Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Civic duty

As you know, I am the "Han-chou" for 15 homes in our Danchi. That will last two years. It started this April. I am obligated to (must) do Volunteer work. I think I can refer to this as my "civic duty". Anyway, this past Sunday we had to meet at the local temple. It is the MITSUGI-IN. It is small and the Buddhist preist only comes to do memorial service ceremonies. We hold the local Autumn Festival in Octobor and all the kids and adults wear clothes and costumes from long ago. These are stored in the temple. This past Sunday about 25 people came to bring these articles out of the closets and chests and hang them on lines inside the temple to air them out so they don't mold. It only took about 25 minutes. Many people then returned in the afternoon to put them away. I couldn't as I had a Karoke Party to go to.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mida K private lessons

Click on image to make it bigger
I'm pretty fortunate. I got a job at the Mida Kindergarten in June 2012 as the regular English teacher. And then from this May I started the after school lessons. It is private and we have 26 students. The first 50 minute group is 4 year olds. We started with 12 but one quit. They don't understand what is going on yet. However they are getting used to things. The second group is the 5 year olds. They don't mind studying. But they get antsy soon, especially the boys. They like to get up and run around. If I am teaching a lesson, I have to stay calm and continue with my teaching. When I am done I can tell them to stop and sit down. It is a matter of timing. But, it really is a cool job. There are 15 kids here. We overbooked so I had to extend the lesson to 70 minutes. I just hope I don't run out of luck.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Puzzler Answers

As usual a busy weekend. But now it is back to work with some more delicious time off. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.
The pic at the bottom is my rice field this AM.

Saturday
1. RINRI Morning Seminar. I made the Member's Speech.
2. Teach at my school.
3. Teach Kenkatsu.
4. Go to UESS (Urawa English Speaking Society) summer party. I make the toast as usual. AND they let me play the violin: Over the Rainbow and Edelweiss.
5. Home to relax and drink a little.
Sunday.
1. Blog.
2. Neighborhood duty at the local Shrine 9 to 10AM.
3. Spanish week review and violin practice.
4. Go to Karaoke Party in Omiya. They too allow me to play my violin!
6. Go with M to look at cars, end up buying one.
7. Relax at home.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Puzzler Hints

I had a party last night. I will tell you about it later this week. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.
The pic below is my rice field this 8AM.

run out of  (何か)
(何か)を切らす, ~を使い果たす、~がなくなる
私たちが日常生活でよく口にする言葉です。

1. Oh no! We ran out of sugar.  しまった! 砂糖を切らしてたんだ。
2. We’re running out of toilet paper. トイレットペーパーがなくなりそうだ。
3. I have run out of patience with him!  彼にはもう我慢できない!
4. We are getting low. Let’s buy some before we run out!  少なくなってきたから、なくなる前に買っておこうよ。

“run out of ~” を日常生活の中で使ってみましょう。口に出して言ってみることがよい練習になります。
Good luck!



Saturday, July 27, 2013

Puzzler

Welp, it's then end of the month and all is well. I am really enjoy my time off. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

run out of  (何か)
(何か)を切らす, ~を使い果たす、~がなくなる
私たちが日常生活でよく口にする言葉です。

1. Oh no! We ran out of sugar.  しまった! 砂糖を切らしてたんだ。
2. We’re running out of toilet paper. トイレットペーパーがなくなりそうだ。
3. I have run out of patience with him!  彼にはもう我慢できない!
4. We are getting low. Let’s buy some before we run out!  少なくなってきたから、なくなる前に買っておこうよ。

“run out of ~” を日常生活の中で使ってみましょう。口に出して言ってみることがよい練習になります。



Friday, July 26, 2013

Mida Kindergarten


Click on the photo to enlarge it
 The summer is very hot and humid here in Japan. It is the same in my hometown, the bankrupt city of Detroit. I teach at two kindergartens and both are closed for the summer. That means I have about 5 free hours extra every week until September. What shall I do? Of course, I will spend more time practicing the violin and read Les Miserables (it's 1200 pages so I plan to finish by September) and even relax a little. Of course I can drink a little more but I have to be careful. Watching my weight helps me keep my drinking under control. I don't know if this is good or bad: some people say "Let the good times roll!" or "Eat, drink and be Merry!". That means to do as you please, but I feel different. How about you? The picture is last week (my last day ) at the Kindergarten. We played BINGO. It is everyone's favorite game.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Charity Event

