Thursday, January 31, 2013

PEACE English school

I have a dream: it is to make an English teacher's association for Japanese. But rather than a dream it is my goal. I will try it for 3 years. It will be for Japanese who have some skills in English and want to work for themselves. I have all the materials and know-how, I believe, to offer them an opportunity (chance) to become happy through their work. Right now we are in the planing stages. I have many documents to write and everything to organize. There is a lot to consider (think about) for such an endeavor (challenge). But, I believe the time is right for me to attempt (try) this. The lady in the pic is Chizu. I happened to meet her three years ago. She runs her own school/business and is quite successful. I went to her place last Sunday to gather info and enjoy her company. She is a cool and sincere person. Lucky me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The flautist

As I said yesterday, there was a magic show, 2 gents who did riddles and quizzes at our party plus my humble attempt at the violin. But suddenly something interesting happened. One student informed us that he can play the flute! He produced a case, assembled (put together) it and played a piece for us. He was very good. He said he started 3 years ago when he was 63. I hope I am as good as him in two and a half years. I believe that it is never too late to learn!
Some flute history
Pieces of flutes have been found in Germany which date back approximately 40,000 years ago. The oldest playable flute discovered was found in China, and is 9,000 years old. The modern flute that we recognize didn't appear until the 1800s. A German goldsmith created standardized hole placement and a new fingering system. That flute became the standard, and is what we now know as the concert flute.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Party again

Last Saturday the LSE group (Thursday 10AM) had its annual New Years Party. We went to a restaurant on the east side of Omiya on Naka Sendo not far from the station. There were 11 of us. As usual all had a good time and enjoyed eating and drinking. I limited myself to two "bottles" of hot sake. I felt fine! During the dinner we had some performances. Two gents told several riddles and quizzes. One young lady did a magic show. And of course, yours truly, played the violin. Usually I scratch though I actually played it this time! I felt more relaxed and was able to concentrate on the bowing and finger position. And we had a real interesting performance by one gent. It was so cool that I am dedicating his show to tomorrow's BLOG. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday vocabulary


The pic is the sunset I took from Tokyo Tower 12/31/12. And now for this week's vocabulary.
1. interest = the feeling that you have when you want to know or learn more about something.
ex1: Eventually I lost interest in the conversation. ex2: I watched the birds with interest.
2. interest = the quality that something has when it attracts your attention or makes you want to know more about it. ex: There are many places of interest in Kyoto.
3. interest = an activity or a subject that you spend your free time doing or studying. ex: Her main interests are music and tennis.
4 be interested in = give your attention to something because you enjoy finding out about it or doing it.
ex1: I'm very interested in Russian history. ex2: They were interested in hearing the reporter's story of her trip to the moon.

Puzzler Answers

And now back to Monday. How was your weekend? Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for January 2013: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Puzzler Hints

I have a very important appointment today. It will help mold the future of our little company. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for January 2013: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Puzzler

This is the end of January 2013. I must say that I have curbed my drinking quite a bit. Hooray for me! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for January 2013: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Post cards

I send a picture post card to my mother every day. I started in 2000 when my father was still alive. He passed away 7 years ago but I continue to send them to my mother. In the picture you can see
  1. 30 post cards. I select (choose) them from my collection. I get them from students and friends as well as buying some.
  2. 30 70yen stamps.
  3. 30 address labels.
  4. scissors
  5. 6 colored markers.
  6. my iced coffee.
I do this once a month. I put on one stamp and one address label and then make a border around the label with a different color. That makes it easy for the letter carrier (mailman) to read. Then I can choose one each morning and write about my 'yesterday'. I really enjoy the part about choosing the cards. It's not too much trouble to write to my parents.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Report

My daughter, Rina, moved back into our place. With her she brought plenty of stuff: clothes, furniture, books, clothes, make-up, clothes, shoes, clothes. I took part of her book collection to BOOK OFF and got 850en for the lot. While browsing, I picked up A Clockwork Orange. I saw the movie back in 1971. I don't remember much except it was a horror show. The book is only 149 pages so I bought and read it. It's about Future London and the evil in the world, especially among the young. What turned out to be interesting was the language. It is English but they use a lot of futuristic slang. For example: viddy = see, itty = go, millicent = police, em = mama, pee = papa, cancer = cigarette and so on. There are too many to list here. Eventually I figured out the translation. It was a strange book but I'm glad I read it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

