Good appetite

It was much warmer today than yesterday. I could enjoy sunny spring-like weather ,but it is likely to become cold again from tomorrow. I really hope the weather forecast will be wrong.
My daughter and I got together at a department store in Kobe at 10 in the morning. First of all, we took a rest at a café. That’s because my daughter is always tired from her very busy days. She is busy raising her children and working as a home teacher every day. She gets up at 5:50 a.m. and goes to bed at 2 a.m. She sleeps for less than 4 hours at night, though she can take a nap for some hours in the daytime. I am concerned about her irregular life. She has to make two box lunches for her son and husband. Her husband was told to lose weight so as to prevent diabetes by a doctor a half year ago. She has to cook a low-calorie diet. Happily, she had a good appetite today. She ate up a big piece of cake. So did I. After shopping, she had a good appetite again at lunch time, though I couldn’t have lunch so much. Anyway, I was so relieved to see her doing well.

Trivial everyday duties

It was sunny with cloudy spells here. The temperature soared sharply. The warm sunshine was very comfortable and made me so active. I cleaned my rooms, dried laundry, took my long overcoat to the cleaner's and so on. My time was taken up by trivial everyday duties. I was happy to know that I was given a 20% discount on cleaning my overcoat. I like sweets very much. My afternoon snack was Kaitenyaki. The price of one cake is 70yen. Considering high calories of ice cream, decoration cake or fatty cookies, I am apt to choose Japanese cake.

The weather is changng rapidly.

The weather is changing rapidly here; rainy, snowy, cloudy, sunny, windy... It feels like the weather will get better by tomorrow. The temperature today seems to be as low as yesterday. There are only two days left in February. This year is a leap year. I feel like I can have something to gain by it. I really hope warm spring will come sooner. Recently, I seldom see Chindon ya , advertisers wearing gaudy costumes. I have an image about it that it brings spring to towns. I recall my American teacher to my mind. She felt so scary in her childhood to see Chindon ya walking around towns in Japan. Especially, white-powdered faces of samurai or geisha made her frightened.

green pine tree
shining drops of water
early spring rain

松緑に/ 雫の光り/ 早春の雨

Comfortable sweat

It has been very cold since this morning. To make matters worse, it began to rain rather heavily shortly before noon. I wondered if I should go to a sports center this afternoon. Bad weather makes me dull. I wish I could drive a car! Finally I went to the sports center. The center was not crowded. Anyone would hesitate to go outside on such a terrible day. I did bike exercise for 30 minutes and hula for 45 minutes. That was enough exercise for me. When I came home, I sweat and had to change my clothes. I ended up today with comfortable sweat.

One gift anyone can give

A young girl was pushing a cart loaded with many plastic cases on a road near a station. It seemed that she was carrying bread to a bakery. Accidentally she lost her balance. Most of the plastic cases were turned over on the road. Cooked-bread, jam buns, cream buns, raisin bread and so on were scattered there. She was almost to cry. To my regret, I couldn’t help her because I was hurrying to the station not to miss a train. I made a promise to meet my friend. Then a kind man began to help her put back bread into the plastic cases. Kindness is one gift anyone can give. I feel so sorry for her about that I was not a person who entertained strangers at that time, if my appointed time with my friend was close at hand.

The Bible says,
“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this entertained angels without realizing it! (Hebrews 13-2)

Many flyers


There have been many flyers in a newspaper these days. Especially, the flyers of culture centers attract my attention. They invite me to learn something new in some culture centers from April. There are lots of courses which attract me. When young, I felt I was forced to study many subjects at school. However, I have become more positive in learning something as growing old. Although there is not much time left in my life, I have a strong desire to learn about what I don't know. Spring is really exciting.

