Saturday, January 31, 2015

Puzzler

Gonna eat 31 ice cream tonight and play bridge all day tomorrow. Heaven! Puzzler: CLICK HERE

HOME PROJECT for January 2015: " look + α"

"look"は「見る」という単語ですが、後ろにつく単語によっていろいろな意味を表します。

look for = 探す、 look after = 世話をする

look into = 調べる、 look forward to = 楽しみに待つ

1. Are you looking for a job? 仕事を探しているの。
2. He looked after the baby all day yesterday. 昨日、彼は一日中赤ちゃんの世話をした。
3. The police are looking into the cause of the accident. 警察が事故の原因を調べている。
4. I'm looking forward to my trip next week. 来週の旅を楽しみにしている。

もちろん、他にも : " look +α" はあります。

Look for them all in Rick's Daily Blogs!

Baskin Robbins Omiya SOGO

Friday, January 30, 2015

Let it snow...

Recently I have been drinking on Sunday nights after bridge. I try to abstain (avoid alcohol) on Saturday night so I can be fresh for our Sunday bridge matches (tournaments/competitions). Friday is pasta night at our house. I sometimes drink a little wine or sake. That is because I get home an hour earlier than usual. Anyway, by Friday I get into a nice sleeping rhythm. It was the same this AM. I went to bed at 10:50PM last night and woke up at 4:20AM. That is five and a half hours of sound (very good/healthy) sleep. So, I exercised, took a bath, wrote in my diary and  wrote a postcard to mom. I then opened the shutters and curtains around 6AM. To my surprise, it was snowing! I looked at the white stuff. "It's beautiful" I thought. As I regularly take sunrise photos at this time, it wasn't unusual for me to go out and snap this pic. That snowflake is so cool!  I decided to go to my school and write this BLOG. I put on all my warm clothes and rain gear. I had one BLOG prepared but it can wait until next Tuesday. I just had to share this photo with you.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bridge

Miwako and I drove to Yotsuya Bridge Center lasT Sunday. There were two sessions; AM and  PM. It started at 10:30 so we left home at 8:45. We bought a Bento lunch on the way and arrived at 10:00. This tournament was for players Under 50 and Under 100. We currently have 11MPs. In order to get MPs you have to (must) rank in the top 4 or 5 or 6 places in a tourney. We know that this will be very difficult for us in these types of tourneys so we go for the practice. At yesterday's event we did well in the AM. Look at the results. We came in 10th out of 19 teams. We were pleased (satisfied) with that. Then we had lunch. The afternoon session began at 1:30. As usual we were fatigued. There is a lot of thinking to do so we get tired. That is part of the study to stay fresh (concentrated) and alert (focused) at all times. Even though  we finished second from last in the PM session there was one bright spot. I made a very seldom used play. It is called a redouble. And we won the hand. We got 1080 points! But that is only for one game. However I was very proud. We are looking forward to next week's tourney. CLICK ON THE PIC TO ENLARGE IT.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

31

My new hobby is to eat ice cream. But, not just any ice cream. I have to go to Baskin Robbins (31) and eat a different flavor every week. The main reason is because the BennyBanaWalk shopping mall opened in Okegawa late last year. I went to look it over in December. I decided to become a supporter of the place as my school is in Okegawa. How can I be a supporter? I have to buy things, of course. I don't really like shopping though. It was then that I decided to buy ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Japanese people call it "31". I asked my students and they all told me theIR favorite flavors. I looked at the menu and found (discovered) that there were many flavors I had never seen before. When I buy an ice cream at BBW 31 I call this a home cream. Last Saturday I bought and ate Love Potion 31 at the 31 in Omiya's SOGO department store. In this case it was an away cream. It is the same as a home game and an away game in baseball. Anyway it was delicious. I wonder what I'll get next time. BTW: ALASKA IS THE MOST NORTHERN AND WESTERN OF THE UNITED STATES, MAINE IS THE MOST EASTERN WHILE HAWAII IS THE FURTHEST SOUTH.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

