Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

The year of the Dragon is over. It was great for me and my family. The one big change in our family was that our older daughter returned. She is 23. She got a job with a company after job-hunting upon graduation from college. It is a rather large company out in Hiroshima. They do transportation and have offices around Asia as well as Japan. She worked the first 6 months at the head office in a city called Kure near Hiroshima. She was unhappy there. I think she missed her mother. So, they transferred her to the Tokyo branch. She now has to leave home at 6:45 by bicycle every morning. Getting up early is not her forte (specialty). There are many mornings where I have to take her to the station by car so she won't be late. But, that's OK. She ain't heavy...she's my daughter.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Review 4 Nephew Kevin

I have two nephews. They are brothers. They are my sister's sons. The older son lives with his mom and my mother. My younger son is a Marine. He is married and has three kids. They are all in Okinawa where he is stationed. He had to do some training in Atsugi in mid-September. While he was there I took the opportunity to drive to Atsugi for a day with Miwako, Eri and Yumiko. We met him, visited his apartment and cruised the base by car. We then had dinner and drinks at a local Izakaya. That boy sure can eat and drink! The next day we went to a museum in Koufu and then he stayed at our house that night. The next morning at 6AM we watched a live football game together. It was our home town Detroit Lions. They lost. I sure had a good time with one of my US family here. Lucky me!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Thank you. It is Christmas again. I think this is the time to reflect on all the good things we have. I feel so lucky to be alive and kicking (living) here in Japan. Of course, my home, the good 'ol USA is also a wonderful place. In these two countries that I know and love, I see happy people everywhere. I am never hungry (except when I diet, which is good). I have nice clothes. I am medically fit (I am not sick). I feel safe whenever I go outside. I can live as I choose. I can work and play hard. That means I am free. Please look around the world at other places. There are many things that we have to be grateful for. The little things that make us unhappy should be looked at as our selfishness. These small annoyances should not make us unhappy. We all need to be thankful at this time of year and always. I try to live by these words. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Donate blood

My father, God rest his soul, donated over 50 gallons of blood during his lifetime. That is over 190 liters of blood. I went with him once when I was 18 back in Michigan. I did it but I didn't particularly enjoy it. On the other hand it was no big deal (no problem). So, I have donated blood over the years, and about 8 years ago I got a badge for giving over 50 liters here in Japan. I plan to go today and give for the 35th  time this stretch. They told me that I can donate till I am 69 as long as I donate once when I am between 60 and 65. My goal is to give 50 litres once more to get it at an even 100 liters. It doesn't hurt and it can be life saving. Besides, it's almost Christmas. I highly recommend it for those of you who can. My father always said "It is the same as an oil change for your car."

Puzzler Answers

I can do so much work and study and relax. Puzzler Answers. CLICK HERE.

This month's HOME PROJECT. Almost

1.    It is almost ten o’clock. もう10時近い。2.Almost all the boys were in the room. ほとんど(すべて)少年は部屋にいました。3.I almost always get up at six.私はほとんどいつも6時に起きる。
     A.  ほとんど、たいてい:

      A.  I am almost finished. = I am NOT finished.
B.  He is almost ready. = He is NOT ready.
C.  They almost won the game. = They did NOT win the game.
今月の、HOME PROJECTはAlmostです。Almostを使って文を作り、先生とチェックして、ALMOSTの正しい使い方を勉強しましょう
Let’s learn how to use the word ALMOST properly, shall we?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Puzzler Hints

Got a party today and the new kids Short Course. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

This month's HOME PROJECT. Almost

1.    It is almost ten o’clock. もう10時近い。2.Almost all the boys were in the room. ほとんど(すべて)少年は部屋にいました。3.I almost always get up at six.私はほとんどいつも6時に起きる。
     A.  ほとんど、たいてい:

      A.  I am almost finished. = I am NOT finished.
B.  He is almost ready. = He is NOT ready.
C.  They almost won the game. = They did NOT win the game.
今月の、HOME PROJECTはAlmostです。Almostを使って文を作り、先生とチェックして、ALMOSTの正しい使い方を勉強しましょう
Let’s learn how to use the word ALMOST properly, shall we?

