Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Today I popped into a little shop I sometimes visit on my way home from work on Tuesdays. It is the kind of shop that is hard to classify. It has costume jewellery and accessories. It has kitchenware, but usually kind of novelty kitchenware, the sort of kitchenware you'd have if you wanted a nice looking kitchen but didn't actually cook. It has baby accessories. It has chocolate, and cosmetics. It has stationary, but not usually very useful stationary. It is a fascinating little shop, and sometimes I buy something cheap there, like a notebook with a silly picture on it that will amuse my students when I am waving it around and being strict with them.

Anyway, while I was looking around tonight (it was a fly-by window shop to see if they had anything new and interesting), in the beauty products and cosmetics section I spotted something labelled, "CELLULITE PANTS."

I almost stopped to see what "cellulite pants" were, but hesitated. Then I carried on. I realized I did not actually want to know. In fact, I thought, I already had too much information. I did not want to know that something called "cellulite pants" even EXISTED in the world.

But now I can't stop wondering about it. What ARE cellulite pants? I am fairly sure they are not pants made out of cellulite (eek!), but I cannot imagine what they actually are. I don't REALLY want to Google them.

But talking about cellulite, here in Japan it seems that most women are, most of the time, on a diet. The latest fad is the banana diet, which was apparently on TV recently. According to whoever dreamed up this particular diet (probably a banana importer), if you eat two bananas for breakfast every morning, you will lose weight. The rest of the time you can eat what you like.

That, at least, is the version of the banana diet I heard from the loopy professor yesterday, when I was bemoaning the fact that all our local supermarkets seemed to have run out of bananas at the same time. I did not know that bananas were being snapped up by dieters. I always thought bananas were full of energy. That's how they work for me – they give me energy when I don't have time to eat properly. Bananas and yoghurt are my staple food at lunchtime when I'm working. If I have time for nothing else, at least I will have energy for the rest of the afternoon. Banana energy keeps going and going. I assumed they were full of calories, and it never occurred to me that they could be considered a diet food.

But on Sunday afternoon there were no bananas left at the supermarkets for my Monday lunch. Instead I had to have a couple of convenience store onigiri. They did not work nearly as well, and I ran out of energy halfway through the afternoon. I blame those stupid banana dieters, who I see have even made the news overseas.

How bloody annoying of them! Why don't they just get some cellulite pants, and leave my lunch alone? I'm sure they are just as effective.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I had a forgetful sort of day today. First I forgot to take my lunch to work. Then, when I got to my first class over on the other campus (the university has two campuses across the road from each other) I discovered that I had left my class rolls in my locker over on the wrong campus. At this point it had started to rain, and class was about to start, and although my umbrella was one thing I had not forgotten I couldn't be bothered running back for the roll sheets. Instead I did an impromptu dictation exercise, collected it, and used that to check off the roll later. (Actually, the dictation was so successful I used it in all my other classes as well.)

Having forgotten two things before nine o'clock was bad enough, but then when I was going back to the main campus for lunch, or rather for lunchtime (because I'd forgotten my lunch) I forgot about the treacherous automatic flush toilet I encountered last week, and used it again. I only remembered when it was too late that I had sworn to myself to avoid it in future.

It is a very enthusiastic toilet, until you want it to be. You sit down, and FLUSH! Bum cheeks clench in shock, FLUSH! Adjust position very slightly, FLUSH! And so on. Then you stand up, and it doesn't flush. You have to wave various bits of your anatomy at it for five minutes before it will deign to flush again.

Most of the automatic flush toilets work more or less OK (although I never quite trust them, suspecting them to be secretly providing jobs for otherwise unemployably creepy little perverts behind peepholes with their finger on a FLUSH button), but that second floor end cubicle automatic flush toilet is a particularly untrustworthy specimen (or employs a particularly sadistic pervert). I have used it twice already this semester, which only started a week ago. Today I vowed (again) not to repeat my mistake, not matter how tired and forgetful I am.

The good news is that all my classes went very well indeed despite all my forgettery. In the case of the difficult second period class it may have been because nine of the guys were absent, so I had a manageably-sized class for a change. I'm not sure why so many were absent. It could have been because after the first class back last week they suddenly remembered how close they had come to failing my class last semester, and decided to quit, but I suspect it is more likely because it was raining and they were worried about their hairstyles.

Then a student in fourth period made my day by telling his friend that during the summer vacation he had visited the Yasaka Shrink, thus demonstrating, once again, the dangers of learning words in alphabetical order. Funny how the two most memorable examples of this I have encountered both involved the same place.

