Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve feast

The last feast has finished. 
Thank you for visiting my blog, and I wish you have a happy new year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

6 members are here!

And Yuki's camera has broken 
Everyone was so exited that accidentally the camera fell and  it hasn't worked.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter vacation

I prepared for pre-cooked dishes for this week.

In the fridge there was a box of fresh cream which is on the best-before-end day. So I baked scorn with the fresh cream instead of butter.
Than I expected, they were delicious and very easy to cook

In the morning, I did errands and went to the library to borrow some books for this winter vacation.

Do I have time to read them instead of taking a nap?

Monday, December 26, 2016

For the new year

I put it outside  for this coming year.
I " made " it myself -- partly.
Yesterday Yuki and I went to a park, there a small workshop  which was probably intended for kids  was held. However there were no attendee, so I participated it. And I partly made it, it means the organizer made this wreath and Yuki and I put some ornaments. First I asked her to make it all, but she said making it brought good luck, so we "helped" or "joined " her by putting these ornaments.
The wreath is made of rice stalk.
Well, well, I thought I might make it using lemon grass stalk I grown in my garden instead of rice stalk --- the year after this coming year.
There I got lots of YUZU citron. So I put them on the entrance shelf.

My preparation for the New year is finished.
I thought M and A-chan was going to come tomorrow.
However the schedule has changed, they are going to come the day after tomorrow. -- (And they are going to stay until the first weekend of January -- I didn't expect it.)
I already made pre-dishes for them until this weekend.

So what shall I do tomorrow?
I have no plan  --- it is a rare day for me.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas shopping???

Today it is a holiday, and this year we have three-day weekends. So probably today many "family" must go shopping to toy stores, though I don't go there.

Yesterday's online topic was also interesting.

Christmas Shoppers Wait for Deals in Stores, Online

The topics for discussion were --

1 Why do you think that most American shoppers are looking for deals in the holiday shopping season?
2 Do you often look for deals or bargains when going shopping? Why or why not?
3 Do you celebrate Christmas? Why or why not?

1, Of course they know nowadays  before the day of Christmas many stores starts to mark down prices on Christmas goods, because they don't want to carry an inventory.
Is it right?

Well, two days ago I went to 100 yen store to buy something I forgot to buy, -- however they didn't have been sold, not sold out. The Christmas section got smaller and the New Year's section had already been opened.

---- I'm not sure where did the inventory go? Were they thrown away???

2 In my case, though of course I like bargains, I don't look for bargains so often than before.
As I tell you, now I discard 15 things constantly, so I try not to buy things, and when I think a thing is necessary even it's a little bit expensive, I buy at that time. Oh, I have to tell you. There is an exception. Yuki's things are exceptions. Unfortunately the belt of his watch broke "naturally" according to his explanation. Anyway he fixed it with pins. ---- but ---
so I asked him to look for bargains.

2 I have been enjoying Christmas. I'm not a Christian, so I don't go to church. However Christmas is a good excuse to enjoy our life. However I try not to spend money too much, because here in Japan after the Christmas in 5 days we have New Year's party. It's a habitual event day for Japanese people. I have to give some "money" called Otoshidama  to   (not to my daughters) our nieces .
We celebrate "New Year's day" to go family get-together .

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas cooking lesson week has started

This week, it is the last week for me to teach kids ? Play with kids in 2016.
Christmas cooking lesson has started.

Yesterday, a 13-year-old boy tried  it from scratch. 
It means he baked them, built them and cleaned the kitchen.
Though I prepared cookie dough from cookie mix.

Today, two high school students come. Instead of cookie house, we make rolled cake.
Because one boy doesn't like sweet cookie, and one girl is a sister of the boy who came yesterday. So I think two too sweet houses will not be needed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It was an intereseting toopic.

I sometimes do Online English Conversation through Skype.
Today's topic was very interesting, and not so difficult to tell what I was thinking.

Today's topic was a news,
WHO: Most People With Depression Get Poor Care or None at All

And we discussed about these three things.
1Do you find the figures presented in this article worrisome? Why or why not?
2What do you think are some signs of depression?
3Do you think that therapy alone, without any medication, can help cure depression? Why or why not?

Here in Japan "depression" as an illness is getting bigger  and serious problem.
Compared 20 years ago the word "depression" gets a common word. Probably since it became public that Crown Princess Masako has been suffering from depression brought on by a condition known as adjustment disorder.

Before that "depression" was not considered as a kind of illness.
It means ---

People who suffered depression tried to get out of the situation by themselves  --- and some of them could, some of them could endure and the others hide (or dropped from usual lives) or --- might have chose suicide "secretly". Because the families and relatives wouldn't disclose them.

