Friday, May 31, 2013

A RINRI speech

I am the co-chairperson of the RINRI Saitama Prefecture Morning Seminar Committee. Wow! That's long! Anyway we have a campaign during the months of May and June to bolster (raise) the attendance at morning seminars. Each group chooses one day during each month and designates it as their "Attendance Up Day". It is a kind of prestige thing. As the co-chairperson I go to different meetings maybe once or twice a week to help with the numbers. Tuesday I went to Kuki at 6AM and heard this ladies (see pic) speech. She was a comedian! Of course, she spoke about her life, parents, marriage, divorce, three kids and her business and RINRI. But, almost everything she said was a gag. I am sure she has made her speech many times. So, her timing and actions were perfect. Besides meeting a lot of old friends, I got to hear her wonderful speech. I 'm glad I went.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Report

When Miwako and I took our trip to Akita/Aomori during GW I knew I would have plenty of free time. So, I brought along two books. One is "50 Great Short Stories". The other is "Sleep No More". "Sleep No More" was pretty bad. It is too unrealistic. One woman has the power to look at a scene and know so many things about what happened. Unbelievable! Then the heroine lost her daughter in an accident 7 years earlier. But she appears as a ghost. No way. And her husband is a police detective but he does criminal things such as breaking into an office, and illegal Internet searching. Then the killer kills 5 people but doesn't kill the heroine or another guy even though he had a good chance. C'mon. And finally the very, very rich lady can kill people but never get caught. Sheesh. It was so simple that I read it in three days. I am sure I will never read it again.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rice fields

I don't know why, but I really LUV those rice fields. When I lived in Omiya there were a couple of fields nearby but I didn't see them every day. But we moved to Ageo seven years ago our home is surrounded by rice fields. They begin tilling and planting around GW. The weather is fine now for jogging. My jogging route is three kilometers and I can see fields about half the time I run. Right now they are mostly water so I can enjoy the reflections of the trees and sky on them. And the frogs! They begin singing (croaking!) pretty soon. Their melodies are so beautiful. It fascinates me to ride by on my bicycle at night. They stop their singing as I approach and pass by and then start up again when I reach my house and park my bicycle. So cool!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a national holiday in the USA. It was started to have Americans remember and offer gratitude to men and women who have died fighting for their country. Americans fight in many wars. Many Americans die for the freedom that Americans enjoy. This is truly a cornerstone of American life. Americans believes they fight to bring democracy to hte world. It is a good cause. But, not all agree. It is very difficult. Memorial Day was changed to the last Monday in May. It is a "Happy Monday" as hte Japanese say. So we can have a three day weekend. Many people believe this is wrong. The holiday should always be May 30th as it was originally created. Then we could really understand the meaning. I think this is correct.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Puzzler Answers

Good weekend that was. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

So, here's how my weekend went.
1. RINRI 6:30AM Morning Seminar.
2. Kids lessons at my school from 9AM to noon.
3. Two adult Kenkatsu lessons.
4. Then a special trip to Urawa. The Urawa Community Center has asked up to do our kids summer program again. Happy!
5. NO Saturday night drinking. It's a small miracle.
6. Back to Kenkatsu for a special morning lecture for the Urawa English Speaking Society members.
7. Bridge with Miwako at the Kenkatsu Center.
8. DRINKING!

How was yours?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Puzzler HInts

A special English lesson in the AM, bridge in the PM and then finally drinking at night. Hooray!
Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2013:  比較級と最上級(形容詞)

何かを比較するときに、形容詞の語尾を変化させて表現します。
比較級(ABより~) -er をつける。 最上級(Aが一番~) -est をつける。 

more(比較級), most(最上級) を前に置くだけの形容詞もあります。
EX)  real, wrong, common, handsome, beautiful, etc.