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I have two office chairs in my school. The one at my desk is Miwako's father's old chair. The other chair is the one I sit in when I teach. It is at the table where I teach. I have had them both since we opened the school. They both have casters so I can move around easily when necessary. Well, my "captain's Chair", as I like to call it, had some wear on the arms. (see left pic). So, I took one arm to the Shoukoukai Gi Sho here in Okegawa to ask who could repair it. They gave me a phone number. I called and didn't connect on Monday. I was too early and then too late. But we talked on Tuesday. The owner, a Mr Machida, came to my school by bicycle. He looked the situation over and returned at 3PM with some samples. I chose one and he took both chair arms to his shop. He recovered them and brought them back the next day. They looked brand new! (see right pic) I'm a Happy Guy(jin)! Super Scrabble answers: melts  glow  happy/nappy/pappy/sappy  craw/crew/crow.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Next week I start my vacation. What on earth shall I do? Of course! Practice my violin. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

This month's HOME PROJECT. Almost

1.    It is almost ten o’clock. もう10時近い。2.Almost all the boys were in the room. ほとんど(すべて)少年は部屋にいました。3.I almost always get up at six.私はほとんどいつも6時に起きる。
     A.  ほとんど、たいてい:

      A.  I am almost finished. = I am NOT finished.
B.  He is almost ready. = He is NOT ready.
C.  They almost won the game. = They did NOT win the game.
今月の、HOME PROJECTはAlmostです。Almostを使って文を作り、先生とチェックして、ALMOSTの正しい使い方を勉強しましょう
Let’s learn how to use the word ALMOST properly, shall we?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday vocabulary

Well, we are back to "square one", or the beginning, or should I say "a".
1. able = to have the skill, intelligence, opportunity to do something. ex1: You must be able to speak French for this job. ex2: I wasn't able to join the tour because I had a cold.
2. advance = move forward as a group. ex: The crowd advanced after the police arrived.
3. amateur = a person who is not skilled NOT professional). ex: This movie was made by a bunch of amateurs.
4. ardent = showing strong feelings about something. ex: They are ardent supporters of the communist party.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pearl Harbor

It's time to reflect on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7th, 1941.
On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 America's naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked by the forces of the Empire of Japan. More than 2,400 Americans were killed and more than 1,100 were wounded. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships and damaged four more. It also damaged or sank three cruisers, three destroyers, one minelayer and damaged 188 aircraft.
The day after the attack, the United States declared war on Japan and entered World War II. President Franklin Roosevelt, in a speech to Congress, stated that the bombing of Pearl Harbor is "a date which will live in infamy".
It is not a federal holiday. Government offices, schools, and businesses do not close. Some organizations may hold special events in memory of those killed or injured at Pearl Harbor.
Memorials have been built to remember the day and its events. The US memorial in Pearl Harbor is a marble memorial over the sunken battleship USS Arizona, which was dedicated in 1962. The memorial remembers all military personnel who were killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.

Puzzler Anwsers

21 more days! This is getting exciting! Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Monday, December 3, 2012

close call

"close call" is an idiom. We use it in conversation when we have done something that almost proved disastrous (harmful in some way). That is, the result was nearly (almost) bad. BUT, in the end, nothing bad happened to us. For example:
1. I had a close call this morning. I got up as usual, got ready and after breakfast I went to work. It started to rain so I went back to get my rain gear. I then hurried to the station and got on my train just as the doors closed behind. me. I hate to be late for work. That was a close call.
2. I had a close call last week. I was driving my car leisurely (slowly). The signal turned yellow. I thought about speeding up to go through the red light, but I stopped instead. A motorcycle cop was sitting on the corner watching. Whew! I'm glad I stopped. I may have gotten a ticket. That was a close call.
Gottit? Please try this at your lesson.

