Friday, February 28, 2014

Sochi Olympics

The 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia have drawn to a close (come to an end/finished). Did you watch them? I saw some news on the Internet and TV. It looked like the Opening and Closing ceremonies were fantastic. I heard it cost 50,000,000,000 (that's 50 billion) US dollars to produce these Olympics. That is 30 billion British pounds. That is 511,890,000,000,000 Yen. Wow! My favorite event was men's Ice Hockey. The USA didn't get a medal, so, I could watch the GOLD medal game without any anxiety. I also saw some curling, alpine skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping and figure skating. My family watched it almost every night live. I, on the other hand, was sleeping and watched the news or checked results on the Internet the following day. The 2018 Winter Olympics are next door in South Korea. It should be interesting. Will you go?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Town Meeting

Last Sunday was the annual Fujinami Danchi town meeting. I currently (right now) hold the post of Environment Protector, or something like that. I arrived one hour early this day to help with the room set up and then to be receptionist. I checked the names of those who came and then gave everyone the meeting's agenda (info) and a bottle of tea. The meeting was 90 minutes from 10 to 11:30 and then we had a party. Lots of food, drinks and good cheer. I will continue my post for one more year. The President of the group retired after two years service and the vice-president will take over. They are both nice guys. The vice-president is younger than I am. I feel he is nervous about his new post. The retired president is older than I am and he seemed to take everything in stride. That is, he was calm and not anxious about anything. He did a very good job and I wish the new guy lots of luck.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Welcome home!

On the following day, Tuesday, I called the Kindergarten. Their phones didn't work. I tried four or five times. But, I kept (continued) getting a message that the phones were out of order. I tried the station again. Zero! So I ordered the bag on-line. It's for a 20-inch bike and it has a handle instead of a shoulder strap. I don't know if that is good or not. Then Wednesday morning I called Mida K on some other business. At the end of our conversation, the boss told me "By the way, we found your bike bag." Eureka! Happy guy, am I! I mailed Rakuten to cancel the bag. NO, they say. Sigh. I will now have two bags. However, later that day, I got a mail from the bag maker saying that they are out of stock. That means that the bag I want will be unavailable for several weeks. So, I have two choices: ① Wait or ② Cancel. Hallelujah! I cancelled and now I have my old bag back. Lucky Gaijin!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The bicycle bag

Actually it is a bicycle carrying-bag. The bicycle folds up into a smaller size and can fit in the trunk of the car (see pic). It can also fit in the carrying bag so I can transport (take/carry) it here and there. I need to do that on the train on Mondays. So, as I said last week I took the bike to the Mida Kindergarten by train. I was so excited at my brilliant idea that I lost the bag! I couldn't find it at the K after the lesson. I hurried to Kitakounosu station and it wasn't there. I asked at the office and no one turned it in. I took the bike on the train without the bag. The station guy wasn't happy. I got back to my school and called police lost and found. Nothing. I need a bag so I quickly checked on-line. I found one. It cost over 3,000en including shipping. I discussed it with Miwako and she agreed that we had no choice. But, I waited a few more days, just to be sure. Continued tomorrow.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Puzzler Answers

Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Nice weekend.
Saturday
1. I absented myself from the RINRI MS using my sore foot as an excuse.
2. So, up at 3AM to watch Olympic Ice Hockey semi-final between USA and Canada. USA lost.
3. To school to teach three lessons.
4. Finally able to teach two full classes at Kenkatsu.
5. Violin at school for 90 minutes.
6. Relax at home.
Sunday
1. From 9AM top 1PM at the JiChi Kaikan for our annual Town Meeting. I was the receptionist as I hold a post this year and next.
2. Bridge at our school with M and two lady friends. Practice, practice, practice.
3. Back home to watch Olympic Ice Hockey Finals. Canada wins GOLD 3-0 over Sweden.