The last class went well, too, for a change. That one is particularly large and boisterous, and usually my biggest problem is getting the students to shut up for long enough to actually hear what I'm saying. Starting off with the short dictation thing sorted that out wonderfully. I have done dictations before, of course, but generally towards the end of class. Doing it at the beginning had interesting results. The students went utterly silent during the dictation, and remained unusually well-behaved and attentive for the rest of class.

I might have to give that class surprise dictations at the beginning of class every week. (I realize that it doesn't seem to make sense to call it a 'surprise' after the first three or four weeks, but I gave mini-tests in most of my classes all last semester, and telling the students that there would be a test AND telling them the questions and answers in advance did not seem to prevent it from being a weekly surprise test. I don't see why dictation would be any different.)

Oh, and I did get some lunch. I had a cheese sandwich from one of the university cafes. It wasn't wonderful, but it kept me going.

All in all, it wasn't such a bad ending to the week.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My thoughts on the new P.M.

My thoughts on the new Prime Minister of Japan can be stated very simply:

"What, another one?"

My thoughts on the new Prime Minister's NAME, however, might cause me to watch BBC news on cable TV more often (or at least once) for the sheer entertainment of watching newscasters trying to prevent themselves from calling him "Prime Minister Arsehole."


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

General loopiness

Today was my first day back at work with the loopy professor. I was prepared. I had a flexible lesson plan and all the materials I needed to teach either just my own class or both our classes combined. She has sprung that surprise on me before, apparently thinking that genius gaijin teachers like myself can instantly come up with a lesson plan suitable for forty students after preparing to teach twenty. And while I will admit to occasional genius moments in the classroom, I certainly cannot produce them on demand. (Also, I have fairly frequent dumb moments, too, although I advertise those less widely.)

So today I was ready for anything. Or at least I THOUGHT I was ready for anything. I should have remembered that it is not just my boss at that place who is loopy. The entire bloody place is loopy.

It started when the loopy professor appeared in the teachers' room and welcomed me back. I gave her the little present I'd bought for her in Malaysia. I had bought this because every time she goes to some conference abroad she brings me something useless, and I thought I should reciprocate. I should probably explain how this happens, so that you can get an idea of how surprised I was when I gave her the present.

It usually goes like this. She wafts into the teachers' room, and tells me what a marvelous time she had at her conference, and all about the Very Important People she met, and then hands over her present. She tells me to open it. I do, and thank her. She assures me it is nothing at all, and gazes at me expectantly, so I thank her again and comment on how wonderful the present is. She looks delighted at my pleasure at receiving this unique and interesting key ring (or whatever it is), and continues to gaze expectantly, so I gush a bit longer about how thoughtful she is and it's just what I needed and how beautiful it is and how did she know? After a few minutes of this she leaves, satisfied.

Today, when she asked me about my vacation, I told her I'd been to Malaysia, and gave her the little present. I told her, the way you're supposed to, that it was nothing really, just a little thing.

"Thank you," she said, taking it and instantly dropping it into her voluminous bag. It vanished from sight. She had barely glanced at it.

While I was still gaping and wondering if that was the most unsatisfactory gift-giving experience I'd ever had, and also wondering if she would come across my carefully chosen gift one day a few years from now and wonder what it was and where it came from, she told me, sadly,

"One of our students has retired."

Apparently our 'retiring' student was the only thing that would fit in her mind at that moment.

But that was not what I started out to tell you. I was not going to tell you about the loopy professor. I was going to tell you about the loopy office.

When the loopy professor had finally finished telling me about the student (who had quit university rather than been blessed with an unusually early retirement, perhaps after a moment of clear thinking), I was five minutes late for class. (But that was all right, because so was my boss.) I hurried up to the classroom, and discovered that not only were my students waiting for me, so were hers, outside my classroom.

"Sensei! Sensei!" they called excitedly as I approached down the corridor. "Are we all together again today?"

"I don't think so," I said. "Er ... did Professor Loopy tell you to come here?"

"No," they said. "She isn't there. There's another class in our classroom, with a different teacher."

"Oh," I said. "Um ... come in, sit down, and I'll find out what's going on."

I went back to the other classroom and peeked through the door. Sure enough, there was a different professor in there, lecturing a bunch of bored-looking students. There was no sign of the loopy professor.

I went back to the elevator and waited. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later the doors opened and she stepped out.

I told her what had happened.

