A Travellerspoint blog

The difficulties of teaching English

#19

sunny

We were practicing making generalizations - Not many Japanese people drive to work; Some Americans own guns; Most British women quit work after marriage.

Its an easy lesson to teach and quite practical for free conversation. It has also proved to hold my favourite moment thus far. See that comment about British women above? Well, apparently 3 students have recently misread it as:

"Most British women not QUITE work after marriage."

Posted by ImpBob36 02:29 Archived in Japan Comments (1)

Kyoto's Aoi Festival

sunny 24 °C

The north of Kyoto in May is said to hold the worlds oldest festival.

The prayers of the local people after flooding were answered and the celebrationary parade has continued since the 6th century.

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So it was on this sunny that we headed out into the cultural center to witness traditional Japanese attire wander through the streets.

It began with a display of horsemanship, charging down a gravel path before the dignitaries.
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The crowds had already staked out prime positions but a friendly couple allowed us to squeeze through for photo opportunities.

Suddenly the crowds began to dissipate and we charge after them. Weaving through back streets, the procession had began, the rhythmic clang of bells and light dance of the flute echoed further down the road.

We dashed out where the crowds were thin, grabbed a photo and dashed ahead through alleyways, trying the catch the entire gambit on display.

Children marched on through the noon heat in elaborate clothes ...
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... streams of colours washed past, pink archers, green horseman and red flute players ...

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... a solemn geisha expressionlessly walked the hour long pilgrimage.
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Eventually it ended at the Kamigamo shrine, recreating the original offerings to the gods.
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Posted by ImpBob36 01:24 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Sakura

Kyoto's Cherry Blossoms

sunny 19 °C

OK, OK ... I know its been a while on the updates. What can I say, I'm lazy.

I've been doing lots of things, seeing lots of things and eating lots of things. Wow, thats Champagne quality English there. And to think I'm getting paid to impart this high quality vocabulary.

Oh well. Since this is a travel blog I guess I should blog about my travels. *Sigh* More quality there as well.

It was a mildly warm day when K and I headed to Kyoto. I had been watching the nightly news of late, the small Cherry Blossom pictographs marching up across the map of Japan as the weather warmed into mid-20s.

K and I opted for a mild Tuesday to journey back to Arashiyama and Kyoto to soak up the short-live Sakura, the Cherry-blossoms.

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Arashiyama was first up. Along the river sat a small gravel park, it's grounds sprinkled with blue tarp and grassy patches between neatly lined up Sakura trees marking it feel like a giant Connect-Four
game. Children played Hide-and-Seek around the trunks while laughs and clanging glasses rang out from between.

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Trees lined the streets, erupted in home gardens and along the river bank.

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Fallen leaves of white and pink lay like dead snow in the gutters and blew silently across the bridges, before floating away beyond sight.

As the day drifted on, we headed to the Kyoto Botanical gardens and wandered through bamboo forests, red tulip fields and ponds filled with lilies.

We travel back to Gion by bus, a long and slow meandering method which seemed to highlight each and every corner of Kyoto as it weaved through the entire grid of the city.

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Eventually dusk befell the landscape around, the red glow called out from beyond the mountains before melting away into greys and blacks.
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Kiyomizu Temple stood tall above a Sakura landscape, a large spotlight highlighting the pagodas and soft gentle light illumiating the flowers for their final few days.
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Posted by ImpBob36 05:37 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Juso Park BBQ

semi-overcast -17 °C

One of the most enjoyable things in life is hanging with friends. As the temperatures warm, not only do the flowers come alive with colour, trees fill with green and grass returns to the landscape; the Japanese return to an outdoor lifestyle.

And it was with the welcome return of warmth to the landscape that we ventured down to the local park for a BBQ. The plum blossoms had arrived early and my regular drinking friends from [es] were eager to enjoy the spirit of the season.
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About 30 of us gathered in the park. We were prepared for a feast, a large garbage bag filled with ice, beer and chuhai at the edge of the blue tarp.

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A charcoal BBQ set roared with the sizzle of mushrooms, capsicum and Japanese radish and marinated beef; a familiar smell of weekends lingered through the air.
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The drinking and eating continued all afternoon. A football was tossed back and forth while waiting on the next round. Children and families looked on with envy; dogs half barked and panted begging to join us as they desperately tried to drag their masters over. At one point, the football was thrown too far and a small boy spirited it back for us. We kicked it back to him. His friends raced to play with us and soon a game developed as they ran circles around us in our tipsy state. Their parents laughed as their kids screamed out "ball please! ball please"

As the day faded and the beers began to run low, Akira found himself sleepy after a massage.
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Why wait for a photo when you can create your own fun and soon we began to pile any loose objects on top of him.

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His half buried state provided the laughs as we continued to play a strange Jenka game into the night; the simple rule of finishing your drink if you were the one that caused him to wake up. For my sake, I7m glad he's a heavy sleeper.
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Posted by ImpBob36 02:01 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Surreal Day

Gyoza, Dali and a 3D adventure

rain 12 °C

It was another cold and rainy day. The sky had been threatening the day before and now, with a whimper, it was drizzling and wet.

I needed to leave the apartment and see something different. The Kansai Time Out, a local English magazine, listed a few art exhibitions and which seemed mundane and boring. I scanned the web for something unique and it was here that I discovered a travel display of Dali works.

K and I, clutching our umbrellas headed braved the gloomy sky, shuffling into Umeda. It was lunch time as our journey began so we stopped off at a local Gyoza museum. Above an amusement parlor, 12 shops splattered around in a darken room with post-war relics displayed their wares. A map of the wall showed their specialties. Gyoza resembles steamed dim-sims and we savored a few shops before heading out to the bay.

The Exhibition was in the Suntory Museum and focused on the variety of the surrealist master. Large desert scenes and melting imagery freckled the walls; scrawling written works caged behind glass, mannequins draped in flowing gowns, assorted scents in in contorted bottles, magazine covers an film set stills; he was quite prolific in his diversity.

The sky was still bleak as we exited. A large display of turtle caught our eye as we released the 3D Underwater show was about to begin. We raced over to buy tickets and, as luck would have it, the cashier remember me from earlier and offered to give us the Dali/3D ticket combo deal, we merely payed the difference.

She handed us a large pair of 3D goggles and to me, a small ticket. It wasn't until we approached the theater's doors that we realized what it was for. I exchanged it for a pair of wireless headphones. We sat in the darkened theatre for an hour, glasses on our face as images of the deep sea floated across the screen; giant green turtles appeared to swim through the movie house; a swarm of jellyfish danced over our heads. I could hear a muffled Japanese voice coming from somewhere behind the screen. Through my headphones, Johny Depp whispered the mating habits of the octopus while Kate Winslet spoke of strange walking starfish that can outrun their predators.

Posted by ImpBob36 21:14 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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