Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last Saturday Pre-School Trial Class

Today was the last of 14 Saturday morning trial classes to give the community an opportunity to see the type of school we are planning on opening in April of 2013. (The Japanese school year runs from April to March with various breaks in between; unlike the American school year running from August to June with a long summer break.) 

Today we had 2 students and in the past Saturday's as many as 8 or 9 students. We spent the three Saturday's in December teaching the Christmas story and playing various Christmas games. One of the students that came today had never come before and is actually a year too young to begin with us in April. They enjoyed the trial class and will keep us in mind for signing up in April 2014 when he is older. We are meeting with a family next week that has questions about our Pre-School that have come a few different times to the Saturday classes. It would be wonderful if at this meeting they would sign up for April.  We also have another family that has 2 students that have attend once or twice that is moving to Shimonoseki and they have expressed interest and will hopefully sign up as well. 

We had some students come that want to register but are unable to due to transportation, however, these 2 students are going to try David's classes and hopefully sign up for one of them.  

We had a great success in presenting our Pre-School these past 14 Saturdays and as you have read above there are many 'potential' students that we are waiting on to either sign up for the Pre-School or David's classes. Please pray with us that we will have parents sign up their students and that more families will show interest. We have 2 newspaper ads that will run and 3 radio spot interviews for January 2013. It would be wonderful if we could recruit more students from these 2 advertisements. 

Below are various pictures taken during the Saturday classes and of the classroom. 

This is one of the first newspaper advertisements. 

Our little 'Newbe' caterpillar , he's our mascot. 

In Japan when you enter a home and some places of business you have to remove your shoes. School is no different. Marcia painted these cute animal feet for the students to leave their shoes when they enter the classroom. There are small benches for them to sit on also, but they are not pictured. 

The main entry door into the classroom. 

As you can see, we have a huge space to work with. 

Bible time in the reading area. 

We have a dress up area which is not common in Japan. 

I was surprised to see all of the donations that have been made and sent over from the United States. Many churches and supporters have sent over materials and toys for the classroom. 

This is in the back of the classroom where the parents and observers sat during the Saturday classes. This will not be here when we begin in April, it will be set up for a different area of the classroom. 

This is where the students will leave their backpack or coat and obento's (lunches) as they enter the classroom. 

This little guy loved water color painting!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cooking Chronicles: Part 2

If you have read any of our previous posts on cooking, you may be wondering why we aren't cooking Japanese food. I really want to learn how, and we have had some very tasty Japanese food, however, we just need to learn more Japanese so that people can teach us. I have been told that there are several ladies in our church that are great cooks, but I need to learn more Japanese before they can teach me to cook. As I learn how to cook Japanese food I post about them. For now we are trying to make our way around the stores and purchase food without being able to read anything :)

This post has a few different things I have cooked but also some yummy treats that are new to us and some treats from the U.S. that are not seen often here in Japan. 

This lovely little treat taste similar to a Little Debbie cake but it's vanilla and the cake/frosting are rolled up into one. I put them into the fridge, but when they are not in the fridge they will melt in your mouth :)

These items can be found but not very often and they are usually expensive in comparison to the states. These packages were actually 150 yen which is about $1.80 each.

These are purple grapes and they are the biggest grapes that I have ever seen. They also have the regular green and purple grapes like in the states. These were a gift from our Japanese teacher. They are a little bit more tart then ones I have had in the states.
Fruit is very expensive here in Japan, and this pineapple was only 100 yen which is about  $1.25. I was so excited to see fruit being sold outside of our apartment complex and that's where I bought this pineapple. 

At our church, Shimonoseki Christ Bible Church, on the first Sunday of every month we get together at our main location, where David teaches English classes, and we have our regular church service and a meal. This meal was pieces of chicken and rice with veggies mixed in, a salad, and egg soup. Our church has 3 locations so this once a month service and meal is very special to get to see and catch up with people we don't usually see. 

I tried a new recipe that I found online in our crock pot with BBQ sauce and a can of coca-cola. It did not taste very good so I don't think that I will making this again but it made the house smell good!!!

I was given some of the extra rice from our Sunday meal and I put a little bit of the sauce on it, the rice was great.

Marcia Haug went shopping with David and I and helped us find a great inexpensive, easy to use, rice cooker. I have been told that these are necessities in Japan. 

My first batch of rice turned our great :)

We have discovered that the appliances in Japan are 'very smart.' Our oven has a setting that if you cook the same meal in the same bowl it can be programmed to remember it and you just push a button and it will cook that specific meal if it is the correct bowl. The oven remembers the weight of the meal and cooks it properly. 

