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Pictures! published on

My closet

– wait, what the hell is that green shirt doing in there?

I was wearing my single blue shirt when I took this, and there are some jeans and two inexplicably green pairs of socks in the other side of the closet. (The jeans don’t fit.) Otherwise, yes, I’m pretty sure the only actual color I ever wear is red.

I bought a blue fleece when I first realized this a couple weeks ago, but I can’t wear it to work, so it’s just kind of sitting here. Maybe it’s a sign I should embrace the monomania.

Anyway – Shibata!

Doll Festival displays at the department store.

A cool-looking Catholic Church I saw when I got lost trying to get to City Hall. Japanese churches can get kind of funky design-wise.

Ramen at the restaurant next door to the school.

At each table there’s both 1) garlic cloves and a grater, and 2) a small jar of garlic in oil with a little spoon. So you have two options for the proper garlicification of your ramen. ALL RESTAURANTS SHOULD DO THIS.


Though I usually eat lunch at the sushi place across the road – the ramen place’s service is kinda slow.

The sushi place’s seasonal winter menu, now replaced by the spring one. I was always deeply concerned about that item in the upper left. It’s called “Kagoshima-something,” and the first kanji in “Kagoshima” is “deer,” so I thought at first it was raw venison. No, that’s just the name of an island. I can’t read the last kanji there, so I still don’t know what it is.

(I never eat a new kind of meat in Japan without googling it first. Intellectually, I know it’s probably not going to be whale, but I still worry.)

Mr. K’s (mother’s) Valentines chocolate, with bow. It has a really unfortunate name.

Itty-bitty backyard shrine/temple near the post office.

A poster in front of the Shibata Court House trying to get people excited about jury duty. It’s fresh and new! The Photoshopped models all do it! (Japan only recently instituted jury trials.)

A Kannon (I think?) and a Jizo in front of a very poorly-kept-up, creepy little temple not far from the apartment. It’s a very weird place. It’s right next to the road, but there never seem to be any cars going by when I go over that way. There are houses that seem to have kids nearby – there are toys and stuff in the yards – but I never see anyone, and it’s always quiet. It’s across a little bridge over pretty polluted little creek.

I’m actually not sure if those are offerings or someone’s recycling in front of Jizo. The thing that’s tilting over appeared to be a half-empty jumbo-sized bottle of soy sauce.

(I haven’t translated these signs yet. Leave me alone, I’m busy.)

Let’s change the subject. Moomin air fresheners! OF COURSE

And Toto Washlets. This is a toilet… with a bidet. A bidet shoots water… up your butt. Be shocked and horrified, fellow Americans.

(I have failed my nation – I use the bidet when it is available, and have actually researched prices on them. (They’re too expensive.) This even though I have actually experienced that nightmare of all Americans in Japan, the horror that is The Bidet That Won’t Shut Off. At an izakaya (a bar, basically) where my new co-workers had taken me, even. My theory is that some intoxicated person preceding me had hit the button too hard, for once turned on, the bidet did not stop. The angle of the spray is such that if you stand up while the bidet is turned on, your pants will get wet. (Fortunately we were about to leave, so I just put my coat on. The bidet finally turned itself off as I was tossing the last of the paper towels I’d used to try and rectify the problem.))

The cat-looking thing is a drawing of me by one of my students, age 7, codename Zuzu. I believe that it is intended to represent a tanuki. The pig with pigtails labeled “Zuzu” was done purely in self-defense.

Mr. Sleepyhead was over on the right side of the board – I have no idea where he was going with his drawing, but he clearly had firm ideas about it.

Appropriate use of Perry Bible Fellowship comics is the mark of a good ESL teacher.