2008 October 14 Tuesday thru October 19 Sunday.


Lots of nice weather this week, along with some sudden thunder storms and heavy rainfall, especially early Saturday morning.

On Wednesday after my last lesson was finished at 21:00, the two students in that private lesson and I, went to a Live House and Karaoke Bar called Good Luck (Good楽)that is located right across the pedestrian mall from SanBanKan 三番館.

I have never been here before but my private lesson students have, so they introduced me to the owner and his wife, who have been operating this very nice place for about 3 years now.

Not only do they have the latest Karaoke equipment, but they also have a band set with drums, bass guitar, many other guitars, and maybe even keyboards.

I like these kind of hangouts, because I get to hear a lot of local musicians play lots of good music, and I myself even stand in as a singer or bass guitar player from time to time.

The prices here are reasonable, the place is new and clean and the owners are very friendly.   

It is located at 旭川市3条通14丁目 in the 越知ビル2F.   

Their web site is located at http://fhp.from.jp/goodluckisa/

They are open from 11:00 - 16:00 for coffee and lunch time, and then again from 18:00 - 25:00 for a cafe and bar with live music by whomever wants to play some music.   

I know for sure that I will be going back again and again.   

If you love live music as much as I do and have never been to this place, please give it a try.   

I think you will like it too.


On another topic of conversation, Thursday October 16 was Me and Ikuko's 14th wedding anniversary.   

Fourteen years sounds like a long time, but really it's just the blink of an eye when you have a happy life together.

I let Ikuko choose the restaurant for our dinner and drinks celebration, so she choose KinKaRo 金花郎 located on 1 Jodori and within easy walking distance from our home.

This restaurant is very very popular and is usually packed with people, but on Thursday night is had a lot of open tables so we didn't have to wait at all.

The food of course is very good and that is why it is so popular. 

The price is a little bit on the high side, but it is well worth the experience. 

If you like Korean Style BBQ and have never been to KinKaRo before, I think you will like it too.

They have two locations that I know of.   

The one in the photo above/left is the one we always go to which is on 1 Jodori at about 4 Chome, and the other one is just off of 1 Jodori at about 18 or 19 Chome.

Both places have exactly the same menu and the same good flavors. 

They don't take reservations so if you want to go on a weekend or holiday, you better get there before 17:00, and be the first in line.

Good products and good service at a reasonable price is all an MBA needs to know about having a successful business.   

Let the bean counters argue over the nickels and dimes.





2008 October 6 Monday thru October 13 Monday.


Another cold and rainy week, until Saturday when the sun came out again and it started to warm up.   

Monday October 13 was a National Holiday known as 体育の日.   

Literally, Physical Education Day.   

I'm not much into exercise or sports anymore like I used to be, so I made plans to drive down to Otaru instead.

I took my usual route to the Sea of Japan on Route 94, also known as the Inada Mashike Line  稲田 増毛 線.

This is a beautiful drive in any season, but now with the autumn leaves becoming more and more colorful, there were some unbelievably bright reds, yellows and orange colored leaves to be enjoyed along the way.

I took my sweet time and drove very slowly so I could fully enjoy the multi-colored tapestry laid out before my eyes.

When I got to the beach at Mashike, I was surprised to see how windy it was.   

When I opened the door of my van, the wind almost ripped it off!

Also, the waves were extremely rough and very high, at about 4 to 5 meters.

I have never seen the sea this rough at this location before.   
But then again, I have never been to this location in the middle of October before either.

I sat in my van and watched the beautiful but deadly ocean roll and growl with the fury of a woman scorned.

The next day, early on Sunday morning, I heard on the radio news that 5 young people from Asahikawa had been walking around on the rocks at Golden Cape 黄金岬 in Rumoi, when they got hit by a big wave.

Three of them got out alive, but two of them are still missing.   

Most likely their bodies will never be found.  Nature is beautiful, but if you don't fully understand and respect her, your going to get whacked.


I finally arrived in Otaru City at about 18:00, parked my van at the MaxValue open 24 hours supermarket, and walked along the Canal Plaza until I arrived at Otaru Micro Beer in Warehouse Number 1.

The main reason that I came all the way from Asahikawa on this day, was to see the PALOSIKS perform the new songs from their new CD, which I also bought on the same day.

The first time I had the good fortune to meet PALOSIKS was on 2006 MAY 3.   I just happened to be in Otaru During Golden Week, because I had cabin fever real bad, and I love the beer they make in Otaru City Hokkaido Japan.

A couple of good reasons to make the 470 kilometer round trip, and stay overnight in the HOTEL NOAH.

