Monday, March 22, 2010

[Part One] TOKYO TRIP!!!!!!!!!!!!

Liz and I have been wanting to go to the Tokyo temple since we arrived in Tokyo and so we finally went this past Friday!! We met up after work and got soo lost at first!! Luckily this really sweet Japanese woman totally helped us out and gave us directions. We had walked pretty much right passed it!! Liz looked up and shouted "MORONI!" Lol, gotta love the angel Moroni :). The temple was awesome and I actually saw someone I knew! Also a few kids from the air force base in Fussa were there too!

 This nice guy outside the temple offered to take our picture...unfortunately it was a little hard with the bad lighting :(. 

We tried again...and he was soo happy with it we didn't mind that he hadn't gotten the sign too. :P

Liz wanted the sign to feel included.

I love to see the temple!!!

Thank you Moroni for leading the way!!!

The stained glass is soo beautiful!

We are soo happy :)

After the temple, we headed to our favorite little place, Asakusa CAPSULE hotel!!! YAY! 
When we were heading out of the station, this guy turned around and said "Are you two enjoying Tokyo?" We were just kind of dumbfounded to hear English! Lol, his name was Howl and he was from Australia. We were confused because he is Vietnamese and thus we were like, Asian speaking English?? Haha, he turned out to be pretty fun and we all ate dinner together and had fun chatting. Thus we went to bed much later than we'd wanted to, but hey, it was fun!

On the way to the hotel we stopped by a kobini (convenience store) to grab something to drink and saw some awesome Engrish: 

This time there were actually a lot of people at the hotel, so we had to be really really quiet!!!

Well, I think I will finish up with part two tomorrow!! Sleepy now!

Love ya all!


*RING RING* *RING RING* What the my alarm going off already?? Oh wait...someone is calling me....this early on a Monday morning???  Eyes still closed I clumsily search for the phone and put it to my ear.


I really don't remember much of the conversation I had with my dear family after I just remember saying, "Thanks, I'm sleeping. Bye" or something like that. I had to work that day and I had stayed up to 1am trying to finish making all the origami notes for my 5th grade students, so I wanted to get in as much sleep as possible. But I was super happy to talk to my family :).

At school my classes sang me Happy Birthday and the volunteer librarian gave me a way cute birthday card --------------------->

Her name is Aki and her husband is the art teacher at that school. We started teaching at the same time and her English is very good. She translates children's books! We switched e-mails so hopefully we will at least be "Christmas Card" friends for years to come! I was so happy to have met her.

The night before, the Saito family (my adopted Japanese family) called me and asked what my plans were for my birthday. Since I hadn't really planned on anything, they invited me over for dinner. So I went straight from school (which had been really fun--I was done with my hardest class...yay!) to their house. We had SOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love them soo much. We are definitely going to be life-long family. Yep!

To start off we made my birthday cake ASIAN style! Which means that is is light and sweet without being grossly sugary. Here are some pictures...we had such a great time:

We used angel food cake :)

Sister Saito bought the butter-cream roses because "Brookeちゃんの imageはroses!" 
 (That means something like in her mind I am a rose)

 We had so much fun ^_^

Finished product, complete with 21 candles!

After we'd finished making the cake we went right into eating it!! Lol, after blowing out all the candles that is. It took me like three tries to blow them all out since I was laughing soo hard. Good thing I don't even remember what I wished for! Hehehe, good times. I am grateful it was angel food cake because they gave HUGE slices!

They tried me to get me to eat the whole chocolate centerpiece, but I made them eat some too!

They had put strawberries and bananas in the center...soo yummy!!! 

Then after digesting and playing around for awhile, we made the COOLEST dinner EVER! 


First Your Equipment:  

Second Your Ingredients:

Oh, P.S. Tako = Octopus :P

You grease the holes with oil, pour in some batter and then fill them up with whatever you'd like! It was soo much fun!!! We made LOTS, look!!! 

 The white squares are "mochi"-- pounded rice. YuMmY!

Suction Cups!

Add a little takoyaki sauce and your in business!!

We ate sooo many...I lost track. But about halfway through Sister Saito left and when she came back this is what she gave me: 

As my dear friend Liz pointed out, they are Eggsians! Mauahaha :)

Hands-down the cutest food item I've seen in Japan!! And delicious too. 
 I think they were quail eggs! 

