Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bridge

M and I are on a roll. That means that we have been successful several times in a row (consecutively OR one after another) at the bridge table. Last Sunday we travelled to Takadanobaba for an Under 50 competition. We always go by car to these competitions. In Takadanobaba they have free parking on the streets on Sundays. There are many places to park. But they have white lines on the street. You can park only within these white lines. Everyone uses these paces. When we first went there we arrived 45 minutes early in order to wait for someone to leave. Then we could take their spot. However, these days, M goes to the bridge center immediately and I drive around the area looking for a vacant (open) spot. It can take as little as 5 minutes or as much as 25 minutes. But, I always manage to get a spot. At bridge this time there were 7 teams. We played very well I but thought we did better And we were satisfied (happy) with a second place finish. As usual we made some boo-boos (mistakes). We must practice more. Our next session is this coming Sunday. I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New job

We have HOME PAGE. In America it is called a WEB SITE. We hired a young man to run it for us. He is the son of one of our students. We have had the Home Page for more than twelve years. It has been very beneficial to our business. We gave the manager a basic layout and he customized it for us. It looks real nice. He also registers it in a domain. It is out there on the Internet so anyone can see it. And over the years many people have seen it and contacted us about lessons or our English teachers. This Home Page has been very, very good to us. And just recently we got a call from a Kindergarten in Kitamoto. They lost their English teacher and they needed a new one. I went to speak to the boss back in January. We discussed (talked about) a variety of (many) things. He finally called me in March to say "OK. Let's do it". So, I got  a new job on Monday mornings. I teach at their Houikuen (Day Care) and Kindergarten 30 minutes each. We got lucky again.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Puzzler Answers

GW (Golden Week) starts Wednesday. We have a very ambitious (busy) vacation planned. I will do some new BLOGs and post some old ones. I hope you enjoy them. Puzzler Answer:CLICK HERE.

We did this puzzle last Wednesday night. We used all the letters. Cool! And COOL WORDS:

POUCH      HAZY       EERIE          DETAIN          VALUE 

 And now can you figure out the blanks? Answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay below.
 




















SCREENS/SAVVY    PRIZE/QUITE     JOINTS/TIMES     SERENELY


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Puzzler HInts

More bridge today and then our trip to Atami is on Wednesday. I'm luvin it. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2015:  "in" 「~後に」

"later" 「後で、~後に」、 "ago"  「~前に」、という流れできました。
今月は、具体的な未来を表す  "in"  「~後に」を使ってみましょう。
今を基点として、どのくらい後かを示します。

1. I'll call you back in 10 minutes.    10分後にかけなおします。
2. My passport expires in 2 years.   私のパスポートは2年後に期限が切れます。
3. I get the result of my job interview in a week.   就職面接の結果は1週間後です。
4. My aunt will arrive in a couple of days.    叔母は2,3日後に到着します。

Keep your eye on the BLOGS and HW for examples. See you in a while.
Yumiko-san's garden in the front of our house

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Puzzler

GW is right around the corner. It starts for me in 5 days. It's gonna be my last chance to relax for a while. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2015:  "in" 「~後に」

"later" 「後で、~後に」、 "ago"  「~前に」、という流れできました。
今月は、具体的な未来を表す  "in"  「~後に」を使ってみましょう。
今を基点として、どのくらい後かを示します。

1. I'll call you back in 10 minutes.    10分後にかけなおします。
2. My passport expires in 2 years.   私のパスポートは2年後に期限が切れます。
3. I get the result of my job interview in a week.   就職面接の結果は1週間後です。
4. My aunt will arrive in a couple of days.    叔母は2,3日後に到着します。

Keep your eye on the BLOGS and HW for examples. See you in a while.


I bought a new memory card at Bic Camera on Wednesday

Friday, April 24, 2015

Blood Donation

Two Wednesdays ago, I went to SOGO department store. I wanted to buy something but they didn't have my size. So, I ordered one. I went Wednesday afternoon to pick it up. I also went to Bic Camera to buy a memory card for my camera. I then went to the book store to buy a Shizuoka Prefecture Atlas. At that time I found my Blood Donation Card. I looked closely. My next date to donate (give) blood was April 15th. I thought "Chance!". After lunch, I walked over to the Red Cross Blood Donation Center.The whole (entire) process took about 45 minutes. It was all very routine. I took my blood pressure. I filled out the questionnaire. I talked to the doctor. They took a blood sample form my left arm. I drank some Aquarius sports drink. Then they took my blood from my right arm. This took less than 10 minutes. Then I drank some more liquids and ate 0-sembe. After 15 waiting minutes I went back to Okegawa. This is my 41st time to donate on this card. I can donate again in 4 months. I plan to donate four times this year.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Stomach pains

