Wednesday, April 30, 2014

HanChou Meeting

Last Saturday there was a Fujinami area Hanchou meeting at the kominkan near my house. It's the same place we always meet. It started at 7:30PM and ended in an hour. This time there was an update about the May 11th Sports Day Festival. I always attend the festival but only in the morning. That is, of course, because we have bridge in the afternoon. The Hanchous have to arrive an hour early to help with set-up and preparations. They also have to help with clean up but I don't. I did have one duty and that was to hang up two posters with the festival info outside near my house. During the meeting one lady told how she discovered two centipedes in the kominkan the other day when she entered. There was also a report about a derelict near the neighborhood Kindergarten. They told everyone to report any strange activities.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Puzzler Answers

I had a good weekend even though I broke down and drank twice. Oh well, better luck in June. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Saturday
1. NO RINRI Morning Seminar for me as I slept in. Why? Because I drank Friday night.
2. To school for 40 minutes of violin and then two kids lessons. Students were scarce as it is pre-GW.
3. Two excellent (I think) Kenkatsu classes.
4. Back to school for one hour of violin practice.
5. Fujinami Han-cho meeting to discuss Ageo Clean Day and Sports Day Festival.
6. Sleep early.

Sunday
1. Go jogging for the first time since January. My foot has felt better recently so I decided to test it.
2. Violin practice at my school
3. Study new bridge technique.
4. Go to Yotsuya for bridge tourney with Miwako.
5. Home to discuss the days bridge play and drink at Shoya.
6. Sleep.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Puzzler Hints

Bridge today and then Tuesday next Saturday, Sunday, Monday and finally Tuesday. Whew! A Bridge GW! Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2014: “get +形容詞"

"get” にはいろいろな意味があります。例えば、「到着する」 「手に入れる」 「理解する」 などす。

今回は"get +形容詞" で 「~の状態になる」 という表現を使ってみましょう。 (= become)

1. How long will it take to get well?   治るのにどのくらいかかりますか?
2. After I saw the movie, I got happy.  映画を見た後、幸せな気持ちになった。
3. She got angry when her boyfriend lied to her.  彼女は恋人が嘘をついた時に怒った。
4. My sister takes a long time to get dressed. 私の妹は支度に長時間かかる。
5. I get carsick easily. 私は車酔いしやすい。

Get ready? Get set! Go!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Puzzler

Oh, well. I lost my will power and just had to drink last Sunday. I am trying my best to keep dry the rest of this month. In the meantime... Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2014: “get +形容詞"

"get” にはいろいろな意味があります。例えば、「到着する」 「手に入れる」 「理解する」 などす。

今回は"get +形容詞" で 「~の状態になる」 という表現を使ってみましょう。 (= become)

1. How long will it take to get well?   治るのにどのくらいかかりますか?
2. After I saw the movie, I got happy.  映画を見た後、幸せな気持ちになった。
3. She got angry when her boyfriend lied to her.  彼女は恋人が嘘をついた時に怒った。
4. My sister takes a long time to get dressed. 私の妹は支度に長時間かかる。
5. I get carsick easily. 私は車酔いしやすい。

Get ready? Get set! Go!

The rice field...no action yet, but soon!

Friday, April 25, 2014

New Kenkatsu lessons

Magic demonstration at Kenkatsu Advanced class.
After a couple of weeks off I get back to my Saturday Kenkatsu lessons. These are two lessons that the Kenkatsu Center offers to the community. I have been very happy to be the teacher for these lessons for the past 5 or 6 years. There are two; one at 1:15 for 90 minutes and then one at 3:15 for 90 minutes. The first class is for beginners. That includes some people who are good but are not quite ready to join the second class. The second class is for advanced students. The main difference between the two classes is that in the advanced class 1. I don't speak any Japanese at all 2. the listening practice is very difficult as it is usually an Eiken level 2 CD and 3. it is almost entirely conversational (the first class uses a lot of Q and A). In both classes I introduce lots of vocabulary but I keep it pretty simple for the first class. Also in the first class any personal reports (travel or experiences) are read to the group first in Japanese and then in English. In the second class it is only in English. I thoroughly enjoy these lessons. I am very fortunate (lucky) indeed to be the teacher for all these fine people. Thank you very much.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt

Easter is a religious holiday around the Christian world. There are also Egg hunts. An Egg Hunt is a game where parents hide eggs in places for children to find. The eggs are decorated. There real hard-boiled ones or artificial ones. Some are filled with or made of chocolate candies of various sizes. The game may be both indoors and outdoors.
When the hunt is over, prizes may be given out for various goals. Such as, the most eggs collected, for the largest or smallest egg, for the most eggs of a specific color. There are also consolation prizes and booby prizes.
Eggs are placed with varying degree of concealment, to accommodate children of different ages. In South German folk traditions it was customary to add extra obstacles to the game by placing them into hard-to reach places among nettles or thorns.