LSE New Year Party

I taught English at the Kenkatsu Center last Saturday until 4:45pm. After that  I walked to the New Shuttle and rode it to Omiya. I then got my weekly ice cream at 31 (tomorrow's BLOG) and then to Lumine2. There, 13 regular members and two former L.S.E. students and I, met at an Italian restaurant to celebrate the New year, 2015. As usual it was a gala (fun) event. First, the food was very good. Also, it was all you can drink. I had an all day bridge tournament the next day, so I limited myself to wine; first table wine and then a glass of red wine. After an hour, the entertainment began. The leader of the group, Tetsuo, did his usual interesting quizzes. He was followed by more quizzes from the equally (also) entertaining, Hajime. Asuka and  Kiyomi had some questions for us and then the lovely Yuko did her magic show. We all enjoyed their efforts. Thank you all very much. By the way, I asked a final question. It was a question about the United States geography. It was: What are the most northern. eastern, southern and western of the 50 United states? Please look at a map. Answers tomorrow.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Puzzler Answers

How was your weekend? The L.S.E. students had their usual wonderful New Year Party on Saturday. It was a blast! Thanks for inviting me. Details tomorrow. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Saturday
1. Up early and to school.
2. Violin practice.
3. School cleaning.
4. Two kids lessons.
5. More violin practice.
6. To Kenaktsu by taxi.
7. Two adult lessons.
8. By New Shuttle to Omiya.
9. Straight to Baskin Robbins 31 (Sogo) for an "away cream".
10. To Lumine for L.S.E. New Year Party.
11. Home by train and bicycle.
12. Sleep.
Sunday
1. Up early to bathe.
2. Write in diary and my Mom's daily postcard.
3. Drive to Yotsuya with/M for bridge.
4. Play AM and PM bridge sessions.
5. Come in 10 of 19 and then 17 of 18.
6. Home to AzumaKura for dinner and drinks and to review bridge.
7. Home to relax.
8. Sleep

Magic at L.S.E. New Year Party

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Puzzler Hints

Oh, Happy Day! We play two bridge sessions in Yotsuya today. I am definitely looking forward to it. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE

HOME PROJECT for January 2015: " look + α"

"look"は「見る」という単語ですが、後ろにつく単語によっていろいろな意味を表します。

look for = 探す、 look after = 世話をする

look into = 調べる、 look forward to = 楽しみに待つ

1. Are you looking for a job? 仕事を探しているの。
2. He looked after the baby all day yesterday. 昨日、彼は一日中赤ちゃんの世話をした。
3. The police are looking into the cause of the accident. 警察が事故の原因を調べている。
4. I'm looking forward to my trip next week. 来週の旅を楽しみにしている。

もちろん、他にも : " look +α" はあります。

Look for them all in Rick's Daily Blogs!
We ran out of apples.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Puzzler

That was a good week and now for the weekend. Are you ready? I certainly am. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for January 2015: " look + α"

"look"は「見る」という単語ですが、後ろにつく単語によっていろいろな意味を表します。

look for = 探す、 look after = 世話をする

look into = 調べる、 look forward to = 楽しみに待つ

1. Are you looking for a job? 仕事を探しているの。
2. He looked after the baby all day yesterday. 昨日、彼は一日中赤ちゃんの世話をした。
3. The police are looking into the cause of the accident. 警察が事故の原因を調べている。
4. I'm looking forward to my trip next week. 来週の旅を楽しみにしている。

もちろん、他にも : " look +α" はあります。

Look for them all in Rick's Daily Blogs!
This is my friend, Mr Kawamura. We happened to meet at the RED Cross donation Center. The two ladies are staff.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Blood Donation

