Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blessings

Hello All!

Sorry it has been awhile since I last posted anything!! Life has just been soo much fun lately! At the beginning of this past weekend I wasn't so sure it would be! See, a Japanese LDS co-worker from Interac had invited a group of us to go watch Sumo, and well, it is kind of the thing TO DO in Japan. Also, it was going to be the semi-finals--the last chance for us to watch it since the finals were on that Sunday. Well, I was a little fuzzy on the date of the actual event and thought it was going to be next Saturday. However, at 6:15am, Saturday morning, the happy chimes of my cell phone awoke me. I was like, did I set my alarm for something?? But alas, it was my dear Japanese friend asking me if I was on my way!!!! Also, she couldn't get a hold of the other girl (Miss Amazing Liz)...yeah. It was not so happy; both Liz and I were not able to make it. However, our friend had invited others along, so at least she had fun!
A view I had on my walk in Fuchu


However, all was right in the universe because my dear new friend Api (from Tonga--who is married to a pro-rugby player!!!) had invited me to her Relief Society activity. I met Api in the office last week (as I occasionally work in the human resource center) and we became fast friends! She is LDS and lives 15 minutes away from me by train, 30 running minutes away, and 50 walking minutes away. I did all of the above over the last four days--it was quite fun!

And this is how I didn't get lost! Road signs are awesome!

I thought about going to the Fuchu ward, but it is about the same distance away to go to my Kichijoji ward--which ward I absolutely LOVE!!!! Not to bash the Fuchu ward--as they are amazing as well. I just have soooooo many wonderful friends in the Kichijoji ward I could not bare to part with! Anywho, our R.S. activity was awesome--they made awesome Japanese food and I helped make fruit pizzas!! Yay! Afterwards, Api let me be visit taught with her, and it was soo great! Api is in the hospital this week for a minor surgery, so her visiting teachers sang "As Sisters in Zion" for her in English, accompanied by a ukulele!!! It was awesome!!! We had such a great time! I am hoping to be able to visit Api this week!!

This just made me laugh


And the rest of my happy story will tell you why I cannot possibly leave the Kichijoji ward! See, I have a new family!! Hehehe, the Saito family has pretty much adopted me and I LOVE it!!!!!! After church, there was a potluck (and Sis. Saito was happy to learn a new word, though potluck is a bit difficult for the Japanese to pronounce!) and I got to try all sorts of awesome Japanese food for free!!!!! It made me soo happy. Also, I got to chat it up with my awesome Chinese member friends, my Japanese member friends, and the missionaries!! There are some awesome Sister missionaries in that ward, and they are a woot! Sister Johnston went to BYU before her mission, and will be coming home in July. She is pretty sad to be leaving soo quick though.

Kichijoji Chapel


Then after that, the Saito's took me home with them and I minimally helped them get ready for this huge dinner party!! Lol, I ate soo much food--definitely awesome!! Cause during the week I live on miso soup, rice, and oatmeal :P. Which isn't bad--I actually quite like it! But there is something to be said about eating authentic Japanese food! We even made gyoza pizzas...they were amazing!! Basically potsticker wrappers with ketchup, awesome veggies, mochi (pounded rice--when cooked, it tastes kind of like cheese...weird, but awesome), cheese, shrimp, fish eggs, etc. It was awesome. Then there was the main dish of this awesome beef stew thing over rice, and a bacon chowder type soup. I tried them all! Lol. Not losing weight in Japan :(.
Motor-delivery bikes for Dominos!

Again the missionaries were over, and so were five other people--bringing the party up to 14 people--quite the feat for such a modest home! It was actually quite a large home comparatively, but by US standards, very small. All I can say is that is was at least ten, if not more, times bigger than my own humble abode! Of course, it doesn't take much to beat me :P! It is really nice though 'cause I can clean the whole thing in about half and hour...shweet huh? Another cool thing about the Saito's is that they have two daughters--ages 19 (Yuri) and 21 (Rie). Rie befriended me on my very first Sunday there and her English is pretty good. I think we are kindred spirits for sure! I am finding that kindred spirits aren't as rare as I once thought they were. Of course, we are all children of a loving Heavenily Father, and once you feel that His love, it is so much easier to love others. And Rie has shown me true Christ-like love. I really really love that girl!!!

