Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Speech Contest

K-kun (pictured), a student of mine, has been putting in lots of hours on his speech contest. He did a fantastic job and now we are just waiting for the results. Regardless of whether the judges pick him to proceed to the next round or not, he did amazingly well in my opinion. Fingers crossed K-kun

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Aloha Subway

The Hawaiian Tourism Board is all over it! We were in the city on Monday and treated ourselves to a Subway sandwich, a rarity when you live out of the city. I had a 6 inch WAIKIKI COB SANDWICH with shrimps, avocado, cheese, lettuce,etc and it tasted so good! Aiko went with the Turkey option, her favourite, especially with the Honey roasted bread. I wish there was one of these near work...but then again I'd probably end up blowing all my money on it everyday. Hahaha. Just as well there isn't one.

B'Ball in the HEAT!

The annual South Bosou Penninsula B'ball tournament was held last Sunday and it was hot! The lifeguards just announced that it's 34 degrees today and it must've been about the same on Sunday. The sweat didn't/wouldn't stop for an eternity after the game finished. Luckily there were only two games which we split, a lose and a win, keeping us in the same pool for next year (no relegation or promotion). Our team is made up of mostly older fellas and we had one kid from the local Uni playing guard for us. The poor kid hardly got anytime to take a rest whereas us 'seniors' had a pretty good rotation going on. good timesTeam photo of the boys in our new kit before the first game (hence we don't look knackered yet)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm Shrinking!!

The health check passed with no probs BUT, I shrank 1mm!! My old mate Bill will be stoked as he doesn't need much to surpass me and it's been buggin' him since we were in Jnr HS.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Health Check Tomorrow

In Japan, companies are obliged to pay for their staff to undertake annual health checks which is pretty good really as most people probably wouldn't bother if it were left to them.

The degree of detail varies but in most cases they measure your height, your weight, calculate your BMI (fat %), take blood pressure and a sample for testing, take a chest x-ray, urine sample, and check your hearing and eyesight as well as a short counselling session to discuss aspects of your lifestyle and answer any queries you may have.

Once you turn 35 the fun really starts (as I'm about to find out).

I have to take a stool sample (kind instructions included, even detailing how to sit) and drinking the dreaded Valium, a white liquid form, which runs through your stomach as they tip you upside down and all around while strapped/holding on to a flat table like surface and if you have to drink some more!! Oh yeah, and I can't eat from 8pm the night prior until it's all done at about noon the following day.

Wish me luck

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer in Japan

All I can say is thank goodness I don't live in Tokyo!


Great way to wrap up the day. Taking a stroll out around the Marina on sunset.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Got a little burnt yesterday despite my best efforts to cover up. Woke up at 4am...HOT! Awesome timing to catch the sunrise though which was a beauty with fog rolling over the hills!

Pool Party and Donya!!

This weekend marked the start of summer for most with some kids having to wait until Tuesday, poor things. Still, the weather wasn't waiting around and we had scorching hot (32 degrees) weather with blue skies and a nice sea breeze. Friends came around and the kids jumped in the pool and played for ages! I got a little BBQ going and grilled some sausages and squid for lunch along with some rice balls and chicken wings. Then it was across the road to the beach for a surf and a cool off. Everyone was starving again so we decided to visit Ken-san and his family at Donya. He was super busy which is good and we were lucky to get a table. Super good food as always! Thanks Ken, Ma-san, K-chan and H-kun!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer is coming!

Finally the end to the 'RAINY' season is in sight! The city has been cleaning up the beach front, clipping hedges, mowing lawns, trimming the palm trees, etc in anticipation of the hordes of visitors that come when summer officially kicks off on Marine Day, July 20th.
Here's the crew in front of my place working hard in the heat! (check out the old codger in the top right of the picture taking a not so subtle leak in plain view for all to see...something you'd get arrested for in NZ)
The freshly cut grass, trimmed palm trees and blue skies. It's hard to get motivated to don a suit and tie and head off to work at times like this.
The pool at our mansion has been cleaned and is awaiting filling. Pool party and BBQ this weekend permitting.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


About a month ago, we celebrated the completion on 10 years since I opened the school where I work in Kamogawa. It's been amazing to see the growth in the school itself and the students, too, some of whom have grown from pre-pubescent elementary school students to successful University graduates. It hasn't always been plain sailing and there have been numerous developments along the way we as we strive to find the best curriculum and teaching techniques to enable students to reach their potentials. It's gone from scratch back in 2000 to a point where we now have two native teachers employed full-time, a Japanese manager and several other Japanese teachers that teach supplementary lessons. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of creating this fun and successful work and learning environment!

