Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why Do Advertisers Think Creepy is Couture?

For the last month or so, the huge mall area called Stellar Place (attached to Sapporo Station) has has some advertisements that make me think of creepy movies, like The Ring.  Maybe I still have an overactive imagination, but let me share what I think when I see the pictures that haunt me whenever I walk by.  I took a fashion brochure this past weekend when I was in Sapporo, and the photos in the brochure only reinforced my image that the people behind this attempt at couture fashion are weird at best, creepy at worst. 

I took the liberty of uploading a few of the photos from the brochure, and I included the narrative that first came to mind as I saw these strange advertisements. I did not edit anything into or out of the photos.  I did not crop any of the photos. Someone, somewhere, actually thought that these photos were a good idea and a great way to sell clothes.  

Decide for yourself. 

Once upon a time, there were two frumpy child-women,

who liked to time travel,

Student Shenanigans

Today my night school students were making name cards.  I've started doing this in an attempt to remember my students better.  Basically, I ask for their name and two facts about themselves.  Being this school is a part-time school where students usually go if they've dropped out of the normal school system for one reason or another, I rarely expect anyone to go above and beyond.  I do have a few fans at this school, though.  I just didn't realize how much I was liked: 

She likes me! She really likes me! 

South Korea...and a Quick Trip North

At the end of March, the students had a 2-week spring break.  Being that this is my last few months in Japan, I thought that I'd take the opportunity to travel.  That led me to Japan's closest neighbor, South Korea.  I met up with two friends who are teachers in south-central Honshu (a few hours west of Tokyo by the Shinkansen), and we spent just over five days exploring the Seoul area. 

While we were in Korea, so was President Obama! He was there for the Nuclear Security Summit, as were dozens and dozens of other heads of state and important world leaders.  I was so excited! We took one morning to go to a local university where Pres. Obama gave a speech on nuclear security.  We weren't able to get in, but it was still fun.  I just like things like this. 

I also thoroughly enjoyed the food.  Typical meals tended to be served with one main dish to split among those dining together, and several side dishes.  The restaurant where we got the first dish below only had menus completely written in Korean, so I don't really know what we ordered.  The second dish is duck, but for the most part, I really don't know what the names of the different side dishes were either.  Although one or two of the side dishes weren't my favorite, the main dishes were generally excellent. 

HAJET Article

The Hokkaido Association of Japanese Exchange Teaching (HAJET) organization is a social group that hosts events, training programs, and works to create a better working and social environment of the JETs (and non-JET English teachers) in Hokkaido.  For members, there's a monthly magazine about life in Hokkaido and Japan, teaching issues, and other articles.  It's a volunteer magazine with low circulation numbers, but I've recently been writing a little bit and thought I'd share the article I wrote for the March magazine.  I've done a few entries on the Drift Ice already, but the article is a little more thorough.  Enjoy!

Intro written by the editor:

The Hokkaido winter presents numerous opportunities for the adventurous JET. Intense and persistent, the prevailing Siberian weather patterns give rise to a number of fascinating phenomenon. Kitami ALT Kimberly Johnson details one of the more unique winter experiences, a boat trip over the famed Abashiri Drift Ice. 

My little article:

Every winter something happens in the Okhotsk Sea that draws thousands of people out from under their kotatsu and into the coldest weather Eastern Hokkaido has to offer.  A unique combination of Siberian winter temperatures and an influx of freshwater from the Amur River allow the top layer of the Okhotsk Sea to freeze. For several weeks every winter, white drift ice flows from the Chinese river down through the Okhotsk Sea until it reaches the edge of northeastern Japan.  Although much of Eastern Hokkaido sees this phenomenon at some point during the winter, one place in particular has done a good job of promoting it as a tourist destination—Abashiri.