Puzzler Answers

29 days till 'D' Day. But, who's counting? Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

This month's HOME PROJECT. Almost

1.    It is almost ten o’clock. もう10時近い。2.Almost all the boys were in the room. ほとんど(すべて)少年は部屋にいました。3.I almost always get up at six.私はほとんどいつも6時に起きる。
     A.  ほとんど、たいてい:

      A.  I am almost finished. = I am NOT finished.
B.  He is almost ready. = He is NOT ready.
C.  They almost won the game. = They did NOT win the game.
今月の、HOME PROJECTはAlmostです。Almostを使って文を作り、先生とチェックして、ALMOSTの正しい使い方を勉強しましょう
Let’s learn how to use the word ALMOST properly, shall we?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

on the wagon

I quit drinking alcohol this year so...I am on the wagon. Why do we say that?
on and off the wagon-- has been associated with battling booze (alcohol)  for around one hundred years. It goes like this:
1. Someone decides (or pledges) to abstain from (quit) drinking alcoholic beverages, usually after a period of excessive drinking but sometimes for religious or other reasons.
2. Having stopped, this person is on the wagon.
3. If the person then takes a drink or--especially--starts drinking again habitually, he or she has fallen off the wagon.
The origin of on the wagon becomes clearer in its early forms: on the water wagon and on the water cart. Horse-drawn water carts were used during the late 19th century to wet down dusty roads. This was a period of active crusading for Prohibition. They were trying desperately to close down breweries and saloons. They hoped to eliminate or reduce domestic abuse (DV) by encouraging sobriety in husbands and fathers. During this period, many men who promised to stop drinking said they would climb aboard a water cart to quench their thirst rather than break their promise. I'm on the water cart (or wagon) came to mean "No, thank you; I'm not drinking any more" or "I'm trying to stop."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Puzzler Answers

And here are your answers. Did you get them? Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Puzzler Hints

I have to go check out two new short courses we have at Plaza West today. Should be no problem. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


My RINRI Morning Seminar is now on Saturday AMs at 6:30. We shall see how it goes. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Vocabulary

"q" words for you. There are plenty of "q" words in Spanish but not so many in English. Comprende?
1. quaint = attractive in an unusual or old-fashioned way. ex: Many quaint houses lined the street in that Italian seaside town.
2. quiver = to shake slightly. ex: Her lips quivered as she talked to the police officer.
3. queer = strange or unusual. ex: Our English teacher is rather queer sometimes.
4. quest = a long search for something especially or some quality such as happiness. ex: He never gave up his quest for a true soul mate.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


In 1776, whether you were living in the American colonies or in England your pronunciation would have been much the same. At that time, American and British accents hadn't yet separated. That is, The Patriots and the Redcoats spoke with accents that were much closer to American accent than to the Queen's English.
It is the standard British accent that has drastically changed in the past two centuries (200 years), while the typical American accent has changed only slightly.
Traditional English, whether spoken in the British Isles or the American colonies, was largely "rhotic." Rhotic speakers pronounce the "R" sound in such words as "hard" and "winter," while non-rhotic speakers do not. Today, however, non-rhotic speech is common throughout most of Britain. For example, most modern Brits would tell you it's been a "hahd wintuh." (hard/difficult winter) Of course, we need only American English. Right, boys and girls?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Obama house

Super Scrabble answers: greed death groan/grown zoo. The US presidential election is November 6th in my country, the good old USA. Actually I can vote in this election. It is the only election I am allowed to vote in because I live abroad.  There is always plenty of news, every day in fact, about the two candidates: Republican Mitt Romney and his running mate (vice-president wannabe) Paul Ryan vs the Democrat incumbent (current president) Barack Obama and his vice-president Joe Biden. I saw this particular news on Monday. I thought it was interesting so I wanted to share it with you. It is Obama's house in Chicago. Of course he is usually at work in the White House. It cost $1,600,000. On the other hand, Romney has four houses. There is not enough room to show them all here. Good luck to both men!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Super Scrabble