Every month I have one free Wednesday afternoon. So, I have an opportunity (chance) to something out of the ordinary. That means to do  something I don't usually do. I decided this time to go and donate blood. I looked at my donation card and saw that I hadn't been since August. So, I made the trip to Omiya on Wednesday. First I had lunch and then I visited the Red Cross donation center.  It is quite (very) near the station and not far from Sonic City. It is very easy to do, actually. There is the usual paperwork but they help you a lot, if necessary. The rooms are very clean and modern. I took my own blood pressure. It was normal. Then I answered some simple questions from the doctor. Then I gave a sample of my blood. Then I entered the donation room. As usual I finished quickly. I guess my blood just can't wait to get out! Then I had to wait 20 minutes before I could leave. That is a safety measure. They want to be sure that I am OK. During that time I got to eat senbe, cookies, and have any kind of drink (non-alcohol) that I want. This is my 40th time on this card. You should look into donating. It is for a good cause. Answers from yesreday's SS Puzzle   flute  just/moist  until  huge

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Super Scrabble

Recently I started a new policy at our Okegawa school. Actually it is one of my New Years Resolutions for 2015, The year of the Ram. Let me explain. We have two types of kids programs at our school. The first is from 1st to 3rd or 4th graders. I created this program. It is an introduction to English/Eiken study. We do a grammar intro lesson, a listening lesson, a pronunciation lesson and finally a Game Day. This is a monthly program. Of course we also practice the MONTHS, DAYS, COLORS, simple conversation and vocabulary. The other program is Eiken. We use Eiken 5, 4, 3, pre-2 and 2 texts. After the kids take the Eiken tests we relax with a Game day. Well, recently the Game Day has become too easy for the Eiken kids. I am trying to get away from (reduce the number of) game days for them. Now I am doing more listening practice with the older kids. If they study Eiekn 4 I give them Eiken 3 practice, and so on. It is not a game, but they really don't have to study. However, I have found that they do concentrate more. So far it looks good. Please check out (look at) the Puzzler below. Cool Words: avoid  merge (twice!)  vision  doze  craze. Can you figure out the blanks? Answers tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bridge results

Look at that score card, PLEASE! We came in second place at the Shibuya Bridge Center on Sunday. We played with players in our own class, or, level. This was an UNDER20 competition.We knew some of the players but more than half were strangers; that is, people we had never met before.   We played 21 boards (games). We started well and ended well. I made one mistake which cost our team some points. Or rather (on the other hand/on the contrary) we could have gotten more points. And one time, M did some very unusual bidding. Her hand wasn't so strong and she bid one time too much. So, again, we lost some points. Other than those two errors (mistakes) we played solid bridge. The top team was some 3.5 points above us so they were very good. And we were two and a half points ahead of third. We were very satisfied. My goal was to reach 60%. Anything above 50% is considered good. We got 59.85%. That is our best ever. As you can imagine, we are looking forward to the next match. CLICK ON THE PIC TO ENLARGE IT (MAKE IT BIGGER)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Health Check up

I finally got my health check-up results back. This is the check-up offered by Ageo city where I live. It is cheap. It is a very basic check-up.  I went to the Nakazuma clinic in Ageo. They gave me a stool kit. I completed that task and returned it to them three days later. I prefer to get that over with (finished/completed) as soon as possible. I arrived 30 minutes early so I could get back to work quickly. I'm a busy guy, don't you know. Everything went well. However when I returned to the clinic one month later, I had a surprise when I  looked at the results. My kidney function score was a "D". I asked the doc why. He said "It's because of (due to) your age." That is a nice way to say "You are old." His advice was to drink more. I asked happily "Beer?" He said, "No. Water. At least two liters a day." So now I am gulping down 8 glasses of water every day. And as always I am trying to cut down on (reduce) my alcohol intake. I have to drink more water. At the same time I have to drink less alcohol. It doesn't seem fair.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Puzzler Answers

A dry weekend. I just had too much that I wanted to do. Check it out below. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Saturni
1. BLOG at home early.
2. Violin practice at school.
3. Two regular kids lessons.
4. Special "Sample" lesson for one first-grader.
5. Go to KenK by car.
6. Lunch at Kobaton restaurant.
7. Two adult lessons. Enjoy!
8. Violin practice back at school.
9. To BeniBanaWalk for Ice cream at BR (31). Flavor? AllGrey-CaramelScon. Pretty yummy
10. Dinner at home.
11. Discuss bridge defense with M.
12. Sleep early.

