Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I found some KVN videos on youtube, I laughed so much. It's this humour show that I used to watch in high school. It's awesome, but you can't watch it if you don't speak Russian :P. It's untranslatable.

Blog Comments

I forgot to mention before, but now anyone can comment, you don't need a google account.

^ ^


I was practicing this song (I posted the link before), and I just wrote out which fingers I should use where, since my sheet music didn't say that. I got so excited that I didn't even notice it was already 10:30 PM. Guess I really should go buy headphones so that I can practice late at night. That's the beauty of an electronic instrument, you can plug in headphones... if you own a pair, that is :P. Of course, I own several pairs, but I don't have a converter for the piano jack, and my brother tells me I can get a whole new set of headphones, with a jack, so I'll do that.

It's so nice to have an electric piano, I am so lucky. I wouldn't have been able to take music classes if I didn't have one.



Saturday, March 28, 2009



What If...

What if you could go back in time... would you go? If you could change something, would you want to?

I was watching a short film that raised this question, and it made me wonder the same about my own life.

I guess there are things that I regret a little, but of all the things that I wish went differently, I don't think I'd want to go back and try to fix them. For some things, I wish the outcomes were different, but even if I were to go back and try to change something, I don't think I'd act any differently than I already did. So for me, at this point in my life, there is no good reason to go back and to try and change something.

I'd like to change some things about myself, but it's not something to do with the past, it's more like things I'd like to work on to become a better person. And that I have to do in the present, and in the future, not in the past.

It's interesting, I think if someone asked me the same question five years ago, I think I'd answer that I do want to go back and change things.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I found this on DA this morning, and wanted to share. I think it's a photo manipulation, not a drawing, but in any case, I really like the colours.

Evening Sun by ^archanN on deviantART


Thank goodness it's Friday. I actually survived this crazy week, and today is going to be a light day, I only have to teach half of my classes.

Man, this really was one hell of an insane week, maybe the busiest I've been yet.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Here is a beautiful romance (music) from an old Russian film. I came across it while searching for something on youtube that was related to "Moscow Doesn't Believe in Tears".

I am so brain-dead, I am going straight to bed. I had a lot of fun this weekend, having my friend over, going to Nagoya, going to karaoke, and then going to my friend's house for the piano lesson, and ending up staying over. I got a lot of help with the sheet music for the song I want to learn to play (I blogged about in the previous post). It will take a lot of practice, and I don't know if I can do it in 3 weeks, but maybe. My friend re-wrote the whole thing into chords, so all I have to do is practice playing these chords and the notes from the chords as the arpeggio. It will be a lot easier than playing the full melody. It was amazing to watch my friend re-writing it last night... but we stayed up till 3 in the morning doing it, so yeah, and of course I had work today, and we practiced a bit in the morning, so I am really sleep-deprived now. It's only 9 PM, but I am going to bed. I feel pretty dead. I had 5 coffees today too, to last me through work.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Music Lounge

Next month is the music Lounge for the Mikawa area. I am going to go of course, and I really want to participate too. But then it's kind of difficult since the song I want to sing is Russian, so unless I find an instrumental recording for it, I'll have to play the music myself. I think that's what other people will be doing.

I have the sheet music for the piano, and I also have the guitar score (but obviously the guitar is not an option for me).
Technically I can ask some of my friends to play for me. One of my friends plays the guitar, and another plays the piano... But I don't want to trouble other people, especially since they haven't heard the song, and maybe they won't like it. It takes time to practice too, and I think my friends are busy too, so I want to try playing myself.
Today I will ask my friend Eri to help me learn how to play it.

~ I don't know if I can do it in three weeks, but maybe I can. I guess I'll find out, eh.

I want to play "Aleksandra" from the "Moscow Doesn't Believe in Tears" movie.
It's this one:

Don't ask me why it has a Chinese translation.

I have a music lesson with Eri today, so I can't wait to see what she says. Haha, she might say I won't be able to learn it in 3 weeks, and all things considering, it's quite possible I won't, but I am going to practice hard.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Хотелось сказать что-то нехорошее про некоторых сотрудников нашей школы, и про знакомых иностранцев из нашего дома... но может не стоит... но хочется. Интересно, как такие недалекие товарищи получают работу вообще, а тем более, учительскую... Как папа говорит, за профессию обидно.

