2008 December 23 Tuesday.


Today is a National Holiday in Japan. 
It is the
Emperor's Birthday   天皇誕生日 to be exact. 

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko came to Asahikawa on July 4, 2003 for the first time in more than 30 years. 

The Royal Couple were on a tour of Hokkaido that year, and they traveled around this beautiful island by motorcade.   

One of the events on their schedule was to have a Luncheon Banquet at the
Taisetsu Crystal Hall which is right across the street from my classroom.   

Because I knew the schedule of events on that day, I waited outside on the street along the route of the motorcade as it left the Luncheon Banquet at about 15:00. 

I was in a big crowd of people, but lucky for me, I am taller than most of the other people, so I could raise up my
one-shot-at-a-time digital camera over my head in an attempt to take a photo of the Emperor as he and the Empress passed by on their way to their next event. 

Even though I couldn't use the viewfinder so as to be sure that I got a good photo, I got lucky none the less. 

As you can see from the photo on the left, this was a very lucky photo indeed, because I only had one chance.. 

The one and only chance in my lifetime perhaps.   
As a result, I nailed it.   

Later that same day, during the evening, there was another large gathering of people, this time in front of the Asahikawa City Hall to wave up at the Royal Couple as they waved back down to the crowd below from a 15th floor window in the Asahikawa Grand Hotel. 

I was able to take some very interesting photos of the occasion and you can see the photo gallery for that day day by clicking here.   

You can also read the very short essay I wrote about it by clicking here.

As I said at the start of today's blog, today is a National Holiday so I had no classes to teach. 

With about 3 weeks of winter vacation in front of me, I began to think of all of the things that I must do, and most of the other things that I want to do. 
It is a rather long list.






2008 September 8 Monday thru September 15 Monday.



Monday September 15 was a National Holiday in Japan known as KeiRo no Hi 敬老の日 Respect for the Aged Day. 

What a novel idea!   Show respect and pay attention to the older people in society, who have built this country into what it is today. 

I am talking about Japan.


In the very beginning of the stage play RUN, which I translated into English from the original Japanese, writer Kuramoto Soh 倉本總 wrote the following; 

As for me,….  Well,….   I used to be the same way.

I graduated from college and got a job at a big company.

It was during that time when Japan was still recovering from the damage it had suffered by defeat in the big war.

Anyway, without knowing why, I started running.  Running,…… running and doing my best. 

I lived that way for almost 40 years.  Getting closer and closer to retirement.  Today was my last day on the job.


Yeah,  lately I’ve been really confused.

Even though I’ve reached retirement, should I keep on running?  Or, should I just stop around here somewhere, and take a rest?

That’s why I’m just standing around here and waiting.

I don’t know what to do.

The main point being that in late 1945, Japan was just a big pile of ashes with a black rain falling.


It is a whole new world today. 

Because of the slavish work of the millions of survivors from the atrocity that IS every war,  Japan has become the most peaceful, most civilized nation on the face of this earth today.   

Made in Japan, means something special.  Including this rice field in Higashi Kagura 東神楽町.   Japonica rice.   

I prefer to eat it as unpolished brown rice 玄米.


I could buy it directly from the farmers if I really wanted to, but usually buy it at a WESTERN supermarket. 

One of the few supermarkets were you can easily buy unpolished brown rice.

I eat more than 5 kilograms of it every month.


I cook it in a regular rice cooker, in the same way you would cook white rice.   Brown rice smells a bit nasty while it's cooking, but it tastes great.   

A bit more chewy than white rice, and not appropriate for use as sushi すし, but it goes great with curry カレーライス and everything else.   

Once you have had brown rice, you might like it better than white rice, but I doubt it.   

I am not in the majority as a brown rice eater, but then again, I know what I like. 

Fiber filled golden grains of locally grown brown rice.




TWINBIRD 発芽玄米・納豆・ヨーグルトメーカー  HQ-2000 Kitchen TWINBIRD 発芽玄米・納豆・ヨーグルトメーカー HQ-2000


【送料無料】!数量限定 早い者勝ち!完売したら御免なさい訳あり米だけど毎日食べるお米に最適(玄米・白米・無洗米)無料対応・(代金引換・送料)無料 (配送会社がお選びいただけます)■西濃運輸は【送料無料】■ヤマト運輸は追加料金が発生します 【72時間限定送料無 【送料無料】!数量限定 早い者勝ち!完売したら御免なさい訳あり米だけど毎日食べるお米に最適(玄米・白米・無洗米)無料対応・(代金引換・送料)無料 (配送会社がお選びいただけます)■西濃運輸は【送料無料】■ヤマト運輸は追加料金が発生します 【72時間限定送料無



2008 July 14 Monday thru July 18 Friday.


I was not as hot this week, as it was last week, and I didn't need to turn on the cooling system.   

About a month ago, my wife received a used digital camera from her younger sister.   

It is a RICHO Caplio R2 5.0 Mega Pixel unit, and you can see it in the photo above/left.  Ikuko almost never uses a camera, so I have developed the custom of taking this camera with me where ever I go.   

It is by far, smaller than any other camera that I have, and it takes very good photos.   

Now, I will never miss another photo opportunity because I didn't have a camera with me.   

Thanks Yuki!    This camera will be well used by me.   

Not only does this camera take still photos, but it also takes motion video as well.   

Plus, it can also be used as a voice recorder for sound only.   

Isn't it amazing what electricity and magnetism can do.   

On Monday, I had my last lesson with an 8 year old girl who has been coming to my classroom for about 5 years.   

