Friday, 30 October 2015

Japanese study

Been going to a Japanese class for foreigners the last few weeks. After an initial placement test, I was lumped with the class doing the fourth book. Struggled to comprehend a lot of it, the subject was OK (giving / receiving) but the verb changes lost me.
Yesterday, changed class to book 2 (no 3 this year) and immediately felt at the right level. Understood most of the class for a change. Fun too!'s to me learning Japanese, eventually...maybe.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Love is....

Last week was my 40th birthday!!!

Went to Iwakuni for the day out.

Visited Kintakyo Bridge and Iwakuni Castle, which was pretty small, and not worth the visit unless you like looking at old swords. Pretty much it. Dull as f#@k.

Had a great burger (albeit a small one, was disappointed by the size) for lunch and a fantastic Mexican meal for dinner.

No birthday would be complete without a cake....who is Jhon btw? :)

My present was a "Baby Feet" exfoliating foot treatment. Weird present, but thoughtful all the same.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Then and now...Sean

                                             recently                               January

Sports Day

Man....been awhile hasn't it? Golden Week was last May!!! I'm writing this today in what is called "silver week" here in Japan. Another couple of days off.

Sports Day at Akizuki ES was held on Saturday just past. A very nice day, sunburnt very quickly.

Boys were great. Sean was helping out setting up events and things, as well as taking part in the fun.

Ayumi is on this years' PTA committee and so had to help out at the kakigori (shaved ice) stall, just a couple of times throughout the day.

Didn't get many pictures. You know, the school opens the gates at 5am to allow people to reserve their space with ground sheets, canopies, tent-like things etc....then a load of women are stoating about with big sun shade brollies blocking any view of the action. Ridiculous.'s some photies -
 Iain waiting to start in his race. Was fun to watch.

 Sean and Ayumi.Same height? 

Sean and friends doing the "running man" part from a song called Ryusei by J Soul Brothers

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Photo update

Well....that's Golden Week finished for another year. Back to school for the boys, and back to work for me.

On Monday, we basically stayed home to recover from the trek around MCAS Iwakuni, and the sardine experience on JR trains.Yesterday was a trip to Eigenzan Park (again) for the Children's Day fun 'n' games in the sun. Was a lovely day, so nice in fact, I got sunburned on my neck. Met loads of students from schools I worked at over the last 2 years. They ask me where I'm teaching now, and I tell them I'm not, I'm working at...."meki" is about the only word I know to describe what the company I work for does. Blank looks...but, think! If I told a kid back home I work for a company that does electro-chemical plating, do you think they'd know what that was? Yeah, me neither. So...

Today, we went a walk, exploring the area I travel on my way to work every day. We had fun walking the seafront, seeing shells and fish, people collecting shellfish, folks fishing and so on. Another nice day, bit more overcast, but still suitable for shorts and t-shirts. 

So, without further's the pics:

Washing / cooling feet in the park.

Interestingly twisted tree. Iain having a wee rest.

Boys blowing dandelions, or "tampopo" as they're known here. Happy boys!

"T" for toilet. The T-shape is a window of sorts. 

is this a ghost in the toilet???                          Nah....just Iain keeking out.

Another!!! Shrine gate.

Iain taking a breather along the waterfront.

Sean watching some fishing boats returning to port.
In the above photo, you can see some hills in the background. My workplace is somewhere behind the smaller hill on the right of the picture. I'm lucky to have found a job so quickly, lucky to have been accepted by the Japanese workforce so well, lucky to be able to ride the bike to work (save money and get exercise), and lucky to be able to enjoy the view and fresh sea air on my way to / from work. 

I like my job, as you may have guessed.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Cave Exploring in Mine City

On Saturday past, we took a wee trip out to Mine City (pronounced Mee-ne) to go explore Kagekiyo-Do Cave. Thanks to the Iwakuni Explorer blog for the information about the Cave. We were looking for something to do with the boys over the weekend, and I came across this site, which gave us some great new ideas. 

The Cave is near enough to the famous Akiyoshido limestone caves to be overlooked, but what a pity - this cave system was quieter, no roped off path to follow - we could wander about freely in the cave, let the boys explore where safe to do so obviously. Helmets, wellies and torches given out at the entrance booth.

More information facts and figures etc. here (English page and information on the other cave systems in the area). 

Some pics:

Saw this monstrosity when we stopped for lunch. Couldn't help think how much extra fuel that ugly motor must burn to propel all that extra non-essential pile of crap. Looks like an ice-cream van gone nuts, doesn't it?
 Front end of said pile of crap.
 Iain enjoying the beautiful sunny day, posing in front of the "icey."

The boys decked out in this years' latest fashion items, for cave exploring at least!

One of the inner shrine gates found inside the cave.

I called this the Dragon Head stone.

Sean and Iain posing in the darkness of the cave.

Wading through the stream in the cave. Can be deep in parts.
Stone poo?

 Bats...lots of them. Didn't bother anyone though.

 The entrance - picture taken on our way back out. Lovely sunny day

The "main" shrine just inside the entrance to the cave. Ikume Shrine.

Iain posing with part of the Akiyoshidai plateau behind him.

Giant footprint?

Weather was great, the cave was fun too. There's a camp site next to the cave, maybe another time. We planned to go fossil hunting in the area too, but didn't have a lot of day-light left to find it and make it worth our while, so that's on our list of things to do. Sean especially wants to hunt for fossils. 

On Sunday, the next day, it rained constantly, all day!!! We went to the MCAS Iwakuni Friendship Day event, which wasn't worth the trip this year - pouring down, visibility poor, so many people with umbrella's brushing by you. The base wasn't very well signposted for where to head for exhibits / exits etc. With all the brollies and the shitty weather, it made for a crappy day. Add to that, when we eventually got back to Iwakuni station, got on the train, we were packed in like sardines for about an hour of the journey home. My old back injury played hell with my back today. A side affect of the injury is I can't stand / walk about for hours and hours like I used to, I can't even stand in queue's for too long. Back aching by time we got home.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

New job

Only since the boys went back to school have I really felt the effect of being unemployed. Only last week did I get to the local job centre, called, Hello Work, here in Japan. Went again on Friday and the guy that helped me offered information about a job, that we took away and had a wee think about.

So, on Monday just past, I went to ask them to set-up an interview if possible. They arranged the interview for 12pm today, with Ayumi coming to help out with translation / information.

Was very surprised to be offered the job at the end of the interview. Start tomorrow too. No more time to sit about playing Pokemon Shuffle on the 3DS :-(

I'll be working for Shunan Plating which isn't too far away. Close enough for me to bike it when needed.

The company website is -

Looking forward to making some new friends, making a real and positive contribution to Japan, and perhaps I might start to feel like I belong here.