February 29, 2008

Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds

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Click on the picture to enlarge it. See the pictures in the two white boxes? You probably can't read the Japanese, but can you guess what that indicates?

February 28, 2008

Lunch Server's Hat

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This is probably the last time Little Brother (now 12) will bring this lunch server's uniform home. The school year ends the 25th of March, and he will start junior high in April. This is the hat that students wear when they serve lunch at his elementary school. Check out the other posts and pictures of Japanese school lunch by clicking on the labels below.

The hat is white, but unfortunately, I was experimenting with light settings and didn't get it right! I'm taking a photography course and thought I would practice. I still have a lot to learn.

February 27, 2008

Shopping Bags

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I went shopping at a department store called Parco. It is actually a store with lots of little shops inside. I used this black vinyl shopping bag for purchases. Bags like this cut down on the use of plastic bags. I did get one plastic bag, though.

February 25, 2008

And this is?

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February 24, 2008

Ume Branches

Flower shops sell branches of ume or plum blossoms at this time of year. They are used for flower arrangements and bouquets. They are also part of the display of dolls for Girl's Day. Check the labels below.

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February 22, 2008

Driveway Citrus Tree

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This citrus tree was next to a house and its driveway. That is the fence that is pulled to close the driveway from the street. Note the shuttered window.

February 21, 2008

Neighborhood Bus Stops

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February 19, 2008

School Music Concert

Today was little Brother's music concert at elementary school. For security reasons I can't post any pictures of any of the children. So, here are the drums! no one played that huge drum today.

Each grade sang one song and then played one song on recorders, xylophones, accordions, drums, pianica (do a blog search.) One student played the piano.

The sixth graders (Little Brother's grade) sang a song called "Smile Again". The chorus was "smile again" in English. Their pronunciation was perfect! They played the theme song for the movie "Rocky". The 4th graders played "Edelweiss". The fifth graders sang "Country Roads" in Japanese. The only English in that song was "country roads." They all did a great job. I always enjoy school music concerts!
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February 18, 2008

Instructions for Making Green Tea

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Some packages of tea include instructions on how to make green tea. Click to enlarge the picture. I will replace this picture later because it is blurry.

Water is heated in a kettle on the stove or in a boiler like the one in the top picture (I'll post a picture of ours later. We no longer use it so I'll have to drag it out. ) A little bit of tea is put in the strainer that sits in the top of the teapot. (see posts for February 9th and 10th.) Hot water is poured into a tea cup to heat it. Then the cup of water is poured into the teapot over the tea leaves. These instructions advise to let it sit for 50 to 60 seconds before pouring it into the warm teacup.

Green tea is made cup by cup. When the tea is no longer strong or dark enough, you would add more tea leaves to the strainer or replace them. I prefer tea cups that are light in color so that I can tell how strong the tea is!

February 17, 2008

A Tokyo Field of Broccoli

I had never seen broccoli growing in a field until I came to Tokyo, Japan!

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February 16, 2008

A Tokyo Cabbage Patch

These are Japanese cabbages. The head of the cabbages are pointed, not round. These are really big! See that chest in the background? It is big enough for an adult to sit on.

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This is the first time I have seen cabbages tied like this.

February 15, 2008

Some Winter Vegetables

These are daikon, Japanese radishes, in a field near our house. They are also grown in other seasons.

These daikon are 100 yen each at a local vegetable stand. Can you figure out how much that is? First you'll have to find out what the exchange rate is today.

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A cabbage patch. Click on the picture to see the taxi in the background.

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Here's a cabbage.

February 14, 2008

Valentine's Candy

Aunt brought this candy for Big Sister. She also brought some for Little Brother but he hasn't opened it yet. Valentine's Day is for men and boys here. Read last year's posts by clicking on the label down below. There's a picture of chocolate wrapped like sushi.

This is the lovely box.
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February 12, 2008

Cake Box

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February is the month of birthdays at our house. I usually make the cakes, but this year we bought some cakes (slices) from a cake shop.

Check last year's post. Actually, that is the most popular post on this blog. Every day there are at least five people who do an internet search for "happy birthday in Japanese". It started last summer. I thought it was because of a baseball player's birthday. If you want to know how to write it in hiragana click on the label below. Let me know if your search for "happy birthday in Japanese" leads you here. Tell us why you want to know!

February 11, 2008

Foundation Day 2008

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I actually remembered to go take a picture of this house that has a flag raised on Foundation Day. It's the only house that has one out. This is not a very good picture again this year. There was no wind, so the flag was not flying. In addition, the time of day made a glare. Ah, well, I will try again next year!

Kids Web Japan--Foundation Day

February 10, 2008

A Closer Look at Teacups and Teapots

The white teapot is the one we use everyday. The brown one is metal. We use it from time to time. It is more difficult to clean. The teapot on the far right came with five teacups. The set was given to us when we were guests at a wedding. (Guests receive gifts at weddings and funerals.) The teacups are quite small so we use them for guests or for a special teatime like for Girls' Day or Boy's Day.

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This is the most common design of a teapot for green tea. This is our teapot at the end of the day. Big Sister and Little Brother drink green tea at breakfast and after school. I drink a couple of cups through the day. After several cups of tea are made, the tea leaves fill the strainer. We've had this teapot for almost 20 years.

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The teacup on the left is the size we use daily. We have four others that are the same size. Each has a different blue and white design. Each of us use the same teacup every day. The two short teacups with the flowers on them are part of a set. They match the flowery teapot in the background. There are five teacups in the set.* Each cup has a different flower on it. The big striped teacup is Papa's. You can't really tell, but it is the biggest teacup in the picture. I have one the same size.
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*Teacups, plates, and bowls are sold individually,but they do come in sets of five.

February 09, 2008

Teacups and Teapots

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Here are some of the teacups and teapots we use for green tea. As you can see there are different styles and different sizes. Some of the teacups are bigger than the teapots.