"Eh?" she said.

The upshot was that I had both classes for the first forty minutes while she went over to the office to find out what had happened and to get another classroom assigned. Then her students went off to the new classroom, and I had only my class for the last fifty minutes.

Remember my wonderful lesson plan, flexible enough to cope with either twenty students or forty? Having to suddenly adapt it to use for half a class period with forty students and the other half with twenty was an interesting (and not very successful) experience.

(It turned out that the office had mysteriously decided to assign one of our classrooms to a different teacher, and neglected to inform either us or our students.)

After that it was lunchtime. I went down to the river to relax a little and have my lunch. After eating, while I was wandering along the little path following a butterfly, I accidentally kicked a rather large snake. It was one of those sorts of days, possibly for the snake as well, which seemed more surprised than I was.

I had two more classes after lunch. The first one held no surprises aside from the ear-splitting screams of happy welcome when I walked in the door. I have no idea why that class likes me so much. It is my most difficult and tiring class of the week, and I can't say I'm particularly fond of them. They never listen. They never shut up, although they usually apologize (and immediately start screeching again) whenever I cringe and cover my ears, which is often. They never show any inclination to learn anything. I end every class with my ears ringing from the noise, and have had to cultivate a zombie-like calm to deal with them. Nothing else works. (Actually the zombie thing doesn't work either, but at least it prevents me from being climbing the walls or resorting to drugs.)

In other words, everything went normally in the only class I would have liked to have been a little different for a change. My lesson plan did not work very well, but it worked as well as anything ever does with that lot.

Before the last class, the teacher who has the other half of it told me that she had finally been given the official class lists for our two groups of students, and discovered that the way we'd split the class into two was different from the way the office had done it. Previously, they had only given us one list, and we had split the class ourselves, the most logical way – straight down the middle with nineteen in each group. But the way they did it was apparently random, with twenty-one students in one group and seventeen in the other, and not in the same order as the original list.

And, she told me, they insisted that we had to do it their way in the second semester. We had been doing it WRONG. This meant that five students from one class had to move to the other, and seven had to go the other way. Also, the lists I had so carefully typed up for each class on my spreadsheet program, the attendance and grading sheets from these I printed out over the weekend, AND the name cards which I'd numbered according to where the students were on those lists, all have to be changed.

It also meant that we spent the first twenty minutes or so of the last class moving students around and generally having a messy and annoying time trying to sort out where everybody was supposed to be. Some students did not want to move. They had made friends in the first semester, and we were separating them. Waaaah! Normally fairly cooperative and sweet, they became a little sulky, blaming us. But apparently it is more convenient for the office to move students around unnecessarily, disrupt classes, create paperwork for teachers, destroy trees, and generally be illogical, than to go into their computer and change their lists to something more sensible (or to give us the 'correct' lists at the beginning of the year).

And, of course, my lesson plan was too long. I had not prepared for sixty minutes. I had prepared for ninety.

Unfortunately, today's experiences have not taught me anything useful about how to prepare for first day classes at that place. The only thing I learned was that no matter how many contingencies I prepare for, I will be confronted with something completely different. I also learned that if you kick a snake on a day like today, it somehow doesn't feel quite as surprising as it normally would.

When I came home The Man had a question for me.

"When dogs pees on a lamppost, do you say they are addressing the lamppost?" he asked.

"Pardon?" I said. "Do you mean when they mark their territory?"

"Yes," he said. "Can you say they are 'addressing' their territory?"

"No," I said. "At least, I don't think so, anyway. Why?"

He looked disappointed.

"Oh, no reason, really," he said. "I just thought maybe you could call it an IP address."

That probably shouldn't have cheered me up as much as it did.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

When you wish upon a . . .

Yesterday I met a friend in the afternoon for coffee, which stretched to dinner, and by the time we parted it was dark. When we came out of the restaurant she looked up at the sky.

"Look!" she said. "Is that a star?"

"It looks like one," I replied.

"I hope it is," she said. "Because I really don't want to wish upon a satellite."

I am lovely

At least one of my students was pleased to see me on Thursday. He was not on task when I set the first activity, but I didn't worry too much because he was studying his dictionary. As I went past him in my meanderings around the class, he read, carefully,

"It has been a long time since we met!"

I stopped. He had discovered that his dictionary offered phrases as well as definitions. I was pleased. Many of my students have electronic dictionaries, but don't know how to use them properly.

"Yes, it has," I agreed, and carried on.

"What did you say?" asked his friends, and he told them the Japanese.