*Rie and I *
We had such a great time together and they really helped me to have a great birthday!!! We just giggled and had fun until about nine pm. Then Sister Saito gave me these and said they were for breakfast :) How cute!!!

It was such a great day!!
But it wasn't over yet!!! The next day my dear Tongan friend Api Fifita had asked me to meet up with her to talk to the an investigator friend with the missionaries. So I went to the church but the doors were locked. Then she showed up and and called the missionaries to see where they were. She said they were going to be half an hour late (with her friend) and since it was snowing I believed her. Right by the church are a few restaurants and so we thought we'd grab a bite to eat before they came. There is a McDonald's and that is where I thought we were going, but she kept walking and we ended up at Sizzlers! I was like, whoa, this is a little nice to be just popping into! But I was pretty excited since I never eat meat at home (since it is expensive...haha). 

We go in, sit down, and she is like, oh, I have to go to the bathroom. That is when I should have started being suspicious about the whole thing, but I wasn't. Lol, I am quite gullible! She let made me order this:

Hehehe, I just looked up the Japanese site and found the exact dish!! YAY, go Brooke! Api got this: 

I just figured that since the day before had been my birthday she was giving me this dinner as a present, but it never occurred to me it wasn't anything but a coincidence....hmmmm, silly Brooke. But boy was it good! Plus we got the salad bars with the dinner and it was just heavenly! We swapped a scallop for some lobster and it was all just soo yummy. We just kept talking and I was like, man, where are those missionaries??? Then next thing I knew out came the crew and they sang Happy Birthday to me in English--soo cute!!!!!!!! They had a piece of cheese cake (with a candle in it), a card and a present and that is when I finally figured out I'd been set up!!! Hahaha, so I blew out the candle and they took this picture:

How cute is that?? They even game me a birthday card :)

Also, I forgot to mention, that after Liz and I came back to my apartment (after purikuras) she had set this up for me: 
It took me soo long to notice though!! Haha, it was pretty funny.

She was soo silly and bought two because she couldn't make up her mind which one she liked best!
I love Liz

And the day after my dinner with Api a package from my family came!!! 

I pretty much had the best birthday EVER 

Holy Mud Buckets! It's almost been a month!

Gee whiz...I really sucked at blogging this month!!!! I'll be endeavor to complete some major catch-up, ok?

Are you ready for my mini-blogs?? Hehehe:

Coolness of March 2nd:

I substitute taught at a school along with another ALT named Simon. He is a Kiwi and it was really fun to swap stories! I've never taught with another ALT before, so it was definitely an interesting experience. Also, we had two more teachers with us, the homeroom teacher and a English class coordinator. So in total, four teachers!!! It was definitely different, but very fun. Basically the teachers just wanted to expose their students to foreigners. We just interacted with the students and acted like human tape recorders. There was a super cute 6th grade class I absolutely loved!!! The girls followed me out into the hall after class and we played a mini game of tag! It was awesome. Also, when I was giving my brief self-intro I mentioned that I was from Alaska and that my dad studies bears. There was a boy in the class whose name is "O-kuma" which means "Little Bear" and he was soo funny!! He would come up to me and be like "RAWR!" It was the cutest thing EVER! Wish I could have adopted him as my little brother!!!

Awesomeness of March 4th--7th:

I got my first birthday card on the 4th from some friends at INTERAC (the company I work for). It was soo cute!! It even had Hello Kitty stickers on it!!! YAY! In addition to the following Monday being my birthday, it would be the start of the end of my teaching!! Haha, if that makes any sense. What I mean to say is that March 8th would be my last day for teaching my 5th graders at one school, the 11th would be the last day for my 5th and 6th grades at my other school, and the 12th would be the last day for my 6th graders at the first school.  OK? So Friday I had the day off and I utilized to start a massing undertaking--making 386 origami good-bye notes!!! I had 12 classes and I really loved my students! I wanted them to have something to remember me by. Thus I wasn't to have a decent night's sleep for the rest of the week :P

My favorite Cabbage Bugs! 

While I was learning how to make origami I found this awesome website that lets you listen to audiobooks!! Http:// helped me pass the many hours of intense origami-making happily! I was listening to the tale of Don Quixote! Even though I listened to it for many hours I only made it to like chapter 50 :(.