Stiff shoulders

I opened an envelope from a tax office and prepared for submitting an income tax return this morning. I want my husband to do the work every year, but he hates to do anything troublesome. So, I unwillingly went to a site especially prepared for submitting an income tax return(所得税の申告特設会場)after lunch. I expected a tax clerk would fill out my report using a PC set there. Last year a kind tax clerk finished filling out my report as quick as lightning. So,I didn’t hesitate to go straight to a PC corner this year too. However, unexpectedly I had to fill it out by myself using a PC today. Some tax clerks helped me in turn. Although it took a lot of time and I had stiff shoulders, I could learn e-Tax. I was surprised to see many young people declaring their earnings as well as pensioners.

submit income tax return----所得税の申告をする
stiff shoulders---肩こり

Congratulations! Congratulations!

I went to the English conversation class this morning. It takes only ten minutes on foot from my house. Seven members attended. In the beginning there was “What’s new?” time as usual. Mrs. S said to us that her daughter had had a baby girl in Beijing a month ago. She stayed there to help her for three weeks. Congratulations!!!
Mrs. W said that her daughter had passed the entrance examination of a high school. She looked so happy. Congratulations!!! Our classroom was filled with much blessing today. Yes, spring is here!

early spring breath
into bare trees deeply
fresh buds soon

早春の息吹き/ 裸木に深く/ もうすぐ若芽

one scene at a convenience store

A convenience store in my town has always plenty of customers. It’s near the subway station. The store is doing a good business thanks to its favorable location. I went there to transfer 5810 yen to a shop of Sanuki noodles in Shikoku shortly before noon. I didn’t have to wait my turn for a long time compared with a post office or a bank in my town. After finishing the small work, I took a break drinking juice in the store. There are several seats to eat food there. A young mother was having lunch with her two children. One boy was eating nikuman, a steamed bun containing ground meat. He also wanted to eat gyoza, dumplings. His mother said to him smiling, “Let’s make gyoza at home.” Then, a news report about nikuman this morning flashed across my mind, which said that some nikuman made in China had been contaminated with insecticide. I really hoped that the nikuman the boy was eating was safe.

A time to start a new thing

Mild weather prevailed in the Kansai area today. The number of pedestrians increased on the nearby roads and more children were playing in the park than before. Some trees are budding and Japanese witch hazels(まんさく) are in blossom. Warm spring is just around the corner.

I went to the sports center to take a lesson of hula. After the lesson, one of the regular members asked me to make a new hula club with the same teacher. That’s because the time for hula is very short, about 25 minutes each time in this sports center. Some members hope to dance more. Me too. I’m wondering if I should join a new club for change. Spring is a time to start a new thing.

Pretty cute baby clothing

I went to a department store four subway stations away from the nearest station this morning. One of my nephews became a father at the end of last year. I saw a cute picture of his newborn baby girl on his New Year’s card. The baby girl must be being brought up with tender care. I looked for something suitable to her to present. It was the first time for about 5 years that I dropped in at a baby corner in the department store. I strolled about the corner for a while thinking this and that. Oh, cute! Oh, pretty cute!! I couldn’t decide which baby wear to choose. Finally, a saleswoman advised me to choose a pink beige dress and a cardigan for her. I could not help smiling to see pretty cute baby clothing.

Japanese haiku club

Yesterday afternoon I attended Japanese haiku club. Nine members and two teachers were present. As usual, our teacher told us some rules in composing haikus. After that, exciting kukai, a haiku meeting, began. My result was not so bad. I got 11 points out of 55 points; one fifth, 20 percent of all the points. I was very glad because I had gotten the worst result last time. To my regret, this club won’t be continued next term because of the shortage of applicants.

進むとも見えぬ船影瀬戸の春----5 points

門の戸の開くる音にも春兆す----4 points

草餅の次々売れる札所かな-----1 point

まんさくのほぐれ咲く日や陽の淡く---1 point

Electromagnetic wave

Severe cold weather has been continuing these days. I stayed home all day long. My door chime rang shortly before noon. A young girl from a city gas company was standing outside. She said, “May I ask you some questions for a while?” I reluctantly replied, “Yes, please”, hoping she would leave soon. After some questions about gas, she asked me whether or not I wanted to entirely electrify my house(オール電化). I want to electrify all of my house if its price is reasonable. Using gas is more risky than using electricity….I guess. She emphasized a gas range is getting much safer than before, because a good timer is available to be set for a gas range. A good timer can prevent me from forgetting to stop gas. At last, she gave me a booklet titled “やっぱりあぶないIH調理器”. I know electromagnetic wave is not good for our health, but I can't give up the idea of オール電化.

