Saturday, May 31, 2014

Puzzler

Welp, it's the end on this month, May, 2014. Mine was interesting as we had GW and there was lots of bridge/violin practice for me. How was yours? Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2014: “want to” and “want”
A. want to +動詞の原形+something  ~をしたい(と思う)
B. want+something  ~がほしい
1. She wants to be a vet.  彼女は獣医になりたがっている。
2. They want to go to Hawaii.  彼らはハワイに行きたがっている。
3. My son wants to learn French.  息子はフランス語を学びたいと思っている。
4. I want to ask you a few questions.  あなたにいくつか質問があります。
1. I want a new car.  私は新しい車がほしい。
2. My daughter wants a grand piano.   娘はグランドピアノをほしがっている。
3. They want a baby so badly.   彼らは赤ちゃんがほしくて仕方がない。
4. He really wants a steady job . 彼は安定した仕事につきたがっている。
Let’s use these basic phrases, shall we?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Shock!

In front of our house is a rice field. In fact, there are many, many rice fields in our neighborhood. These rice fields (or paddies) are great. Where there are rice fields there are no tall buildings or houses or other structures. So, the view is fine. You can see a long distance (far). I like that. However, let me say here,  I do not want a rice field. Two days ago when I left my house by bicycle I saw that the paddy in front of our house was partitioned into two. That means that it was separated into two fields. BUT, there was water in only one field! It smelled like trouble. And then I met the owner this AM. I asked him about it and he said he will build a house on the empty field. It is for his grandson. The good news is that it it the south field. The north field is in front of my house, so only part of my view will be obstructed (blocked).  Lucky, I suppose.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Last place again at bridge

***PLEASE CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO MAKE IT LARGER***Miwako and I went to Yotsuya last Sunday. I really want to get better at bridge but it seems I just get worse. This time there were 22 teams. This was an "Under 50" group competition. We started out pretty good but soon we were losing and getting beat and making mistakes. My bidding was bad. I also made two very bad playing mistakes that I can remember. Miwako made one absent-minded mistake. She wanted to play a diamond card, but played a club card instead. She just forgot what she was doing. In this case we say absent-minded. Basically her play was on. It's funny (interesting) that I can remember the mistakes, but I can't remember any good plays. Maybe there were none. We did have one good hand where the other team made a bad bid and we were able to defeat them with our defense. I have to try harder. I will compete again 6/8 by myself as Miwako will be in France at that time. Wish me luck!



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dinner with friends

Look at the picture. You can see one Japanese guy and one foreigner. The Japanese guy is one of my students. His name is Toshi. He is a firefighter Captain. As you can see he looks like Superman. And he is very strong! The other gentleman is Douglas. He is from Wisconsin, which is next door to my home town of Michigan. He lives in Saipan now. Toshi and Doug are related by marriage. Their wives are cousins. Doug comes twice a year to plant and then harvest the rice. They both work the rice fields in Fujinami near my house. We met at last years Fujinami Aki Matsuri. I heard Doug was in town last Thursday. I drove to his home and asked him the two of them would like to go out for dinner and drinks. They were more than happy to say "Yes". I wanted to go out drinking with the guys for a change. So we met at FUTABA at 6:30 and stayed till about 9:00. It was a very enjoyable time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a national holiday in the USA.
It is celebrated on the last Monday of May.
It was formerly known as Decoration Day and remembers all men and women, who have died in military service for the United States.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day.
It is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season.
It is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at half mast from dawn until noon.
Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
Many people hold picnics, sports events and family gatherings on this weekend.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday.
Government offices are closed, as are schools, businesses and other organizations.
Most public transit systems do not run on their regular schedule.
Many people see Memorial Day weekend as an opportunity to go on a short vacation or visit family or friends. This can cause some congestion on highways and at airports.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Puzzler Answers

That was a typical, good weekend. How was yours?  Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Saturday
1. RINRI Morning Seminar. I make Kaiin speech. Cool.
2. Three kids classes at school. The first was a make-up for three girls.
3. Two Kenkatsu lessons. Good, and I will give the second group more listening practice next time.
4. Go to FUTABA with two mates: one Japanese student and one American.
5. Home by bicycle.