As a founding teacher it was a kind of personal accomplishment to have worked 10 years here in Japan. As such, my wife and I decided to hit up a local restaurant, Wasabi. It opened about a year or so ago I guess and every time we go past the parking is FULL!

Then menu is very extensive with a focus on seafood dishes. Aiko in particular loved the Namero(?) (diced 'Aji' or Horse Mackerel). We also had a Tempura teishoku (set), some Tofu and fried Shirasu (like small whitebait) salad and some Katsuo (bonito) sashimi salad.

There is so much more on the menu I want to try. I'll have to go back again sometime soon with some friends so we can explore what there is to offer in more detail.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Congratulations SPAIN!!!

(image courtesy of Getty images and FIFA.COM)
Spain managed to outlast the Netherlands in a game of marathon proportions with the game tied nil-nil until the dying moments of extra time to claim what is their first ever Soccer World Cup!! They were deserved winners in my opinion(despite some rather weak presence in the tackle ball area...'diving'? or playing to ref? Enough to get under the dutch skin anyway) with some crisp football and the wealth of possession. The Netherlands can hold their heads up high and be proud but were just never really able to find that cohesion that had got them to the Final.

I know at least one happy camper (a student of mine) as he swept the pool at his hotel where he works and gets the kitty to himself. A nice little 'bonus' I'm sure.

As for me, it signals a return to a more normal sleeping pattern as these late nights/early mornings have been wrecking havoc with me and my energy levels.

Here's hoping that both NZ and Japan get to qualify in 4 years time for the Fifa World Cup 2014!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Small wave diet...

The rainy season is in full swing and there are yet to be any typhoons which means I've been getting by on the small stuff. Still, good to be in the water especially with the humidity so high.
(photo courtesy of Kentaro @ Grace surfboards)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Just down the road in Chikura is an amazing little pizza restaurant which we were introduced to by a friend recently. They used to operate out of the back of a lunch wagon and had the custom built pizza oven installed specially. It must've been hot work, especially in the summer, but now they have their own spot and the very same pizza oven taking pride of place in the open kitchen so you can see them bake your pizza right in front of you. We went with a group of four and ordered 4 large (25cm) pizzas half and half so that we could sample eight different toppings! The menu is reasonably priced and the pizzas are probably the best I've eaten here in Japan. The homemade bases and the natural smokey flavour from the wood oven seals the deal. If you're in the neighbourhood and craving some pizza drop by or call in an order as they also do take out.

Here are the details;
Tel. 0470-44-0599
167-1 Makita, Chikura-cho, Minami Bosou machi, Chiba

Long Weekend

We had planned to do our annual pilgrimage to the south of Izu Peninsula this weekend but as it's mid rainy season the weather can be unpredictable. The call was made to flag it after consoling the weather maps and as we watched the Soccer WC semi unfold a news headline flashed on the TV screen warning of flash flooding in that area. Good call to stay put.

I managed to get a surf in each of the three days so I was happy but cabin fever was beginning to grip my wife so we decided Monday afternoon to hit the big smoke....Tokyo and more precisely, Odaiba.
It took about an hour and a half from our apartment to where we parked on the rooftop of an outlet mall, Venus Port. The mall has a european flavour to it with stores from England, such as Harrods, to those from Italy, and some very pricey shoes!! They also had a tribute to Michael Jackson with large photos on display and a video playing on a large screen for all to see.

I'm not usually much one for window shopping but the mall was reasonably compact and on the ground floor there were 5 or so surf stores which made it a bit more interesting. Not a lot in my size, but Aiko picked up some shoes and a silky blouse which put a smile on her face.

Also, there was a free historical car museum which I found very interesting. Lots of things to interest my brother in-law too, I'm sure.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Annual Seminar

Just finished our annual 2 day seminar which was held in Kawasaki this year. It's always a good chance to listen to the publishers voice ideas on how to teach lessons as well as to swap ideas amongst ourselves. Good bunch of teachers at present which made for really productive group planning activities and the like. Thanks to all the crew based in Head Office who make this happen every year. It's a genuinely worthwhile experience even for an old hand and (I think) gives us a gentle nudge not to become complacent within our schools and with our lessons.

BUT, after two reasonable intense and lengthy days (including driving there and back both days) I needed this beer! Sucker went down a treat!