I mentioned in Tuesday's BLOG about my stomach pains. Last December I felt uneasiness in my stomach. That means it was uncomfortable and a dull pain. The pains would come and go. I decided to visit the doctor. The first doc gave me some medicine but it didn't work (help). So, I went to the local gastro-intestinal doctor and he recommended an endoscopy. That is a check of my insides with a camera inserted through the mouth. After the check-up he said "No problems". So, I had to find out by myself how to get rid of these pains. I quit drinking coffee at home, iced and hot. I cut down on the amount of food that I ate. I even reduced my drinking. Sometimes I thought, "Oh, I am fine. The pains are gone." But the next day they came back. I also felt these pains when we played bridge. "Aha! These pains are stress related." I thought. No bridge! OMG! However, little by little they become less and less. And suddenly last week Thursday, after I ate a banana, I felt the pain and then it stopped. I knew they were gone. I am still careful about what I eat. I certainly hope they do not come back.
Below is the bridge result from last Sunday's PM session instead of my stomach

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bridge

We have been attending the bridge competitions in Tokyo for about two years now. It is fun to compete. We have met many other bridge players. Some have advanced passed us. That means we don't play against them anymore. They are too good for us. Their skill and technique and strategies are very good. When we play in a low level competition (Under 20) as we did last Sunday, we meet new players. They have just begun or are the same level as us. We all hope to get beyond the 20MP mark. I would say 80% of the players are ladies. The age is from 40 to 80. Most of the men players are retired. I really enjoy watching how the other players play. Everybody holds their cards differently: some hold them high, some low. Some people sit straight and some slouch. Some people throw the cards on the table while others put them down very delicately. Some put them to left some on the right and some in the middle. The new players are apt (likely) to make rookie mistakes. This helps us win competitions such as last Sunday. Thank you very much.
 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

No jogging

Do you exercise? I still stretch almost every morning but I quit jogging last December. I would jog almost every morning. But, I never jogged in the rain. Sometimes I would jog at night. I had a 3 kilometer course that I charted (planned) by using my car's odometer. I live in Fujinami, Ageo.It is very country. There are plenty of trees and rice fields and open spaces. I jogged through these places. It took about 22 minutes. Last December I started getting stomach pains. I didn't know why. But, the first thing I did was to stop jogging. Then I visited some doctors. My stomach pains have stopped. But, I haven't resumed (returned to) jogging. I found that I save about 45  minutes every day by not jogging. The jog would take over twenty minutes. Then I would return home to shower or bathe. That would take about 20 minutes. 45 minutes: Time is Money! Occasionally I also had some knee pains after jogging. At my age I think my bicycle rides to and from my school are enough exercise. And I don't really miss jogging.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Puzzler Answers

My schedule is full again as the Kindergarten classes resume. With bridge every weekend there is hardly any time to drink. Heavy sigh. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

Here is a SS board for you. COOL WORDS: SQUARE   ZEAL   SPORTY  DEMON   RATHER MUSTER  Now can you figure out the blanks? Answers are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay below.















GHOST    TABBY/CABBY   TAPIN   PEWTER

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Puzzler Hints

It's geting warmer. But it will be hot in a couple of months. It's time to enjoy the cool weather. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2015:  "in" 「~後に」

"later" 「後で、~後に」、 "ago"  「~前に」、という流れできました。
今月は、具体的な未来を表す  "in"  「~後に」を使ってみましょう。
今を基点として、どのくらい後かを示します。

1. I'll call you back in 10 minutes.    10分後にかけなおします。
2. My passport expires in 2 years.   私のパスポートは2年後に期限が切れます。
3. I get the result of my job interview in a week.   就職面接の結果は1週間後です。
4. My aunt will arrive in a couple of days.    叔母は2,3日後に到着します。

Keep your eye on the BLOGS and HW for examples. See you in a while.
There were no people at 6AM so I took this photo at the hotel bath last weekend..

