Thursday, February 28, 2013

The wedding

The next day, Sunday, was Alicia's wedding party. It was fantastic! Her mother produced it and the main theme was Disney. There were about 60 guests. The majority were Kendo and Iai teachers and students. M and I sat with the abacus and kindergarten teachers. They had a cut the cake event and there was one gown change. Following Japanese tradition, there were several speeches by Kendo and Iai "senseis". The food was delicious. We didn't drink as we had to drive home later. The party started at 11:30 and didn't finish until 2:45. It was so wonderful. I am a pretty fortunate Gaijin to be able to attend such a shindig (party). By the way, the Tokyo Marathon was held this day. We could see the runners as they passed below our hotel window. I also went outside to get some shots. Fantastic Day!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Imperial Hotel

Last Saturday I taught the sample lesson at Kenkatsu. It finished at 3PM. That was lucky for me. Why? Because Miwako and I went to the Imperial Hotel to stay one night. Why? Because the next day we attended my student, Alicia's, wedding party. We arrived at 5:30, checked in, and had dinner at a hotel restaurant.  After that we went to the bar/lounge for some drinks. That was pretty cool as it is something we hadn't done in a long time. I had three different kinds of whiskeys on the rocks and M had two gin concoctions We had a very pleasant conversation.  There was a piano player and a really drunk guy at the bar near us gulping down cocktails and smoking a big Cuban cigar. Our room was fantastic. Of course it is large and the bathroom is HUGE! Lots of glass, wood everything and all the amenities you could want. There was even a scale so I could weigh myself the next AM. All was well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Marathon

I ran in my first marathon last Friday. I came in last. Here's the story: I teach English at the MIDA Kindergarten on Friday mornings. Last Friday they had their annual Kindergarten Marathon. It is a tradition here. All kids run in groups by age. Since it was the English lesson time I was lucky enough to be able to participate. I got here a little earlier than usual and took part in the warm ups. Then the kids left the school ground one group at a time. I followed the "Grapes" and "Melon" boys. We ran around the school grounds, maybe 10 minutes. It might have been 500 meters. Lots of parents and grandparents lined the way cheering on their kids. When we arrived back at the ground we did some cool down exercises and then I went back to my school. It was a lot of fun. I hope to do it again next year.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vocabulary Monday

This time I will go for -tion -cion -sion words. Watch this.

1. emotion = a strong feeling such as love, fear or anger. ex: She never shows any emotions. ex2: I felt mixed emotions at the news.
2. evolution = the gradual development of something. ex: The evolution of the computer is rapid.
3. commotion = sudden noisy confusion or excitement. ex1: There was a lot commotion coming form the bar. ex2: The crowd waiting outside in the snow also caused a commotion.
4. vision = the ability to think about or plan the future with great imagination and intelligence. ex: The vision of a democratic land is the experiment we call "The United States of America".

Puzzler Answers

And, thankfully, we are all back to work, study and play today. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.
HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。
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, February 24, 2013

Puzzler Hints

And, of course, the wedding is today. I remember when I used to be single and lonely. Isn't love grand? Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。
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, February 23, 2013

Puzzler

We have an exciting weekend planned. M and I will stay at the Teikoku Hotel tonight and attend my student's wedding tomorrow. Cool! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。
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, February 22, 2013

Book Report

I read the Call of the Wild by Jack London at the end of last year. I read it first, maybe 45 years ago, when I was a young pup. Now that I am an old dog, I reread it. It brought back some fond memories. The story: Buck is a dog on a ranch in Southern California. The owner is a judge and all the family loves Buck. He is four years old and rules over the other animals. One day a bad guy dognaps (steals) Buck and sells him to some other bad guys. They also sell him and Buck is taken to the Yukon in Alaska. Here he begins the brutal life of a sled dog. He learns to kill, steal and be the best dog sled leader of all. Finally he returns to the wild. He is a feared and powerful leader of a pack of wolves. It was very easy reading and an interesting story. Bow wow.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My speech

I gave a speech at the Kazou RINRI HouJinKai Morning Seminar yesterday. Recently I have been taking my violin and giving demonstrations but I didn't this time. I have plenty to talk about. I had to get up at 4AM, get ready and leave my house at 5:05. I got there (it is near Kazou city hall) at 5:40 and the meeting starts at 6:00. I am supposed to speak from 6:20 to 6:55. BUT, there were three clocks and all had different times. The Group President warned me about that but I forgot. I spoke 6 minutes over the time limit. How embarrassing! My basic speech was about not drinking and I revealed my vision about starting a Japanese English Teacher's' Association nationwide. Have I told you about that yet? No? Coming soon! I just remembered now that I didn't get my picture taken. The pic you see is from 0ur Okegawa Morning Seminar last December.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Route 66