Не ходила на Facebook, где эти товарищи проводят время, и сегодня нечего было туда ходить, и читать, что всякие дураки пишут. Чего меня туда понесло, не знаю.
И надоело придумывать отговорки, почему я не хочу с ними идти ужинать, и так далее. Сказать бы им раз, "почему, почему? Потому что ты дура(к)/тормоз/скучнейший собеседник"... да нельзя.
Anyways, I am just glad there are plenty of other people I can enjoy spending time with ^ ^.


I have learned a very useful Japanese word this weekend, it translates into English as "mug". Not the one you drink from, but the one from "you have one hell of a mug" :P. Please check the dictionary if you'd also like to know this wonderful word.

I am sure I will have plenty of opportunities to use such a useful word, muahahaha. (Hopefully not)

I've been learning a lot of random crazy vocabulary from my friends, students, TV, and other people. By crazy I mean the kind you would not use in a polite conversation at dinner table :P. I am not planning on using them, but then it's nice to know so you can understand when your students are saying things they shouldn't be in the classroom.

I wonder if my kids know and use the word "mug".

I sometimes feel like it would be fun to record a day in school,or just one clas, and transcribe it. Some of my students get pretty creative with language, Japanese and English. The things they come up with amaze me sometimes.

Today one of my students came into the office before the lesson and told me something about her day at school. Then I go, "so you were tired?" Blank stare. "Tired?" Another blank stare. "Tired?" (accompanied by a gesture). She goes, "はい、つかれた!” (which basically means, "yes, tired"). And then she repeated, "tired" (in English). Amazing, no? She's seven, I think.
During the same conversation I went, "spring! Outside, (point outside of the window), "nice weather!" And she goes, "sunny and warm!" I was floored. We do weather every week, she knows "it is sunny and warm", but she doesn't know the word "spring", and while I say "nice" a lot, I never translated it for her class either. Usually I don't see the kids speak outside of the classroom, and outside the designated task (e.g. talking about the weather when we are not pointing to the weather card). I mean, these are kids who get confused when you ask them "how old are you" outside of class, even though we review "how old are you" every week in the classroom.

I guess in the end of the day, all the arguing with the kids, the "please sit down, please be quiet, please do your homework", and all the energy drain by the time I finish my last lesson, is really worth it if you can have moments like this one.

I probably sound like a little kid, and I probably said this many times before, but when I get glimpses of how people learn, I am just stunned, and moved beyond words. I feel like a child in a candy store. Human brain is an amazing thing, and people are such such amazing creatures for being able to learn the way we do.

And on a totally unrelated note, gee, I have a fever today. I thought my cold was gone too.... O_o..... Hehe, this time I have someone to blame too, a friend who got me to ride without a jacket in a weird jeep car that had no roof or doors... but that's a story for another day, and I am probably too lazy to write about that anyway, but it was one cold drive (X_X)....

Aaaanyways, I am off to sleep, I have to teach kindergarten tomorrow morning. It's sad, every time I go there I am so sleep-deprived.... somehow it just happens that I don't sleep enough on the days before the kindergarten lesson, no matter what day of the week it is.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tyohashi Pictures on Google Maps

For my Toronto friends, if you want to see more of what the place I live in looks like, check out google maps pictures here. (You have to click on more>pictures in the menu on the top of the page.)

I have a bunch of pictures on my computer, and some of them are with the geo coordinates too, so I can upload them to google maps easily, but I haven't had a chance to do that yet... and probably won't for a while longer, just a bit busy these days.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Today's Cooking Lounge

Today's cooking loungeはめっちゃ楽しかった!

I wonder if tapioca from today's desert and sago are the same thing. It tasted like the sago porridge that mom used to make us when we were kids.

来週もいそがしいな。さらい週も。Golden Weekがまだとおいよ。お休みが欲しい。でも、よく寝たら、たぶん大丈夫だと思う。かぜも、もうすぐなおすから、よかった。


(_ _).......zzzzzZZZZZZ

Saturday, March 14, 2009

On Fraud

Yesterday I was catching up with the BBC's Business Daily podcasts that I missed this week, and there was one on financial fraud. First they talked about this corporation that recently has been accused of fraud (sorry, the name escapes me, and I already deleted the podcast, so I can't find it). If you follow the news, you would have probably heard about it, it was a really big scandal. I believe the company was an investment one, but I could be wrong.