Solis
1. Up early.
2. Peace and  quiet time.
3. Paper work, BLOG.
4. Take Eri to the station.
5. Wash GOLF.
6. Violin practice at school.
7. Make Adult texts for special Parco lessons in February.
8. Bridge w/M in Shibuya.
9. Home to review.
10. Sleep early.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Puzzler Hints

We are competing in an "Under 20" session today. We have high hopes for a top 3 finish. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for January 2015: " look + α"

"look"は「見る」という単語ですが、後ろにつく単語によっていろいろな意味を表します。

look for = 探す、 look after = 世話をする

look into = 調べる、 look forward to = 楽しみに待つ

1. Are you looking for a job? 仕事を探しているの。
2. He looked after the baby all day yesterday. 昨日、彼は一日中赤ちゃんの世話をした。
3. The police are looking into the cause of the accident. 警察が事故の原因を調べている。
4. I'm looking forward to my trip next week. 来週の旅を楽しみにしている。

もちろん、他にも : " look +α" はあります。

Look for them all in Rick's Daily Blogs!

How's them apples?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Puzzler

It's the  weekend. I will go tonight to eat ice cream at Baskin Robbins (31). What flavor shall I get? Puzzler:CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for January 2015: " look + α"

"look"は「見る」という単語ですが、後ろにつく単語によっていろいろな意味を表します。

look for = 探す、 look after = 世話をする

look into = 調べる、 look forward to = 楽しみに待つ

1. Are you looking for a job? 仕事を探しているの。
2. He looked after the baby all day yesterday. 昨日、彼は一日中赤ちゃんの世話をした。
3. The police are looking into the cause of the accident. 警察が事故の原因を調べている。
4. I'm looking forward to my trip next week. 来週の旅を楽しみにしている。

もちろん、他にも : " look +α" はあります。

Look for them all in Rick's Daily Blogs!


Another sunrise

Friday, January 16, 2015

Apples

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away." That is a saying that we have in English. It means that if you eat one apple every day you will maintain your health (you will stay healthy). I don't know if that is true but it sounds good. I like apples. How about you? We have very good apples back home in Michigan. We received (got) two boxes of apples over the holidays. They came from M's relatives. They are very delicious. They are Fuji Apples. I read an article about how these apples are grown. It is very interesting. It takes a lot of work to make them delicious. And of course, like everything in Japan, they must look good. We say "They are pleasing to the eye". I now eat one apple every day at my school. It is my 6PM snack. I used to eat a banana. I will resume the bananas when the apples are all gone. And now I enjoy displaying our apples around the house. They are like flowers. Very nice to look at. I will miss them when they are gone.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Getting warmer

I think it's getting warmer. What do you think? I went to school by bicycle on Tuesday as usual. I was bundled up as usual. I wore my warm cap, my gloves, my muffler, my long underwear, my jacket, two pair of running pants, and a long sleeve jersey. I could barely move! (It was difficult to move). But, I want to be careful not to catch a cold. I had a bad cold last month. I did not want a repeat of that. But, by the time I got to my school, I was sweating a bit. I quickly shed (took off) most of my clothes and got comfortable. Is it spring? As I was riding to the school I heard some birds chirping. I looked at the tree on my left and sure enough, there were some "Japanese white eye" birds there. They sing so sweetly. And they appear (come out) when it gets warm. However, while I was teaching it got rather cold in the evening and then at night. I have to be careful. The next time you are out and about, look around. Can you see any signs of winter ending and spring coming? Let me know. PIC: SUNRISE SEEN FROM MY LIVING ROOM TUESDAY