Sunday
1. Wash GOLF inside and out. B-A-U-tiful!
2. Go to play bridge in Yotsuya. Difficult play. We are dead last.
3. Back to O-Bento lunch and go to Arakawa River to enjoy the serenity.
4. Home to review bridge.
5. Watch a movie on TV.
SASHIMI plate at FUTABA

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Puzzler Hints

I can finally get to go to a bridge tournament with Miwako. I want to practice so much more! Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2014: “want to” and “want”
A. want to +動詞の原形+something  ~をしたい(と思う)
B. want+something  ~がほしい
1. She wants to be a vet.  彼女は獣医になりたがっている。
2. They want to go to Hawaii.  彼らはハワイに行きたがっている。
3. My son wants to learn French.  息子はフランス語を学びたいと思っている。
4. I want to ask you a few questions.  あなたにいくつか質問があります。
1. I want a new car.  私は新しい車がほしい。
2. My daughter wants a grand piano.   娘はグランドピアノをほしがっている。
3. They want a baby so badly.   彼らは赤ちゃんがほしくて仕方がない。
4. He really wants a steady job . 彼は安定した仕事につきたがっている。
Let’s use these basic phrases, shall we?
No water, no frogs yet.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Puzzler

I definitely have to lose weight! I want to get down to around 66 kilos. So, no ice cream and no alcohol for a while....I hope. Puzzler:CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2014: “want to” and “want”
A. want to +動詞の原形+something  ~をしたい(と思う)
B. want+something  ~がほしい
1. She wants to be a vet.  彼女は獣医になりたがっている。
2. They want to go to Hawaii.  彼らはハワイに行きたがっている。
3. My son wants to learn French.  息子はフランス語を学びたいと思っている。
4. I want to ask you a few questions.  あなたにいくつか質問があります。
1. I want a new car.  私は新しい車がほしい。
2. My daughter wants a grand piano.   娘はグランドピアノをほしがっている。
3. They want a baby so badly.   彼らは赤ちゃんがほしくて仕方がない。
4. He really wants a steady job . 彼は安定した仕事につきたがっている。
Let’s use these basic phrases, shall we?


Friday, May 23, 2014

New Passport Part 2

This is the rest of the info. I wanted you to see it all.

Intercountry Adoption
Every year, thousands of American families experience the joy of intercountry adoption. Before you travel abroad to adopt a child, make sure you know the foreign countries laws for intercountry adoptions.

International Parental Child Abduction
Under federal and state laws, international parental child abduction is a crime. In fact, the "Protect Act" of 2003 makes attempted international parental abduction a crime. If your child is the victim of international parental abduction, or you fear the possibility of abduction, we may be able to help.

Our Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) allows parents to register their children under the age of 18 in the Department's Passport Lookout System. If a passport application is submitted for a child who is registered in CPIAP, the Department alerts the parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s) of possible plans for international travel. Please visit childrenissues.state.gov for more information.

 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

New Passport Part 1

My renewed passport came. The following info was included.

About Your Passport
Congratulations! Your new U.S. passport book is your ticket for international travel by air, sea and land. If you are 16 or older, the passport book can be used for 10 years. Passports for minors under 16 are valid for five years.
Some countries may deny you entry if your passport book will expire in fewer than six months.

Tips For Travel
  • You should sign your full name in your passport book in ink.
  • Please notify us immediately if you lose the passport or it is stolen. Passports reported lost or stolen are no longer valid for travel.
Know Before You Go
We believe that a well-informed traveler is a safer traveler. To provide timely and accurate information about every country in the world, we compile country-specific information, tips for travelling abroad, and travel alerts and warnings on travel.state.gov. We also include reports on possible risks and security threats so you can make informed decisions about your travel plans.

