Friday, April 25, 2014


Today (April 25th the day of the Gallipoli landing in WW1) is ANZAC day in Australia and New Zealand. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Arm Corps, (this name comes from the fact that in the first world war Australia and New Zealand's armies fought together as one). On ANZAC day we remember all of the soldiers who have died in wars fighting for Australia. There is an ANZAC day parade in which the surviving "diggers" march (a digger is an Australian soldier, originally from WW1 but now used to refer to all Aussie soldiers as the last original digger died some years ago) and some people go to a "dawn service" (special memorials held at sunrise). Most schools have a ANZAC day ceremony, and people eat ANZAC biscuits.

"Ode of Remembrance "

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest we forget

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

But which is more popular..?

Can we get some examples in the comments section?
It can be anonymous if you are shy.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


In Japan if you are in a restaurant and want the waiters attention, you can just yell すみません at the top of your voice and someone will come running. Now you probably know that translates to "excuse me" in English, but is it OK to just shout this in shops and restaurants in other countries? Well no, not really. If you are in a cafe or restaurant the most polite way to get a waiters attention is with eye contact and a raised hand. Saying "excuse me" in a loud voice sounds like you are angry. If you can't see a waiter (and I know this sounds strange) the best thing is to get up and look for one rather than just shouting. This might happen if the if it is a very quiet day or a very local area with few customers. If you really can't find any staff then it's OK to say "excuse me" and hope someone hears you, (this goes for shops too).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Here fishy fishy fishy

On Saturday night last week I went to a fishing restaurant. 
What is a fishing restaurant? 
Well it's a restaurant where you can fish of course. 

There is a river/pool running through next to the tables. 

The fish are aware of the situation though, and do not take the hook even when you hit them in the face with the bait. 

After waiting for ages with our hook in the water, I ended up just catching them with a net, it was much easier. 
(I caught one with a hook, buy just throwing it into a large group of fish and pulling up quickly, kind of cheating i guess.) 

The staff then clean and prepare the fish for you.
It was good fun, here is the website if you are interested.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fish food

In 1967, Harold Holt, the Prime Minister of Australia went for a swim at the beach and was never seen again. Theories about his disappearance include kidnapping by a Russian submarine, eaten by a shark or being carried away by the tide. 

That's right. We lost our Prime Minister. He wasn't assassinated, we just lost him. He is recalled in the Australian vernacular expression "do a Harold Holt" (or "do the Harry"), rhyming slang for "do a bolt" meaning "to disappear suddenly and without explanation", although this is usually employed in the context of disappearance from a social gathering rather than a case of presumed death.

We also rather ironically, or perhaps as a joke, dedicated a swimming center to him. The "Harold Holt memorial swimming center"... after the man died in the water. We are strange country...

Friday, April 11, 2014


Easter got me thinking about rabbits. Creepy rabbits. You see I find it more scary when you take something cute and make it scary. I was thinking about all the creepy rabbits I have seen in movies over the years and realized it was quite a lot. So here is (in no particular order) a list of the top ten creepy rabbits.

1. The Easter bunny from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. The main characters had to face their greatest fears, one of which was this creepy Easter bunny. He might look all sweet in the pic but later he become something terrifying. 

2. Cuddles from Happy Tree Friends. The characters from this show are cute, but it is the most violent thing on TV. Each episode they die in the most gruesome ways possible. I have seen Cuddles die violently more time than I can remember. 

3. Frank from Donny Darko. He is a dream guide, and one super creepy rabbit dude.

4. General Woundwort from Watership Down. It looks like a kids cartoon about cute little bunnies, but if you let your kids watch it they will be traumatized for life.

5. The giant bunny from Akira, which you have seen because you are Japanese right? No? Well go and watch it, it has to be the most famous anime ever.

6. The "hat trick" rabbit from the Twilight Zone. The story is about a young boy who can make anything he imagines real. When his grandfather performs the old rabbit in the hat trick the boy make it into a nightmare.

 7. Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles will scar you for life. I guarantee you will never watch a kids TV show the same way ever again.

8. Sexy Beast was not a good movie, but the weird rabbit man who kills the main character in his dreams was nice and creepy.

9. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, from Monty Python's Holy Grail. Looks all cute and fluffy until it ATTACKS!!!!!

10. This creep...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Not sure all of these are 100% true but...

If it is too small to read click to enlarge.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Two weekends ago the teachers and the students who wanted to went to Minoo. We had a fantastic time!! The weather was great, reaching the waterfall was pretty fast and easy (done in 45 minutes from the station pushing baby cars!) and everyone seemed to have a good time. I know I had lots of fun, anyway! It is always enjoyable to talk to the students outside of the school as they are less stressed and more relaxed. It is also a good opportunity to meet the students`s friends and/or family. Thanks to all of you for coming! Next event, BBQ!!! We'll let you know more about it very very soon!!!

