Saturday, December 13, 2008

Daddy and I

Daddy and I
Originally uploaded by bakadutch

December 2008

I say it over and over again; it's been too long since I have posted something on my blog. I've got 2 reasons for that:

I've been studying for months in preperation for the JLPT, and Reo is keeping us busy as well (in a nice way of course)
Seeing the amount of comments that I receive makes me wonder if people actually read my blog and if it has any meaning to write on it... I mean a blog is there to share stories, but without readers there isn't anything to share, is there?

As you can read above, I've been really busy studying for the JLPT. What is the JLPT you might wonder, well the JLPT stands for; Japanese Language proficiency test. There are 4 levels in the test:

Test content and requirements summary
Level Kanji Vocabulary Listening Hours of Study Pass Mark
4 ~100 (103) ~800 (728) Beginner ~150 60%
3 ~300 (284) ~1,500 (1409) Basic ~300
2 ~1000 (1023) ~6,000 (5035) Intermediate ~600
1 ~2000 (1926) ~10,000 (8009) Advanced ~900 70%

I went for level 2, and I have to say that it was bloody hard so I'm not sure if I passed or not. But I will take the test again in July and will take care that I will pass it that time. Passing this test makes it easier for me to find a job in a Japanese environment because I am not planning to stay an English teacher for my whole life!!!

Reo is doing really great and he is starting to crawl from the living room to the kitchen and back, and likes to explore things (especially by putting everything in his mouth). Mayuko is doing great and she is really making a lot of effort for Reo and me (it's commonsense when you are married I think, but still I want to say that I am proud of her). It's such a pleasure to see him growing day by day!!

Well, yesterday I finally got my contract for my new job. I am going to work for an international kindergarten not too far from here. My working hours are from 9.45 until 18.00 so that means that I can sleep in until 8 in the morning (hihihi). The morning class is a very nice small class, and in the afternoon I will have different kids every day. I am a bit nervous to start this job but I think I should be able to get used to it pretty fast.

Yesterday was my 24th birthday (yes, I'm Jack bauer now), and enjoyed my day with Mayuko and Reo. Mayuko made a very nice dinner (kobe beef), a birthday cake, and gave me a nice belt and an organizer for next year. I'm also very happy with all the messages and the phone calls from my family.

I do have to say that when you are getting older, it seems that other people care less about it... I expected a bit more but guess there is nothing to do about it than except.

I hope to be able to update my blog a little bit more next year, but please give some more comments... a reason for me to write on my blog.

Monday, September 01, 2008

does he look like me? or like Anpanman?

Originally uploaded by bakadutch

kieke boe

kieke boe
Originally uploaded by bakadutch

Summer 2008

Hello everyone,

Here a summer update live from the worlds greatest city, Kobe.

It's been a pretty hot summer this year, guess it will only get hotter in the future (if you do not believe in the Day after tomorrow I guess). The weather was a bit hard for the baby tough, especially for his skin because he is mecha mecha (very very) chubby.

Beside his skin, that we are a little worried about, Reo is doing super. He is growing fast, and I think he will become smarter than Mayuko and I are... His neck is also pretty stable, so with our help he is able to sit down, and do sit ups. He is now about 6.5 kilo.

My summer holiday started from half July, and I will go back to the schools tomorrow. I had 2 summer jobs, and they actually make me not wanting to go back to the elementary schools. I am kind of getting tired of traveling to different schools, teaching 800 kids a week, and a lot of teachers/kids just don't care about English. It's a fun job to do, but after 2 years I say: GIVE ME ANOTHER JOB. A well, just another 6 months to go and I will do something else than this (that's my intention though).

I have also decided that I will be doing the JLPT 2 this year, even though the change that I might not pass is a pretty big I will do my best to prepare for it. I does mean that until December, I should at least study 2 hours a day (14 hours a week + 14 weeks is almost 200 hours)... fewww If I do fail, I will take the test again next July. I WILL GET JLPT 2 BEFORE NEXT SUMMER..

There was also a pretty dramatic accident a couple of weeks ago near our house. A river started to flood, and 4 people died.