Anyways, after analyzing why this company could get away with fraud for so long, they talked to someone who worked as an investor and bribed a friend, one of the members of the government of the state (Oklahoma, I think), so that this friend would invest the state's money through this person's company. This man got caught and had to serve 4 years in prison. The interview was about how this all happened, why he decided to take these illegal actions, and whether he stopped to think of what's going to happen if he gets caught. He was analyzing what drove him to give bribes, and one thing he said was, "In prison I learned that most of us here did what we did because we thought we won't get caught. Even if you face a death penalty for your actions, if you think you won't get caught, you'll still do it."

I thought this was interesting. Of course we all know that this is how we, humans work, we think, "this happens to others, but it won't happen to me". For example, "other people are going to get into car accidents, other people are going to loose their jobs, other people are going to get hay fever, but not me". I never really thought much about criminal activities though, so I guess it was a little unexpected for me to realize that criminals would be driven by the same kind of motivation as regular people.

After reading so much about various pathologies, such as psychopathy for example, or manias, etc., I always thought of criminals as having some kind of pathalogic mentality, where they don't have a clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong, so that's why they do things that other people won't do. Or, that they understand what is right and wrong to do, but do not have cognitive mechanisms to stop themselves from doing something that's wrong. Kind of like people who do impulsive buying or eating. You know you shouldn't, but you still do it. I guess this applies to very few special cases though, like serial killers or robbers, but with most criminals perhaps it really is just that, they don't think they'll get caught. Kind of like a cost-benifit analysis...

Well, I don't know much on the subject, I have not done too many readings in criminal psychology unfortunately, the most I read was from Dr. Peterson's work, "Maps of Meaning", that deals with why humans step over the border and commit artrocities (I suppose I am more interested in that than criminal psychology). So I am curious what everyone thinks about this.


I found this artist's work the other day, I really love the colors and the feeling of this piece.

Fox Spirit's Mask Painter by *UdonNodu on deviantART

Friday, March 13, 2009

Piano Lesson

Today it rained a lot when I biked from work to my paino class, and I had a bit of a fight with my junior high school kids during the last class, so I wasn't in a good mood. I caught a cold again too, so I was thinking, I wish I didn't have to go to the lesson.

But then, my teacher was so nice, and she got new books for me because my old book was really difficult. I could actually do all the exercises ok today, and we laughed a lot when I did something silly by accident, because it sounded funny. I usually leave right after the lesson, but today we talked a bit about all sorts of things, and we laughed again when after she asked my age I asked her, and she said, "ah so you asked after all" :D. Hehe, then we were joking how it's a secret :D. And after that I told her how my students at kindergarten play piano better than I do, and then we were laughing again when I promised her I'll practice hard so that I don't loose to my kindergarten students.

I kind of only remembered I had a cold only after I got home.

It sucks though, because Anton and Rie are coming tomorrow and here I am with a cold. There were also so many things I wanted to do tonight... including some more drawing, and maybe practicing the piano, but I went straight to bed after dinner. I was watching some TV on my computer, but I think I'll sleep soon... even though I have to answer a number of emails.

Ah, and I've decided. The grapefruits are back in the grocery store and they are cheap, and I love grapefruits so much. So I am going to try and eat one every day, in addition to vitamins, to prevent colds. Maybe I should also start jogging again, or start going to the pool as I have been trying to do ever since I got here. I have an indoor pool right next to my house, I just have to go find out about membership fees and stuff. But for now, I'll just go sleep.




*hides under the blanket*

More About Manga

The day I bought that manga for junior high school girls (- -); I also got two others. "Honey and Clover" was one, and "Ouran" was the other. I know both stories, well more or less, but Honey and Clover was impossible to read. It doesn't have furigana in some places, and I have to look up every second word up in the dictionary.

Ouran was a bit hard to read too, but there is furigana everywhere, and it wasn't every second word, it was maybe every third word that I had to look up. It's still a lot, but I am really going to give it a go. I think it will be a pretty good way to study, even though it's a bit too difficult. I love Ouran so much anyway :D. It sure beats reading junior high school romance manga O_o... I mean, maybe that other manga is a good book, but it's quite way below my level, and the story isn't so great, and also I don't really like the illustrator either.

(Picture found through google and taken from here.)

And of all the illustrators whose work I've seen, Watsuki Nobuhiro is my favourite. He is the one who made Kenshin manga.

(Picture found through google and taken from here.)