The last Bible class

It was another freezing cold day. I really hope warm spring will come sooner. I hurried to the church to take a lesson of the Bible. Today was the last lesson for us, because our pastor will leave Japan for the U.S. A. in mid- March. She is also our teacher of our English conversation club. I bought some Japanese cake Dorayaki for coffee break. All of the five members were present. We have learned the Bible for more than three years. Various memories flashed across my mind while listening to her talking. I can’t understand the Bible fully, but I will never forget the happy hours with her. Lastly, she prayed for each of us, including all of our family members. What impressed me most was that she has a good memory about our family members.

Onion soup on Awaji Island

On our way back home from Shikoku the other day, there was shopping time for our bus trip members on Awaji Island for 20 minutes. As soon as I got off the bus, I was surrounded by rather strong ocean wind. I was standing against the ocean wind for a while and walked to a shopping center pushed by the wind. I was recommended by a tour conductor to try a little cup of onion soup free of charge. It was pretty good so I bought three bags of it; one bag for me and other two bags for my children.
Many onions are cultivated on Awaji. You can see a lot of cottages for hanging onions to dry. The cottage has no walls, only frame. That’s because the cottage having no walls is very convenient to dry onions. Wind can go through it freely.
Sweet potatoes(鳴戸金時) are also good. Ice cream corn containing Naruto kintoki is so delicious.

back and forth
pushed by ocean winds
on Awaji.

Too many shopping catalogues

February is my birth month. This month I’ve received more letters or postal cards than usual from some shops. Those are mostly from beauty salons, opticians, fashion shops, or health-food stores. One beauty salon says, “Happy Birthday to You!! We will discount the price of a cut by ten percent if you come within this month.” I am going to take up this offer and have my hair cut in the not-so-distant future. I feel it is a nuisance to receive too many shopping catalogues. I have to throw them away on garbage collecting days. They are heavy enough to break a thin vinyl garbage bag.

in the not-so-distant future ---近いうちに
a nuisance ---厄介なこと

Plum blossoms in Shikoku


Yesterday I took the second bus trip to Shikoku as part of the 88 Temple Pilgrimage. Fortunately, the weather drastically changed for the better. I could enjoy the blue sky and the blue Inland Sea from the bus. I visited five temples in Tokushima. This trip was busy as before. When visiting a mountain temple named 切幡寺, I had to go up a rather steep slope for about ten minutes. Plus, 333 stone steps. I gasped and sweat a lot. Finally, I reached the temple and saw plum blossoms being already in full bloom. I also saw many cute stone images of Jizo having pinwheels.

Snowy weekend

A three-day weekend has started. General Winter is likely to be lingering on in our country for some time. It snowed rather heavily in the morning. I was afraid it would accumulate a little on the road in front of my house. A friend of mine in Osaka sent me a picture of snowy 万博公園. Fortunately, it stopped snowing around 3 in the afternoon. I hope the weather will get better by tomorrow morning, because I am planning to take the second bus trip as part of the 88 Temple Pilgrimage of Shikoku tomorrow.

Today is the best day

I read the Bible little by little every day, though I am not a Christian. New living translation version is easy to read and is very helpful to me in learning English.

Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless; it is like chasing the wind. (Ecclesiastes コヘレトの言葉6-9)

Don’t long for “the good old days”, for you don’t know whether they were any better than today. (Ecclesiastes コヘレトの言葉7-10)

I just turned ?? years old yesterday. I don’t want to celebrate my birthday anymore, but I have to appreciate the fact that I could spend the last one year healthily and happily. May this year also be filled with happiness for me and for all people around me.

