Absentee ballot! Voting with an absentee ballot was the most exciting thing! It felt so much more official than voting has ever felt, but perhaps that is also because I have so much more emotion around this election than I have ever had. I had to call my parents to get the skinny on a lot of local issues, but come on California! Please allow same sex marriage and dear God vote for Obama!
These are a couple pictures from the bottom floor of the Yamakataya mall. I always forget to check it out because it isn't in my consciousness yet that department stores will always have grocery stores on the bottom floors and restaurants on the top floors, but what a wonderful surprise! These are different kinds of mixed rice that you can purchase by the kilo - some have different kinds of seaweed or chicken broth or pickles mixed into them. Delicious!
These are toppings to eat with rice - they don't look so appetizing in the picture, but I think they are tasty. Different types of fish and pickled root vegetables.
In the grocery section there are lots of these sort of booths that sell specialty items like really fresh sashimi or grilled chicken. Mmmm, how can one cook when there are so many foods available?
People reading manga (Japanese comics) in the bookstore. There are lots of bookstores all around the city where at any time of day you can expect to find people of all ages reading manga - its amazing! From young kids to senior citizens, everyone loves their manga. There are manga about all kinds of things - Adventures of radish man, sci-fi, sexy manga, house-wife related manga, teenage girl/boy manga, business man manga, historical, you name it they have drawn it.
One of my favorite students drew me a self portrait.
Some funny cookies. It sounds more like a dish washing detergent than a snack...
One of the English teachers in my office. We all usually eat lunch at our desks and most of them brush their teeth at their desks. I haven't started doing this yet, mostly because at 7am it is still a huge challenge for me to remember all the things I need to take to school in a day, pack myself a lunch and remember to throw away my garbage and recycling on the right days, so let's not even mention remember to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste.
One of the English teachers I work with. All of my female teachers eat the tiniest lunches imaginable (those two pink boxes held her entire lunch!) and I usually eat at least twice as much of them. I have resigned myself to the role of giant foreigner so I tuck in without any qualms. This teacher told me that she is on a diet and I asked why in God's name she was on a diet (she's about 5'2" and weighs at most 95-100 lbs) and she said she was getting a little heavy. Right, so I'm working on not developing a complex.
It was Show and Tell in English day and my students told us about their hobbies. Most of the girls said things like "I dance hip hop for my hobby because it is cute!" (Hahaha! That just reminded me that the other day I was leaving school and a group of boys said hello so I turned to them and they started yelling "I am potato! I am pooootaaato!" No idea what that was about)
But this girl showed us a demonstration of kyudo, traditional Japanese archery. If you are at all interested in Zen philosophy and you haven't read Zen and the Art of Japanese Archery I really recommend downloading the audio version of it and listening to it in the evening while you do something crafty. Kyudo is hella tight and I wish I had a stronger sense of discipline or the energy to stay until 7pm every day to take kyudo classes with the students at my school.
Another girl shows us her stamp collection!
The neighborhood around my school.
My girls in their PE uniforms doing funny faces.
The view from the top roof of the high school.
A dramatic text messaging moment. (Side note: in Japan everyone has a cell-email address and for some reason it is cheaper to send cell-emails than it is to send text messages so my students don't say they are texting, but that they are emailing)
These are the outfits that painters in Japan wear. Genie pants, I don't know why.