Friday, July 30, 2010

Yesterday's topic with high school students

Yesterday's theme was "travel". And the lesson started with the question "What's a lesser-known country that you're interested in learning more about?"
A student said "Bulgaria".
Probably the bland name of "Bulgaria Yoghurt" produced by MEIJI company made Bulgaria popular in Japan.
For me, I know one Bulgarian lady who came to study at a college in this area. 6 years already passed since she went back to Bulgaria, and unfortunately we don't keep contact each other. But I heard she published a book "Bulgarian Japanese idioms".

Well, there were some example of little-know places on the text book, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Fiji, Argentina, Belize, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Togo, Brunei.
Do you know all of the names? Do you know where they are on the map?

For me, The Incan ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru is a place I'd like to visit ---- but I don't like walk, so if it is allowed, to write concisely, if I can afford a large budget for my trip, I'd like to charter a privet jet and see it from the sky.

Where do you usually hear about new and different places to travel??
One student said "on TV".
Have you ever needed to stop for the night before continuing on a journey?
They haven't . But I remembered a thing. Both of them have an experience that their school trip when they were junior high school students were canceled on the half way because of surge in patients caught by flu.

And I asked "What's more important when traveling, speed or pocket money?"
It means " Which do you prefer to go to TOKYO by bullet train or local train on your budget"
Both of them immediately said "local train, I can get up early for such a event."

Well, Yuki and I are thinking which is better to go to TOKYO on our OBON vacation (summer vacation) by car? or by local train??
Our daughters will come back, and the last day of the summer vacation four of us will go to TOKYO to attend a family reunion party. Using car is the most inexpensive, but it means Yuki doesn't drink alcohol, and, he has to be a chauffeur not only for us, but also our mothers. And probably on the day we will be caught in a heavy traffic jam on the highway.
So we think using local train is better, but for my daughters probably will say "car is easier and comfortable".

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I was asked two "why"s.
1. Why do Japanese people like to travel overseas?
2. Why do so many Japanese people join a tour?

My answer with a little bit sarcasm is
1. Because every place around is "Japan", same air. When we to abroad, we can breath completely different air, and we see different ethnic groups.
(And these days the cost of a little bit far domestic trips is as much as the one of foreign travels to neighbor countries)

2. We are not used to be isolated from Japanese, and usually the language we can speak is Japanese. And the cost is much cheaper than personal trips.

Now I finished my lunch. This early morning I made curry. Yuki and I ate it for breakfast, now I ate it for my lunch, and probably I'm going to eat it for my dinner, and tomorrow we'll eat it for our breakfast again. And probably it will have gone.

She is cute!

Before starting this blog, let me show my thanks. You voted! I'm glad to make sure that some people come to see this blog. Thank you. This question of " where do you live" is being put here for a while. If you don't vote, please do it!

Well, who is "she" of the title.
A girl who started to take piano lessons here since this April. She is 7 years old. My impression of her is "white girl", opt, it is Japanese English. "a light-skinned girl". Yesterday, suddenly she changed into a brown and sun-tuned girl. According to her until the day before yesterday her "red" skin hurts because of getting sun-damaged, now she feels itchy.
Last weekend her family went to the sea. We have no sea, so they went to the next prefecture, it usually takes 3 hours by car on the weekend.

And for her it was the first time to go to the sea.

Me "How was the sea?"
She" It was salty, it wast true that the sea water was salty."
Her answer was fulled of surprise and satisfaction. What a cute girl she was!

I also asked her, "which do you prefer the sea? or pools?"
Her answer is "the sea".

My family has not been to the sea often though we love to eat fresh fish at the spot.
The reason is that my daughters used to have atopic dermatitis. When I went to a beach, as soon as my daughters stepped into the beach, their skin changed into red and they started to feel itchy. So we evacuates to a restaurant near the beach.
We went another beach, but it was the same.
When they became elementary school students, their dermatitis seemed to have gone. So we went to the sea sometimes. But I had been always afraid of their dermatitis.
So we have not often been to the sea.
Well, let me add to the conversation with the girl,

She said she played with her brother , who is much older than she, in the sea, and her mother was watching them. ( I don't know what their father was doing.)
The reason why her mother was watching is ---, "my mother doesn't have a swimming suit"
I laughed. Can you guess her mother's feeling????
Actually I also put away my old-fashioned swimming suit these days.
And for a while I won't buy a new swimming suit for a while. Because I don't like to stay on the beach under the sun shine. (Well, I keep another swimming suit for swimming in the pool though)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cucumber&Yohgurt cold soup

Before starting today's blog, let me tell you a thing.

