Sunday, October 31, 2010

E for "Elusive"

Hi there :)

It's Halloween! Are you enjoying dressing up in costumes? I got some candy from my mom's Halloween party's leftovers. She held a party with 10 elementary school kids, and it ended successfully! Good job, mom! I know how hard it was. All I did to help her was to pack snacks in small packages for trick-or-treating. How unhelpful I was :p
At the school I'm working for, we decided to take down all the Halloween decorations on 29th due to our convenience. (We wouldn't have enough time and people to do so until Monday, Nov. 1st.) Then I found a student came in with a witch hat tucked in her bag. She was too shy to wear it with all the decorations gone. (And no others wore any piece of costumes.) I felt so bad for her...

OK, today's topic.
I currently have a few goals which are highly elusive.

1. Get PR in Canada
2. Pass Eiken grade 1
3. Learn to SPEAK and HEAR French

About 1, no question should be asked. 2, Eiken is an English test recognized (probably) only in Japan. It starts from grade 5. This "grade" doesn't correspond to school grades. I don't know the proper name for this in English. Grade 5 is about the English level for the first grade of junior high, which is Grade 7 in North America. I took Eiken for the first time when I was in Grade 7, then I passed Eiken grade semi-1 when I was in university. This time, I'm going to take grade 1, the final and the most difficult one, in January. It's been quite a while since I took Eiken last, and it seems that the test has become harder than before. I heard there is a huge gap between semi-1 and 1, and it is really tough to get through grade 1. But if I want to prove that I'm really good at English on the resume, I should definitely pass this test. I have tons of time now, that's why I decided to try. There is a thick workbook in front of me. I'll do it.

About 3, this is not going well. From May to September, there was a very fun radio program of French. But now, the old program is rerun, and it's very boring... Even the textbook is plain. There are lots of new vocabulary and grammar points all over the pages, but the contents are not very appealing. Well, I shouldn't be picky.
There is a proverb saying "Endurance makes you stronger."

My most recent and urgent goal get rid of this cold by Tuesday! I'll see my friend and her newborn son. If I'm still sick, I will have to postpone the plan :(

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

D for "Dalai Lama"

I feel a little guilty for using this big name in my blog because it fools some people who Googled this holy name looking for real information about Dalai Lama. My previous entry of B attracted some new visitors from Europe, but I'm sure they seriously wanted to know some academic source of this historic author. Sorry those people! But anyway, this is my daily journal. I'll keep writing.

Today, I went to a local secondhand book store. It was recently renewed and huge! Not having been able to find the book I looked for, I went upstairs to check out the foreign book section. I was surprised how well stocked it was. Carefully, I read the titles of the paperbacks one by one. Winny-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne and The Magician's Nephew by C. J. Lewis were good finds. Then I stopped at the cover saying Dalai Lama.

I went to his public speaking in Vancouver in 2006. I had no idea what kind of person he was, and my English wasn't good enough to catch all the words he said. But I understood that he thought much of compassion, and I liked his way of thinking. I liked his attitude (in my understanding) of not trying to convert you to believe in Buddhism, but trying to spread his way of being peaceful and forgiving to others.

I opened the book called An Open Heart and turned a few pages. It looked simple enough for me to read. And it was priced only 250 yen, which is the equivalent of $3 CAD (and it was as good as new)! I bought this book wishing it would open my heart :) (And wished that I could read this through without giving up.)

C for "Canada and Czech Republic"

There are a couple of things that starts with "C" and I could write about, such as cold, career, or cats, but I chose those two countries.

I have spent three and a half years in Canada, and now my baby brother is spending precious time in Czech Republic. I sometimes exchange email messages and knew he is experiencing similar things that I did in Canada. The city I stayed was filled with Asian people, and you could get almost any oriental food or products if you spend a few extra bucks. In a way, I was really spoiled. But a foreign country is of course different from my mother land. Many things shocked me, but at the same time, I was very excited to expose myself to the new culture. I learned a lot from not only Canadians but from international friends around me. It was certainly a life-changing experience. My brother seems to be in the city with less (compared to Vancouver) Japanese people and very few Asian products. But he is surviving and enjoying encounters with people from other countries. In his case, moreover, he has to learn Czech, which is not at all common or popular language in Japan. This must be a big challenge for him, but I'm sure that will make him tough mentally and physically. This experience, for sure, will boost his self-esteem to find his own way in the future.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

B for "Brontë"

I read a column on Salus, a free monthly magazine distributed in the stations along Denenchofu Line. It was about Jane Eyre written by Charlotte Brontë. As a graduate of English major, of course I knew the name of this literature and the author, but I had never thought about reading it. I had just assumed that this story was about an unfortunate lady's life which was filled with misfortune and grief. But according to this column, Jane Eyre describes Jane's deep solitude and her mind which seeks for freedom. She wants to be loved, but more than that, she wants to be truthful to herself. She craves for a change, and that drives her to take actions.

Sounds interesting.
I felt like reading this book for a while, but soon after that, I forgot about it. Yesterday, I was rummaging through my mom's book collection for a book about handmade soap. Then what I encountered was....Jane Eyre. Mom got this book long time ago, probably more than 5 years ago, and never got to read it. It's a sign! (If you haven't seen the movie, Sleepless in Seattle, check that out. It's a good one.)