Yes, Super Scrabble is my favorite game that we play here at my school. Dominoes is a close second. On the other hand, almost all kids over 10 love Dominoes while only a few really enjoy SS. Last Wednesday 5 junior high school girls and one 6th grader came for their weekly lesson. They have all passed Eiken 5. We now study Eiken 4 but not in earnest. That is, not too seriously yet. Because there are 6 students it is easy to play GO FISH. This game allows everyone to practice simple conversation. But, we have done that so many times that I decided to try SS last week. They paired up for three teams and I was the fourth "team". I had to be very patient. But, they tried their best and it worked out well. The next two kids at 8PM finished it up. Can you guess the blanks? Answers tomorrow. BTW: I am planning a Super Scrabble extravaganza October 28th. All are welcome. more details coming soon.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Do you know the meaning of "in-law"? First, "law" = the system of rules that everyone in a country or society must obey. The word "in-law" refers to the people who are not related to you by blood (blood relatives). They are related by marriage. There are father-in-law, mother-in-law (your spouse's mom and dad) son-in-law, daughter-in-law (your child's` spouse) and brother-in-law, sister-in-law (your spouse's siblings OR your siblings spouses). Perhaps that is a little confusing. HOWEVER, I wondered are there any other "in-laws". I checked the net and my USA sources. Most say NO. cousin-in-law, nephew-in-law, etc. In those cases you say "My wife's cousin" or "My husband's nephew". OK? Good luck.

Puzzler Answers

Monday. Ready to go go go! Here are the answers for the HW.
began  invited  happened  known  pay  say. 
C U again!The pic is the rice field. Notice the tall grass in front.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Puzzler Answers?

No, not yet. Check out tomorrow's BLOG. C U.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Nope! Today is the 5th Saturday of the week and tomorrow is the Fifth Sunday so no Puzzler this time. Check back next week. Cheers.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Vocabulary

"p" words this time. If you know any cool ones put them in the comment.
1. puddle = a little water on the ground. ex: There were a couple of puddles at the park after all that rain.
2. pant = take in and let out air quickly through your mouth. ex: Jack and Jill were panting after running up the hill.
3. plunge = jump or fall suddenly into something. ex1: My sister plunged (dived) gracefully into the pool. ex2: He took the plunge and got married.
4. puzzle = something that is difficult to understand or explain (mystery) ex: His reason for quitting the team has all of us puzzled.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Well, thank you Hiromi and Koichi from the CLUB HELLO group. They put together a nice Karaoke party on Sunday, September 23rd. The Club Hello Group had  a Karaoke party in August one Saturday night. It seems Hiromi prefers to sing during the daytime instead. So, she organized this with Koichi. This time there were 5 new members who came from the current Kenkatsu Saturday beginner's group. Two of them are in the pic with Hiromi: she is the one without head ware. The party started at 1PM. I arrived at 3PM and stayed till 6:00. M and I planned to visit the grave this day, as it was the Buddhist holiday of O-Higan, but it was raining so we postponed it. Of course the party was  a lot of fun. I sang 10 or so songs. I also tried two new ones (one by the Rolling Stones was terrible! and the other pretty good). All had a good time. I realized I should practice some more.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

USA News

I made the Friday Vocabulary BLOG yesterday. One word I used was "plunge". I checked the net and found the following cool news.

Cold enough for ya?

The Coney Island Polar Bear Club is the oldest winter bathing organization in the United States. We swim in the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island every Sunday from November through April.
Assemble on the Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue, Coney Island.

SWIM TIME 1:00 PM SHARP, arrive early.

BRING WARM CLOTHES, SURF BOOTS OR OLD SNEAKERS,TOWELS AND DEFINITELY BRING YOUR CAMERA. The NYC Parks Department provides changing facilities on the Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


It's September 25th, still no alcohol for me and I'm still alive! Let me tell you what I have done during this abstention (no drinking period).
  1. We took our trip to Nagasaki. Because I don't drink at all I was able to drive without getting tired or be in a rush to do some drinking. So our journey was safe and pleasant.
  2. I understood that I must stop jogging until the pain in my foot disappeared. It has, so I have begun jogging a little.
  3. I read books.
  4. I practice the violin in earnest.
  5. I study Spanish in earnest.
  6. I make HW for all my students, but especially the kids.
  7. I lost more than 10 kg.
  8. I wake up almost every day before 5AM and sleep fitfully every night.
There's more but simply put, it has been a wonderful experience. I hope to adopt a new drinking style from Jan 1. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 24, 2012

autumnal equinox

It happened again last Saturday as it always does at this time of year: The AUTUMNAL EQUINOX. What is it?
There are two equinoxes every year – in September and March – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. Seasons are opposite on either side of the equator, so the equinox in September is also known as the "autumnal (fall) equinox" in the northern hemisphere. However, in the southern hemisphere, it's known as the "spring (vernal) equinox".
On the equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it's called an "equinox", derived from Latin, meaning "equal night". The September equinox occurs either on September 22, 23, or 24 every year.
In the northern hemisphere the September equinox marks the start of fall (autumn). Many cultures and religions celebrate or observe holidays and festivals around the September equinox