Sunday afternoon M and I had bridge practice. But, because we went to the bridge competition 7/14 we were able to go to a special charity event in Gyoda. The sponsor is one of my RINRI comrades (friends). He sings baritone. So, there were four artists in this event. His wife was on piano, there was a pro soprano singer and a violinist. It just so happens that the violinist is my teacher! So, we were lucky to be able to attend this event. They sang and played Japanese and European folk songs as well as music from operas Rigoletto, Carmen, Don Giovanni. It was fantastic. M and I sat in the front row of the MIRAI Center hall in Gyoda. Then during the second half my teacher played a solo. It was so sweet! I am really look forward to my lesson tomorrow. I just hope she doesn't run out of patience with me.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Music Festival

We went to Hiroshi's restaurant Viento in Ina Machi Sunday evening. This is where I made my violin debut in April. It was a disaster. But as the RINRI people say "Pressure is the best teacher." This time there were several performances in the afternoon. Miwako and I arrived around 5PM, had a bite to eat and then were on stage entertaining. There were 3 main events for M and I:
1. I played my 4 songs with Mari on the piano. There was also a drummer here this time. I must say I have improved because I practiced a lot. But, I still made many mistakes. Watching the video afterwards was very helpful for my study.
2. M played piano while I sang. That was a first for us and rather special because we did it as a couple. That  was lots of fun.
3. M played solo for the first time ever in front of an audience.
The following are videos. The quality is not good but you can see enough, if you want. Thanks everybody!

Rick's violin
R and M "Cryin Time"
M's soslo

Super Scrabble answers    rinse/naiv touched/do  master  oust

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Super Scrabble


Click on the pic to enlarge it
I finally got a chance to play Super Scrabble for the first time in a long time. There were two high school girls in the lesson. One of them passed the Eiken 2 interview. So, we (I?) wanted to celebrate and relax at the same time. We played SS.  So we got started and I handled two players duties. As you may or may not know, the object of the game is to make English words. Each player starts with 7 tiles. Each tile has a letter on it. The first player can use his tiles freely. However after that each player is required to use one or all of his letters (as many as he can) as well as one letter already on the board. It is difficult for non-native speakers. We ran out of time with the board 2/3rds finished. I completed it the next AM.
What are the blanks? Answers tomorrow. Cool words: vocal  riff  radar  mirth

Monday, July 22, 2013

Puzzler Answers

Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.
What a weekend! It went something like this:

Saturday
1. RINRI meeting.  I made the Member's speech.
2. Teach kids at y school. The kids are all in a festive mood as summer vacation has started.
3. Teach at Kenkatsu. With the best atmosphere at one lesson I was able to turn up my teaching several notches and give my 'A lesson'. I got a standing O.
4. Back to school to practice violin or just a bit.
5. Home to nap.
6. Eat supper.
7. Read L. Miserables.
8. Drink.
Sunday
1. Jog.
2. Weekly Spanish review.
3.Practice violin.
4. Read Les Miserables.
5. Nap.
6. Go to Gyoda to see concert (my violin teacher and RINRI buddy perform).
7. Perform at Viento in InaMachi. I sing "Cryin Time" and Miwako accompanies me on the piano. Then I play violin with Mari on the piano.
9. Home.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Puzzler Hints

This day we go to see my violin teacher in concert and then we are in a concert at Viento! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for July 2013:    “run out of ~”  

run out of  (何か)
(何か)を切らす, ~を使い果たす、~がなくなる
私たちが日常生活でよく口にする言葉です。

1. Oh no! We ran out of sugar.  しまった! 砂糖を切らしてたんだ。
2. We’re running out of toilet paper. トイレットペーパーがなくなりそうだ。
3. I have run out of patience with him!  彼にはもう我慢できない!
4. We are getting low. Let’s buy some before we run out!  少なくなってきたから、なくなる前に買っておこうよ。

“run out of ~” を日常生活の中で使ってみましょう。口に出して言ってみることがよい練習になります。
Good luck!

The pic is my rice field at 6:15 this AM.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Puzzler

The BLOG is finally working properly. I was definietly running out of patience! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for July 2013:    “run out of ~”  

run out of  (何か)
(何か)を切らす, ~を使い果たす、~がなくなる
私たちが日常生活でよく口にする言葉です。

1. Oh no! We ran out of sugar.  しまった! 砂糖を切らしてたんだ。
2. We’re running out of toilet paper. トイレットペーパーがなくなりそうだ。
3. I have run out of patience with him!  彼にはもう我慢できない!
4. We are getting low. Let’s buy some before we run out!  少なくなってきたから、なくなる前に買っておこうよ。

“run out of ~” を日常生活の中で使ってみましょう。口に出して言ってみることがよい練習になります。
Good luck!

