Sunday, June 14, 2009

What's your definition of beach time?

My friends Jenny and Katie are off to (bigger and better?) other things in life, so Kari and I went to spend one last weekend with all of us here! Jenny lives by the beach = perfect! This is the "surfer" beach....not so obvious yesterday apparently!! But gorgeous nonetheless.

So we all definitely had different ideas of the beach. Mine = onigiri (rice ball with seaweed on the outside and a special surprise on the inside. this case tuna). In all reality, this is not my definition of beach time....but it's the only pic of me I had :) It was nice to lay out, listen to the waves, read and relax.

Jenny = get as much sun as possible and eat melty chocolate!
Kari...cover up as much as I can and study Japanese (and sing in Japanese to myself a little...)

Katie = Kindle Love! Book worm for sure!!

Katie and I couldn't resist a picture of Momma and Baby Kindle...our reading devices...of course along with the real reading material too....

Trying to squeeze into my little car! This was Katie's first and last time in the backseat of my car!! Her legs are a bit too long to be squeezing back there!

We're quite an eclectic bunch of girls, but I'm really going to miss Jenny and Katie next year!! Love you ladies and wish you the best!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Just Another Friday Night

I stayed after school today to help my English Club finish decorating for the school festival the next few days. One of my students bought a bunch of "I Love New York" hats for a dollar each, so we were sporting them above! Below, of course the decorations included TONS of cartoon characters...why not turn the clock into Mickey Mouse?

Since I have to work the weekend away, I'm having a nice relaxing Friday night at home. I made mini hamburgers on some almost wheat table rolls (the closest thing to wheat and bun I could find!) and made mashed potatoes. Topped that off with pickles (!) and a vodka with mixed fruit juice in my awesome hurricane glass :) Now, this may not seem so remarkable to you, but it is to me! Though relatively easy to make, I have only had hamburgers and mashed potatoes a handful of time since I came here. Mmmmmmmm. All while watching The Bucket List, one of my all time motivating movies. Hope you all have a fabulous Friday and great weekend after that while I'm slaving away at work...or hanging out with kids and no responsibility all weekend haha.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Outta the Rut

I think I'm breaking out of a rut. Though it wasn't that big of a rut, things are just going well right now. I have lots to do at work, I started studying Japanese again after a like 5 month hiatus, and I went for my first run in almost a month today. Those are just small things I realize...but I was sick and the nose and sinus issues have been lingering, and I have been using it as an excuse to be lazy. Thankfully that's over...

I also found out that I have to be in "quarantine" after I come back from the US this summer...which basically means I get an extra week off when I get home --- a vacation from my vacation! Who could ask for more? A week to get rid of jet lag?! Although it does seem like that week could be put to better use if I coulda spent more time in the states, but I guess I'll take it as a good thing anyway.

I can't believe I leave in a month, time is just gonna fly by. At work I realized I only have one more lesson to plan and then a test to make and then I'm heading home! That seems like so little work, but the part you don't understand is that I have a STACK of essays on my desk to grade (280+80+more in the next week)...and then once the students take that test that I write, I will have 280 tests to grade too! But as you can tell, I'm really not all that bitter or worried about it...they will get finished when they get finished...and I was actually supposed to assign one more composition this semester, but out of sanity, my JTEs agreed it's not necessary for the kids to do another one this semester since they will write more next semester.

Alright - I'm off to bed. Need to get some beauty sleep...tomorrow is day 5 of 8 at work...still hoping for good weather so that doesn't turn into a longer work week! Love you and miss you all! -- Ash

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Reminiscing Mt. Fuji

I thought this might be of interest to you guys! One of my friends made a video of the Mt. Fuji climb back in August. Though I'm not really in the video, I thought it would give you a good picture of what climbing Fuji was like!! You can however see me talking to the cow (in my pink hoodie) and you can hear me talking in the background at the top of the mountain (talking about cuddling haha -- hey it was cold up there!!).

"Shizuoka ALTs attack Mount Fuji with great gusto and lose some of it along the way. Rated PG for one swear word and discussion of beer."

Yet Another Tokyo Excursion

I headed to Tokyo for a little pampering and time spent with friends before some of us part ways at the end of July. We started off with hair cuts -- here's some pics of my hair in the subway station. Not the greatest pics, but you get the idea...and I haven't really had many photo ops since then, sorry!! It took me a few days to get used to, but I think I like it. Either way it's nice to have something different and short! It's starting to get hot here and rainy season is upon us, so with the heat and humidity, I really needed something short to keep down the frizz.

After getting beautified at the salon, we headed off to Harajuku for some shopping. Harajuku is absolutely crazy busy on the weekends, you can barely turn around in the store!! I didn't buy anything cuz the crowds are just too much for me to focus, but it's nice to check out the big city for a few days as always. I found an awesome store - check it out below:

Next we were off to the Ninja themed restaurant. All the waiters dress up as ninjas and do a lot of "ninja magic." There are a bunch of different rooms you can sit in, dark hallways with torches for lights and mini waterfalls, just to name a few cool things! A lot of the food pieces came with a small production and at one point in our meal a ninja came over to show us some pretty sweet magic tricks. It was pretty cool - an interesting night out with the ladies!

See above: my awesome tuna sushi (three varieties - lemon, cheese and salt) and even more amazing "Ninja sha" drink -- strawberry sorbet with champagne. I'm not sure how I lived without it before!!

After that we headed back to our capsule hotel for a good night's sleep! Capsule hotels are unique to Japan -- it's a small crawl space you crawl into and pull down a curtain on the end to sleep in. Each capsule has it's own little tv built in and a few other things (I never really use them, I just sleep!) and they are mainly used by business men who just need a place to shower and sleep. Most of them don't let women stay, this is one of the very few, but it's the second time we've stayed there. I tried to pack lightly this time around since it was just one night, and didn't bring pajamas, because they give you yukata (like pants and a robe type thing - like pjs). So I thought I was being all smart...took my shower, got out, and went to pull the pants on...and WOW. I got them pulled up, but I couldn't bend over or walk really! I mostly had to waddle to ask Jenny to borrow her pants instead!! Good thing I have skinny friends!

Morning came too soon, but thankfully our morning was spent at the 100% Chocolate Cafe. It was seriously my heaven! I had a Mocha and some chocolate cake to start the day off right!! Everything on the menu has chocolate and you can also buy different chocolates from around the world. They also have a chocolate of the day (see below) that has the date imprinted on it! So cool! Highly recommended!

Overall the weekend was a success! It was a nice getaway because this week is our school festival. I have a lot of essays to grade, a lesson to write and will have to go to work 8 days in a row (possibly ten if it rains, so cross your fingers for good weather!!!) So it's a good thing I got away last weekend since I'll be spending so long at school this week!

T - 1 month!

Congratulations Nic and Tim!

Cohen John Ahles
7 lbs, 9 oz and 20 inches long

I'm an auntie again!! Twice in one year is quite a change, but not so much for me as the parents!!! Nicole gave birth to Cohen John on May 22 at 1:26 pm (yeah, I'm a little behind!!). I got to talk to her all through the process, and it was amazing to experience things right along with her, even though I'm so far away. Congratulations Nicole and Tim, I know that you are going to be fabulous parents - Cohen is such a lucky little guy! Good luck on the new journey, I know it's had its challenges already but I can think of no two people better fit for the job! I love you so much and can't wait to meet Cohen next month!!