Tuesday, March 31, 2015


April is special to Japanese people. In Japan, schools start in April. Many graduates begin to work in April. Some people would decide to start new things, such as learning languages. 
I don't have nothing special for this April. I just continue to read, write and speak in English as much as I can. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Kuroda Wins the First Game

Former Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda won his first game in eight years in Japan  with Hiroshima Carp. He has just returned from the major league to his home team, Carp. 
New York Yankees offered a huge contract, but he had chosen go back to Hiroshima with lower price, because he had promised to do so when he moved to the U.S. 
He might be nervous in the first game, but his fans gave him a special power to win the game against Swallows yesterday. He would appear on the ground every Sunday, I guess. I believe his pitching will lead Carp to get the Championship Flag of this season. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Short Trip to Okayama

I made a short trip to Takahashi and Kurashiki in Okayama prefecture with my family. 
In Takahashi, we went to Bittyu Matsuyama Castle. The castle is one of the remaining original castles in Japan. The trip to the castle was like a mountain climbing. I was exhausted. 
After visiting the castle, we drove to Kurashiki. The city center was crowded with cars and tourists. We had a hard time to find a parking lot. One hour was needed to park our car. 
We had a lunch there and strolled around the town. We also had afternoon coffee break with cake at a nice cafe. We really enjoyed the short trip today. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Safety Measures

According to some news reports, French and German officials have been investigating the crash of the Germanwings. The co-pilot had a mental illness and he intentionally hide the fact that he could be a pilot to the airline company. 
This incident will make some changes of aviation security measures. For example, some companies have already changed the rule that they will never let a pilot alone in the cockpit. 
I want authorities to reveal the disaster in detail and make efficient now security measures to prevent the same incident. 
Airline accidents make a huge loss at one time. But airplanes are still one of the safest transportatio system. Driving a car is more dangerous than a flight. To keep the air traffic security, many people have been working hard on the industry. I have to thank their effort and hope to keep the safety operations. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Voice Recorder Reveales

French authority examined the voice recorder and  found the co-pilot of the Germanwings jet intentionally made a crash into the French Alps. The co-pilot was relatively new to the company and there are no clue about terrorism. 
The chief pilot was out of the cockpit then and tried to open the door, but the co-pilot refused to open it. The black box recorded the voice of screaming passengers, the authority said. 
How terrible the inside of the jet was! How come the young pilot had to crash into the mountains with 149 innocent people? 
He reportedly passed the medical tests for entering the company, but didn't take any regular psychological tests. I think that would be a key to the tragedy. 
Victims' families, relatives and friends wouldn't believe their losses that caused by the mysterious co-pilot's act. I really feel for them and I pray for the victims' souls. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A German Jet Crashes in France

A Germanwings aircraft from Barcelona to Düsseldorf crashed into French Alps on Tuesday. 150 people were on board the A320 plane and none of them were alive, the authorities said. 
The voice recorder of the jet was found and examined. The recording reportedly said that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not return while the plane went down. That was a misery. The door to the cockpit had broken? The pilot in the cockpit fainted away? 
Many Airplane crashes have been reported recent years. The fatal crash rate on aircrafts might be lower than other transportation systems, but a plane crash cause a large number of deaths at one time. I really hope that kind of tragedy will never happen again. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Table Tennis Rubber

My son practices table tennis at high school everyday even though he doesn't officially high school student now. Sometimes he plays from 9am to 9pm. And there is a big problem. Rubber. 
Usually, table tennis players need two rubbers on their rackets. The costs are deadly high. If you want to perform as a professional, you have to pay ¥10,000 to ¥16,000 for a racket. That means a sheet of rubber costs ¥5,000 to ¥8,000. My son would replace the rubber at least once a month or sometimes twice. 
It would be killing me. Sigh. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mima Becomes the Youngest Winner

Japanese junior high school table tennis player Mima Ito became the youngest winner on the table tennis World Tour in Germany. She is 14 years old and ranked 38th in the world. She defeated No. 4 player in the semifinals and beat No. 45 in the final. 
Mima Ito wants to take part in Tokyo Olympics when she becomes 19, but she even has the chance to participate Rio de Janeiro Olympics if she could get good results in the World Tour. 
Japanese young table tennis players have performed really well in the world tournaments recently. Chinese players are so strong that hard to defeat, but Japanese players could get over the Chinese players in the near future. I really hope it. 