Puzzler Answers

And now it's back to Monday. Isn't it amazing how that always happens on this day? Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Puzzler Hints

Alas, the farmer has harvested his rice field. It was beautiful and I told him so just before he cut it. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


There will be no Puzzler next week, so enjoy this one doubly, please. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Vocabulary

"o" words today. "Oh"? Yes, Go!
1. obey = do what you are told or expected to do. ex: He always obeyed his parents without question.
2. okey-dokey = used to express agreement (also means OK). ex: A. Shall we go now? B. Okey-dokey.
3. omit = to not include something either deliberately or because you have forgotten it. ex1: If you are a female you can omit question 22. ex2: People were surprised that Smith was omitted from the team.
4. owe = to have to pay for something that you have already received OR return money that you have borrowed. ex: She still owes her father 300,000en. ex2: I owe him a favor (because he did a favor for me).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kevin Part 3

SO, Kevin stayed one night at our house. The next morning he and I watched American Football on TV. It was a live broadcast. However, not just any was the Detroit Lions Game! That is our hometown. It is a small miracle that all this was happening. Unfortunately "we" lost the game but we had lots of high fives and cheering when our team did something good. He also explained to me about "Fantasy Football." It is the rage (very popular) among most football fans in the US. Then we had lunch and took a bike ride for two hours around the neighborhood. (I invited him to go to the nearby "On-sen" but he declined.) We biked to Arakawa, saw a couple of softball games, a basketball game at hte Kawataya elementary school gym and lots of houses and rice fields. Back home and I took him by car to the station. Finally we said good-bye there at 5PM. The pic is of Kevin eating his first Japanese style breakfast of NATTO, rice and soup. He said it was delicious.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kevin Part 2

My nephew, Kevin, the marine, was scheduled to fly back to Okinawa Saturday. However his flight was cancelled due to the typhoon down there. So, we invited him to go to Yamanashi prefecture to visit the "ShadowGraph Museum" with us. We told him to go by train to Hachioji where we would pick him up. He did, but we were caught in a huge traffic jam on the KenOu highway. So, we asked him to go to Koufu by train. He did and we finally met there for lunch and then a drive to the SHADOWGRAPH museum. The museum was fantastic! We all enjoyed it. Then we drove home. It took 5 hours in a huge traffic jam. But Kevin and I talked and talked all the time. Then to Shoya for a late dinner and drinks. Then back to our house to play Dai Hin Min till 2AM. Finally to sleep.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Respect for the Aged Day (keiro no hi)

Yesterday was Respect for the Aged Day. It is a Japanese holiday celebrated annually to honor elderly citizens. A national holiday since 1966, this was previously held on September 15. Beginning in 2003, Respect for the Aged Day is held on the third Monday of September due to the Happy Monday System.
This national holiday traces its origins to 1947, when Nomadani-mura (later Yachiyo-cho, currently Taka-cho), Hyōgo Prefecture proclaimed September 15 Old Folks' Day (Toshiyori no Hi). Its popularity spread nationwide, and in 1966 it took its present name and status. Annually, Japanese media take the opportunity to feature the elderly, reporting on the population and highlighting the oldest people in the country. The pic, Japan's oldest person, a man, is 114-year-old Jirouemon Kimura, who was born April 19, 1897.
ALSO Puzzler translation answer from yesterday: We had a lot of rain in the summer this year.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Puzzler Answers

It's still a holiday for me so, SORRY, no blog today. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Puzzler Hints

The pic is the rice field. I do declare, it is almost PERFECT! Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


The weekend. Yeah! Plus Monday is a day off. Double Yeah! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.