Saturday, April 30, 2011

my new gadget

Here is my new gadget, yes, it's a waffle maker.
Though I often bake pancake, I'm a little bit tied of it. So I bought it. It might be more healthy than pancakes, if I put less butter in the dough. Because it isn't necessary to put oil into the waffle maker before baking it.

Now one week consecutive holidays has started. The day before yesterday the gardener finished trimming the garden, so yesterday morning I went to a nursery center and bought some herb seedlings. And of course I did gardening. (From the evening I had usual lessons.)

Today in the morning we went to buy sweets for my mother and my brother's family, because tomorrow we will go to TOKYO to see my daughters and them. In the evening we 'll come back here with Yuki's mother. She is going to stay with us for three days.

The last day of this holiday will be my "free time", and an usual holiday.

For Yuki these holidays are a kind of vacation, but for my daughters they are only three days-off. So they don't come back here. And our younger daughter M seems to busy to do job hunting. Unfortunately she hasn't get a job after her graduation yet.(She is going to graduate this March)
This year the success rate of jug hunting for new graduates is said to be about 60%. I hope she will be counted to this rate. If she will not----- now I try not to think of it.
These days I often think what does raising kids mean. In the period of my mother probably marriage should have been a goal of growing up kids. So in this mean my mother and Yuki's mother must be successful mothers. Now the goal may be earning enough money constantly and getting enough insurance by them self, it means to become a steady office worker.
In this mean we may be unsuccessful parents. Anyway we are watching for them, and it gives some stress. I'm not used to watching for them patiently.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday's topics

Have you ever hosted a homestay student?
Yes I have had some homestay students who were junior high school students, high school students, and college students. Though college students seem to be kind of adults, other students are "kids" in my view. Kids are all the same, probably in the world. Usually they are energetic, and sometimes they are noisy. Usually they are positive, sometimes they are selfish. I like to be involved with them, it makes my life exciting and sometimes tired in good meanings.

If you visited a foreign country for two weeks, would you rather do a homestay or stay at a hotel? I prefer doing a homestay. The most interesting thing for me is "usual" life, not tourist attractions.

What's the most unusual thing you've ever eaten? --- Have you ever heard of SHIMOTSUKARE? It is Tochigi's peculiar food in winter. Many local people make it in winter at home. I tried various SHIMOTUSKARE, because it is said the taste is different with each house. but I'm afraid that all of them were not so food for me until now.

I bought this book recently. It is interesting. 30 families in a different country are introduced and most of things in their houses are shown outside.
We can guess what life they are doing --- it is interesting.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This CM encouraged me.

Because of this sad disaster, I forgot that "SHINKANSEN was opened in KYUSYU(the southern of Japan). Probably KANSAI people (living in west and southern of Japan) saw this CM, but here in east and northern of Japan we don't see this CM yet.

In this CM about 10000 people appeared as extras. And now I know more people passed away from this disaster. So I hope that such a wonderful CM will appear when TOHOKU recovers.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Today's topics at a Toast Master's meeting

I attended April Toast Master's meeting.
Today's topics in English section were like that.
1. After the earthquake, we are facing to reducing electricity. Well, what is the best buy and what is the worst buy of electrical appliances?

2. It is said that our electricity consumption is supposed to surpass the supply. What should I do to reduce our electricity consumption?

3. If you have to select one thing, which do you chose --- to build a nuclear power plant to maintain current our electricity consumption, or to be strict against using electricity?

Fortunately, or unfortunately I didn't give speeches about these three topics. (This time my role was an evaluator.)
Now I try to say something about these topics.
1. The best buy is----not recently, but my home bakery made my cooking world wider. The worst buy is---, though it's not an electricity appliance, my cell phone. I don't like having a cell phone. But after the earthquake, I accept the efficiency, so I'm adjusting to a cell phone, especially writing an e-mail with thump.
2. Every summer Yuki claim that he wants an air condition in his room. But I'm afraid that I can't accept his claim this year, either. Because we should reduce our electricity consumption, so must not increase it. He has a big electrical fan in his room.
3. It's a really difficult choice. Until now, anyway we have to reduce our electricity consumption, and in a decade I hope some Eco power plants like wind power plants are built. But if I had to select either of one, I dare to choose to be strict against using electricity as much as we can.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thai noodle

Yesterday I went to a house of my new friend who is Thai. We meet once a month at a meeting room because we have to book a room for our each monthly meeting. So we were acquaintances. The other day we happened to meet at a supermarket nearby, it meant she lived in the neighbor. So I invited her to come by on the way from shopping. She came to have a tea.

And yesterday I went to her house. She was waiting for me preparing some Thai meals.

Before I went to house I had already told her that I didn't get used to hot flavor. So she prepared mild taste Thai food. And beside of them she prepared typical "hot" Thai curry soup for Yuki.

I took back the pot of curry to home. She recommended to put some bean sprouts. So I went to a supermarket, and bought noodle and bean sprouts.

And she also recommended to put Thai pickles of Chinese cabbage. So she gave me the can.