~ Studying Japanese reminds me of studying English back in the day. Then me and my brother used to watch movies with a valid excuse that it was for the purpose of studying English. Now I can read manga and watch drama with the just as valid excuse that it's for studying Japanese, because it actually is. Don't you love language study? ^ ^

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I had a craving to draw this evening, so after my private lesson finished at 10:30 I got all my pencils out and was just about to start, as I realized that my eraser is nowhere to be found.
Now, I have this really cool eraser that bends into different shapes, to make it easier to erase hard-to reach areas.
I saw it recently when cleaning up my desk, but I have no idea where it went since. I can't remember if I took it with me when I went to stay at my brother's in Osaka on New Year's. I should ask him if he ever found it.

Anyways, I couldn't find it, so I ended up going to a local convenience store... to discover that they have no erasers :'(. So in the end I bought a pencil that had an eraser on top of it. It's a regular HB pencil, but it's pretty good quality, and I could always use an extra pencil, so I guess it's ok.

I didn't finish my drawing because I am getting sleepy, but it was really fun to draw after such a long time. I wanted to use charcoal too, but I was drawing while sitting on my bed, and charcoals are messy, so some other time perhaps. Besides, I was sketching, not working on details. When I do shading, charcoal is better, but for now a regular pencil was enough.

Speaking of pencils and charcoals, I don't remember if I blogged about this, but the local bookstore, Seibunkan, has so many art supplies. I am not allowed to go there with money, it's too tempting to buy new brushes, pencils, clay, or paints. They even carry FIMO!

I should draw more often—it is so much fun, and so relaxing. It makes me feel the same as when practicing the piano, only you can draw any time, even at 5 in the morning, while I can't exactly go practice piano right now (although I wish I could).


もうそろそろprivate lessonがあるの。。。今書かない。後に今夜かくかも。
^ ^

Dad's Photo Album

Dad printed a photo album for me, it has some of the photographs of Ontario that he took.

I've been showing these pictures to my students, and they really like them. I should bring this album to the Lounge some time too.

If you want to take a look, his online gallery is here. There are pictures of Toronto, the rest of Ontario, Ukraine, London, and some random pictures, like those of a pigeon family that made a nest on our balcony last summer.


Anton and Rie are coming this weekend!!!!!!!!!!

I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Hehe, but now I have to go clean my messy apartment... it's been a crazy week so my place has gotten really messy O_o)

I guess I haven't seen them since New Year's... wow... almost 3 months.

I thought, when I go to Japan, I am going to see everyone so often, but I guess it's not so easy after all. Unless of course you have a lot of money and can take a shinkansen to Osaka.

I hope that if I get into the JET programme, my placement is closer to Osaka, or at least not further from Osaka than I am now. If not Toyohashi, then Nagoya would be nice, since it's an hour closer. I can just take Kintetsu all the way to my brother's and Rie's station. From Toyohashi, I have to go to Nagoya first, before I can get on kintetsu.

I think for Golden Week, I'll go stay with Anton and Rie for a few days (unless they become busy). That would be nice. But for now I am really excited about Saturday and Sunday. They promised to take me karaoke too.

~ This is totally unrelated, but how on earth do you conjugate the word "karaoke"? I've been using it as a verb, but it sounds so weird. Saying "go karaokeing" sounds just as weird... まあ、いいや。

March Kendo

So I guess I am not going to kendo practices at all this month. This is so bad... O_o

Last weekend I was studying on Saturday. This weekend my brother and Rie are coming to visit (yay, so happy!!). Next weekend Megu is coming to visit. Oh, I guess the weekend after that I can go to kendo. Except that there is a concert that one of my friends is giving, and it would be nice to go. Sigh.

At UofT it was a lot easier to show up to practices, I guess because my schedule was lighter. I had to study a lot of course, but it's not like I was at work all day during the week. Here I get so tired during the week that having to go somewhere on my day off is really the last thing I want to do.

Excuses? Yeah, probably.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reading Manga

Today I had to spend a whole day in Toyokawa because I had kindergartden in the morning, and then regular classes in the afternoon. I had a pretty long gap between the two, and it only takes me 10 minutes to set up. So on my way to the school from the kindergarten I stopped by a manga shop and bought some manga. I am not going to tell you what I bought, hehe, because I think it's pretty cheezy, but in any case, I started reading one of the volumes I bought. At first I fell asleep right on the carpet in the classroom (yes, sad, I know, but I was sleep-deprived), but then I got into reading. It surprised me that I could understand what was going on in the manga pretty well. It helped of course that it had furigana above every kanji, and the story is simple, I think, written for high school girls or even junior high school girls. But regardless, I was very happy I could more or less follow, only needing the dictionary once in a while. I read on the train home too, and I'll read tomorrow also, I think, since I have time between lessons.

