Friday, January 31, 2020

My January

Month 1 of 2020 has come and gone. I tried to make good use of my time. I must say one thing, I wake up real early these days. So, I can enjoy the mornings more and get to sleep early. A summary of what I did this month follows.
1. Started the New Year, January 1st in Tokyo at the Zojo Shrine next to Tokyo  Tower. 
2. Visited two health spas.
3. Went to a karaoke place.
4. Visited Kyu-Iwasaki-Tei Teien in Ueno.
5. Stayed one night in Atami with family. 
6. Had dinner at Ajikurabe seafood restaurant in Atami. 
7. Watched USA professional football on TV. Eight games live and recorded.
8. Started new English lesson in an Ageo Kouminkan. Met some ex-students there.
9. Curbed drinking but didn't lose any weight.
10. Visited the gym 12 times.
11.  Stayed in contact with my brother by line every day.
12. Got interested in the night sky, especially the moon.
13. Visited the planetarium in Jack Omiya.
14. The students and I studied hard for the Eiken test.
15. Practiced writing Japanse Kanji.
My goal next month is to continue the night sky watching and lose at least one kilo gram of weight.
View in Ueno park

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Karaoke

My new year resolution for 2020 is to practice writing Japanese Kanji characters. And now I have one more resolution. That is to practice Karaoke. I believe we had one karaoke session with Miwako's sister and her family when they visited in 2019. And I don't think that we went at all the year before or the year before that. When we went to Atami this year, we all sang songs at the karaoke room at Angel resort. I felt that I was rusty. Do you know what "rusty" means? "Rusty" means that I am out of practice. OR that I need to practice. So last week I went to a Karaoke box very near my school to practice. I went there before to investigate (check on) the facilities. It is very simple and not gorgeous. On the other hand, it is cheap and very convenient. So I became a member, which is free, and rented a room. It is cheap, especially for seniors. The regular fee if 260 yen for 30 minutes. But for seniors it is 180 yen per 30 minutes. I sang for one hour. That is 360 en! The drink bar is also included in the price! Is that cheap or what? And I must say that it was good practice. The bad news is that they don't have enough English somgs. I hope to go once or m\twice a month. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Tokyo Chamii

After my visit to Shibuya Scramble Square I went to the Tokyo Chamii mosque. I found out about it (learned about it) bu accident. I heard some news on the radio one day. I checked it out and found that it, too, was in Shibuya-ku. So, when I got down to the fist floor of the building, I first bought some cakes. These were a souvenir for the family. Then I went outside and set my smart phone on it. BUT, I got lost almost immediately. So, I changed apps. Then I got on the right (correct) track. I walked for about 30 minutes. I had lunch on the way. When I arrived at the mosque I was impressed. It was beautiful. I read that it built in 1938. Little by little, It was deteriorating. That means crumbling or falling apart. So, they rebuilt it ten years ago. It is not so big. But it is rather beautiful inside and outside. My timing was fortunate (lucky). They were having a prayer session. There were 8 worshippers in the front. One gent was chanting. I thought it was beautiful. You are also allowed to take photos and videos. I got a nice video of the chanting. I then went to the library and had a piece of walnut cake and a tea. By the way, all the books there are written in Arabic. I looked at the pictures. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Shibuya Scramble Square

The Shibuya Scramble Square opened November 1st, 2019. It is 230 meters high with 47 stories. I went there last Sunday. It was a beautiful day. There were blue skies and not much wind. I took the train to Omiya, transferred to the Saikyou line and arrived Shibuya 11:30AM. It took a few minutes ot locate (find) the building. I went to the top. It cost \2,000 for adults with no senior discount (Boo!). I got the next elevator up. It was quick. The roof (47th floor) was not crowded at all. But, the views were magnificent! I borrowed a device that shows the locations around Tokyo and outlying areas. Unfortunately, the words on the screen were very small. I returned it then walked around. I was up there for over an hour. It was excellent! There are places to relax and every location is a good photo shoot. Of course you can see all the famous Tokyo landmarks as well as places in Kanagawa, Saitama,  Chiba and the Pacific ocean. The biggest thrill or me was a map! It is 3D with Tokyo, Japan in the center. The other countries are spread out around it. It is on the floor. There is a thick plastic plate on the top so you can stand on it. I highly recommend going up fop r a visit!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Puzzler Answers

Well, this is the final weekend of January. Time sure flies when you are having fun.
Puzzler answers: CLICK HERE.