Luckily Liz Sanderson came over that weekend and helped me out!! It was soo much fun :) I bought some sushi for us to try---a very fun experience.

I don't know about you but these sure look tasty to me!! Well, except the fish egg one! We split them in half so we would both be able to taste the awesomeness of is how it went down:

Yeah, Liz was not too excited about those fish eggs!! Hahaha, it was soo funny.  

 I took a video of her reaction and it is PRICELESS!! I might have to upload it to facebook soon...muahahaha. I ate mine without much of a reaction, but when the eggs popped and your mouth filled up with goosh...yeah, not the best feeling in the world. But all of the rest of the sushi was pretty good. 

On Saturday I had already made plans to go to an "Eikaiwa" --English class-- with a Chinese friend. So I left Liz at my place to skype with family and went off to meet my friend Junkei Kou. He is Chinese but was born and raised here in Japan. He has only been studying Chinese for the past nine years!! His English is also really good! The English class was taught by this really nice German lady named Laura (if I remember right). She was born in Germany, raised (somewhat) in the US, and has spent the last 20 years in Japan. I would never have guessed her German-ness since she speaks English with an American accent. Anyway, there were only four students that week and we all had such a great time!! My friend Junkei was by far the youngest (he is in his early 30s). The others were all around retirement age. There was only one female and she was soooo cute!!!

For the lesson, we read this dialogue and then reenacted it in pairs. It went something like this:

A (male): "Hey, this is a great party!" 
B (female):"Yes, it is! By the way, my name is _____".
A:"Nice to meet you! My name is_______."
B: "So how do you know (name of the person whose party they are at)?"
A: "We played tennis together."
B: "Oh, I love tennis!"
A: "So how do you know __?"
B: "We are dating."
A: "Oh."

This dialogue was illustrated and the last line showed the guy looking all downcast, it was hilarious!!! So since we had three boys and three girls it was perfect! If the students could, they were supposed to adapt the dialogue to apply to them or to make up a new story following the same pattern. 

The outcome: priceless!!!! SOO FUNNY! The first pair were the lady and a really funny older gentleman. They went into the middle of the room and the guy said, "Nice dance party isn't it?" and proceeded to bust out with the craziest dance moves I've ever seen!!! Following suit, the lady joined in and throughout the rest of the dialogue they kept flapping their arms and legs and doing a crazy version of the twist I've never seen before!! Lol, it was soooooooooooo fun!  I was usually named as the mutual acquaintance and when the guy asked the lady how she knew me, she said "we are dating" and proceeded to giggle and say "Just joking, joking!! She is my daughter!" Lol, good times with senior citizens! Hahaha, it was great.What Japanese people do for fun! The rest weren't as crazy, but it was still vastly entertaining for me!

After the class finished up I went back to Junkei's apartment to have tea (well, in my case water!) with him and his wife. His wife is sweet and they have a cute two year old son that I've met once before. We just had fun chatting and his son was a little afraid of me at first! I planned to meet Liz at Kichijoji after, and so they all walked me to the train station. It was so much fun and I hope to keep in touch with them! I really have been  blessed to make soo many amazing friends here!

Then once I got to Kichijoji, Liz and I took SOOOOOOOO many purikuras!!! It was ridiculous! I wasn't able to get all of the pictures sent to me online, but here are some:

Yeah, we had too much fun!! The machines are AMAZING!! Do you not see the stars in our eyes?? LITERALLY in the "Pride Juicy" picture, lol. And while it looks like I have a milk mustache in the one where I have a white flower in my hair, that was just Liz's attempt to add extra lip gloss on me (through the machine). It is awesome! Lol, hours of entertainment!!! 

Then on March 7th my R.S. gave me the cutest birthday card ever!! It was really sweet and even though I can't read all it says, I love it. 

Next up: Brooke's 21st Birthday BLOG, ok?? 

                           All for now <3, 


Monday, March 1, 2010

Second Weeked with Liz :)

So kind of on a whim Liz decided to spend the weekend with me!! It was so much fun! We met up in Kichijoji and played a little at the Kichijoji Chapel's sports night. She also knows Elder Hilton from Lone Peak High School, so it was pretty fun to shock him once again with random people in Japan!!

