Archives for April, 2009

License in British English VS License in American English

 When you hear the word “License”,and if you were an Americans,you would imagine something related to government such as Driver’s License,Business License and so on. But in England,the word “License” can means much different thing.

 Sometimes, in England, you find grocery stores with signs that read “Off license”. What does this mean?

 Does this mean this store is running under no license to open stores?? No, according to “British English translated for Americans”, it says ” It is usually  find this sign with a store that sells alcohol or pubs,and the store with this sign do not allow customers to drink alcohol inside the stores/pubs.” So, what it mean is that,they can sell the alcohol but they do  not have license to let the customers drink inside the store or pubs.

So, If you see the sign with the word “License” in it near food related stores, you can take it as license means alcohol related in England.

 To find more British English words,please click here.

 Also, in England,there is a law called ” licensing act 1964″. In it,it states that person under 18 years to buy or attempt to buy alcohol is illegal. Also,states, Liqueur chocolates cannot be sold to person under 16 years old.

 So, kids under16 years old cannot try bonbon,for example.

 In Japan, you must be 20 years old to be old enough to drink. I do not think there is a law against liqueur chocolates age limitation in Japan. One thing different from USA and Japan regarding how they sell alcohol is that Japan has vending machine that sells canned tea,canned coffee,canned soda,canned beer,canned sake..so,I am not sure how well it is set up for underage kids not to put a coin to vending machine and buy a can of beer…

 I am old enough to drink wine or beer or any alcohol,but I don’t drink. At our house,we have many different kinds of liqueur. Mostly,those are for cooking or baking. I don’t drink but I like cooking with it.
I like making gravy for steak with dash of brandy, I like making chocolate frosting with dash of Amaretto, I like to serve quick fruits with white wine plus touch of sugar or sweet marsala plus touch of sugar,or maybe brandy with touch of sugar… I use liqueur a lot in cooking or baking.

 One of my favorite liqueur desert is Tiramisu. It is my husband’s specialty. He makes it for my birthday.That is one reason for me to looking forward to my birthday. I like to stay young,but I like Tiramisu too..

 I wonder if British bakery can sell yummy Tiramisu to person under age of 16.. Wonder if it is still considered liqueur chocolate category..

 By the way, when you go to restaurant or cafe in England, and if you like to bring food  to home,ask for “Takeaway”. If you eat in the restaurant or cafe,ask for “eat-in”.

Apr 30, 2009 | 0 | Uncategorized

“Find it” game

 In my previous entry titled “When outside is too cold for walk or rainy days,what can you do with your dog?“, I wrote about “Find it game” as one game you can do on such days.

Below,you can find 2 videos of our dog “Palette” enjoying her favorite game;  “Find it” game.

First video is Take 1.She snatched the treat out of my hand before I hid them because so tempting to eat it right away.

Second video is actually “Take 3”. Now,you can see how she enjoy her favorite game of the day “Find it “game. She sniffs out pretty good.

As you can see, she was not watching me where I hid them,but she dashed to the right room right away without second thoughts.

If you watch these videos with careful ears,you can actually hear her sniffing sound. Yes,she is using the nose.

We are using “Dogitos”:the goat lung treats. She is too excited for the treats and snatched from me twice!!

Now THAT tells me she really really like this treat. The treat itself is flat sheet type and,easy to break into pieces by hands.

At this moment, beef lung treats, lamb lung treat available through Yassy’s Gourmet Dog Kitchen.

Take 1 : Find it game

Take 3:Find it game

What k9 games do you do with your dogs??

 



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Apr 28, 2009 | 0 | Play and Exercise

Symbols of Japan:Part I

<Flag>
There are many countries in the
world,and every country has their own flags,and its colors,and the
designs have its meanings behind it. Japanese flag is quite easy to
draw on its paper:red colored disk on white background. I have no idea
who came up to this design, but red disk means rising sun and,merchant
ships during sengoku period (15th-16th century)used this flag mark to
identify themselves. Then,later,it became permanent flag mark for our
country “Japan”. I did not know this,but there are exact measurement of
diameter of the red disk or length ratio of rectangle lines.
 You can read in English regarding history of Japanese flag at wikipedia. Please click here.