1. Mt. Fuji is taller than Mt. Akagi . 富士山は赤城山より高い。
2. Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan .  富士山は日本で一番高い山です。
3. Male birds are usually more colorful than female ones. オスの鳥は大抵メスよりカラフルです。
4. Kabuki is one of the most traditional entertainments in Japan. 歌舞伎は日本で最も伝統的な芸能のひとつです。

Please use these kinds of adjectives throughout the day and especially at the lessons.

oremostを使う形容詞は、まだ他にたくさんあります。
知っているものを、コメント欄に書き込んでください。

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Puzzler

Saturday once more. I have to do some business after my last lesson today so I put off my drinking until tomorrow. I can't wait! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2013:  比較級と最上級(形容詞)

何かを比較するときに、形容詞の語尾を変化させて表現します。
比較級(ABより~) -er をつける。 最上級(Aが一番~) -est をつける。 

more(比較級), most(最上級) を前に置くだけの形容詞もあります。
EX)  real, wrong, common, handsome, beautiful, etc.

1. Mt. Fuji is taller than Mt. Akagi . 富士山は赤城山より高い。
2. Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan .  富士山は日本で一番高い山です。
3. Male birds are usually more colorful than female ones. オスの鳥は大抵メスよりカラフルです。
4. Kabuki is one of the most traditional entertainments in Japan. 歌舞伎は日本で最も伝統的な芸能のひとつです。

Please use these kinds of adjectives throughout the day and especially at the lessons.

oremostを使う形容詞は、まだ他にたくさんあります。
知っているものを、コメント欄に書き込んでください。

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Service

A good lady friend of mine passed away one year ago. She had cancer. Basically we were drinking buddies. She also asked me to be the MC at her son's and then her daughter's wedding receptions. Last week I attended her one year memorial service. Fifteen people came. Do you believe in ghosts? I do. When we arrived at the Temple a butterfly suddenly flew right by where we parked. And later during the service inside the temple a fly landed on the floor right next to me and stayed five minutes. I believe the butterfly was my lady friend and the fly was another spirit coming to greet me. I also met one of her nephews. (He is not a ghost) He is a cool guy with a cool haircut. He is 28 years old. He has been playing the violin for 5 years. What a coincidence and so cool!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sport's Day festival

On May 12th we had our community Sports Day festival. I am a Han-chou. That means I am obliged to come early and set up the tent. Well, I arrived at 8:15 (15 minutes late) and the tent was already set up. I bicycled back home to get my camping chair. There is a tent for each community but a comfortable lounge chair is OK, too. The ceremony began at 9AM and then here was the stretching/warm up routine. I participated in three events. First I ran in the toss the ball over the rope event. I was lead-off (first) and I am usually very good. But, I was slightly hung over and I stumbled after tossing the ball so I dropped it. After that came the "mukade" race which we always lose (see pic). Then the grab the bread with your mouth event. It was so much fun. As always, I left at noon to go play bridge.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Glasses, glasses, everywhere

I now have four pair of glasses. That may not be too many but I think it'ss a lot. Here's the story. On May 11th I went to a dinner party in Omiya's west side with the O-sans13 group students. As always dinner was delicious and drinking was fun. Then 8 of us went to the east side for a Karaoke bash. That was fun also. The bad news was that I left my glasses somewhere. (Over the rainbow?). I called the Karaoke-Kan (twice), which is where we went and the police and JR and the taxi company. No one had them. So, I bought a new pair. The two pair in front are prescription. i.e. they have a lens designed to assist my eyes. In my case, the bottom half is for reading and the top half is to see far. No one had my glasses so I bought a new pair (right, front). Then I found out that there are two Karaoke-Kans in Omiya's east side. We called and sure enough, they turned them in to the police last week. I went the day before yesterday to get them. Whew! All's well that ends well.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book review

I read the classic novel Oliver Twist last month. Actually this was the second time. I read it 30 years ago or so. I remembered a couple of parts but not much. The author is Charles Dickens. I also reread his novel A Tale of Two Cities earlier this year. I really love his style of writing. It is truly story telling. He speaks directly to the reader. I enjoy it better than the straight narrative style. Also his English is almost two-hundred years old so it is quite interesting. Anyway the story is about the terrors of child abuse and working conditions in England during the 19th century (1800s). There was a lot of poverty and very, very many poor people living is slums and filthy (very dirty) housing. It had it sad parts but in the end the good guys won and the bad guys all lost. I may read it again some day.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Puzzler answers

Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Back to Monday. That was a good weekend. I had some free time so I:

1. At our RINRI MS I gave the president's address as our boss as out of town.
2. Teaching kids for 3 ours then adults for 3 hours.
3. Out to a delicious dinner at FUTABA with Miwako and Yumiko.
4. Go to a one year memorial service for my good lady friend in Urawa.
5. Went to Takashimaya to buy slacks.
6. Home to Karaoke with Miwako and Yumiko.
7. Home to relax with some beer and TV.

The end.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Puzzler Hints

We had a family dinner/drinking party last night. I wonder if I was able to control my alcohol intake? Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2013:  比較級と最上級(形容詞)

何かを比較するときに、形容詞の語尾を変化させて表現します。
比較級(ABより~) -er をつける。 最上級(Aが一番~) -est をつける。 

more(比較級), most(最上級) を前に置くだけの形容詞もあります。
EX)  real, wrong, common, handsome, beautiful, etc.

1. Mt. Fuji is taller than Mt. Akagi . 富士山は赤城山より高い。
2. Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan .  富士山は日本で一番高い山です。
3. Male birds are usually more colorful than female ones. オスの鳥は大抵メスよりカラフルです。
4. Kabuki is one of the most traditional entertainments in Japan. 歌舞伎は日本で最も伝統的な芸能のひとつです。

Please use these kinds of adjectives throughout the day and especially at the lessons.

oremostを使う形容詞は、まだ他にたくさんあります。
知っているものを、コメント欄に書き込んでください。

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Puzzler

The weekend at last. Of course I'm busy and I hope to do a lot of violin practice. Puzzler CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2013:  比較級と最上級(形容詞)

何かを比較するときに、形容詞の語尾を変化させて表現します。
比較級(ABより~) -er をつける。 最上級(Aが一番~) -est をつける。 

more(比較級), most(最上級) を前に置くだけの形容詞もあります。
EX)  real, wrong, common, handsome, beautiful, etc.

1. Mt. Fuji is taller than Mt. Akagi . 富士山は赤城山より高い。
2. Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan .  富士山は日本で一番高い山です。
3. Male birds are usually more colorful than female ones. オスの鳥は大抵メスよりカラフルです。
4. Kabuki is one of the most traditional entertainments in Japan. 歌舞伎は日本で最も伝統的な芸能のひとつです。

Please use these kinds of adjectives throughout the day and especially at the lessons.

oremostを使う形容詞は、まだ他にたくさんあります。
知っているものを、コメント欄に書き込んでください。

Friday, May 17, 2013

Coincidence

Please look at the photo. The gentleman is Mr. Masanobu Miyazawa. He is the owner of MARUKYU corporation. He is our Okegawa Rinri Hou Jin Kai president. He is a cool guy. So now, look at the white board. Do you notice anything interesting about it? Look at the information on it. We have our Okegawa RINRI Morning Seminar every Saturday. It starts at 6:30 so we have to arrive at 5:30 to set up. There are usually two of us but sometimes 4. The white board has all the info for this day's seminar. It has the names of all those who will appear this day. It also has the date and the number of the Morning Seminar. I found it most interesting that the date was 4/20 (April 20th) and this was our 420th MS! What a coincidence!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cockroach!