A young woman hides Easter eggs for preschool-aged children to find. She is careful not to make their location and retrieval too difficult.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mida K assistant

Alicia has been my student for 9 years. She is 18 now. Her mother is Japanese and her father is American. When she first came to my school she has attended an immersion school in Ota, Gunma. Her mother really wanted her to get an education in English. But perhaps it was too far (they live in Kounosu) so she searched for a closer school. Luckily for us she found RAM ES. At first she did a private lesson for 4 years. She then switched to a group when she decided to challenge the EIKEN tests. Alicia is  home-schooled. She has never been to a Japanese public school. She did go to the Mida kindergarten where I also teach. Actually her mother got me the job there. She heard that they needed an English teacher two years ago. She contacted me and I then contacted the Kindergarten. I do the regular lessons now and started private lessons on Mondays last year. I decided to hire an assistant. Guess who? Alicia, of course. Can you find her in the pic?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A RINRI Special


The competition
I'm sure  you know that many companies in Japan have Morning Meetings(Japanese=ChouRei). They are used as an information exchange and an update on business related activities in the company. The RINRI folks have their own kind of Morning Meetings. It is rather formal and rigid, I think, but excellent for the company and workers and the Boss. Anyway, there is an annual RINRI Morning Meeting Competition. And every block has a competition to decide which company is best in their group. That best company will go to the Prefecture competition in June this year. The winners get prizes and bragging rights. We had our competition on Sunday. It is a bit of a pain in the neck (troublesome) to do this but we didn' have much choice. The higher-ups (bosses) told us that we had to. We got underway (started) at 8:30AM and finished with a box lunch at noon. My team came in 3rd place out of four. It was actually fun and we got 5,000en for our effort. The young lady in the pic was my teammate.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Puzzler Answers

And now, Monday. How was your weekend? I was busy and, alas, I just had to drink!  Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Saturday
1. RINRI Morning Seminar.
2. Violin practice at my school.
3. Two kids lessons.
4. Two adult lessons at Kenkatsu center. It's the new season.
5. Violin practice again at my school.
6. Home to relax and sleep early.

Sunday
1. A special RINRI meeting all morning. (for details, see tomorrow's BLOG).
2. Bridge lesson and practice at Kenkatsu Center. First time this year.
3. And home to drink. I just couldn't wait any more!

Cable Car at lake Haruna

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Puzzler Hints

And on this Sunday I will do something I have never done before. What is it? Check out Tuesday's BLOG. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2014: “get +形容詞"
"get” にはいろいろな意味があります。例えば、「到着する」「手に入れる」「理解する」 などです。
今回は"get +形容詞" で 「~の状態になる」 という表現を使ってみましょう。
(= become)
1. How long will it take to get well?   治るのにどのくらいかかりますか?
2. After I saw the movie, I got happy.  映画を見た後、幸せな気持ちになった。
3. She got angry when her boyfriend lied to her.  彼女は恋人が嘘をついた時に怒った。
4. My sister takes a long time to get dressed. 私の妹は支度に長時間かかる。
5. I get carsick easily. 私は車酔いしやすい。
Get ready? Get set! Go!
Lake Haruna

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Puzzler

I really wanted a drink on Thursday. But, I held on! What a relief. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2014: “get +形容詞"

"get” にはいろいろな意味があります。例えば「到着する」 「手に入れる」 「理解する」 などです。

今回は"get +形容詞" で 「~の状態になる」 という表現を使ってみましょう。(= become)

1. How long will it take to get well?   治るのにどのくらいかかりますか?
2. After I saw the movie, I got happy.  映画を見た後、幸せな気持ちになった。
3. She got angry when her boyfriend lied to her.  彼女は恋人が嘘をついた時に怒った。
4. My sister takes a long time to get dressed. 私の妹は支度に長時間かかる。
5. I get carsick easily. 私は車酔いしやすい。
Get ready? Get set! Go!
What a funny man.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy B-day, Eri!

