Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Second Day of a Family Camping

It was fine on the second day of our family camping this summer.
My two sons got up early to find beetles in the woods but they did not find a lot of them.My wife and I made breakfast; bacon, fried eggs, salad, miso soup and rice. I think having meals outdoors is the most delightful thing with camping. I love doing that very much.
After breakfast, my sons went swimming and played in the river which was across from the campsite. I fell asleep and I took a nap for a while.
Then we checked out of the campsite and had lunch at a restaurant in Kakeya and then we went to Yakumo Wind Cave where a very cool wind blew up from underground. We went down into the cave. The temperature was over thirty degrees Celsius outside that day but in the cave it was ten degrees Celsius. I was almost frozen! The cave used to be used as a natural refrigerator for storing some agricultural crops in the summer for neighbors.
After that we went to a hot spa and bathed there then had dinner.We enjoyed the two days of camping. I hope we will go camping in the winter next time. I think the idea of camping in the snow is really great.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The First Day of a Family Camping

Our family has just returned from camping. We went camping at Ogidani Campsite.We went there for five years in a row.
It was the first time that we used a rented log bungalow; we used to use our own tent before. That was more comfortable using a log bungalow than I expected. The interior was wide and cool and my two sons loved the loft-style bed.
The weather was fine through the days we were camping and the air was cool.
I enjoyed playing tennis and volleyball with my older son there and I lost a tennis match 4-2 with him because he had learned to play tennis two years ago.
My younger son swam in the river which was across from the campsite. The water of the river was clear and crisp. He caught six rainbow trout in the river when the children's fish catching event was held there and we ate the fish at a barbecue. He even caught some dragonflies, beetles and cicadas. He looked very happy.
Before we had our barbecue, we took a bath in a Rotenburo, a Japanese style outdoor public hot spa. I think it is a luxury to take a bath outdoors when it is light.We took a walk under a starry sky at night and we could see the Wain very clearly and big in the north. Then we played Uno, a kind of card game, until we went to sleep.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Family Camping

My family, my wife, two sons and I, go camping every summer. Before my sons were born, my wife and I went camping alone together.We are going to go camping in Ogidani Camp Site, Hiroshima Prefecture next week and we are all looking forward to doing that very much.
Ogidani is our favorite camp site because it has a river, a mountain, woods and open fields. We can swim and catch fish in the river, we can hike in the mountain and the view from the top is amazing. We can find beetles in the woods and we can play baseball or other ballgames in the fields.
My older son would be eager to play volleyball because he began to play that this April. My younger son is studying where he can find beetles in the woods. My wife is looking forward to having a barbecue. I will be happy when they feel joyful in the camp.The camp will be only two days because of my job but I wish we could go camping for at least one week.
The whether forecast said it will be fine there on the days we are there so it is quite certain that we will have a good time at the camp.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fishermen Stopped Operations

About 200,000 fishing boats stopped operations to protest rising oil prices on July 15th. The fuel cost for fishing boats has tripled in price over the past five years so the fishermen are facing a difficult situation.
A friend of mine is a fisherman who owns some fishing boats and he has some problems in his business now.
Firstly, of course, he is in a struggle with the high-price of fuel. He mainly fishes squid so he uses a lot of oil because squid fishing needs giant lights and the electricity for the lights is produced by oil-powered engines; squid have a habit of gathering around lights in the night.
Secondly, he is facing a lower price of seafood. Japanese people used to eat seafood very often but now we don't eat it like we used to do so the price of seafood hasn't gone up any more.
I think the primary industries, agriculture or fisheries, are most important for a nation and that means the primary industries should be protected by the government or the citizens of the nation.I hope the government will help these people immediately and ever after.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Water Shortage

We have hot days like a real summer these days here. I have never seen any rain drops in a week. I think it seems like the rainy season has finished here in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, but the Met Office have not declared that the rainy season has gone.
Recently, the authorities would announce it a few days after it was over. If the rainy season was be over now, I would be worried about the water shortage here. Our city, Matsue, often has a crisis because we do not have big rivers or dams in our city. Of course, we have a large lake called Lake Shinji, which is the seventh largest lake in Japan, but it can't be used for drinking because the water of the lake is brackish.
I hope someone will invent some equipment to make real water from salty water or brackish water and if it could be done any water crisis in the world would be solved.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

