Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter vacation has started.

All jobs for this year has done without problems. And my another job as a mother or a daughter has started. At first I cleaned a room and organize it for my mother. She'll come here from tomorrow.
She'll stay with us just two days, That's why we have lots of things to do together.
Though she lives in Tokyo, she doesn't go out by train, because of stairs. When she comes here, she loves to go out to a department store, a hot spring, "by car". She has some favorite spots here, but for only tow days it's difficult to go to all of them. So I already went to one of her favorite shops
 and bought this, which is good to eat with rice. The shops is called "TOCHIGI souvenir shop" which deals with lots of TOCHIGI's products.

I bought lots of vegetables from a farmer directly. Yuki and I'll take her back to TOKYO by car on the New Year's day, so she can come back easily with vegetables. 

Most of family must have special feast at New Year. We celebrate the New year at Yuki's mother's house, so I don't need to cook it. Cooking it is my sister-in-law's job.(Thanks Mayumi san). I'll bake cakes.
Anyway for a while I'll enjoy house chores for my family. It's the time to start cleaning.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Is it a bad habit or not?

Can you whistle through your fingers? Do you think it 's a good manners? Yuki can do it, and to tell the truth I think it's kind of rude for  audience to do it in a "classical" concert.

Well, I read an interesting column in the newspaper. A man who is over 70, stopped to listen to live music by two young boys at a station. There was only one listener, so he was the second listener. The music was so wonderful, so he whistled through his fingers to encourage them, and he said whistling through his fingers is one of a few his specialities. The musicians were very pleased. In a little while some people came to listen them, so he went home.
The column was heartwarming.

It's cool for elderly person to whistle through the fingers to young musicians.

But unfortunately I don't like Yuki's whistling through his fingers at a Jazz concert.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Let's count doun to the New Year.

How was your Christmas?
Last night two students came, and they enjoyed eating the rest of our Christmas cake and apple cider sent from America. Our Christmas cake Yuki bought has gone without wasting.
In November I thought "it would be troublesome to something to do for Christmas".
But thanks for students we really enjoyed Christmas this year without our daughters.
And our daughters seemed to enjoy Christmas with their friends in Tokyo.

Yesterday I went to a clinic to take regular medicine. I also took the result of blood test of last month. Unfortunately the result was not so good. It gives sings of  chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis.I don't need to take special medicine until now, anyway I'll try to spend days with positive and cheerful attitude to reduce stress as much as possible. The important thing to bring relief is to improve a immune system.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christams

It's Monday and a substitute holiday in Japan because a national holiday  fell on Sunday (yesterday). How do you spend this Christmas Eve?
Yuki went to work, but he came back earlier than usual. He bought cake and chicken for Christmas. So we could celebrate tonight together.

He bought a present for me. Thanks. I'm sorry I didn't prepare anything for him. 

From early December to last Friday, my students and I really enjoyed Christmas crafts and cooking. To tell the truth, while I was doing it with them, I often thought that it was troublesome. But thanks of my students I really enjoyed Christmas season. And I could celebrate this Eve with Yuki.
In the day time I already put away Christmas ornaments, and put New Year's ornaments.

Can you see the title of the book? It's "Hide and Snake". The Chinese zodiac sign of the next year is "snake".

Monday, December 17, 2012


It's Monday. A new year is just around corner. I finished a big event this weekend. I went to GUNMA prefecture. Though GUNMA is next to my prefecture, Tochigi, it takes more than two hours by train, because SHINKANSEN (bullet train) doesn't run.  I assisted an event which one of my friends held. The event was a big success, I'm relieved now.
This week I'll go out to do two volunteer works. When I'll be finished the works, the works I'm asked will be done this year. (Though I have lessons at home until December 28.)

The lower house election was finished. As expected the Liberal Democratic Party won. Coincidentally before the election day I saw Mr. Abe who is a leader of the Liberal Democratic Party at Kiryu station in GUNMA.
I listened to him for a while, I felt he would win, and actually he won.
I don't know how much he'll protect poor people, how much he'll exploit taxes from wealthy people. I don't want to use the words such as the poor and the rich. But these days I often feel the difference is getting bigger. And at the same time I feel the difference between a country life and a city life.

I read a report in the newspaper. These days the number of students who want to study abroad is decreasing, it's running against internationalization. The main reason is that when they return to Japan it's difficult to get to work.  I think to study abroad improve their carrier. But these days even in the big company they don't afford to hire so many people who have  enough carrier. The more highly carrier people have, the more difficult it is for people to find a suitable job.Only a few people succeed,  and get good salary.
If students know that they won't get a good job even though they study hard, they don't study. So the society is getting weak. We are in the bad spiral.