Our rice cooker is no different. When we pulled it out of the box the time on the clock was already set and correct!! The rice cooker can also be set to be ready at a specific time. This came in handy when I needed a meal ready right after church for our ladies Bible study. I put the rice and water in the cooker and set the time to be ready at 12:30pm. When we got home, the rice was perfect and ready to eat :) If we are in Japan, I will never cook rice on the stove again.

The large pieces of boneless skinless chicken breasts are usually the least expensive and are often on sale at our local grocery store. I have searched the internet for many recipes to try with chicken (the recipe listed above with BBQ sauce and coca cola did not work out). This was just one that I did based upon what was leftover. I had carrots, potatoes, and we got chicken on sale, so I put the chicken in a garlic/seasoning to marinate over night and put it in the crock pot in the morning. It came out really good. 

This was a yummy crock pot recipe I found online too, and the carrots soaked in brown sugar and apple juice all day. They were super good!!

That's it for now, stay tuned for the next Cooking Chronicles about making Persimmon bread....

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Japanese apartment: Part 1

In Japan, our apartment has 3 rooms, a kitchen, and one bathroom. 2 of the rooms have tatami mats and one room is carpeted. We use the carpeted room as our bedroom because it is separated from the other rooms and it is right across from the bathroom. The 2 tatami mat rooms are connected through sliding doors and they are connected to the kitchen. 

The photo below is an advertisement for our apartment we found at a store near our house. The yellow room is the carpet room, the 2 green rooms are tatami mat rooms and the light blue is the kitchen. The space at the very bottom of the layout is our balcony it runs the width of the apartment, we love it. Hopefully it will be taken down soon because it has obviously already been rented :)

The photo below is our front door. We always leave our shoes at the door or in the brown cabinet in the right of the photo. These cabinets are found at the entrances of most homes and have narrow smaller shelves built just for shoes. When you take off your shoes you are supposed to put on house shoes that you only where inside. David and I have a pair but we have not purchased any for guests yet.

This is the inside of the shoe cabinet. 

The top of the cabinet we use to organize. David puts all of his things from his pockets in the clear/brown bowl. 

The photo below shows a little bit of the overhead cabinet. We keep tools up there. We are not allowed to hang anything on the walls unless a hole is already in the wall. I wanted to hang a key holder for us with a series of hooks but thumb tacks will have to do in a few already existing holes :)

Our bathroom is big. It has a huge shower/bathtub combination, a separate room for the toilet, a sink/vanity with storage and is home to our washer/dryer.

Our washer/dryer is a combination machine and will wash the clothes and dry them. We have only used the dryer once because it is expensive to run it and it doesn't really get the clothes dry and it's cold air and not heated. We hang dry our clothes on the balcony or the clothes rack. The spin cycle in these things are amazing so the clothes are basically dry after the wash. 

Below shows the washer/dryer and the floor mat for the shower. 

We found a great shelving unit for over the washer/dryer. 

I just love this little floor mat it is super soft and we found it on sale!!

The entrance into the shower. The shower room has it's own light and vent fan.

The shower room. 

I like that you can move the shower head also, this will come in handy when we are bathing our little Samuel :)

The tile floor is nice.

This bathtub is huge and very deep!!

The photo below shows the entrance into the toilet room. It even has it's own separate light switch and vent fan. 

This is the typical Western style toilet you see in homes and most places of business. The traditional Japanese style toilet is shown near the end of this post. This toilet has many features some you will just have to come for a visit and find out, but the one we like is the heated set, I am sure that will come in handy during the winter because homes are not heated.

All of the toilet roll holders have these nifty covers. 

The toilets come standard with a built in sink on the back. This is fresh water that you can wash your hands with and it refills the toilet bowl. 

This is a great shelf over the toilet holding all of our toilet paper. When we arrived in our apartment there were already some kitchen/bathroom necessities here. These are just 4 or the 6 packs that were given to us. Needless to say we have not had to buy any toilet paper yet. 

Japanese style toilet. You can just barely see in the upper right the flush and the little sink for washing hands. 

Below are photos of the sink/vanity/mirror combo.

I like that the mirror has it's own light and there is extra storage for our everyday items on the right side of the mirror. We also purchased little hanging baskets for the wall to hold some everyday items. It was great that the holes were already there because once again we were asked not to hang anything on the walls unless a hole is already there.

Stay tuned for another photo walk through of our kitchen area and storage closet!!!