Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday's topic

We talked about tiny funny or strange things in our daily life?
"Have I ever told you about the time I saw a famous actor?" --- like that.
She's  seen Sylvester  Stallone at Los Angeles International Airport. At that time he was working on a movie. So she wanted to get his autograph, but she just took a look at him.

What famous person would you most like to meet? I'd like to meet TAMURA-MASAKAZU, and if I met him, I would take a photo of him with me.

Have you ever seen a UFO? Unfortunately both of us haven't see one. Do you believe that other intelligent beings are somewhere in space? So if some being traveled here, will it be friendly or more peaceful? I read an article that we hope they will be friendly and more peaceful, but on the other hand it's equally possible that the ideas of such an advanced being would not make sense to us at all, anymore than our ideas make sense to fish, and we might taste just as delicious."

The reason why we talked about such things was that. from September to December, classical movie fair is going to be held at this local theater once in a month. Usually it costs 1800 yen for adult, but on the day we can see at 100 yen. The scheduled movies are ET, Sound of music, and so on. She is going to see ET. Her talking led to UFO talking.

Today's specials were cookies from two students. One is a souvenir of trip to MIYAZAKI, the other is an also souvenir of trip to NASU.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Toast master's meeting

Today I attended a Toast master's meeting. As I always tell you, when I attend this club I often feel I were in a wrong place. Because everybody except me is active working men and active working ladies (probably the ladies are single or have no kids even though I haven't asked.) So nobody mentioned about their kids. On the other hand I get used to talking about our family,our kids. (And these days I don't have current topics about my kids, so in another meaning I often feel I'm in a wrong place when I talk with active mothers.)
But attending this club makes my eyes wider, and inspired.

Today's table topics in English section were  that;
What is your most enjoyable memory in summer?
What is your most romantic memory in summer?
What is your toughest memory in summer?

Fortunately or unfortunately, this time I was not appointed. So now I'll think about these topics.

My most enjoyable memory in summer is --- Taiwanese trip in this summer. It was the first time for us to go abroad. And the tour was also the first time. I really realised that seeing actual things is really important. Just listening to a knowledge is completely different from seeing actual things.

My most romantic memory is ---, in retrospect probably I could say visiting HOKKAIDOU was my most romantic memory. I went there with four members including my husband ( at that time all of four were in university.) I keep the photos, the trip on the photo looked romantic. But  I don't have any romantic memories. When I visited HOKKAIDOU, it was after heavy rain. So the youth hostel I stayed was swamped, some roads were flooded. So the trip was really hard with lots of trouble.

My toughest memory in summer is ---  the summer when I was studying hard because I failed to enter  university that spring. (Fortunately I passed the next year.)

How about you?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Saturday

Now I'm making tomato soup with a pressure cooker for my supper.(Yuki is working and he will eat today's supper at his office.) It was cool in the day and now it's cold  at night. I'm wearing long leaves shirt of course.

Today I had no lessons. I got up usual time and did morning chores including making breakfast. I cleaned all rooms and reorganized the entrance hall. And I weeded the garden " a little".(Fortunately Shiso-leaves and mint-leaves are growing rush, so "I" can't see weeds much, so I "don't need " to weed very hard  I know it's a good excuse. And even though I spray bug spray before going to the garden, as soon as I go into the garden I get eaten up by mosquitoes a lot.)

After eating YAKISOBA for lunch, I went out to a department store to buy my summer sandals (for walking). You must think why I do it now. I know the summer is coming to end. BUT it is necessary. My sandals broke during the trip to Taiwan. I bought  new cheap sandals in Taiwan. They are not so bad, but I wanted better ones. And now it is on sale.
The Taiwanese sandals were about 380 yen. And the new one was ---secret. I know I have to save money for our life because we went to an abroad trip.

