Lake Shikaribetsu Igloo Village

Hello everyone. How is the weather treating you? I hope you are keeping warm this winter.

 

This past Monday was a holiday, so I decided to do some volunteer work during the long weekend. I went to Lake Shikaribetsu to help construct the ice village. Every year for the past thirty years, a group of people have built a village on Lake Shkaribetsu using only snow, water, and ice as building materials. The ice village includes a wide variety of facilities, including a theater, an ice bar, an ice lodge, and even an ice spa.

 

The work was pretty strenuous, and after two days of work, I was thoroughly sore. The hardest part was using a jackhammer to level an ice floor, and dig a trench. I also helped assemble some scaffolding to create a temporary floor, I helped erect some wooden arches that were used as temporary ceiling supports, and I carried a lot of tools, ice, and slush.

 

Here’s a picture of me taking a break from laying some ice bricks.

 

From a language learning standpoint, it was great for my Japanese. I learned a lot of words that I probably wouldn’t have learned in a classroom. For example, they were often telling me to carry something from one place to another, so I learned the verb for carry. I think it is good to learn a language in a lot of different environments.

 

The weather was pretty nice for most of the two days I was there. It did snow a little bit but it was light and pretty. Here’s a picture at the end of the second day. The outer wall was almost complete and it was just starting to snow. Yes, that is a snowflake, not the full moon.

 

The ice village is scheduled to be complete and open to the public on January 28th, but if you would like to see it before that you can volunteer. To volunteer, just call the Shikaribetsu Nature Center in at least a day in advance, and let them know you would like to help. Their phone number is 0156 69 8181.

by Sam / 2012-01-11 6:47 PM / Past Teachersコメント (0)

Winter Vacation in Hawaii!

Hello everyone! Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

 

This winter vacation Kyle and I went to Hawaii to see our families. We stayed in a condominium on the island of Maui. The weather was perfect, and we had a lot of fun. We did a lot of exciting things like snorkeling, surfing, and swimming, but the best part of the trip for me was eating, drinking, and relaxing.

 

Here’s a picture of the place we were staying. Our condo was at the top of a grassy hill. It took about 2 minutes to walk down to the beach and 4 minutes to walk back up to the condo. Pretty nice location, don’t you think?

 

During the holidays in the U.S. people eat a lot of food, and I was no exception. At many restaurants in America, the portions are enormous. At some places a “normal” meal is two or three times the size of a meal at a restaurant in Japan. Here is a cheeseburger that I’m just about to sink my teeth into. It was so big that I could only just barely take a bite out of it.

 

It had been a really long time since I had gone surfing, so I really wanted to surf while I was there. I missed being out in the waves, getting knocked around, and occasionally riding a wave. Unfortunately, on our side of the island the waves were very small. That being the case, we decided to go stand up paddle boarding. It is similar to surfing, but you have a paddle like in a kayak, and you stand up the whole time. It was pretty fun. I even managed to catch a few ankle high waves.

 

Every night the sunset was so beautiful. Most of my pictures from the trip are of the sunsets. I took so many throughout the course of each sunset. This picture is one of my favorites. The sun is shining through a Bird of Paradise flower. It is called that because it looks like a tropical bird.

 

To get to Hawaii and back we went a kind of roundabout way. First, we took the bus from Obihiro to Chitose. Then we flew to Seoul, South Korea. From Seoul we flew to Honolulu, and then finally, we flew to Maui. The travel time from our apartment to the condo was about 24 hours. Then when the trip was over, we went back to Japan the same way we came. This next picture of Kyle shows how tired we were during our trip home.

by Sam / 2012-01-04 8:13 PM / Past Teachersコメント (0)

Daisetsu Mountains

Over the weekend, I went to the Daisetsu mountains . . . twice! On Saturday I hiked up Red mountain (Akadake) and on Sunday I hiked up Green mountain (Midoridake). It was so beautiful in the mountains. The weather was warm and sunny. It was so sunny that I got a sunburn. Ouch! In the early morning there were some low clouds at the foot of the mountains. Here is a picture of a mountain poking through the clouds. On both mountains there was still a lot of snow. On Red Mountain there were even some skiers. I was very surprised to see people skiing in July. The trail was pretty difficult. It wasn’t too steep or too long, but it was very wet and snowy in some places. At one point, the trail was completely covered by a muddy creek. Up on the Daisetsu plateau, there is some really interesting wild life. I saw a very unusual lady bug. Most lady bugs are red with black spots, but this one was orange with yellow spots. There were some bigger animals too, but we didn’t see them. We heard the call of a pika, but it was hiding. It sounded like a pikachu. We also saw a sign that warned us of bears in the area. Kyle wore her Chicago Bears shirt to show the bears that we are friendly. In addition to the mountain animals, there was also some amazing plant life. There were many different colors of wild flowers covering the mountainside. Here is an example of some of the flowers we saw. From the summit of both mountains there was a great view of Asahidake. Asahidake is the highest mountain in Hokkaido. It is 2291 meters high. After the hike on both Saturday and Sunday we went to an Onsen. It was my first time to take a hot spring bath. It felt very soothing on my skin, except where I was sunburned! Don’t worry, the bath I went in wasn’t this dirty or this hot!

by Sam / 2011-07-05 6:41 PM / Past Teachersコメント (0)

First Hike In Hokkaido

Yesterday I went on my first hike in Hokkaido. It was a lot of fun. I saw many beautiful plants and animals, some of them I had never seen before. The name of the mountain we climbed is Mt. Nupukaushinupuri. It only took us about an hour to get to the top, but the trail was very steep. There were many different kinds of moss. It looked like a giant green carpet covering the forest floor.