The next time I wandered past he was still studying his dictionary, and read,

"Oh! You are lovely!"

Then he looked up and blushed, and I laughed.

"That and an envelope full of money will get you an A," I told him.

"Eh?" he said.

"Never mind," I said. "Thank you."

"What did you say?" his friends asked, and he told them.

They teased him so mercilessly he spent the rest of the class on task. In fact, classes went pretty smoothly all round. It was a good start to the semester.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First day back, and eyelashes

Work starts tomorrow. I am not ready, and should be panicking, but I can't be bothered. I think I must be turning into a calm person. I am going to print out the class lists, make sure everything is in my bag, and have a good night's sleep. Tomorrow I will ad lib my classes.

The first day back is always a bit of a mess, anyway. Every time I make proper lesson plans for a first day back they get sabotaged by unexpected paperwork or sudden requirements or last minute changes to the curriculum, and I have to adjust them. I will take my last year's plan and adapt it to whatever happens.

So instead of making fantastic new lesson plans, I have spent the day looking at more pictures from our holiday. Here is one to go on with, from the bird park. It is not a great photo (focus in the wrong place, dammit), but it is rather charming, despite the dirty face and sticky beak. And look at those eyelashes! I don't think I ever noticed eyelashes on a bird before.

Do all birds have eyelashes?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More hornbills

Every morning the hornbills flew down from the forest to these trees.

From there they flew across in front of our balcony.

They landed in this tree and some others like it, and gossiped for a while.

Then they came down to the feeding platform.

After they'd eaten, they hung around the trees for a while longer. Then some of them flew back across in front of our balcony.

Not all of them, though. Some stayed for a while, to admire the sunset.

Or to join us in the restaurant.

"Isn't anybody going to bring me a menu?"

From the sublime to the ridiculous

We got back to Japan last night. It has been cloudy and humid today, but not too hot. In fact the weather is much like it was for a lot of our time in Malaysia. It was a rainy sort of trip.

This did not matter all that much, though, even at the beach. There it rained most days, but not for long, and the sun was out for long enough to swim and go for walks and so on. Also, we had lovely accommodation with a great view from the balcony of our fourth floor room (that's fifth floor if you're American). And of course there were the hornbills, which made everything fine and funny.

On the second morning on the island, for instance, we woke up to rain. I made myself a cup of tea and took it out onto the balcony, which had a roof. As I sipped my tea, the rain stopped, and this was what I saw.

A little while later my tea was almost finished, the rainbow had gone, the first hornbill flew past the balcony on its way to the feeding platform – and life suddenly turned into a cartoon.

What more could you ask for from a holiday?

Friday, September 12, 2008

K.L. Bird Park

We went to the bird park today, and it was WONDERFUL. I have taken a lot of pictures and will post some after getting back to Japan, but for now let me just say that K.L.'s bird park is definitely worth a visit if you're ever in the area. I could have spent the whole day there. At the restaurant in the park, we sat outside and were entertained by a couple of hornbills and three smaller birds that said Ne! a lot, making us laugh every time they did it. They also whistled and made other noises. I don't know what they were, but they were very friendly. I got the impression that if they REALLY wanted to, they would talk.

Also, a ground hornbill played grandmother's footsteps with us. At least I think that's what it was doing. It followed us along a path, and whenever we turned around, it stopped and tried to look innocent.

Other birds we saw: eagles, owls, pelicans, flamengos, egrets, emus, storks, ibises ... and I'm sure I could list a lot more but it's been a long and hot day and I'm ready for a shower.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The third cup

After we had eaten our dinner at our favourite Chinese restaurant tonight, and were sipping tea, I reflected on things I have learned this visit. One of the things I learned was what the extra tea cup is for. When we order a pot of Chinese tea for the two of us, what is brought to our table is always the pot, and three little cups in a bowl of very hot water. We always wondered what or who the third cup was for, since there are only two of us.

This trip, The Man asked, and we learned that the third cup is for me.

Well, the third cup is for the person who cannot drink very hot tea, so wants to wait for it to cool a little. I fill two cups for me, and by the time I have finished drinking the first, very hot cup (in delicate little sips), I can refill that and then move onto the second one, which is now cool enough for me to gulp down if I want to. The Man, on the other hand, likes to drink his tea at a temperature that would remove the skin from my lips, so doesn't need a second cup. (I think that if there are two people who don't like to scald themselves, they are supposed to pour the tea from the third cup to their own cup, and drink in relay.)