So after dinner, they actually drove me home! Now, that might not mean a lot to you in America, but in Japan, all I ever use are trains and buses. In fact, most people do. So being in a car, was soo cool!! And while it took like 20 minutes by train, it was only about ten minutes to my house by car! Pretty awesome eh? Of course, it would probably take forever to walk--but I've gotten into the habit of taking long walks and haven't gotten lost yet! A fact of which I am pretty proud of.

So aside from my awesome weekend, it has also been a super fun teaching one as well! I have only taught two days thus far, but they were soo good! 5th grade on Monday, and 1st grade subsitute teaching today!! It was soooooooo awesome! The little 1st graders are by far my favorite! They are just soo happy to see you; you can't help but love them. And they all try and give you high fives--a few even chased me through out the halls trying to get more high fives!! It was soo darn cute! And they actually like being taught English--which is always nice. Not that I am dissing my 5th graders--but its like you just play games the whole time with 1st graders!! Brooke likes games! I ate lunch with one of my classes today and they were soo cute!! They kept going up to the their teacher and asking him who to say their questions in English. Then they would skip over to me and try soo hard to remember what he had said. It was soo darling!! And they did a very good job of it on the whole!
One of my favorite things about fifth grade though is that the kids are just so hilarious! They aren't wild like the 1st graders, but they still have soo much energy. After teaching them Simon Says, I had one of the more outgoing students be the new teacher and he did such a great job! Not many students could lead a Simon Says game. But he was super energetic and loud--which we love in English class! Also, one of my students looks like the Young Spock from the new Star Trek movie, so whenever I see him I am sooooooooooo happy!!! I wish I could take pictures--but I am not allowed to :( :(. It makes me sad.

Well, now this post is too long and no one will read it! :P
Love you all and hope you are all doing good!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Another Adventure Around Fuchu

So Saturdays are officially my favorite days...well, those and Sundays. I get to be soo lazy all morning long, chatting it up on Skype with the family, and then in the afternoons I just go on crazy long walks! Like I walked for at least three hours today, it was soo great! And this time, I took my camera with me! YAY!

Here are some pictures from my awesome walk!

This is my apartment complex :) It is pretty nice and I like it. Kellan has moved into the room directly above mine, so now I have a neighbor I know! Things are pretty good here, I love Fuchu, but still haven't found a regular Japanese grocery store. And a 100 Yen store (basically like the dollar store--but they are soo awesome here!!) had yet to be found--which is tragic. So I went of in search of these two places, but wanted to see all I could along the way. Within a ten minutes walk of my house I discovered a bakery, a butcher shop, and a whole slew of other small shops I'd never known to exist! It was awesome!

This is pretty much what all the streets in Fuchu look like. Lot of housing, few stores. Sure, there are lots of store fronts....but most I have never seen open. Hmmm....

So I will admit it is slightly lame that I never noticed the HUGE university like ten minutes away from my house before...lol. Well I found it today! And it explains why I see soo many foreigners in such a dinky town. The school is specifically for the study of foreign languages. Thus the foreigners.


Fuchu is pretty rustic--there are soo many fields like the one pictured on the right, all over the place! It is pretty awesome. They kind of just pop up in the middle of all these different housing complexes.
Japan is pretty strict on its garabage policy. And today I found out where all the paper goes to! In this warehouse they sort all of the paper and then...stack it yep? Lol.

I think I ended up in a different city during my walk--Chufu I think...maybe Chofu...I can't remember. It has this huge stadium there! It is called the Ajinomoto Stadium. There were a few shops joined to it--like KFC and a salad bar place.