This moss is so beautiful! I’ve never seen red moss before. The view from the top was amazing. From one side, we could see more mountains. From the other side, we could see the patchwork pattern of some Tokachi farms. Here is a picture of our group at the summit. Do you like hiking? Where is your favorite place to go hiking?

by Sam / 2011-05-23 6:52 PM / Past Teachersコメント (0)

Do you like gardening?

Spring is an exciting time for gardeners. It is time to plant flowers and vegetables. Every year I try to make a garden. This year I will be gardening in my apartment, and we don’t have a lot of space. We have a window and a balcony that get good sun light. I will grow tomatoes, basil, peppers, cucumbers, radishes,potatoes, and spinach. Is that too many plants? I hope they all fit in the apartment. Here is a picture of my cherry tomato sprouts: If you want to learn how to start plants from seeds, it is easy. You can use a plate and a paper towel. First, cut the paper towel in half. Then, fold the paper towel in half, and put it on the plate. Next, put some seeds on the paper towel. After that, put a little water on the paper towel. The whole paper towel should be wet, but not too wet. You can tilt the plate until the water stops dripping, then it is perfect. Finally, put a plastic bag around the plate so it doesn’t dry up. In 1 or 2 weeks you will have seedlings! Happy gardening!

by Sam / 2011-04-28 7:31 PM / Past Teachersコメント (0)

Mama Mia!

 

Hello, Wonderful People!

 

Last Sunday, Sam and I took a cooking class together. It was an Italian cooking class, and we learned to make two delicious Italian recipes. It was a great way to spend a Sunday. The cooking instructor was very kind. She is trilingual (she can speak Italian, Japanese, and English). Her lesson was in Japanese. We made really good food. There were eight people in the class. We all worked together. Afterwards, we all sat together and enjoyed a feast. There was salad, fresh baked bread, gourmet cheese, onion soup, a special kind of fried rice ball, and grape juice. For dessert we had cappucinos, made from our Instructor’s own cappucino machine. I am looking forward to go again next month. The class is on the 15th of May. We need five more people to sign up! If you are interested in taking an Italian cooking class with a real Italian, please tell me! There is space and it’s really fun.

 

Me with the onion soup and rice balls.

 

Sam is working hard!

 

Here is the cooking instructor. It’s almost time to eat!

 

She used spices to make hearts in the cappuccinos. It was a delicious treat.

 

If you are interested in coming with me to the next class on May 15th, please email me or talk to me when you come to JOY. It will be really fun! So long, and hope you’re hungry! – Kyle

by kyle / 2011-04-27 10:39 AM / Past Teachersコメント (0)

Good Morning, Obihiro!

Hello, Beautiful Beings!

 

Are you a morning person, or night owl? I am definitely a morning person. When I can, I like to get up early in the morning. I like the sound of morning, especially when the birds are chirping. If I get up early, I like to practice yoga and meditation. I enjoy a good cup of tea. Peppermint is my favorite. I feel peaceful at this time of day. After relaxing and stretching, I make breakfast. My favorite thing to make for breakfast is pancakes. Sam makes the best pancakes but mine taste good, too! I also like eating eggs, vegetables, and rice in the morning. I almost never eat fish in the morning. What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  I sometimes like to read while I eat. If Sam is awake, we talk and make plans for our day. What is your morning routine like? Are you in a hurry or do you go slow?

 

Here is a picture of my pancakes. In New York, my dad makes syrup from Maple trees. In Japan, real maple syrup is very expensive. I use honey instead!

Here is another breakfast.

I like doing yoga everyday!

 

by kyle / 2011-04-22 4:38 PM / Past Teachersコメント (2)

Hello Kitty

Hello Happy People,

 

Do you like animals? I love animals. In New York, my family has a small farm. We have cows, pigs, chickens, and one dog. I enjoy taking care of animals, and am looking for a place to volunteer once a month. When I told my coworkers, they suggested going to Cat Cafe. Have you heard of Cat Cafe? It’s near Obihiro Shrine.

I went last week. I had never heard of a cafe with cats. It was a new Japanese experience. There were over fifty cats at Cat Cafe! They are all rescued cats. I’m glad they found a home at Cat Cafe. I had fun, and I think my coworkers did, too. Next, I want to spend time with horses. Do you know of a good place to go horseback riding? Or to take riding lessons?

 

Me and my new cat friends

 

 

Downstairs at the Cat Cafe.

by kyle / 2011-04-13 10:26 PM / Past Teachersコメント (0)

Oh Baby!

Hello, Joyful People!

It’s my first blog. I am very happy! I have good news. Last Friday, my sister had a baby. It’s a boy. His name is Luke. I think it is a nice name. Do you like the name Luke? He is my sister’s third child.  Now, I have two nephews and one niece. They live in New York. Being an aunt is very fun. I love them very much. Do you have any nieces or nephews?

This is my nephew and my sister. He is a sleepy baby.

This is my niece and brand new nephew! Yay!

by kyle / 2011-03-30 10:21 PM / Past Teachersコメント (0)

This is Sam on Orin’s Blog

Hello everyone! This is my first blog of many to come. I will try to post on my blog as often as I can. Feel free to come to my blog and read about the things that I have been doing in and out of class. Right now we are preparing for the Goodbye and Welcome Party. I hope a lot of you come to the party! ;)

by Orin / 2011-03-24 5:45 PM / Past Teachersコメント (0)

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