My eldest daughter Maya recently had her entrance ceremony for kindergarten. I wasn’t sure on the procedure and niether was my husband being a typical male so I had to rely on other people’s posts on what to expect.
Before seeing a picture online of my friend’s wife in formal attire ready to attend her son’s ceremony I had no idea that it was a formal event. Mind you this was three days before my daughter’s was due to take place. Thank God he put that photo up or my husband and I would have turned up in jeans and flipflops!
Anyway, I was able to find out through another mum’s post that most women wore pastel coloured suits to entrance ceremonies and dark colours to graduation ones. So I picked up a pastel coloured jacket and teamed it with a black dress and an oversized flower which is to be worn on your left side between above your breast and your shoulder. The flower is supposed to be pink or coral for kindergarten and elementary school ceremonies and beige or white for older school ceremonies. This information was pointed out to me by the very helpful saleswoman at the boutique at which I purchased the flower. Also you should note that these pin on flowers retail from between 2,000円 to 8,000円 and upwards.
The day itself was like being at a school assembly where teachers to bus drivers introduce themselves to the kids and photo’s are taken. Not really sure why the formal attire is necessary but it is nice to dress up once in a while.
No pics of the day as my daughter was camera shy that day but there will be many more entrance ceremonies to come should we stay in Japan.
Having worked in a major English school for 7 years, teaching kids was a big part of my career. I have had the pleasure of teaching kids from ages 2 to 12 and seen them grow. However, I also saw the negative side of chain schools and thier lack of focus on learning. They pack 6 to 8 kids in a classroom and provide little in the way of catering to student’s abilities. These schools charge a reasonable fee for an unreasonable service. Instructors are not allowed to vary the curriculum even if the kids can’t follow. Some kids don’t want to be there. Some kids are disruptive and prevent others from trying to learn. Classes are set. Schedules can’t be changed and missed lessons can’t be made up.
For the reasons above, I decided that when offering kids lessons I would offer something big schools can’t. Flexibility, dedication to teaching a curriculum that would allow kids to learn and improve and fun filled lessons in small groups of 2 to 4 students max. As a mother, I understand how important education is and how important it is to see results for an investment made. For this reason our lessons are for students who want to learn and enjoy learning English. As such our fees are a little higher than the chain schools but so are our standards and level of service.
As Monday was a public holiday, we decided to take our daughter to Tobe Zoo in Ehime Prefecture.
The weather was a perfect 27 degrees and the sun was shining brightly. We left just before 9am and arrived at the zoo a little before 11am.
The walk from the car park into the zoo is long and winding but beautiful viewing. As you enter the path toward the zoo you are greeted with a lush green backdrop of trees and a tranquil lake. There is a ramp for wheelchair or pram access to the zoo as well as a set of steps.
The entrance fee was a mere 400円 for adults and 100円for kids between 7 and 17. A very cheap form of family entertainment indeed!
The zoo was divided into ‘streets’. There was an African Street, an American Street and even an Australian Street to name a few. There were an interesting array of birds and animals both large and small and our daughter had a ball. She seemed to be afraid of the penguins but adored the elephants and the donkey!
It took us about an hour and a half to walk around the zoo but we didn’t stop at the reptile house due to my fear of snakes. It was a great sized zoo – not too small and not too big.
I totally recommend a visit there if you’re in the area. A fantastic way to spend a few hours and a great family activity that will make memories for life.
The Japanese summer is upon us in full throttle! I must admit that I am not a fan of it at all. The humidity makes most daily tasks unbearable as even the slightest movement will lead to massive amounts of sweat pouring down one’s face.
The upside to summer is however, the fireworks! I absolutely love fireworks and I believe that the displays in Japan are amoung the best in the world.
I am totally looking forward to this year’s fireworks as it will be Maya’s (my daughter) first! I hope the sound doesn’t scare her!
Last month we were privelleged to have had the opportunity to do a little bit of sightseeing as a family. We decided to take a daytrip accross the Seto Bridge to the mainland and visit Korakuen Garden.
It was a glorious sunny day and thankfully the humidity wasn’t too bad. I was most excited about crossing the world’s largest two tier bridge. I had crossed it once but by train on the bottom tier, but going accross it from the top by car was a completely different experience.
I know I have mentioned that we live in front of the Seto Inland Sea but to see it in all its glory from the top of the Seto Bridge was something else. I only wish that there was a parking area on top of the 13.1km bridge so that you could stop and take it all in and some snaps to boot.
Our destination however, was Korakuen Garden in Okayama prefecture. It took us about 1.5hrs door to gate and was well worth the drive. The grass was so luscious and green and the air so fresh and clean.
There were a variety of plants and flowers on display and some gorgeous landscaping too. The thing that really struck me though was that the vast open spaces could also be viewed as being beautiful.
