Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunny Holiday

Chris has today off from work because today is 'National Foundation Day' in Japan (commemorating the crowning of Japan's first emperor in 660 BC). We spent a little time walking around various stores in the area.

"Toy" dogs are very popular here. People carry around their dogs in designer handbags or walk them around the local stores. Dog clothing is also very popular here. There are at least 5 stores solely dedicated to dog clothing right below where we live! There are even a couple of cafes where you can bring your dog to eat alongside with you inside the cafe. I assume they provide dog food also. Some of the more interesting stores contain all sorts of unique items you wouldn't normally find in department stores, but only in small boutiques. There is a Hawaiian store here with unique Hawaiian items and other stores with a variety of colorful and beautiful items for your home. There are several stores that are fun to just browse through because the items are out-of-the-ordinary whether in color, design or purpose. One of the stores Chris really thought was cute was the computer monitor store. You can see the picture below with all the computer monitors exclusively for kids, or for an adult who loves themed monitors :)

Friday afternoon I spent a few hours just going over Hiragana (one of the Japanese writing systems--kind of like the alphabet) and I was able to learn pretty much all of the Hiragana in one afternoon! I can learn very quickly just by using flash cards. This coming week will be spent learning Katakana (another Japanese writing system). Once I am able to quickly identify all Hiragana and Katakana, I'll be able to read many of the foreign words I run into everyday. Besides Hiragana and Katakana, the Japanese also use Kanji. Unlike Hiragana and Katakana there are 1000's of Kanji. Although I won't be able to learn Kanji as easily as Hiragana and Katakana, hopefully I'll be able to learn a few here and there as the year progresses. One thing that makes the Japanese language a bit complicated is that the Japanese mix Hiragana and Kanji together within the same sentence, so even though you know the Hiragana unless you know the Kanji, you might not be able to identify what the true meaning of the sentence is. :P Oh well, baby steps.

Saturday Chris got his hair cut. The hair stylist was English speaking (recommended to us). Afterward we took a taxi to a nearby Greek restaurant I found online. This was our first Greek restaurant experience, and in Japan of all places! The food was really good! We will definitely go back when we are in the mood for Greek food. I also found some Spanish and Mediterranean restaurants that we'll check out in the coming month.

Sunday we spent some time with our friend Honda and a couple of his friends. Honda is determined to help us learn Japanese, so we played quite a few games of UNO--calling out the colors of the cards, Skip, Reverse, Draw 2, Draw 4, etc. all in Japanese. So at least we can play UNO in Japanese :) But he has been really helpful too as we have many other questions on how to say various things in Japanese.