I have a lot of photo's from Reo, and if you want to see all. Then please visit my flickr account:

Have fun, and if you have any specific questions on how life in Japan is... FIRE them :D

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, 1 month old

Happy Birthday Reo, tomorrow you will become one month old.

Life has changed so much, after he has been born. I want to go home a.s.a.p. , responsibility has tripled, life has got more meaning then before in my opinion. The wife is sometimes complaining a lot towards me, but I can understand that with certain things, and in the other way she is still very sweet to me. I though I would really become on the background, but that's not the thing.

Reo is sleeping very well, even though he got his crying hours (especially between 10-1 in the evening), drinking a lot of milk, becomes cuter and fatter every day.

Today we went to Tarumi Kai Jinja (temple), to pray for his health and future. We sat on a bench, and the priest was walking around, saying stuff in Japanese, and reading text from a book and our names (DEEEVIIEEE SUTOKUUHOFFF , which makes me feel good that we decided to not change Mayuko her last name).

We have been at her parents place for about a month now (it's normal in Japan to go to the parents after the baby is born, to get support and learn how to do certain things... which I think was very nice, because now we can go home with a good feeling).

Anyway, here are some photo's.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The baby is born! Good morning little boy.

On Friday, May 30th at 10.34 A.M. in the Tanabe FrauenKlinik in Kobe Japan, our little boy was born. He weighted 2970 gram, and was 50.5cm tall when he came out. He already gained about 200 gram in the last week, and he is getting milk from the breast.

His official name is Reo Terao 怜朗 寺尾、but feel free to call him Reo Terao Stokhof in unofficial matters.

He is now already 9 days old, and is a very sweet and smart boy... meaning he doesn't keep us awake all night. He has some things of me, and some things of my wife.... which is one of the most interesting thing of having a mixed child... what's his Japanese side and what's his Dutch side. I will let you people decide your own opinion, because I'm not really good in that.

Our life has changed huge since the day he was born, and there are a lot of things we have to learn, and have to get used to, but we are enjoying every day with our little boy. Before I was happy to go home after work, but now I am really really looking forward going home again, and seeing Reo again. Holding him in my arms, watching his 1000's different expressions, and giving him milk by the bottle when Mayuko is too tired.

A couple of difficult things are, the fact that he is soooo small and fragile and taking a bath with him is a bit hard. Another thing is, but I guess that's also a funny thing is when changing diapers, is that he sometimes urinating straight up... almost in your face.

We will enjoy our time with him, and will do all our best to raise him in a proper way. If anyone has any advice for us, feel free to do that.

Last but definitely not least. I want to thank all our family and friends for their heart warming congratulations, and we will try to post as many blogs, photo's and other updates on the net for your guys...

A happy happy Birthday for our little son Reo Terao (Stokhof)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

School, Studying, and the BABY

Hello everyone,

How's life? It's been a while again...ahum...

Anyway, everything is doing alright up here. Started school again last week, after I had a holiday for 2 months. Although, I am not sure if I can call it a holiday because I have been studying Japanese for 1.5 month in Osaka from 9 in the morning until sometimes 5 in the afternoon.

Studying Japanese at a school was a lot of fun, and I've made a lot of friends. My Japanese has definitely improved, although I am worried that a lot of things will fade away because I started working again. I should start some private lessons next week though.
I've also done a Japanese test last week, the J-test, which went pretty good (result will come in next month).

School is doing alright, although it's a bit far... but I've got nothing to complain about.

Mayuko is doing good as well... only about 1.5 week to go until the baby is there...

I'll keep you guys up to date

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Group photo

Group photo
Originally uploaded by bakadutch
ow. just to add another one.

We had a Hanami party last wednesday with my Japanese school in Osaka jo koen. We had a great time, with some nice beers, games, and karaoke after wards (7 Koreans, and 1 Dutch).

Bad thing was... my battery was dead so I couldn't call my wife, and I came home late.... yeah I know. I suck :(

Mayuko pregnant

Mayuko pregnant
Originally uploaded by bakadutch
Well, here is a photo of Mayuko in her 30th week of her pregnancy.