My younger daughter turned 23 years old on Tuesday. Happy Birthday and Congratulations, Eri! Right now she is in her final year of college. She spent 8 months last year in Canada in a program with the college in Tokyo. She had a great experience there. It is in Winnipeg. She stayed at a home near the college. However it wasn't a home-stay. We paid for the room and board (food). The mother made a dinner for the students (there were up to 4 different foreign students in the house at times) and they were welcomed to get things from the fridge. Eri boarded with Chinese, Koreans and  a French girl from Quebec. Now she is back in Japan visiting different companies and applying for jobs. She is a happy kid, I think, and she is ambitious. She has her sites set on (is looking seriously at) several companies. So, she is trying hard. She does part time work. Right now she is at a hotel restaurant in Tokyo. She is cool. It takes her almost two hours to get ready to go job hunting in the AM! ... very much unlike me.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A trip to the On-sen

Last Sunday Miwako and I did not play bridge. There was a competition in Ofuna but we decided it was; 1. too far and 2. we needed a break. So we took a drive to Ikaho. First I got everything ready. I washed the car and practiced violin for 30 minutes at my school. We left home at 10AM and arrived at a hotel in Ikaho around 11:30. It was pretty relaxing. We bathed for 90 minutes (= one and a half hours = an hour and a half) then had lunch at the hotel. Next, we took a drive to Lake Haruna. We took a ride up on the cable car for a splendid view of the area. Then back down and a drive around the lake. It was getting late so we headed home. We had plans to go ot the Okonomiyaki restaurant with the whole family for Eri's birthday party. Unfortunately, we got stuck in a traffic jam. We all finally got together and enjoyed dinner and drinks. Again, my dry month! I had to do some more bearing, but no problem. Only two more weeks to go!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chiku Kai

Our RINRI area includes Ageo, Okegawa and a combined Kounosu-Kitamoto group. The Kounosu group and the Kitamoto group merged last year. There were several reasons. One was that they were unable to get a new club president for Kounosu. Another was the lack of members in Kitamoto. That is, they are unable to get new members. I am the leader of our area (Chiku) for the Chourei Committee. I go once a month to meetings on a Sunday morning and then to the Chiku meet on a Saturday night. There is an important event coming soon and I am in charge of it. At this meeting the veteran members were able to decide who would take part in the event. It is April 20th, this Sunday. I am glad they were able to choose the members because I had no idea how to. After the meeting we all relax with good food and drinks. This is my dry month so I had to watch and bear it. However it was no problem.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Passport Renewal

I happened to look at my passport the other day and found (saw) that it will expire June 29, 2014. That is less than three months from now. So, I started checking on what I have to do. I first looked at the US Embassy (Tokyo) website. They have all the information. However there are several things that I wanted to confirm. So for the last two weeks I have looked at other sites and called the embassy a half dozen (6) times. They are very friendly people and speak English! I had to get a money order for $110. That is the fee for renewing a passport. I tried the bank but they didn't understand. Finally I went to the post office and all turned out well. I purchased (bought) a money order for 2,000en. I filled out the renewal application on-line and sent it, my passport and the money order to the embassy. If all goes well, I will get my new passport in about a month.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Puzzler Answers

That was a busy weekend including Eri's Birthday Party. Puzzler Answers. CLICK HERE.

Saturday
1. Put on my suit and go to RINRI Morning Seminar at 5:30AM.
2. To school for three kids lessons. (I will drop the 9AM class from next week).
3. M comes to the school and we study bridge for three hours.
4. One hour violin practice.
5. Put my suit back on and go to Kounosu for the monthly RINRI KENOU area (Kounosu, Ageo, Okegawa) meet.

Sunday
1. Wash GOLF.
2. Practice violin 30 minutes at school.
3. M and I drive to Ikaho to enjoy bathing in a hot spring.
4. Drive to Lake Haruna to ride rope way and check out the scenery and eat soft cream.
5. Back home in traffic jam.
6. Go to WAIZU (Okonomiyaki) restaurant for Eri's b-day party.
7. Home to eat cake and open presents.
8. Sleep like a log.
View of Lake Haruna from Rope Way Car

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Puzzler Hints

This is getting strange. I am enjoying not drinking. Hmmmmmm. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2014: “get +形容詞"

"get” にはいろいろな意味があります。例えば、「到着する」 「手に入れる」 「理解する」 などです。

今回は"get +形容詞" で 「~の状態になる」 という表現を使ってみましょう。

(= become)

1. How long will it take to get well?   治るのにどのくらいかかりますか?

2. After I saw the movie, I got happy.  映画を見た後、幸せな気持ちになった。

3. She got angry when her boyfriend lied to her.  彼女は恋人が嘘をついた時に怒った。

4. My sister takes a long time to get dressed. 私の妹は支度に長時間かかる。

5. I get carsick easily. 私は車酔いしやすい。
 
Get ready? Get set! Go!

