Culture · Friends · Hamamatsu

Strawberry Fields Forever

I was recently invited to go strawberry picking with one of my teachers and her family. WHOLESOME.

There are many places to go strawberry picking all over Japan, with many in my area growing the local “akihime” variety local to Shizuoka – known for their large grain and slight tartness.

We went to Shimano Nouen, which for around ¥1400-¥1800 (depending on the time of year) you can pick and eat as many strawberries as you’d like.
It’s also common in Japan to dip your strawberries in condensed milk so it comes with that too.

(In the UK have our strawberries with whipped or pouring cream – especially in the summertime so it was somewhat nostalgic for me!)

You can also take your photo outside with their mascot, Masaharu the Ichigorilla.
A combination of two of my favourite things: a photo op and a pun.
(“Ichigo” is Japanese for strawberry!)

Such a cute day.
Me and ******-sensei sadly won’t be teaching together in the coming school year, so I’m very grateful for the opportunity to make lovely memories.

~ Carla


Japan Keeping Me Humble: #9


We were doing comparative adjectives and my JTE suggested the activity was:
CARLA is ___________ than *****-SENSEI.”
Bit of a risky one but I said it was OK.

After comparing palm span, foot size, arm length and height in front of the bairns she declares cheerfully:
“Wow everything is bigger than me!”

It’s a good thing I’m not sensitive.
Welcome to Japan: where I’m a giant at 5’4.

~ Carla


Japan Keeping Me Humble #7


So last weekend I ordered a mojito in a bar and it rocked up as a bottle of VK.
Hamamatsu truly is the Sunderland* of Japan.

~ Carla

*Despite the name of this blog, I am neutral towards Mackemland – my alma mata is the University of Sunderland and therefore I’m allowed to make such jokes. So there.

JKMH · Teaching

Japan Keeping Me Humble #6

A little less conversation…

Last week we asked the third graders to think of a topic to have a three minute conversation with me in front of the rest of the class with my JTE grading them.
We suggested to keep it simple: hobbies, food, music, travel etc.

First student:
ME: Hello ____________, what is your topic?
STUDENT: Coronavirus.


Other topics included:
Star Wars, Baby Yoda, Japanese Youtubers, Shimazu Yoshihisa (an ancient Japanese warlord), Minecraft, Donald Trump, BTS, Super Smash Bros, Netflix and Avicii’s suicide.

And anyways the entire class fell about laughing when one guy was trying to tell me he wants to be a baker but pronounced it baka.”

~ Carla


Soy Sauce Face

I was out with two of my Japanese gal pals at the weekend, and they casually referred to someone as a “soy sauce face.”

I assumed they’d had too much sake, or some poor guy had had an unfortunate condiment encounter.

But it’s actually one of MANY terms Japanese people (mostly girls it seems?) use to describe male faces.

Soy Sauce Face, (Tonkatsu) Sauce Face, Salt Face
Vinegar Face, Sugar Face, Miso Face
Mayonnaise Face, Ketchup Face, Olive Oil Face

The last one (Olive Oil Face) is a special reference to the handsome actor and TV personality Mokomichi Hayami who has how own cooking show “Moko’s Kitchen” and Youtube channel M’s Table where he uses an exorbitant amount of olive oil in his recipes:

You can check out the article: The Many Faces of Japanese Men from for more specific breakdown of the terms and facial features.

I wonder what a version of this for western celebrities would look like?

Ahh Japan, never stop surprising me.

~ Carla