6 year old writing the ABCs on the blakcboard

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Puzzler Hints

Thanks heaven I have some free time without snow this weekend. Also I'm ready for the SOCHI Olympics closing ceremonies. Are you? Puzzle Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2014: “right”
“right” には「右」「権利」「正しい」などいろいろな意味があります。
今回は、すぐに」 「ただちに」 「まさに」 「ちょうど」 という意味の ”right” を使ってみましょう!
(immediately, exactly, just,)

1. Clean your room right now!   すぐに部屋を掃除しなさい!
2. He apologized right away. 彼は即座に謝った。
3. I’ll go to his office right after this meeting.  この会議後、ただちに彼の会社に行ってきます。
4. The accident happened right over there.  その事故はまさにそこで起こった。
5. She arrived right on time.  彼女は時間ぴったりに到着した。

簡単な単語こそ使いこなしていきましょう!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Puzzler

And now for the final dry February weekend for me. To drink or not to drink...that is the question.
Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2014: “right”
“right” には「右」「権利」「正しい」などいろいろな意味があります。
今回は、すぐに」 「ただちに」 「まさに」 「ちょうど」 という意味の ”right” を使ってみましょう!
(immediately, exactly, just,)

1. Clean your room right now!   すぐに部屋を掃除しなさい!
2. He apologized right away. 彼は即座に謝った。
3. I’ll go to his office right after this meeting.  この会議後、ただちに彼の会社に行ってきます。
4. The accident happened right over there.  その事故はまさにそこで起こった。
5. She arrived right on time.  彼女は時間ぴったりに到着した。

簡単な単語こそ使いこなしていきましょう!

Friday, February 21, 2014

My new friend

I have a small problem. There is a pain at the bottom (ball) of my right foot. But, please don't fret (worry). It first occurred (happened) five or six years ago when I decided to walk from my house to my school for exercise. I did it twice in a row. Since then I have had this severe (hard/strong) pain in my foot. It comes and goes. Anyway, I need to walk less and not at all if possible. Miwako has a collapsible (folding) bicycle which she used to use. She hasn't ridden it in a long time. I was thinking about selling it on e-bay or some such site. But, now I use it! I took it by train to Kitakounosu last Monday. I was walking form that station to MIDA Kindergarten where I teach for two hours and then back. I rode the bike this time instead. Fantastic! But there were two problems. One was that the bike has no fenders so I got mud all over me. The second problem was that I lost the carrying bag. More next time.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bad bridge day

Well, you can't win all the time. We arrived way too early in Yotsuya for this match. We mistook the start time and also took Rina to Yotsuya station. We anticipated (thought/believed) that there would be more traffic because of the recent snow. But, no problems. So, we had brunch and then to the center. Our play was not good this day. I made three bidding errors. Miwako made one and then a couple of playing mistakes. The other teams were really playing well. After the smoke settled (when we were finally finished) I realized that recently some of our success was due to opponents (the other team's) poor play. That is, they made some mistakes that helped us to win. So, we still have to study more. Some other teams that don't usually win were successful. It was nice to see their smiling, triumphant faces. It made them like us more. Better luck next time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Great Expectations

Great Expectations is a novel written by Charles Dickens. He and Victor Hugo are my favorite writers. They wrote classic novels around the middle of the 19 century; that is, the 1830s to 1870s. So, they use old English. A lot of their phrases and idioms are new to them but old to us. I enjoy that plus they use some English that is no longer used. The truth is I was rather disappointed (not satisfied) with this novel. In the forward it explains that Dickens wrote this book as a monthly insert into his newspaper. At this time his newspaper was in trouble and he needed to boost (increase) readers. The story was published monthly for exactly one year. It was divided into three books all exactly the same length (size). I felt he wrote this book more to fit his newspaper and time schedule rather than from his heart. He wrote too long on some parts and then recalled a lot of happenings. I had never read this book before. I am sure that I will never read it again.
 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Setsubun No Hi


Can you see the beans flying outside the house?
(From Wikipedia) Setsubun 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. It is celebrated yearly on February 3 as part of the Spring Festival. Spring Setsubun can be (and was previously thought of) as a sort of New Year's Eve because of its association with the Lunar New Year. Therefore it was accompanied by a special ritual to cleanse away all the evil of the former year and drive away disease-bringing evil spirits for the year to come. This special ritual is called mamemaki  (literally "bean scattering"). Setsubun has its origins in tsuina, a Chinese custom introduced to Japan in the eighth century.
(From Rick) My family celebrated by tossing the beans outside and inside. We made the famous chant "Evil out, good fortune in". Miwako played the part of the ONI (devil) this time. Pretty cool. The beans are delicious, too. I ate sooooooooooooooo many!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Puzzler Answers

Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.
Another snow storm set me free! First, I canceled going to my RINRI Saturday AM meeting. Then I called all morning students to cancel my school lessons. Then I called Kenkatsu to discover that they cancelled all activities there for the day. I was as free as a bird! But a bird in a cage. I couldn't leave my house because of the snow! So, I settled down on the sofa with a blanket to watch Clint Eastwood in "Eiger Sanction". A good, old classic! During that time it was pouring rain. That softened up all the snow so I could finally drive to my school right after lunch. I made Homework for Eiken kids for two hours, got my violin and drove back home. Right away I got out the shovel and cleaned up the area in front of our house. Then violin practice and finally lounged around the house. Our town meeting was also cancelled. Finally at night I practiced bridge with Miwako for 40 minutes. We had a competition yesterday. We came in 8th out of 11 teams. Details Thursday.
Yesterday morning
 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Puzzler Hints

Another snow storm cancels all my classes, nighttime "town meeting"  and sets me free. I'm lovin' it again!  Puzzler Hint:CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2014: “right”
“right” には「右」「権利」「正しい」などいろいろな意味があります。
今回は、すぐに」 「ただちに」 「まさに」 「ちょうど」 という意味の ”right” を使ってみましょう!
(immediately, exactly, just,)

1. Clean your room right now!   すぐに部屋を掃除しなさい!
2. He apologized right away. 彼は即座に謝った。
3. I’ll go to his office right after this meeting.  この会議後、ただちに彼の会社に行ってきます。
4. The accident happened right over there.  その事故はまさにそこで起こった。
5. She arrived right on time.  彼女は時間ぴったりに到着した。

簡単な単語こそ使いこなしていきましょう!
Sunrise today 6:30


 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Puzzler

And now for another dry weekend. I'm lovin' it! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2014: “right”
“right” には「右」「権利」「正しい」などいろいろな意味があります。
今回は、すぐに」 「ただちに」 「まさに」 「ちょうど」 という意味の ”right” を使ってみましょう!
(immediately, exactly, just,)

1. Clean your room right now!   すぐに部屋を掃除しなさい!
2. He apologized right away. 彼は即座に謝った。
3. I’ll go to his office right after this meeting.  この会議後、ただちに彼の会社に行ってきます。
4. The accident happened right over there.  その事故はまさにそこで起こった。
5. She arrived right on time.  彼女は時間ぴったりに到着した。

簡単な単語こそ使いこなしていきましょう!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Saint Valentine' Day

  1.  Saint Valentine's Day, also known as Valentine's Day is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them.
  2. St. Valentine's Day began as a celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. One story of Saint Valentine of Rome says that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers. These soldiers couldn't marry under law. He also helped Christians. According to legend, while he was in prison, he healed the daughter of his guard. The story goes on to say that before his execution (his death) he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell.
  3.  In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
  4.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bridge

If you look at the chart you will see that Miwako and I placed (came in) second at Tuesday's competition (Silver medal?). Right at the outset (beginning) at our first board (or game) we lost. Oh well, there are still 21 more boards. So we played on. There were 13 teams, including us. Each team plays 2 boards against every other team. Miwako and I don't move. The other teams come to us in rotation around the room. In reality (actually) half the teams don't move. There are both men and woman. Some are couples some are two men some are two women. Sometimes a "loner" (single person) will enter so they have a "floater". He/she is available to pair up with (become the partner to) the loner. This competition is for beginners. M and I played solid, basic bridge. Some people will make mistakes bidding and some will go too far bidding. We used to do that, but now we understand. My challenge these days is counting the cards and trying to remember which cards remain. It is soooooo difficult.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

National Foundation Day

Yesterday was a public holiday here in Japan. National Foundation Day is a day to celebrate the creation of the new Japan after World War 2. I don't know about you, but I was very busy. I got up not so early, right at 6AM. After stretching I went jogging. I will not jog tomorrow. It has become my ritual (plan, habit) to jog 5 days a week. From there BLOGGING and then to school to make homework for the Eiken kids. I made homework until June. I didn't have much time, so I did some basic practice on the violin for 30 minutes. I did a lot of straight bowing practice. Then Miwako and I drove to Yotsuya for a bridge competition. It is for "Novice" or Beginners. We played 21 boards (games) against 12 other partners or teams. The results? To be continued...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A snowy Sunday