Nobody likes a cockroach, big or small. I am no exception = I do not like cockroaches either. They are the ugliest, most disgusting creatures you can find in your home. Well, I just finished my NHK Spanish radio lesson. I turned my teacher's chair (OR "captain's chair" as I like to call it.) when below me darted out (ran quickly) this very dark brown, jumbo cockroach. I was frozen for a second. It was the first cockroach of the year in my school. Of course, there are not many. Please don't worry about attending classes here. I kicked him across the room. He was stunned so I picked him up in a tissue and flushed him down the toilet. I'm sure he won't be the last. The picture is not a cockroach.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shinkansen

Miwako and I love to drive to different places around Japan. Our Toyota Camry is very comfortable and fun to drive. It is however a gas-guzzler (it eats/uses a lot of gasoline/fuel). It is very convenient when arriving at the hotel or wanting to take a quick drive around an area. However the trains have their merits, too. During our four day GW trip we rode two shinkansens, the Gonou-sen and several local trains. I was able to 1. sleep 2. read. 3. relax. I finished one novel during the trip! I didn't drink while I was on the trains but because I did drink at night I was sleepy during the day. So, I could nap on the trains whenever I wanted. Last year we drove 8 days to Nagasaki and back. At that time I was on the wagon so there was no fear of falling asleep at the wheel. I am now a Shinkansen fan!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hirosaki castle


On May 3rd we arrived in Aomori at 5Pm, checked into our hotel then headed directly to the nearest "watering hole". i.e. Izakaya (see pic below). Again the food and drinks were all delicious. The next AM we left the hotel and taxied to Shinaomori station and put our belongings in a coin locker. We then took the train to Hirosaki station, took the 100en bus to the park and cruised around looking at the cherry blossoms and the castle. Most blossoms were at about 50% but there were some trees in full bloom. There were a lot of foreigners there. We talked to two guys from Misawa base and later two ladies from the USA. It rained on and off and we got a little wet but we spent a very pleasant time there. Back to the station again by 100en bus where we bought souvenirs and then returned to Shinaomori to catch the Shinkansen for home. We rode the HAYABUASA. Fantastic!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Puzzler Answers

Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.
It's Monday and I have an important new job today. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. In the meantime my weekend went something like this:
1. RINRI meet 6:30AM Saturday. I finally convinced them to change my job from MC to Morning greeter. It was cool.
2. Teach the kids at my school.
3.Teach two Kenkatsu adult classes.
4. Party with the O-san's 13 group. Good food, good drinks and good company. Yes, a good time.
5. Neighborhood Sports Day festival in hte AM.
6. Bridge with M. That went well.
7. Relax at home. No drinking! No kidding!

HOME PROJECT for May 2013:  比較級と最上級(形容詞)

何かを比較するときに、形容詞の語尾を変化させて表現します。
比較級(ABより~) -er をつける。 最上級(Aが一番~) -est をつける。 

more(比較級), most(最上級) を前に置くだけの形容詞もあります。
EX)  real, wrong, common, handsome, beautiful, etc.

1. Mt. Fuji is taller than Mt. Akagi . 富士山は赤城山より高い。
2. Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan .  富士山は日本で一番高い山です。
3. Male birds are usually more colorful than female ones. オスの鳥は大抵メスよりカラフルです。
4. Kabuki is one of the most traditional entertainments in Japan. 歌舞伎は日本で最も伝統的な芸能のひとつです。

Please use these kinds of adjectives throughout the day and especially at the lessons.

oremostを使う形容詞は、まだ他にたくさんあります。
知っているものを、コメント欄に書き込んでください。

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Puzzler Hints

I'm free in the AM so I'll probably work. I have bridge at 1PM so I'll have to concentrate. I'm free after that so I'll.....drink? Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2013:  比較級と最上級(形容詞)

何かを比較するときに、形容詞の語尾を変化させて表現します。
比較級(ABより~) -er をつける。 最上級(Aが一番~) -est をつける。 

more(比較級), most(最上級) を前に置くだけの形容詞もあります。
EX)  real, wrong, common, handsome, beautiful, etc.

