Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | November 6, 2008

Fall Break

This weekend was officially our fall break at St. Mary’s, so many of our friends here traveled within Japan to places like Okinawa and Kagoshima, and others went to nearby hot spots like Guam to get some R & R.

Rachael definitely needed some R & R as she got over her third cold of our short time here in Japan. Rather than traveling, we spent time here in Setagaya-ku, and had a few fun adventures.

First, we continued our Japanese lessons with our tutor “Shingo-san.” Here is a photo of our homework for this week.

We’re working on phrases like: Whose pencil is that (Dare no enpitsu deska)? That’s Rachael’s pencil (Korewa Rachael-san no enpitsu des). This isn’t my watch (Watashi no tokei ja arimasen). I eat rice (Watashi wa gohan o tabemasu). etc. It’s definitely a difficult language to learn, especially with the complexity of the written characters and alphabets, but knowing a few phrases is already helping give us some much needed confidence in the public sphere. It is also reminding us of how incredibly difficult it is to learn another language- the amount of time, the financial cost, and the exhaustion of studying alien-looking letters and words for hours on end. It’ll certainly make you reconsider looking down on anyone else for not being able to speak a particular language, as is often central to debates about immigration in the States.

Later on, Brad and our friend Brendan went downtown to check out some thrift stores, and new/used vintage clothing stores. Unconfirmed sources have indicated that Brad also stopped excitedly at a Wendy’s and ordered a heart-attack-on-a-bun (Double cheeseburger with bacon). As far as cool new Tokyo clothes go, we’ve limited ourselves to one new clothing purchase a month, so here are the October purchases. Boots for Rachael and a sweaterish thing for Bradley.

Tokyo style is similar to New York, but bizarre in its own subtle ways too (women are often dressed in scandalous short skirts and high boots or frumpy, unflattering potato sack type shirts). We ended that night with a rich and hearty beef stew with a red wine base. My gosh this woman can cook!

On Saturday, we talked to the fam on Skype for a while and finally showed them our apartment (since Brad bought a 30m LAN cable for our internet). After chatting for a few hours, we went to the famous Tsukiji fish market. The market opens quite early in the morning (4am), so we just went to see the area and check out the outdoor market that surrounds the bustling fish market. Here are some shots of the area- fresh sea creatures of all types, beautiful knives, and various other food-related stands. After touring around a bit, we stopped for a delicious lunch at a sushi restaurant. Here’s the cool part: Besides having some of the freshest sushi we’ve ever had, we actually were able to read the word “sushi” in hiragana (one of the Japanese alphabets)! Woo hoo! Guess the lessons have paid off.

In the afternoon, we stopped by our church to help out with a small event for kids from a local orphanage. There were games, treats, and even a magician that wasn’t half bad. From there, we met some friends at TGIFridays and went to see a fantastic documentary film about the creation of the Broadway production, “A Chorus Line.”

Sunday, we worked on grading and papers, and Brad played drums for the evening church service. All in all, it was a nice weekend to catch up on sleep, see a few new things, and spend some time with friends.



  1. Love the blog. Love the slideshow.
    Good job!
    You both look great. Can’t wait until December.
    Love you both!

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