Help Us Help You: Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
By entering your travel itinerary and contact information in STEP, we will be able to better assist you during an emergency. For example, U.S. embassies and consulates around he world can notify you during an emergency ---- including destinations where family and frineds in the United States are having problems trying to contact you. The itinerary and contact information is safeguarded and not released to third parties without your written authorization.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Jogging

One view along my jogging path
I'm back to jogging. I took 3 and a half months off from jogging due to (because of) a sore foot. If you remember in early February there were a couple of huge winter snowstorms on consecutive weekends. During the first storm I walked from my house to my school in the early morning snow. The streets and sidewalks were not cleared so it was tough (difficult) walking. I finally reached my school but the next day an old injury reoccurred. It is on the bottom of my right foot. It starts to hurt again when I walk way too much. So, I couldn't jog for the longest time. I really wanted to jog so I decided to restart after GW. I tried a couple of days at the end of April and then May 1st. It was pretty good. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle when I went swimming in Izu May 2nd. And now my knee hurts sometimes. I must be getting old. But, I do not want to give up my jogging. It is one of my life's (ambitions) goals to reduce my waistline. I figure maybe ten more years.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Memorial Service

Teruko Hyoudo was a friend of mine. She passed away May 24th, 2012. I attended her San-kai-ki (memorial service) on Sunday. I met her at Omiya's SOGO department store. Incidentally, that's the same place I met my lovely wife, Miwako. It must have been 20 years ago. I was living in Omiya and was a member of the YEG (Young Entrepreneur's Group). It's an organization for young business persons. It's similar to the JC. I needed a tuxedo for the big event which was coming to Omiya. It was the annual Convention. I wanted to be on stage as an emcee at one event. They agreed and I went to SOGO to rent a tuxedo. Teruko was the person in charge. I told her that I hoped to do wedding receptions as an emcee. She asked me to do her upcoming son's wedding. I later did her daughter's wedding. We were friends ever since. She was a straight, no nonsense lady. Of course, we went out drinking together more than once. Her family is very nice, too. Thanks, Teruko.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Puzzler Answers

The summer draws closer and closer. I wonder how hot it will be this year. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Another busy weekend
Saturday
1. RINRI Morning Seminar.
2. Jog.
3. To school. Only one class because of Sports Day Festivals.
4. Violin practice before and after lesson.
5. Teach Kenkatsu adults. (Me,too vs Me, neither)
6. Go with M to buy washlet.
7. Go out to eat and drink with the family.

Sunday
1. Up early, get ready and go to TodaKoen station at 9:10.
2. The Hyoudo family comes to pick up several of us and then we go to the temple.
3. Attend Teruko's Memorial Service.
4. Lunch with all.
5. Back home to watch TV, pratice bridge, drink beer, relax.
The Hyoudo Clan and friends

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Puzzler Hints

I want a beer. I want to drink a beer. Same thing. Puzzler HInts: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2014: “want to” and “want”
A. want to +動詞の原形+something  ~をしたい(と思う)
B. want+something  ~がほしい
1. She wants to be a vet.  彼女は獣医になりたがっている。
2. They want to go to Hawaii.  彼らはハワイに行きたがっている。
3. My son wants to learn French.  息子はフランス語を学びたいと思っている。
4. I want to ask you a few questions.  あなたにいくつか質問があります。
1. I want a new car.  私は新しい車がほしい。
2. My daughter wants a grand piano.   娘はグランドピアノをほしがっている。
3. They want a baby so badly.   彼らは赤ちゃんがほしくて仕方がない。
4. He really wants a steady job . 彼は安定した仕事につきたがっている。
Let’s use these basic phrases, shall we?