Last time I tried reading manga I got de-motivated very easily, because I couldn't understand too much. This time around I can actually use this for studying.
Let's hope this manga turns out to be good...

I hope one day to get to a level where I can read stuff like Gintama, but that will probably take years. I'll probably be able to read things like HachiKuro, and Ouran, and other similar manga, maybe some time soon if I study well, but with Gintama it will take a long time, because there are so many cultural references and word-play jokes...

Japanese Spell Checker

Interestingly, multiple google searches for Japanese spell checking support for Mac OS X have returned very little. I didn't find anything that was useful for me. I probably need to search in Japanese, but that's too difficult for me right now... I still can't read very well, even with a dictionary (although I did just write a long praise for google translation tools a few minutes ago, I'll try using that).

Meanwhile, I think I'll write on mixi and ask if any of my friends know anything about installing spell checker support for Japanese.

Google Translation Tools

I often check google translator when I blog in a language other than English, because I am curious if people who don't speak that particular language could read my posts.

So far for Japanese translation it's been doing a pretty poor job, it doesn't carry the meaning across at all... well, barely. I guess that's partly because my writing in Japanese is very poor. Translation from Russian into English is not bad at all though. Although, I only checked some easy technical term-related posts. Maybe it won't work so well with my other posts.

Anyways, it's pretty amazing how far mechanical translation technology has gone. Before one wouldn't dream of being able to read web pages in a language they don't speak, but now it's actually a pretty realistic task.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I keep doing many ばか姉ちゃん things, but the very latest one is misspelling kanji.

I keep forgetting to figure out how to install a Japanese spell checker, so I make quite a lot of mistakes when I write in Japanese. (*Goes off to read for spell checker support for Leopard.*) Some of them are the kind of mistakes that the spell checker won't pick up on, for example when I write the wrong kanji by accident. The recent one is writing 言 instead of 行, and visa versa.
(- -);
~ I guess it's easy to make these when you type. If I write by hand, I need to think carefully which kanji to write, but when I type and just hit space, sometimes I see a familiar kanji and don't realize that while familiar, it's the wrong one.

I guess I'll try to be more careful when writing from now on.

It's such a strange feeling though, writing in a language I don't know well and I don't have the tools to verify carefully. With English and Russian I have always been very careful, because I think there is nothing worse than безграмотность (illiteracy and ignorance). When I see native speakers making grammatical and spelling errors it makes me wonder about these people. So I kind of try not to think of what my Japanese friends think of my own illiteracy in Japanese. Surely I am a foreigner, so people make some discount for that, but still there are limits to illiteracy, I think.
~ Although regardless of how much I worry of what people think of me and my language abilities, I'll still continue to write my diary in Japanese on mixi, because if nothing else it forces me to look into the dictionary more often, and to check my grammar resources too. It's not something I can do as easily when I speak.

I am so glad my friend introduced me to mixi a year ago. It's been really helping me study, and my friends on mixi have been very kind to point out my mistakes.

To Do Lists

I think I have so many things to do that I need to start making to-do lists again.

This weekend I had many plans but I was thrown off by something and didn't get done with all the things I wanted. I have to figure out where to start.

I really need to study. On Saturday I went to the library with a friend and while we were studying I got a lot of work done. After... well... after something happened that made me pretty dysfunctional for the rest of the weekend, but at least I got some readings done before then.

I also really need to reply to all of the emails that accumulated in my mailbox.

Next week is Mikawa Lounge, and it's a cooking day, and I promised my friends that I am coming, so I'll go. I've been really looking forward to it, and I want to see my friends too.
In April the Nagoya lounge is going to be hanami in Okazaki. I really want to go to that too, but I don't know if I should. I mean, time-wise. I still want to see my friends, and I want to go to hanami, since I've never been... but that weekend is going to be really busy already. We'll see. April's Mikawa lounge is supposed to be a music night, so that's even more interesting. So very many tempting events and very little time to study. I should really try to study more during the week.

I am going to be really busy for the next few weekends too, but it would be nice to just bike around the city for one of my days off. Or even walk around, Toyohashi, or Tahara, or Nagoya, or even Toyokawa. Maybe I should just do that next time when I have a free Saturday. It would be nice to clear my head too, walking helps with that.

Anyways, for now I should go clean my house before it's time to leave for work. I didn't get around to doing it on the weekend.

Sunday, March 8, 2009






^ ^


Ha, I found the greatest emo song ever.