Now people can "allege" that I'm suffering depression. It gets a better situation.
And some people sometimes just claim to be suffering depression. It sometimes causes a problem.

Usually women who are in their 40's or 50's tend to have a trouble of menopause disorder. I used to have. The women who have this trouble tend to get depression. 
When my mother's generation, probably they didn't know the word of menopause, and they, of course didn't take medicine. They had to struggle and fight against it by themselves.

Now, it gets easy to go to women's clinic, and -- doctors prescribe medicine for headache, too much sweat, cold body, and -- tend to prescribe anti-depressant drug.
It's not bad. Usually they work well.
On the other hand, one we start to take anti-depressant drug, it sometimes difficult to stop it even if the doctor advise them to stop it. It's addictive.

Such drugs relieve our symptoms and sometimes less our own cure ability.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Pre Christmas concert performed by local high school students

Yesterday, we went to listen to a concert performed local high school students.
Of course it's a pre-Christmas concert.
It was really fun and wonderful.
The ability of their performance was very high. Actually this fall they won the right to participate in a national brass band convention. ( Unfortunately they weren't able to win the convention.)
They played their instruments and introduce their instruments.
They also performed a short musical with singing, dancing and of course playing.
Their youngness was shining.
This concert was held at local resident hall, not at a concert hall or not at their high school.
It means they were organized by the local self-governing body. (This time I learn the word local-governing body).
Last year I ( to be more correct, Yuki who is a house holder) was a organizer of these 14 house holders. It is done in turn, so once 14 years this duty comes to me.
And our local resident is organized by 30? communities. and one person is select as a local resident president. And such presidents organizes the local- governing body.
Usually it seems to be very difficult to select one president.
No one want to do it, while everyone really thank to the local-governing body. -- of course all works are done voluntary.
Thanks to them we enjoyed this Christmas concert.
And I know a person of the  local self-governing body, who is in our community and over 75.
We always appreciate his voluntary activities.

Friday, December 16, 2016

going around to do errands is a good excuse

This is my lunch on a day.
I ate it at a small café whose owner is a woman. She is in her late 40s, she quitted her job and started this café 2 years ago.
As some people know, I "love" café and "used to " eat out .
However since I stopped to do volunteering works outside, I seldom have lunch outside.
On the day, in the morning I had to go to the police to apply to renew my driver's license. And in the afternoon I also had to go to the bank to sort winter bonus  --- "sorting winter bonus" means I sort bonus and put each of them into fixed-term accounts for annual paying.
(Does it make sense?)
I wanted to do these errands effectively, so I had lunch at this café instead of returning home temporally. --- It's a good excuse, isn't it?
Now most errands which we have to finish in December are almost finished.
This weekend we have to get a new heater --- and it's also a good excuse for Yuki to go to an electronic store.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Candy banana --no, fried banana

Last night I had a lesson for a boy who is in the 7th grade.
He came here by bike as soon as he got home from school . He complained "I'm not hungry, but I really want something sweet.". It's unusual. Usually he claims "I'm very hungry".
Well, well, among my students, their claims are usual, so I usually prepare rice for them  and I let them to make rice balls by themselves.

Last night we had a little time to do something,
So I suggested him to eat a banana.
However he doesn't like bananas very much. But, he couldn't be against his eagerness to want something sweet.
So I suggested him to fry  a banana.

Though he "never" cooks at home, here he always shows an interest to cook.
Fried banana  is easy to cook. You can see granulated sugar in the pan.
For him it was the first experience to peel a banana, and slice it in  half.

The sugar got caramelized.
It "seems" to be very delicious ---  because he ate up all.
This morning I also made fried bananas.

Yes, they were very delicious and suited on breakfast.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

At cafe Karaku

With success and satisfaction performance at café karaku is finished this year.
Yesterday I played the piano with a actress who gave poet recital at Karakku. This time the audience were all our regular audience. So everybody listened to us with eagerness -- so the café was very quiet, and it made me very nervous.
Usually for the first 10 minutes, she gives poem recital, and next for 15 minutes is talking time just listen to music as a back music. However this time all of them listened to me.
And the last 10 minutes, she gives essay recital.
After our performance, we get a treat. This performance is not job, it's my pleasure.

We really enjoyed a good coffee and a good sweet served on a nice Christmas try.
From now on I have to prepare for choosing pieces for next year. As soon as New year's vacation the second Tuesday comes this year --- it is the first day to perform in a new year at Karaku.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Chie came after one and a half year struggle against the disease

Yesterday Chie, who  is my friend we became at gym, finally came to my house.
We met each other after one and a half year interval.
She started to work out at gym about four years ago, when she recovered from cancer.
And when three years almost passed, another cancer was found. She took a leave of absence from gym.
Since then  I sent e-mail once a week.
During her struggling, my daughter's mother-in-law, and my friend's sister died from the same cancer, peritoneal cancer.
She has overcome, and in next month she will return to the gym.