We went for a small Hanami(cherry blossom viewing party)2 weeks ago in Shukugawa (4stops away from our train station). It was a bit cold that day, but the Sakura was very beautiful, but I have to say that nothing beats the belly of Mayuko.

b.t.w. for the people whom are reading my blog, I am looking forward to reading some of your comments, it's the reason I can and want to update this blog.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Going to a Japanese language school

Since I have about 1.5/2 months vacation, I have decided to work on my Japanese by going to a school this time. I was looking for a school already last year, but couldn't find anything besides private lessons for 3000 yen an hour, and unqualified looking teachers.

This year, I finally found something nice, KKC, a school located in Namba Osaka (about 1 hour away from my house and 1050 yen transportation a day). I can study in the morning from 9 to 12.30 and/or from 1 to 4.30. For one month it costs me 44.000 yen, which sounds expensive, but if you calculate the hours it's actually very cheap.

We use the text book: Mina Nihongo 2, and are in a class of 6 to 10 persons. A lot of koreans, and Chinese, but they are fun besides the fact that they do speak a lot of Korean and I can't understand a word.

Anyway, I really have to put some extra power behind studying Japanese. This year I really hope to do JLPT 2, even though it might be a very VERY big challenge... Wish me luck

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Japanese TV... an addition to it

I think a lot of foreigners in Japan dislike Japanese TV. Why I think that... because I have almost never heard any foreigner talking about Japanese TV when I talked to them about it.

What I think about Japanese TV? Well, I sometimes really enjoy watching it, and have some programs that I just don't want to miss: Mechaike, Lincoln, etc. But I have to agree on some things: There are too many cooking programs where people are lying about the taste, there are too many stupid and low budget commercials, and they amount of foreign programs (movies, drama's etc) is very low to zero (if you do want to watch them, you have to stay up until 1 or 2 in the night).

So, I have been complaining to my wife about it for months... crying, and breaking glasses on the wall. No just kidding.

But yeah, I have been asking for an addition for already a couple of months, but she always said it wasn't necessary or a waste of money. Until this guy from J:com came by and gave her some more information about it. After that she decided to give me a present:

J:Com TV.

J:Com gives you internet, phone, and TV for only 9.000 yen a month. So right now we have 66 extra TV channels :D :D YATTA. I can now watch 7 sports channels, 3 music channels, CNN and CNBC, FOX tv, Discovery channel, history channel, and a lot more Japanese and international TV programs. (here is a list of the channels and the link to J:com in English)

So, thank you Mayuko!

Friday, March 07, 2008

March update

I guess it has been a while since I have posted a blog entry. Life in Japan can be very busy so now and then, and from June it will be even busier. Mayuko is doing fine although working is getting harder every day, and she can't get the rest that she needs to have. Only 2 weeks left for her, and one week left for myself and then we don't have to work anymore.

Mayuko will then have another 2 months to enjoy by herself before the baby will arrive. I just hope that she will not stay at home to much but that she will start doing some exercise. I will try to push her a bit but she can be sooo stubborn... is that the real Japanese women?

As I have said before, I only have another week left before I have another long holiday. I was thinking of searching for another job (I still have some interviews), but I will probably stay with the same company that I am working for now (W5SS) here at the Kobe elementary schools (Shougakkou) and that will start from the end of May, beginning of June. During the holiday I want to study Japanese as much as possible ( The JLPT 3 should be fair enough).

I'm searching for interesting ways to study Japanese, because studying from a textbook for 4-5 hours a day isn't very exciting. I was thinking about taking my camera out and make photo's of Kanji signs here in the area, and writing a daily dairy on Mixi... Anyone else got some nice ideas for me?

We are also planning a short trip during this holiday, because the last one sure wasn't fun. I, myself was thinking about Kita (north) Hyogo (Prefecture I am living in) at the Japanese sea for 1 or 2 nights.

Anyway, live is doing alright up here, even though it can always be better.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Winter Holiday part 2

Well to continue from the first part;

The Flu.
I still had to stay another couple of days in my room, just in case I would infect Mayuko with it. But I guess it was alright, I finished my book about the daughter of a Yakuza boss (a very nice book, I might even write another blog entry about this book called "Yakuza Moon"), played "Prince of Persia" and "FF3" on my DS and got to see some movies that I downloaded from the net.

