Thursday, March 22, 2018

Revised Cherry Blossom Forecast

It seems the sakura will be blooming earlier than expected or than usual this year.

Hanami parties this week!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Work in Progress Wednesday - Spring Holiday

Today is a national holiday in Japan - Spring Equinox Day.  Does your country celebrate the first day of spring with a national holiday?  I'm off on another big adventure, but will be back to tell you about it soon!  

This week I have continued working on the cross stitch baby afghan and have made some progress, but not as much as I'd like.  I really want to finish this this month, as it is one of my new 6&6 in 2018 projects, plus it is good to give a baby present when the baby is still a baby.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Japanese Toilet Follow-up

There was a lot of interest in my Japanese Toilet post a few days ago. I just have a few things to add.  The buttons with the music notes aren't for music.  That button activates a loud flushing/water sound, so no one else can hear any other sounds coming from your toilet stall. Another curious thing about Japanese public toilet stalls is that they always go down to the floor, so there is no chance a child in the next stall can look under the divider into your stall.  Many foreigners are surprised by Japanese high tech toilets, as this hilarious Mr. Yabatan video shows.  He is VERY surprised!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday Morning Star Count -Week 46

Week 46 of the temperature quilt 

March 11 - 17 

54, 57, 63, 73, 73, 63, 52

Sarah at Sarah Did It! is hosting a link up on Wednesdays. Check it out.

This is my temperature/color (Fahrenheit) scheme: 

100 + Brown 

90-99 Red  

80-89 Orange 

70-79 Yellow  

60-69 Green  

50-59 Blue 

40-49 Purple 

30-39 Pink 

20-29 White 

10-19 Black

Sunday, March 18, 2018


When I was in Odawara, I had the good fortune to see a Yabusame competition.  This was the first time I had seen this. Yabusame is Japanese archery while riding by on a horse. (click on the link above to read more about it and its history). I think it must be a very difficult thing to do.  I was finding it difficult to take pictures of it, let alone do it!  The archers rode by very fast, so I was late snapping the picture.  

This is the "getting ready" area.

I took many pictures of the archers riding by, but sadly, these are the best of them.

After they had all gone through, the rode back slowly and retrieved their arrows.

This was a very interesting competition to see and I hope I get to see it again some day.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Teaching English with Marvin Gaye

Are you wondering what Marvin Gaye has to do with teaching English? Good!  Keep reading.  

My upper level students study idioms  "expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, or from the general grammatical rules of a language."

One common idiom is "I heard it through the grapevine", which means:  To hear something through the grapevine is to learn of something informally and unofficially by means of gossip or rumor. The usual implication is that the information was passed person to person by word of mouth, perhaps in a confidential manner among friends or colleagues.

When I hear this idiom, I can't help but think of Marvin Gaye and this song, although I know it was recorded by others too.  I love idioms, but I know they are difficult for my students.  Idioms just don't make sense! 

Do you have a favorite English idiom or one you just hate?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Toilet Conversion

Japan is a toilet mystery.  There are high tech toilets that do everything but wash the dishes.  

Then there are the traditional squat toilets.  

The Japanese government has been promoting the modernization of the squat toilets in public places before the 2020 Olympics when about 40 million travelers are expected to come to Japan.  Many foreigners are reluctant to use Japanese squat toilets.  Japan's major tourists spots have around 4,000 public toilets and about 42% are the squat type. The problem is that it costs several million yen to renovate a toilet building.  

What do you think about toilets?  Do you mind using the squat toilets or do you prefer western toilets? Do you know what all the buttons on the high tech toilets do?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Stitch Group - New Project

One finished redwork project - a pouch with four red fabrics and a red zipper!

Four of us met last Sunday and started a new project, with the finishing of the redwork projects continuing.  

The new project is a bargello bell, which can be finished into an ornament, or maybe a brooch.  We'll see.  The project uses nine colors of DMC floss, plus some gold metallic thread, stitched on 28 count linen.  There was a lot of concentrating, so not so much talking.  I did learn one new word though- ケチ (kechi), which means miser.

At tea time we saw these little neighborhood cats curled up on the back porch.  How cute they are!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Ghost Bird

One afternoon when I was teaching, my two students and I heard a really big thump on the window.  We ran over and saw this ghostly outline of a bird on the window.

We looked down and saw this stunned bird below the window (my classroom is on the second floor).  We were concerned that it would die because it stayed there a long time.

The last time we looked, the bird was gone, so we hoped it had flown away.  My classes aren't dull.