The pic is my rice field at 5:25 this AM.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Reread

Of course, reread means to read again. In this case it is the past tense so the pronunciation is reread (RE-RED). And exactly what did I reread? It was the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. It took about 10 days. The story was excellent and easy to follow. What makes this reread unique is that I reread the book as soon as I finished it. Yes, the very next day I started at page one again. That is my first time. I have reread other books and one book three times That was 2001: A Space Odyssey (see pic). However rereading this one immediately after I finished it was great. It helped me to sort out the characters. As you may know, my brain slips a lot. It can't hold a lot of information at one time. So, information leaks out. It's either because I am getting old or just stupid, but probably both! I have run out of things to write so I will end this here. Actually I forgot what I was writing about. C U.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bridge Competition

Miwako and I have been practicing bridge for about 4 years now. It is excellent study. We must remember so many things. There is the bidding and then the playing. Playing includes both offense and defense. Both are fun. Two years ago we went to three competitions for beginners. We even got some Master Bridge points (0.06 to be exact). I thought we weren't really prepared to compete in these events and that it was a waste of our time to even try. But recently we have improved. So, we went to a competition in Ofuna. We compete against other "Novices" or beginners. We didn't win any points this time (I made one unusual bid that cost us dearly and M lost her concentration one time and made a big mistake) but it was good mental training and good to compete against other players that we are not familiar with. Maybe next time. Afterwards to Shoya to celebrate.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Neighborhood clean-up


Over 80 people came to clean up.

So, I drank enough liquor to satisfy me Saturday night and then I had to get up at 7AM Sunday to go to our neighborhood clean-up at 8AM. It happens once a year and I am the "Environmental Committee Chairman". That means I must show up. I have to make a small greeting. After that we went around the "Danchi" picking weeds and cutting tall grass and overgrown shrubs. The plan was to finish at 9Am. And some people did return home then. I stayed till 9:30. I wasn't very prepared (as usual) so I only wore a T-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes. The rest of the people were all dressed like farmers so they were protected. I got sunburned around my neck and arms. They also found at least two bee nests. It seems some people have abandoned their lots and don't pay taxes on them anymore. They are probably running out of money.

  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Marine Day

OMG! Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

A ship from Tokyo University of Fisheries takes a practice cruise on Marine Day, 2002.
Photo Courtesy of the Tokyo University of Fisheries
 Yesterday was Marine Day in Japan. Established in 1996, Marine Day is a relatively new holiday in Japan. It was originally declared as July 20th, but with the revision of the Holiday Law, the holiday was changed to the third Monday of July. The Holiday Law defines Marine Day as a day “to be grateful for the blessings of the ocean and wish for the prosperity of the maritime nation of Japan.” Marine Day is based on Marine Memorial Day, established in 1941 to commemorate the return of Meiji Emperor Mutsuhito to Yokohama Port after a visit to the northeast area of Japan on the steamboat Meiji Maru in 1876. On Marine Day, events related to the ocean are held all over Japan.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Puzzler Answers

The rice field this AM, 7:15.

A whole day off! We will go to a vioklin concert in the afternoon. Otherwise relax. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

I had a busy this weekend, like:
Saturday
1. RINRI Morning Seminar.
2. Teach kids at my school.
3. Teach adults at Kenkatsu.
4. Back to my school to do Spanish week review, practice violin.
5. Home to jog then drink.
Sunday
1. Go to neighborhood clean-up event from 8AM to 9:30AM.
2. Go with Miwkao to Ofuna by train (Green car!) to play in bridge tournament.
3. Play in tournament from 1PM to 4PM.
4. Back by train to eat and drink at Okegawa Shoya.
5. Home to watch Brad Pit, Harrison Ford movie.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Puzzler Hints

This BLOG still doesn't work properly. I am definietly running out of patience! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for July 2013:    “run out of ~”  

run out of  (何か)
(何か)を切らす, ~を使い果たす、~がなくなる
私たちが日常生活でよく口にする言葉です。

1. Oh no! We ran out of sugar.  しまった! 砂糖を切らしてたんだ。
2. We’re running out of toilet paper. トイレットペーパーがなくなりそうだ。
3. I have run out of patience with him!  彼にはもう我慢できない!
4. We are getting low. Let’s buy some before we run out!  少なくなってきたから、なくなる前に買っておこうよ。

“run out of ~” を日常生活の中で使ってみましょう。口に出して言ってみることがよい練習になります。
Good luck!