It is nice to have these things cleared up.

I am sure I have learned other things this trip, but right now I am too full and happy to remember what they are.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


We are leaving Penang tomorrow, after a week of rain. It is AMAZINGLY wet, and especially today. Today the rain alternated between heavy, very heavy, and torrential. Penang is usually hot. We were unprepared for feeling slightly chilly most of the time. How strange.

Today we went to Little India again, for breakfast (while the rain was merely just getting started), and although I kept an eye out, I did not spot Grandma again. We took several books with us to sell at one of the second-hand bookstores on our way back, but accidentally popped into a different (new) bookstore as well, and ended up buying more than we sold.

One of the books I bought is called "Learn Tamil in 30 days." I am fascinated by the written language, which looks totally impossible and also somehow manages to look like how it sounds. Buying this book does not mean that I will actually study Tamil, you understand. It just means that if I suddenly get an irresistible urge to do so, I will already have a book. One should always be prepared for these things.

The book was written in 1967. Unfortunately the pronunciation guide is almost useless (why don't these books ever use the phonetic alphabet?) offering such hints as. . . well, I don't have the book with me right now, but an example would be something like an explanation telling you that one 'a' sound sounds like the 'a' in 'father' and another like the 'a' in 'about.' To make things even more confusing, there are (if I remember correctly) 12 vowels and 18 consonants, but 247 letters.

I decided I will need a better pronunciation guide if I ever want to learn the sounds of Tamil, but never mind. The phrases and words in the book might be useful one day. You never know when I might need to say, for example,

"Yonder! I see an elephant standing!"

In fact, inspired by this book, I am thinking of incorporating the word 'yonder' into my daily vocabulary. So even if I do not learn any Tamil, at least my English will have been enhanced.

And now it is time to wade back to our hotel.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Today I was sitting in a restaurant in Little India, drinking teh tarik, watching the hustle and bustle around the restaurant, and waiting for The Man, when two women came to the restaurant and ordered sugar cane juice to take out - and I almost choked on my teh tarik because the older woman was MY GRANDMA.

My grandma died almost twenty years ago, but there she was, transformed into a tiny Indian woman in a blue sari.

It was a shocking experience. I imagined introducing myself to her. "Hello, I'm your granddaughter. Remember me?" I wanted to say, but didn't, because she still had that intimidating frown line between her eyes, and was glaring at the guy preparing the sugar cane as if she suspected that he was trying to cheat her. Grandma always looked like that. It was her default expression, even though underneath that frown she was a terrible softy. (I didn't find that out until quite late, unfortunately.)

There were only two differences between this woman and my Grandma. One was the skin colour, and the other was that the woman I saw today had more teeth. Two, in fact. Grandma didn't have any, at least none of her own.

I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed by this encounter. My grandma was the last person I expected to encounter in Little India.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

People, food, a dog, rain, a thank you

Here in Penang we keep bumping into people again and again. I suppose this is not really surprising, since it isn't a very big place really, but still, it was particularly surprising to bump into that Japanese guy again after we had already bumped into him twice, and the second time we said goodbye because he was leaving for Thailand today. Turned out the trains weren't running. I thought I'd read that transportation was back to normal, but when I read the paper carefully I saw that trains were running again everywhere EXCEPT in the south of the country. Oh.

He didn't seem too worried about it, though.

Last night when we were eating dinner at a food park conveniently opposite where we are staying, we, or rather The Man, started chatting with the three men at the next table. They turned out to be an Indonesian, a Korean, and ... er, a Chinese? I forget. Anyway, the Korean was the only one who spoke some English, and he was reading a book about Hideyoshi, which led to he and The Man having a little discussion about that, and then forming a mini-UN and smoothing over Japan-Korea relations. When this discussion finally ended, and we were about to leave, The Man pointed out our hotel over the road, and it turned out they were staying there too.

So I suppose it isn't all that surprising that we bumped into them again.

Tonight we went to a rather good Chinese restaurant in Cinta Street, and ate until we almost burst. Walking back, we could hear music coming from somewhere, and then spotted a dog dancing all alone in the middle of the road, in time to the music. A moment later it was clear the dog was, in fact, trying to scratch a hole in the road, but the first impression was truly amazing.

Just as we got to the Internet cafe, it started to rain. Now it is raining VERY HARD so I will have to make this blog entry a little longer, to give it time to stop. It has rained a lot since we've been here, this year, and so has been much cooler than we were expecting. I don't think I have ever managed to sleep without air conditioning in Penang before, but so far we have turned off the air conditioner every night.