Ta-da! I made it. Actually it was "hot", but it wasn't hot than my expectation. It was hot and flavor taste. Of course Yuki was really satisfied with this hot taste.

Next month she came again to have my lunch together. What shall I cook for her? Japanese typical lunch??? Probably I make something to use Jan's spices

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wedensday's topic

The topic of yesterday's lesson for adults was"Getting well".
Q1 Do you get a flu shot each year? Do you take your children to get flu shots? Do you think it's a great idea? Why or why not?

Last year I didn't get a flu shot. To tell the truth usually I don't get a flu shot. Because in season of flu shots (around November) I often catch colds, so I always miss the chance. On the other hand I would take my daughters to get flu shots, because I didn't want them not to be absent from school especially examination days. And my mother who is 76 years old gets a flu shot every year. She says "It's a good idea. It avoid getting the flu, and if I got the flu, the symptom would not be so bad."

Q2 When you catch a cold, how long does it usually last.

Once I catch a cold, usually it lasts a week though I seldom come down with a fever.
If I came down with a fever, I could cancel all of schedule. When I have a cold, I spend days as usual while I feel bad, and I often take a nap.

Q3 Which do you get more often, head colds or chest colds?

I get head colds with a slight headache, and runny nose.
On the other hand, if my husband catches a cold, it is usually a chest cold.
So we have two different kinds of cold medicine in our home medicine box.

How about you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

earth day

Do you know what day April 22 is? I didn't know that though I know this year's Easter is April 24.
In the morning I attended my "English picture book workshop " group meeting. Every member came with a English picture book.
And Ms.K showed us "Curious George plant a tree". It's usual. Curious George series is translated in Japanese, and it has many fans in Japan, so even if the English story is too long, probably kids can listen to it. In the book "green day" is foundered. And she connected the day with April 22.

It is "earth day".
Actually in the last page of the book, there is a list we can do easily to save the earth. For example, "when you write something on the paper, use not only front side and also back side."

What can you do to save the earth????
Anyway I recycle plastic bags, newspaper, and so on, but it's not my will, it's "a law" in Japan.

"Earth day", I know this word today. I had a good day in the morning.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Just now I read the title "Tornado rips through North Carolina" in CNN students news. I hope my blog reader isn't affected anything. This morning I cooked egg salad (the right meal) and other two meals.I seasoned the egg salad with Butter Milk Ranch dressing powder that Jan made. It really suited to my egg salad. Have you ever tried it? Monday is usually the day of preparation for lessons. In the morning I did it. After the lunch, I did my household accounts of last week, and went workout. After that I practiced the piano. And I had supper. And I 'am studying ' English, so I'm updating this blog. Every morning I see and read some articles about this disaster, and know that still now many people are evacuating and can't spend usual life. On the other hand I make coffee every morning and feel peaceful. I have to know it is a luxury thing. So I have to spend days with polite, fair and positive mind.

The coffee of this week is Starbucks coffee beans. To tell the truth I don't like Starbucks coffee at the shop, because it's too strong for me. But I like the beans, and I make it light with paper drip.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cherry blossoms

This early morning we went to see cherry blossoms on the hill nearby.

Going there is annual thing for us. We are glad to see them this year. When we came home, we had Natto & rice for breakfast.

Yesterday I went to KARAKU to play the piano. The master and I were surprised to know that it was about one month ago when I came there. For a month what a big change we had! They seemed to have a big damage. (Many tableware fell down and broke.) But now it's OK. There were four groups who were chatting. And When I started to play the piano, they were listening to me. Even though we had a little bit big earthquake while I was playing the piano, we had a good time through music. The master said "we don't need to seek a major economic power, we focus our inside to be rich ". Partly I agree with him. But if I were enough young, I would want Japan to be a major economic power again. The better economic works, the more energetic our life will become.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Swiss Chard

Today's green salad is "Swiss chard" salad. Have you ever eaten it? For us it was the first time. The taste is like -- rural spinach. It sees to easy to plant it. I found one reason to look around garden centers nearby. Some people might be afraid of radiation. But Yuki and I don't mind. According to an economic writer, this earthquake is "the third defeat in war". The first one is "Satsuei war" in 1863. After this war we had MEIJI-ICSHIN that opened Japan to the world. The second one is "TAIHEIYOU war" in 1945. After this war we became an modern nation. So he said it is a chance to make Japan more improved. I don't know the two wars. And the third war he calls is not actual "war". If we dare to say, it is a war of human vs energy. This time, I really know it, we have no natural fuel in Japan. Where do we go? What can I do? Should I do anything not only to enjoy my life?What should I do through teaching English to kids?

Monday, April 11, 2011


Today I'm at home, and have no lessons.
Just I said "Whew".
In the evening we had a hailstorm with thunder for a while and after that we had a big earthquake and some little earthquakes. Now it's almost seven o'clock.Even now we have some little earthquakes. It is said they are all aftershocks after the TOHOKU earthquake.
I turned on the radio. In Tohoku area they are blacked out again. Fortunately this area isn't blacked out. And there is only I in this house, so I'm not worried about my students. If some students were here with me----.
Just new terms started. (In Japan April is the first month of our school and fiscal year.)