Saturday, March 7, 2009









Thursday, March 5, 2009

(_ _)....zzzZZZZ

I am sleeeeeeeeeeeepy!!
Tomorrow is the graduation ceremony for the junior high school. I hope I am properly awake for it.

Japanese ISPs

I was checking my pageview log the other day for blogger, and noticed something interesting.
For the hits from Canada I can usually see city information, like Toronto, Richmond Hill, Ottawa, Vancouver, etc. I mean, the IP address usually roughly corresponds with the actual location. Well, my parents' ISP's head office is in Marhkam or Richmond Hill, so their visits don't show as Mississauga, but as Richmond Hill, I think. Still pretty close though.
With Japan, unless you are browsing from a special internet connection (like Aichi University campus or something), you probably won't be able to tell where the IPs are from. They all show up as Tokyo. I am guessing that's because the major ISPs have their head offices in Tokyo perhaps. Osaka shows up as Osaka though, yey :D. So not very helpful stats... Oh well. It's still interesting.

Lately I've been getting a lot of hits from random places all over the world because I blogged about "The Time of Eve", and backlinked to a picture. I guess that show is super popular these days.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Natsume Yuujin Chou

Last post for the day, I swear.

I don't think I blogged about this, but in case I did, I apologize.

Recently I stopped watching TV, pretty much. No more dramas, and no more anime, except for Gintama and one more that I'd like to talk about. I pretty much stopped watching anime too much after I got here, but I used to watch quite a lot of dramas, mostly for entertainment and for listening comprehension practice. Now I made more friends and they let me practice Japanese with them, and I also listen to the news and other interesting BBC, CBC, TED and TVO podcasts, I don't really need to watch so much drama.

Gintama I just like a lot, and I want to keep watching, but other than that I don't really follow any other series, and don't have any interest to start either, since I am having so much fun already outside of the house. I kind of gave up on Bleach, it's dragging and dragging on... I sometimes catch up on it, when I am totally bored and don't feel like doing anything intellectual, but for the past two episodes I really didn't care enough to watch without subtitles. It's not that my Japanese is so good that I don't need subs. It's that I didn't really care about the fine details. Anton should better not be reading this post, he'll not be happy :P.
That said, there is this series I came across by chance, and it's a really heart-warming story. The series are called "Natsume Yuujin Chou", and you can read about it on ANN.
It's the kind of story that is good when you need something warm. Check it out.

Ok, out of procrastination mode, and back into piano practicing mode.


.... and I want cake!! And I don't want to go practice the piano!!! Waaahaaaa!!!

..... but of course I know I will go practice, I have no choice.... however long it takes me tonight to get the piece I am supposed to play this week, I'll have to take that time and practice before bed today...............

..... I should really figure out how to motivate myself to practice, it's becoming a problem. Although lately I have found a very nice (and a very ばか姉ちゃん) reason to practice, ふ、ふ、ふ、ふ). Aaaaanyyyywaaaaaaysssss, it's not something I can write on this public blog about anyway. :P


I need to make a big poster for myself to remind me to file my taxes... O_o
何か、めんどくさい。But I guess I don't feel like throwing away $30 to pay an accountant (not that I can, it will take just as long to get my documents in order for the accountant as it will to prepare the tax return using QuickTax), and it's actually fun to file taxes, I just don't want to sit down and do it, just like with the piano, but once I do get to it, it will be interesting. Maybe I should do it this weekend. After all, I've been doing this for 7 years now, it doesn't take that long to do the stuff in QuickTax.

Sigh, I have a pile of emails to reply to as well tonight, and it's looking like I'll be up for a while. Good thing there's no junior high school class tomorrow morning so I can sleep in.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cell-Phone Email

So with new technology come new questions for me. I've never used an emailing function on a cell-phone before (much less to say using a phone regularly, as most of my friends know), so now that I am in Japan and my new friends are telling me their keitai (cell-phone) email addresses, I have to get used to the cell-phone email etiquette. Actually, I don't know if there is one, but it seems there is. I am still not sure what the rules are for sending people emails at night. Obviously I wouldn't think of calling anyone after 10 PM unless my call was expected or it was an emergency, but what about emails? I know some people have sound notifications for mail, actually most people seem to have that, but some other people say it's ok to send them emails at night. I also wonder about people who say it's ok, whether they are being polite or it's really ok, because some of my friends are pretty honest, but some of my friends are really polite. Actually, if I had sound notifications, I'd also say it's ok to send me mail late at night, I just won't pick up, like I do with late night calls, but then maybe it would be annoying to some people. Anyways, I don't know. For now I just try to avoid for the most part emailing people late, and I guess that means that late at night I have to be extra careful to make sure I know which email address stuff gets sent to before I hit "send".