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bridge results

Let's see. The BLOGs you may have read on Monday and yesterday were a bunch of baloney. That means that it was not the truth. We planned our weekend last week so I wouldn't be able to BLOG. I wrote what I envisioned (saw in my mind) would happen. The truth is that when M came to pick me up at KenK on Saturday, she told me that her mom was under the weather. That means that she was a bit sick. So, we decided to go back home and go to Ofuna in the morning on Sunday. We did so and played two sessions. In the AM we did well. We finished 6th of 20. Then in the afternoon we finished 15th of 20. We were then 13th of 20 teams for the day. There were players with 20, 40, 60 and up to 99 Maser Points. You accumulate (get/earn/receive) Master Points (MPs) when you do well in tournaments. We have 11MPs. So, the opponents were very good. That means that they don't make many mistakes. When you make a mistake the other team gets an advantage. We made some mistakes. We hadn't played bridge in three weeks. We are satisfied with the results. We look forward to next weekend's play.
 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Coming of Age Day


Yesterday was a holiday here in Japan. I thought about staying home all day and relaxing and drinking, and puttering around the house. Of course practice the violin. But there was an all day tournament on Sunday in Ofuna and then an all day tournament in nearby Yokohama on yesterday. During the New Year holidays we made reservations at an on-sen in Ikaho. I was really looking forward to it. However, we had to cancel at the last minute because one of us caught the flu (influenza). So we decided to do both tournaments and stay at a couple of different hotels. We left Saitama on Saturday right after teaching at the KenK and drove to Ofuna. The next day after bridge we drove to Yokohama. We figured (reasoned/thought) that there would be a lot of traffic this weekend so we wanted to avoid that. Both tournaments begin at 10AM. So, we would have to leave very early and hope that we didn't get caught in a traffic jam. I think we made the proper (right/correct) decision. BTW you can look at our bridge results tomorrow. PIC: THIS BOOK TELLS A STORY OF COMING OF AGE IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Puzzler Answers

It's "Coming of Age Day" in Japan. Check tomorrow's blog for news. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Saturday
1. Get ready for Yokohama weekend.
2. To school to BLOG.
3. Violin practice.
4. Kenkatsu for First two lessons of 2015.
5. Drive to Ofuna.
6. Stay one night.

Sunday
1. Up fresh to play bridge at Ofuna Bridge Center
2. Drive to Yokohama.
3. Check into hotel.
4. Dinner.
4. Eat ice cream at 31.
5. Drink delicious whiskey at the hotel lounge (same as last GW). Discuss the days bridge results.
6. Retire for the evening

I will update bridge results this week. I wonder how we fared (did).
Nice ears!



Sunday, January 11, 2015

Puzzler Hints

It is Bridge Weekend. There are two sessions today in Ofuna and then two sessions tomorrow in Yokohama. Wish us luck! Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for January 2015: " look + α"

"look"は「見る」という単語ですが、後ろにつく単語によっていろいろな意味を表します。

look for = 探す、 look after = 世話をする

look into = 調べる、 look forward to = 楽しみに待つ

1. Are you looking for a job? 仕事を探しているの。
2. He looked after the baby all day yesterday. 昨日、彼は一日中赤ちゃんの世話をした。
3. The police are looking into the cause of the accident. 警察が事故の原因を調べている。4. I'm looking forward to my trip next week. 来週の旅を楽しみにしている。

もちろん、他にも : " look +α" はあります。

Look for them all in Rick's Daily Blogs!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Puzzler

Happy New Year from the Puzzler! Are you ready for 2015? Let's GO! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for January 2015: " look + α"

"look"は「見る」という単語ですが、後ろにつく単語によっていろいろな意味を表します。

look for = 探す、 look after = 世話をする

look into = 調べる、 look forward to = 楽しみに待つ

1. Are you looking for a job? 仕事を探しているの。
2. He looked after the baby all day yesterday. 昨日、彼は一日中赤ちゃんの世話をした。
3. The police are looking into the cause of the accident. 警察が事故の原因を調べている。
4. I'm looking forward to my trip next week. 来週の旅を楽しみにしている。