An Old Friend and Table Tennis

I went to a karaoke bar with my colleagues and met one of my old friends there. I think I met him for the first time in ten years. He works at the karaoke bar which is owned by his family. He is five years younger than me and we belonged to a table tennis team at the same high school. Of course we were not on the team at the same time but even after I graduated from the school, I often visited there and played with him and other members.
We talked about table tennis and our old teammates. He said that he is playing table tennis now and he sometimes takes part in some local tournaments with our old team members. On the other hand, I finished playing table tennis ten years ago because I was tired of playing table tennis for such a long time; I played for twenty-three years!
To tell the truth, I felt a little bit fed up with it then but while I talked with my old friend I surprisingly thought I would like to play table tennis once again with my old team members.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Birth of a Swallowtail Butterfly

My younger son keeps many kinds of insects. He even keeps caterpillars and one of them changed to a swallowtail butterfly this morning. The butterfly was beautiful in yellow and black. My son looked forward to watching the birth of a butterfly from a pupa but he missed out on the chance to watch that because the birth happened so early in the morning. He despaired at that and I felt for him. When a caterpillar becomes a pupa next time, he will get up early.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Dynamic Tower

I was surprised at the news of Dubai's new skyscraper, The Dynamic Tower. I cannot believe that each floor of the building can rotate independently from the other and besides that the building will be 420 meters high. Each floor spins 360 degrees which would mean the building is supported by only a column. If an earthquake broke out there, would the rotating tower be safe enough? Of course, the design must be safe but I would not want to live in the new skyscraper if I had enough money to live there.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tuesdays with Morrie

I read a weekly English newspaper, Syukan ST published by Japan Times, and I found an interesting column this week. What I was hooked on was about the father of the columnist; he was Professor Morrie Schwartz.
I was very surprised at this fact because I have known the name of Morrie for a long time. Morrie became famous after his death because his old student, Mitch Albom, wrote a book about him called Tuesdays with Morrie. The book jumped to the top of the best-seller list, then the story was made into a TV movie and won an Emmy. I have watched the movie on DVD two times and read the original book in English. I was struck by the story. The book was about Morrie who developed ALS, and his favorite student Mitch. Morrie did not hide his weakness and Mitch did not shut his eyes to the truth. They were not only a teacher and a student but also friends to each other until they had to be apart due to Morrie's death.
I realize from the story that people should be honest and involved with each other, despite facing tragedy. I hope I would do the same as them.
Morrie's son, a columnist of the newspaper, said that is wonderful but also strange because the people who know his father's story do not really know his father. But he also said the more people his words have helped the more he rejoices in it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Magic Hour

My wife and I watched a Japanese comedy movie called The Magic Hour on July 1st. We needed only 1,000yen for each ticket because the theater had Movie Day on that day; we usually have to pay 1,800yen for each one.
When we arrived at the theater, the ticket counter had long lines of women. I thought we would miss out on seats but I was wrong. The long lines were for another Japanese film, Hana Yori Dango, which was based on a TV show that was popular with various ages of Japanese women.
My wife likes the director of the movie, Koki Mitani, so she was looking forward to watching the film for a long time.While the movie was playing, the theater was filled with laughing voices and we highly enjoyed watching it. I couldn't stop laughing with tears in my eyes many times.
The movie reminded me of an American movie, The Sting, which is my most favorite movie I have ever watched. The Sting was set in old Chicago and The Magic Hour was in Sucago, which looked like a 50's American town. I think it is obvious that the locale of the Japanese movie would refer to old Chicago.
Anyway, I would grade the movie as four stars out of five and I really recommend watching the comedy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Don't spoil children