以下はスーパースクラブルパズルです。よく見ると、4つの空白のタイルが見つかります。 空白のタイルとは、何も書かれていないタイルのことです。それら空白のタイルは、ある単語の一部です。空白のタイルに、どの文字があてはまるかを考えてください。おわかりですか?答えは、ページを下にスクロールして下さい。GOOD LUCK

Below is a Super Scrabble Puzzle. If you search carefully you will find four blank tiles on it. BLANK means that nothing is written on it. But, they are part of the word. Try to determine what letter the BLANK tiles are. After you have your guess you can scroll down the page to find the answers. As always, GOOD LUCK.









































FORGET             JOSTLED/STRAW             JOUST         ASSIST

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Puzzler Hints

Last week I made a trip to Tokyo. I was up high on the Shibuya Scramble Square. What shall I do this day? Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

2020 Home Project
今月のHome Projectは、「 UP」 です。

UP UP UP!
Get up, wake up , pick up, look up, mix up, get up, close up, back up, clean up, break up, blow up, dress up, hard up, call up, fix up, give up, hang up, hard up, zip up, lock up, pull up, rise up, turn up, warm up.......level up your skills and use these in conversations and in your stories and conversations.
今月は、これらの、up,  up,などの単語を使って会話をしたり、話の中に取り入れて文章を作ってみましょう! Good luck!

Shibuya Scramble Square


Saturday, January 25, 2020

Puzzler

How is your 2020 coming along? Mine is going swimmingly! That means all is smooooooooooooooooooth! Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

2020 Home Project
今月のHome Projectは、「 UP」 です。

UP UP UP!
Get up, wake up , pick up, look up, mix up, get up, close up, back up, clean up, break up, blow up, dress up, hard up, call up, fix up, give up, hang up, hard up, zip up, lock up, pull up, rise up, turn up, warm up.......level up your skills and use these in conversations and in your stories this month.
今月は、これらの、up,  up,などの単語を使って会話をしたり、話の中に取り入れて文章を作ってみましょう! Good luck!

View from the top of SSS

Friday, January 24, 2020

Coming of Age Day

Coming of Age Day Japan. According to wikipedia:
Coming of Age Day (成人の日Seijin no Hi) is a Japanese holiday held annually on the second Monday of January. It is held in order to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached or will reach the age of maturity between April 2 of the previous year and April 1 of the current year, and to help them realize that they have become adults. Festivities include coming of age ceremonies (成人式seijin-shiki) held at local and prefectural offices, as well as after-parties among family and friends.
Well, I went to Saitama Super Arena on January 13th at 11am. Why? Because I wanted to take pictures of all these young, cool people. I have done this several times before. Of course, we have gone through this with our two daughters. Anyway, when I arrived at the station, at first I didn't see many people. But when I got to the station, WOW! Those young adults were everywhere. I looked for groups. Then I would approach them and ask "Are you Seijins?" They looked surprised then answered "Yes". Next I asked "May I take your picture?" They were more than happy (very happy) to let me take a picture. I was there less than an hour. It was a lot of fun.


