Setsubun (節分)

Posted on January 29, 2009 | clarice

Although Setsubun is on February 3rd, all students got a special class today on this important day. Setsubun is the day before the beginning of each season, and there are several Japanese customs associated with it,

making ehomaki
One of them is eating ehomaki, which means to eat a long piece of sushi facing the lucky direction of the year decided by the zodiac. This year is east-north-east. All students got to eat ehomaki.

eating ehomaki

Another custom is mamemaki, which involves throwing beans at demons to drive them out of the house, taking the bad luck and ill health with it. We had some student-demons, one of them being our friend Rod-san (below).

our oni

It looked like the bean-pelting really hurt!!!

Hair Salons (美容室)

Posted on January 28, 2009 | clarice

Hair salons are a big business in Japan. If you walk down a street downtown you will probably find several within the same block. There are several monthly hairstyle publications in Japan that highlight the latest styles and the most talented hairstylists in the country (most located in Omotesando `表参道` in Tokyo).

If you study in Japan for several months, chances are that sooner or later you will need to get a haircut. Most of the male classmates at school go for the cheaper barber shops, which will most likely be in the ¥1000-¥2000 range. If I go to a salon and get a cut with color treatment, it will be around ¥9000.

For advice on Japanese hairstyles, Rasysa offers a huge database of hairstyles and hair salons within Japan. Some salons listed in Fukuoka are here, though you will find plenty while walking around downtown Tenjin. If you pick one and go inside without an appointment, it`s probably best to say よやくしなくてもいいですか (is it ok without an appointment?) If all goes well they will give you a small form to fill out about things like your name and address (for promotional reasons).

Japanese salons offer fantastic service. The places I`ve been to offer remote-controlled sofa-chairs for washing you hair, give you a massage after the wash, and tea/snacks while waiting. They even get an assistant rotate the magazines regularly so you don`t get bored of reading the same one. Most of them are very serious about their profession and if you say おまかせ (I`ll leave it to you), they will try to find a hairstyle that suits your face and personality. It`s also a great place to practice your Japanese.

Japan is the perfect place to try different things. Why not a new hairstyle? :)


Posted on January 27, 2009 | clarice

I would like use this entry as an opportunity to introduce myself on the blog. I will be continuously updating the blog for the next few months as I participate in an internship with GenkiJACS.

My name is Clarice and I`m from Calgary, Canada.
I`m 23 (24 next week) and I studied in GenkiJACS from Sept-Dec in 2008. In December, GenkiJACS posted an advert for an internship position so I decided to quit my job in Canada to come back on a working holiday visa. I`m actually a software engineer but I will be helping the school with various things such as website work and graphic design.

I`ll try to update often with interesting things about the school, Fukuoka, and Japan. If there`s anything you would like to read here, please let me know!^^