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Puzzler

Tomorrow we play in an Under 20 bridge tourney; one in the AM and then one in the PM. We hope to win some huge MPs. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2015:  "in" 「~後に」

"later" 「後で、~後に」、 "ago"  「~前に」、という流れできました。
今月は、具体的な未来を表す  "in"  「~後に」を使ってみましょう。
今を基点として、どのくらい後かを示します。

1. I'll call you back in 10 minutes.    10分後にかけなおします。
2. My passport expires in 2 years.   私のパスポートは2年後に期限が切れます。
3. I get the result of my job interview in a week.   就職面接の結果は1週間後です。
4. My aunt will arrive in a couple of days.    叔母は2,3日後に到着します。

Keep your eye on the BLOGS and HW for examples. See you in a while.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Residence Card

I am an American. That means that I am a foreigner here in Japan. I came to Japan with a Tourist Visa 31 years ago. Then I got a Student visa and then a working visa and then a spouse visa and now a permanent resident visa. With those, I also needed an alien registration card. It proves (identifies) who I am. It has my pertinent (necessary/important) information on it as well as my photo. There is a new law in Japan. It says that all aliens must change their Alien Registration cards to Residence cards. The deadline is July 8th. I had a free morning three days ago. So, I made the trip to the Immigration office inYonoHonMachi, Saitama City. It took almost an hour to get there by train and foot. Of course an hour to get back home. It wasn't crowded. That was good. I had to fill out a very simple form. I had to wait in a line for about ten minutes. I then sat down and waited 40 more minutes. The good news is that it was free. It took approximately (about) one hour. This new one expires in 7 years. I'm glad it is over (finished). I hate waiting in lines.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

After Bridge

I was free on Monday until 5PM. I did a lot of work last week including Saturday night after my Kenkatsu lessons. My new Kindergarten lessons start next Monday. So, I decided to take advantage of the free time. M and I also wanted to celebrate our bridge success.We took the whole (entire) family out to dinner. We went to a Yakitori place very near Okegawa station after bridge. I made reservations the day before for 6:30PM. Mom-in-law and our two daughters joined us in the fun. Actually we included Eri's birthday in the party. I visited this restaurant last month. It has very tasty food and delicious drinks. I had a beer and then sake. The others all had beer and Umeshu and such. After a couple of hours I decided to go back home and finish off a bottle of Shochu I had left. So, I said good-bye to all and went to the convenience store to get some munchies. Then I took a taxi home. It was just me and the cat. I lounged in bed until 8:30 the next morning. Heaven! PIC: CHEERS!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bridge

 We were back at the bridge table after a three week absence. We arrived at the Yotsuya Bridge Center at 10AM. We brought a Bento lunch which we bought at a convenience store along the way. Play started at 10:30. I must admit (say) that we were rather smooth in our bidding and playing. We did practice a lot though. We use the game software in our computers and we discuss different "conventions" used in bridge. A convention is a kind of rule. You use different conventions in different situations. It is similar to (like) using past tense or ing verb forms or idioms in English. Anyway, we did very well. Our bidding communication was good and so was our play. Therefore (So) we came in third place in the AM session. Then we had lunch. When we started we PM session I was a bit confused. I made some simple mistakes as did Miwako. I think we became (got) tired. So (Therefore) we came in 9th place in the PM session. On the day we were in 4th place. We drove home with smiles on our faces.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Violin Practice

I have a hectic (busy) violin schedule. It includes my practice, my lessons and ensembles. I think ensembles means practicing with another person or a group. The reason it is hectic is because I will perform at our RAM Big Event in 3 months. I will perform with three lovely students. One is Mari. She is a piano/electone teacher and performs on stage. She arranged three musical pieces for me and we will play them at the 7/19 event at Kenkatsu. We have played together at Viento. I am pretty bad and she is very understanding. I will also collaborate with Yuko-san. She is also my student and is a violin enthusiast. She is a retired school teacher. She took up (began to play) the violin ten years ago, I believe. I bought her old violin from her. We will play one piece. She and Mari have been great encouragements to me. Finally I will play a piece with Sakura. She is a student at my school. She is ten years old. We have the same violin teacher. I have a lot of practicing to do, so I will sign off here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Puzzler Answers

And now back to work with my lessons in full swing (100%) next week. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

One more Super Scrabble puzzle for you.
COOL WORDS: CASTE   BASIN   AJAR   AVOID   GONER   AORTA   VISION    DOZE
And now, can you figure out the BLANKS? Answers below.





















FLUTE    JUST/MOIST    QUOTE/UNTIL      HUGE

Sunday, April 12, 2015

PuzzlerHints

We will do our best at a Bridge tourney today after a 3 week absence. I'm excited! Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2015:  "in" 「~後に」

"later" 「後で、~後に」、 "ago"  「~前に」、という流れできました。
今月は、具体的な未来を表す  "in"  「~後に」を使ってみましょう。
今を基点として、どのくらい後かを示します。

1. I'll call you back in 10 minutes.    10分後にかけなおします。
2. My passport expires in 2 years.   私のパスポートは2年後に期限が切れます。
3. I get the result of my job interview in a week.   就職面接の結果は1週間後です。
4. My aunt will arrive in a couple of days.    叔母は2,3日後に到着します。