Takamatsu’s Ritsurin Garden is differen’t as it is more maze like and condensed which makes it more intruiging and mysterious. Korakuen Garden is just as pretty but is laid open in plain view for all to see.
I couldn’t say that one was better than the other, both a place of beauty, relaxation and enjoyment.
The season has finally changed. The days are longer and the sun shines brightly. This is my favourite month of the year besides maybe October here in Japan. The weather is so beautiful…sunny and warm in the day but not humid and cool at night. The gorgeous spring blooms can be seen at every turn making you feel like nothing can get you down. Except of course if you have allergies.
Hay fever is such a common ailment here in Japan. Fortunately, I don’t suffer from it (knock on wood) but my husband does something shocking! It has been said that even if you are immune now you may not be forever. I have friends who didn’t suffer whilst living in their home countries but after living in Japan for a couple of years were soon victims of the dreaded allergic rhinitis as it is more technically known.
If you do suffer from hay fever then I empathize with you but don’t miss out on the beauty nature has to offer because of it. Smear your nostrils with some petroleum jelly and wear a mask. This may help stop pollen from going up your nose.
As for me, I am going to enjoy every last minute of this beautiful weather until the horrible rainy season hits and the humidity kills me!
Last weekend a friend from Tokyo came down to visit us here in Takamatsu. He only had a couple of days with us so we had to think long and hard about the best places to take him sightseeing. There a many beautiful scenic spots here in Kagawa but perhaps the most noteable is the Seto Inland Sea.
Fortunately, we live right in front of the inland sea so it was easy to show him the beauty of it from the comfort of our home.
The view of the Seto Inland Sea from one of our balconies is pictured above.
The most famous sightseeing spot here would have to be Ritsurin Garden. An absolutely gorgeous park situated in the heart of Takamatsu. The appearance of the park takes on many different forms depending on the season. The colour of the foliage is highlighted throughout different periods of the year.
There is of course a hidden treasure here in Takamatsu. That is Shikoku Mura. A kind of outdoor museum that plays tribute to old buildings and tools from all over Shikoku Island. Perhaps the best part is the fact that you have to follow a kind of course up, around and down Yashima. A little physically challenging for those of us who are unfit and unfortunately not wheelchair or pram friendly but a really beautiful way to enjoy Yashima.
A waterfall at Shikoku Mura is pictured above.
A bamboo garden at Shikoku Mura is pictured above.
Another interesting part of the outdoor museum was the Kabuki outdoor theatre. I am unsure as to whether or not it is still in use, however, I am sure one of our avid readers will be able to tell us. The theatre is pictured below.
I think the scariest attraction was at the start of the course and that would have to be the rope bridge pictured below. There were huge gaps inbetween planks so I being a chicken went all the way around. It is crossable though.
Admission to Ritsurin Garden is 400円. Admission to Shikoku Mura is 800円.
All in all my friend really enjoyed the sights and is looking foward to coming back again one day to check out some more of what Takamatsu has to offer.
Phillip Island is a popular tourist destination in Victoria and for good reason too! Located about a 90minute drive southeast of Melbourne; the island is famous for it’s breathtaking sights and native wildlife.
Perhaps Phillip Island is most famous for its penguin parade but few people realize that it’s also home to the largest fur seal colony in Australia. The island also houses koala reserves and bird habitats.
The scenery on the drive to Phillip Island.
Another scenic shot.
For sea lovers, the most magnificent sight would have to be the island’s coastline.
My family with the vivid blue sea behind.
There is a beautiful boardwalk from which you can view the dramatic coastline.
Phillip Island is an inhabited island, in fact there are 10,000 permanent residents. It is also a popular place to have a holiday house (second home). There is also a chocolate factory on the island which runs tours for about $15 pp and has a wonderful adjoining cafe. The cafe serves the most delicious scones with jam and cream. I thoroughly recommend them 🙂
After the Tasmanian devils we saw emus!
They went crazy over the feed…
Maya enjoyed looking at the giant birds!
Once we’d seen the emus it was on to the kangaroos.
Kenji really enjoyed feeding the kangaroos but wasn’t so keen on the smell or the swarm of flies that stuck to your skin. I hadn’t experienced bush flies in a very long time and I am not interested in seeing them anytime soon!
Young Leilani really enjoyed patting the kangaroos, I must admit though that I was worried one might throw a punch as she is a little on the rough side. Fortunately, however all was good.
Last month we were privileged to be able to see some native Australian animals at Maru Animal Park.
Admission was about AUD$17 per adult and children under 2 were free. There was a slight concession for seniors but you needed to have a seniors card; a pensioners card wouldn’t do.
The first animal we saw was the Tasmanian Devil. Quite cute actually. You can see some shots below.
Stay tuned for more interesting Australian animal shots!