Well, well, let's think about something fun.
What is the top event for you this year? For me I went to MIYAJIMA in HIROSHIMA with my mother. Since I was born, it the first time to go somewhere only with my mother.   I really understand how weak her physical power is. (though she speaks very very--- very well.)
I decided until she is eighty once a year I'll take her to a trip to somewhere.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Today it was the day of Karaku which is a tearoom and I played the piano  there. After 30 minutes performing I had a good coffee and sweet. It was my luxurious time.

While I was drinking coffee, I talked a lady who sometimes came to listen to the piano.
It was the first time to listen to herself. She has a one and half years boy, and 13 years girl. I thought both of them were divided by an big age difference.
She told me more.
She was divorced and for a while she was a shingle parent. She managed to live taking ADC. She  had no qualification because she dropped out of school, so it was difficult to live with a kid. Fortunately she met a man and married again. And she had a baby.
Now she is thinking to go to a job training school and get qualification. Now she is taking care of her kids at home thanks to her husband, but she wants to a have regular job. Because his husband is now 50 years like me. 10 years later he must be retired, so she will have to support their life mainly because her second child will be still 11 years.
Fortunately my two daughters are already (half) independent, If  we had one and half year kid, what should we do?

She seemed to be happy, and live steadily. I wish she and her family would keep current happiness.

Monday, December 10, 2012


This morning it was so cold that we had the first frost on the garden. Most of green plants froze and died down. I pulled them up and threw away. (Today it was a garbage collection day.)
One of my friend who lives in the northern area of Tochigi said "it is snowing". Actually around the noon even in Utsunomiya snow was lightly falling. We don't change the tires into winters' yet. This weekend we have to do it.

I'll wirte one of things which I notice these days. I thought in Japan we have not so many rich people, and not so many poor people. I used to see the report "most of Japanese people thing they are in the middle class."  I think it is one of good things in Japan.
I wrote about "housewives in Japan" in the previous blog. Being housewives means being in the middle class. In a foreign country, while both a mother and a father are working, a maid is taking care their house and their kids. Some maids must be professional and being in the middle class. But in my image maids are poor. Here in Japan not so many people chose to become a maid. Here in Japan the salaray of made is not cheap.

Though I wrote that most people in Japan seemed to be in the middle class, I feel the difference between a little bit poor people and a little bit rich people is getting bigger.
I heard that some young people (I don't know they education background) earn less than 200000 yen a month. So it's difficult to rent their house from their salary. Most of money they earn is used to their living cost. I think they must feel that they are poor."BUT", they can't afford to feel being poor, because they work hard for 6 days, and they just sleep at home the last important day. They don't have time to use their money for their leisure time, so that they don't notice they are poor,
In Japan some people said working is virture. I think it is partly true, but---.

I often think "something is worng".

Sunday, December 09, 2012


We have to do "winter cleaning" in Japan as our tradition.
So Yuki bought a new gadget to encourage him to have fun according to him.
Do you already have one?
Anyway he cleaned the fence, garden blocks,the entrance hall, and the bathroom. Unfortunately the result was -- not as good as we hoped. Our house was too old to shine it up.


On the other hand I organized the garden. I also arranged a flowerpot.I put some vegetables with winter flowers.

Well, on the last blog I introduced our traditional Japanese Christmas cake. Well, the other day I had a Japanese sweet for Christmas which is popular recently.
Though on the photo it looks white, it was actually green and light green. It was modified to a Japanese sweet from Christmas holly tree. Last week, my students and I made Christmas apple pinatas, they are waiting for Christmas sweets.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

December has come.

Finally December, which is the last month of the year, has come. I put some ornaments in my rooms to celebrate Christmas.
Last Sunday Utsunomiya International exchange organization held a festival which is "let's read picture books in the world". 6 people who are from Canada, Pakistan, Russia, Korea, China, and France, read their own countries' picture books to attendees. Most attendees were parents and kids who were from babies to 6 or 7 year old kids. More than 50 couples came. 
I assisted a Canadian lady. She read this book.
It really suited this event. In this book some things popular in Canada are introduced in turn, such as toque, loon , hockey sticks and so on. Do you have such a book? I think it might be good if we (my English Picture book club) could organize "Japan 1,2,3".

This time I found out about a Japanese cultural thing. I had thought  it was common or usual in the world.
Before I tell you what it is, I'll write another thing.

The other day my friend baked stollen. I know it is popular Christmas bread in Germany.

We are enjoying this stollen. We'll probably eat all up before Christmas.
Though the shape is different, in Canada thick fruit cake containing dried fruit covered with marzipan seems to be popular as a Christmas cake.
In Japan our popular cake is spongecake covered with fresh cream, and decorated with strawberries.
I didn't know that it is a "Japanese style". It seems to be a Japanese cultural thing.