During we exchange e-mails, I didn't tell the death of two people. This time I told her.
She also confessed that she prepared her death.

From now on she has to fight the fear of relapse at least for three years.
I admire her posture and back her up.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Discarding 15 things 1211

Though our kitchen and rooms on the second floor was refurbished, I still continue discarding 15 things every week.
While discarding things, I always revise our rooms , closets and desks. I try to put together things which are in the same category into one place.

This week I revised documents  related to my daughters who were at school. Mainly they were kept in their desks, but some documents were kept in the drawer in the living room, in my desk, or closets.
I put together and discarded "anyway" more than 15 sheets including photos.

And I made two files of each of them as  their  memorial  memory holders.
And I changed a tissue cover.
The old one is the upper one in the photo.
The new one is the lower one in the photo.
As you can guess, both of them were made by my daughters. I don't remember which one is made by either daughter.

We had used the yellow one for 15 years or more.
And I knew the pick one had kept in my daughter's desk.
I tried to use it, but it was too small to fit a usual tissue box.
So this time I repaired it and started to use it.

And I know why there is pink thread in my handy sawing box.
Probably when she ( probably my younger daughter) made it, she used it. Since then I've kept it.
I seldom use pink thread, so it is still there.
I wonder I'll use this pink thread from now on.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Haiku in December

Did I tell you that -- coincidently I had a chance to get familiar with a used book shop owner. "She " also opens a private library there. So there I asked her to show and lend some of my English picture books. Once a month I visit her and put some seasonable picture books.
The shop is on the second floor, on the first floor there is a café where her husband runs.
So I got a new pleasure time to talk with them once a month having a nice coffee. Of course I love Kararku's coffee, too.

This is my corner at the book store.
Usually this book store and café opens in the evening, because both of them work in the daytime, and as their hobby? or their future work they run their bookstore and café.

The days are shorter
The moon rises earlier
Enjoy long night with hot ginger tee

At a silent winter night
With your favorite book
Stick inside my room

Green and red
Brings us a lot of excitement
In Shiwasu, another name of December

A tree of star cookies
Not only children but also elderlies
Love sweets and Christmas

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Quiz time!

Starting with making cards with adults, my Christmas month has started.

My students also made their (Christmas?? ) cards.

Let me explain more.
The card below  is made by a boy whose nick name is "haru",
So he wrote some words which relate his name and Christmas words.
H -- home, A-- Angel, R-- ribbon, and U -- unwrap.

quiz 1 Can you relate the alphabet of your name and Christmas words?

Next is the following picture.

kanji, and Hiragana parts must be difficult for people who don't know Japanese.

quiz 2  what is the suitable numbers.
pattern 1 4444---0 6666-4, 9999---4, so 8888--??
pattern 2 12--6, 6---3, 10---3, so 8----???

Why don't you try?
if you know some "simple" and "easy" quiz using numbers, please tell me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Card craft

Yesterday's workshop met with success. All attendees seemed to enjoy it, though two people wasn't be able to come here.
Everybody contemplated their own Haiku. Haiku has one rule that it is necessary to take into only one seasonable word called kigo. Not two, not none.
During a long night
contemplate Haiku
Kudzuyu is a kigo.
From Wikipedia
Kuzuyu  is a sweet Japanese beverage produced by adding kudzu flour to hot water. It has a thick honey-like texture, and in color it appears pale and somewhat translucent. It is served in a mug or tea bowl. Kuzuyu is traditionally served as a hot dessert drink in the winter months.
I served this tree of star cookies.

For a while I enjoy Christmas for my friends and students!

Monday, December 05, 2016

Procrastinator vs precrastinater

The word "precrastinater" seems to be a current word which is opposed to procrastinater.
This weekend I attended Toast master meeting after a long interval.

I wasn't able to be there  he whole time, but I could join the time of table topicks.

This title is one of the table topic questions.  

Are you a procrastinator or a procrastinator ? and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

It is an interesting question, isn't it?

In my case, probably I'm definitely "prescrastinater".
It is attributed in part to  my job.
It is said preparation accounts for 80 percent of success of lessons or performances.
So anyway I usually start preparation for something as soon as possible.
However, I seem to be strict precrastinater.

Since I had suffered a bad disease for a few days before a big event and couldn't prepare enough for it, I have been a strict precrastinater.

On the other hand  I don't make eleventh-hour efforts.
Usually before an event I go to bed earlier without preparation more.
-- So some people say I judge too early whether I can do or not.

