Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Let It "Yuki"!

Introducing the amazing ladies of our Thursday morning adult English class! All but two of these women are mothers. Several of them bring their small children along. Once a month we meet at the middle school kitchen to do a cooking project. Today's "challenge", Chocolate Tofu Pie. They are very brave to let me lead them in cooking. Don't worry, they've been warned.
Yumie and Reiko, both mothers with children who go to Nova's preschool. These two have a great sense of humor and are always laughing. Much of the time I don't know what's so funny but it's contagious so I don't care and just join in. :)
Yoko focuses on her pie shell. I am probably the only woman in Japan who doesn't own an apron. I like Yoko's because the pockets are Hello Kitty. (Shawn, I bet one of those aprons would make a great Christmas present..... wink, wink).
Mayu-chan, a regular at our adult English classes. She could probably teach the class herself in a couple years. Her mother is Machiko who in my opinion, is the best English speaker in Nishiokoppe. She has really taken me under her wing. She told me that when she went to America years ago, people were very kind to her so she wants to repay their kindness by helping us out as much a possible. She is interested in yoga so I think I've found a yoga buddy at last!
New Year's is a big deal in Japan. 2008 will mark the year of the mouse. Post offices are flooded with postcards ordered from grocery and department stores. I picked this design from a catalog at the corner market in Nishiokoppe. It took one week and half the village to help me make sure I was getting just what I wanted. I suppose they don't get many requests for cards printed in "romaji", the western style alphabet. In any case, it was great how everyone rallied around my New Year cards. In the end, the misspelling of Shawn's last name only made the cards more representative and endearing of our experience here. I'm sending them out this week so watch your mailboxes!
The first dusting of "yuki". Since this photo, we've had 6-12 inches on the ground. Luckily the garage is filled with x-country and downhill skis left by previous Juneau families. Normally I'm not a fan of the white stuff for long stretches of time. Maybe it's because I don't have to drive in it and I have a lot of time on my the snow feels ecxiting again, like when I was a kid. Nova and I have had fun playing in it together. Nova drags a sled filled with holiday packages to the post office. Perhaps because it's so expensive to ship things out of here, postal workers hand us a bag of "consolation gifts" at the end of our purchase. This time we got a bottle of pump soap, a hand towel, and some laundry detergent. Darn, I was kind of hoping for a box of Kleenex like the time before.... maybe next time. :)
Happy Holidays Everyone! We miss you and will send sunshine from Thailand in January. xxoo