Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Definition of Itadakimasu

I got curious to see what this word actually meant so I looked it up and found out that it actually means "I humbly receive" then Gochisoosama means Thank you for the meal.


I hear this a lot when I watch Anime and Japanese dramas where they always say "Itadakimasu!" before they eat. I knew when it should be said but at the time I didn't know what it meant or why they said it until my Japanese teacher covered it for us. Every Japanese person say it before their meal. It just means Thank you for the food, everyone sat round the table says it.

I'm not sure if its to say thank you to someone in particular who prepared the meal or, if it's saying thank you to nature? God? ..Supermarket?
Or maybe its to thank everyones hard work that earns them the food they feed to the family? This one sounds about right I think.

I once went out for a meal with my Japanese friend called Aki and she mentioned how confused she was when she first came to england and no-one over here said anything like .. Thank you for the food or anything. She thought it was quite impolite at first.

I just love how polite the Japanese are!

Here are some table manners that you should follow if you are in Japan:
(I learnt this in my Japanese lesson and found it interesting)

  • It's alright to slurp noodles/ramen in Japan because it shows that you are enjoying their noodles! 
  • In Japan, people share several dishes together. So when you grab some food from the shared dishes, you must use the opposite end of your chopsticks. Unless they already have a spare pair for everyone to use. 
  • Like other countries, it is very rude to burp during a meal.
  • Never stab your chopsticks into your rice! This will remind them of death and funerals. So keep your chopsticks on the side.
  • Blowing your nose at a table is considered bad mannered 
  • When you eat rice from a bowl, you hold the bowl towards your mouth whilst scooping it in with your other hand using the chopsticks. 
And once they finished their meal they would say "Gochisoosama" (Thank you for the food)

Monday, 30 April 2012


I thought this Apricot cream pot that my mother got me looked quite cute itself. I wanted to see if I could make it look any cuter. 

The faces doesn't have to be a smiley to make them look cute. It can be any facial expression as long as it gives them a personality. For my Apricot I decided to give him a kind of a chewing face so that it looks like he's eating which I think really suits him in my opinion! 

Doesn't he look cute?! I'm going to name him .. Sorby! 


Friday, 27 April 2012

Origami Heart bookmark

I learnt this off a video from Youtube. Thought it looked very useful if you enjoy reading or just keeping in track of where you left off in your work. The heart makes the bookmark look really cute. Wasn't difficult to make but I did get confused at one point. 

Everyone finds heart shapes cute. Its just so lovely and warm to look at for some reason. 

This is what it looks like when you bookmark a page in your book! you can only see the heart poking out :) 

It amazes me how much you can do with just one piece of paper! Sometimes you can make it into useful stuff such as this book mark or turn it into a box, or something pleasant to look at like a flower. If you ask me, I'd say Japanese are geniuses.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Transformation from Dull to Cute!

What elements do they use to make something cute? ...

  • A facial expression
  • A sense of personality
  • A cute accessory 
  • Girlie colours 
So I decided to give this book a makeover. 

Since I thought the origami bow that I made was very cute, I decided to stick it on the book so it looks just like a hair clip that girls would wear to look cute in. 

I know the faces are photoshopped, but I didn't have any tip-ex on me so it had to be photoshopped. I had to give them a face to complete the Kawaii look! 

Was I successful? Does she look cute now? 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Interview with a foreigner in Japan

I caught up with a friend who lived in the UK and moved over to Japan to work for a few years. I took this opportunity to interview him. What I want to learn from this interview is the differences between the UK and Japan and his thoughts and feelings about that place. 

Interview starts here: 

Me: what made u want to live in japan?

Laurie: It's a better way to experience a new culture by living and working in a country; I didn't want to be a tourist for two weeks. Jet seemed like the ideal opportunity

Me: what would you say is the minimum amount of stay to not be classed as a tourist?

Laurie: I think working in Japan for any amount of time means you're not a tourist. But I guess 6 months to really get a decent flavour of true Japan

Me: is their working life better over there?

Laurie: Pros and cons, they (teachers) work much harder, much longer hours, weekends, and no overtime pay. However they go all out at work parties and holidays. They (teachers) have a much better relationship with students and their parents than UK schools. I would say, generally Japanese people work much harder than UK people; have less holidays and much less free time. I wouldn't want to be a Japanese person working in Japan. Being a foreign teacher in Japan is much easier, and you have much more free time than Japanese people.

Me: oooh i see. That’s quite interesting to hear about their relationships with students and their parents.

Me: is there anything you don't like about Japan?

Laurie: Erm, not really. They do things differently as you'd expect being in another country, so if you're understanding and open minded you'll get along fine. Of course there are things I miss from the UK, but in general Japanese life is great for me. Oh, umeboshi (sour plum).. I hate it haha! Ruins my bento if I accidentally eat it :)

Me: ohh. What do you miss from the UK? Does this mean you would live the rest of your life in Japan if you could?

Laurie: I miss my friends and family a lot. I also miss my cat lol. I miss gaming with my friends and sleeping in late in my comfy bed. I also miss space. My bedroom in the UK is almost as big as my apartment lol. I miss UK pizzas too lol.
If I could continue my job in Japan for the rest of my life and would still be living with my GF I might consider it. I have a great live hear at the moment, and will probably be a little lost when I return to the UK after 2-3 years out here. I have a great life :)

Me: A little lost?
Laurie: As in not sure what to do next for my job

Me: What about the dangers or earthquakes? Does that not put you off?

Laurie: Not at all. If it did I wouldn't be living out here. There are many dangers in life; if you're prepared and know what to do in case of an earthquake then chances are you'll be ok

Me: I guess you’re right about that. But aren't you worried about the radiation and the tsunami that happened in japan?

Laurie: Nope, Japan is doing everything it can to prevent radiation poisoning, they are pretty experienced with the effects after World War 2. You wouldn't know that there was a large earthquake and nuclear disaster that happened a year ago being here in Kobe. Life goes on, Japanese people are survivors

Me: What are the people like over there?

Laurie: Japanese people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. They will pretty much go massively out of their way to help out a stranger if asked. They are nothing like people from the UK in that respect lol. I never once experienced aggression of feeling on edge here in Japan. Despite obviously being a foreigner.
But deep down, Japanese people are just like everyone else; they still have the same worries and thoughts as we do. There may be cultural differences, but underneath all that people are people. Wherever you go :)

Me:  Aww that’s nice of them! So have you made any Japanese friends?

Laurie: Sure, I consider most of my teachers as my friends

Me: Do you find it hard to communicate with them with the language barrier?

Laurie: Not too much, I'm lucky as most of the English teachers speak good English. Just gesture and use key words a lot and you'll get along fine haha

Me: Ohh that’s good then! I’m glad you’re having a great time over there. I wish you the best!

Origami Bow

My origami bow that I just learnt to make! I was just going through my Pinterest to see if I have anything interesting on there and came across this origami bow that I thought was very cute and could use it to decorate gifts. Its great to decorate gifts to friends and family because its hand made which makes it even more special! 

Isn't this cute?!