Tomorrow I'll be at a children center at the same time. Will students come there? Probably they will come, because this area isn't any damaged like the other day. And everybody want to do usual life as much as we can.
But --- to tell the truth I'm a little bit scared of these days earthquakes.

On the other hand, --- today I went to a clinic to take herbal medicine. There is woman in the clinic. And she knew she is a pregnant. She evacuated from FUKUSHINA to this area, because her address is near the nuclear plant. She looks happy and worried. Anyway she's going back to her mother's house for a while. For her it might be difficult to get back her usual life. She has to face a new life.

Well, rains seemed to have gone, but it is getting cold. Yesterday even in this area cherry blossoms suddenly bloomed because it was warm day. And probably because of this coldness, the cherry blossoms will stop blooming. It means Yuki and I will be able to see beautiful cherry blossoms before their finishing on this weekend--- though just a new week has started.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

NG phrases VS OK phrases

Yuki showed me an interesting article, There are some NG phrases and OK phrases in English on business. Are they true???

NG; What isyour problem?
OK; What is this isseu?
"Problem" has a negative nuance, and the NG phrase sounds like "Do you have any complaint?"

NG; I will tell you my opinion on this issue.
OK; I will share with you my opinion on this issue.
The NG phrase sounds high-handed.

NG; What did you think of the presentation?
OK; Could you give us some feedback on the presentation?
The NG phrase is too vague. You can't convey your will that you want to get other's opinions.

NG; This is nice.
OK; Great, Fantastic, Excellent, This is outstanding.
"Nice" is too usual word, so somebody might think that "not so great "

NG; You had better finish the brief by Wednesday.
OK; It would be great if you could finish the brief by Wednesday.
The NG phrase sounds overpowered.

NG; Please reply to this e-mail until Monday morning.
OK; It would be great if you could give us a reply until Monday morning.
When you use this word "please" on business , it tends to be insulting.

NG; We will do our best to sell 10000 units. This way is favorite way for Japanese, But usually on business nobody interests our will, they focus the result.
OK; We aim to sell 10000 units.

Could you give me some feedback on this article?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Did I become senile?

Though it is a silly story ------ Yesterday when I tried to use my camera, it said "this is almost out of juice". So I "actually" took new batteries out of the drawer, opened a package(there were four batteries in one package), and changed the old batteries into the new batteries. I tried to use my camera again. As soon as I took two photos, the same sign appeared. "Did I mistake anything? Did I put the same batteries instead of the new one?" So I took out of the batteries and put the rest of the batteries in the new package. It was true that I put new batteries, because there was only wrap in the table. But as soon as I took two photos, the same sign appeared. This time I gave up. Anyway I could some photos. And at night I told this thing to YUKI. I also said "probably my camera would had little life, it would get older". He agreed with me saying "the camera with battery cells is obsolete." And he immediately sat at the PC table to search a new camera with a digital single-lens reflex. He loves such gadget though he seldom use a camera. But it's too expensive --- for me. And I want a simple camera. On the other hand when Yuki use a camera, it is the time that he takes works of our elder daughter. So he has wanted a digital single-lens reflex camera.

Anyway he researched. And today came.

I changed battery into other new ones in another new package. And it worked without any sign.

This is the photo of today's breakfast.

Did I become senile? Or was the package defective?

And will Yuki buy a new camera????

P.S Today's bread is TOFU bread. I used TOFU instead of water.

Monday, April 04, 2011


Yesterday I gardened "a little", and I found my spring. This year we will able to eat rhubarb pie. And Mitsbua (a kind of Japanese herb) has also sprouted their young leaves. You might be afraid of radiation, but we are not afraid of it. Here at least it is 150km far from the nuclear power plant. And in the afternoon, Yuki drove me to a home gallery, it means that a woman opens her house as a gallery once a month. It was about an hour drive. Here FUJIWARA-IKUZOU exhibition was held. He is a pottery-wall artist whose base is in MASHIKO. Fortunately the artist Mr.Fujiwara was there, so we could listen to him about the process of his doing crafts. Now he is interested in recycle glass more than pottery, so he makes something from used fluorescent lights, and other kinds of glass products. Of course talking with him was fun, but for me I was interested the home gallery Ms.Keiko opened. She used to be an owner of an Ontarian restaurant and after her retirement she started to open her house sometimes as a gallery. Her house is remote, and not so new house. But it is organized, cleaned and chic. I wish I could open my house as an English picture books gallery with some illustrators or translators.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Sweets party

Last night four junior high school students (two of them are first grade students in this spring) came to take my lessons. Before the lesson we had a party to congratulate two of them on their new high school, and the others on their new grade to become the second grade.

And two high school students brought their homemade sweets --- cooking sweets from an English book was homework.

They made cream puff, banana cake, chocolate cookies, and I made oatmeal cookies and carrots cake.

They goes to a different high school, but it has no problem. All of them are teen ages, it means they never run out of conversation topics. In Japanese we say "laugh at the drop of chopsticks"

Today's our breakfast was leftover carrot cake.