Thursday, March 20, 2014

Smart Oz

Talking with a student last week reminded me of how Australians are seen by other nations. When most people think of a typical Australian they probably imagine a beer drinking, barbeque eating, board surfing, horse riding, farmer. Wile this is true for many Australians, it stood out to me that Australia is not seen as a very intellectual country, well I hope to dispel that myth. Starting with this post, I'll look at some of the important "smart" things Australians have done.

Australia’s unique geography and relative isolation has made it a fertile ground for new ideas.

In 1879, Australians developed a way for ice to be manufactured artificially, allowing us to export meat to Great Britain on refrigerated ships.

In 1906, the surf lifesaving reel was designed so lifesavers could reach distressed swimmers with a rope attached to their vests.

In 1929, Alfred Traeger built a pedal-powered radio as the communications for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Australians were also responsible for more everyday inventions such as notepads (1902), aspirin (1915), the pacemaker (1926), penicillin (1940) the Hills Hoist clothesline (1946), the plastic disposable syringe (1949), the wine cask (1965), the bionic ear (1978), dual-flush toilet flush (1980), anti-counterfeiting technology for banknotes (1992) and long-wearing contact lenses (1999).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fair go

Fair go
A resonable chance, a fair deal
"small business didn't get a fair go in the last budget". 

Australia often sees itself as an egalitarian society, 
the land of the fair go, 
where all citizens have a right to fair treatment. 

It is often used as an exclamation 
"fair go Kev, give the kids a turn!" 

Sometimes it expresses disbelief
"fair go, the tooth fairy?"

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kendama Craze in Hawaii!!!!

Per Masa's request regarding the latest trends, here is the latest craze in Hawaii.  It's a toy that Japanese people have been playing with for over a 100 years.  It's kendama!!!  The craze started in Hawaii a little before Christmas.  So most kids wanted a kendama as their Christmas present, but unfortunately many kids had to wait a couple months before getting their kendama.  Here is a news clip from Hawaii about kendama.

Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

And here is another video with clips from some tournaments in Hawaii.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Waist vs Waste

White Day

Happy White Day everyone! Last month some guys were lucky enough to get chocolates so today it is ladies day!!!
I have to say though I am not a fan of those celebrations where you celebrate one gender and later on the other one! Especially when it is a romantic celebration! In France we celebrate Valentine`s Day on February, 14th and that day both boys and girls treat each other! And once again it is a ROMANTIC day so you don`t bother giving chocolates to your boss, your co-workers or friends for Christ sake!!! I mean I always feel happy to get chocolates but I don`t like to feel obliged to give something back! I want to please my friends any time of the year and I don`t need a special day for that. Just like I don`t need a special date to remind my lover how much I care but I guess it keeps the romance up and that is a great thing ^^ (especially since people are usually busy nowadays and tend to forget it is crucial to make their lover feel special)
So, I decided to transform japanese Valentine and White Day into 2 french Valentines and it works reaaaaally good for me!!!Happy lovey-dovey day everybody!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014


We were asked to post about popular stuff from our home countries. Well something I noticed last time I went home, that was not popular before, was cider. Cider is an alcoholic drink made from fruit (most often apples or pears) and while it is not a new drink (in fact it is one of the oldest) it was not very popular in Australia until recently. I would say, it is nowadays almost as popular as beer. It is on tap (生) in every pub I went to (and I went to a lot). It is sweeter than beer and very easy to drink. This perhaps makes it quite popular with the ladies in particular, but gents also enjoy it. Personally I though it was nice, especially when you are not in the mood for beer. 


nabe nabe nabe!

If there is one dish I have been eating over and over this winter, it sure is nabe! This is honestly one of my favorite japanese dishes. It is very simple but very tasty and full of meat and vegetables, which I totally love! Tonyu, kimuchi, goma, curry,... I love them all! I sure hate winter but I got to say  it has some very good and delicious points!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I went to an owl cafe on Sunday. 
It's in downtown Osaka and costs only
1000円 for an hour (with a drink). 
It's called 'Lucky Owl', here is a link if you are interested. 
I thought it was great. It was clean, and
the animals looked healthy and well cared for. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Western Australia?

While it is true that most of Australia's population is on the east coast, (around 95%) there is one big city on the West coast, Perth (1.9 mil pop). In fact my brother lives there. It is a very nice city, very peaceful and quiet compared to a lot of other places.

But the most interesting things to see are outside the city itself. There are not a lot of people in the countryside (mostly farms) but there are a lot of interesting natural rock formations, such as the pinnacles and wave rock.

One place you must see is the resort town of Monkey Mia. I have no idea why it has such a strange name, there are no monkeys there, but there are a lot of dolphins. These friendly mammals will swim right up to you if you are lucky. They have been coming into the beach to say hello to people for more than 50 years now.

So even though Western Australia might not be the busiest place in the country it still has many interesting things to see and do.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Both are OK?

Click on the image if it's too small to read.
Check out the website for
more of these interesting infographics.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day

The 17th of March is St Patrick's day. You might have heard a little bit about this before. Perhaps you saw the decorations at the school, or maybe you have been to an Irish pub in March. But it is likely you don't know what it's really all about.

 The truth  is, it is not really about anything anymore. It is nowadays just an excuse to get really drunk. But it has some interesting origins. Thousands of years ago Ireland, like much of Europe, was not christian, it was pagan (this was a religion with many gods that worshiped nature, much like Shinto). Rome however was Christian, and this meant so were its colonies, of which England was one. 

St Patrick was a Romano-British Catholic priest who took Christianity to Ireland. Originally meant to celebrate the introduction of Christianity to Ireland the holiday has over the years transformed into a holiday to celebrate Ireland in general. The symbols of Ireland have become the symbols of the holiday, Shamrocks, the leprechaun, the color green and Guinness beer. Because many Irish people moved to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA the holiday has become popular there also. 

Most famous Irishman, not actually Irish.

Pidgin: The Language of Hawaii

Have you ever been to Hawaii and ever wondered:  "Hey, these people are speaking English, but it sounds kind of funny, and there's a strange accent/intonation"?   Well, most likely you heard Pidgin English.  That is the language that the local people of Hawaii speak.  Here is a video with some history and examples of Pidgin.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Where to go?

 Due to the request we received, here is the first travel tip post. Would you like to visit Australia but are not sure where you want to go? Well, Australia is a big place, and there are lots of different things to do. It really depends on what you like doing. What's your favorite holiday style? Do you like shopping? Eating? Sightseeing? Nature? Relaxing on the beach? That is going to have a big impact on where you should go.
But if it's your first time to Oz you might want to think about Cairns. Not super confident with your English yet? Don't worry lots of the places in Cairns have Japanese speaking staff, instructions and menus. Also as it is in the far north of Oz your flight time from Japan will be shorter than the other cities further south.
As it is tropical, you can travel almost anytime of the year and the weather will be hot and sunny. But you might want to avoid the wet season, which is unfortunately also summer (don't forget that is winter in Japan) but even bad weather shouldn't last too long. What can you do there? Well it's the perfect spot for diving, hiking and seeing the nature that Australia is so famous for. Want to go to the beach one day and see koalas and kangaroos the next? Then Cairns is the place for you.