Keep your eye on the BLOGS and HW for examples. See you in a while.
Delicious!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Puzzler

The Kenkatsu lessons start up again today. Will I see any new faces? I can't wait! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2015:  "in" 「~後に」

"later" 「後で、~後に」、 "ago"  「~前に」、という流れできました。
今月は、具体的な未来を表す  "in"  「~後に」を使ってみましょう。
今を基点として、どのくらい後かを示します。

1. I'll call you back in 10 minutes.    10分後にかけなおします。
2. My passport expires in 2 years.   私のパスポートは2年後に期限が切れます。
3. I get the result of my job interview in a week.   就職面接の結果は1週間後です。
4. My aunt will arrive in a couple of days.    叔母は2,3日後に到着します。

Keep your eye on the BLOGS and HW for examples. See you in a while.
This is another photo of the sunrise.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Hakone part 2

We relaxed in our room and had several baths, both in our room and at the main spa. Then we had a gorgeous dinner at 6PM. There were all the usual Japanese dishes and all were delicious, in my opinion. I spoiled myself with a whiskey double.  The dessert was nine kinds of fruit. We were full. We retired early that night. We had to go back the next day. I slept well and got up at 5:30 to go to the bathroom. When I returned to the room, I noticed (saw) that the door to the veranda was ajar (slightly opened). When I went to close it, I noticed a round red spot on the outside door. The door is paper. I touched it with my hand and then opened the door to check outside. I was surprised and very happy to see this beautiful sunrise. I admired it for a minute and then quickly got my camera. I took several photos. M was sleeping soundly. I didn't want to wake her up. But, it was a beautiful site. In English we say, "The early bird catches the worm."

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hakone

After our one night stay in Atami we drove to our next lodging (place to stay) in Hakone. It took only an hour and 20 minutes to arrive at Lake Ashino. We arrived at our hotel way too early. It was only 11:30! So, we drove back down and found a nice, but too expensive, soba shop. After lunch we returned to the hotel lobby where we waited 90 minutes until check in. The hotel was excellent. It was refurbished 6 years ago. All the floors are tatami. Each room has its own private hot spring bath on the balcony. Most everything is automatic; the lights, locks, toilet. There were many amenities. The fridge had Perrier water, 100% OJ and 2 beers...all free. There were several BGM CDs to choose from and a wide screen TV. There were two kinds of casual wear. We chose the pajama style instead of the Yukatas. There were no slippers; only tabi (socks). Of course the main bath was spacious and there were two outdoor baths. As every room has its own balcony bath, hardly any guests use the main bath. I enjoyed the main bath.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cherry Blossom Viewing

I`m not a big fan of cherry blossom viewing. I have done it with my family long ago. That was when our kids were small. I have also been to Ueno Park once. One American friend and I went there to check things out. It was perhaps 15 years ago. That friend has long since left Japan. I remember walking along the main path and seeing so many revellers (party participants) sitting and really enjoying themselves under the lit up trees in full bloom. We also talked to several foreigners. It was a nice experience. Last week Thursday I had some extra time in the afternoon. I decided to go to NishiGuchi Park here in Okegawa. It has lots of cherry trees. There is also a grassy area and plenty of benches. There were moms and kids and elderly people there. Some were dozing (sleeping). I found a bench and read my bridge book for a few minutes but gave it up soon to enjoy the moment, I even met a little girl and her mom from the Kindergarten where I teach. After 30 minutes I was back at my school working.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The trip


Last Saturday was my final free Saturday for a while. My Kenkatsu adult lessons start in five days. I look forward to seeing all the wonderful students again. And I am looking forward to meeting any new students who may join the classes. With that, M and I took the opportunity to have a little R&R. That means "Rest and Relaxation". Our favorite place to do that has become Atami and Inatori in Shizuoka. Of course we have the super/special discount there thanks to M's brother-in-law. Two weeks ago we took the family to Inatori for one night and then strawberry picking the following day. This time it was just the two of us, so it was easy to make a schedule. Our main goal here was to practice bridge. I brought my old laptop computer. It has "Bridge Baron 24" software installed in it. We each took turns playing a game. I would try first. Then M would play the same game. We then compared the results. We discussed our reasons (thinking) behind the decisions we made. Next, M would try a game and I would play the same game. That was followed by more discussions. It was very good practice and it was very relaxing. PIC: WINDSURFERS NEAR ANGEL RESORT MANSION IN ATAMI.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Puzzler Anwers

The weekend was over before I knew it. But a new one comes in just five days. I can't wait! Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE

Check out the Super Scrabble Puzle below.
Cool Words: ZEAL  VIEW/VIEW  JADE   MUSTER   NAVY  VALOR   JADE

And now, can you guess the blanks? Answers Below!