Some I-don't-knowthe name flowers








Saturday, April 12, 2014

Puzzler

Week 2 and still no drinking for me. At this point it's a cinch that I won't imbibe. I'm not getting the shakes or anything! Puzzler CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2014: “get +形容詞"

"get” にはいろいろな意味があります。例えば、「到着する」 「手に入れる」 「理解する」 などです。

今回は"get +形容詞" で 「~の状態になる」 という表現を使ってみましょう。

(= become)

1. How long will it take to get well?   治るのにどのくらいかかりますか?

2. After I saw the movie, I got happy.  映画を見た後、幸せな気持ちになった。

3. She got angry when her boyfriend lied to her.  彼女は恋人が嘘をついた時に怒った。

4. My sister takes a long time to get dressed. 私の妹は支度に長時間かかる。

5. I get carsick easily. 私は車酔いしやすい。
Get ready? Get set! Go!

Miwako and the "Mikan Lady" in Atami

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mida Kindergarten

I teach English to the kids at the Mida Kindergarten on Friday mornings. I went to the graduation ceremony last month and then the Entrance ceremony this Monday. It was pretty cool and informal. This is my second time so it is getting to be (becoming) a habit for me. It is very informal compared to the graduation ceremony. There are no speeches. There are no politicians. There are no PTA moms or presidents. Instead, all the teachers are on stage. We get introduced one by one. There are two new teachers this year. And two teachers have left. The teachers were introduced first. Then the office staff was introduced. Then the bus drivers were introduced. Finally the sports instructor was introduced and at last I got my turn. The announcer said that my name was too long to pronounce so he introduced me as "Rick-sensei". I calmly walked to the front of the stage and asked everyone to pose. Then I took their picture. It got a big laugh.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bridge Disaster 2

On Sunday, M and I played in an Under 50 tourney. There were 23 teams. These players are rather high level. There are not many Under 50 sessions so all were eager to play.  M and I currently have 3.5 points. That is, THREE POINT FIVE, not THIRTY-FIVE points. We know many of these players. We started out strong, but we got careless as the session wore on (continued).  We started making simple mistakes both in bidding and playing. Afterwards (after the event) I recounted (remembered) three errors (mistakes) that I made and some that M made. We also receive a sheet with all the results and all the teams bidding. That way we can compare our play to the others. It makes for good study. If you look at the results, you will see that we came in 22nd place. That is, second from last. The good news was that they awarded O-Manju to the top two teams and the booby makers. That's us!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Town Meeting

The attendees
The president, chairman and boss
 Last Saturday night I had a town meeting. It was a general assembly for the Fujinami-ku area officials and Han-chous. It started at 7:30PM. I went straight there after the bridge tourney. That is the reason I came home by train. I wasn't sure if I would get there in time if I came home by car. So, I arrived and there were perhaps 50 people. The purpose was to discuss getting ready for the upcoming Sports Day Festival. I always attend. It is also a community get-together. One of my jobs is to get here an hour early and help set up the tents and equipment. It isn't difficult at all. I did it last year. Later in the meeting they said the Han-Chous are required to get 500en from each household as a donation for the Tsunami victims in 2011. But, our Danchi pays in one lump fund from our annual collection fees. So, I don't even have to do that. This meeting lasted until 8:30. Then home to relax with NO ALCOHOL.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bridge Disaster

I had a Saturday afternoon free. I don't get those very often. That gave us a chance to go to the Bridge Center and practice with some friends. I thought this would be a nice change of pace for us. We could relax and at the same time get some instruction (assistance/help) with our bridge play. However when we got to the center they announced that they needed two more players for a beginners session (tournament). We decided to join. It was a disaster! We were terrible! We bid poorly. We played badly. I made some easy mistakes. Miwako made some easy mistakes. I still don't count the cards well. Wow! When the smoke cleared (when it was finally over) we were 5th out of 6. Look at those terrible numbers. We were both ready to blame each other. Luckily, I went home by train and Miwako went home by car. She had to get (pick up) her mother in Tokyo. We discussed the situation at home. We decided to forget it try again the next day = No divorce.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Puzzler Answers/Super Scrabble

Bridge and more bridge this weekend. It was Heaven, and at the same time, Hell! But, as usual, we got some good lessons and practice. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

 
And for a change of pace how about a Super Scrabble puzzle? I think the cool words are ozone  equal  snob  starve  bleep  livid. Can you figure out the blanks? Answers are down below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
nosey     depth     routine   feel/fell 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Puzzler Hints

BTW did you see the new Home Project? Check it out down below. Try to use it this month. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2014: “get +形容詞"

"get” にはいろいろな意味があります。例えば、「到着する」 「手に入れる」 「理解する」 などです。

今回は"get +形容詞" で 「~の状態になる」 という表現を使ってみましょう。

(= become)