On the way home I came by my favorite tea room. I know the hostess who is organizing the tea room. So it's easy to came by there alone. This time I had thought I would listen to an English story with my ipod. Darn it. I forgot bringing my earphones. So I just talked her eating pumpkin cake ( Don't say "you wasted money") and went back home.

Tomato soup is done! After eating this soup I'll study English (probably).

Friday, August 26, 2011

Licolis and Taiwanese food

The picture on the left is called (probably) iron eggs There are two types, bigger one is usual eggs, and this one is quail's eggs. We boguht this  bag of quail's iron eggs in Taiwan. It is one of local Taiwanese food.
There is instruction on the back of the bag. I'll introduce it, though I don't know the sentences are right or not. (Because the instruction is also written in Japanese, but some sentences are wrong.)
"These eggs are a delicacy in Taiwan. They are marinaded and simmered in a rice broth loaded with spices, then place in an oven to bake and lock in their flavor. The delicious snacks are hermetically sealed in a vacuum package to ensure their freshness."

And the picture on the right is licorice bars one of my students bought for us as a souvenir. Can you guess why  I put these pictures together. Because the taste of the outside of the eggs, and licorice bars  are the same.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wendensday's topic and Taiwan sweet

Today's sweet is this Taiwan sweet , which is called GEPPEI in Japanese.  And I served a kind of Taiwanese ( or you can say Chinese) tea.

Well, well, today's topic was "Accommodations". It was a suitable topic in this season.
One of my adult student stayed in a youth hostel with her family.
Have you ever stayed in a youth hostel? I've stayed a few times when I was "young". I had thought that youth hostels could have been for young people. But these days they seemed to change. Families also can stay at reasonable prices. Did you stay in a youth hostel recently?
My family stayed in an inexpensive hotel. They didn't have any special amenities like gym, library, and so on. The clerks were kind, and we had standard features in our room, like hair dryer, shampoo, and so on. And of course it was a bed-and-breakfast. (We had breakfast the first morning, but next morning we skipped and went out to have local Taiwanese breakfast.)
What amenities would you expect in a hotel if you go there with your family?
What features would you expect in a hotel room?
What services would you expect from a hotel?


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Taiwan -3-

There are many things which we understand when we go there indeed. We have such a proverb "A big difference between what one hears and what one sees."
About KOKYU museum (national palace museum) , it was true that Hakusai(Jadeite cabbage), Kakuni(meat shaped stone) and Nabe were showed as the most valuable things.
 KOKYU museum is one of the four biggest museum in the world. ( This time I knew it.)  In front of them people were waiting in a line.
To tell the truth, I don't understand why two of the three are so valuable ---- but I understood they were really famous there.
And at souvenir shops we saw things which shaped Hakusai. The interesting things we didn't see things shaped Kakuni except at the museum. Probably they were not cute.  Of course we bought one. When we see it, we always remember the trip to Taiwan.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Taiwan -2-

If you go to Taiwan, what will you buy as your own souvenir?
We bought a small object (I'll show you later), and  some foods.
( We bought some sweets for our mothers, and friends.)

Most of Taiwanese food are sold in Japan. But they are more inexpensive than in Japan. So Yuki thought it was a good chance to buy some foods he's wanted to try. We bought retort shark's fin soup.
It looked different with the photo of the box. But anyway there were shark's fin and one big ear shell. The soup was thick and soy sauce tasted. Not bad. I don't know the real and expensive taste of shark's fin soup. So what I can say is "not so bad, but it's expensive even though we got it at lower cost.

And we bought KARASUMI bortargo. In Japan Nagasaki prefecture is famous KARASUMI, but I've never had one.
The taste was ---" TARAKO", I said.
Yuki said "it's thicker than TARAKO(salted cod roe)"
"And it's more expensive" I said.

I always think the cost valance ---because I'm a housewife.

