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November 14th, 2012


08:57 am - Finally, my pencils were getting dusty.
Finally broke out the pencil and paper again.  It's been months since I last drew, and probably years since I last drew using pencil and paper instead of the computer.  But with so many anime fans at school, and many of them awesome artists, every time I go to their class I get bombarded with displays of their newest artwork, so this week I also dug out my own drawing tools.


First up, Sebastian from Kuroshitsuji, done on Monday.  
Took about 1.5 hours (while watching Criminal Minds, lol).  
Drew in pencil, then inked with a slim marker from the 100yen shop (equivalent of the dollar store).  I used it as the cover for one side of a clear file I use at school to keep class worksheets.














Yesterday I did Ciel, also from Kuroshitsuji.  
Same as the Sebastian one, 1.5 hours, drawn in pencil then inked.
 This time I used a pen/brush that's meant to be used for writing Japanese calligraphy.  Since it imitates a brush the tip was much softer than the regular pen/marker and thicker too.  I found it was good for places like the body, but for details like eyes, hair, etc. it was better to use the thinner inking pen and then use the brush to help vary the width of the lines.
 This one's going to be the other side of the clear file.
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November 12th, 2012


03:49 pm - USA elections, did you follow?

So, anyone watched/followed the US elections?  I wasn't planning to, but I ended up following in online during my breaks.  I think I only had 3 classes that day so for the rest of the time I kept refreshing my BBC elections page to see who was getting how many votes, and in between that I was checking my Facebook since it appeared a lot of my friends on there were doing the same.  We ended up sharing some interesting stories about the long lineups at the polls, the craptastic voting machines they were using, the incredibly undemocratic-ness of the electoral college system, and I don't know about my friends, but I was quite entertained at the expense of the poor Americans.

Obama won around 51 million votes I believe, with Romney winning about 50 million if we're looking at popular votes.  Which leaves like, 200 million Americans saying "f*ck this sh*t" and choosing not to participate in the circus.  If majority really ruled both candidates would be kicked out and a new round with new candidates declared since clearly neither on impressed the majority of Americans.

At the same time I loved that each side spent a few billion on election campaigning.  It's so awesome.  And they think every country can afford their lovely system, haha.  I would vote for the first candidate who takes all his/her campaign money and donate it to those in need, or hand it out to those who are facing difficult times in this harsh economy.  Using billions of dollars to tell us how amazingly wonderful they are and why we should give them power over us, what a twisted system.  Can you imagine?  Your friend gives you a few hundred bucks just to sit and listen to you brag about your incredibly self and how awesome you are.  And then, at the end of the day, you get to dictate to your friend if he/she should give you more money (taxes) if he/she can go to the hospital (healthcare) and if he/she can go to work (employment).  Oh, and maybe if you're generous you'll let your friend keep his/her house.  But maybe you'll send your friend's brother/sister to go fight abroad and end up with a lost limb..or perhaps he/she'll never come back because your other friend's got some investments in weapons and has shoved a wad of cash in your pocket to buy and use some of those weapons.  

Wow.  They should be paying us to listen to their bragging, not the other way around.

It really was quite surreal, kind of like reality TV.  I recall someone once said to me or I read somewhere that the US elections are the most undemocratic in the world because while the results will affect every person on this planet, only 300 million people get to decide the result, and in this case it wasn't even that many, it was a mere 51 million, so 51 million are dictating our world for 7 billion people for the next 4 years.  Democracy at its best!


Current Mood: cynicalcynical

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November 5th, 2012


10:53 am - Camera whoring :D

Photos time~

A few days ago I unpacked my...uh...not-so-normal wear and took 'em to the cleaners.  My first time going to the cleaners, lol.  Anyway, decided to take some photos of the clothes since I had them all out anyway :D

This is my little maid-ish outfit, made the cat ears myself.  They're clip on and my favourite pair <3  Once I was in an elevator wearing them and a lady was looking at them, and then she turned to me and said she knew they weren't real, of course, but how in the world are they attached to my head XDD



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October 18th, 2012


03:08 pm - Lunch with students
Today I went to eat lunch in one of the classrooms.  In some of the smaller schools it's very normal for students and teachers to eat lunch together since there would be one lunchroom, but our school is quite big (500+ students, 15 classes, around 30 teachers).  Each class has a homeroom teacher who eats with the class, but the rest of us usually eats in the staff room, but today one of the students asked if I wanted to eat lunch with them so off I went.