The sign below just made me giggle! American animal hospital?? What does that mean?? Like only for American animals? Or were they American doctors? I am not sure, but it made me laugh! And the picture made me happy.
Well, I did end up finding a different store that sold things for 105 yen a piece, and bought lots of awesome things!! So that made me happy...until I relazied how far I had to walk home. But I made it and now I have happy things! Like apples and scissors..lol.
Brooke is tired, more later!
Love you all!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Teaching....the Joys...and the Pains :P

I have now been in Japan for almost two weeks! The culture and language surround me, which I hope will help me learn about both quickly. The food is very good—I especially enjoy udon noodles. I started teaching yesterday, which was a little scary. I teach fifth and sixth grade students at two different schools. I teach four classes in a row at these schools, which is a little tiring, but fun. I have decided to eat lunch with the students in order to get to know them better. The students are all very sweet and like to practice their English when they see the “Eigo no Sensei”.

The past two days of teaching have helped me begin to understand how the Japanese learn English. Oftentimes they speak “katakana English”. In several classes the teachers would have the English phrase “How are you? I am fine.” written on a flash card with katakana above it to help their students pronounce the greeting. While this is initially helpful, it can sometimes be detrimental due to the fact they keep the katakana accent. In addition, many English words, like cake, soccer, TV, etc, are in the Japanese language as katakana words. So when I hold up a flashcard with a picture of a cake on it, they all say “ケキ”. The challenge is getting them to hear the difference between “keki” and “cake”.

In fact I taught all day on that very topic. I had flashcards for words they had already studied, such as fruits and sports. I picked words they commonly mispronounced, such as soccer, lemon vs. melon, cabbage, juice, milk, etc. Flashcards are pretty much the lifeblood of elementary school teaching. I try to use the flashcards in a fun way to avoid boredom, since they usually are already familiar with the words. Luckily I have been taught many flashcard games in training, and today all of my classes were very fun!

The typical layout for English classes is to drill the vocabulary quickly, have some kind of activity to practice the target language/sentence, and then play a game that brings the words and the sentence patterns together. Playing games that allow all of the students to participate are the most helpful. Also, after leading the game long enough for the students to understand the rules, I like to make a student a “sensei” (teacher) and have them lead the games using English.

All in all today was a lot of fun! While yesterday wasn't bad, it was a little scary and so I was a little more reserved. Today I made it a point to be crazy happy and so I made them get up and dance as they repeated vocabulary words and just had fun! The kids seemed to have liked it, so mission accomplished. According to my company my job just to help the kids develop, and I quote a "Zest for Life"....lol! So that is what I'm trying to do!! And it is pretty fun, if I do say so myself.

Of course, I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo looking forward to the weekend!!! The last few days have been EXHAUSTING. Up planning my lessons until 11pm or 12am, up at 5am or 530am in order to finish things up and be there at least ten minutes early. See, I live in Fuchu, and my schools are in Mizuho....which translates into a lot of traveling! Here is my basic daily travel run down:

Get on the trains at Tama, switch at Musashi-Sakai, get off in Tachikawa, switch to the Ome line and get off at Hamura station (travel time = about an hour), then take the bus for fifteen minutes! Of course, the trains only come at certain times, and if I miss the train from Tachikawa to Hamura, it is a twenty minute wait for the next one :(. So I always freak out and make sure to leave early enough so that if I miss the first one, I will still be on time if I catch the second one.

It makes for rough mornings....lol. And a thin wallet! I spend over 1600 Yen a day on travel--just from home to school! That is about 17 USD....which pretty much zaps the money way. Luckily my work will reimburse me work related travel costs....but only at the end of the month. Until then, I live on noodles, potatoes, rice, and eggs! Lol. It could be worse!