RAM English school

Our company is called RAM. RAM means Rick And Miwako. We opened our first and, to date, only school in February 2000. The history is varied. I started with Oya-Ko lessons. I taught English to the mothers and kids. I also tried to do lessons for the elderly, but that never got off the ground. Then there were textbooks. I tried several types and finally bought texts from the USA. Finally I created my own texts along with original CDs. We also tried many kinds of advertising. Right now the school program is simple but I believe very effective for kids. Teaching EIKEN lessons was the most important ingredient of our current program. With all this experience I hope to expand soon. It' never too late to learn, you  know. The picture is a cactus. My friend gave it to me when we opened the school. It blooms now in winter.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dining with Miwako

I had a bit of a slip. I went back to my old style of drinking. Last Thursday I drank at home. It was some very delicious sake. I should have stopped after two glasses but I had one more. Then I had a very enjoyable evening out with Miwako Saturday. It was two parts. First, we went by taxi to Okegawa station then by train to Omiya and then to a Yakiytori-ya on the east side (pic 1). It was very good. But it is a little too expensive to recommend. For part 2 we took a taxi back to Ageo to Bun Raku for some more sake and a fresh vegetable plate. (pic 2) Then back home by taxi where I should have gone to sleep. BUT there was a part 3. I couldn't help drinking some more. The next AM it wasn't easy but I went jogging. Then bridge with M. All went well but I was not 100%. I hope I don't fall back to my old bad drinking ways.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Vocabulary

Here it is Monday again. Thank goodness! Please check out the following. I'll try and use these words during the week. And you, too, of course.
1. part = some, but not all of something. one of the pieces of something. ex1: We spent part of the day at the beach. ex2: Which part of Japan do you come from?
2. part  = a piece of a machine. ex: Is there a shop near here that sells bicycle parts?
3. part = the person you are in a play or film. ex: I once played the part of  Hamlet in high school.
4. part = go away from each other. ex: We parted at the station. John went to the bar and I went home.
The pic is the view form my house last Thursday. Do you remember all that snow?

Puzzler Answers

This AM I will watch some live football from USA and then watch a recording at night. I'm picking Baltimore and San Francisco to win. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE

HOME PROJECT: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Puzzler Hints

And today we have bridge practice and some violin practice. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.
HOME PROJECT: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Puzzler

This weekend at last. Gotta date with the lovely Miwako tonight. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.
HOME PROJECT: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Coming of Age Day

Monday was the coming of Age Day celebration day here in Japan. I really enjoy seeing the fashions these young adults wear. Here is a little history.
Coming of age ceremonies have been celebrated in Japan since at least 714 AD, when a young prince donned new robes and a hairstyle to mark his passage into adulthood.
The holiday was first established in 1948, to be held every year on January 15. In 2000, as a result of the Happy Monday System, Coming of Age Day was changed to the second Monday in January.
Until recently, all young adults attending the coming of age ceremony were exactly 20 years of age, having held their 20th birthday after the previous year's Coming of Age Day but before (or on) the present Coming of Age Day. In current practice, some of those attending the coming of age ceremony are actually only 19 years old; attendees are those whose 20th birthday falls between April 2 of the previous year and April 1 of the current year.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Party time again!

On January 12th the Biginners English group had a new year party. This was our first time and I must say it was great. Thank you everybody. The dinner party was at VIENTO. The owner is Hiroshi. There, Mari played the piano accompanied by Hiroshi on the bass and yours truly (me) on the percussion. No, not the violin, but, so Cool! Dinner was excellent and there was lots of talk and good cheer. We cleared out of the restaurant at 8:30 and headed to ROUND 1 for some Karaoke. More fun and lots of singing here. Most of the singers are very good with a couple of good entertainers to boot. As always I need more practice. But, I controlled my drinking again. I had some excellent sake at the restaurant; maybe two cups and that was all. I finally got home after midnight, took a bath and went straight to sleep. I was too sleepy to talk to Miwako.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book report

I read The Hunchback of Notre-Dame the end of last year. That was one of my goals in 2012; to read more. The author is Victor Hugo, the same gent who wrote Les Miserables. I had never read Hunchback. Let me tell you it was excellent. At the age of four the very (hideously) ugly Quasimodo is adopted by the priest Claude Frollo. Frollo becomes Quasimodo's master. Quasimodo is brutally unhandsome; he has a hunchback, only one eye and his legs are different lengths. He is super strong. He lives in Notre-Dame Cathedral and is the bell ringer which makes him deaf. Both men fall in love with Esmeralda a 20 year-old gypsy beauty. It's a love story! In the end, Esmeralda is hanged to death as a witch and Quasimodo takes her body to the cemetery where he also dies holding her in his arms. It is a fantastic story and contains such beautiful English. The pic Quasimodo OR Rick when very drunk.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Party time!