Hehe, this really interferes with my late-night email-writing habits, but then again, maybe it's a good thing to leave your mail in your outbox until morning. I tend to write a lot of stupid stuff at night, and I include too many unnecessary details if I write after dark. Funny how it works, but it's true.

Living here has made me try harder to be more considerate towards other people, I guess, because it feels like living in Japan adds more social rules for interpersonal communication. Like I said before though, I really don't mind, I'd prefer to be more considerate to people, and I prefer it that people expect more courtesy from me, and that I can expect the same. I like courtesy, and of course I like when the same is shown to me.

On a separate note, I was thinking the other day: I wonder why it is that we all try to find differences as opposed to look for similarities. I spent the first few months here hunting for differences, so I can tell my friends back in Toronto about them. Now I try to do the opposite though. I have always believed that deep down people are all the same, and we just make too much of a big deal of our differences, that often are very cosmetic. We still, for the most part, share the same core values, love and hate each other just the same, and really being here is not that much different from Toronto. Obviously there are differences in terms of the outside things, like everyday routines (more biking around, more trains, more people on the streets, lots and lots of people at the train stations at rush hour, less sugar in sweets, more wind, lots of people suffering from hay fever, etc.). But when it comes to the core personal things, I think it's no different than anywhere else. And also, I think if you go out looking for differences, you will find them even if they weren't there originally, just like one of the social psychology theories state (it's name escapes me sorry, hence no reference). I think I had a very easy time adjusting here exactly because I make a conscious effort to not focus on the differences so much, but instead have no expectations and be open minded. It's not always easy, but I learned the really hard way in Canada that being closed-minded will result in a miserable life, so I've been trying my best, and I am really enjoying making new friends now.

Aaaanyways, it's great to procrastinate here on blogger, but I have to practice the piano now. I wonder why it is always a chore... I mean, it's really enjoyable during the lesson, but as soon as I get home, the motivation plummets and goes through the floor. I really need to do something about my motivation problem, especially now that I am going to take 3 lessons a month instead of 2.

*tries to drag herself away from the laptop*

Nagoya Trip: Subbotnik/Voskresnik

So I went to Nagoya on Sunday, and participated in this event of picking up garbage around Nagoya station. My friend from the International Lounge group invited me, and there was another friend there that I knew was coming, and one more friend who I didn't know was coming, so it was a very nice surprise :D.

Here's the group's blog by the way. Can you find me in one of the pictures there?

Aaaanyways, these guys meet every first Sunday of the month, at Nagoya station, and some people wear costumes (of power rangers mostly), but not everyone of course. We got divided into groups of about 10 people or so, and then we just walked around the station with our group, picking up garbage, and of course talking to each other. It was pretty fun, and I have to say, compared to Toronto, Nagoya is really clean. Doing the same in Toronto... well... around Union Station.... I dunno, I'd want to wear a mask probably because it's pretty dirty and the sewage smells bad. In Mississauga it won't be so much of a problem around the city center, but if I had to go clean around Hurontario and Dundas... I dunno, it's a lot dirtier, I think. Of course we found a lot of garbage anyway, and there was one box, wrapped in multiple bags, that we were joking was a bomb. It wasn't of course, but anyways the process of unwrapping it to determine if it goes into recycling or not was funny.

This is a picture of some of the members, most of them were group leaders:

There were a lot more people than that though.

I don't know exactly how long the garbage collection walk lasted, but I think maybe 2 hours or so. It's actually the first time for me to participate in something like that. I didn't really get involved in community projects in Mississauga even though I kind of wanted to in the last few years in Mississauga/Toronto. So it was really interesting.

I'd definitely love to go again, so if I have time, I will. It's in the afternoon too, so it's great, I don't have to worry about my private lesson in the morning.

After we finished we went to an izakaya to hang out, and it was really fun. We then went to another restauraunt, and it was also fun, especially because the group was smaller. I got to talk to my friends from the International Lounge too, and that was the best part, since I love talking to them and it was great to see them for a whole day. Some people were going to karaoke after, and I really wanted to go, especially because my friends were coming, but I had to catch a train back to Toyohashi, so I couldn't stay. Most of the other people were from Nagoya, so they didn't have to worry about trains so much—lucky! Well, maybe I can join them next time :D. On the way home I rode the train with one of my new friends from the Lounge, she lives in a city next to mine so it was nice that we could take the same train together.