Thursday, January 23, 2020

A visit to the spa

After our trip to Atami at the end of least year The three of us went to a spa. It was on our way home. It is located in Saitama. We used the Sayama Hidaka exit to get there.  It was very enjoyable. There are many things to do and everything costs money, of course. There were many kinds of baths. I tried them all. At the outdoor bath, I also relaxed on a lounge chair. There I found the moon. It was beautiful. It was just dusk and Jupiter was right next to it. I enjoyed that scene for a good 15 minutes. After some more baths (I didn't use the sauna this time) I changed to my Gamban Yoku uniform. Do you know Gamban Yoku? I don't really like it. But, I tried it. This was my second time. It was pretty good this time. You lie on a floor in a hot room and sweat. They told me it was medicinal (good for your health). Then I signed up for a massage. This was the highlight of my time there. I had two muscle aches at that time. One was in my left shoulder and the other was in my left side. I was able to get the message without waiting so that was good. The instructor was a woman. She was good but I thought a man would have used more power. But the results were good. Actually the shoulder pain was gone! I wanna try it again. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

American football

In the USA we have a Football League. There is an American Football Conference and a National Football Conference. There are 16 teams in each Conference. So, there are a total of 32 teams. After the regular season ends, the top six teams in each conference remain to play. These are called the playoffs. On Sunday, January 5th I watched two playoff games. And Monday January 6th I watched two more playoff games. They start early in the morning. Of course, I make a recording of the games. That way I can watch them at my leisure. I watched two games the following weekend on Sunday January 12th and then on Monday January 13th. After that only four teams were left (remaining). My favorite tam was one of them. Then on Monday, January 20th I watched the final two games. Unfortunately, my team lost. But, I must say, the two best teams are left (remaining). All of the games were exciting and fun to watch. I did not watch any regular season games all year this season. But the playoffs offer the best teams, so they are usually the best games. The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers  will play in Super Bowl 53 on February 2nd in Miami, Florida. Super Bowl 1 in 1967 was held in Los Angeles, California. A ticket cost $7.50. And it was not a sellout.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Kyu Iwasaki Tei Teien

On Sunday, January 5th, I paid a visit to the KyuIwasakiTei Teien in Ueno. This was my third visit there. It is a historical cultural asset. It is about a 20 minute walk from Ueno station on the opposite side of he Shinobazu Pond. It is right next to Tokyo University. When you enter the grounds there is a long road that leads to the building. There is a main building and a billiard room next to it. There is also a garden. Picture taking is not allowed inside. Currently only one-third of the original building remains. The architecture is great. There are many chandeliers and high ceilings. There are sculptured walls and fine fireplaces and huge mirrors all around. There are long staircases, too.The main part of the building was used for guests. They had meetings and parties and dinners there. The back building was the residence of the Hisaya Iwasaki family. He is the 3rd president of the Mitsubishi Company. The logo of Mitsubishi is everywhere in this part of the building. The story of this place is very interesting. There is a 10 minute video both in Japanese and English. If you go I suggest that you view it. And they have free guided tours. I also suggest that you try one of the treats they offer. I had a cheese cake with maccha. Yummy.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Puzzler Answers

We start another week today. It's colder and I think the temperature will not go up. Stay warm. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

以下はスーパースクラブルパズルです。よく見ると、4つの空白のタイルが見つかります。 空白のタイルとは、何も書かれていないタイルのことです。それら空白のタイルは、ある単語の一部です。空白のタイルに、どの文字があてはまるかを考えてください。おわかりですか?答えは、ページを下にスクロールして下さい。GOOD LUCK

Below is a Super Scrabble Puzzle. If you search carefully you will find four blank tiles on it. BLANK means that nothing is written on it. But, they are part of the word. Try to determine what letter the BLANK tiles are. After you have your guess you can scroll down the page to find the answers. As always, GOOD LUCK.
































ENSURE/FUMED           CAMERA/VELVET             AZURE           DUNCE

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Puzzler Hints

Here is another photo of the SeiJins that I took last Monday at Saitama Super Arena. Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

2020 Home Project
今月のHome Projectは、「 UP」 です。

UP UP UP!
Get up, wake up , pick up, look up, mix up, get up, close up, back up, clean up, break up, blow up, dress up, hard up, call up, fix up, give up, hang up, hard up, zip up, lock up, pull up, rise up, turn up, warm up.......level up your skills and use these in conversations and in your stories this month.
今月は、これらの、up,  up,などの単語を使って会話をしたり、話の中に取り入れて文章を作ってみましょう! Good luck!