Do you now three of the most delicious delicacies in the Japan? They are "Uni(sea urchin), Karasumi(bortargo) and Konowata(salted entrails of trepang). This time, We had a chance to have Karasumi. So We should have Konowata.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Taiwan -1-

We came back from Taiwan to Utsunomiya, and both of our daughters came back to TOKYO. Yuki's vacation was finished, today he went to work.  I cleaned all the rooms, had lunch by myself -- and , usual life has started.

Taiwan, it is a foreign country to us, but here and there we see Japanese.  Here and there we heard Japanese. Elder people talk Japanese naturally, some people can speak English.
We went to Taiwan on a tour at bargain, so it wasn't a gourmet trip. But of course we enjoyed "foods".
M loved airline food.

In Japan DinTaiFung is really famous with SHORONPOU. We have been to Shinjyuk branch to eat them. BUT we were really eager to eat them at the main restaurant. So we went there. Many people were waiting in a line. Probably half of people were Japanese, and the half of them Taiwanese.  The taste was good and as same as ones at Shinjyuku branch. Anyway we were satisfied with eating them at the main restaurant.

In Japan Chinese dumplings are familiar. So we didn't find new kinds of dumplings. But an interest thing is that they are eaten for breakfast.
Thanks of M (she loves to talk with anyone in Japanese? in English? in gesture? in Kanji? --- I don't know. ) , a hotel front desk took us a small restaurant where local people eat breakfast.

In Taiwan we saw signs of SOY MILK (of course written in Kanji), and we knew in Taiwan soy milk was really popular. So I would have tried to soy milk, but the hotel front clerk recommended to have rice milk. So we ordered two cold ones and one hot one. The taste was --- (I don't know whether you know it) --- Japanese SHIRUKO (Azuki beans sweet soup). Taiwanese rice milk seems to be made from rice and peanuts.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

During OBON vacation

Now Yuki and I are in OBON vacation. Last weekend I had a struggle against bad cramps, though I hadn't had it recently. Now it's OK. From Sunday to Monday our elder daughter T was here, and she went back to TOKYO to work. And now our younger daughter M is here. And since tomorrow three of us go to TAIWAN on two nights three day trip.
If the pain had come today, I would have canceled the trip. (I've experienced a few times). Lucky me.

Since our daughters came back, Yuki called himself a chauffeur, and he doesn't go to golf practice. (well, the main reason is  that it's too hot.)  Today both of three went to a clothe shop to order M's suit. He was just waiting for us while he was listening to music with ipod.

Both of our daughters have homeboys and homegirls here. I'm not sure that homeboys and homegirls are right words, what I want to say is they have local friends or they have neighborhood friends.  So both of us go out to talk with someone easily. Because they were born here, in UTSUNOMIYA, and they were brought up until they were high school students. On the other hand Yuki and I moved to many places because of our parents transfers. (At that time transferred meant getting promoted. ) So actually we were born in in TOKYO, but we don't have friends who are called homeboys and homegirls.

And we ourselves were transferred here  (in this case, it doesn't connect with getting promoted.) Now we are becoming one of local people since more about 25 years passed.

What do  you call such friends, in Japanese we call them JIMOTO -TOMODACHI.

Friday, August 12, 2011

garden? field? or wild land?

This is the current backyard. As soon as I take a step, I get mosquito bites immediately. Most of greens are "plants". Shiso-leaves, Mitsuba-leaves --they are edible. Mint, lemon grass , rhubarb, Western Wasabi -- they are herbs.
The backyard is completely covered with these greens, so I don't need weeding -- it's a good excuse, isn't it?

The other day I got  this sweet called MIZUYOUKAN, it's a kind of jelly of beans. It's a typical summer sweet in Japan.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


First, let me show my gratitude to some friends who probably come to see this blog. "thank you for coming and listening to our music"

In the morning my friend Naomi and I went through the rehearsal in her house. After we grabbed sandwiches, we went to KARAKU.
We were really surprised, because the parking lot was "full". Actually I invited some friends, but I can count them all one hand.
All of them managed to come to listen to our concert in such a hot day.