もちろん、他にも : " look +α" はあります。

Look for them all in Rick's Daily Blogs!
yesterday's sunrise

Friday, January 9, 2015

Back to work

It's Friday, January 9th. The holidays are over (finished). My first teaching lesson Monday at 7PM and then 8PM. So, my work schedule started slowly. I didn't have two regular kindergarten lessons this week. They were Monday and Tuesday. That was nice. Everything else has started up and I even have a new lesson. It is a 5-week short course for adults on Thursday afternoons. I was happy to get it. The manager of the place, Plaza East in Urawa, is a old acquaintance. He decided to try two short courses this year. One is for kids and one is for adults. We were able to work the adult lesson into my schedule. I did a lot of relaxing during the holidays. I enjoyed lounging around the house in my "relaxing uniform". I watched a lot of TV. I drank a bit too much but it was OK as I was on vacation. I didn't think about work until about Sunday. The good news is that all in my family are healthy again. I am looking forward to meeting all my students again. And I am really looking forward to Golden Week.
PIC: SUNRISE YESTERDAY

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Detroit Lions

We lost.
I was born and raised in the great state of Michigan in the currently (now) bankrupt city of Detroit. They have four professional sports franchises (teams). The football team is the Detroit Lions. I can see US football games live in Japan, usually at 3AM or 6AM or 10AM on Monday mornings. Many times I will make recordings and watch them later when I have time. The playoffs are on (happening) now. Each team plays 16 games a year. The teams with the best records are left now. Detroit played last week. I woke up at 3AM to watch the game live. They played the Dallas Cowboys. Detroit was quite (rather/very) good in the first half of the game. They were leading 14-0 at halftime. But in the second half the opponents (other team) came back to win the game, 23-20. It was very tense at  the end. It was exciting. It was a good game because both teams were strong. Unfortunately,  my team lost. I am looking forward to this weekends games. Have you ever seen a football game? 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The holidays


So, 2014 is out and 2015 in. The holidays are over and it's time to get back to our regular schedule. In most cases it is time to get back to work. My holidays were enjoyable. I enjoyed a lot of free time. Our family got together for the first time in a long time. The in-laws (M's sister and family) came for a party. We also had some bad luck with health issues. Some of us had colds. Some of us got the flu (influenza). With that we had to reschedule and cancel some plans. Of course, we had to do some work and study. And we had time to do extra things. But now that the dust has settled (all of the excitement and fun is finished) we are back to normalcy. There is no other choice. Looking back on (reflecting on) the holidays they were very good. I wonder: is retirement like that? Is every day a holiday? Is every day Sunday? Is it boring? Is it exciting? It looks like a mixed bag. It looks like a 50-50 proposition (choice). It won't be here soon for me. Isn't life grand? PIC: I LOVE JAPANESE O-SECHI.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Jigsaw Puzzle

Our family has done a jigsaw puzzle at year end/new year for the past four years. It has become a tradition. I have found that 500 pieces are the best. We can certainly finish it in one day. I looked for a suitable (good) one everwhere this year. I finally decided on one at Ojisan's Toy Store in Okegawa. I know the owner from when his shop was in MINE department store. The best one he had was the ROCKY MOUNTAINS. It is a world heritage site. The puzzle is 749 pieces. That is more than I wanted but it turned out to be just right. I started in the AM (but not too early due to a slight hangover) and got the frame together and then separated the pieces into areas: mountain, sky and lake. Then Eri joined me. We did some sky and lake and Eri did the rainbow. I took a break and went to my school to do some things. When I got back Rina had arrived and then the four ladies of the house all worked for about two and a half more hours to complete it. Later I took it apart and put it in the attic. We will do it again next year.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dinner Party