It's quite lively in the classrooms while they're eating, lol.  Some of the boys had their rice bowl piled way high, and some students were trying to pass off disliked veggies on friends XD  It was an interesting experience to be sure.  Later, the homeroom teacher of the class I ate with caught up to me in the staffs' room and asked me to come again sometime to eat lunch together :D

Later, the classes were rehearsing for a singing contest for their Cultural Festival.  Every class sings a different song, and all the parents are going to come and watch on that day too.  One of the students who seems to really like chatting with me came up to me as I watched the rehearsals, and asked if I had seen their class singing.  Unfortunately I didn't, but she said I definitely must see it sometime, and that if I'm watching she'd feel more energetic to sing.  I have to say, that made me feel pretty good :D  I joked that I should print our a giant poster of myself then, and stick it in front of them as they sing XD
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October 16th, 2012


09:10 am - One day trip to Nagasaki~
Last Saturday I went back to Nagasaki for some Japanese lessons and to see some friends. I made plans with one friend to meet around 10am so I got up bright and early to catch the train from Saga to Nagasaki. It took about an hour and a half to go and I was really sleepy all the way since I was too excited to sleep well the night before.

The place me and my friend had planned to meet was Hamanomachi, a shopping arcade in Nagasaki, and it's also where my previous school is located, so while I was waiting for my friend I saw a bunch of my ex-students coming out as they finished class. They were super surprised to see me as well as my outfit, since usually when I was teaching it was suits all the way, lol.

Me and my friend went to a Russian restaurant where the food was delicious, but I ate too much @__@ I was so full for the entire day XD

Afterwards, I headed to my Japanese lesson. My teacher's family found out I was coming and so when I opened the door to the class my teacher's mom, dad and grandpa were all there waiting to see me. I was so surprised! They're all really nice people, and it was so sweet of them to want to see me :D The class was just me and my teacher so we chatted about my new job, how things were going, how it's different (read; BETTER) than my previous job where I had to sell over-priced CDs and textbooks to students who were already paying an arm and a leg just for lessons.

It was so much fun, and my teacher said she could tell I'm so much happier now than before ^O^

The rest under cut~Collapse )

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
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October 11th, 2012


07:40 pm - Hangman~! (Not "Hey man!" ...)
Today was actually kind of busy.  I had 5 classes, which was the most I've had since I've started working here, but compared to the previous job 5 classes is a walk in the park.

In one of the classes there was me, the main teacher, and another Japanese English teacher teaching together today.  The kids had a speaking test so the main teacher split the class into 3 groups with each of the teachers in charge of doing the test with about 12 students.  So the other two teachers took their groups to other parts of the school for the test and I stayed in the classroom...with 12 junior high first grade kids.  And my Japanese isn't that great.  So, I was slightly nervous to say the least.

We got through the test no problem, the kids did really well and I could tell some of them had studied really hard for it.  Some were so nervous, I felt kind of bad since it wasn't such a big deal, just a short self intro.

But then came my big problem.  I was left with about 20 minutes after their test, and no Japanese English teacher to help out, and not prepared with any activities to kill time.  What to do, what to do...?  I couldn't do anything too complex as my Japanese level wouldn't allow it, and their English level was even worse than my Japanese level, so running through my short list of games suitable for junior high school kids I decided to play Hangman XDD  So we ended up playing hangman for 20 minutes, and afterwards the kids said they had fun (mostly cuz they got stickers for winning against me XDD).  

I'm quite proud I managed a 12 student class of junior high school kids without having things falling apart, lol.  And I'm so grateful the kids were cooperative.  When they said something I didn't understand they'd all try to come up with a way to explain it so I'd get it.
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
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October 10th, 2012


08:34 pm - BL fangirls at me school <3
I had the most entertaining day today :D

I was helping some kids with English reading practice after school and when I was leaving a group of 5 girls came running up to me in the hall asking to see this folder I was holding. The folder has a picture from the anime Hakuouki on it, I bought it because I knew that walking around with it from class to class it'll be a good conversation starter for the kids that also like anime.