The pic is my rice field at 7:15 this AM.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Puzzler

Well, we finally get a day off this Monday. I was beginning to run out of hope. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for July 2013:    “run out of ~”  

run out of  (何か)
(何か)を切らす, ~を使い果たす、~がなくなる
私たちが日常生活でよく口にする言葉です。

1. Oh no! We ran out of sugar.  しまった! 砂糖を切らしてたんだ。
2. We’re running out of toilet paper. トイレットペーパーがなくなりそうだ。
3. I have run out of patience with him!  彼にはもう我慢できない!
4. We are getting low. Let’s buy some before we run out!  少なくなってきたから、なくなる前に買っておこうよ。

“run out of ~” を日常生活の中で使ってみましょう。口に出して言ってみることがよい練習になります。
Good luck!

The pic is my rice field at 7:15 this AM.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Rainy season

In early summer, most parts of Japan get visited by a rainy season. It is the so called tsuyu (or baiu), literally meaning "plum rain", because it coincides with the season of plums ripening. In most of Japan, the rainy season lasts from the beginning of June to mid July, while it affects the islands of Okinawa about one month earlier. Only Japan's northern most main island of Hokkaido gets barely affected by the rainy season. Actually, Tokyo registers only an average of 12 rainy days in June, while 120 hours of sunshine are recorded. As for the amount of rainfall, it varies from days with intensive downpours to other days with occasional sprinkles. And now the rainy season is over. I hope we had enough rainfall this year so we don't run out of water during the hot, humid days of summer. I also look forward to going to the beach.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

RINRI 30 years in Saitama

I have been a member of the Saitama RINRI Hou Jin Kai for 13 years. It is excellent study for me for two reasons. The main reason I continue to attend regularly is so I can study Japanese. But the basic study has been very helpful in my daily life. I am sure you know that it is not a religion. It is a self help guide. It is mostly common sense. But you also need to be a sincere and grateful person and respect those around you. Anyway,  there will be a 30 year anniversary party on July 31st. I will not attend as I will work. It will be quite a big bash. Last Sunday after the monthly meeting we had a rehearsal. It was actually a lot of fun and I was quite surprised at how many different people offered advise and suggestions throughout. I am sure the party will be a great success.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Phonics

I have decided to teach PHONICS to my kindergarten kids in Kounosu. Do yo know what PHONICS is? PHONICS is a method for teaching reading and writing the English language. The students develop the ability to hear, identify, and change sounds and spelling patterns. The goal of phonics is to help beginning readers to understand new written words by sounding them out. For example "b" is bu, "p" is pu, "s" is su and so on. In America teaching PHONICS is one standard to learn reading. But, I think that is because in the US kids use English every day. And they speak English every day. I have a feeling it will be difficult to teach it here. But, I have to keep trying until I run out of methods.You can see a video here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saF3-f0XWAY

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ario

Ario is a new shopping center (mall) in Ageo. It is at the end of the "Ageo by-pass" as my wife and I like to call it. That road goes from Omiya, near the west Omiya Police station, to Ageo's Number 2 Danchi. The shopping center is about 20 minutes from my home by bicycle. I rode there last Sunday just to check things out. It was so crowded! I went just around lunch time hoping to get a bite to eat. The lines were long at almost every restaurant (see pic). I was afraid that they would run out of food before it was my turn to order. I eventually got Nagasaki Champon. I strolled around the first and second floors looking at the shops. I went to one shoe store to look at sandals but they had junk, as my mother would say. I did end up buying some delicious Shochu and munchies. I also met two students there. It's not fantastic but you should go to see it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Puzzler Answers

And now back to work. Next weekend will be different though. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

I had a pretty typical weekend. As always it started with,
1. RINRI Morning Seminar.
2. Breakfast of pizza and bread from Vague.
3. Teach kids.
4. Soba lunch at Seigetsu.
5. By bicycle to Keankatsu because M is using the car.
6. Drink at home but not too much as I will get up early tomorrow. Can I do it?
Sunday
1. Special RINRI meeting 7AM at Palace hotel.
2. Bridge in the afternoon with M.
3. Go to Bunraku. M drinks two beers. I am the designated driver.
3. Drink and relax at home reviewing bridge results..
This picture is my rice field at 7PM Sunday night.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Puzzler HInts

Busy day of RINRI and then bridge. I am sure I will drink tonight! I just hope I don't run out of ice! Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for July 2013:    “run out of ~”  

run out of  (何か)
(何か)を切らす, ~を使い果たす、~がなくなる
私たちが日常生活でよく口にする言葉です。

1. Oh no! We ran out of sugar.  しまった! 砂糖を切らしてたんだ。
2. We’re running out of toilet paper. トイレットペーパーがなくなりそうだ。
3. I have run out of patience with him!  彼にはもう我慢できない!
4. We are getting low. Let’s buy some before we run out!  少なくなってきたから、なくなる前に買っておこうよ。