1. Mt. Fuji is taller than Mt. Akagi . 富士山は赤城山より高い。
2. Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan .  富士山は日本で一番高い山です。
3. Male birds are usually more colorful than female ones. オスの鳥は大抵メスよりカラフルです。
4. Kabuki is one of the most traditional entertainments in Japan. 歌舞伎は日本で最も伝統的な芸能のひとつです。

Please use these kinds of adjectives throughout the day and especially at the lessons.

oremostを使う形容詞は、まだ他にたくさんあります。
知っているものを、コメント欄に書き込んでください。

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Puzzler

Here is the weekend! Happy! Puzzler: CLICK HERE. And, do you know these guys?

HOME PROJECT for May 2013:  比較級と最上級(形容詞)

何かを比較するときに、形容詞の語尾を変化させて表現します。
比較級(ABより~) -er をつける。 最上級(Aが一番~) -est をつける。 

more(比較級), most(最上級) を前に置くだけの形容詞もあります。
EX)  real, wrong, common, handsome, beautiful, etc.

1. Mt. Fuji is taller than Mt. Akagi . 富士山は赤城山より高い。
2. Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan .  富士山は日本で一番高い山です。
3. Male birds are usually more colorful than female ones. オスの鳥は大抵メスよりカラフルです。
4. Kabuki is one of the most traditional entertainments in Japan. 歌舞伎は日本で最も伝統的な芸能のひとつです。

Please use these kinds of adjectives throughout the day and especially at the lessons.

oremostを使う形容詞は、まだ他にたくさんあります。
知っているものを、コメント欄に書き込んでください。

Friday, May 10, 2013

Gonou-sen

This train runs from Akita to Aomori. It goes along the coastline of both prefectures. On the mountain side is the Shirakami Sanshi. All seats are reserved so there is no standing. That would block the views. The seats are spacious (with lots of room) and comfortable. The windows are huge. There are areas at the back of each car with standing room available. They also have entertainers perform there. (We were lucky as the train was not so crowded and there was no entertainment.)  There are special seats that are separate compartments. The seats fold down so you can stretch out (if you are not too tall) and sleep. It looks like fun for a family of four with two young kids. The coastline is rugged with plenty of lava rocks. The weather was bad which produced a lot of high, crashing waves on the rocks. I think we were lucky. The train also slowed down when we passed interesting scenery. I recommend taking this train once in your life.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

GW in Akita

Miwako and I always take our vacations by car. We both enjoy driving. But this year we decided to go by Shinkansen. This travel plan was a remake of two years ago when we couldn't travel because we had a car accident. M made all our travel plans and reservations this time. We took the Shinkansen to Akita. It started fast but slowed down when we crossed through the mountains from Morioka. We took a local train to Oga station and then the hotel bus. Our hotel was excellent. We stayed two nights, May 1 and 2, so it wasn't too expensive. But it was "high class". The food was excellent and the view was superb. The weather was rain and wind and clouds all the time. We had hoped to see the sunset but, alas, it wasn't to be. We also enjoyed the second day at the hotel. We were the only guests. Very relaxing.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Oh, Canada!

My daughter, Eri, is 22 years old. She is a college student here in Japan. She will study abroad, in Canada, to be specific. She will attend the University of Winnipeg from April 30th until December. She will be living with a host family. The family has one mother and father and three little kids. The two boys are 6 and 3 and the girl is 1 year old. M and I took Eri to Narita airport on the ON-liner at 6:20 AM last Tuesday. We stayed there until 10AM when Eri finally went to board her flight. She took her own computer so she won't bother her host family by using theirs. Of course she does Twitter and can skype so I am sure we will not miss her...too much.
PS Check out he Canadian national anthem here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idzh6mKbUAE

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

GW finished!

That was excellent! I did a lot of work and preparations for my business before GW so I could relax during the time off. I enjoyed every minute of it. Here are some highlights:
1. Got drunk 3 times.
2. Eri left for study in Canada (boo hoo!)
3. Stayed two nights at "High class" (according to the Internet ad) hotel in Akita.
4. Rode the Gonou-sen train.
5. Visited Hirosaki castle and park in Aomori.
6. Rode the Shinkansen to Akita and then from Aomori HAYABUSA!
7. Took two bike rides.
8. Finished reading one book and read one more.
9. Miwako's piano came. So cool!
10. Jogged, practiced the violin, practiced Spanish on the radio, practiced bridge with M, watched movies/baseball on TV, went to see a movie (terrible).
11. Relaxed.