Sports Day Ground Golf


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Puzzler

Miwako and I have consummated our O-Bon plans. I can't wait. Puzzler CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2014: “want to” and “want”
A. want to +動詞の原形+something  ~をしたい(と思う)
B. want+something  ~がほしい
1. She wants to be a vet.  彼女は獣医になりたがっている。
2. They want to go to Hawaii.  彼らはハワイに行きたがっている。
3. My son wants to learn French.  息子はフランス語を学びたいと思っている。
4. I want to ask you a few questions.  あなたにいくつか質問があります。
1. I want a new car.  私は新しい車がほしい。
2. My daughter wants a grand piano.   娘はグランドピアノをほしがっている。
3. They want a baby so badly.   彼らは赤ちゃんがほしくて仕方がない。
4. He really wants a steady job . 彼は安定した仕事につきたがっている。
Let’s use these basic phrases, shall we?
Not yet...my rice field

 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Taxes

I had some free time yesterday so I decided to do my taxes. That is, I have to file (report) my taxes to the US government. I do it every year. I never have to pay any money in taxes to the US. I pay taxes here in Japan because I work and live here in Japan. I do not want to pay any more taxes. There is a ceiling (upper limit) on the money I can earn (make) and not pay taxes to the US. It goes up a little every year. I also have to calculate the yen/dollar rate. Actually the yen is about 20% stronger than last year. Abenomics? I have been filing my taxes for a long time. I keep these records (see pic). The law says that I have to keep the last seven years just in case of questions or problems. I want to keep these records just to look at them. It is kind of nostalgic. That is  good Super Scrabble word. I want to use it some day.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kids, kids, kids

I'm talking about real small kids. First graders come to my Okegawa school to learn English. They are six years old. Those are the youngest students I teach at my school. But I also teach at two kindergartens. Both kindergartens arrange their lesson schedules for me. I teach Tuesdays at Hiagashi K and then on Fridays at Mida K in Kounosu. I also started after kindergarten classes at Mida K last year. There are two classes of 4 year olds and then 5 year olds. There are 12 in each group. The regular K lessons have from 25 to 30 kids each. A K teacher is in the room helping to control the situations at all K lessons. However at my private lessons there is me and my assistant. She is 18 years old and started from this April. I must say, the kids are fun BUT they are a lot of work. I almost have to be a Super Grandpa to get through the two hours, especially with the boys. Whew!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sports Day Festival

We held the annual Fujinami ward (Ageo City) Sports Day Festival last Sunday. I am a Hanchou so I was required to arrive at 8AM to help set up the tents. I wanted to sleep longer but I couldn't. A lot of Honchos came so the set-up was pretty easy. The action started at 9:10 with speeches and introductions. There was a Saitama prefecture representative, city officials, a school principal and teachers. We then did warm ups. The weather was beautiful. I noticed however, that there were a lot less people than last year. Maybe they wanted to go out somewhere else because of the fine weather. Anyway, I couldn't run as I sprained my ankle running into the ocean last weekend. So, I took a lot of pictures. That was fun. They had Epson printers so you could get photos printed on the spot. I ate an O-Bento lunch at 11:30 then headed home to go to a bridge lesson at Kenkatsu with Miwako.
Our race team

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Do you want a job?

I got this e-mail last week. Of course, it's nonsense. But, it's cool.

Good evening,

I am writing to you not for the first time. Probably my letters didn.t reach you, so I wrote from another mailbox. I hope you.ll read this letter.

We invite you to become a representative of an international company. This proposal is a great chance to gain experience, to make a career, and to earn good money.

Preparatory Period lasts twenty days. After the preparatory period, you will be able to sign a long-term contract or to refuse cooperation if you wish. After the end of the preparatory period, you will receive a certificate.

at first your salary will be 8.250 Dollars / month + interest on transactions. Your work schedule will be completely customizable.