Anyway, these girls also knew this anime and we started talking about which anime we like, the characters we liked, shopping at Animate, etc., etc. Two of the girls were hardcore otaku, and watched a whole bunch of anime regularly, the other three were more casual watchers. After awhile one of the otakus pulled the other otaku to the side and they whispered something for a few moments then came back to us. One of the otakus sidled up to me and, between giggle fits, asked me which pairing I liked in the anime Kuroshitsuji.

From the way the two hardcore anime lovers were acting I had a feeling I knew why she asked that question. I told them the truth, I liked the Sebastian and Ciel pairing the most (Sebastian's a butler, Ciel's his young, male, master) and the two burst out laughing.

Then one of them asked me, "先生、腐女子ですか?" ("Teacher, are you a fujoshi?").

For those not in the BL fandom a "腐女子/fujoshi" is a girl who likes BL/Boys Love/少年愛/boyxboy comics or anime.

When I told them yes, I do like BL, they started squeeing and double glomped me XD And then there was this waterfall of questions about which pairings I liked in the other animes I've seen. One of the girls said she had a feeling I was into BL because of the types of anime I liked, Hetalia, Kuroshitsuji, Ouran, Hakuouki, all anime with incredibly slash-able characters and with huge BL fandoms.

We ended up talking for about an hour about anime, and I'm sure word's going to spread amongst the anime fans at the school, lol. あぁ、楽しかった!

And thank you to "The Ultimate Yaoi Fangirl Song" for informing me of the word "fujoshi", otherwise I wouldn't have known what it meant since we don't use it in the English BL fandoms (we use "BL fangirls" instead of "fujoshi").

Current Mood: amusedamused
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02:40 pm - Seasons are changing~
I wish the weather would cool down already.  We have mornings and evenings usually hovering between 15C and 20C, but then during the day it gets up to around 25C.  So in the morning I'm shivering as I go to school, but I know if I wear something thicker I'll be stifling in the teachers' room by lunchtime >__<

I think around 20C is when it's most comfortable, a light jacket if there's a wind but otherwise it's cool enough for pants, but if I really want to wear a skirt I can make it work too.

I have a lot more skirts than I used to in Canada.  I almost never wore skirts in Canada, just jeans.  Nowadays for work I'm still mostly pants, but on my days off I bought a lot of punk-y or alice-motif skirts to wear.  It's just with skirts I either have to wear stockings with heels or sandals if I don't want to wear stockings, and I HATE stockings with a passion.  But the good thing with skirts is that the waist is usually elastic so the size is much more open.  I do want to get some of the one-piece dresses from Tenjin, but usually with those the waist and chest area are way too tight for me (and in this style they seem to adore the high waist, so I end up looking pregnant since it cinches right under the bust and then spreads out).

It's hard to believe that before back in high school and first year uni I couldn't care less about clothes.  I just wore jeans and t-shirts almost daily, never looked at a fashion magazine, never complained I didn't have enough clothes to wear, and I used to really detest clothes shopping because of having to try things on and stuff.  Nowadays I still hate the actual trying on part, but I love shopping for clothes (that I like...shopping for work clothes is no fun).  And more than once I've thought to myself I have nothing to wear when I actually have a crazy amount of clothes for one person.  I remember the first time I discovered the lolita/gothic styles, I thought they looked beautiful but that I'd look so ridiculous in it and so I would just admire pictures from the internet.  And then the first time I actually tried a piece on it looked so odd on me since I wasn't used to seeing myself with lace and frills.  I guess the mind does need time to adjust to the image of what we have of ourselves.
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
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October 9th, 2012


04:12 pm - My boys make their debut on Livejournal~
Ok!  So the jobs update post is done, next up is hobbies.  My hobbies keep growing and they get more and more expensive.  Initially when I first landed in Fukuoka I just had to hit up the Takarazuka shop in Tenjin.  Then I discovered an Animate and a whole floor of gothic, punk and lolita styled clothes that I had to visit too, and now I recently discovered a Volks shop that sells dolls, and clothes and accessories for dolls, so every time I head to Fukuoka I have to go to at least 4 places to shop.  At each place I drop 10 or 20 thousand yen (approx. $100~200).  Last weekend I went to Tenjin and spent 100 thousand yen, about $1000, on Takarazuka DVDs, clothes for myself and clothes for my babies (my dolls...not living babies <__<).

