2007 July 1 Sunday.

The first day of July.   

A clear and sunny day with a cool breeze.  Perfect for a walk or a drive.   

Riding a bicycle would also be enjoyable.   

The photo on the above/left was taken at about 22:30 today, from my large balcony. 

It doesn't look the same as what I could see with my naked eyes, but you get the idea.   

It will be only one more moon until the start of my long summer vacation.   

A time of year I look forward to because I have enough time to travel far and wide around this island.   

Believe you me, there is plenty to see and do here, especially during the season of no snow.   

We must enjoy it while it lasts.   

In my blog of yesterday, I mentioned the Japanese Shakuhachi Flute.   

Today, I found a very good example of the beautiful music that can be produced on this traditional bamboo flute.   

Click here to enjoy it for yourself.  Truly inspiring.  





2007 March 11 Sunday.

Today is my lovely wife's birth anniversary.   

I have known her for about 16 years, and we have been married for 12. 

How has it been?  It's been a great ride. 

We are traveling together through life, with our little ole classroom as the main focus of our works. 

It truly is a Family Classroom. 

Not just ours, but also our student's classroom as well. 

The walls and ceiling of our classroom are decorated with greeting cards and other gifts that our many students have given us over the years. 

One of the most common is an image of a snowman in some form or another.   

Sometimes the kids will ask me how many snowmen there are in our classroom and I have to answer; "I don't know for sure, but about 200 or more."   

Sometimes the kids will jump out of their chairs and walk around the classroom trying to count them all.   

No one has been completely successful at counting them ALL.   

And, I myself don't even know for sure how many there are. 

Does it really matter how many there are?  No. 

What matters are the intentions of the persons who have given these wonderful gifts to us. 

Many, many very good intentions which can be received again and again, merely by looking at the gifts.   

It's much much better for your brain than watching the faux news on TV.   

If you want to feel afraid and worried and weak and powerless, then watch the main stream media "news" on TV. 

Why not just leave the damn thing on 24/7.   

Then you will always be up to date with the latest mind programming that poses as the real news. 

I prefer to switch it off.   

Anyway, because today is Ikuko's birthday we had been planning to walk over the bridge into Kamui and go to とりせん for a yakitori dinner.   

However, the weather today was very cold and windy with blowing snow. 

Not a pleasant day for a sunset stroll.   

So, we ate at home instead, using a big round electric hot plate to slowly cook various meats and vegetables, while drinking wine and talking about various things. 

Another night to remember, and many more to come. 

Happy Birthday Babe!





2007 February 13 Tuesday.

No classes until 16:00 today, so I had plenty of time to put together some more words and images on the PC for later printing and laminating into the kind of new flash cards that I wrote about in yesterday's blog.   

During my last class of the day, which started at 19:00, the topic of discussion turned to marriage and wedding preparations, because one of the students announced that her long time friend was going to get married this year. 

This student herself has just gotten married about one year ago, and in fact both she and the other lady in question, used to come to my classroom together every week, about 5 or 6 years ago. 

The discussion turned towards the custom of paying YuiNoo 結納 to the bride's family from the groom's family.   

I remember a word something like "dowery" but I can't find it in any dictionary. 

Nowadays they use the term "exchange betrothal gifts (money)" instead. 

The students asked me if this was the custom in the USA and I replied that it is much more common to have a Bridal Registry at some department store, somewhere. 

Then I explained to them, in brief, about how that system works.   

They all seemed to think that it was a very good idea. 

Maybe even better than the traditional Japanese YuiNoo system.   

By the way, speaking of weddings, my wife Ikuko and I were married right here in Asahikawa at the very well known 花月会館, in a traditional Japanese style wedding ceremony 神前式.   

See the photo on the left to form an image of what it looked like.   

Unfortunately, my parents and little sister didn't attend, even though they most certainly had the time and the money to do so.   

Why didn't they come? 

Read my blog of 2007 February 6,  to get some idea about that decision of theirs.   

The photo you can see above, shows the actual wedding ceremony itself. 

After this was finished, there was a gorgeous banquet in another room of the same facility.   

I must say, that on that day, I felt so happy deep inside, that I thought I was going to explode, and burst into flames.   