Did you notice that I put a question on the top of the blog. The question is "Where do you live?" Please vote by secret ballot.

Well, yesterday's pumpkin 'bread' was shared with my students. And the leftover was for our breakfast with "cucumber & Yohgurt" soup.
Did I tell you? I make yohgurt and drink yohgurt, banana, and special green vegetable powder juice almost every morning.
Today I put yohgurt, cut cucumbers, grated onion, a little bit olive oil,and salt&pepper in the mixer.
Not so bad.
Yuki said if it were more creamy, it would be better.
I agree with him. The mixer is simple(?) mixer. So the power seems not to be enough. I have to bring out the bigger mixer from the closet --- someday. Because the cold soup was not so bad.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Todays topic with high school students

Now summer vacation of students has started. So my extra lessons have also started.
Today's topic with my high school students were "pet".
1.What is the most common pet in Japan? Probably dogs and cats are the most common pets. And people having pets seemed to consider themselves to be a dog person or a cat person.
(Does this sentence make sense?)
Some people have dogs and cats both , though.
And I'm neither a dog person or a cat person, because now I don't have pets.

2.What do you think about people who abandon their pets?
In Japan we often see stray cats. Actually my pet Choro who died a few years ago used to be a stray cat. Stray cats can survive on the street, on the other hand if a dog become stray, usually a civil servant comes and take him or her somewhere and ---. I never permit to abandon pets.

That's it.
What do you think of them???
Now next lesson will start, have a nice night! This is today's pumpkin cake.

Calm everning

Yesterday Yuki was at home in the evening, and I didn't have lessons. So we went out to eat "eels". Did you know that yesterday it was "USHI-NO-HI" according to Japanese calendars,; the day of eels according to my own calendar.

I have to write the precise things.
We have the day of the ox in midsummer, and this year it was on July 26.
We have a habit to eat eels on the day to recover from fatigue because of this humid and hot summer.
(Please don't ask me more, anyway I love eels)

But it was too late. Not the time, it was just 5:30. All the eels at the restaurant were already reserved and sold out.
So we changed our minds, and went to a Sushi restaurant (not KAITEN-sushi). Yuki has been to there long time ago. But it was too expensive for all members of my family to go there together. So we used to go to KAITEN-sushi in Utsunomiya. Now we are two and we knew the restaurant was remodeled.
Yesterday it was a week day, not so crowded. We sat at the counter. (Can you guess? When we were children the people who were sitting at the counter at Sushi restaurants seemed to be stylish, real adults and old-customers.)
We had some sushi recommended by the master.

And we went back. After we parked the car in the garage instead of going into the house, we walked to a small restaurant to have some dessert and alcohol. Yuki had black beer and some vegetable snacks. I had cassis-milk and ice cream.

We went back to home at 8o'clock. After taking a "bath", we went to bed.
It was a really laid-back evening.

While I was writing this diary, I was making pumpkin (this morning I got from the neighbor) paste. I'll make pumpkin cup cakes.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Today's toastmasters

One more, I will update this blog today before I forget today's activity. Today I attened a toastmasters meeting. I made a speech in Japanese, the title was "it is difficult to use the word "Ganbatte" suitably".
I think it was done well.

Well, and, the table topics in English were also interesting. Ms.S gave us three themes.
1. What do you think of the consumption tax in Japan. Do you agree rise in it?
2. Some companies in Japan declared that they use English as the official language at work. What do you think of it?
3. Since next year English is going to take a regular subject at all elementary schools in Japan. What do you think of it?

I want to ask you who read this blog. "What do you think of it???"

1. I agree with rise in the consumption tax. Because "it can't be helped". But the proceeds from rise in the comsumption tax has to be used for the welfare field for nursing elderly . I hope the wage of nurses and helpers working at nursery centers or hospitals would also rise. --- Who will take care of "us" when Yuki and I get older???
So to be exact I agree with rise in the consumption tax on conditions that; our government should spell out the budget and have to allocate some to the welfare field.