Oh, and tomorrow night I am supposed to get the groceries my mommy bought me for my birthday! Lol. There is a costco not far from where I live, so she bought some things from them online and they should be delivering them to my house tomorrow night!!! Then I will have some more real food and some snacks! Yay!

Ok, all for now...I have to prepare my first lesson for my second school....tomorrow should be interesting!!!

Love you all,

Brooke

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cooking Experiment #2-- For Liz :)

Ok: This post took a lot of work--so appreciate it :P

EXPERIMENT #2: Noodles Deluxe

Your ingredients:

Tofu, Bean Sprouts, Udon Noodles, and Leafy Greens :)

Eggs, Sauce (pick to suit your taste), and Oil

Step #1: Prepare your veggies

When I was a student in Taiwan, I had some cooking classes. Usually I was given menial work to do, as I could not yet speak Chinese. So I was always given the job pictured below: rip off the roots on the bean sprouts! I don't think you have to, but we always did, so I did too. Optional though.


Step #2: Prepare your Tofu

Some recipes will call for "harder" tofu. This means that you will need to reduce the water content of the tofu. You can do this in a variety of ways, but by pressing down on it, or leaving it squished under a cutting board with a pot on it seems to work just fine! They recommend you leave it sit like this for fifteen or so minutes. However, I didn't really care if my tofu was "hard" or "soft", so I gave it a brief squish, and then called it good.

After "draining" the tofu, slice the tofu into the size you want it. It cooks faster in smaller chunks, thus I cut mine small. Also, noticed I separated the tofu into two halves--this is because I only needed one half for this creation. Tofu is rich in protein and so you don't need a lot to get full fast! Also note, all of the cooking I've done thus far (yes, all two dishes) made enough for at least two meals. Maybe three if I stretch it out a bit.

Step #3: Cooking Tofu

Add as much oil as you feel necessary--remember, all that you put in will be eaten by you! So I only added enough to cover the bottom.

Heat the oil until when a droplet of water is added it fizzles. Next, add your tofu! It is somewhat important that the oil is warm enough, otherwise the tofu will absorb more of the oil, which said oil you will need when you add your noodles.

Stir the tofu occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When it starts turning golden brown you are in business!

Step #4: Add Noodles, Eggs, Veggies, Etc.

Reduce the heat so that the stove is warm, but not hot. Add the noodles and make sure to stir them up so they are coated in the oil. This helps them cook good! After a like a minute or two, feel free to add a couple of eggs! I added them one at a time--to make sure the first was cooked all the way, but I'm sure you'd be fine putting them in at the same time. I also added a few dashes of salt while the eggs were cooking.


After the eggs look like they have a good head start, go ahead and add your veggies! Then either put the lid on for a few minutes, or just stir them around for a bit. You want to soften them a bit, but I kind of like the bean sprouts a little crunchy, so I added them in a few minutes after the leafy greens (which I have no idea what they actually are....perhaps leeks??).


Step #5: Add Sauce to Taste and ENJOY!!

When the veggies look good to you (five minutes tops), add some sauce! I used a bull dog sauce that is slightly sweet in flavor. I probably added about a teaspoon and a half of the bull dog sauce. Add according to taste! I also added in a little more salt...I like salt :).
The end product :

I think it tasted better than it looks! But I am proud of it non-the-less. Anyway, hope that was informative Liz :).


On a different note, today was awesome!!!! Liz and I had planned to meet up in Shibuya to go celebrate today's holiday: The Coming of Age Holiday. But after a bit of researching, we discovered it would be quite expensive for her to meet me there--like twenty bucks round trip, verses my like ten buck round trip fare. It is quite sad that we live soo far away from each other. But we figure there must be some reason God wants her that far away from me!!!! Lol, so while she was talking to her family on skype, I went out for a walk.