Well, thank you to all the O-San's 13 members! I thoroughly enjoyed the dinner party and then Karaoke extravaganza January 5th. And from the looks of things, It was clear that everyone had a great time. The dinner was excellent. And the alcohol flowed freely. Yumi did a great job of organizing the evening's events and it was quite successful. Personally, I was very pleased to be able to control my eating and drinking. The first beer was OK, then the two sakes after that were excellent. And then I just stopped drinking. I also avoided the potatoes and fried chicken. But it didn' prevent me from enjoying the party. Good boy! And then all the Karaoke singers were great. Here too, were temptations but I only succumbed to the ice cream. It's never too late to change. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Vocabulary

Super Scrabble Answers:  greed  death  zoo  grown/groin
And today we give you a "C" word which is clear.
1. clear (ADJECTIVE) = easy to hear, see or understand. ex1: She spoke in a loud clear voice. ex2: It is clear that Jane is unhappy.
2. clear (ADJECTIVE) = with nothing in the way; empty. ex: The roads were clear so we arrived ahead of schedule.
3. clear (ADJECTIVE) = bright; without clouds. ex: The sky is very clear today.
4. clear (VERB) = take things away from a place because you do not need them there. ex1: When you have finished you meal, clear the table. ex2: They hurried to clear the snow after the storm.
The pic is January 1st sunrise from my house. Note the clouds in the upper right corner.

Puzzler Answers

Two more football Games today. I pick ATLANTA and NEW ENGLAND to win. M and E and I will also go to see Les Miserables today. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.
HOME PROJECT: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Puzzler Hints

I will watch 2 footabll games today. The first is at 6:25AM and then from 9:45AM. I pick DENVER and GREEN BAY to win. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.
HOME PROJECT: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Puzzler

A special weekend, eh? "The coming of Age Day" gives me another day off. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.
HOME PROJECT: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Super Scrabble

This particular puzzle was done September 29th last year. To tell you the truth I can't remember which group did it. I have so many picture folders. BTW I also have been trying to get my BLOG to work better. Some people only see a black screen when they click on any one  BLOG entry . It seems they can see the whole BLOG however. Actually this happens with our home computer. But, Miwako can see everything just fine on her Smart Phone. And I have no problem here at my school. So I deleted approximately 1,600 BLOG entries. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. At first I deleted them one by one. I knew there were too many to delete that way. But I found another way through some research. It was a mystery and I just knew I had to get to the bottom of. Unfortunately it didn't help. COOL WORDS: moist  exist  heave  fanny  maxim. So, what are the blanks? Answers next Monday.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tokyo Tower

The last time I went to Tokyo Tower was 4 or 5 years ago. The first time I went to Tokyo Tower was when I got married. Miwako and I exchanged vows at the St Albien church very near TT and then we invited all our friends to the top. It was pretty cool because my mother and sister were there. December 29th I had lunch with one teacher at Sunshine City in Ikebukuro and as I was free after that I went to TT. I got to the first observation deck and then had to wait one hour before taking the elevator to the higher level. I thought it was too high to use the stairs. I heard afterwards that it isn't so bad. Anyway the views were excellent just around sunset. When is the last time you were there?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Espanol

I have already started speaking Spanish to foreigners. It is difficult. I am hesitant to try depending on the situation. Sometimes there are too many people to try to speak. That is, it is awkward or I feel uncomfortable (shy?). My first real try was last month when I went to an event at the Citizens Hall in Okegawa. I met a lady outside the hall who is from Chile. We spoke a little in Spanish. I got her name and phone number. She lives in Ina Machi. I thought my biggest chance was at the UESS party last year. It was in Urawa and many foreigners attend as it is free for us. I had a very sore throat but I tried. My target was the Filipino's. However I learned that most of them DO NOT speak Spanish. But I got lucky and found this guy (see pic) from Mexico. I tried real hard and had a little success.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mochi Tsuki

 Mochi Tsuki means to pound rice into a dough. It is a traditional New Years event done all over Japan. I have done it a dozen or so times during my life here in Japan, but never with the Sumo wrestlers! The company that my daughter works for is a supporter of the TAKA DA GAWA Heya. This HEYA (stable) is only three years old so they do not have any Sumo Super Stars yet. My daughter invited me to join her in attending the event and I asked my friend, Claudio, to join us. We had to be there at 7AM. We pounded rice into O-mochi and got to eat the famous Chanko Nabe which is the staple of the Sumo wrestler. In the pic, I have to turn over the dough in the bottom of the tub while my friend strikes it with the mallet. Timing is very, very important.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Vocabulary