I was in a restaurant today and I could see a boy and his mother having lunch there. The boy was about four years old and he ate some special meal for kids. The dish had two pieces of jelly on it and he accidentally dropped one of the jellies on the floor. He told his mother that he wanted to get a new one because it was ruined.
I thought his mother would say to him,
''Honey, you cannot get a new one because it was your fault. Be careful how you handle your things next time, OK?''
But hey, she unexpectedly said to the waitress,
''Will you fetch another jelly for him? He dropped it. He prefers a grape tasting one. Give him one of those.''
I could not believe I was hearing that. I think she missed an opportunity to teach her son to be well-behaved.I believe people should learn social rules or common sense at a young age. It might be too late to learn that when they grow up and of course adults, especially their parents, must have the responsibility to teach them about that.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I saw some sunflowers blooming in my neighbor's yard. I realized that when I rode my bike for work this morning. I do not know why I did not notice until today, though I pass the side of the yard every day.The flowers are small, the height is about 30 centimeter, but the color of yellow is bright and beautiful in the yard. Probably, the small sunflowers might be displayed in a vase in my neighbor's living room or hallway in a few days time. I also think it is quite early for sunflowers to bloom. It is still in the rainy season now and the sky has not been clear in recent days.
In my childhood, sunflowers meant tall flowers and they symbolized very hot summer sunshine. When I was in elementary school, we were raising sunflowers in the school yard. We had to go to school several times to water them during the summer vacation. We would hate doing that because no one liked to go to school in the summer vacation. To tell the truth, I skipped doing that in secret. Forgive me. That is all history now!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

To Point Out Mistakes

I am practicing writing essays in English to improve my English skills now. I have corrected my essays corrected by my teacher even though the essays do not make sense. Thanks to my teacher! I will acquire more English skills by doing that.
A Japanese professor, Goro Tajiri, who has been featured as a charismatic teacher in the world of Newsweek and is a former public junior high school teacher, explained his idea of leaning English in a Japanese monthly magazine ,AERA English; The most important tip for learning English is to have mistakes in your English pointed out by native speakers if you can manage it. I completely agree with this and the development of information technology makes it easier than before.
I also use IT to correct my English essays. I am really thankful to the Internet.When my essays have been corrected, the mistakes which I made will improve my English. The mistakes make a big impression on me and I will not forget about them. However, I make the same mistakes so often but I believe I am getting better by doing it!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Pension Plan

The other day, I went to the social insurance office for correcting my pension plan data because my data was incorrect. The mail I got from the Social Insurance Agency said I paid the payments of the pension for only twelve years but I paid for twenty-two years. My ten years date had disappeared from the date! When I arrived at the office it was jammed with people who needed to correct their pension date there. Millions of Japanese have gotten this type of pension problem. I needed one and a half hours to wait and correct it. I hope the government and the agent will never cause the same pension problem again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Fireflies have come to a small river which is in my neighborhood again this year. The number of fireflies is not large so few people know they can be seen there. Only my two sons and I were watching them tonight. We were fascinated by the pale glows for a long time and we had a rich time alone together tonight. Many Japanese are looking forward to watching the glow of fireflies as their annual event even if they have to go far away to watch them. In contrast, we are quite a lucky family because we have the spot for doing that in our neighborhood. I hope we can watch the beautiful glows here forever.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Top Five of Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is a famous mystery writer. I used to be hooked on her books when I was in my teenage years. Of course these books which I read were translated into Japanese. I have read all of her mystery books including some play scripts and I even read many of these books twice or more over. I would make my own ranking of Christie's mystery books several times only for fun. Now I will rank her books again. This is today's top five of Christie.

Rank 1. Towards Zero
Rank 2. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Rank 3. A Murder is Announced
Rank 4. The Thirteen Problems
Rank 5. And Then There Were None