Do not miss your opportunity to make quickly a excellent career. If you are interested in more information, contact me by email address:

Ready? GO!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Puzzler Answers

Back to work and all is well. I had a busy weekend. How about you? Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Saturday
1. RINRI Morning Seminar. That was my first time in three weeks.
2. Practice violin at school. BLOG.
3. Two kids lessons. Most will be absent next week because of school Sports Day festivals.
4. Go by bike to Kenkatsu for two adult lessons.
5. Back by bike, put on suit and go to Ageo for monthly RINRI meeting.
6. Finally back home to drink. Yummy!

Sunday.
1. Up at 6:30, get ready and go to help set up for Sports Day in Fujinami.
2. Enjoy Sports Day.
3. Back home at 11:30 after O-bento lunch.
4. Go to Kenkatsu for bridge lesson.
5. Home to study bridge with M.
6. Discuss summer vacation plans. We want to go to Tohouku area by car this time.
7. Sleep at 10:30.

Announcers at Sports Day

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Puzzler Hints

Gettin back to work took some time. But, all is well. However I want another vacation A.S.A.P. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2014: “want to” and “want”
A. want to +動詞の原形+something  ~をしたい(と思う)
B. want+something  ~がほしい
1. She wants to be a vet.  彼女は獣医になりたがっている。
2. They want to go to Hawaii.  彼らはハワイに行きたがっている。
3. My son wants to learn French.  息子はフランス語を学びたいと思っている。
4. I want to ask you a few questions.  あなたにいくつか質問があります。
1. I want a new car.  私は新しい車がほしい。
2. My daughter wants a grand piano.   娘はグランドピアノをほしがっている。
3. They want a baby so badly.   彼らは赤ちゃんがほしくて仕方がない。
4. He really wants a steady job . 彼は安定した仕事につきたがっている。
Let’s use these basic phrases, shall we?

One night here before a bridge tourney in Yokohama
 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Puzzler

It's back to work. And I have to get more serious about my violin and bridge. ITM Here's this weeks Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for May 2014: “want to” and “want”
A. want to +動詞の原形+something  ~をしたい(と思う)
B. want+something  ~がほしい
1. She wants to be a vet.  彼女は獣医になりたがっている。
2. They want to go to Hawaii.  彼らはハワイに行きたがっている。
3. My son wants to learn French.  息子はフランス語を学びたいと思っている。
4. I want to ask you a few questions.  あなたにいくつか質問があります。
1. I want a new car.  私は新しい車がほしい。
2. My daughter wants a grand piano.   娘はグランドピアノをほしがっている。
3. They want a baby so badly.   彼らは赤ちゃんがほしくて仕方がない。
4. He really wants a steady job . 彼は安定した仕事につきたがっている。
Let’s use these basic phrases, shall we?

Miwako on her new Harley in Shimoda
 

Friday, May 9, 2014

A dip in the ocean

Where's Ricky?
Last summer we spent a couple of nights at the Inatori resort mansion. I really enjoy swimming at the nearby Shirahama beach in Shimoda. The sand is white and the water is so very blue. One of my policies is to go swimming in the ocean every year. (Another is to visit the zoo annually). When we went last year we discovered (found) a new beach. It is just before Shimoda Port and is called the "90 Beach" (see pic). It is next door to the summer home of the Royal family in an area called Suzaki. The access is difficult. The beach is way down from the road. Of course, at this time there of the year there are no people swimming there. Why? Because it is too cold to go swimming. Really? I don't think so. I had an opportunity (chance) to swim all by myself. It was fantastic! Oh, there were a couple of people there including one canoer. When I first dove in it was COLD. But I soon got used to it. It was very refreshing. And the water was beautiful.  I want to go again next year.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bridge, bridge and more bridge

For this GW we combined bridge with travel. From April 25th to May 6th we played in nine bridge sessions over six days. We wanted to play as much as possible. Each session has over twenty "boards". A board is a hand of cards. Each hand takes from 3 to 5 minutes to play. If we take too long the Director urges (tells) us to "hurry up, please." It was good study. However most of the players are very good and the level of play is too high for us. But here are not many other choices. And since it was GW we wanted to relax, too. We stayed in Inatori two nights at a resort mansion. It is a family connection so it is cheap (not expensive). We also spent one night at a Yotsuya business hotel and one night at a gorgeous Yokohama hotel. So, we enjoyed ourselves after our many failures at the bridge table. The photo is one group of players after a session. They are all very nice people.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Clean Ageo Day