Happy Seijin guys


Saturday, January 18, 2020

Puzzler

My 2020 is so far, so good. How about yours? I'm practicing my Kanji writing little by little. Puzzler: CLICK HERE.

2020 Home Project
今月のHome Projectは、「 UP」 です。

UP UP UP!
Get up, wake up , pick up, look up, mix up, get up, close up, back up, clean up, break up, blow up, dress up, hard up, call up, fix up, give up, hang up, hard up, zip up, lock up, pull up, rise up, turn up, warm up.......level up your skills and use these in conversations and in your stories this month.
今月は、これらの、up,  up,などの単語を使って会話をしたり、話の中に取り入れて文章を作ってみましょう! Good luck!

Many Seijins



Friday, January 17, 2020

Drinking coffee

My 2019 New Year's Resolution was to quit drinking coffee. Why? Because I hoped that my teeth would become whiter. I think that coffee stains my teeth. It makes them yellowish or brownish. I wanted to brighten up my smile. And after one year of no coffee, I believe that the effects have been positive. That means that the results have been good. But not as good as I had hoped. Anyway, After our New Years celebrations in Tokyo December 31st, I had breakfast at the hotel where we had stayed. We had dinner at this place the night before. It was pretty good. That means that it was not bad. They had a very nice spread of food. Of course they had Japanese dishes as well as Western choices for breakfast. There were plenty of salads and fruit and yogurt and the like. I went once around the room checking out all the fare (choices). Then I decided what to get. But first I wanted to try the coffee. The new year had begun. My resolution was complete. So, I got a hot coffee. Would I like it? The answr is NO. I must say that it was awful! No good! Not delicious at all. So, I can continue to drink my tea. The rest of the breakfast was very good, by the way.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Lunch with Kenny

I have a BLOG site. Everyday I post something on the site. My hope is to help my students level up there English. The site is free. I have been doing this BLOG for about eight years, maybe longer. I forgot. I post stories in English. They almost always contain a photo. They are posted from Tuesday to Friday. I write the BLOG and sometimes I use stories from  my students. On the weekends, I POST my Puzzler, Puzzler Hints and Puzzler Answers. A Puzzler is a kind of word game in English. There are four types. A listening practice is included on the Puzzler page. There is a Hints Page in Sunday and finally on the answer page there is a Super Scrabble Puzzle with some word play. Of course, I make mistakes. So, I need a person to check these weekend Blogs to find any mistakes before I publish them. I asked one of my students to check these for me. He is Kenny. (see pic) He is a cool retired gent. Of course he speaks very good English. He has free time so he was kind enough to volunteer to do the checking. In gratitude for his work for me I took him to lunch at the end of the year. We went to a nice restaurant in Urawa. Thank you Kenny.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Zoujou Temple

We rang in the New Year at our hotel at midnight. Then I headed straight for the Zoujou Temple. I wanted to make my first new year's temple visit (Hatsu mode) there. Of course many, many people were already there waiting. So, I got in line. There were perhaps a thousand people in front of me. The line across was maybe 40 or 50 people. And I was still 100 meters from the temple steps. We moved slowly, as if in a wave. The people in front the Temple were allowed in. Then the next group was allowed up to the stairs. So, the people behind them move up. Then the people behind them move up. Then the people behind then move up. Like waves...do you follow me? Some people were holding babies or young tots. There were many couples. And everyone was taking pictures. It was not cold. I finally got to the front of the steps. It took about 45 minutes to get there. There were police officers giving directions. I waited my turn. Finally I entered the temple to make my greeting. However OMG! I didn't have any coins! So, I did a fake con toss and prayed that no one noticed. I wonder where I'll go next year.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Years Eve