“run out of ~” を日常生活の中で使ってみましょう。口に出して言ってみることがよい練習になります。
Good luck!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Puzzler

This year is half over. Can you believe it? We will be running out of cool weather soon. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for July 2013:    “run out of ~”  

run out of  (何か)
(何か)を切らす, ~を使い果たす、~がなくなる
私たちが日常生活でよく口にする言葉です。

1. Oh no! We ran out of sugar.  しまった! 砂糖を切らしてたんだ。
2. We’re running out of toilet paper. トイレットペーパーがなくなりそうだ。
3. I have run out of patience with him!  彼にはもう我慢できない!
4. We are getting low. Let’s buy some before we run out!  少なくなってきたから、なくなる前に買っておこうよ。

“run out of ~” を日常生活の中で使ってみましょう。口に出して言ってみることがよい練習になります。
Good luck!

The pic is my rice field at 7:15 this AM.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Choosing a new president

Our Okegawa RINRI group has a new president for the coming year starting from September. We had to choose a president in June as there is a deadline so we had a meeting (see pic). There are 41 groups in Saitama prefecture. Ours has the lowest membership. Each group needs 100 members to start. We had that 10 years ago, but the membership has dwindled (shrank/gotten less) over the years. Now we have only 39 members and only six  members come regularly. However it is challenging to recruit (get) new members. It is a constant battle but if done with cheer it is certainly an excellent experience and study. I am not very zealous (eager/anxious/gung-ho) about recruiting. I did it when I was the president but I have become interested in other pursuits (hobbies). Anyway our new president is an ex-president. He did it because no one else wants to do it. We shall see what happens.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

July 4th is America's birthday. She was born in 1776 so she is 237 years old. Here are some names associated with America's birth.
1. George Washington The Father of our Country. He was the commander general of the continental army and then the first president.
2. John Adams - ambassador to England and the Netherlands. Became the 2nd president of the USA.
3. King George - Ruler of England when the war began.
4. Lafayette (see pic) - Frenchman who served as general under Washington.
5. Thomas Jefferson - a diplomat to France. Became the 3rd US president.
6. Benjamin Franklin - diplomat to France and England.
7. Betsy Ross - made the new US flag.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Book review

When I first got married I used to watch old movies at our apartment in Omiya. One movie I saw twice was To Kill a Mockingbird. I read the book last month. The meaning of the title is explained in the book. A widowed father buys an air rifle for his 12 year old son. He says "Now, I know you will shoot birds. I don't approve but it can't be helped. But, don't shoot a mockingbird. They sing lovely songs all day and don't cause any damage to crops or hurt people." In the story a man who never leaves his house except at night saves this father's two childrens' lives by killing a very bad man. Both the father and the sheriff know he did it but the sheriff refuses to arrest the man. Basically he is the mockingbird. One book review said "The reader will find an immense satisfaction ... and a desire, on finishing it, to start again on page one." That is what I have done.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Today's Lesson


 This is not an English lesson. This is a morals lesson from my RINRI study group. Last Saturday one gentleman came from Fukaya to speak to us. About 10 years ago I went to the Kukaya RINRI Morning Seminar to make a similar kind of speech. I was 2 minutes late! I took Route 17 instead of 17 by-pass. I remember that he was angry. Later we became friendly. His speech was nice. He told us a lot about business. Most of our ethical lessons deal with how to be a good businessman and what it takes to succeed.

His view is that:
1. You throw off (away) all your selfishness.
2. You become obedient.
3. You show gratitude.
You can then become successful.
The main goal is to be HAPPY. It can be difficult.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Puzzler Answers

Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

JULY!! Hooray! Speaking of weekends, how was yours? Mine went something like this:

1. RINRI Morning Seminar.
2. Teach kids...one new student!
3. Teach at Kenkatsu...but my Walkman was the  fritz.
4. Practice violin...pretty good?
5. Neighborhood meet...for Han-chous.
6. Read Mockingbird
7. Sleep at 10PM.
Sunday
1. Jog
2. Brush Leo and cut his nails.
3. Spanish week review.
4. Blog.
5. Violin practice.
6. Take bicycle ride to Ario (new shopping mall in Ageo).
7. Home to read Mockingbird.
8. Drink and sit outside to relax.
9. Relax (drink?) too much and fall asleep.