Many more pictures on the wall if you haven`t checked out yet!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April fools...?

Did you get tricked on April fools day?
It is surprisingly well know in Japan.
It seems to have become more popular in the last few years.
It was never a big thing when I was a kid.

The origins of the day, while unclear, are quite interesting.
A long time ago, new year was celebrated in April.
This makes sense, as it is the start of spring.
(The middle of winter is an odd time to 
have new year if you think about it)
Around 1582 Pope Gregory XIII 
decided to introduce a new calendar. 
The Gregorian calendar replaced the old Julian (Roman) calendar, 
and made January the first month, 
effectively making January 1st new Years Day.

However not everyone suddenly changed 
over to this new calendar, for many years 
some people continued to celebrate new years on April 1st. 
These people were dubbed April Fools! For they had 'foolishly' 
missed the now 'official' new years 3 months earlier.

Now who's laughing?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spring school at RLE

Last week was pretty crazy busy at school! The classes were cancelled because we had (like every year) a spring special week with the kids. That means every teacher has a group of kids and works with them for 7 hours! It is pretty intense but fun at the same time. The last two days we were outside at the park and the aquarium. Honestly, after having the kids run after me on a hilly ground for a whole afternoon was MUCH more exhausting than a whole day in class teaching them! And my thighs can testify!! Awesome week with awesome kids anyway! See you next year guys!!!

Friday, April 4, 2014


Go to Australia and you will probably see restaurants that say B.Y.O on the menu or on a sign somewhere on the front of the shop. What does it mean? 
Well, in Australia liquor (alcohol) licenses are limited and very expensive, so it is often impossible for some restaurants to get one. Customers are however free to bring there own booze (normally beer or wine). And that's what B.Y.O stands for, Bring Your Own. If you notice a restaurant has a BYO sign and you feel like a drink with your meal, you will need to pop down to the nearest bottle shop (liquor store), most likely the closest pub, and grab some drinks yourself. 
Some places may charge a small corkage fee (this is a few dollars charge for opening the bottle and is a bit annoying) and be careful not to take drinks into an establishment that does have a license, that's a no no.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

58% Of World’s Japanese Speakers White 23-Year-Old American Males

Follow this LINK for the original article.

This is a headline from satirical newspaper "The Onion". 
It is a joke of course. 
Everything in this newspaper is a joke, 
but they present them as fact. 

What do you think? 
Amusing? Or impossible to understand?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Australian hypocrisy

So the international court just told Japan to stop it whale hunt as it is obviously not for "research" purposes. And there is the Taiji dolphin hunt that has caused a bit of a brew ha-ha in recent years. It is often Australians who get all teary eyed about it, but they often forget that their own country murders marine life as well. 

Starting this year the Western Australian government has introduced an annual shark cull. (cull is a fancy word for killing, it means to kill just to reduce numbers, not eat or use the animal in any way) This started because of several shark attacks on swimmer in the last few years. Many sharks are endangered and protected species, but we slaughter them so people can relax at the beach. It is pretty easy, if you don't want to get bitten, don't go in the water, it is not as if you 'need' to swim. 

The most disgusting thing is that because sharks are not as cute as whales/dolphins not so many people care about them. Sharks are deadly predators, but they are just as beautiful and important as any other animal on the planet, and should be respected.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Easter in Australia

Do you know much about Easter? 

For Christians, Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birthday, we all know that one. Well Easter is the celebration of his death. Now I don't believe in God or Jesus anymore than I believe in unicorns or the tooth fairy, but Easter is a big part of Australian culture, and I do like eating food. 

The most obvious feature of Easter is the chocolate eggs the Easter bunny delivers, Why we do this is I have no idea. Commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus by telling our children a giant bunny rabbit left chocolate eggs in the night. Why those two things? Why not Goldfish left Lincoln Logs in your sock drawer? As long as we’re making it up, go hog wild you know.

'Mummy, I woke today and there was a Lincoln Log in me sock drawer!'.
'That's the story of Jesus'.
I've read the Bible. I can't find the words ‘bunny’ or ‘chocolate’ anywhere in the book. 

But anyhoo....

In Australia we do a few things a little bit differently. For example we eat hot cross buns. A kind of fruit cake/bread with a white cross painted on it. We eat them hot with butter, they are quite good. We also often eat lots of pancakes, this tradition started because in the past people tried to use up all of their food before 'lent' (fasting). 

We have also tried to change the image of the Easter bunny to the Easter 'bilby' because rabbits are an introduced species and considered a pest in Australia. 

One other uniquely Sydney thing is the Royal Easter Show. It is a kind of huge festival/carnival with rides, and exhibitions/parades of animals and food from around the country. It's theme is city meets country. I really loved going as a kid.