This week's word is "bottom". It has several usages. Check them out.
1. bottom = the lowest part of something. ex: They waited for us at the bottom of the hill.
2. bottom = The lowest surface in the inside of a container. ex: She found some candy at the bottom of her purse.
3. bottom = the lowest position in a class, on a list etc. a person, team, etc. that is in this position. ex1:  I was always at the bottom of my class in math. ex2: This game is between the two teams at the bottom of the league.
4. bottom = in the lowest, last or furthest place in a position. ex: the bottom line of a page, your bottom lip, the bottom step of stairs, the bottom rung of a ladder, the bottom shelf.

Puzzler Answers

And still more football today! Puzzler answers: CLICK HERE.
HOME PROJECT: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Puzzler Hints

More football viewing for me today. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.
HOME PROJECT: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Puzzler

So, how is your New Year going? I am ready to get back to work. So first, the puzzler: CLICK HERE.
HOME PROJECT: This month please try to use the combination of   too.... to.... I don't believe that there is a direct translation into Japanese for this English.
For example:
1. The coffee was too hot to drink. コーヒーは熱すぎて飲めなかった。
2. It was too far to go by bicycle. あまりに遠くて自転車で行かれなかった。
3. They were too young to understand. 彼らは若すぎて理解することできない。

The pattern is too 形容詞 to 動詞。Please try to make some sentences and ask your teacher if they are correct. OR try to use this phrase at your next lesson. Good luck.

Friday, January 4, 2013

So far...

So, how is your New Year going? I have been very busy AND relaxing. I guess that is what happens when I don't have to work.
1. 12/28 Went to Ueno Museum to see exhibition form the MET in New York. Then I went to check out Tokyo station.
2. 12/29 Had lunch with Troy at the 59th floor of Sunshine City Bldg. Then I went to Tokyo Tower.
4. 12/30 Visited TAKADAGAWA Sumo stable to do some O-mochi pounding with my daughter Rina and Claudio at 7AM. Later to my school to do blogging, etc.
3. 12/31 Watched American football on TV from 3AM to 2PM. Washed the car inside and out.
4. 1/1 Rang in the New Year at midnight at home and drank a beer. Next morning saw the sunrise from my house (see pic). Played cards with my family all night and drank too much.
5. 1/2 Had my first hangover in over one year. We met friends for lunch at a sushi-go-round, then a visit to the grave, then M's sister's family came to visit us at 6PM.
6. 1/3 Planning HatsuMoDe at Omiya Hikawa shrine and then I will go drinking with Mark.
Result: lots of enjoyment with friends and family and I gained 2 kilograms!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Little kids

I attended two kids events last month. One was at the MIDA Kindergarten in Kounosu where I teach on Fridays. It was their O-yugi-kai (left pic). There are 350 kids in this school. They have their own auditorium to hold events. They did not have any English events or entertainment or a show. I attended to check out the performances. They had music and dancing. I was really surprised to hear that the teachers make all the costumes. We also have one of our teacher's at a day care center in Kawagoe. They had their Christmas extravaganza at a Citizens Hall. Four of their classes had special English shows. The regular teacher couldn't make it so I went in his place. I had to perform by pronouncing words for the two year olds. They were pretty good. All in all it was good fun with the kids.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

From France

Miwako's youngest sister lives in France. Her husband is Japanese and they have two boys. They are Akira (6) and Jiiro (2). The sister and two boys were visiting during the holidays. They stayed three nights at the older sister's place in Ueno and then three nights at our place. The two boys were cool. Akira has stayed with us 3 times during their returns to Japan and this was Jiiro's second visit. Of course Jiiro doesn't know what's going on as he is only two. I had a great time "playing Uncle". We watched some TV together and played cards and wrestled (as I tickled them) and laughed a lot. M's sister is a very good mom. And as mom, Yumiko,  lives with us she was very pleased to have some "special time" with her two youngest grandsons. The left pic is at our house for Christmas. The right pic is at my school.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013

HAPPY NEW  YEAR Everybody!
Every year we make resolutions in America. I have four for this year.
1. I will make alcohol my friend. I will drink for pleasure and know when to quit.
2. I will make every effort to speak Spanish. I study Spanish by the radio but I must speak it in order to remember the usages.
3. I will learn music. Of course I will continue my violin challenge. But, I realized that I must understand music to excel in it.
4. I will be more thorough in checking MY BLOGS, e-mails, etc. I have been too lazy here.
How about you?