This time I went  in October and was able to drink the German Style Oktober Fest Beer that Otaru makes every year, at this time.

It was the first time that I have been to Otaru Beer in October and the first time I was able to drink this special limited quantity beer.


How was it?

In a word, Deeeeeeeeeeeeelishih!!!!

Take a look at the photo on the left to see what I am bragging about.   

Hokkaido makes WORLD CLASS ALL MALT BEER, and in abundance.

By the way, the PALOSIKS new album is called ゆる ふわ Relax.

You can some songs from the album at the Palosiks MySpace web site by clicking here.

I will be writing an album review about it and putting it on this web page of my new web site at the Every Thing Japan Network in the near future.

You can also buy their new album from Amazon Co Jp as well as at the Otaru Beer Hall itself.





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ゆるふわRelax Music ゆるふわRelax



2008 September 24 Wednesday.


According to the evening addition of the Hokkaido Newspaper, Mt. Asahidake got it's first snow on the mountain peak 初雪冠雪 just today.

Wait a minute!   It is only September 24!   

Say what?!?

Welcome to Hokkaido.

It is time to start wearing warmer clothes again, especially at night.

Summer in Hokkaido is extraordinarily beautiful.   

It is also very short.   I hope you enjoyed it again this year, as much as I did.

With colder weather approaching rapidly, day by day, I and most other people who live here, will be spending more and more time indoors.   

It's a good time to do all of the things you have been planning to do, but didn't do, because you have been spending so much time in the great outdoors.

In my case, I will be spending more time developing web sites and reading books about how to do that, and reading more books about various other things.   

For other people, it will be a time to get back to THE classroom and study English or music or flower arrangement or the tea ceremony or whatever.   

The long winter in Hokkaido makes it easier to stay indoors and really concentrate on the STUDY at hand.

Recently, I have been getting a lot of new adult students coming to take a look at my classroom, and then starting regular lessons on a weekly basis.

Last week a man and a woman began private lessons every week on Wednesday, starting at 20:00. 

The man is about the same age as me, and is also a guitar player with a band called LIBERTY and the woman works at a law office.   

I am also a guitar player so we have a lot in common and we both love many of the same songs.   

Mostly stuff from the USA rock and roll style of the 1960s and forward from that time.   

I don't play the 6 string guitar as much as I used to, because I like to play the bass guitar more nowadays.

Also, just today, I had two adults come to take a look at my classroom for a free trial lesson. 

The man is also a guitar player who likes HEAVY METAL, and the woman can play the trumpet and violin.   

Another interesting thing about these two people, is that they both work at Asahiyama Zoo!!!   

What a cool job!    I love animals too, so I could enjoy a job like that, if  ever I had the opportunity to do it.   

They both found out about my classroom after seeing this web site on the internet.   

In fact, the man who came today is one of the people who has designed and currently maintains the Asahiyama Zoo Web Site.    

A very good web site indeed.   

I have a permanent link to it on the LINKS page of this web site.

The main reason they both came to take a look at my classroom today, is because many foreign tourists come to the Asahiyama Zoo every year, and being able to speak English is very usefu, for their jobs.   

I hope they both decide to come back again and start taking lessons on a weekly basis.   

I really enjoyed meeting and talking with them today.

By the way, the photo in today's blog is of a brand of Japanese Rice Wine made by KuniMare 国稀 which is located in Mashike Town 増毛町.   

I have been to this rice wine brewery several times, and you can see a photo slide show of Mashike Town by clicking here.

This particular product is called Hokkai Nigori Zake 北海にごり酒 and was made during July of this year.   

It usually hits the shelves of the supermarkets around September and that is why I am enjoying it right now, as I write this blog.

It is not 100% Rice Malt Wine 純米酒ではない but it is raw and needs to be keep cold or it will spoil.   

It has a sweet smooth flavor and is about 20% alcohol, so it's easy to drink a little bit too much, and get tipsy.

As you can see from the photo, it is not clear, but cloudy.   

The meaning of Nigori is something like "cloudy", and that is why the brew looks something like watered down milk.   

The perfect drink for this season.   

If you love Japanese Rice Wine the way I do, please try this product.   

You won't be disappointed.   






2008 September 16 Tuesday thru September 22 Monday.

2008sep20_shakuhachi The Autumn Equinox is tomorrow, and the weather this past week has been absolutely gorgeous.   

I love this time of year the most of all. 

I like to spend a lot of time outdoors, both day and night. 

Because it is still warm enough to walk around with bare feet and sandals.   