My daughter works in Tokyo at a hotel. She had to work December 31st. And she had to work January 1st. She had to wake up early on the 1st. So, Miwako, Eri and I stayed at a hotel in Tokyo New years eve. (We did the same last year.) This time we stayed at a MelPark Hotel. This one is very near Zoujou Temple. This temple is right next door to the Tokyo Tower. This was an opportunity (chance) for me, I thought. I have seen New Years celebrations on TV here in Japan. And I knew that there is a big bell that they ring at Zoijou Temple. I wanted to hear it live. After we checked into our hotel we had an early supper. Then around 8pm I visited the temple site. There were many people there taking photos and selfies. Of course I took some pics. I also found the bell. I asked if I could ring it that night. They told me that it was by invitation only. That was cool. Then I walked around the area. I found some food stalls and decided to have a yakisoba and a beer. I got lucky! I only had 1,000en with me.The beer was 500en. The yakisoba was 500en.  Lucky, indeed! I returned to the hotel to wait for midnight.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Puzzler Answers

It's The Coming of Age Day here in Japan.  I may go out to look at some of these young people. Puzzler Answers: CLICK HERE.

以下はスーパースクラブルパズルです。よく見ると、4つの空白のタイルが見つかります。 空白のタイルとは、何も書かれていないタイルのことです。それら空白のタイルは、ある単語の一部です。空白のタイルに、どの文字があてはまるかを考えてください。おわかりですか?答えは、ページを下にスクロールして下さい。GOOD LUCK

Below is a Super Scrabble Puzzle. If you search carefully you will find four blank tiles on it. BLANK means that nothing is written on it. But, they are part of the word. Try to determine what letter the BLANK tiles are. After you have your guess you can scroll down the page to find the answers. As always, GOOD LUCK.





































QUEER               PRIME/PRETEND              DAY/MERCY                  QUIP/QUIT

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Puzzler hints

So, we have another day off tomorrow. How will you enjoy the free time?
Puzzler Hints: CLICK HERE.

2020 Home Project
今月のHome Projectは、「 UP」 です。

UP UP UP!
Get up, wake up , pick up, look up, mix up, get up, close up, back up, clean up, break up, blow up, dress up, hard up, call up, fix up, give up, hang up, hard up, zip up, lock up, pull up, rise up, turn up, warm up.......level up your skills and use these in conversations and in your stories this month.
今月は、これらの、up,  up,などの単語を使って会話をしたり、話の中に取り入れて文章を作ってみましょう! Good luck!

Many, many people at Zoujou Temple New Year's Eve

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Puzzler

So the new year has arrived and here is your first Puzzler of the Year. Enjoy.
Puzzler: CLICK HERE. 

2020 Home Project
今月のHome Projectは、「 UP」 です。

UP UP UP!
Get up, wake up , pick up, look up, mix up, get up, close up, back up, clean up, break up, blow up, dress up, hard up, call up, fix up, give up, hang up, hard up, zip up, lock up, pull up, rise up, turn up, warm up.......level up your skills and use these in conversations and in your stories this month.
今月は、これらの、up,  up,などの単語を使って会話をしたり、話の中に取り入れて文章を作ってみましょう! Good luck!

Ajikurabe seafood










Friday, January 10, 2020

New Year Holiday in Atami Part 3

The last part of our Atami adventure took us to breakfast December 29th. We drove both cars to a very popular soba restaurant in the area. And because it is very popular it was very crowded this day. So, we didn't go there. Fortunately we had another option (choice). There is a small soba restaurant further up the mountainside that we have visited. It is called MIKAWA. We drove up, up and up. The roads are narrow and winding. One place was very narrow. I had to get out of the car and guide Miwako through. But we arrived safely at the restaurant. This restaurant seats only 14 customers maximum. We got the middle table. Everyone had soba. And some included tempura. The dessert came with a drink. Of course I chose iced tea instead of coffee (I will not drink coffee again this year...and maybe forever.) All was delicious. It was time to return home. We said our goodbyes then went our separate ways. The three of us headed to a hot spa resort on the Ken Ou Do in Hidaka. It was very relaxing. We stayed there five hours! Then we headed home to relax some more. It was an excellent trip indeed.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