Unfortunately a couple of days later Mayuko also got sick and got 37.5 degrees. We were worried that she also got the flu, but luckily she got a normal temperature again the day after and it didn't go any further then coughing!

All together
On Saturday the 29th my Takuya, Aki-chan and Nana-chan came over from Osaka, to spend the new year together with the whole family. It feels great to be together with the whole family like that, even tough it also makes me miss my own family. The only one who was still missing was my sister in law Minako, but she would come over on the first of Jan.

Golf practice
On the 30th I played some golf with Takuya and Kimio, well not really playing but more practicing swing on the golf range. Because the two of them would go to a real golf park on the 31st and my golf level is way to low we decided to just go for some swings... It didn't went very well, maybe because I wanted to play golf so much I think I put too much pressure on myself and didn't enjoy a lot. My wife is telling me to stick with futsal because golf is too expensive for me... I guess she is right but still I would like to learn golf a bit more and go with them on the last day of 2008. A well, a nice target.

Baby sitting
Minako couldn't come before the 1st of January but she did got us some delicious fish (buri - yellowtail???), Ikura (salmon eggs), and some other stuff. Because Minako was living in Osaka one of us needed to pick it up from there, and due the fact that I still wasn't feeling 100% Aki-chan decided (forced by mom ;)) to pick it up.

So Aki-chan went to Osaka, Mayuko to the hair dresser, Kimio and Takuya to the golf court, and Akiko needed to drive from the station to the hairdresser. So there I was alone with Nana-chan.... HELP ME !!!!!! BABY!!!!!! No joke, I had a lot of fun taking care of the little one; watching anpanman together, playing with toys and walking around in the house together. She is growing week by week, and she is surprising us all the time. During this holiday she started to walk a bit more by herself, and can walk about 10 meters without any help from us. It was also great to teach her the high-5 (they call it high-touch in Japan for some reason lol)

New years eve
New years eve in Japan is totally different than in the Netherlands. No champagne, no oliebollen, en no Fireworks. I guess I could have bought some Champagne for the eve but I already spend a lot of money on Christmas presents so I was fine with beer! Oliebollen... well I though about making them but I do not have a big frying pan. Fireworks... a well guess its just the way it is haha.

So yeah on new years eve we ate some delicious buri (shabu shabu), drunk foreign beer, and watched the K-1 Dynamite together (some nice fights, especially "Kid" did well). While we were preparing for a count down with beer and toshikoshi soba (noodles) my mother called us to say happy new year and sing a new year song on the speaker (which was funny and very warming) So I (well Mayuko had the phone in her hand) spend the new year with my Japanese family and my mom.

After the beer, and when the little one went to bed we played some kachi kachi (Japanese card game, with 100 yen bets...I won about 4000 yen that evening) and went to bed around 3.

New years day
On new years day we had a traditional Japanese breakfast, watched the Down town Batsu game ( a TV game, in which some famous Japanese comedians were not allowed to laugh or else they would be hit on the ass with a slap stick...See here if you are interested), slept all together on the floor in the living room ate suki-yaki with again delicious beef, and played another Kachi-kachi game (this time Minako was there as well).

On the second we left early for Ako, to visit Oba-chan (grandmother) with the whole family. We ate some very nice sushi up there and walked around with Nana-chan. Nana-chan was a bit scared of Oba-chan in the beginning but got in her mood later on the day.

Another golf game, and time to go home
On the third we practiced some golf again, which went way better than before (maybe because I checked some stuff on you tube how to practice the swing), played some wii, and visited a friend of Mayuko; Yumi and her husband. She has a very cute but small house (something we also would like in the upcoming years) In the evening we ate Okonomiyaki from Aki-chan (I think I ate Okonomiyaki 4 times in one month lol).

In the evening we went home again, which was a bit sad but we were happy to be home again as well... We had spend 2.5 week at the parents their house.

It was a great holiday, besides the fact that I fainted and got the flu. Nana-chan grew a lot in 2.5 week time and it was nice to spend time with the family. I can't wait to spend more time with the family again (next time will be in February or March though.

Tomorrow I got to go back to work again... hmmm... aaa well it's alright got to make money to support my family and work on my career the upcoming year.

Here is a video of me playing golf