I like to walk slow, and take my alto recorder with me. 

Which got me to thinking again, about my promise to myself, to get a Japanese ShakuHachi Bamboo flute THIS YEAR, and learn how to play it too.   

I was thinking that I may have to pay from between 20,000 yen to 40,000 yen for a beginner's bamboo flute.   

A bit expensive, but I really want to do this, so I decided to go downtown on Saturday afternoon and buy one.   

The only store which I could find, that had any 尺八 for sale, was the OoNuma Musical Instruments Store 大沼楽器 at 2 Jodori 11 Chome.   

When I walked into the store, I saw a very nice looking shakuhachi with a price tag of 100,000 yen.   

YIKES!    I wonder if they have something a bit less expensive.   They did.

The one I bought, is the one you can see in the photo on the left.   

It only cost 9,000 yen because it is made of plastic.   

A very hard and thick plastic, but plastic nonetheless. 

The black band that you can see in the middle of the flute is the place where you can pull it apart into two pieces, making it easy to carry around in a small bag.

The shakuhachi is not easy to play.   

It has no reeds in the mouthpiece, in fact it has no mouthpiece at all. 

Just an open hole at the top with a very small v-shaped cutout at the front.   

It is like blowing across the top of an open bottle in order to make a sound, only much more difficult.   

I has a total of five finger holes.   

Four on the front and one on the back.   

The easiest sound to make, is with all of the finger holes open.   

Even this took me a good 30 minutes to learn how to make a steady musical sound.   

After practicing for 3 days straight, I was finally able to make a sound with all 5 finger holes covered.   I say make a sound, but not music.   Not yet.   

This is by far, the most difficult musical instrument, I have ever tried to play.  (I have never tried to play the violin or the clarinet, or the trombone, etc.)

I really love the sound of the Japanese Bamboo Flute 尺八, and I am confident that I will be able to make it sound nice, after several years of practice.

I know for a fact that anyone who really tries hard to do something, that they really want to do, will be able to make it happen. 

Even non-Japanese people can learn how to play the shakuhachi well.   

Click here to see a YOU TUBE video of  Todd Barton  playing a song called "AKEBONO" on a very expensive flute.   

I want to become that good too, someday.


Another thing which I bought on the same day, was a book about 15 historical sites of the Jomon Culture, which are in Hokkaido and the North northeast area of Japan 北東北.   

I saw an article about it in the Hokkaido Newspaper a few weeks ago, and decided to buy it right then and there.   

I have already been to most of the Jomon sites in Hokkaido, in fact you can see a photo slide show which I made of the Oofune Site that I visited on 2007 August 9.   

It is located in Minami Kayabe Village which is now a part of  Hakodate City.  Please view this photo slide show by clicking here.

The main purpose of this book is to show the reader how to get to each of these 15 sites, and what they can see once they get there.   

Also, the cover of the book says; "With the aim of having these historical remains registered as World Heritage Sites.   I totally agree.   

The Jomon Civilization dates back from 12,000 years ago up to about 3,000 years ago. 

That is a very long time.   Unfortunately, they did not develop any writing system so we have no written record of their daily lifestyle, and no clue as to what kind of language they spoke.   

Was it the original Japanese Language?   Maybe so.   

The Japanese Language as only 5 vowel sounds, which is a very small number by modern language standards.

I have already studied quite a bit about the Jomon Culture, and will continue to do so from now on.

Human Beings living in total harmony with the earth.

That was the Jomon People.


On Sunday morning of September 21, I went to the KeiMei Elementary School 啓明小学校 to watch their School Arts Festival 学芸会.   

The only reason I went to this event, is because 5 of the students who come to my classroom, also attend this elementary school and they invited me over and over again to come and see them perform. 

So, I made a special trip out to their school, to see them on stage.   

I enjoyed it very much, but the sound system wasn't very good, and I couldn't understand what the actors on stage were saying.

Finally towards the end of the event when the 6th graders got up on stage to do their performance about the beginning of this school 80 years ago, I was able to move closer to the stage and hear what the actors were saying.

It was a lot more interesting for me than the previous performances of their younger classmates.   

The event was finished at about 12:30 and I quickly got back into my van, so I could drive on over to the next event that I wanted to attend, on that day.


The next event that I wanted to go to was a free outdoor music stage, right in front of the Marui Imai Department store on the pedestrian shopping mall 買物公園, that was scheduled to start at 12:00 and end at about 17:00.   

I couldn't find any free parking, so I drove my van back to my house, and walked from there back into town. 

