2007 July 20 Friday.

Oh My Gawd!   

What have they done to my Private Hokkaido!?!?

The good news is, this is only temporary.   

This too shall pass.

2007jul20_before1_3

       

2007jul20_after1




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2007 June 13 Wednesday.

Still hot and sunny. 

Getting into the uncomfortable zone for us polar bears.   

Today I have a rather bizarre tale to tell, which is entirely true.   

In the photo on the left, you can see a stack of white plastic chairs.   

When I first started my classroom 11 years ago, I went to NITORI and bought 24 of these very useful and comfortable chairs.   

Over the years, three of them have become broken and unusable for various reasons.   

Last Wednesday, we made arrangements and paid a small fee of about 700 yen to have the three broken chairs carried away as Large Sized Garbage 壮大ゴミ.   

When a person in Asahikawa wants to throw away a big piece of junk such as an old sofa or table or some such thing, they must first call the garbage collection agency and make a reservation to do so.   

When they do so, they must also buy a sticker that proves they have paid the hauling fee, and paste it onto the garbage to be carried away.   

In my neighborhood of Kagura, the Large Sized Garbage day is on Wednesdays.   

So, before last Wednesday, we made all of the necessary arrangements, pasted the sticker onto the chair on top of the small stack of three chairs, and carried them out to the garbage collection station on Tuesday night, to await pick up the next morning.   

Ikuko and I both have morning jobs outside of our classroom on Wednesdays, and when we got back home in the early afternoon on that day, we were surprised to see a notice pasted on our door that said; "We came to pick up the 3 plastic chairs, but we could not find them. 

They were not at the garbage collection station, and they were not outside of your classroom door."   

SAY WHAT???    

We both looked outside at the garbage collection station, and sure enough, all three chairs were gone.   

If the garbage collection people didn't pick them up, WHO DID?   

Moreover, who in the world would want three broken and unusable plastic chairs???   

If you think this story is strange now, read on. 

It gets even stranger.   

Today again, being Wednesday, Ikuko and I both went to our outside jobs in the morning. 

When I got up at about 6:00 this morning, I looked out of my classroom window towards the garbage collection station, and what did I see???   

THE SAME THREE PLASTIC CHAIRS had been returned to the exact same location at which we had put them, exactly one week ago!!!   

What in the heck is going on here?   

Did someone steal the chairs, only to discover later that they are in fact broken and unusable, and then bring them back to the exact same location from which they had been stolen???   

I can't think of any other explanation, unless a UFO pulled them up along a beam of light, examined them, and then lowered them back down to where they had been beamed up from. 

WEIRD!!!   

Anyway, we called the Large Sized Garbage Collection Agency again today, and told them this bizarre story.   

Finally, they came by again, and took the chairs away.   

WOW!   I couldn't have written a better fictional story even if I had used the full extent of my imagination. 

This is a TRUE STORY.

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2006 November 15 Wednesday.

I had no classes until 16:00 today, so I had plenty of time to sit down and read the Hokkaido Newspaper for the first time, in a long time. 

Maybe I spend too much time on the internet, both reading content, and producing my own content for the web.  

Then again, their is so much more that I can do with this website now and into the future, that I really need to spend more time working on it.   

Anyway, time is all I have so, making to most of it, in whatever way, is my first priority.  Again today, as with every week on Wednesday at 19:00, I had a class with the two ladies who speak English very well, and the nice gentleman who just started taking lessons here at my classroom only about 3 weeks ago. 

I have an interesting story to tell you about this nice gentleman.   About 4 or 5 weeks ago, he called my classroom and asked to come over for a free trial lesson.   

When he came to my classroom for the first time, he walked in the door and said; "Norman, do you remember me?" 

I looked at him for a few seconds, but I couldn't figure out where we had meet before, so I said; "Were you in my English class at Asahikawa University some years ago?"

He said; "No, I used to work at  常口アトム, the apartment finding company, and you and your wife did the paperwork with me, when you rented your previous apartment near 新橋."

  Finally, everything fell into place.  But that meeting was more than 14 years ago.   Why did he remember me?

  He said that he remembered me because of my unusual name chop はんこ which reads 北男  a direct translation of my first name, Norman which really means NORTH MAN.   

I have to admit that my name chop is very different from any other, and may be the only one of its kind in Japan. 

This name chop itself also has a very interesting history.  It was given to me as a gift, by a young Japanese girl who stayed at my home in Seattle, during a 2 month home stay program in about 1986 or 1987. 

I had sent her a letter written in Japanese and I wrote my name as 北男 at the end of the letter.   

She saw this unusual name and went to a name chop maker, and had a special name chop made just for me using the same kanji.   

I was very surprised and happy to receive this gift, and little did I know at that time, but I would be using it in Japan, in just a few short years. 

I even went to the Asahikawa City Hall and had my name chop registered.   Nowadays, I have a different official name chop that I use for important documents, but I still use my old 北男 name chop for my teacher's work attendance sheets when I teach a class at the university or the nursing schools. 

Everything starts with an idea. 

CLICK HERE to LISTEN

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明日もほんわか~と更新します。

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