<National anthem>
 Japanese national anthem is very short,slow song. It is kind of a song that you can tell if one has great skill of singing with tone of voice or not. Bellow is translated lyrics (by Basil Hall Chamberlain) of National anthem of Japan. This anthem was born in Heian period. Heian period is the time of “Genji story” if you have ever heard of the book.

 Thousands of years of happy reign be thine
 Rule on,my lord,what are pebbles now
 By age united to mighty rocks shall grow
 Whose venerable sides
 the moss doth live

Here is the Japanese anthem sang by Issa:the lead vocal from Japanese pop singer group “Da Pump”. Anthem is titled “Ki Mi Ga Yo”

Usually,he sings song like this… He is a lead singer of “Da Pump“. They are from Okinawa prefecture and,they are famous for their dance skill and great voice.

This got me thinking how much I loved singer group called “Hikaru Genji”.It is a Japanese pop singer group that dance with roller skate,and in the group,there were 7 people in them. Back in 80’s in Japan,they were mega hit and, I was in their fan club too They dance very good… I long for such old days….

Bellow is clip of one of their song:Ga ra su no jyu u da i.They dance very good,don’t they?

 So,what do you think of our national anthem??

Apr 26, 2009 | 0 | Uncategorized

Senior dog care

 In previous posts on “How old is your dog in human years“,you might have had fun figuring out how old is your dog in human years.

The dogs age quicker than human physically and,the older they get,they need more tender little care.

Our neighbor’s dog is Rottweiler/Chow chow mix and,she is 120 lb or more in weight and she is 13 years old.

When I came here, she was about 10 years old. More energy,more brisk walk,brighter eyes.. When I came to this neighborhood,our Corgi “Palette” was about  3 months old.

Small body with long big ears,with round muzzle and she looked cute.

For me, this small size was only what I was getting used to to look at. I did not live with dogs either so, when I first met neighbor’s dog, I was scared.

What I was getting used to watch as far as dog’s size goes was this little 10 lb Corgi and suddenly,big 120lb dog shows up to say hi..

I am big animal lover and had rabbit,squirrel,parakeet and all that back in Japan,but huge dog size was really intimidating me and I could hear my heart beating so fast.

Palette , on the other hand, was bowing to this Rottie/Chow mix and romping in our yard and they are good friends since.


Pal 3 in snow 1

           Palette 3 month old

For the last 3 years, since we had sort of like food exchange/recipe exchange  programs going on with them, I visited their house quite a bit and this huge gentle dog comes right up for petting  and investigate the plates I brings to the family.

I am no longer scared by the size of the dog,and I take time talking to her and give the nice good massage and she tends to get her tongue out as if to say “That is good”.

Now, I can see her fur got little gray colored and slow walking,more napping time outside the house.

However, she always stand up right away,trot to me if she spots me with food to their house. I like to see her perked up movement and,it gives me smile.

Palette is 3 years  old, not senior now but she will be someday.

So, when do you consider your dog is senior?

According to funtimesguide.com, up to 20lb dog,7 years old and up is senior. Dogs over 90lb is considered senior over age 5. So,depending on size of the dog,senior years is different.

To read the full article at funtimesguide website,please click here.

For more related reading,please click here.

Dogs get old like human and start showing gray hair around muzzle just like I see in neighbor’s dog.

Then,they tend to move slower than younger years. But exercise is important. I probably not going long distance walk with Palette if she got old and,right now,we tend to race to the house when we come to straight road for finish,but we probably won’t if she got older.

I probably walk shorter distance with slower pace but we both can enjoy outside scenery and she still can enjoy smell of air or grass/ground so, I don’t see reasons to stop going for walk.

However, since dogs/human get physically weaker as we get old, naturally,we exercise less than younger years,so,in common sense if dogs eat same amount of food to youth years, since physical activity gets less,less burning kcal through exercise, it puts weight on them.