Yesterday when The Man came back from somewhere to pick me up at the hotel, he called me from the front desk rather than come up. He asked me to bring something for him, and before hanging up, thanked me. When he got off the phone everybody was staring at him.

"You THANKED her?" they asked, and told him that Chinese men never thank their wives. They were astonished at our politeness with each other. The Man told them that actually Japanese men don't usually thank their wives either. He is an exception.

When we were coming home in the evening I insisted that we should hold hands as we walked through the door, to give them something else to be surprised about. I am fairly sure they get pretty bored down there at the front desk. We have been staying at this hotel every time we're in Penang for the last ten years or so, and they have always treated us well. It's nice to think we can provide a little something in return, in the form of entertainment.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


The other day I heard an American newsreader on TV say the word chasm, and got a bit of a surprise. I thought the ch was pronounced as a k, but he pronounced it like the ch in chat.

Have I been pronouncing it wrong all these years? Also, if I have, how do you pronounce chaos?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Happy feet

That was possibly the funniest massage I've ever had. I had been wondering about it, and couldn't wait to try, to find out how it works. Do they cover your feet in fish food first? Why would the fish be so interested in feet?

Well, I can tell you now that no fish food is involved. You wash your feet, then plonk them in the water, and within a couple of seconds they are surrounded by little fish yelling, "I bags the toes!" The first nibble is a surprise even though you're expecting it. I squeaked. The girl laughed and said, "Never mind. Everybody does that. After a few minutes the tickle stops."

She was right. It tickles like crazy at first, but then you get used to it, and it becomes funny without being quite so giggle-and-squirm funny.

The really unexpected part, though, was the mole removal. I have, or rather had, a little mole on my left ankle, which has been no trouble at all except that now and again I nick it with a razor. I did that recently, but thought it had healed. Apparently it had not completely finished healing, though, because the fish, which were removing dead skin (Keera was right), apparently found a little scab on my mole. Since scabs are dead skin, they decided to remove it. They were VERY ENTHUSIASTIC about it, and after a couple of 'Ow!' moments I looked down and discovered that they had not only removed the dead skin, they had removed the mole altogether, and were now attempting to remove bits of skin from around it.

That was NOT dead skin, the little piranhas!

I called the girl over and she brought a bandaid. She said that if you have a scratch or scab it is always best to cover it. In fact she had asked me, but I hadn't realized I had one.

I haven't taken the bandaid off yet, but I am looking forward to seeing how good a job the fish did of mole removal. Maybe I have discovered a new, cheaper way to remove moles.

My final verdict is that fish pedicures are hilarious, feel great, are very relaxing, and leave your feet feeling wonderful. Remember to cover those scabs if you want to keep your toes, though.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Something unusual, and a lion dance

Today The Man and I went to various places, one of which was the New World Food Park (I think that is the name) where we spotted something called a 'fish spa.' That sounded a little unusual. Why would fish need a spa, we wondered? We got up closer and noticed some fish in the window, swimming around in a large tank on the floor, up to about mid-thigh height. Then we saw the feet.

At the fish spa ("Happy Feet," RM28 for 40 minutes), you can immerse your feet in the fish tank and have your toes nibbled by little fish. According to the blurb on the handout I got, The fish nibbling effect creates tiny electrical jolts, activating your nerve endings, while the micro massaging stimulate better blood circulation. It also gives you a good night sleep and healthier looking feet! There is, I just found, a video of this here.

I want to try this at some point. The Man didn't want to, and I didn't like to ask him to hang around for 40 minutes while I got my feet nibbled, so I will go back sometime when he is doing something else.

For dinner we went to the Red Garden Food Park, where they were starting a beer festival thing. We were not interested in the beer, but they had a few performances of various kinds scheduled as well. The first one was a lion dance. It was wonderfully dramatic. The second one was billed as a 'cabaret,' so we hung around to see the beginning of that as well. That was a bit of a surprise after the very professional lion dance, but entertaining all the same. I am fairly sure the humourous effect was unintentional, however. Their singing was good, but I think the lion was a better dancer. Also, I am still wondering why one of the women was wearing red stilettos and the other low-heeled soft white boots.

We didn't stay for the whole show. We had finished our char ho fun anyway, and were ready for a walk.

It rained again today. It has been raining a lot since we've been here, and the thunderstorms have been quite dramatic. Malaysia does GREAT thunderstorms.