My best non-family friend is John. He is a professional film maker. He travels the US and makes documentary style videos about the US and its people: east coast, west coast. The Rocky mountains, New Orleans, US/Canada border, Alaska, etc. His most recent effort is a trip along America's "Mother Road", Route 66. I am sure you all know it. It was the first highway to link (connect) Chicago to Los Angeles. He sent me the DVD last week and I sat down to relax and watch it Sunday night. Route 66 goes through 8 states and crosses rivers, plains, mountains and deserts. It is 2,000 miles (3,200kms) long. John meets and talks to so many cool people. They are all enthusiastic about the charm and history of the road. There are a lot of classic buildings and cars and signs and statues. The scenery is beautiful. I have never been there. Maybe I should go someday. To see John's HP CLICK HERE: http://www.rvadventurevideos.com/


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A stranger

 I went to Warehouse (see right pic) for the Karaoke party with my Seibu Bunka Center students two s ago as I told you. Do you remember? I checked the Internet and found that I need to take bus #22 from Omiya station. I got to Omiya early and was looking at the schedule. I met this foreigner there. (see left pic). He told me that there are two buses and they both go to basically the same place. I had no reason to doubt him so I rode the bus with him. He is Russian. He lives in Fukushima but since the nuclear power plant disaster he lives in Kawagoe on the weekends. He said that he returns to his home sometimes. Actually, he just got back from Russia. He as an interesting person and we had a nice chat. However, the bus did not take me to my destination. But, that's OK. At the party I refrained from drinking too much. The results were excellent.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Vocabulary

Last week I tried some dis- words. It was not easy to use them. This week I will try some re- words. I hope to get better results. (BTW The pic is the snow near my house last Wednesday)
1. remember = to have or keep an image in your memory of an event, a person, a place, etc from the past. ex1: Do you remember last Christmas? ex2: She couldn't remember my name. ex3: I remember quite clearly what he said so long ago.
2. reverse = to change something completely so that it is the opposite of what it was before. ex: The government has failed to reverse the economic decline. ex2: They reversed roles: He did the housework and she ran the business.
3. recover = get well again after being sick or hurt. ex: The youngster recovered quite soon after his injury.
4. repay = to give something to somebody in return for something they have done for you. ex: How can I ever repay you for your kindness? ex2: Let me buy you dinner to repay you for your hard work.

Puzzler Answers

And now back to work. That was actually a good weekned. Not too busy, not too free. Just right! Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。
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, February 17, 2013

Puzzler Hints

I have plenty to do this Sunday morning and then bridge practice with M in the afternoon. And then maybe a family Karaoke party. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。
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, February 16, 2013

Puzzler

I teach 10am to 5pm and then have a RINRI meeting and drink party at 6pm. Can I control it? Probably not! Puzzler CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。
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, February 15, 2013

Party weekend

 Well, last weekend included the Monday holiday, National Foundation Day. So I had lots of free time. In such a case, I used to drink a lot as I had time to recuperate. And, well, this time, too. I discovered that I haven't changed much. First we had the RAM English party Saturday night (see pic1). Five members attended plus Miwako and myself. Then I had a Karaoke bash Sunday afternoon with the Seibu group members. (see pic2.) There was plenty to drink but I held back. Success! And the singing was fun. Then at night M and I went to Shoya to dine ..... and, of course, drink. To my dismay, I went overboard and drank too much. The next day was the usual recuperate day but it was not so bad. I actually did a lot of work and attended to all my hobbies. I am not at all dissatisfied with myself. Better luck next time.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Quote:
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. -Helen Keller
1. Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. So, he outlawed (banned/forbade) marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the law, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that Valentine be put to death (killed).
2. In America about 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged every year, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.
3. I once gave my sweetheart a dozen red roses. She soon after dumped me. Sigh.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Foundation Day

National Foundation Day is a national holiday in Japan celebrated annually on February 11, celebrating the foundation of Japan and the accession of its first Emperor, Emperor Jimmu. He ascended to the throne on the first day of the first month.
In the Meiji period, the Japanese government designated the day as a national holiday. In its original form, the holiday was named Empire Day.With large parades and festivals, in its time, this day was considered one of the four major holidays of Japan.
Given its reliance on Shintoism and its reinforcement of the Japanese nobility, Empire Day was abolished following World War II. Ironically, February 11 was also the day when General MacArthur approved the draft version of the model Constitution in 1946.
The commemorative holiday was re-established as National Foundation Day in 1966.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chinese New Year

February 10th was celebrated as the New Year in China. It is based on the lunar calendar. Here are some facts about it:
People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of "good fortune" or "happiness", "wealth", and "longevity." On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Vocabulary Monday

It's a holiday but I MUST give you some vocabulary for the week. I will try some dis words. dis is a prefix attached to words which usually changes the meaning to not, BUT not always.
1. discover = to find something that was hidden and did not expect to find. ex: We discovered a beautiful beach while sailing around the island.
2. display = show something so that people can see it. ex: I have never seen her display any signs of emotion.
3. dissatisfied = not happy or satisfied with something. = ex: I am dissatisfied with my violin playing.
4. disturb = to interrupt somebody when they are trying to work, sleep, etc. ex1: The clock's tick-tocking disturbs my concentration. ex2: If you wake up early try not to disturb everyone else.