Keeping your eyes on how much they eat and tweak it as needed will be good idea.

I have once wondered if dogs understands hand signal and gives behavior relate to the signal or they understand voice of command and gives behavior related to the voice command or both.

I sometimes say nothing to Palette ,and simply gives her “Sit” signal or “Wait” signal and,I can see that she sees it and she does sit or wait.

I sometimes show no signal and just give her vocal command and she still does Sit or wait as I asked her to.

THerefore,I am not clear on my answer to my own question yet.But I wonder,considering dog gets hard hearing or weak visual,training with just signal sometimes or just vocal sometimes maybe help in future??

In one of the episode from TV show titled “It’s me or the dog” (animal planet channel) had senior dog who is blind.

The British trainer Victoria used scented candle to let this dog know what room this dog is. Also, she used rugs before stepping so that dogs know she needs to expect the steps in front of her. I thought it very clever idea.

Dogs are good at hiding pains so, it maybe good idea for us to be more observant in change of our dogs.

Do you have senior dogs? If so,what tips or advice do you give to others who will have senior dogs in the future?

Apr 24, 2009 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Chicken Marsala Risotto

 One of my favorite dishes I cook
is risotto. It is one pot wonder and,easy to clean, and quick cooking
and usually,it does not require lots of ingredients list and,I can cook
with whatever vegetables I can find from our fridge. Risotto is also
the one you can whip up very easily with your creative ideas for
flavoring.

 Basics of making risotto are..

1. cook vegetable,and when vegetable gets soften up, add kosher salt and black pepper
2. add arborio rice
3. cook rice till center of rice gets transparent
4. add alcohol and add broth and keep stirring until aldante (until you have a little bit of bite to it,not mushy)
5.
turn off the heat,and add about 1 table spoon of butter and mixed in
and grate Pecorino Romano cheese with microplane grater and you are
ready to eat.

Usually,it takes 30 min from start to finish.Very easy,very tasty.

If
you use red wine to degraze the pan after cooking up the vegetable,use
the beef broth for pairing flavor.If you use white wine to degraze,use
chicken broth for pairing the flavor.

 So,chicken marsala
risotto is something I came up with,and made it the other day. My
husband loved it and emptied the plate. How is it made? Here is how.

 My
favorite arborio rice is Della’s Italian style Arborio rice. It is
gluten free, cholesterol free,fat free,and it comes out very creamy and
love this brand.

1.Prepare big pot and pour Extra virgin olive
oil,and add 1/2 of onion chopped fine,cook to transparent, add kosher salt,black pepper and add 1 cup of
arborio rice,and stir.

2.When rice center gets transparent,you
add 1/2cup of dry marsala and stir well and let it evaporate the
alcohol and when liquid is almost gone,add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and
keep stirring.

3. When the liquid is about less, add chopped chicken breast and 1/2cup of dry marsala and stir

4.
After that, when liquid getting less again,add chicken broth and cook
until the rice has some bite to it but not raw not mushy to texture,and
chicken gets cook through.

5.Turn off the heat,add about 2 table
spoon of butter and mixed in and if you had parsley,you can mix in
parsley for color and you are ready to dig in.

This should yields about 3 cup of risotto if you use the same brand of arborio rice.

 
If you like, you can make desert to go with risotto. It is April,and
strawberry at grocery store is really smell good and looks tasty.You
can make quick desert out of it.

This is desert for adult. Slice
strawberry to about quarter inch thickness and top off ,then add some
sugar over strawberry and add splash of white wine or marsala. Stir
well and keep in fridge to cold and serve over ice cream or just wine
soaked strawberry in plate. My mother in law likes this strawberry
desert a lot so does my husband.

 If you had leftover strawberry
that are not soaked in wine, you can just top part off,and put about
2-4 strawberries in a mug and,mash them well and add sprite. This is
quick strawberry sprite I used to make when I was a kid. 