New Year Holiday in Atami Part 2

We get back to our hotel about 8pm. We sang Karaoke songs for one hour. I sang one Johnny Cash song. But, I got too loud. (It's not a real Karaoke room. It is more like a meeting room. But it is cheap...500en for one hour for the room!) When I finished my Johnny Cash sing the manager arrived and asked us to "keep it down". That means to be more quiet. So, we did. Then all five of us went to our room. More food and drinks appeared. We played two card games. It was fun. But when we played the second game, I was rather drunk. The card game was Dai Hin Min. Next I drank some wine. And soon I went to sleep. I woke up the next morning at 8:00am. Everyone was still sleeping. I went to the hotel bath. It is not a Japanese on-sen. But it has a very nice view of the ocean. I then went back to our room very refreshed. We then cleaned up the room. We have to throw away our own trash and garbage and tidy up the room. (It is not really a hotel. It is a mansion that we can rent very cheaply.) We said our goodbyes and headed for breakfast. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

New Year Holiday in Atami Part 1

My New Year holidays started December 28th at 4:30pm. It ended at 1:00pm January 4th. So, it was about one week. During that week we had a lot of fun. First, we took a trip to Atami. There were five of us. My older daughter, who got married last May, rented a car and she and her new husband drove to Atami. Why? Because she recently got her driver's license. She is eager to drive. (She came to our home by car one month ago and she took me for a drive. She drives very slowly and safely!) They drove and Miwako and our younger daughter and I went by our car. We all met at the Hotel. We checked into our rooms and then we went by one car to the Ajikurabe restaurant. We have been there maybe a dozen times. It is sooooo delicious. There we ate a lot of sushi and fried fish and a lot of different kinds of seafood. Of course we all had drinks, except for Eri. She was our designated driver. That means that she volunteered to abstain (not drink) to be our safe driver. After our meal we went back to the hotel. Continued tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

2020

The new year has arrived. It is 2020 in the western world. Here in Japan it is also Reiwa 2. A new emperor was crowned here in Japan last year. So, the Heisei era ended and the Reiwa era began. So, it is Reiwa 2. Do you understand? Now, about many resolutions. Resolutions are the same as a promise. You make the promise to yourself. A New Year's Resolution is always a promise to better yourself. In America the Resolutions include; Quit smoking, lose weight (diet), exercise more or study, for example. My 2019 resolution was to quit drinking coffee. I think it stained my teeth. I drank one glass of iced coffee in early January by mistake. I then started drinking hot tea. We have many kinds of tea in our house and hardly anyone (almost no one) drinks them. So, I think I can kill two birds with one stone that way. During the year I also started two new habits. I ordered two monthly magazines and I read them. I also started reading and studying Shakespeare. I will continue these hobbies in 2020. I also recalled (remembered) my 2018 resolution. It was to drive slower and more carefully. I still continue that. So, my 2020 resolution is to practice writing Japanese Kanji characters. I used to know many but I forget them. With that I wan to say Good luck to all in 2020. 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Monday 1/6/20

I suppose everyone goes back to work this day. Let's do it!


Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday 1/5/20 Sunday

Last chance to rest, then back to work!

Nagaoka Fireworks



Saturday, January 4, 2020

Saturday 1/4/20

Well, it's back to work this day. I'm ready!
Bob Dylan? Rick?




Friday, January 3, 2020

Friday 1/3/20

Another day at home.

Gregory thinking

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Thursday 1/2/20

Gonna relax at home this day.

Rina and Masaharu


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Wednesday 1/1/20

Happy New Year