How about you?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Kodomo no Hi

Kodomo no Hi – Celebrating Children’s Day in Japan
The fifth day of the fifth month (May 5) is considered a lucky day in the Japanese culture. From
about the ninth century, it was a day when families celebrated their sons, and until 1948, it was
known as Boy’s Day. Then the government changed it to a national holiday for both boys and girls
and called it Children’s Day or Kodomo no Hi.
Children’s Day is celebrated in a most colorful way; kites, streamers and windsocks representing
colorful fish called carp fill the skies as families fly them from poles in their gardens and yards.
The carp is a symbol of courage, endurance, perseverance, and strength because it swims upstream
against the current. The design of the pennants was inspired by a Chinese legend that a strong carp
could become a dragon by swimming up a waterfall. The carp (called koi in Japanese) symbolizes
the parents’ hope for their children to be successful.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

No Puzzler

Still relaxing. But, I do have to attend a Clean Ageo event. I will explain later this week.

Cheers,

Rick

Saturday, May 4, 2013

No Puzzler

Sorry. No Puzzler today. I am very, very busy relaxing. Try again next week.

Cheers,

Rick

Friday, May 3, 2013

Constitution Day

Kenpo kinenbi


When: May 3rd every year
Where: Japan
Japan no longer has an army as a result of their post war constitution, but it does have a Self Defense Force. Attack is not allowed in any shape or form although they maintain the right to defend themselves from other aggressors.
Kenpo kinenbi (Constitution day) is a national holiday  in Japan to celebrate the day in 1947 when this constitution was put into effect, asserting that people have fundamental human rights and renouncing war.
No particular festivities happen on this day but it is the second of 5 national holidays in the space of 7 days that make up Golden week, a fantastic week of no work and all play for the Japanese.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Robbed ... Part 3 edited

The original blog was April 26th.

I said to him,
"Perhaps, our money has been stolen."
"I'll bet our money has been stolen." We checked our wallets.
Almost all our money was gone, stolen as expected.
Just as I expected (thought) almost all our money was gone.
We were easily deceived by a bogus detective.
We were disappointed. But we weren't injured by them.
So, we pulled ourselves together and looked for the police station.
We reported to the police.
I explained about the state of affairs.
I explained what (had) happened (= transpired).
Criminal's features, etc.
The police in London was very kind for us.
I talked to 3 policemen about the criminals.
I think I can't get stolen money back.
I am pretty sure we will never see that money again.
But the police in London sometimes send me e-mails about the criminal investigation.
Until now 4 times.
Four times to date. = Four times so far.
I had an unforgettable experience, but someday
I'd like to go to England again. = I'd like to go to return to England.
Because I know that almost people are good.
Because I know that most people are good.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Robbed ... Part 2 edited

The original blog was April 25th

"Police! police!" they shouted showing a policeman's notebook.
They said to the tourist and us, "Show me your passports."
We showed them each passport.
We each showed them our passports.
They said, "No problem." And returned our passports.
Next, they ordered us to show our money.
First, I thought since my husband and I were foreigners, so we were questioned by a police detective.
First, I thought that since my husband and I were foreigners we were being questioned by the police. The tourist showed his wallet.
2 policemen checked his money and saying "No problem." they returned him it immediately.
The 2 policemen checked his money and saying "No problem." returned it to him immediately.
My husband and I showed our wallets, too.
They checked and returned immediately.
They checked them and returned them immediately.
They said, "No problem.
Go away."
"You may go."
I soon noticed that those three were in cahoots and our money must have been taken.
I soon realized that those three were in cahoots and our money was surely taken.
Because of the way they moved their hands was suspicious.
But my husband didn't notice and said "Let's go."
He didn't want to get involved with the policeman.
He didn't want to get involved with the police.