2. I saw the articles in the newspaper. Unicro that is an apparel company, and Rakuten that is an Internet company did. On the other hand an auto maker says "it's nonsense to use English in the domestic work". Well these days the phrase of "using English" seems to be independent from the field site. Getting used to use English is necessary. But the word of "use" in this case means, to write, to read, to listen, and to speak English. And in worldwide business employees and clients can keep good relationship through simple English. But basically the way of thinking is formed by their native language. For example Japanese people often use" Ganbatte". This one word has various meanings depending on the situations. Try your best, You can do it, Work harder, Hang in there, etc. So especially in Japanese case, it is really dangerous to translate a Japanese word into an English word automatically every time.Among Japanese people they understand what they want to say in Japanese and even in English. People who doesn't get used to speak English with foreigners should be careful to use English to foreigners.

3. Well, Well, I think it cannot be helped. The official reason why English class will start at elementary school is that, at earlier age children have opportunies to hear English, better ears they have, and at elementary school children can learn English as fun not as a subject for entrance exams.
But, my reason why I agree with it, is different. I don't want to make much bigger difference between private schools and public schools or city schools and country schools. It is a human right for children to take education equivalently, isn't it? We can't stop for private schools (and some public schools in cities) to strength English education. And English is running after us until children become adults. These days to enter companies they check English ability. So children in publish school must not be left behind.

Well, Well, Yuki has come to have dinner. I have to make dinner though he bought SASHIME today.

how to cool our room

Though there is a heater in each room of our house, not air conditioner in each room of our house.
Yuki's room has not an air conditioner. It often causes a little quarrel between in summer.

Why his room has not an air conditioner?
Officially, there are two reasons.
We don't have a habit of sleeping with an air conditioner on.
We never have central air conditioner in our house, so even if each room gets cold by the air conditioner, once we go out of the room to the toilet, we should be attracted by "humid"and "hot" wind. I think the difference of the temperatures is bad for our health. So we want the wind to go through the windows open.

And other reasons are like that.
He is not at home in the hot daytime except for his one-week summer holiday.
If his room has an air conditioner, he turns on the air conditioner as soon as he enters his room when he comes back at night and starts napping holding a glass of SAKE on his hand with an air conditioner on. It is not good for his health.
the electric cost will immediately get higher. (It is the main reason).
While his summer vacation, if everybody (including our daughters) is in the house, we don't have enough ampere-capacity to turn on three air conditioner on the same time.
(Well, it means, our living room and our daughters' room have air conditioners.)
(And additionally the problem of ampere-capacity just depends on our contract how we'll pay our basic electric cost)
When you read the above, you must have thought "how strict Mieko is!","how stingy Mieko is!"
These days I started to change my mind, so I confessed our circumstance about air conditioners.
On the other hand Yuki seems to change his mind. He seems to start to think that keeping his room (very)cold by the air conditioner is not good for his health. "Sweating" naturally is good for his health and to keep good condition to play golf in the hot day.

Well, Well, please let me explained more. This house "never" has central air conditioner. So even if each room gets cool by the air conditioner, once we open the door to go to toilet, humid and hot air attacks us. So we open all windows and doors for wind to go through.

Anyway we went to a home center.
Can you guess what he bought???
It is called "HIEHIE-mat", it's a cold mat that inside is cool gel. I don't know the mechanism to get us cool. According to some websites the evaporation of heat has something to do with the sheet.
Additionally I bought a small fan to put near me.

Well, well, anyway until August 10th, I hope we will have been keeping a good relation ship to do duo smoothly at Karaku.

Friday, July 23, 2010

how to memorize English words

Yesterday night two high school students came to take my lesson. They are "really" funny.
First we try to study new English words.
I'll tell you a part of our conversation yesterday.

Mieko:This word of "publish" means HAKKOU-SURU (in Japanese, I explained); to produce a book, magazine ,etc. and sell it to the public.
Aiko; HAKKOU? I thought the books get rotten (she said in Japanese. In Japanese the word of HAKKOU has some versions of KANJI)
Mieko; That means to ferment. For example Natto is fermented soy beans, isn't it?
Haruka, The sound of "publish" is similar to "FEBREZE".
Mieko; You think so? Really??? It is ..... according to a website, it is a compound word of "fabric" and "breeze, but the spieling is "febreze".

Aiko; Hakkou has another meaning, growing light???

Mieko; it is to emit light. Do you know the word of "LED"? It is a shorten word of light emitting diode.

And the topics of yesterday was about food.