We started with Italian classical songs, because Naomi's major was Italian classical songs.
And now she mainly sings in a choir as a pro classical singer. Since we met each other more than 15 years passed.
After I introduced her to the audience, main stage opened. She sang some typical Japanese old songs with my piano. The audience seemed to be in their 60's or much older. So I think they really enjoyed our music.
And the ending was YAGIBUSHI. This song was born in TOCHIGI prefecture (my city UTSUNOMIYA is in TOCHIGI). I wanted to play something connected with this area, so I chose it. Usually it is played by Japanese traditional instruments, but I played it by piano. Everyone seemed to enjoy this song beating time with their hands. This youtube is orginal YAGIBUSHI.

Monday, August 08, 2011

charcoal cake

This Wednesday I served this "charcoal cake" to my adult students. Having sweets is one of my lesson. Jan said "it's ash cake, isn't it". --- Yuki and I talked about the difference of ash and charcoal. This cake includes ground bamboo charcoal, so after burning the charcoal, it get ash. So it is "charcoal cake".

Anyway ever body was really surprised, and happy. All of them are really interested in health, and loves healthy food. So they enjoyed them. ( I don't know they buy one again for themselves, but I bet they buy one for their friends)
I thought such a a thing is only in Japan. But Jan said "I know ash cheese". It made me surprised. And I searched something charcoal, or ash. Charcoal crackers, Charcoal cheese --- there are lots of things in the word as a healthy food.

Have you ever had anything including charcoal?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

cobs of corn

Which way do you use to cook cobs of corn---, microwaving them or boiling them?
You might say "we don't do the both way , just bake them."

But in Japan since "my mother was child" (it means since ancient times) we boiled cobs of corn. Since we had microwave, some people prefer microwaving them. Because it's quick, and easy. But we would often trust the taste of boiling them would be better.

But these days we have many kinds of cobs of corns, and I think they become sweeter, farmers says people prefer sweeter corn. And farmers recommend to microwave cobs instead of boiling.

Today I bought some cobs, and I microwaved a cob, and I boiled the others.
The taste is --- both of them were good, though boiling cobs are  a little bit salty, because I put some salt in the pot. I talked on the phone my mother who is 78 years old, As I thought she didn't believe it and she never thought to try once.

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Have you ever heard of Chupacabura?
Yesterday in a lesson of junior high school students we read this topic.
In the 1990's, people began to report attacks by a strange creature in Puerto Rico. They say it's green and has red eyes. It has huge fangs and a forked tongue like a snake. There are sharp spines running down its back. It looks like a reptile, but it hops on two legs like a kangaroo. It attacks farm animals and drinks their blood. People call it the Chupacabra. ------ Biologists say it is just a legend.

----- And they drew a picture of the Chupacabra using their imagination.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Toast Master meeting

Yesterday I attended a monthly Toast Master meeting. This time I organized a table topic section in English.
I didn't decide the them until the very last minute, and I chose a safe them, it was "summer".
This summer is also an unusual summer like last year. Rainy season finished earlier than usual, and in early July unusual hotness attacked Japan. And these days we have unusual cool days. Anyway  we often use the word of summer as a  seasonal greeting like my starting speech. So we'll talk more about summer.

First, do you have anything special event in this summer?
One of my high school students have been in the U.S for about two weeks as an abroad student.
And another one is going to go to SENDAI to do volunteer work helping people who had the disaster of TOHOKU earthquake.

Second, do you have any countermeasure against hot summer?
Here and there  we see green curtains made of GOYA , morning glories, or plants with trailing vine.
Two weeks ago Yuki and I went to buy SUDARE (bamboo shade) at a home center nearby. But they were all sold out.

Third, what is your favorite food in summer?
As someone knows I'm really interested in food. In summer I usually enjoy cold noodle like cold soba, cold Chinese noodle. And this year I'm into cold TANTANMEN.