Ah well, I guess money's made to be spent.  Some people make it a hobby saving, mine is more exchanging the money for other things ^^;;  I've been happy recently with my job and everything, and when I get happy I shop, and I indulge in my hobbies.  When I'm stressed or bothered, like in the last days at my previous job, I have no energy to indulge in hobbies, so I guess it's a good sign I'm getting back into my hobbies again.

Anyway, I wrote a bit about my dolls before my hiatus since April.  In February I bought a Taeyang doll, he's 30cm with a huge head and enormous eyes.  So cute and adorable.  I never could come up with an original name for him and my co-workers started just calling him Taeyang since that was the name I posted him under on Facebook, and the name's just stuck with him since.

And then, in March I ordered a full set Ball Jointed Doll (BJD) from the Korean company Dollmore.  His sculpt is called Kyle Reese from the company, and he's 70cm, quite a big boy.  I had had my eyes on that particular doll since university so it had been years since I wanted him, but his price tag kept me from buying.  In the end he costed me about $800 and I also ordered clothes and furniture for him too, so the entire order came to about $1,600.  He arrived with face up and body blushing, so he was set to go out of the box and I took him out in Nagasaki for a few photo shoots.  I didn't have a carry bag for him since he is so large, so I just held him in my arms and walked around, the looks I got from people were precious XDD   Some people came up to talk to me about him, it was awesome!  I named him Hisui (翡翠) meaning jade or jadeite in Japanese, and the Chinese characters in Chinese mean the same, because jade is my favourite stone above all over gemstones.

But then when I started looking for a new job my energy level for my darlings dropped as I was too tired from job hunting to play with him.  So the two boys kind of just sat in my room for a few months without moving.

Now, finally, I bought them some new clothes and had another mini-photo shoot at my new apartment in Saga last weekend.  Initially my big boy.  Over on Facebook they've got their own album, but I'll post some of their photos here too since not everyone has Facebook :)

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Under cut! Wow, haven't done an LJ cut for so long!Collapse )

So, that's it for now.  More to come later hopefully! I hope to have a change to take my boys out around Saga for photos before it gets too cold :D  (But to be honest I'm still so new to the place that I don't know any good photo places OTL)
Current Mood: fullfull

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10:21 am - Jobs update~ (finally!)
Wow, my last entry was way back in April...so almost 6 months ago.  It's interesting that in that last entry I was talking about my job previous job at the English conversation school (Japanese is "eikawa") ending and needing to find another job.  I did start looking online for new jobs following that post, but most of the jobs I found were beginning in May or prior to the summer break, so since my contract didn't finish until late September I couldn't apply to any of those jobs.  I began to apply for jobs in late July but most of the jobs were beginning at the start of September when the 2nd school term begins in Japan (Japan's school year starts in April, and first semester is to summer break.  Second semester starts in September and goes to winter break in December.  Third semester begins in the New Year in January following the break).

In the end, I had to quit my job prior to my contract finishing because I couldn't risk waiting until late September and then being out of a job since that would also mean no place to live.  I felt really bad for my ex-co-workers since it meant they were left one teacher short for a few weeks as I had left early and the new teacher wasn't due to arrive until late September.  The other teachers had to take over my classes so they had full days for a few weeks >___<

It was also crazy to move too.  I thought I would be moving at the end of September, so I didn't really start packing or cleaning or anything.  And then, I got an interview at the end of August, and was offered a job in Saga Prefecture (it's right next to Nagasaki, about 1 hour by train so I went in person to the interview instead of doing it over phone or Skype), but the job began right at the beginning of September, so I had to inform my previous school I was quitting early, and then had to frantically pack and clean.  I ended up with about 2 weeks to pack, clean, find new apartment, change address at City Hall, cellphone company, and bank, and all that fun stuff that comes with moving.  And since I was still working I could only do it all either before or after work.  Those two weeks were insane, I think I made trips between Nagasaki and Saga at least 5 or 6 times in 2 weeks >___<  My last day at the previous job was September 1st, and that night I took the train to Saga.  The 2nd I had training as an ALT, and then on the 3rd I was off working at my new job, that was how tight the schedule was.