While reading her stories, I would dream of traveling in the UK, especially in the countryside. My favorite detectives of Christie are Mr.Battle and Miss Marple. I believe Miss Marple is a real English lady and I think she represents Agatha Christie. As a matter of fact, I don't really like Mr. Poirot because he has too much confidence. A few years ago, I tried to read her original book several times but it was too hard to read for me then. I wish I could read the whole of her books in English if I get more English reading skills.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I have belonged to a karate organization since 2000 but I was not able to practice in the dojo,which means the place of practice, for three years because I have been busy at work.I sometimes do karate practice all alone in my house at night so I cannot shout out loud and I feel stressed out.Usually,we practice karate in the dojo with loud shouts but I miss doing that now.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I watched an American musical movie called Hairspray last year.It was the first time I had ever watched a musical movie.Before I watched the movie,I did not expect any musical would be fun but I really enjoyed it.The story was about a chubby teenager,Tracy and her friends in 1962 in Baltimore.The city was beautiful on the screen.I was involved with the musical from the opening scene in which Tracy was singing and hopping around in Baltimore with joy.She had the great power of making people feel positive and I also felt the same power from her.In the film we could see many people using hairspray in their hair as the signature of the movie.That reminds me of my mother.I was familiar with the smell of her hairsprays when I was little.It was probably in the late 60s when my mother would spray it in her hair before going out for something special.I did not like the smell then but now I sometimes remember it with nostalgia.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


One of my sons,a freshman at a junior high school,belongs to a volleyball team in his school.He practices volleyball for six days in a week and he enjoys it a lot.I am very happy to see his joy.I don't know much about volleyball but one thing is obvious; tall players are more advantageous for the sport.Unfortunately, he is not very tall now.Recently,someone told him that the more people drink milk,the taller they will be and he drinks milk as much as he can;at breakfast,lunch and before sleep at night.I think he will be taller soon and I hope he won't get any stomach troubles due to drinking too much milk.

Monday, June 9, 2008


My eight-year-old son is very interested in insects.He likes many kinds of insects;ants,butterflies,crickets,dragonflies and so on.I think he likes praying mantises the best because they are strong. Now finding ladybirds turns him on because he is taking part in a survey which is conducted by Shimane Prefectural Museum. When he find any ladybird, he notes the date,the place,the size and the pattern.He will send all of the data to the museum in September and he will get some special goods for help doing the survey.A few days ago he found twenty-five ladybirds.How many ladybirds will he be able to find at the end?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Racer Bike

My nine-year-old mountain bike has broken.It is blue and I ride the bike for work.I love the twelve-time-get-flat-tire bike.Its rear gear or latch,I did not know exactly which,was not working when I was on my way home.Since then even if I pedaled my bike hard,it did not move any more.The next day I took my bike to a bike shop to fix it.The shop worker said I needed about 10,000yen to get it repaired.Then he showed me a new racer bike.It had narrow wheels and it looked like a Tour de France bike.He said I could try to ride it and I rode it.It was an exciting ride.Smooth,fast and fun.He said only 10,000yen would pay for the racer for a month and I could get it.How many months?Four?Five?He said,fifteen,no interest.Good-bye my racer.From tomorrow,I will ride the nine-year-old mountain bike again.We will live long together!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Message on T-shirt

I can see many Japanese people wearing T-shirts which have English words or phrases on them.I did not care much about what words or phrases were on them, but since I have begun to be hooked on studying English I often focuse on them. A few days ago,on a hot afternoon,I saw a couple walking ahead of me.Both of them wore T-shirt.The man's back said ANTIAGING and the woman's back said VICTIM.Were they antiaging victims?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Curry Plant

My co-worker is raising a curry plant in a small pot at our work place.The curry plant is a herb which is used for cooking and it has a strong smell of curry.I heard only a leaf of the herb will make any curry tasting food.Normaly,curry powder is made up of twenty or more kinds of spices and herbs.Isn't it amazing?I am looking forward to smelling and tasting the curry plant when it grows up.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Where are The DVDs?

A series of Japanese comedy movies, Otoko wa turaiyo,It's tough being a man,is one of the most popular movies in Japan.I love the movies very much too.In fact I have watched all of the stories,amazingly the forty-eight films is a Guinness book record, on DVDs.It took a year to watch the whole of the DVDs and it cost about 15,000yen for rent.I would dream of having the DVD set.A few months ago I found the complete DVD set at a used DVD shop.I needed to pay120,000yen for a new one.At that time I could see 68,000yen on the price card and I realized it used to say 80,000yen initially.I was eager to buy them but they were too expensive for me.I thought no one would buy them because of such a high price so they would cut down the price soon.I decided to wait to buy them.I waited for two weeks.They were still there.Another two weeks,oh,they were gone!I shoud have bought them immediately!