Actually, what started out as a two minute walk to the seven eleven to grab some new ingredients for lunch turned into an hour and a half walk/jog. I walked to like three different cities technically. I was kind of searching for a real grocery store....but I never found one! I did find out why there are sooo many flower shops by my house! The largest cemetery EVER is located like five minutes away from me. My whole walk was kind of centered around the cemetery so I wouldn't get myself lost. I saw two hearses. I forgot to bring my camera (as initially it was merely a trip to the convenience store....which said store is AMAZING!! Convenience stores are pretty much as good as a grocery store), which was very sad. I'll have to go back around there, cause I saw lots of interesting things.

On my walk I found a Denny's (which are surprisingly prevalent in Tokyo.....weird eh?) and lots of funny Engrish signs. Oh, and a driving school! And a park where the skaters apparently strut their stuff. They did have some cool moves. On the way back I did end up stopping at the 7-Eleven and found lots of awesome things for my apartment and fridge! And I only spent ten bucks, not bad eh? And I found cheap bananas!!! I haven't had fruit in sooo long, it was awesome! Still no meat but that is why I picked up some tofu.

Then when I got back (at this point Liz and I hadn't figured out how much the trip was going to cost yet) I went on skype to talk to Liz ( I love Skype, it is amazing!). We figured out how expensive it was going to be and thus didn't end up going. Instead we made plans to go to a free Sumo wrestling match on the 29th that happens to be in a more central location for the two of us! Live sumo, how cool is that?! And for FREE!!!! So that is our plan for our monthly get-together.


We kept talking and then Liz was a genius and discovered that skype has a hangman game you can play! And thus the legendary hangman game began! We played almost constantly for two hours.................lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It shouldn't have been that fun, but when you are playing a game with Liz, let me tell ya, its HILARIOUS and amazingly fun. We did other things online at the same time too--multitasking and spending quality time together, it was awesome!

I forgot to mention that I was able to skype my family quite a bit over the weekend. It was quite great. And I bet you all can guess what I did for dinner! Liz has mentioned that she'd like to learn more about cooking, so thus you have the cooking lesson above. The funny thing is I don't really know how to cook!!! But you learn by doing, and this worked out rather well. I ended up with plenty for tomorrow and am still super full from what I did have.
Well, this post is huge....so I shall call it a night and see you all later!
Loves,
Brooke

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I LOVE Church


So today was the best Sunday I've had in Japan yet! Of course, it is only the second one I've ever had in Japan, and the first one wasn't too bad. My first Sunday here wasn't bad either, just a wee bit disappointing because we weren't able to attend church :(. Last Sunday the whole group was still together and the girls and I wanted to make it to the English ward. So we tried really hard!! We took trains and even a taxi to get to the building, but alas, when we arrived we were informed that the English ward had combined with the other English ward! That translates into another hour of travel...thus we weren't able to go. And the guy we met was a member of the Japanese ward--which had just finished. Here is a picture of us at the building though--we wanted to prove we had actually tried to go!

It ended up being an awesome Sunday still though because the girls and I went up to Celestia's hotel room and held our own little devotional that concluded with us watching the Testaments. It was pretty amazing actually--the girls I was with (sadly we are all scattered across Japan now) are super AMAZING!!! I miss them quite a bit, but we keep in touch through our blogs and skype...thank heavens for skype!!!

The reason this Sunday was so amazing was due to the fact God kept showing me His love for me in soo many different ways. It was just amazing! To start it off, a friend at Interac took the time to print off a map of an LDS church she thought would be eaisest for me to get to. Luckily I had memorized a few street names and important landmarks, because as I was riding the train to Kichijoji (the stop I would have to take), I realized I had forgotten the map at home!!!!! Happily had left my home a little early (planning on the fact I get easily turned around) and so i figured with the Lord's help I would be able to find the church. So I offered a simple prayer asking for the Lord to help me find the Church and started off. As I was walking down the street I thought I was supposed to be on I happened to remember the street I was actually supposed to be on. I made the correct turn onto that street (which happened to be called Sun Road and is some kind of market place) and then this guy (who looks Japanese) said, "Are you looking for the church?" I was soooooooooooo happy!!!! Thus I met Antone, and made it to church half and hour early!