So this is my favorite phrase "it can't be helped"


Sunday, December 04, 2016

Epsom salt again

Were you interested in my blog about Epsom salt?
My friend, who introduced my Epsom salt , sent this photo.

Too perfect. It's adult craft, isn't it???

OK, OK, I'll try to do more.
This morning I replaced some aroma bottles.

These are used  as my bath aroma, refresher at our toilets, and prevention from cold.

So some aroma bottles got empty.

I covered three empty aroma bottle  which kept smell  with Epsom salt.

Friday, December 02, 2016

A little bit broken roll cake

This is our breakfast. I called it "Yellow breakfast".
Pumpkin soup, yoghurt with mango sauce, and " a little bit broken roll cake" which I made and rolled .
Yesterday it was a birthday of my student who was going to come. So I prepared it for her. However unfortunately she cancelled the lesson.
I've already prepared ingredients,  and just the last step of rolling was left. That part was the most difficult.
I didn't want the ingredients such as baked sponge cake, whipped cream.
So I rolled it by myself this morning.
Now cold seems to go around finally.
Since yesterday my voice has been hoarse. And-- today I have a slight headache.
I'll go to visit a doctor this morning.
I made an appointment to the doctor on the net, and now there 16 people on the waiting list.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Epsom salt

My friend introduced "Epsom salt".
I thought all of them are imported.
No, we have domestic Epsom salt. Before she introduced it to me I hadn't known it.
After I knew it, I researched it. Now it seems to be very popular, as "bath salt" and "aroma world".
And --- there are various way to use it as crafts.
So I tried to use it.
Next week I'll organize a meeting to make cards with Haiku poets. I made my card.

Not so bad.
And for my kids student, I "experimented" with the use of microwave oven.
In this case we don't need glue. --- sometimes (no often) using glue makes the room, tables, chairs, etc very messy.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Irish recorder

Yesterday, a friend came with this small recorder -- the right one in the picture.
I used to be into playing the recorder, and still now I've kept this tenor recorder.
Though there were three alto recorders in my house, one was mine and the rest were my daughters', I donated them to a high school a few years ago.
And a soprano recorder ( I don't know whose it was) is in Ah-chan's toy box.


The friend try to discard things in her house ( in Japanese "I" call Dan-sha-ri), and she asked me whether I needed or not it. I said "yes". so she visited me.
I prepared lunch for us, my HB made a good dough, so I baked pizza.

She also brought some oranges and sweet.
So "we" did  that thing.
I put the peel of an orange and baked it with grill.

Of course I pours some water into the tray.

Done! Perfect.

However-- this time I used "oven", not grill.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Anual big event finshed.

This year annual event of " Let's enjoy picture books in the world" finished with a big success.
Since this event started 10 ? years ago, I have joined it as an assistant.

This year, people who come from Taiwan, France, India, Sweden, Mexico, and America introduced their country and read some their picture books in their language.

Compared to 10 years ago, here in Utsunomiya city many foreigners come and "live".
This event was held at the library, so it was easy to get audience.
Most of them were children and their parents  and some adults came to watch us.
It was really exciting time for me.
Well, luckily I got this piñata. It was broken, but not so bad. So I mended it and hung it. 

Now Christmas month has started. I have to change the decoration -- you see, dried persimmon has decorated yet.

Friday, November 25, 2016


It was snowing yesterday, but it didn't accumulate. And today, it is a sunny day.

Yesterday, as I told you, I was sticking my house, and --- yes, my next-door woman came.
So we talked together while having lunch.

I baked brad ( not me my HB baked it) , and cooked potato gratin.
She and her husband has already spent their retired life, so I invited her husband. But he "politely" declined.
It's OK.
He must have eaten something for his lunch, anyway she took the rest of our lunch to her house.

The snow stopped in the evening. So my students were able to come as usual. I did usual lessons.
Well, this week I don't go to a gym yet, so from now on I'll go.
Before going there, I already baked pumpkin pudding for Yuki  and my snack of this weekend.
Yes, today, it is the last weekday of this week.

And this Sunday I will attend and help a big event.
After the event my Christmas season will have started.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


It's snowing, even though it!s still November. 
Luckily  Yuki had the tires of his car changed last weekend, so Yuki was able to commute safely, though the roads must be very crowded.

Anyway , he went out ealier than usual, so I prepared quick breakfast, spicy toufu and egg plants bowl.

Why is it snowing??

It might be caused what I did yesterday.
It was rare thing that I organized the garden alone.

Now it is covered with snow. So, it was effective to organize garden before snowing. 

Today I won't go out anywhere,even  to go to workout.
I will retreat in my house. Shall I call my next-door woman?