Friday, 19 February 2010

German Christmas!

December 11th and 12th

On Friday night a group of us headed to Osaka to experience a little bit of Germany at the German Christmas Markets! We enjoyed beer, mulled wine, gingerbread, German potatoes and of course sausages! It was held under the Umeda Sky Building which is about 70 floors. We went to the top and had an amazing view of Osaka.

On Saturday we had another German Christmas party at our German friend, Stefan's house. We did the traditional Feuerzangenboule which is a huge block of sugar sitting over a pot of fruit and wine and spices. You then soak the sugar with high alcohol rum and set it on fire! It was amazing to see and we played secret Santa afterwards!

Welcome to the German Christmas Markets

Gingerbread house!



Cammron and I enjoying a beer!

View from the Sky building

Feuerzangenboule at Stefan's!

On fire!

Really on fire!

Ikebana lessons!

December 15th

Tonight at Ikebana (flower arranging class) we did a Christmas arrangement. It included pine, white painted bamboo and red tropical flowers. With Ikebana there is a formula to arranging the flowers but tonight it was freestyle, this actually took longer but I really enjoyed it.

Yon kyu test (level 4 Japanese test)

December 6th

In December I took the level 4 Japanese test and have just found out two months later that I passed! Level 4 is the easiest level going up to level 1 which is equal to a native speaker. At level 4 I only had to know 100 kanji characters but it goes up from here. This year the levels will change as a level has been added so I will sit the level 4 test again but it is really level 3! This time I will need to know 300 kanji characters!

Christmas Party December 5th

December 5th

We were asked by the local community if we could help plan and create a Christmas party at the local Elementary School. We had different stations set up for making ornaments, cards and gift wrapping. Each child bought a present and wrapped it to go into Santa's sack. The kids had a great time and were so excited when Santa came and gave out gifts to everyone. Afterwards we enjoyed a huge afternoon tea together.

The wrapping table

We made strings of popcorn to decorate the tree - this was my first time to do it!

Taube and I in front of the tree

Me with my crazy gold antlers!

Chelsey and I - Santa's helpers!

Lining up for presents!

Luminare and Max's Birthday!

December 4th

It is that time of year again when Kobe puts up a beautiful tunnel of lights to remember the Great Hanshin Earthquake. You walk through a tunnel of lights and enter a castle of lights at the end! This year it was also Max's birthday so after seeing the lights we had a nice Chinese dinner in China town before heading to the Gundam bar. Gundam is a popular animae character here and Max is a big fan! We took awhile to find the bar but when we eventually found it it was really cool - a little bar filled with anything and everything Gundam including costumes for you to try on! It was a great night with great friends :-).

The start of the tunnel

Jody and I with the lights

The castle at the end

Trying out a different setting on my camera

Jason, Max, Cammron, Jody and I

Inside the castle

Gundam bar

Inside the bar

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Food!! Glorious Food!! November!!


Pud thai – I really miss Thai food as it is not so popular and as easy to get here

Lemon poppy seed cake I made for Taube

Cooking lesson – sukiyaki

I made cold rolls

Roast beef

Sanuki Udon

Cooking lesson – hand rolled sushi


Farewell cake I made for the Australians

Aussie Farewell

November 28th

It is that time of year again when the Australians finish their contracts and head home. It is amazing how quickly the year goes! We had a community party at our apartment building and then we all headed to karaoke! It was a great night but also a little sad to say goodbye to our friends.

The party

Cute girls at the party

Everyone at karaoke

Aussies singing Men at Work “Downunder”!

Thanksgiving Dinner

November 27th

This year we went to a restaurant in the city to celebrate Thanksgiving day. I actually organised it this year which is quite funny since we don't celebrate it in Australia but I think it is a nice holiday and we can eat roast turkey which is a rare find in Japan! It was a great night with great friends and we were all thankful which is what it is all about!

Happy Thanksgiving


My first plate of many!

Takamatsu with Kyosuke!

November 21st - 22nd

Kyosuke and I went away for the weekend to Takamatsu which is in Shikoku – the island below where I live. We borrowed his Mum's car and drove over the longest suspension bridge in the world to Awaji Island and then drove over another bridge to reach Shikoku. We then headed up Yashima mountain to see the view at sunset and we also saw Yashimaji which is temple number 84 on the temple circuit of Shikoku. We stayed at a hotel near the station. The next day we went to Shikoku-mura which is a large park that contains many different types of houses and buildings from all over Shikoku and the neighbouring islands. There is even a vine suspension bridge just like the one in the Iya Valley except it is a lot smaller and closer to the river! Before leaving Takamatsu we ate sanuki udon which was delicious. I got to drive for the first time in Japan on the way home!

The bridge

Kyosuke and I in the garden

The garden was beautiful


Nice rocks in the creek that ran through the garden

View from Yashima of Takamatsu


Vine suspension bridge

Old building in Shikoku-mura

Sanuki udon