I am so lucky I got invited to the International Lounge group around Christmas, because I met some really nice and interesting people, and also I got to join this event on Sunday which was fun.

Did I blog about the International Lounge? I can't remember and I am too lazy to go back and check my old posts. I don't think I did blog though. It's a really fun group. Basically it's people who want to practice English that get together once a month in Nagoya, and once a month in Mikawa area (Toyohashi, Toyokawa, Okazaki, etc.). There are either special events like cooking (this month), or we just hang out and talk. It's actually a lot like KonJa. Except people are a bit older. There are students too, but mostly people are between 23 and 35, with many people around 28-29 (it seems). Many people are my age and around my age (+-3 years), so it's wonderful, because I don't get to meet too many people my age at the dojo or at work. Everyone is from all sorts of different backgrounds, work-wise, so it's even more interesting that way. I get to learn so much about different people. I don't mean just Japanese people, I mean people with different kinds of interests and jobs. A lot of these people I would not have normally met because their area of interests or work is so different from mine, so it's great that I get to meet them and talk to them now.

^ ^

Ok, it's time to get ready for work, so I shall stop my long overdue post here.

P.S. by the way "subbotnik" in Russian means a Saturday when you go out and clean streets or do other community service. There's also a word for a Sunday like that, "voskresnik", and that would have been more appropriate to use, but hey, I like the first word better. Anyways, when I told parents about my plans for the weekend they were joking how I am going to a subbotnik/voskresnik, so dad was saying "please teach your friends this word". I wanted to, but forgot, so now I should go blog on mixi and add that word there, if I have time :D.

Graduation Ceremony

This Friday is the graduation ceremony at my junior high school. I am really excited because I love the kids so much. I should make sure to bring tissue though :P, I'm probably going to cry :P. I really will miss these kids a lot. They were so sweet, they wrote each one of the teachers thank you letters, and some of the stuff they wrote for me was really really touching.

That said, I am really looking forward to the ceremony. I'll have to wake up early but hey :D. I hope though it doesn't rain that day, because I have to walk to school that day. (Usually we get a ride with the teachers.)

Mixi Blog

Sorry I've been neglecting my blog. Actually I have been blogging, but on Mixi, and in Japanese. So yeah. If you have mixi, please add me (it's just my first name).


So I found this website that explains what Nagoya-ben (Nagoya dialect) sounds like. Check it out here. It looks like there are a lot of "ya" sounds in Nagoya-ben. Hehe, too bad I forgot to ask my friends on Sunday to teach me some, I was actually in Nagoya too (I'll try to blog about that).

I think I got down the basics of Mikawa-ben. Mikawa is an area where I live in Aichi, it's sort of like the GTA. Haha, imagine the GTA-ben. LOL, makes me laugh just imagining it. I think Russel Peters has it covered pretty well ;).

If you have never seen any of his stuff, you are missing out :D.

This one is awesome too! :D

Haha, I miss Toronto for all the different languages you'd hear on the street ^ ^.

Anyways, back to Mikawa-ben. It sounds pretty fun, you add じゃん、りん、だら. You also use おる instead of the いる. I tried using じゃん :D. Hehe, one of my friends, not from Mikawa area, says I sound like an old middle-aged man. :D
It's really interesting to learn about all the dialects.
~ I like Kansai-ben the most of what I heard so far~ (haha, now my Mikawa friends are not gonna talk to me :P).

By the way, I think Mikawa is a really nice area. It's so warm here, and people are very nice. Nagoya is a beautiful city, but so big. I love going there on weekends, but it's sort of like Toronto, pretty busy. It's funny, here in Japan it's like I am living back in Mississauga (only there is way more stuff to do in my city), but close enough to a big city like Toronto (Nagoya), so that it's not a problem to go visit. It takes me about 50 minutes from the train station, and it costs a bit more (1500 yen return, on weekends), but it's not so bad, almost the same as Toronto. The only thing that's too bad is that the last train is about 10:40, as opposed to 1:30 AM like in Toronto. So if I want to stay out late, then I have to find an all-night karaoke or internet cafe or something, like some of my friends from Toyohashi do. I feel like I am getting too old for those things :P, so I just go home early, but it's fun anyway.
I guess it would be nice to live a little bit closer to Nagoya, like half-way, but then my city has a shinkansen stop, which other places don't, so it's great. If I want to take the shinkansen, that is :D.