Puzzler Answers

And I have a whole day off today. What on earth will I do? Stay tuned. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。
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, February 10, 2013

Puzzler HInts

And now this day I have a Karaoke festival with the Seibu students group. I am sure I will imbibe some more. And I am NOT ready and willing to curtail my drinking. Bottoms up! Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。
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, February 9, 2013

Puzzler

Miwako and I are hosting a small RAM English get together with 5 students. I am sure I will imbibe. However I am ready and willing to curtail my drinking. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。
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, February 8, 2013

RINRI

Answers form yesterday's Super Scrabble BLOG: DRINK  NESTLE  ANIMAL  ERASED/ERASER 

I continue my study at the RINRI Institute for the Study of Ethics in Business. It is for company owners, large and small. They preach that the route to a successful business goes through the family. If you are happy at home then you can have a free mind to compete and win in the business world. It is oh so true. It is all volunteer and on top of that we pay 10,000en/month to be a member. We have a variety of studies. One main tenet is "greetings". We practice saying "Good morning", "Welcome" "Thank you" as a team with a leader (see pic). Our main study place is the Morning Seminar. Our group in Okegawa meets every Saturday at 5:30AM, gets the room ready, and then starts at 6:30. We finish at 7:30 then go to Cocos for breakfast. It also helps me cut down on my drinking as I must get up early a lot.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Super Scrabble

The kids took Eiken tests last week Saturday. We had fifteen students for Eiken 5, five for Eiken 4, three for Eiken 3, three for Eiken pre-2 and finally two for Eiken 2. We all studied hard in order to get ready for the exams. The younger kids did a lot of dictionary work and grammar study. Reading is pretty hard for them. The older kids did a lot of dictionary work and reading. Of course all did plenty of listening practice. My prediction is that all passed! That's because I am the teacher. Ha Ha! But really, I honestly think half of them passed. I will tell you the results when we get them. Of course after all that study the kids and I relax with GAME DAY. My favorite is Super Scrabble and we did that at two lessons. Here is one board. Cool words: fiction  demon  soggy  trend  peachy. Can you guess the blanks? Answers tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

SetsuBun

Setsubun, (Bean-Throwing Festival or Bean-Throwing Ceremony) is the day before the beginning of Spring in Japan. The name literally means "seasonal division", but usually the term refers to the Spring Setsubun, properly called Risshun celebrated yearly on February 3 as part of the Spring Festival (haru matsuri). In its association with the Lunar New Year, Spring Setsubun can be and was previously thought of as a sort of New Year's Eve. So it was accompanied by a special ritual to:
  1. cleanse away all the evil of the former year and
  2. drive away disease-bringing evil spirits for the year to come.
This special ritual is called mamemaki (literally "bean  throwing"). Setsubun has its origins in tsuina, a Chinese custom introduced to Japan in the eighth century. Miwako, Yumiko and I threw beans outside the door to celebrate. Then I ate 60! They were delicious.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

January review

I had a pretty good January. Of note was going back to drinking. I had three parties where I drank only a little and then stopped when we went to sing at the Karaoke places. That was the good news. The bad news was I went back to my old style of over drinking several times. That is to say, drinking to excess. Or in other words drinking too much. No matter how you say it, it was a failure. I have to be stronger. On the other hand, I continued my new interests. I am quite satisfied with my violin playing. It almost sounds like music! I feel more comfortable playing in front of people. My Spanish listening has improved. Yes, every day is the key. And I finished two books and am now reading MOBY DICK. It is so interesting. I look forward to more satisfaction in February.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday Vocabulay

New week. New month. I will use these vocabulary words during the week. Can you spot them?
Ready?
1. ready = prepared so that you can do something. ex: I'll be ready to leave in five minutes.
2. ready = prepared so that you can use something. ex: The dentist readied all his drills and tools for the next patient.
3. ready = happy to do something. ex: She is always ready to assist me in my work.
4. get ready = prepare yourself for something. ex: As soon as I get home I get ready for supper.

Puzzler Answers

And today is SUPER SUNDAY! BUT, I can't wach the game because I gotta go to the DENTIST! !Puzzler Answer: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。

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, February 3, 2013

Puzzler Hints

Busy weekend for us. I sure hope I didn't drink last night! Here's the Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。

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, February 2, 2013

Puzzler

February? My, how time flies. I'm raring to go go go! Let's start with a Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2013: This month please try to use “used to”.

used to +動詞
よく~したものだ、昔は~をしていた、以前は~だった
(過去の習慣や長期の反復行動を表します。)

For example:
1. I used to travel abroad by myself.  私はよく一人で海外旅行に行ったものだ。
2. We used to play tennis every Sunday. 私たちは毎週日曜日にテニスをしていました。
3. He used to smoke. 彼は以前はタバコを吸っていた。

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, February 1, 2013

The end

When I lived in Omiya I made kids lessons at the neighborhood JiChiKai. We rented the space for 2,500en per month.  At first we had two students. That was 14 years ago. Little by little we were able to increase the number of students. That was because the lesson was cheap. There was no entrance fee or maintenance fee. Also the lesson fee was less than my regular fee as it was local. At our peak there were 21 students over 3 hours. But then the numbers declined (decreased). In the end there were only four (see pic). That is OK. The lesson finally ended Monday. I have a plan to do lessons at a Kindergarten come April so I need this time. Thank you all very much and good luck to you.