Church itself was all in Japanese--and I don't really know much religious Japanese! But the sweetest people made friends with me and I actually had the lessons in Sunday school and R.S. semi-translated for me. In R.S. they gave me an English and a Japanese copy of the manual, saying it would help me to learn Japanese. Also, it was great because I could understand the lesson pretty well given a context. The spirit was just so strong at my meetings, it was amazing! It is soo cool to realize that the Gospel is the same all around the world! And they gave me hugs!!! Japanese people rarely give hugs...so that made me soooooooo happy.

On a slightly different note, the owner of the company I am here through (INTERAC) goes to my ward!!! How crazy is that!! I didn't get to talk to him today, but I met three of his daughters. One of the best parts of Sunday actually came after the meetings ended. As I was heading out to leave, I met some sister missionaries. They were very sweet and invited me to help out with the English lessons they teach on Wednesdays. I might go do that! But the coolest part is that I met four Chinese MEMBERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We had some pretty awesome Japachinglish going on! Things were a little confusing though...speaking a mixture of all three languages is a little mind-bending if I do say so myself. They were all so sweet and said my Chinese was excellent--which made me super happy. Anyway, that was my happy news!

More later,

Loves,

Brooke

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cooking Experiment # 1

video

So above is the the first real cooking I've done in Japan! It was pretty exciting and I must say it was actually really good! I made enough for two meals, so I won't have to cook tomorrow, yay! I wasn't sure how it would turn out since I couldn't read most of the instructions on the back of the curry packet and I was experimenting with the vegetables, but it worked! I was a pretty happy Brooke :).



Here is a picture of the end product:

Pretty awesome, is it not?

Anyway, I was just pretty happy with it, so I thought I would share!

More later,

Love Brooke

The Apartment, Yakiniku, and Being Called "Saiko"

I moved into my new apartment two days ago and I love it!!!! It is sooo teeny--notice the random pictures through out this post. My kitchen is like the size of an airplane bathroom stall…probably smaller! But the bathroom is pretty sweet. And I have stairs steps up to my bed! I have to hang my clothes outside to dry, which is like China. In my mind I keep comparing Japan to China, and they have many similarities but several big differences. Like Japan definitely smells better and is cleaner than China. But China was so much cheaper than it is here. The prices here are about the same as in the USA, except that here my money isn’t worth as much. Luckily I am getting paid in yen!

My Japanese pretty much sucks at this point. I’m really good and using short phrases, but whole sentences are a little beyond me in most cases. I am pretty literate though! Since Chinese and Japanese share a lot of the same characters, I can guess the meaning of most things written in Kanji (Japanese characters). However, Japanese also uses two 50 letter alphabets, Katakana and Hiragana. I learned how to read both when I was younger and that has luckily stuck with me. However, I am not able to understand the meaning of what I read. I can understand basic sentences pretty good as well. It is just the replying thing that I really suck at. Also I kind of speak my Japanese with a Chinese accent…weird eh?

I met this Chinese girl at a Yakiniku shop (yummy sizzling meat on a hot plate) and it was soo much fun! She was working there and the girl I was with (who is Japanese) could tell that the server was Chinese. So I busted out the Zhongwen (Chinese) and it was sooooooooo awesome!!!!! She liked it too cause she told me to come back to visit. Luckily the Yakiniku shop is like two minutes away from where I work.

Tama is about an hour or so away from Iidabashi (where I sometimes work). There are large plots of farm land scattered throughout Tama and the people are nice (the ones I’ve met so far). The guy at the vegetable stand called me cute and awesome today! Hehe, it was pretty funny. See, the funny thing is that in Japan the word “Saiko” (which sounds like psycho), means “awesome/cool/ect”. So technically he was calling me “Kawaii” and “Saiko”….lol.

More later!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Howdy!

