Thursday, December 28, 2006

Like Clockwork

Please note Tara's detailed itinerary of our upcoming adventure in the previous post. Also note my responses to your Christmas greetings in the giant blog-stocking post. Thanks!!!

As predicted, Christmas in Japan went off with highly efficient technical precision.

All gifts were delivered on time.

Naturally, this operation was executed by a 9.14m tall, gift-launching, Santa-bot (see below).
The Japanese sarariman (salary man, and no...I'm not making fun of their accents, this is actually a word in Japanese, obviously borrowed and butchered from English), took a brief moment to enjoy Christmas morning with their family, before getting back to the 10-16 hour work day at the office. No, just kidding...I think most of them had the day off except the employees of our "school" which seems to be the only English school in the country that doesn't give it's teachers Christmas off. Ah well, that's over and done with, and all in all it really was pretty nice. Definitely made nicer by the thoughtful comments that many of our friends/family/and beloved fans left for us in our blog-stocking (p.s. that was my idea! Cool, huh? That's sure to start a trend...I should patent it and sell it to or some other billionaire...).

So, just wanted to say thanks, Merry Christmas, and happy new year to everyone. Sorry for the lack of posts as of late, but I assure you
Please see Tara's detailed itinerary for our trip to SEOUL (!!!) below.

Without further adieu, here to say thanks the way only he can...

the big guy I like to call the Ho-Ho-HoBot.


Seoul-full Itinerary

Ok all, tomorrow we hop on a flight to Seoul with an itinerary so chalk-full of craziness that we decided to post it for the world to see! When we get back we will bombard you with endless pictures of our escapades! Here it is, in detail, our New Years plans:

December 28th (evening): arrive in Seoul, make our way to our little Guesthouse we are staying at. It is run by a Korean family and came to us highly recommended. Here's the site if you want to check it out -

December 29th (morning): By recommendation of one of Ian's students, we are going to be participating in a Korean Home Culture Activity course, lead by a family by the name of Yoo. Here we will spend the morning wearing traditional Korean "han-bok", learning greeting etiquette, learning kim chi cooking, playing Korean folk games, eating Korean Pancakes, and participating in Tea Ceremony. Here's the link to their site:

December 29th (afternoon/evening): The rest of this first day we will try to see the main Palace, and a few of the fortresses and temples. That evening we will wander some of the 24 hour markets and do some cheap shopping!

December 30th: Korean Spa day!!! For those of you who don't know, Korean Spa's are apparently where it's at. Everyone here recommends them. You pay a fairly cheap flat fee to enter, and then you spend the day relaxing in their numerous themed baths, and steam rooms. If you get tired of those you can take a break and get a massage. And after all that hard work, why not take in a quick nap in the sleeping room, or watch a movie in the DVD room. If that doesn't suit your fancy, why not take out a few comic books and have a read. After all that, its back to the steam room! Whew....what a tough day! If you want a description of the one we are looking into, check this article out:

December 31st: While most people may be bringing in the New Year at a big bash, we will be travelling 2 hours south of Seoul to stay in a Buddhist Temple overnight. We were quite pleased by this last minute addition. Originally our first plan, we never heard anything back, but last week I recieved an email inviting us to stay. It sounds like about the most amazing experience, we participate in everything just as the Monks do. Here is our itinerary for our 2 day stay:
14:00 Arrival and Orientation
15:00 Temple tour
15:30 Tea Ceremony
17:00 Evening Buddhist Ceremonial Service
18:00 Dinner
19:00 Time on your own
20:00 Meditation and Dharma Talk
22:00 Light off

05:00 Pre-dawn Buddhist Ceremonial Service
06:30 Breakfast
07:30 Time on your own
08:30 Walking meditation
10:30 Noon Buddhist Ceremonial Service
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Departure

So, not only will our bodies be renewed but so will our minds. We will enter the new year refreshed and enlightened!! (Hopefully!)

January 2nd: After the most peaceful 2 days ever, we will head in the opposite direction - North - to the border of one of the least peaceful places around. At 8am we will meet our tour group and head for the DMZ - the demilitarized zone encompassing 2 miles south of the border and 2 miles north of the border. We will spend the day touring the UN buildings where the peace talks took place nearly half a century ago, take a walk down the 3rd infiltration tunnel, where North Korea attempted to dig through to South Korea, and we will see the only bridge connecting the 2 sides which are divided by a large river. Some of the buildings we will enter actually broach both borders, so we will officially be able to say we stood in North Korea. For lots more info, and to see everything we will do that day you can check out this site:

January 3rd (evening): Hop a flight back to good old Nagoya, where it is only a matter of weeks before we move!! Wooooo! I will post more info on the new job and apartment once we get back, but suffice it to say, I am looking forward to it!!

Talk to you all next year!! Have a great one!

Lots of Love

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas Everyone

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for all of your wonderful comments. It was great to wake up and read them all. It really made the day a little brighter. We are very lucky to have so much love and support from so many amazing people. I think this was the best stocking I have gotten thus far.
It certainly hasn't been an easy day, as far as Christmas's go, but I think Meaghan said it best:"Christmas comes every year, but Christmas in Japan will only come least for us!" And so we have made the best of it. We had a wonderful dinner with some friends, and we ate delicious home made food (thanks again for the trifle recipe was a hit!), and though it hurts to be away right now, it really makes me appreciate everything that I have.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and know that you are all being thought about. Thank you again for everything you have given us. I couldn't have asked for more.

All my Love

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Ian and Tara's Christmas Stockings

Its our Christmas corner!!!
As promised, we have another little activity for everyone. You see, our Christmas is going to be a small one, and its hard not being around all of our family and friends, so we decided maybe you could help us by filling up our stockings!
Basically, this post will act as our Christmas stockings, and we would love it if you could all leave a little something in here for us on Christmas day. We promise there will be no peeking! No comments will be checked until December 25th!
We miss everyone so much and with Christmas around the corner it makes everything a little harder. We are making the best of it though, and I really hope you all do as well.
We don't even know how many people read this site, so it would be nice to hear from as many people as possible! Please help make our Christmas a little more Cheerful!!
I can't wait to open my Stocking!!!
Love you all lots and lots
Tara and Ian

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Monkeys Monkeys Everywhere!

Things have been fairly busy around here, what with us acquiring the Wii, and my constant search for a new job, so there is not much new to tell. However, for your interest I brought my camera to work yesterday and took some pictures in one of my kids classes. I thought about taking pictures in the office, but since its about the size of a broom closet and a bit disgusting, I decided to spare you.
I also added, for your entertainment, some of those monkey pictures I meant to put up long ago.
So anyways, here are some of the monkeys I have been hanging out with lately:

It looks like they are in cages, but really we are the once locked up. If you want to feed them they make you go behind bars. And with good reason big guy nearly took Ian's finger off when he realized Ian had no more food!

Those monkeys belong to my kinder class on Wednesdays. The only thing I like about my branches is that I do get a lot of kids classes. BUT to keep you all updated, I have 2 job offers right now, and I have another interview lined up, after which I will make my decision. All the jobs are with kinder aged kids, in smallers schools, and with better pay! Wooo!
I will let you know when I make any decisions!
Thats all for now! I hope everyone is enjoying December! Also, keep a look out soon for a new Christmas based activity!
Love Tara