1. Do you think food has become safer or more dangerous in the last ten years?

Haruka says.

"I think it has become safer, because these days people really care about something synthetic, such as synthetic colorings, synthetic seasonings, we prefer to organic foods.

Aiko says

"I think it has become more dangerous, because our diet tend to be Western style, so we have more oil, fat, sugar .

What do you think of this question???
And other question is "How often do you eat dessert?"
Both of their answer were "every day".

Well, Well, I try not to take much juice, or sweets. And this hot weather seems to help cucumber s growing quickly. Almost every day I got some fresh cucumbers from my neighbors. Usually I give some of them to my students because my dining is usually alone except breakfast, so for me too many! So I pickled cucumbers for my dessert. I pickled them into "SYOUCHU"(kind of alcohol" & sugar (refrained sugar) instead of vinegar.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot, & of course, Humid

Thought it is not announced that the rainy season is finished, it is actual Japanese summer for these three days. These three days we have consecutive days off. Some of my friends who have "still" kids, went to the sea. (Well, I don't remember when Yuki took us to the sea....)

These two nights we had a guest. Now she lives in KYOTO, but in late of July she's going to go back to America, yes, she is an American, and she is an American literature professor. Well, well, Yuki and I are not unfamiliar with American literature (not only with American literature but also Japanese literature.) Her expertise is Hemingway.

According to Yuki's common sense, when he hears Hemingway, the next topic is the song of "I'm sailing". Do you know this song sung by Rod Stewart? Unfortunately she didn't know that. I don't know whether the song has something with Hemingway. But on the web Rod Stewart seemed to love Hemingway. Is it right???
Well we asked her what record , no, "CD" was the first one she bought. It was "thriller".
This time I prepared "special" watermelon juice. Have you ever tasted watermelon juice?
Yuki tasted one in China.

In advance I made sugar water with mint & lemon and cold it in the fridge. And when everybody sat at the table, I mixed cuts of watermelons and special cold sugar water in a blender.
Yes, it was nice. But--- despite my efforts, to mix just watermelon & cold water in a blender was enough to make tasty watermelon juice. Watermelons are really sweet in this season. There is nothing better than the seasonable natural taste.
This weekend I'm going to attend a Toast Master meeting. This time I have to talk about something in Japanese. Now I'm thinking what topic will make the members fun.

Friday, July 16, 2010


What is Hanjyuku-Kasutera? it is recently popular as one of sweets that we buy at Tokyo station.
Yesterday Yuki bought it for me. Hanjyuku means half-boiled eggs, and Kasutera is a kind of sponge cake and it came from Portugal. He brought it with a special cooler bag that cost 300 yen. Well, everything that is sold at Tokyo station seems to be expensive and stylish.

Well the inside is,--- can you see?
The top of it is like really soft custard sauce, so it has the adjective of Hanjyuku. and the rest of it is, yes, actually kasutera. And the taste is similar to baked cheese cake.

From today, some mothers of my students come to talk with me in turn. It is the week of parent-teacher conference. Who is a teacher? Of course it's me. Though I'm a teacher of this small English school, from some mothers I seem to be a senior mother.
Yes, it's true. While being noticed by myself I'm much older than mothers of my students.

Well, well, I bought one gadget. Can you guise what is for?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Elderly Couple of 62 Years plays piano

An elderly couple walked into the lobby of the Mayo Clinic for a checkup and spotted a piano. They've been married for 62 years and he'll be 90 this year.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

These are called "baby tomatoes".

Today, it's not hot, but humid, and cloudy. Sometimes it drizzles down. Yes, it is still in the rainy season. Though today it is Sunday, but I can't air out the FUTON. And "unfortunately" I skipped wedding because of drizzling.

Well, have you ever heard or seen "baby tomatoes"?

Cherry tomatoes that we call "puchi tomatoes" are common. (Puchi means petit in Franch/) And they "were " really popular for kids to be an easy cultivable vegetable. At many kindergartens or nursery schools (in this area) kids "were" growing them.

Why I wrote the sentences in the past tense is that, actually a few years ago, at a nursery school a sad accident happened. A kid swallowed a puchi tomato by mistaken, and stack it into her throat. And unfortunately she ---/

Since then cultivating puchi tomatoes is avoided in public kindergartens and nursery schools (in this area).(I heard it from my friend.)

And instead of them this new "baby tomatoes" appeared.