I arrived at about 13:30, just in time to hear a Rolling Stones Cover Band crank out some wicked sounds, at high volume.   What a treat!

In total, there were about 13 different bands, playing different kinds of music.   

The photo on the left is of a band called "Hauling Scrap" which was probably the most dynamic of all the bands.   

Also, it was one of the youngest of the bands in terms of the member's ages.

About half of all the other bands were composed of older guys about the same age as me.

There was a large crowd gathered around for each performance, with people drinking beer and dancing to the music. 

A very peaceful and enjoyable afternoon, with not one policeman in sight.

I met many people near the stage area, whom I have known for many years, and I even made a few new friends as well.

I play music too, so I can really appreciate what goes into making a band sound good.   A lot of practice.

It has been several years since I have played on stage at one of these events, but I hope to do so again in the very near future.   

Nowadays I am concentrating on the electric bass guitar the most, of all of the instruments that I can play.

Oh yes, let's not forget that I just started learning how to play the Japanese Bamboo Flute 尺八 only 3 days ago.   

It will most likely take me about 3 years to learn how to play even one song, well.   

Yeah, so what!   I have enough time to do that too.

Lifelong learning is my greatest pleasure, now that I am 52 years young.

There is always something new to learn.   






2008 July 12 Saturday and July 13 Sunday.


At about 18:00 on Saturday, I went over the hill and down into TomiSawa to attend a private BBQ party being held for an American guy, how used to live in Asahikawa for a long time, but now lives in Atlanta Georgia.   

I haven't seen this guy for about 8 or 9 years, but when I saw him again today, it was like we had never been apart.   

Some people just don't change no matter how long you know them.   

This party was rather unusual for me, because there were no Japanese people at it.   

Only non-Japanese.   There were people from Canada, England, Holland, Sri Lanka and of course, the USA.   

As such, the common language was English.   

One thing I noticed, is that these people like to talk about other people a lot.   

In other words, GOSSIP.    Gossip is something which I don't like much and almost never do myself, so today I heard a lot of strange stories about some of the people who were at the party, and some other people who weren't at the party. 

Stories I had never heard before, even though the events being described happened both recently, and many years ago.   

As a result, I grew rather bored with most of the conversations, and went inside the house to play my bass guitar which I had brought along with me.   

Fortunately, the owner of the house also likes to play live music so he soon joined me with his guitar and microphone, and we started making some groovy sounds.   

The photo in today's blog shows one of my bass guitars and one of my six string electric guitars, sitting in my classroom, after being prepared for transport to the party.   

I needed to do an equipment check before I left, and also put all new strings on the stratocaster.   

The guy from Holland who was at the party, was also a very good guitar player and singer, and he knew a lot of good songs from memory. 

So, I played along with him too on the bass guitar.   

The party ended about midnight.   

Because I was driving that day, I drank no alcohol at the party but I had a few beers when I got home.   

I continued to play the bass guitar at very low volume, practicing the basics over and over again, until about 5:00 Sunday morning.   

Music and languages are my specialty, and what I like to do most.





2008 May 10 Saturday and May 11 Sunday.


Saturday morning started at 10:30, when I had a one hour private lesson with an 8 year old girl, who comes to my classroom every week at this time.   

Last week she didn't come, because she and her family went down to Tokyo and Yokohama during Golden Week, to see some relatives and do some sightseeing.   

During that time, she visited Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea, along with some other amusement parks in Yokohama.   

This week when she came to class, she told me all about her adventures IN ENGLISH!   

She even drew some illustrations of what she had seen and experienced during her trip.   

This very intelligent little lady, is one of the very few children who come to my classroom, who actually tries to use English as her first language, when she is with me.   

We almost never speak Japanese to each other.   Amazing.      

After that lesson was finished, I made some really hot and spicy Korean Ramen for lunch.   

It is my own very simple recipe and I would never think of making it for someone else, but I must admit that I really do love to eat stuff, made with lots of hot red peppers.   

I'm not sure why that is, but it IS.   

I was hoping that I could drive out to ShiBiNai and visit with Charles Hamel and family, but Charlie was busy helping one of his neighbors, set up a new restaurant.   

A very neighborly and noble thing to do.   

Maybe I should have gone out there to help them, but I was more interested in playing the guitar, again today.   

Since about 2 or 3 weeks ago, I have been getting back into an artist from Great Britain, whom I have been listening to since about 1984.   

When I lived in the USA, I had many of his albums on cassette tapes, and I would spend countless hours listening to his music and playing along on both electric and acoustic guitars.   

Again this Saturday, I used You Tube to find the songs I love, and my acoustic guitar to play along with the rhythms and melodies.   