Ideal job

I went to the English conversation club this morning. Five members were present. At first, a manager of the club told us that our teacher is going back to America in mid-March. So, there are only three lessons left before she leaves Japan. All of us felt sad. She has lived in Japan for nearly 40 years with her husband, a pastor. She speaks Japanese very well and reads Japanese books and newspapers. She has a good command of two languages. We have been encouraged by her gentle smile and motivated to speak English more and more. Today she worried about a tornado which had hit around Tennessee and Arkansas on Tuesday, because she is planning to live in Arkansas from now on.

Today’s title was ‘ The Right Job for You’. “Which are more important to you in a job?”

friendly co-workers
a good supervisor
good pay
convenient hours
convenient location
interesting work
chance for advancement
challenging work

It was difficult for us to choose two or three answers. That’s because all of the above answers are important to us when we think about our ideal jobs. Our answers were pretty different. I chose ‘ friendly co-workers’ and ‘challenging work’. Unfortunately, there are no ideal jobs in the world, I suppose.

My small kitchen garden

The most controversial issue in the news lately has been about Chinese food. Many people have become ill from dumplings made in China, although the truth of the matter hasn’t been revealed yet. Fortunately, I seldom buy frozen dumplings, meat balls, or food like that. That’s because it’s more reasonable and tasty to cook them at home than buying ready-made ones. I sometimes buy frozen fish, squids, shrimps or vegetables, after making sure of where they are produced. I used to love Chinese tea, especially jasmine tea, but I won’t buy it any more, that’s for sure. My small kitchen garden is my treasure, though my husband does almost all of the field work very well. He is really into growing vegetables after retirement. I always appreciate him very much.

My blog is not displayed properly.

It was sunny with cloudy spells here today. I could enjoy a little warm sunshine, but only a little, very chilly as usual.

One third of my blog has failed to be displayed properly since around 8 tonight. I couldn’t find the columns of profile, new entries, recent comment, a manager’s page ,etc in my blog. Finally I could find them on the downside. The day before yesterday I tried to open my blog in vain so often that I couldn’t help doubting that FC2 blog servers have some problems. I wish I could use this blog comfortably and smoothly.

Winter tide

I went to Shikoku by bus through Akashi Kaikyo Ohashi and Naruto Ohashi in mid-January. The Naruto Strait is famous for its 渦潮 a whirlpool ,but unfortunately I couldn’t see any whirlpools at that time. The Japanese word, 観潮, is a seasonal word of spring. Many visitors can enjoy a thrilling sight of a big whirlpool in April. I hope I’ll be able to see the grand sight there in the near future.

winter tide at Naruto
sliding aimlessly
forming no whirlpools

鳴戸の冬の潮 / あてもなく流れる / 渦を作ることなく

a Buddhist service

When I woke up about 8 this morning, snow accumulated on the roof of a house, trees and flowers like pansies. The road in front of my house wasn’t covered with snow. All the snow around my house melted soon.

I held a Buddhist service of the 33rd anniversary of my father-in-law’s death this afternoon. A Buddhist priest came to my house and my children’s families joined the Buddhist service. It’s said 33rd anniversary of the dead is very important in Buddhism. The priest chanted a sutra in a trained beautiful voice. However, it’s impossible for me to know its meaning. I wish I could understand the sutra.

After that, we went to a buffet-style restaurant and had a very good time. Our late father-in-law must have been very pleased with our happy meeting.

a Buddhist service---法事
the 33rd anniversary of my father-in-law's death--義父の33回忌
a buffet-style restaurant---バイキングの店


It was sunny with cloudy spells here today. Freezing cold weather has been continuing these days.

I often pass a circular notice on to my neighbor. The notice is chiefly made by our community association in our town. This time “URGENT” is printed with red ink on it. It says, “About 5:30 yesterday evening, two guys riding a motorbike snatched a bag from a middle-aged woman and ran away on a road of 2-chome, ○○○.” It’s a common notice, however I am a little surprised to know this purse-snatching was done on a comparatively busy road before dark. The daytime is getting longer day after day recently.

a circular notice---回覧板
community association---地域の自治会