I will never forget that feeling. 

It really was that wonderful. 

It was a family members only 身内だけ wedding party of about 35 people.   

It was a first class affair, where no expenses were spared, and no short-cuts taken.   

It was the real deal.   

After all, it is a once in a lifetime deal, to find a happy life together with your very own soul-mate.   

And I do mean that literally.   

Is it for LOVE, or MONEY?   

For us, it was for LOVE. 

Anything for love. 

Focus on LOVE, the prime mover of the universe, and everything else falls into place naturally. 

Including the "money" part of the equation. 

By the way, congratulations to any and all, newlywed or soon to be newlywed couples out there, who may be reading this blog right now.

Focus on the love and everything else will be alright.





2006 October 16 Monday.

My first gig of the day was at KuRiNoKi Kindergarten.  Today, I get to try out the new A3 sized laminated flash cards that I made during the weekend.  I arrived at the kindergarten at 10:00 and was on stage in front of 220 kids by 10:10.  I went through each round of the song "The Farmer in the Dell" very slowly the first time. 

Most of the kids remember the chorus "Hi Ho the Dairy Oh" the first time around.  The second time I did it, some of the kids were remembering the other lines in the song such as "The farmer takes a wife" and "The wife takes a child" etc.   The third time, I did it at normal speed, without pausing between pictures.   A few of the kids were able to follow along, mostly.  I also sang the songs "Old MacDonald's Farm" and "BINGO the dog". 

  The kids and I both had a great time, and I could feel again that taking the many hours to make these new flash cards, had been well worth the effort.   When that gig was finished at about 11:00, I drove back to my classroom to use the vacuum cleaner and mop the floor.   A clean classroom is a happy classroom. 

Then I had time to eat some brown rice and natto before heading over to my next gig at the Kagura Citizens' Hall 神楽公民館で英会話を楽しむ会 which starts at 13:00.  Today, there was a very interesting story, told by one of the ladies who has joined our group just recently.  She told the story or how she and her husband, and a lot of her relatives, had all gone to Sapporo to attend the wedding of yet another relative.   After the wedding ceremony and reception were finished, she and her husband, and a few of their relatives had decided to go to a Ramen Shop. 

They chose one that is very close to the STV (Sapporo TeleVision) broadcasting station.   They arrived at the Ramen Shop at about 15:00.  When they entered the shop, they saw that there were no other customers there, so they hesitated to sit down and order their food.  However, the shop owners who were busy cleaning up said; "It's OK.  Please take a seat and decide on your order."   

A very nice thing for the owners to do.   After they had ordered and started to eat their Ramen, they began talking about the wedding that they all had just attended, using the names of the bride and groom, as well as the names of a lot of other family members.   Suddenly, the wife of the Ramen shop owner yelled out; OOOさん????   I know OOOさん!  T

he customers who were eating Ramen and talking were very surprised to hear this.   As they started talking to the Ramen shop's owner and his wife, they discovered that the wife of the owner and they, are in fact distant relatives, that haven't seen each other in about 30 years!!!   What are the chances of that???  万が一のこともあります! 

 It really is strange how people and places seem to be all connected at times.   What an interesting story!   Thank you for telling us about it Mrs. S!!!   Maybe you should write an essay about this.   It really is a story worth reading, by many other people.   Other people talked about various things and soon it had already become 14:30.

I walked back to my classroom for straight classes from 16:00 until 20:00.   After that, my wife Ikuko and I went for another one of our many long walks along the river banks and under the night sky.  It was a bit cold, but the sky was mostly clear with a bit of haze.  As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, today is our 12th wedding anniversary. 

So, after we got home, we drank some sweet red wine in celebration, and talked about many things.  I must say that I am a Happy Camper.   Am I a good provider?   Yes.  Am I a good husband?  Yes, but I do get angry from time to time.  Not often.  Am I a good father?   Can't say for sure because, we don't have any children of our own.  Wish we did but,....    so far, it's just not in the cards. 

But to all of those happily married couples out there, around the world, who have a happy family life, and put their family life above and beyond their "working life", I would like to say; SALUTE!  You've got a lot more living to do.  And,  a lot more loving too.




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