My reading is coming along fairly well. I can now identify two out of three writing styles. Not quickly, but I can do it and sound words out. I was pretty proud of myself that I sounded out "Habanero Boneless" at KFC. I also sounded out a setting on the dryer and looked it up in the J-E dictionary and learned that it means "Take Wrinkles." That's a good thing to know about!
Reading comprehension, however, is another story. If I sound out a sentence, about half of it might mean something to me, and it's usually Japanese-ified English words or simple vocab like "this" or "was." It's a step forward. My overall reading level is now less like "Hangman" and more like "Wheel of Fortune." Same basic concept, but I have more clues now.
Speaking isn't markedly better than it has been...it was downright comical when the repair guy came over to fix a couple minor things and we discovered that we only overlap vocabulary by "hello," "goodbye," "okay," and "sorry." I can say a bunch of sentences, but none of them were helpful.
I've met with a tutor twice, and it seems like that's going to work out pretty well. Not necessarily like a hey-let's-hang-out relationship, but definitely a good teacher-student relationship. I think it helps that I went into it knowing more than she expected.
Our friend and his wife have two vans. Hers is about the size of an average minivan, his is one of those teeny utility vans that's the size of an Accord but shaped like a VW bus. They're nicknamed Big Bird and Little Bird.
We now have a car (I haven't seen it yet, but the Mew should be able to bring it home this weekend or next week) that has been described to me as a green Little Bird.
"Little Bird" in Japanese is chiisai tori
"green" is midori
Our new car will henceforth be known as Midori Tori. (Green bird.) Say it out loud, it's fun!
It turns out that cars here, at least used ones at an auction, are ridiculously inexpensive. Not that we can bring it back to the states. Well, we can, but it wouldn't be considered road worthy after the government-mandated engine adjustments. Something about the classification of the vehicle, I don't know the details.
Single serving wine coolers in cute little glasses:
Blueberry on the left and honey apricot on the right. Small quantity (about half a cup) and only a little more alcohol content than a beer, so not really a party drink, but it's a nice little dessert beverage.