nephew and aunt
Miwako has two sisters.One lives in France. The other one lives in Tokyo. One sister came to visit us last Friday. Can you guess which one? That's right! The sister who lives in Tokyo came with her husband and her son, Miwako's nephew. He was the designated driver. We went to our Hatsumode at a Hikawa sub-shrine here in Ageo. We got back home and their family came in a Toyota Belfire and we all drove to Shoya. We hadn't been there in a long time. And we hadn't been out with the Endo family in a long time either. We had a pretty good time. I started with a beer and finished with a bottle of Shochu that Mr Endo and I split. We then all went back to our house. There, four of them played  cards, two of them talked in a kotatsu and two of us drank whiskey. I was told all this the next day. I was also told that Mr Endo and I were quite drunk and ridiculous. I wish I had been there.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Family affair

We have several customs in our family. One of them is to go out to dinner together at Christmas. Our two daughters usually have many things to do at this time of year. So, this year we got lucky as all the members were able to fit this dinner into their busy schedules. We went to the Crown restaurant in the Palace Hotel, Omiya. We got a private room. The food was very good. The ladies were all able to have champagne and wine as I was the designated driver. That means that I was elected (chosen) to drive the car. I was on the wagon anyway. I had Ginger Ale. The food was very good. Another custom we have is to exchange gifts. We have a lottery to choose who to buy a gift for. I drew my younger daughter's name. I have no idea what to buy for a 23 year old young lady. Do you? So, I got her a UNIKO card from BeniBanaWalk. That's my new favorite place in Okegawa. That way she can buy whatever she pleases (wants/desires). All had a good time. Except when I broke a handle on the creamer. Oops! But, no charge. Lucky!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sky Tree


Mark at the top. What's in the plastic bag next to him?
As I said yesterday, after the Sumo event my friend and I went to Sky Tree. It was just 9:00 in the morning and there was a train that took us straight there in ten minutes. When we arrived we walked up three flights of stairs outside and then immediately to the ticket window, no waiting. We then took the speedy elevator up to the main observation floor. We then immediately bought tickets to the top floor. Again we took a speedy elevator. We were very lucky, indeed. It was a bright sunny day. We could see for miles and miles. There were not many people here yet. We cruised around for an hour on this floor and then the main deck. Tokyo was a beautiful site. We could thousand and thousands of buildings. We could rivers and parks, automobiles and little tiny people walking around down below. We were very fortunate with our timing. There were not many peolpe yet andt he weather was fine. Have you been there yet?
 

Friday, January 2, 2015

A busy year end

Well, how goes your 2015 so far? Mine couldn't be better. I had a terrible cold or allergy at the beginning of the month. I was blowing my nose for over a week. Those snots just wouldn't go away! When I finally did get better I decided to quit jogging. It is very cold in the AMs and I didn't want to risk catching another cold. When that happened I found myself with extra time on my hands. December 26th at 11AM I was as free as a bird! I stayed home that night but then on Sunday at 7AM I went to the Takadagawa Sumo stable with one friend and we "tskuied o-mochi" with the Sumo guys. At 9AM we went straight to Tokyo Sky Tree. Cool. We then had an early lunch at the German restaurant. My friend had a couple of delicious looking beers. I didn't. However the food was excellent. But I decided with all the free time remaining I will drink. It has been heaven since then. More tomorrow.
Omochi Tsuki

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

It's 2015, the year of the RAM.  Of course I believe that mean RAM English. My 2015 New Years Resolutions are:
1. Give the students at my school more listening practice. The older kids all take the Eiken tests. My policy was to have a GAME DAY the fourth lesson every month. The games are all English connected. The kids have to use English in order to play them. Some are simple for the younger kids and some are difficult especially for the older kids. But it is time for a change. I will give the older kids (and sometimes the younger kids) more and more listening apractice.
2. Drink whenever I want, but keep it under control.
3. Write and print more carefully and neatly. That includes when  I write on the white board for students.
4. Read bridge books. I also have to learn to count cards. It takes a lot of training.
5. Don't watch movies on TV.
I guess that's enough. How about you?
759 pieces of this year's jigsaw puzzle