I had texted my dear friend Rie earlier that day asking to borrow bedding and she said ok, but her dad didn't end up getting off work until like 11:30pm. Yet they still drove over to my house to drop it off!! How sweet is that? I felt soo bad!! The Saito family is the best! I am so grateful to be their friend! I owe them big. 

Liz and I had soo much fun just chatting it up and it was nice not being all by myself for a change!! It was especially fun to cook dinner for the two of us! I got some good cooking practice in over the weekend. I had such a great time and Liz ate everything so hopefully it didn't taste too horrible!

One of the reasons she came over was so that she could use my webcam to skype her family. It was so cute seeing her totally flip when she saw her family. So sweet :). We had pancakes for breakfast the next day and it was great!!

We chilled at my place until about 1:30pm and then headed out to the Tama Zoo!! Which now happens to be like one of my favorite places in Japan!! Our Interac trainer Jody, told me that I lived by this awesome zoo that has LION BUSES!!!!! As some of you might have seen on facebook, this zoo has a huge lion enclosure where you can pay a little extra money to ride a bus through the enclosure!! They painted the buses like zebras and hang meat on the sides of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is soo flipping awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Liz and I were so STOKED! Plus the on the train ride there, we had the whole compartment to ourselves! So we had a mini photo shoot :P

Brooke on the train...I wish I was like this every day!! It would totally freak out the Japanese :P.

But back to the ZOO!!! It was soo amazing and we only went to probably about one third of it!! Sadly everything in Japan shuts down around five pm....sad sad sad!!!

So first thing I notice--the cute pavement décor! Lol. It says "Who's feet made these?"

At the end of that stretch, it gives the answer, an "Ostrich"! Cool eh??

Not really sure why the Lions have Aladdin style buildings......but see the Zebra buses?????

Liz and I were soooooooooooo excited. Can you tell???

This is from inside the LION BUS!!!!!!!! Look how close they are!!!!

Such a big cat...

So pretty.

Liz and I were like bouncing in our seats with excitement!

Especially when the lion started going for the meat!!!!!

CHECK IT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!
SOO COOL!!!!!!!!

While we were out there the lions started fighting and their roars were AWESOME! The zoo keepers opened this window and pulled out a tranquillizer gun...luckily they didn't have to use it. But imagine this--you are in a bus, painted like a zebra, with meat chunks attached to it with roaring lions all around you! It was AWESOME AND CRAZY SCARY!

Yeah, Liz and I really want to go back. Pretty bad.

After the lions, we check out some of the usual animals: giraffes, zebras, elephants etc. We saw the chubbiest elephant ever!! It was soo cute!

Then we stumbled upon this insect-topia! The first half of it was rather gross...but there were some pretty fun things, like playing darts with burrs!!

And there were some amazing bugs!!


SO IS THIS!!! GROSS!!!!!!!!!

Then we walked into this room full of glow worms!! It looked like the night sky--soo cool!!

It's a Brooke Butterfly, yay!

Liz makes a great butterfly too :)

Then we went to the second building, opened a door and found ourselves in a UTOPIA!!! It was soo unexpected, but soo awesome!

See how happy Liz is??

The air was humid, flowers abloom and butterflies everywhere!!!!!

YAY! We felt like we had somehow landed in Fairy Land!


They flew so close you could've touched 'em!

This one just looked soo cool!

We were soo happy!!!

We had a quick bite at the zoo before it closed and loved the atmosphere :).

And the gift shop...hehe.

A LOT! Hehehe. Cute Liz.

But then we had to leave...but the monorail was fun and Liz is cute!

After the zoo we actually met up with some Air Force boys who live on base here in Japan! Liz met them at her Paramore concert and they were really fun! James and Jordan :) They took us on base and it was like mini America! They have like a walmart kind of shop and full of US GOODS!!!!! It was like going home for a bit! We just goofed off in the store for a bit and had soo much fun! They were super nice guys. The base is actually right next to the schools I teach at.

I think our craziness started to rub off on those boys...hahaha. We found St. Patty's decorations and it was all over!!! Lol.

Liz stayed for Sunday with Brooke too!! It was great and church was as amazing as ever. I really love Japan and am soo grateful for all of the amazing people I have been able to meet!

I really need to go to bed!!! Love ya all!!!!