 If
you like to make veal marsala dish, pound the veal cutlet with meat
mallet very well to make it tender (you can use chicken breast if you
like),dip in flour that has kosher salt,pepper mixed in and cook sliced
onions in skillet and when it gets transparent, add chicken or veal
cutlet to the pan. Then,when meat gets half cooked,add 1/2 cup of dry
marsala,and let it evaporate and add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and when
meat gets cooked through,turn off the heat,add 1 or 2 table spoon of
butter, and sprinkle chopped Parsley. If you make Marsala pasta,just
add cooked noodle to this and mixed in with sauce and serve
immediately.

Apr 22, 2009 | 0 | Uncategorized

Xylitol

 Did you know that xylitol is sweetener (sugar alcohol) you can find in our human foods such as sugar-free chewing gums,candies,baked goods,oral care products etc??

When we eat them,there is no harm to our body but,when dogs eats them,it can be a problems.

According to ASPCA,some dogs that consumed xylitol showed sign of hypoglycemia (sudden drop of blood sugar),resulting in depression,loss of coordination, seizure,  or liver failure. (To read more,click here.)

How xylitol was discovered…

According to Dr Eric Dunayer, Xylitol was first identified by German chemist in 1891. Then,hundred of years later,it was used as sweetener for sugar – free products because it is sweet and it has 2/3 the calories of sugar, and it also started showing up in ingredients in oral care products because Xylitol has anticariogenic property: it prevent the oral bacteria from producing the acid that damage the teeth surface.

People absorb oral Xylitol slowly 49-95%,but dog absorb Xylitol fast and completely. Some indication of ill after ingesting Xylitol are vomiting,lethargy etc. (to read more on PDF file,click here)

So,Xylitol is toxic to your dogs. Before you are tempted to give any human foods,you may want to check if the food has Xylitol in them. Also, to blush the dog teeth,you cannot use human toothpaste. It has Xylitol in it. Please use tooth paste designed for dogs.

Also, when you decided to use oral care products (dental rinse) for dogs instead of using tooth paste,please make sure to read the ingredients list. Here is  ingredients list of sample dental rinse products: Purified water,enzyme,chlorhexidine gluconate,glycerine,zinc gluconate,potassium sorbate,Xylitol,sodium benzoate, FD&C yellow #5,polysorbate 20, FD&C Blue No 1.

 According to wikipedia, in the list above, you can find more sugar alcohol ingredients; Glycerine,and you can find salt with name of gluconate. Potassium sorbate is salt of potassium,then,yellow #5 is lemon yellow food coloring. So, summarizing what I googled for each ingredients using wikipedia, dental rinse I was looking at has sugar alcohol,salt,and food coloring,enzyme and water…. I do not think I would like to use this to our dog.

When you think your dog ingested something toxic,you can call to ASPCA toxic control center.


ASPCA emergency line.The number is at (888) 426-4435. A $60 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.ASPCA home page is here.

Apr 20, 2009 | 0 | Toxic foods for dogs

Jacket Potatoes VS Baked Potatoes

  I visited England when I was a university student. Using long vacation,I visited pen pals in England. One day, one of my pen pals took me to pub. It was cozy looking pub on top of steep hill.

I had very tasty potato at the pub. I did not remember what the menu was for my meal because I asked my friend to pick for me. All I know is just potato.

 Living here in US for 6 years now,I started thinking it could have been “Baked Potatoes”,but when I google on baked potato,it turned out it is called “Jacket potatoes”.

 Jacket potato is baked potato with peel on. This is by far my favorite dish to have with my steak (my husband would say “Gouda mashed potatoes” I make will be better). It is quick easy and never fail to make the tasty baked potatoes.

In Japan, we do not have baked potatoes as dish,but in fall, people dig up sweet potatoes (Note: Japanese sweet potatoes are quite different from American Yum or American sweet potatoes.The peel is purple color and fresh is yellow color and it has more texture in bite.Much less moisture asnd texture is more like Russet potato here in the states.) and wrap it up in foil and bake them long time with charcoal stone.