So, the snow was still here when I got up Sunday morning. I knew right away that there would be no jogging for this guy. I also knew that we would not go to Shibuya for the all day bridge competition. So, after my regular routine I checked the television. Lo and behold, there was one of my favorite old time moves, Phillip Marlow, Private Eye. The title is "Farewell, My Lovely" 1975. The star is Robert Mitchum. It's a hard boiled murder mystery with a cameo appearance by a very young, Sylvester Stallone. He has no talking parts. Anyway, from there to school for computer  work and shoveling snow. Then back home to jog at 4PM, practice violin for an hour, practice bridge with Miwako, watch some Sochi Olympics and then off to dreamland. By the way, the good folks at Amanuam Denki made the snowman.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Puzzler Answers

The weekend is over, finished, through, kaput! And I survived without a drop of alcohol. A minor miracle indeed! Here's your Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE. Thanks again, Naoko.

As you all snow, it knowed Saturday. I went to my RINRI Morning Seminar at 5AM. It had just started snowing. I heard the weather forecast calling for lots of snow but there was no time for tire chains (Plus I am too lazy to put them on). Right after the MS I went home to have b-fast and then drive to school. I parked in the usual 500en parking place. At my school I made a lot of "happy" telephone calls to the moms of kids who passed the Eiken test. They have to change their lesson time and/or day. That went well. After two kids lessons I went to Kenkatsu Center by taxi. We had one lesson and the second was cancelled. So, home by New Shuttle and then JR to Okegawa. I got my violin and then home by taxi. Lots of snow now! Violin practice at home and resting. What was your snowy day like?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Puzzler Hints

This Sunday? What else? Bridge! This time we go to Shiubay all day. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE

HOME PROJECT for February 2014: “right”
“right” には「右」「権利」「正しい」などいろいろな意味があります。
今回は、すぐに」 「ただちに」 「まさに」 「ちょうど」 という意味の ”right” を使ってみましょう!
(immediately, exactly, just,)

1. Clean your room right now!   すぐに部屋を掃除しなさい!
2. He apologized right away. 彼は即座に謝った。
3. I’ll go to his office right after this meeting.  この会議後、ただちに彼の会社に行ってきます。
4. The accident happened right over there.  その事故はまさにそこで起こった。
5. She arrived right on time.  彼女は時間ぴったりに到着した。

簡単な単語こそ使いこなしていきましょう!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Puzzler

So far, so good, this no drinking stuff. Puzzler: CLICK HERE. BTW Today's crossword puzzle was created by one of my students. Her name is Naoko.

HOME PROJECT for February 2014: “right”
“right” には「右」「権利」「正しい」などいろいろな意味があります。
今回は、すぐに」 「ただちに」 「まさに」 「ちょうど」 という意味の ”right” を使ってみましょう!
(immediately, exactly, just,)

1. Clean your room right now!   すぐに部屋を掃除しなさい!
2. He apologized right away. 彼は即座に謝った。
3. I’ll go to his office right after this meeting.  この会議後、ただちに彼の会社に行ってきます。
4. The accident happened right over there.  その事故はまさにそこで起こった。
5. She arrived right on time.  彼女は時間ぴったりに到着した。

簡単な単語こそ使いこなしていきましょう!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Snowy!

As you may know it snowed Tuesday. I went jogging at 6:00AM and it wasn't very cold yet. As I got ready for the day it seemed to get colder and then right as I left home it started to drizzle (rain a little). So, I returned to my house to get my rain gear. Later, the copy machine at our school was on the fritz (having a small problem). We contacted RICOH and they sent a man last week to check it out (look at it). It needed a replacement part. He came again Tuesday to install it. The bad news is that I use recycled toners for the machine. If I had used new toners purchased (bought) at RICOH the repairs would be free. As it is, it cost 30,000en this time. Oh well. While he was replacing the part and cleaning the machine it snowed heavily. The picture is the snow in front of my school coming down on the RICOH man's van.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bridge results