Wishing you all a wonderful Easter. A season of re-birth and new beginnings. If there is anything you would like to try, now is is the time. For those of us who have gone back on our diets…now is a great time to get back on track.
Whatever it is you want to begin or start over, I wish you the best of luck♥
We spent a fantastic 17 days in Melbourne, Australia this month. I took my daughter Maya for her first trip to meet her relatives living in the land down under. My husband accompanied us and although it was his fourth time to Oz he had never seen a kangaroo in person until this trip.
I think the best day was on Tuesday the 19th March when we, my mum, dad, brother John and his family and a couple of others took off for a 2 hour journey to the famous Phillip Island. Perhaps the most memorable part of the trip for us was the stop at Maru Koala and Animal Park. It was there that my husband got to not only see a kangaroo up close and personal but also feed one.
We were also surprised by an albino kangaroo…even I hadn’t seen one of those!
When I say I’m from Australia, most Japanese people reply with “Oh Sydney!” or “Cairns?” Even when asked “What’s the capital city of Australia?” people respond with “Sydney.”
Well it’s no wonder as Sydney is Australia’s most populated city. 4.4 million people inhabit Sydney. Its harbour is famous for its bridge and Opera House.
However, it only has 400,000 more inhabitants than Melbourne. I’m not sure why Melboune is not as famous as Sydney. After all, Melbourne was Australia’s first capital city. It served as the seat of government from the first parliament in 1901. The first parliament took place at the Royal Exhibition Building pictured below.
It was later moved to the Victorian Parliament Building until 1927.
As a Melburnian, I must say that I am very proud of my city and believe that it should’ve remained Australia’s capital but it didn’t.
Australia’s capital city is Canberra. Located 288km south of Sydney and 647km north of Melbourne; it’s Australia’s eighth largest populated city. You can see an aerial view of Canberra below.
Australia’s current Parliament House is pictured below.
We would like to say a BIG thank you to one of our dear friends and former students in Tokyo; Michiko Kanai; for sending us the most beautiful flower arrangement.
It adorns our reception counter and the fragrance from the flowers has made our school smell delightful. 🙂
Once again, thank you so much for the heartwarming gesture and constant support.
Did you know that there are over 60 different species of kangaroos and their close relatives?
Different types of kangaroos live all over Australia, from cold climate places through to deserts and even tropical rainforests and beaches.
There are 3 common species:
The Eastern Grey Kangaroo – found mostly in Melbourne and Sydney.
The western Grey – found mostly in Western Australia.
The Red Kangaroo – the biggest of the lot. They can grow up to 2m tall and weigh up to 90kg. They are usually found in Alice Springs.
We are happy to announce that our school is now open for business. We are awaiting your arrival and look forward to having a cup of coffee and a chat with you.
If you would like to take a free trial lesson, then please email or call us to make an appointment.
The school is looking better and better day by day. The reception area is almost complete and the classrooms are ready and waiting for use.
The phone and fax lines will be installed today if all goes to plan so look for the updates to the website shortly.
We have been working around the clock to get the office in shape and can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s been a long but exciting journey and we can hardly wait to open the doors to the public. However, there are a few things still left to do.
Hopefully we will be on schedule for a mid-February open! Stay tuned for an update 🙂
Many people asked me why I chose to name my school ‘Kangaroo’. People who know me thought it was because I was Australian. Others thought that kangaroos were my favourite animals.
Truth be told though, it’s more like a combination of factors. First of all kangaroos are iconic creatures and draw attention effortlessly and secondly they can’t move backwards. These two factors are important from both a marketing and philosophical viewpoint. The fact that kangaroos can’t move backwards makes one think that they are always moving foward. Hopefully, Kanagroo school will also only move fowards and its goal is for its students to always be progressing also.
Speaking of kangaroos and their movements, another interesting fact is that kangaroos cannot move their legs individually on land but can when they swim. Have you ever seen a kangaroo swim?
There are many interesting facts about kangaroos. Over the next few entries I will share some of them with you.
There is a popular myth about the origin of the word ‘kangaroo’. The myth goes that when European explorers first saw the strange creatures they asked a native Australian what they were called and they said ‘kangaroo’ meaning “I don’t understand”. The explorers thought it was the animal’s name and that’s how kangaroos got their name.
In truth, however; the word kangaroo comes from the Aboriginal Guugu Yimithirr tribe’s word ‘gangurru’ which is the word for grey kangaroos.
A male kangaroo is named a buck, boomer or jack and a female kangaroo is called a flyer, doe or jill.
A young kangaroo is called a joey and a group of kangaroos is called a mob.
Below is a picture of my niece Suliana Tesi Jr with a kangaroo in Melbourne, Australia.
It’s been a long journey but we are in the final stages of preparation and are really looking foward to opening our doors to the public in February!
Let’s start the countdown so we can get busy studying English and having fun together 🙂