Or, you hear old guy sings out loud “Ya ki i mo—- Ya ki i mo– O i shi i yo.” (translation: baked sweet potato baked sweet potatoes.Very tasty” and he comes with van and drive around the neighborhood.

You can make baked sweet potatoes on top of gas heater (my family had gas heater). It takes longer but it was good.

In winter, we used to put unpeeled tangerine on top of gas stove and we unpeeled it and ate it after shower time.It may sound weird but it is tasty.

So, when my parents visited us in US before, we took them to seaside restaurant.

Then,there they had baked potatoes and they were raved about it.

First of all,size of vegetable here in USA is much bigger and potatoes are not exception.So,size of the potatoes,size of the meal also made them go “Wow”.

Anyway,”Jacket potatoes”.. according to “London in a flat” site, it seems, it is a norm to eat the Jacket potato with some filling after making slit. Topping can be cheese&bean,tuna & corn, spicy tuna, salmon & cream cheese,chili,mayo with shrimp, curry…. and one of my English book that I have about Britain says toasted bean can be a topping for Jacket potato.

This is more like a meal,not side dish.

It is interesting idea to put all kinds of topping on Baked potato not just butter or cheese.I may try the topping next time when I make Baked potato but I do not think I will go for Tuna and corn. This combination does not sound it tasty in my head,lol.

To read more on Jacket potato on London in a flat,please click here.

For Jacket potato topping ideas,please click here.

Making baked potatoes is easy. Perfect all the time. Here is how I make it.

1.Wash potatoes (Russet Potatoes) very well,and poke it around all over with fork.

2.Wrap the potato one by one with foil

3.Bake in Oven temperature 425F for 60-80 minutes

What I usually do is that,when timer goes off,I take potato out and make cross slits into potato and squash the potato from both sides,then I put 1table spoon worth of butter stuck in the slit,and re-wrap the potatoes and put it in turned-off oven.

My husband’s baked potato is usually with cheddar cheese so,I put handful of shredded cheddar cheese in the slit,re-wrap it and put into turned-off oven.

This helps filling melt and flavors soak into potato fresh and it is also good idea to keep them in oven til other side dish is ready to serve.  Warm potatoes are better than cold potatoes

I wrote,my husband likes my Gouda mashed potatoes.It is easy to make and tasty. You can make it next time.

When I make mashed potatoes/shepered pie topping, I do not use regular potatoes.

I use Yukon Gold Potatoes. It is more creamy texture and  it definitely taste much better than regular potatoes. With baked potatoes,I do not use Yukon gold potatoes. I use Russet potato because it has more texture to it and best suits to the dish.

I usually wash potatoes, wrap them in plastic wrap, and put it on the microwaveable plate and cook them. 1 potatoes needs 3 minutes plus one minute.

If you use 3 potatoes,3 potatoesx3 minutes+1 minutes=10minutes. It depends on size of the potatoes but,usually I use 3-4 potatoes for 2 adult serving. It yield probably 3 serving for adult worth but my husband likes it so much that heats it a lot so,it is usually a good amount for us to make.

After cooked in the microwave, I use chopstick to get peel off and I mash them with masher.

After that,I sprinkle kosher salt,and put 1-3 table spoon worth of butter and I add 1-2 handful of shredded smoked Gouda cheese and let it melt by heat.Then,I add splash of milk and stir,and add 1-2 table spoon of sour cream and keep adding milk til desired texture. Then,season it with pepper and it is done.

For color,I add chopped parsley or chives and, sometimes,garnish it with chopped crispy bacon on top. For bacon,I usually use Center cut bacon because it is less fat.

Tips to make nice crispy bacon is to took it in skillet till almost done,and drain it well (hold the bacon in the air 3-7 seconds) and put it on paper towel. This makes crispy bacon.

However, the best way to make really crusty bacon is to deep fry them.It drains off the fat and makes super crispy bacon strips you have tasted.

For tips for cutting chive, after wash it under the running water,hold the chive on top of whatever you want to put the chive in and snip them with scissors. That way,you do not have to chase the chopped chive on cutting board and easy way to add chive into your dish.

