Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Toaster Oven

Cooking is different in Japan. Not only is it harder to find the ingredients we would normally use to cook with, but the means of cooking is different. They don’t use ovens here, so we can’t really bake anything the way we would bake home. We don’t have a microwave, so it’s hard to heat up leftovers, but something we were very happy to see when we moved in was a brand-new toaster oven. I love toaster ovens. They are great for toasting a sandwich, making quesadillas, homemade french-fries, etc, etc. This toaster oven measures heat in Celsius, so we weren’t quite sure how high to put it when we wanted to make baked potatoes. Luckily, there were helpful hints on the front!

There are these little pictures along the bottom of the toaster oven telling you the heat and time to cook certain items.

Toast, a dinner roll, au gratin potatoes,

pizza, a person, and cookies.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What do you think of when you think "Summer?"

The other day I was teaching a lesson to my little students and it focused on the seasons. I broke the board up into four segments and asked the students to help me fill each segment in with things that make each season different from the others. It went really well. I started with "winter" and they shouted out things like

Snow House!
etc. etc.
(always at volume level 11)

As they shouted the things out, I drew them quickly on the board. We moved through spring

Not cold!

Then we got to summer and it continued going smoothly.

Drink juice!
Play outside!

"Chair?" I looked at the student in confusion. "Chair, chair!" he repeated and his desk-mate helped him out by nodding and saying seriously, "Chair! Chair!" I looked to the Japanese teachers for help, was there some sort of summer custom in Japan that involved a special summer chair? The Japanese teachers were just as confused as I was and asked the student to say it in Japanese. He didn't need to because by now all the students were in agreement that if one thing meant summer, it was a chair. Some of the students were standing and pointing at their chairs to help me understand and others were whispering and nodding their heads together, "yeah, chair."

I went to the board and drew a chair next to the ice cream cone and looked back at the class and they nodded their heads appreciatively. "Yeah, summer chair, that's what summer is all about."