Monday, March 23, 2015


Bakeries are everywhere in my town. It looks like between every corner has a bakery. Some popular bread shops are really crowded even right after its opening. 
When I was a kid, there were few bakeries here. They would make only simple and old Japanese style breads, like Shoku-pan, An-pan or cream-pan. I liked An-doughnuts the best. 
Now there are so many kinds of breads in the shops and they are very beautiful and delicious. 
I sometimes enjoy buying breads in bakeries and eat for coffee break. It adds some fat on my belly recently. That's a problem. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Town Committee Meeting

I went to my town's annual committee meeting today. The members of the meeting looked very old. I think the two thirds of them are over the seventies. It represents Japanese rural societies.
We discussed the importance of helping-each-other-spirit. There are many elders and some of them live alone in my town. If there would be some unusual phenomenon on neighbors, we shouldn't hesitate to ask them. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

My Niece

My niece visited my mother's house all alone from Osaka. She is eighteen, tall and very beautiful. She stayed four days and enjoyed going around the city with my mother and son. My niece and my son are very close from they were babies. They looked really happy. 
She's just graduated from high school and is going to work for a well known golf shop in Osaka next month. 
I hope she will be getting along with her new life. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Stop Racism

I've read an article about blackface that Japanese TV performers often paint their faces black to pretend African American singers. They must stop that disgusting performance immediately. 
Blackface is definitely racism. Only Japanese people don't know it. I even didn't know about that until recently, though. Some performer said,"don't get me wrong. I highly respect black people and even I wanted to be a black". But that is no excuse and there are no exception. 
You should check out minstrel show if you don't know the history of blackface. The long history of the show made the stereotype of African American people. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Making of a Nation

I'm listening to the VOA radio programs every day in the morning. My favorite show is The Making of a Nation which describes the history of the United States. The program is repeatedly on the air and now they are providing that around three times in a week.
I've listened to the whole history almost twice in this three years. It starts when the North American continent was officially found and lasts until the Bush presidency. 
American people and government did everything, not only doing good behaviors but also shameful things. One thing I really admire a fact that the American presidency has been continuing over 200 years without any coup. Even the Civil War and World War times, they have been doing the democratic elections in every four years. It's fascinating. 
The history shows us that selecting their leader by fair and democratic way of voting is the highest priority for American people. 
I think the tradition lasts forever in the United States. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Practice Table Tennis

My son is practicing table tennis in a high school which he is going to enter in April. He's got the high school's sports scholarship. 
He goes to the gym at four and practice table tennis until around nine. He might be tired, but he doesn't mention it. 
He couldn't participate any national junior high school tournaments, so he wants to take part in inter high school competition. I hope his dream comes true.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

English Education in Japan

A governmental study shows 58.4% of high school senior students hate English and only 14% students want to get business level English skills. The survey also revealed that these high school senior students were certified as junior high school level. More over, the accuracy rate of writing section was only 10%. 
I think if they really have junior high school level English skills, that would be great. You can express almost every things in English that you learn at junior high school. 
I don't think the results are special. Every subjects would be the same. Most students would forget what they have learned after taking tests. That's the way it is. You may know that. 
I don't think English education at school in Japan should be changed. You can learn English grammar and you can learn English words at school. That would be enough. 
If you want to improve your English skills, just practice hard like sports. English is no exception to this rule. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Nabe Party

I want to my older son's apartment with my family yesterday. He is nineteen and lives alone now. It takes one hour to get his place. 
He has to cook for himself. He has just started cooking, so he can't make variety of dishes for now. 
Since he was off, we brought some ingredients for nabe to his apartment.
Nabe is a Japanese popular food that we often eat in the winter season. It's a kind of stew. 
He has left home almost one year, so I thought he would miss nabe. We were relaxed ourselves and enjoyed eating nabe. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Farewell Party

I want to my son's farewell party. It was held by my son's middle school table tennis team. 
There were five graduates this year. Many of them are waiting for the results of public high school entrance exam for now, but they would go to different directions from now on. 
I really thanked the club teacher. My son was often against the teacher, but he taught my son patiently. 
We eat and drink a lot in the party and took some wonderful photos there. It would be a good memory for all of us.
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

My Son's Departure

My younger son graduated from middle school today. I attended the ceremony and I thought I would be moved by that, but I didn't that much. That was probably because the students didn't sing the songs in the ceremony loudly. 
Aside from that, I'm happy for his departure. He always got a 100 on tests at school, but in 5 subjects total. I hope he will study hard in high school. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

TOEIC in May

I've applied to TOEIC in May. In a big city, you can take the test ten times in a year, but I can take it only three times in a year here in Matsue. 
In the previous time, I didn't prepare for it with TOEIC work books and my score decreased a little. I'll use my two TOEIC work books this time in order to get a better result. And I'm planning to finish two English reference books. That sounds perfect for me, doesn't it?  
Of course I'll try to read and solve the two work books many times. More over, I'm trying to read two novels in a month. Well, I'll be busy coming two months. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Political Hall of Shame

Japan's former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has visited in Crimea despite authoritie's warnings. 
He said that the annexation of Crimea to Russia was peacefully and democratic way. He is such a fool. Most of the countries in the world criticized the annexation, but he approved that. 
Japanese goverment and even Democratic Party of Japan condemned his visit to Crimea. 
This isn't the first case of his foolish act. He once admitted China's claim to Senkaku islands. He was totally insane. 
I don't think he knows how important position Japan's former Prime Minister is. 
I don't want him to return to Japan again. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Eiken Grade 1 and TOEIC 990