May 4th was "Clean Ageo" Day. I don't know when they decided that but our task (job) is to clean the area around our Fujinami Danchi. I am the "Environmental Leader". I have this position for two years. That means that I have to make a small speech before and after the event. It started at 8:00AM. The mission was to pick up all and any trash. That was mainly bottles, cans, paper, etc. I thought that we would be pulling weeds or cleaning out overgrown shrubbery. But, it was so simple this day. At 8:50 there were only a handful of people, maybe 6 or 7. But at just 9AM there were 60! I made my little "Don't get hurt" speech and off we went. The good news was that we finished in 25 minutes. All went home happily. The president and I went to the Jichikaikan (Kominkan) to separate trash. However, the Fujinami ward boys were there (see pic) and they decided it would be better if I didn't help. I said Thanks and was back home by 9:15. Plenty of time to get ready for our three day bridge tour. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Super Scrabble

Another Super Scrabble. I like this board becuase of the shadows. The words seem to be clearer, too. Since the Puzzler and friends (Hints and Answers) are all on vacation (along with me) I finally got this chance to use a couple of Super Scrabble BLOGs I have been saving. Cool words this time:   avid   adore   rigor   ideal   trend.  And now can you figure out the blanks?  Answers are below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
much/mush   joint   queasy  yeast   tool.
 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Super Scrabble

Here is a Super Scrabble finished board for you for a change of pace. Do you understand what "a change of pace" means? Pace means to keep moving at th same speed and in the same direction. So, to change the pace means to do something that is a little different. For example; you may change your hairstyle. Or you may drink coffee instead of tea. Or you may quit watching television and listen to the news on the radio for a while. I hope you get the picture (understand). Anyway, check out the Super Scrabble board. The cool words are nuke  ration  meddler  snitched. Do you agree that these are cool words, or what? Also, can you figure out the four blanks? Answers below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
hazy/lazy  birth  fought   that/am

Friday, May 2, 2014

More Bridge

Last year for GW M and I took a trip to the Touhoku area. We went by Shinkansen, local trains and buses. The year before (two years ago) we took a most memorable trip to Nagasaki by car. This year it is exclusively bridge for us. We played last Sunday, then Tuesday. The Tuesday results were pretty good. It was an all day affair (event) with Session A from 10:30 to 13:30. Time for a quick lunch. Then Session B from 14:10 to 17:20. This was for Under 50 members. We were the second from the bottom seed. I had some very good playing. I got applause (praise) from the opponents. Our team defense was pretty good, I  thought. Unfortunately I made several (at least three) bidding errors that gave got us a poor score. Miwkoa made a couple playing boo-boos (mistakes/errors) but as usual her bidding was right on (very correct). Anyway, it was a very good learning experience and good practice for us. We also have tourneys 5/3, 5/4, 5/5 and 5/6. Wish us luck!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sunday Bridge

Miwako and I both have about 5 IMPs. I think that means Internationally recognized bridge points. You earn these points by placing in the top order of a competition. We have done that maybe 5 or 6 times this year. The easiest tourney is for beginners with under 5 points. So, Miwako technically cannot take part in these events any more. I have just under 5 so I can. We played in an under 30 tourney Sunday. There were 22 teams. That is a lot. And there were some really good players. As you can see we came in right in the middle in 11th place. As always it was a good learning experience. I found that I can count cards and keep track of them better now. So I have confidence in my play. BUT, my bidding is still poor. That means we don't always get the chances to play that we should. As the better players make the correct (proper) bids, they are successful and get higher scores. I plan to read more on bidding and strategies.