The Importance of Festivals

Summertime is full of festivals in Japan. In my town, Kuwana, there is the Ishidori Festival where townspeople make a lot of noise with drums whilst pulling carts through the decorated streets. Poeple wear colorful clothes and enjoy participating in the energy of the occasion. I was thinking about what makes us want to dress up and make such an effort especially in the crippling heat of summer.

As we all know, the Tohoku area was devistated by a tsunami earlier this year. I watched a program today on a traditional horse-riding festival for the people in that area. They were thinking of abolishing it soon but the survivors from that area have clung to it as something to be treasured.

It made me think about the human spirit. We need to feel that we are a part of something. It encourages us. I haven't seen those people enjoying themselves since the tsunami struck. Watching them participate in their region's historical practice showed me the resolve in their hearts. The festival renewed their sense of community and gave them a refreshed pride in their local practices.

I used to be the kind of person who shied away from events and gatherings. I always found them to be 'tai-hen (troublesome/ too much bother)'. I have a new understanding of them now. And an appreciation for lasting traditions.


Any ideas???

Hi, thank you for reading my humble blog. ("Blog" is a funny word, isn't it? It rhymes with 'frog'!)

Suntar the crocodile is fun for me to draw but often I need help with ideas! If you have any English "slip ups" (mistakes) that you can remember, or things you think are strange about English, or even something you don't like about English, please tell me;

-in the comments section (below)
-on twitter @RachelMizukoshi
-by email rachelmizukoshi@japan.com .

I would love to hear about your own adventures with English! No matter how simple or how strange! I'm "all ears"!!! And most of all, I would love to make a funny story about Suntar with some of the information you give me! I hope Suntar can keep making you laugh!
Good evening!
I hope you all had a lovely Monday!
At least, I hope it was better than Suntar's Monday...
Oh, Suntar! Not again!

(The idea for this comic came from my twitter friend @miho_starfield,
thank you Miho-san!)


This was Suntar's first date. He failed to impress his girlfriend because he mispronounced a word which made it sound like something yucky! He said "sh" instead of "s" which changed the meaning of "sit down" into something else.....
Hi Everyone! I want to introduce you to "Suntar" who is my favorite crocodile in the whole wide world! He is often getting into trouble with mistakes in English! I hope he has some good luck soon. :( Please enjoy his adventures! Let me know if there is something you want me to ask him!
Have fun with English!


Today is the first of April; "April fools' day". I still don't know why we call it that but I do remember having important rules for it, as a child: 1 You could trick somebody by playing a prank, but only before 12 o'clock noon. This would make the person you tricked an "April fool". (Popular pranks were hiding someone's belongings or making them believe a 'white lie'.) 2 If you didn't watch the time and played a prank after 12 o'clock noon, you became an "April fool". I am writing this in the afternoon so it looks like this year I was a bit slow! If I were to play a prank now I'd become an "April fool"! Happy First of April Everyone!


I wrote this last week when I was in Cairns. I couldn't sleep so I just got up and put my thoughts down on paper...

To Japan, love letter from foreigners;

People supporting Japan
All of you are here, in some way
We feel your hearts

Some have chosen this country...
by birth,
by roots,
by contract,
by association,
by compassion
but all by choice

We all made a decision to be present
In this country's pain
In it's sacrifice
and in it's recovery

We grieve for those who were lost
We revere those who sacrificed
We unify as if all were natives

To build this beauty again.

We love you Japan!


Rachel Mizukoshi

Rachel Mizukoshi
The last two days have been described by people as a "living hell". Japan has experienced too much hardship. It was terrifying to watch the news, knowing the turmoil was going on so close to me. Just a few hours away people were devastated.

When I first came to Japan I felt quite detached. I was just a foreigner. But 10 years later, I feel like I'm part of the landscape here. Yesterday, I felt the pain in peoples faces as if they were my family. I watched their homes be swallowed up by water and fire, and I cried.


Hello Twitter! And Hamsters!

Ive been twittering the last few days. Something that is very new to me and a bunch of fun! I like having conversations with so many wonderful people at once without having to get dressed up and look presentable! So, in my jeans and daggy sweater, I've also started to blog.

A lot of people twit to catch attention which causes all kinds of random comments to present themselves on the timeline. My favorite so far:

"I hate the situation you wake up and the wheel is still spinning but the hamster is dead".
I laughed out loud when I read this.

When you say "I hate the situation..." it implies that you have been in that situation many times or at least that it is familiar to you.
So I was wondering how many times this happened, and felt fearful for the poor little hamsters whose lives had ended in such a way.

I asked this man "What does it mean?"
I was very relieved to receive the next tweet: "Its a joke @Rachel Mizukoshï, don't take it so serious!"

So all is well and all the dear little hamsters are safe! Hooray!


Living with a foreign language

Living in a foreign country without speaking the language is often a big adventure! Even doing simple things, such as reading the instructions to make a blog and URL are a cause of stress. This is my first blog...! We often can't do even the simplest things due to language!

I remember a story my husband once told me....
I had noticed that lots of Asian people visiting Australia would often seek out restaurants selling their own country's traditional food. Not being a 'foodie' myself, I couldn't understand why they weren't trying some of the local food. When I asked Hiro about it he told me this:

1: People living overseas for a long time (missing home) want to eat familiar food because it makes them feel nostalgic. Or perhaps it is just kinder to their tummies (stomachs)!!

2: It may be very difficult and stressful for them to read an English menu! Perhaps it's safe at fast food places like McDonald's which has picture-menus. But what if you wanted to eat at an expensive place and when you sat down at the table the menu was written in fancy unfamiliar letters that were very hard to read?

I couldn't understand that feeling until I started living in Japan and couldn't read menus... or restaurant names..... or prices (even the numbers are written differently here in traditional places). So I often found myself at places like McDonald's western-looking restaurants with English menus!

So now, I get it!