Some experts said Eiken Grade 1 and TOEIC 990 are mere entrances of professional translators or interpreters, but for average English learners, these would be one of the goals. 
I don't know if I could get Eiken Grade 1 or TOEIC 990. I'm just trying to get them for now, but first, I think I should try to Eiken. That is simply because I like reading news articles and novels. Of course I would take TOEIC every time held in my town. 
Should English teachers in school have Eiken Grade 1 or TOEIC 990? I don't think they need these certifications, but I want them to have the same ability to English. But TOEIC score 950 over would be enough. That's just my impression, though. 
I want English teachers would say,"Eiken Grade 1? TOEIC 950? Anytime I can get them. No sweat!" What do you think about that?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Winter Again

It was windy and cold today. The snow was falling now and then. The waves in the sea were 6 meters height. It seemed winter has come back here. The temperature was below 5 degrees. I was almost frozen. 
Tomorrow will be the same. The roads here would be icy. We should be careful with driving in the morning. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Letter

I found a letter which my son wrote when he was graduated from elementary school three years ago. 
He thanked my wife and me in the letter. He also wrote how he will study hard to get a good grade in middle school. He said he will get at least 450 points in five main subjects. 
The reality is that.... I shouldn't say anything about that. He is about to graduate from middle school. He did not study well, but he was good at sports club and I really proud of his effor to the club. 
I have a little hope that he finally figures out the importance of studying for his future career in coming three years of high school days. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Izumo Taisha

I went to Izumo Taisha with my family today. Izumo Taisha is one of the most important shrines in Japan and famous for enshrining the deity of "enmusubi" which means good fortune in love and relationship. 
The number of tourists have been increasing recently. That is partly because more and more Japanese people are seeking something spiritual these days. 
I have been visiting there once or twice every year. I really like strolling around the shrine. The place so familiar to me and heal my soul. I highly recommend you to visit Izumo Taisha. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Visited a Hospital

I visited a friend of mine in a hospital. He had a laparoscopic surgery several days ago. He looked good, so I was relieved. 
He was informed an illness after taking an annual clinical checkup. He was lucky to have a surgery early enough. I don't take health check so often. I think I should take fiscal checkup every year like he does. 
I hope he will get well soon and please take care everyone. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Eiken Certification Card

I've got Eiken Grade Pre-1 certification card today. I'm happy to see that because the card looks high quality than I thought. 
I also feel happy because the card ranked my attitude as the highest level. I tried to speak loudly and clearly. I think that worked well at the interview. 
I will practice speaking and speech skills more. So when, if I could, taking Grade 1 speaking test, I want to get a good score on that. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

U.S. Ambassador to Korea Attacked

U.S. Ambassador to Korea was attacked by a 55-year-old Korean man this morning. The ambassador got hurt his face and wrist with a knife. 
I couldn't believe that the attacker was able to slash the ambassador easily. How was the security there? The Korean police should be more careful to foreign officials. 
The knife man is a leader of a protest group and the group demands protect Takeshima. He might be angry about the U.S. and Korea's military drills this time. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reading Books

I'm reading a novel about an immigrant family from the Soviet Union to Canada. The family is Jewish and adults are struggling to adjust the new world. 
I read 30 pages today and I have 50 pages left. I was supposed to finish this book by the end of February, but the plan is delayed. I think I should be in a hurry to read it. 
My ultimate goal of reading English book is to read John le Carre's spy novels with no stress. The goal is far, but I'm going to be there someday. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Eiken Pre-1st Grade

I've got an Eiken Pre-1st result today. I've pasted the test, so I'm really happy now. I was inspired by many people on the web site, especially in Twitter world. There are lots of enthusiastic English learners on Twitter and they teach me a lot. I really appreciate their help. 
The upper grade of Eiken is really tough. I have to memorize more and more vocabularies and read more and more English articles and books. I'll enjoy it and get Eiken 1st grade as soon as possible. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Berlin Wall

The other day, I talked with an online English teacher. The topic of the conversation was about Berlin in Germany. I went to there two decades ago and at that time I could see the remains of the Berlin Wall in the city. I would even visit the Point Charlie where many spy novels described the gate.  
The Filipino teacher, however, did not know anything about the Berlin Wall or even she did not know Germany was once divided into two nations after World War 2. More over she was unfamiliar with the Soviet Union. 
It was a good practice for me. I tried to explain about the situations as much as I could. I felt I need more skills that describe things well. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Spring Is Coming

Today is the first day of March. March means spring here. I have to change tires of my car. A month later, cherry flowers will start blooming. My son will start a new life, high school. 
I don't have something special in this spring, but I should start something new. Do you have any plans to start new things? Nothing can change unless you take action.  Let's get started something new, and enjoy it.
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