thing is that I have my moments that I miss her, but not that much as she is missing me because I started a new life, and everything is existed for me.

My mom is having a pretty hard time so now and then and she doesn't always know how to deal with things.

Now I am searching for parents who are expering the same thing as we do. A mother with her child being on distance. How do you deal with it, how do you contact, etc.

I am looking forward of any comments here, for me but mainly for my mom.

Please have a look on her website Kidsoverzee. (It's in Dutch but you might want to see the pictures or respond on that website.

Thank you.