If kids swallow baby tomatoes, the smaller tomatoes seem to go through into their throat.

And for me, it is trouble some to chew them. To eat these tomatoes, it is easier to swallow them.

And --- chewing forth is getting lower.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Now I'm home

Hot, Hot, Hot & Humid!

Now I'm home. I've just come back from a meeting at the office of the company that I belong to.
In one hour a junior high school student "is coming" to take a small test again because she didn't get enough score last night.

This week, probably I had spent every day as usual, it means I could do all classes and all chores without skipping and "forgetting".

This hotness makes my brain freeze.
Who is such a crazy man? Who on earth is playing golf & tennis?

Today actually it is really hot, but we didn't hear the announce that "rainy season is finished."

Actually last Tuesday and Thursday they were cloudy,and sometimes drizzling.

On the other hand yesterday's rain was actually summer rain, just when junior high school student were on the way from school, it was raining cats and dogs.

Well, Well, I'll tell you a thing.

The other day I sent some "fresh" corn that I got at a farmer's shop nearby to my daughters and my mother. They seemed to enjoy the corn.

How do you usually cook corn?
We usually boil them to eat.
Yes, boiling is not so troublesome. But these days many people use microwave oven instead of boiling with a pot, because it is easier. My mother also has the microwave oven, but she doesn't like to use it.
So she boiled them as usual way,with a big pot.

But the farmer recommended "cooked corn by the microwave oven has better taste than boiled corn with a big pot", so I put a note in the box with the corn. She didn't believe it.
My mother, she is a really good person, but she is "stubborn" to her style. It can't be helped.

To tell the truth, I didn't compare the taste yet. It's troublesome for me to prepare a big pot, so I cooked them with the microwave oven, and I knew the taste was good.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Eco point

Now a series of chores is almost finished.
What is "a series chores"?

It started with put double windows (or inside windows) that are called "plu-mahdo" in Japanese, in the kitchen.As you know I'm really sensitive to the coldness. So we decided to put them.
A couple of worker came to put them. On the same time they repaired our entrance door.
The windows seem to be a one way to contribute to the eco-system.
So we could get eco-points.

And the next step began.

The workman said "To use the eco-points most effectively is repairing the house."
So we decided to change the floor sheet of the kitchen.
While we were checking the floor sheet, we found the floor sheet of the bathroom was also too old. So we asked the workmen to change the floor sheet of kitchen, and bathroom.
But, it was not so easy.
Of course to change the sheet, we had to remove all stuff in these rooms temporary, it was a really tough job, and to put t
hem back was also tough job.

But it cannot be helped.
What I wanted to say was, another problem was found. A part of the floor of the bathroom rotted. So a carpenter came to repair it.
And on the same time pipes under the sink had a leak a little because of their deterioration of 25 years old. So another workman came to repair it.
Additionally, a catch basin out of kitchen had also a leak. So we had to get it repaired.
To have somewhere repaired, I had to throw something away, clean something, and organize the spaces.
Now a series of these chores are almost finished.
Today the workman who came to my house to get the estimate before these constructions, came again to confirm the constructions, and to take the procedure of eco-point application.
This house is getting old as we are, some repairing seemed to be necessary.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Do you know "Rock, Scissors, Paper"?

Today's question is "do you know Rock-Scissors-Paper?"
Probably many people say "yes".

And I know in France they do Rock-Scissors-Leaf( instead of Paper)-Well. Because Lea told me.
(Lea, can you see it? I hope you could reach my blog.)

But, it is the first question, what do you call kind of this game?
In Japan we call it Janken.

And I found this Janken site.

To tell the truth, before I found this site, I had thought that in the U.S.A they didn't have Janken." Because some of my "adult" guests who came to stay with us said "what were you doing?" when my daughters did that.

And from them I was heard that they usually use a coin to decide who goes first saying "heads or tails".
Well, it is the next question.
Please tell me more specifically the rule of the way of even or odd.
My understanding is like that.
There are five members.
Everyone indicates a number using their shingle hand saying even (or odd).
And they count the total number.
If it is an odd number, the people who indicate numbers of odd (1, 3, 5) are winner.

Well, if my understanding is right, I'll ask another question.
How do you indicate "zero".
If you use only one hand, odd numbers are 1,3,5. So even numbers has to exist as much as the numbers of odd numbers. probably 2, 4, and 0