I think many of you are fan of baked potato but what toppings do you put over baked potatoes (Jacket potatoes)?? 

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Apr 18, 2009 | 0 | Travel

Dog personality test (Temperament test)

 When you welcome new dog to your family,there maybe 3 ways to get a new dog from.

1. From shelter
2.Rescue group
3.Breeder

 When you go to those places, what kinds  of things do you look for in dogs to bring home?

 Our Corgi “Palette” is my first dog and, I saw cute litters curling up with mother dog.

 Palette was one of 8 litters. Biggest litter of all.

 Her mother is tri colored Corgi and her father is red and white colored Corgi. Therefore,some litters were red and white and some were tri color corgi. 

 We really did not have preferred gender for puppy to bring home. How we decided on her was 2 things.

 Little Palette was picked up by my husband and she immediately licked his finger and showed affection. Then, when all the litters were free,when I tossed squeaky toy,she followed it and picked it up and played with it.

 Other litters were running around crazy, and they were more engaged in their own play rather than the squeaky toy that I tossed for them to play with.

 I then moved away a little from where I was and little Palette simply followed me and sat next to me and enjoyed rubbing/petting.

 There was one energetic little male; red and white corgi, but, he did not like to be touched at all and tried to nip my fingers..

 It may not be perfect way to pick which litters I should have chosen but,we are happy we chose her because she has been such a nice dog and she really suits to our family.

This is one of the picture taken with breeder. I think Palette is left hand side litter from white head marking. I maybe wrong but she was just like this. She came to our family when she was about 12 weeks old.

Palette and siblings

  After 3 years and plus,she still be like the day we first met. When I read magazine, if I sit on floor,even if she were resting on her cool bed,she gets up and trot to my place and sit right next to me.
 Just like first day we have met,when I pick up squeaky toy or Frisbee,she comes right up and ready to play with me and have fun.

 I usually watch “Dog Town” on national geographic channel. It is a reality show  focused on non-kill shelter work in Utah,and many dogs come there from bad condition. 

 The shelter accommodate those dogs and help them overcome with disease or behavior issue and send them to nice forever home.

 One of the episode that ended with heartwarming story is on Aristotle (to find out his progress at Best friends’ shelter to forever home adoption, click here).

  One of the thing they do before adoption is temperament test. Then,if they found something to work on such as resource guarding, they focus on the training on resource guarding using no force to dogs.

 Then, if the area they worked on improved and becomes no issue, they put the dog for adoption.

  When you type in “temperament test dog” at google,you get almost 58,000 hits and I was surprised to know there are variety in such test,and variety of ways or variety of tool test is used to test the same area.

 I am not sure if the same dog took each different test method for temperament test ,if the result would come up with same or not.But here are some of the temperament test videos done at humane society.

 

 My question to you is ..how do you decide on which dog you will bring home?

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Apr 16, 2009 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Dog+Yoga=Doga

 There are so many fun exercise you can do with your furry friends:Frisbee,Play ball, training,jogging,walking,hiking,traveling to dog friendly places… but now there is one more to add to the list of exercise with your furry friends.

It is called DOGA (Yoga with your dog). I came across one article about Kari Harendorf’s Doga class in news. She is yoga instructor, dog trainer,and former vet tech.

Apparently,it seems hot thing to do with dogs over in Japan as well along with raising popularity in US.

I was surprised to find out IF I were living at my parents’ house in Japan, I can go Doga for 2 hours and with cost of $20. I am not sure if it is per class or per term though. Also,DVD on Doga was released in Japan,and is selling very good.

What is doga?

So,what is “Doga” like?? According to abc news website written by Ryan Owen and Melia Patlia, in doga class, dog gets certain posture to stretch body and, they get massage and acupressure during the class.

For human,they use the dog to shape the posture,such as place the large dog under your legs’ tunnel and place small dog on top of your tummy and lift the tummy up.

