Last night I spent a while watching Japanese TV, namely the coverage of the world financial crisis. Incidentally, my way of watching TV for study might be amusing to some. I listen for words I don’t know and quickly search for the new words in my handy Japanese electronic dictionary and then write the new words in my word book. After that I also slowly write out the Chinese character for the word. Last night’s new words were slump, collapse, Great Depression, and some other economic words. That method might sound impressive but I’m not sure it is so effective. I have about 600+ “new” words in my current word book but I am not sure how many of them I have actually memorized (probably not all that many).

In regards to the worldwide financial crisis, I felt the pinch of the plunging dollar value when I took out money at the ATM this week. I took out 50,000 yen which a month ago would have been $463  (when the dollar was worth 108 yen). Now the dollar is worth about 94 yen, I believe, and the transaction showed as a $542 withdrawal from my checking account. Yikes! I am not too worried but it definitely is a huge bummer that the dollar is so weak right now. I hope the value doesn’t keep dropping!

This has been a nice, quiet week. I enjoyed having one of my adorable 4-year old English students over with her mother as well as my neighbor Julie F. I was wondering what to make and decided on a white cream stew with chicken and veggies -the problem is reading the directions! However I realized to my delight that I actually was able to read the stew recipe on the back of the box and dinner turned out just fine. Wow, I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be learning how to read. I am watching cooking shows here to learn how to understand cooking lingo as well – learning to cook Japanese food has been one of the most fun things I have done here, truly. I still go to cooking classes twice a month and it’s been a blast!

Julie and I in my kitchen

My sweet guests, Kaori and her children Coco and Nana (the baby)


Coco is four years old and very precocious. She also speaks English extremely well. Her mom Kaori was in the states as a child and taught Coco how to speak English.

Kaori and Nana

I had three sweet guests staying here for a little over a week. We were all out and about so I didn’t get to interact with them as much as I would have liked. They took some great photos and they said I could use some of them for my blog. Here are some shots taken in Nagoya, none of them by me!

Cool street scene of people passing by downtown

Downtown – the subway entrance with Prada sign in background

View from Nagoya Station – that thing in front reminds me of a big Hershey’s Kiss

Here’s a cool shot – just about to get on the bullet train (shinkansen) – this captures what it feels like to board the train.

Here’s a gorgeous view from the train of the misty hills – I have seen this view so many times but was never able to get a photo as nice as this one!

Lovely momiji (maple) leaves – they are changing color now. I am going to Kyoto in two weekends and I am sure I will get tons of gorgeous shots of maple trees with colorful leaves!