So I just wanted to say how grateful I am to be here in Japan! Also, I am very thankful to have such great friends and family back home! Japan is turning out to be such a different experience and a very challenging one as well. I don't have my first lesson until the 13th, but that is coming up!! I will be mainly teaching 5th and 6th graders, which should be a lot of fun. I was pretty happy to find out that I would be teaching at two different elementary schools. I will also be working part-time at our main office in Iidabashi. The mix of work should always keep things interesting! I have this schedule because I will only be teaching four to two days a week sometimes. I might even get to do some subbing later on! Right now I am a little freaked out about the whole teaching thing, but I think that as time goes on I will become more comfortable and until then I will pray lots and lots!

On a different note, I have a three day weekend this week!! It is "Coming of Age Day" on Monday, so all the twenty year olders go to shrines and become "adults". Kind of cool eh? I'll be sure to get pictures as all of the women will be decked out in their kimonos. Also, I found out that where I live (Tama) is home to Hello Kitty Land! Lol, how funny is that? I guess it is more funny once you know that Tama is like the sticks! Located in Western Tokyo, Tama is almost rural. It takes a good hour or so to commute to work and a little more to reach my schools (which are located by Hamura).

Well, I hope you all are doing well and know how much I love and miss all of you!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

INTRODUCING: THE GANG

Well, as you all should know by now, Brooke is now in Japan!! Things have been pretty awesome, and the people I'm with are amazing!

Meet the gang:

Liz: She is the most happy-fun person ever! Liz is amazing because she is always excited about life and enjoys making others excited about life too! During training she made me giggle with her amazing dinosaur demo...it was a must see. She describes herself as a face contortionist, and she is pretty good at that indeed! A true talent that has added much happiness to our online photo bank. One thing is for sure--if you meet Liz, be prepared to spend the whole day smiling :).
And now for the beautiful Celestia! Here is a girl with spunk! Seamstress extraordinaire, she made some clothes for this internship! Way cool eh? Her current projects include a hemming party and a batman cape...with sequins....I'm excited!!! She will be leaving to teach in Hiroshima tomorrow! It is sad to lose her soo quickly, but we will be sure to stay in touch through Skype.

The last of the girls, Ashley is a fellow BYU student!!!! Pretty awesome indeed. January 2nd was her birthday and we were able to celebrate it by going to a Karaoke Box!!! There we all discovered Ashley's beautiful voice (which will be great for teaching!!). One of her many other talents are her graphic design skills! Her blog is absolutely amazing, you must check it out. She also speaks amazing Japanese and together we are a pretty great team! 'Cause I can read a lot of the Kanji (because many have the same meaning as the Chinese versions) and she knows a lot of Japanese vocabulary. Sadly, she too is leaving me--for Osaka.

Kellan is the Lone Male--but I think he secretly likes it! His knowledge of the Japanese culture is pretty expansive, and very helpful. He has studied various forms of martial arts and has the unique ability of being able to pop every bone in his body. He too speaks some Japanese and is great to have along in Tokyo. Kellan will be staying in Tokyo with Liz and I, so hopefully we all will be able to play together every once in a while. Sometimes us girls can be a bit much, but Kellan handles it like a pro. Always patient and willing to hang out with us, he is pretty awesome and always very informative.

Well, that is us in a nutshell! We did have two new interns join up with us today as well. Olivia is from Britain and Lisa is from Ireland. Both have amazing accents and are very fun. Olivia will be staying in Tokyo as well (though we are all about an hour apart from each other). Lisa will be close to Celestia if I remember right...somewhere in the country side! Cool eh?

Life has been pretty great, just a little busy. Training is fun, but man, information overload!! I just hope that I will be able to learn enough to succeed! Actually, I will only be teaching two to three times most weeks. I don't really know what I will be doing the rest of the time yet, but possibly office work or subing. I think it will be a great experience and am excited to see how everything turns out!

More later,

Love Brooke