Miwako and I are going to Tokyo to play bridge almost every Sunday. We started that 3 or 4 months ago. We used to practice at Kenkatsu with a group but we have "graduated". The benefit of playing in Tokyo is the pressure. We have to perform well in order to succeed. We have to limit our mistakes. That is we have to use what we have learned at our practices and study. Last Sunday was no different. Miwako had an excellent defensive plan and it worked very well. I was impressed. I also made a play where I fooled the opponent. It was a small part of the game but it succeeded. We were both happy with the results of our play and our final score. We came in third this week. Actually right at the end of the competition I became too cautious (too careful). Perhaps we could have finished second?  We will try again this Sunday.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII


Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, it was Super Sunday three days ago! Actually I watched the game on Monday morning right after I called my mom. It started at 8:30 AM. The announcer said that 60,000,000 people were viewing this game worldwide. It really is great. There is a pre-season and then a 16 game season. I see some games live here in Japan Monday 3am or 6AM. Then there are the playoffs. That is when the best teams remaining after the long season meet and play against each other. The two finalists this year were the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. Denver was the sentimental favorite because the quarterback is old. But the younger, stronger, quicker Seattle team won easily. The final score was Seattle 43 Denver 8. I recorded most games and enjoyed watching them with FF (fast forward). The new season begins in August. I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

School Mascot

I have had this plant since we opened our school in 2000. It is a cactus. It was given to me right after we opened up by an old friend. I don't see him any more though. His name is Matti. He is from Finland. He always bragged (boasted) that Finland is the home of Santa Claus. I keep the plant in the front window. It has been there for 14 years now. It had no blossoms the first three years. Then the flowers came. 3,4,5 years ago there were a lot of flowers, maybe 50! As you can see, there aren't that many now. Maybe Mr. plant is getting old...like me! But it still does bloom...like me. I really enjoy this plant. I water it on average once a week...like me! Actually from where I sit, in my "captain's chair", it is right in front of my vision. It's our school mascot.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Puzzler Answers

A dry weekend. That's the first of four. Can I do it? Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

The weekend went something like this:
Saturday
1. No RINRI as I was recovering from Friday night.
2. Two kids lessons a my school - Game Day!
3. Two adult lessons at Kenkatsu. The second as the NYTimes Xword puzzle. Did they enjoy it???
4. Two hours of violin practice.
5. Wash GOLF at the gas station.
6. Do NYTimes Xword with M and E at home.
7. Relax watching the tube.
Sunday
1. Up fresh and early to jog.
2. RINRI meeting.
3. Bridge with M in Shibuya. We come in 3rd place out of nine teams
4. Ramen dinner at Kurumaya with our daughters..
5. Home to watch.
6. Review bridge with M.
7. Write in diary: Jan review and Feb forecast.
8. Sleep early.


Guests at Shoko's wedding

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Puzzler Hints

Well, the no drinking is so far so good. But it's just one day, eh? Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2014: “right”
“right” には「右」「権利」「正しい」などいろいろな意味があります。
今回は、すぐに」 「ただちに」 「まさに」 「ちょうど」 という意味の ”right” を使ってみましょう!
(immediately, exactly, just,)

1. Clean your room right now!   すぐに部屋を掃除しなさい!
2. He apologized right away. 彼は即座に謝った。
3. I’ll go to his office right after this meeting.  この会議後、ただちに彼の会社に行ってきます。
4. The accident happened right over there.  その事故はまさにそこで起こった。
5. She arrived right on time.  彼女は時間ぴったりに到着した。

簡単な単語こそ使いこなしていきましょう!

Miwako's niece and nephew
 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Puzzler

A new month..February. It will be a dry one for me. Puzzler:CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for February 2014: “right”
 
“right” には「右」「権利」「正しい」などいろいろな意味があります。
今回は、すぐに」 「ただちに」 「まさに」 「ちょうど」 という意味の ”right” を使ってみましょう!
(immediately, exactly, just,)

1. Clean your room right now!   すぐに部屋を掃除しなさい!
2. He apologized right away. 彼は即座に謝った。
3. I’ll go to his office right after this meeting.  この会議後、ただちに彼の会社に行ってきます。
4. The accident happened right over there.  その事故はまさにそこで起こった。
5. She arrived right on time.  彼女は時間ぴったりに到着した。

簡単な単語こそ使いこなしていきましょう!