OK, I started to read this book last night.....hmmm, this is difficult. I'm good at skipping and ignoring words that I don't know and guessing the meaning as I read. But this time, there are so many unfamiliar words. I don't know how long I can hang on, but I'll try.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A for "Adventure and Reunion"

Daibutsu (Big Buddha) in Kamakura

Two guests have flown to their home today.
I've been waiting for L&T's visit for half an emotional year (sob), and the time we spent together was wonderful! :)

After travelling south part of Hokkaido, they arrived in Tokyo. For three days, we looked around Kamakura, Kichijoji, and Kawagoe. They've been to Japan before, so they seemed to be quite used to what they saw, but I was honored to be their translator when they were in trouble. My parents and I had dinner with them, and this time was more successful than the last time, which was in Vancouver. Both sets of my 'parents' (haha) had a great time, and my Japanese parents wished to have more chances to talk to them. (This is a huge improvement for my very reserved parents!)

Kurazukuri Street (Kawagoe)

The place that impressed me the most during our sightseeing was Kawagoe. I had been there twice before, but this was the first time for me to actually look around. We visited a big historical temples, candy store street, and the street of warehouse style buildings. A friend of mine lives in this town and told me a lot about where to visit. It was very helpful. And I also learned why she is very proud of her home town ;) We had another member in this trip. She is L's and my mutual friend who took TESOL course at Vancouver Community College like us. I hadn't seen her for probably more than a year, so it was very nice to see her again.

L&T gave me some ideas to try to get a job offer in Canada. That's too bad that I won't be able to have any interviews or business talk during my visit since that's during Christmas Holidays. But still, I'll meet my friends and people who are cooperative to me.

I'm very lucky to have met so many great friends in Vancouver(as well as I have in Japan!). I read someone said something like a family is not only biological connections, but the bond you create with people you meet. (Agh, it was much better phrase, but I can't remember!) I think it's really true. Five years ago, I didn't dream of my world becoming so wide....

Toki no Kane (Kawagoe)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Y for "Yesterday's Event" or Z for "Zillions of Congratulations"

It was a long day, but very joyful and exciting day.

I attended my friend's wedding yesterday. Technically, it was my "friends'" since both the bride and the groom are my high school friends. They first started as high school sweet hearts, so many of the guests were my(and their) high school buddies. It was like a reunion! Some of them have been distant, and I have been distant, too, so there were endless catching up and chattering. My speech went OK, and the bride liked it. Whew... The party continued, changing the location a few times, until...I don't know, this morning? I came back at midnight.

Every time I attend a wedding, I feel so happy for the bride(usually, the bride is my friend), and I'm filled with happiness, too. This wedding was no exception. Even happier. I declare this was the best wedding I've ever joined. Looking at the newlyweds, my friends, and all the musicians who played at the party(the groom is a professional musician, and the ceremony was filled with live music played by the couple, their families, and his band members.), I realized that I'm in such a nice community and surrounded warmly by great friends. I've been with a broken heart, but my memory of my ex looked faded. I even thought about remaining in Japan for good....well, I just thought about it. It's not official.

There are some more that I wanted to say, but I'd like to end this entry with happy note, and I'll continue telling my thoughts in the next time.

I'll start again from "A"!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

X for......"Xmas!!"

Mhahaha! Did you think I wouldn't come up with the word that starts from X? I found it!! Even if it's not a proper spelling, Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English says this is another form of Christmas, so I have no guilt about using this word :)

Yes, it's still faaaar from Christmas, but there's an exciting news about Christmas. I've got my winter vacation from December 23rd, which means if I get the plane ticket, I will be able to spend this Christmas in CANADA!! I'm so thrilled! I have to make sure to book the ticket immediately. Hope there's still some seats left on 24th. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

I finished writing the speech for my friend's wedding. I think it's pretty decent if only I can do it without reading the script. I'll practice tomorrow.

Good night.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

W for "Wedding"

My friend's wedding is coming up next Sunday. I'm so excited, but at the same time, I'm worried. If you have attended an wedding ceremony in Japan, you realized that everyone is dressed up to the perfection. I have taken part in many weddings parties, but I often felt that I was underdressed. I did my best, but my best didn't seem enough... This time, I'm going to wear a plain black dress, and I thinks that's pretty formal. The problem is hairstyle. The main reason why I had my hair permed is this formal occasion. I hope I can make do. Whew....I'm glad to be born as a girl, but being a girl takes a lot of work!

Moreover, the bride asked me to give a speech representing her friends! OK, I was a member of the speech section in the English club at university and I talk in front of students. But I'm never good at public speaking. Never. There's no panacea for nervousness, but I know the key; I should prepare and practice thoroughly. Wish me luck!

This wedding is not only my best friend's, but also one of my high school friend's. They first met in the high school brass band, and the bride played the flute with me then. She has been my great friend ever since. I wish ever-lasting happiness for her, and the success of this special day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

V for "Vapour"

These days, this helps me to sleep well. This is an aroma diffuser. I got it for myself as a birthday present. I'm not a specialist of aroma therapy, like my sister, but just I like the idea that natural herbs have some effects of making us feel better. I didn't use to like lavender scent, but I started to like it after I got this vapourizer. It doesn't work very much as a humidifier, but good at spreading the aroma in my small bedroom. I don't know if aroma oil itself is working for me, but at least I can fall asleep in fragrant atmosphere.

I went to a hair salon today to have my hair permed. It's been a while since last time I did this. 3-4 years ago? I'm quite satisfied with the result, except the smell of the chemical that still stinks on my hair. It's nearly toxic. My head has been aching probably because of this smell... Anyway, this time, I found a coupon on the Internet that allows me to have my hair cut, permed, and nurtured for about 10,000 yen. While a hairdresser gave me a treatment, my head was gently steamed in a special helmet-like equipment. I felt like the vapour also had my skin moisturized. (And I also felt like a steamed pork bun...well, it was relaxing.)

I had asked my friend to have dinner with me tonight to hand a wedding present to her. I'm glad that she like it. We have a good chat and had nice food.

Now, I'm heading to the bathroom. I'll wash this stinky chemical away!!