She and her family will be moving to Chitose because of her father's job.   

I hope they can find a good English classroom in that city so that she can continue her studies there. 

On Thursday at about 20:30 while I was walking the aisles at the next door supermarket, a beautiful young woman runs up to me saying; "ノーマン先生、ノーマン先生!" 

She came right up to me and we looked at each other face to face.   

I could not remember who she was, until she said; "I am Haruka".   

As soon as I heard that, I knew exactly who she was.   

I haven't seen her in about 3 years, but she and her brother who are fraternal twins  一卵性双生児, used to come to my classroom during their elementary school and junior high school days.   

Now they are both 23 years old and attending universities in California USA.   

How's that for a job well done, by all hands on deck.   

It's a small world after all.   

Be kind to your neighbors.








やっぱり、くさっ!ってことなんでしょうかねぇ…( ̄〓 ̄;; Shock!!

 ネコ しまじろう の 劇 (;^-^;)



参りました!状態のしまじろう ↑






2007 December 4 Tuesday.

Another beautiful photograph from the website Rambling On My Hokkaido.   

This is a photograph of Mt. Yotei, also known as Ezo Fuji, that was taken on November 4 of this year, at 17:24.   

I am currently using this photo as the wallpaper 壁紙 for my personal computer.   

If you also would like to use this photo as a wall paper on your PC, it is OK with the photographer, if you do so.   

He even says so at the top of every page on his very extensive website.    

Click here  to go to the original high resolution version of this photograph, above/left. 

You too can copy and paste it into your PC, and enjoy it just like I do, everyday.   

If you can read Japanese, you also get the benefit of reading his detailed descriptions of each and every photo.   

Obviously, this guy knows a whole lot about, all aspects of Hokkaido.   

In fact, I am using his website as another study guide, for next year's   北海道観光マスター検定 in November of 2008.      

On a different subject,....    

Yesterday my classroom received a phone call, from the mother of one of my former students.   

Her son first came to my classroom in 2001, when he was 8 years old.   

Shortly before he came to my classroom for the first time, he and his family had lived in Houston Texas, for about 6 months.   

Without knowing any English at all, he was enrolled in a regular Houston elementary school.   

In other words, he had massive exposure to spoken American English, from a very early age. 

As a result, his EARS were naturally tuned into the music. 

The music which is spoken language. 

Any spoken language.   

In this case, American English.   

Anyway, his mother called my classroom again today, and asked for a consultation session with her son, and his father, TODAY.   

We were able to schedule them in for one hour, starting at 18:00.   

When the now almost 15 years old N君 walked into my classroom, I was taken aback, by the fact that he is now, as tall as I am, and very handsome, and able to engage in English Conversation with ease, and fluency.   

What a pleasant surprise.   

He told me for the first time today, that he has been playing golf, since the age of 9 years old.   

A good looking guy like this, who can speak perfect English, and play golf very well, has a lot of opportunities in this BIG WORLD we all "live" in.   

Thank you for coming back to my classroom again, after all of these years.   

You and I,  will get yourself very well prepared, for your soon to come, 3 years of living in Australia and going to a senior high school there, all at the same time.    

What a trip.      

Is it any wonder that I love my life's WORK?      

A Work and a Wonder.





2007 July 31 Tuesday.

I woke up at 4:00 a.m., and went outside to make some hot tea, and write this blog for yesterday. 

It was a cool and refreshing morning, a bit overcast. 

After having a nice breakfast at 8:00, we were back on the road by 9:00.   

I even had time to take another outdoor hot tub from 7:30 until 7:50.

   There is nothing like sitting in a tub of hot water while being surrounded by a forest.   

Our first destination for today was Lake Mashu 摩周湖.   

I have been here several times before, and every time I have come, including today, it has been crystal clear, with no fog in the air. 

See photo above/left. 

Lake Mashu is famous for being difficult to see because of the frequent foggy weather. 

In fact, I know several people who have lived in Hokkaido all of their lives, and have never been able to see Lake Mashu, because of the fog. 

I guess I have been very lucky.   

After gazing at the beautiful lake and the surrounding scenery for over an hour, we continued on to Kushiro 釧路市 and ate lunch there, before driving on to the Kushiro Wetlands National Park 釧路湿原国立公園.   

We took a 2.5 kilometer hike through a bug infested forest which has vast panoramic views of a huge flat marshland, the biggest in Japan. 

It reminded of a scene of the vast savannahs of Africa. 

I have never seen this view of Hokkaido before. 

After that, we continued on to our final destination of Lake Akan Onsen 阿寒湖温泉.   

We checked in at the Tsuruga Hotel and took a rest before having a gorgeous buffet style dinner in the huge second floor dinning room. 

They have every kind of food imaginable and all of it is top quality stuff.   

I ate so much, I was literally stuffed to the gills.   

After dinner, the ladies went to the roof top bathing area, and I walked outside and into the town to look around in the many gift shops which have mostly Ainu handicrafts. 

Some real and some not so real.   

I talked to some of the real Ainu craftsmen and bought two headbands and a shoulder bag made by the very people with whom I talked.   

There were even a couple of small bond fires burning in the plaza and the wood smoke smelled wonderful. 

After wandering around for about 2 hours, I went back to the hotel to take my turn at the roof top spa.   

They have saunas and every kind of bath that you can image here. 

You can even look and the lake and the night sky while laying in a huge pool of hot water.   

Why more cultures don't have this custom of communal bathing, is a mystery to me.


















どうやら、居眠りしてしまってたようで… ( ̄ー ̄;














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