Since Doga became so popular that now you can find Om Ball that play “Om..”,but I think this ball is so expensive ($26) . It claims beautiful design but dog would not care much..

Palette the Corgi and I are happy with regular inexpensive squeaky ball..

What is your thoughts on this ball?

I think doga can provide quiet time for bonding with your dogs by doing Doga or massaging or acupressure in class.

For you,you can do Yoga for exercise and you can bring your dog to class.So,Doga may not be a bad idea to try out with your dog.

( To read more on Doga,please click here. )

When I welcomed our stumpy “Palette” to our family, since she was my first dog to live with,everything I did with her was new to me.

One of the things I tried to do was to give her nice relaxing massage.

I got one book thinking that I would use it as basic information books on dog massage as to what area is dog’s favorite to be massaged,what techniques are there etc.. 

I kind of distracted from something else so,I am still in amid of reading the book,but it is good one to have.

After I read this book,I like to read book on Tellington touch (massaging technique). I hear it is good. If you were interested in Tellington touch,you can read on the massaging technique here.

What exercise do you do with your dog?

Does your dog like to be massaged? Do you know where in the body your dog likes to be massaged??

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Apr 13, 2009 | 0 | Miscellaneous (dogs)

Seasons in Japan

 Japan experience 4 seasons through a year. Generally, March to May is Spring,June to August is summer,September to November is fall,December to February is winter.

Spring is beginning of the year in Japan.So,all schools/companies starts from April and ends in March.

March is graduation month. April is very warm and not too cold,not too hot. And flowers start opening and especially cherry blossoms starts coloring the sky with pink and,it makes really nice views.

The city I am from has this one spot where people go see cherry blossoms in April. Trees are planted along side the river and,it almost look like cherry blossom arch if you walk around the river street.

Usually vendors appear at certain time,certain days and,many people come see the cherry blossoms and if there were parks near the place,people spend time there with food from home or vendors and do karaoke and when night comes,it is light up and it is really nice view at night.Very romantic view as well.

Here is some pictures from Guide of Japan.It is written in Japanese so you may not be able to read it but you can enjoy pictures there.

In summer time,I feel city where I came from  gets a little humid than here in VA,USA. Very hot in summer and June is heavy rain month:we call the heavy rain month “Tsu yu”.

I remember our family visited mountain for camping,went to beach to get clams by digging the sand.

I hated clams back then but I liked digging so, it was fun thing to do.

Also summer time,we did family trip to many places by a car,did canoe in the river,enjoyed hot spring,pony ride .. we did lots of fun stuff in summer.

However,for Japanese students,summer is not “escape month” from schooling. When I was elementary school,we always got one booklet that has date on it and you need to do the page one by one.

Some days are Japanese,some days are math,it depends but it has lots of pages to complete during the  summer vacation.

Plus,we were given choice of books to read. And,you then write essay on it. And then,you decide project/research theme by yourself and submit it as science homework.

Also, there were school swimming days you need to come show up.

Kids are divided into area group and calender shows which group is swimming day and kids show up,get a stamp on sheet,and the number of “Show-up” effects your PE class grade.

If you were joining in club,there are days for activity and it usually long and tiring days. And.. every morning at about 6:30am,kids show up at park and do exercise (kind of like stretching exercise and you do exercise to music),and you get stamps too.

Usually summer vacation for students in Japan is from July 20th or so to September 4th or so. It seems enough break but with all these extra stuff we need to do,it is actually busy vacation.

Fall usually with typhoon season. But tree leaves changes its color and it is enjoyable months.

Winter,it is cold months but not as cold as VA winter. Winter usually is stressful month for 9th grader and senior high school students.

Why?Because they need to take entrance exam to get into high school or University. I remember I studied stuff all nights.

We do not have daylight saving time. So,for me,it was strange thing to see our time changes at certain time:one hour back or forward etc.

I am not familiar with vacation for students here in US. Do they get homework or project assignment or swimming days or exercise days like students in Japan??

 
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Apr 10, 2009 | 0 | Japan