But now all that's over, thankfully, and I'm working as an assistant language teacher (ALT) at a junior high school.  I have to say I'm enjoying it a lot more than the previous place since now I'm at a public school so I don't have to think about any sales or targets or any of that stuff.  I just help the Japanese English teachers with their lessons, maybe think up of some activities to practice vocabulary or grammar, or helping with pronunciation or checking some English homework/tests and stuff.  Outside of class I can talk to the students in English or Japanese which makes communication a lot easier since junior high school kids really don't know enough language to actually hold a prolonged conversation.  I was a little nervous about being in a school where it's all kids, back in Canada I couldn't deal with kids if my life depended on it, but actually they're not so bad.  A lot of them enjoy anime and stuff, and some are really talkative so it's fun to chat with them (despite my broken Japanese, lol).

I also have much fewer classes.  Back at the previous job a full day was 8 classes, and in a week I was dealing with 25-30 classes, but here a full day is 6 classes, and I only have about 15 classes a week since there are 15 classes total at the school (3 years of junior high, 5 classes for each year).

The only draw-back I guess is that since it's a public school, aside from the English teachers, the other teachers don't really speak English so communication's a little more difficult that before where all the staff spoke some level of English.  But, it's good for my Japanese practice :D  And awhile ago we had a party where I was able to chat a bit with some of the teachers in Japanese, so it's not like I'm completely cut off from communicating with them due to the language barrier.  They seemed quite surprised I was able to speak Japanese (my kids are too) since some ALTs come with almost no knowledge of Japanese and I had at least been learning for 2 years or so.  I really think for the ALT job at least some basic Japanese is super useful, so I think it was a good idea to first work at the conversation school where I could get more help from co-workers and the company while I was settling into Japanese life, and then switch to ALT.

Most ALTs I think have to go to several different schools over a week since they don't always have classes at one school, but I got lucky and only have to go to one junior high school.  Once in awhile when there are no classes at my school (like test days and whatnot), I might go to one of the elementary schools as a guest teacher to help the Japanese English ALTs there.  So far I've only been once, and all I did was some self introductions to the classes which was fun.  The younger kids are so much more energetic...and loud XD  

Oh, and one more drawback was that there was no extra computer for the ALT here, so initially I didn't have much to do when I had no classes.  But then I had bought a tablet back earlier this year so I decided to bring my table to school instead.  But then, I couldn't connect to the school's internet, but then last weekend I went out and signed up for my cellphone company's Pocket Wifi, which is this little adapter thingy (about the size of a cellphone) that I can carry around and it'll hook up my computers/tablets to the company's Wifi/3G/4G network wherever it's available.  So now I bring it to school and instead of using the school's internet connection I can use my cellphone company's internet -- problem solved~

So that's about it on the job front.  I'm really enjoy my time here at the new place, and I had a chance to hang out with the other ALTs in my town.  It's a small town so not many other ALTs, but they're super nice.  One's a Canadian like me, and the other is Chinese, but she studied in Australia.  I'm kind of right in the middle, lol.  This past month I've been having a great time <3  And even though I miss my friends back in Nagasaki, since Saga and Nagasaki are close I can go back and visit too :D  (Actually this Saturday I'm heading back to Nagasaki for a visit)

I wrote about my first few days on my Sina blog;
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_9acdfc7201014puw.html
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_9acdfc7201014puw.html
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_9acdfc7201014t3b.html
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_9acdfc7201014x7v.html
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_9acdfc7201015fnv.html


Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
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