1. How long will it take to get well?   治るのにどのくらいかかりますか?

2. After I saw the movie, I got happy.  映画を見た後、幸せな気持ちになった。

3. She got angry when her boyfriend lied to her.  彼女は恋人が嘘をついた時に怒った。

4. My sister takes a long time to get dressed. 私の妹は支度に長時間かかる。

5. I get carsick easily. 私は車酔いしやすい。

Get ready? Get set! Go!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Puzzler

Well, the Puzzler is well rested and ready to go to work after taking last weekend off. Here we GO! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2014: “get +形容詞"

"get” にはいろいろな意味があります。例えば、「到着する」 「手に入れる」 「理解する」 などです。

今回は"get +形容詞" で 「~の状態になる」 という表現を使ってみましょう。

(= become)

1. How long will it take to get well?   治るのにどのくらいかかりますか?

2. After I saw the movie, I got happy.  映画を見た後、幸せな気持ちになった。

3. She got angry when her boyfriend lied to her.  彼女は恋人が嘘をついた時に怒った。

4. My sister takes a long time to get dressed. 私の妹は支度に長時間かかる。

5. I get carsick easily. 私は車酔いしやすい。

Get ready? Get set! Go!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Vacation Part 3 Atami

The view from our room
So, after bridge we went straight to Atami. We stayed at a very inexpensive (cheap) resort mansion for two nights. We have been to these mansions a dozen times over the past 2 years. We have a family connection. Anyway, everything went well. We celebrated our 3rd place bridge finish with dinner and drinks Sunday night. The next day I practiced my violin for one hour at the Karaoke room in the AM and then after lunch we took a drive around Izu on the east side. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom everywhere we looked. The weather was excellent; not hot, not cold, not windy and pure blue skies until about 3PM. As we don't have a navigation system on our car we drove around pretty much "by ear". That is, we were feeling our way around or guessing. But as long as we could find the ocean we were fine. We ate pasta for lunch, had tea and manju at a roadside shop and back by 5PM for bridge, bath and dinner. An excellent day off. I think we got lucky. 
Cherry blossoms

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vacation Part 2

Bridge. We went to Yotsuya for a bridge tourney on Sunday. We are getting to be friendly with a lot of members there. We know some of their names and several people know ours. Some players, of course, speak English to me. No problem. It is usually small talk and then bridge talk. At this tourney we came in third place. I believe that is our 5th third place finish. We started in earnest (seriously) attending these tourneys about 6 months ago. The good news is that this tourney was for "Under 50" players. That means that members who have over 50 points cannot participate here. Currently (right now) M and I have around 3 points. But, we have found that the majority of the players are at our level. And as always, we get lucky sometimes and we get the benefit (merit) of our opponents (the other team) mistakes. We also had some good plays and some boneheaders. Have you ever made a bonehead mistake?
Miwako and Yumikoat Omiya Park Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vacation Part1


I took this pic at Karaoke with my classic keitai.
I had a great weekend including Monday off. It started with my RINRI Morning Seminar at 6AM Saturday. Then to my school for some violin practice. I made a CD of my teacher's accompaniments for 5 songs that I am practicing and one recording from Mari-sensei featuring her piano paying. It is really good practice for me. It helps my timing and concentration. Next, two kids lesson and then to Kenkatsu for a sample lesson and finally the O-Sans 13 (Kenkatsu lesson). One really cool happening was that Yuko let me play a few notes on her violin. Lucky me! After that they threw a dinner party for me. That was quite a lot of fun as always. I want to thank you all so very much from the bottom of my heart! You are all so cool! After that 6 of us went to sing songs at a Karaoke place in MinamiGinza, on Omiya's east side. That was fun, too, as always. I went home by train and bicycle. Absolutely no problem. My bicycle has auto-pilot!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Mormons

Have you ever been to a Mormon church? Have you ever been to any church? Very near my school on the NakaSenDou is a Mormon church. It has a big parking lot in front. It was built ten years ago. Perhaps you have seen it. The missionaries go walking around the neighborhood periodically (regularly). The foreigners are from Utah. They are usually teamed with a Japanese. I meet them all the time. Recently two guys have visited my school several times. After all, we are from the same country. So, we chat. This time they brought me their "bible" and explained a bit about their religion. In exchange I gave them two RINRI "bibles". One is in English and the other is in Japanese. These talks are always pleasant. They asked me to come to their church. I said I would if they came to a RINRI meeting. They did, so, I did. It was about 75 minutes on a Sunday. I enjoyed the experience. I decided to become a Mormon! April fools!