The British Musician to whom I am referring is Al Stewart.   

You can see a You Tube video of him and his band, performing his original song, The Last Days of the Century, by clicking on his name above.   

Later on, I also played around on the Alto Recorder, and just for fun.   

Sunday was Mothers' Day.   

Of which I had completely forgotten about until about 10:30 am on Sunday Morning, when Ikuko reminded me of it.   

My mother and father are both deceased now, and the only bloodline family member whom is still slaving away on prison planet, is my skinny little sister, who lives in Seattle.   

She is not a mother, so I didn't send her a greeting card.   

We were mainly concerned with Ikuko's mother, who is still active and healthy, and living not too far away from us. 

That's why Ikuko remembered that today is Mothers' Day, and I didn't. 

To make up for my forgetfulness, I have thrown together a haphazard digital greeting card, to post in this blog.   

You can see my less than diligent results, above/left.   

Tomorrow, I get to play my guitar at the Young Buds Kindergarten めばえ幼稚園.   

I am well prepared, and looking forward to it. 

I think we will start with the ABC SONG, and work our way UP from there.





2008 March 28 Friday and March 29 Saturday.

Beautiful sunny weather for the most part.   

On Saturday after a private lesson in the late morning, and a lunch of Natto and brown rice 納豆と玄米 in the early afternoon, I found myself to be very sleepy.   

I had originally planned to take a drive out to Shibinai to see how Charles Hamel and Family were getting along in their new home.   

Unfortunately, I was too sleepy to drive, so I laid down at about 15:00 to take a nap.   

When I woke up, it was already 19:30.   

Not only would I not be driving out to Shibinai, but I was also an hour late for a Jazz Concert at the Taisetsu Crystal Hall.   

Yikes!    I got dressed quickly and walked on over to the concert hall.   

I got there at 20:00, and it was too late to buy a ticket, so I sat in the lobby and watched the stage on a TV screen.   

I couldn't hear the music all that well, but it was better than nothing. 

The good news is that I got there in time to listen to the segment where one of my students, who plays the saxophone, was performing.   

This was the main reason I wanted to go to this concert in the first place.   

The almost 3 hours long concert was called STEP TO ASIA Creative Concert and had at least four separate stages consisting of professional, semi-professional and amateur musicians.   

Overall, it sounded very nice.   

I just wish I hadn't slept in, and missed the first 90 minutes of the show.







理由は、簡単でずっと確定申告のために机に座っているからフウ...( -。-)=3


そのうちに……… (@ ̄ρ ̄@)zzzz








いきものがかり 「茜色の約束」




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2007 September 30 Sunday.

A much warmer day than I expected. 

No lessons, time to get back to basics.   

This time, on the electric bass guitar.   

What a trip!   

The books and instructional CDs arrived from AMAZON DOT COM about one week ago, and I'm ready to dig in and learn something new, all over again.   

Even though I have been playing around on the electric bass guitar for about 3 years, I really can't perform the fundamentals.   

I can play a small group of selected songs very well, but as far as being a master of the fingerboard, not yet.   

This revolving autumn and winter season, will change all of that. 

With below freezing temps outdoors, and hotter than hot bath tubs indoors, it's time to hunker down and really get BASIC. 

On the bass guitar, that is.   

And many other things as well.   

What a TRIP!   

The photo you can see above/left shows pages 6 and 7 of a book that I just received entitled; Jazz Scales for Bass,  ISBN 0-7866-1931-7  an audio CD also comes with it.   

What I was practicing today is something called the CIRCLE OF 4ths.   

It is the major scale in all 12 keys beginning with the key of C. 

After you have played the 8 note scale of C Major backwards and forwards a few times,  you jump to the forth note of that scale, which is F, and then play the 8 note scale of F Major backwards and forwards a few times, and then jump to the 4th note of that scale, which is B Flat, and so on and so forth. 

Until we get to the major scale of G, which will lead us back to C.   

I spent about 2 hours this evening doing this exercise over and over again, until I gained but a very small insight into it.   

I need to do this exercise again, in the very near future.   

After busting my fingers, wrist and hands, I put on a generic JAZZ CD, and just let it flow to where it wants to go.   

The two hours of hard training today came in useful, and in an instant, as soon as the JAZZ CD began to play.   

Moving forward is always done, one step at a time. 

Whether you are crawling, walking, running, jumping, OR FLYING.   

Your choice.   

Mine too.      

Go With the FLOW.   

A Groove, is NOT a rut.      

A WAVE will carry all swimmers FORWARD.