GHOST   CABBY/GABBY/TABBY  TAPING   PEWTER    

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Puzzler Hints

Well, we are in Shizuoka again. This time Atami and then Hakone. Busy, busy, busy. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2015:  "in" 「~後に」

"later" 「後で、~後に」、 "ago"  「~前に」、という流れできました。
今月は、具体的な未来を表す  "in"  「~後に」を使ってみましょう。
今を基点として、どのくらい後かを示します。

1. I'll call you back in 10 minutes.    10分後にかけなおします。
2. My passport expires in 2 years.   私のパスポートは2年後に期限が切れます。
3. I get the result of my job interview in a week.   就職面接の結果は1週間後です。
4. My aunt will arrive in a couple of days.    叔母は2,3日後に到着します。

Keep your eye on the BLOGS and HW for examples. See you in a while.

I picked these up in Inatroi formy school. Cool?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Puzzler

Spring is here. It's April and I'm definitely ready for anything. Well, almost anything. Puzzler CLICK HERE.

HOME PROJECT for April 2015:  "in" 「~後に」

"later" 「後で、~後に」、 "ago"  「~前に」、という流れできました。
今月は、具体的な未来を表す  "in"  「~後に」を使ってみましょう。
今を基点として、どのくらい後かを示します。

1. I'll call you back in 10 minutes.    10分後にかけなおします。
2. My passport expires in 2 yars.   私のパスポートは2年後に期限が切れます。
3. I get the result of my job interview in a week.   就職面接の結果は1週間後です。
4. My aunt will arrive in a couple of days.    叔母は2,3日後に到着します。

Keep your eye on the BLOGS and HW for examples. See you in a while.
Aloe Center Shizuoka



 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Strawberry Picking

One goal of this trip was to go strawberry picking. This was a request from our older daughter. I had done this once, maybe 15, 16, 17 years ago. At that time our kids were small. I don't remember much about it. But, I do like strawberries! This farm wasn't far from the Resort Mansion. Miwako called ahead to make sure they were open and got the location info and we set out (started) at 10AM. We were there in a jiffy (very soon). We paid and then we each got a plastic tray to put the leaves in. You also got cream if you wanted. I wanted. They gave us some brief (quick) instructions and told us that there were two kinds of strawberries. We had 30 minutes. I went out ahead by myself. It was fun! I looked for the best ones according to the instructions. They were so sweet. These ones were long and soft and plump. Then I went to pick the other ones. These were shaped like a triangle. They were harder, but, they too were sweet. I have no idea how many I ate. However, my fingertips were very red. In the end I am sure that everyone enjoyed themselves.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Family Affair

Our younger daughter  has been very busy meeting friends, going out for dinner and drinks, and basically enjoying herself. Why? Because she started her new job yesterday. That is, she has started a new life: her working life. So, our elder daughter decided that we should all (5 of us) go on one last trip. Last Saturday we drove to Inatori, Shizuoka. We stayed at a Company Resort Mansion. It is cheap. It is on the side of the mountain with an ocean view. We arrived at 5:30PM. We stopped at the only store in the area to get our supplies. The supplies were beer, cocktail drinks, peanuts, chips, pretzels, Doritos and more kinds of munchies (snacks). My stomach has not hurt for the past week or so, so I decided to feast. We had a simple dinner at the only restaurant in the Resort with a couple of draft beers. Then we headed for the "Girls" room. We played "DaiHinMin" for over three hours. It was a blast! Then the girls went to the bath and I crashed next door in the "Parents" room. The next day we took a drive. I'll tell you about that in tomorrow's BLOG.
THE PIC: EATING ALOE SOFT CREAM.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The chairs

I told you yesterday about the chairs we had in our school. I purchased them at a Recycle Office Supply shop in Omiya 15 years ago. They were a set of 10. The fabric was a grey and black design. Later, I had them reupholstered to the color you see in the picture. I liked the frames which were steel. Of course, I attached tennis balls to the "feet” to protect the linoleum floor. That has worked so well that I bought new tennis balls for the new chairs. So, it was time to say goodbye to these loyal chairs. I put five of them into the car and took them to the Ageo Disposal site. They wouldn't accept them as they were not of home use. That is, they are business use. What to do? Then we got very lucky. The garbage collector came around our house in Ageo. Miwako gave him our old sewing  machine and told him about our chairs. He came to the school and took them off our hands. I had to pay 8,000en. They were gone in a jiffy (flash/immediately). The guy also took the 40 old tennis balls. Even though it cost some money it worked out well. Dear Chairs: "Thank you very much and Good Job!"