Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Trees of No Shade

One of the things that drives me crazy in Japan are the overpruned trees. The ideal shape for a tree in Japan is the shape of a corn dog. Tall, with just a little green fuzz left around the top. And they prune the trees just in time for the summer season. So at the peak of heat, there is absolutely no shade. It is just completely illogical. The fact that they only cut the grass, once or twice a year...well, that's just a cultural thing, and I notice it, but it doesn't make me crazy. But walking down a tree lined street and having absolutley no shade makes me miss Georgia, where the trees are allowed to grow pretty much however they want as long as they don't get near the electrical lines or brush your house. What a concept?

Saturday, September 09, 2006


For vegetarians, Japan is pretty much hell. Everything has chicken, pork, fish, octupus, eel, or some sort of creepy crawly thing in it. But thank god for egg sandwiches. They can be bought at some conbinis. But you never know which ones carry's always hit or miss. The 7-11 out my back door carries them, and so does the 7-11 on the way to Pulstec. But the 7-11's downtown never have them. You can also get ones that aren't quite as good at some Family-marts. And luckily most train stations carry them. You can quickly get sick of them, so I recommend newcomers to not o.d. on them. They are absolute lifesavers when you are on the run and get hungry.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Q is for Quilt

Last week in English First class it was Q is for Quilt. And this is a really tough thing to explain. My predecessor used a picture of Grover in bed with a quilt over him. I tried that last year, and didn't think it worked so well. So over the last year I have kept my eyes open for a cheap quilt. I had given up all hope, when a week before Q rolled around again I spotted a baby quilt at the hyaku yen. Yippee! So my skit was to try and explain quilt, starting and stopping, and getting really frustrated and crossing my eyes, etc. Then get the old "I got it" look in my eyes and grab the quilt out of my bag. Then I showed them the quilt, with all the quilted puffiness and then attempted to go to sleep under this very tiny quilt. Which brought on more laughter. Then as our project we made the paper quilts in the picture below. I cut out the pieces from origami paper, handed out the template sheets and glue sticks and then tossed cut quilt pieces into the air, letting them rain down on the kids like confetti. It turned out to be one of my best lessons.