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Foods in Uji!

I'll show you what we ate in Uji. Uji-city is very famous for its local product, teas!


First, we tried icecream cones.
This is a green tea cream cone with me!
machacream.jpg


And this is a Hoji-tea cream cone with Takao!
hojicream.jpg


They were wonderful! Especially we liked the Hoje-tea flavor. It had a really pleasant aftertastes.

This is a traditional style tea shop.
teashop.jpg



For lunch, we ate grean tea flavoured noodle. It was tasty.
teanoodle.jpg


In Japan, you can see excellent food samples in shopfronts so we can look at what the dishes look like. Like this;
foodsample.jpg


The samples are mostly made from wax. I haven't seen these kinds of things in other countries. Is it uniquely seen in Japan? Maybe....?
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day-trip to Uji

It was a beautiful Sunday so we made a one-day trip to Uji-city! It took about 1.5 hours from our house by Kintetsu train.


If you look at a 10-yen coin. You can see the Uji Byodoin temple.



We visited the Byodoin temple for the first time. It was absolutely wonderful!!

byodoinfront.jpg


byodoinside.jpg


beltower.jpg


byodoinbridge.jpg



After that, we saw a newly married couple in their very traditional costumes.
bridecouple.jpg



I'll talk about our beautiful Uji-trip little by little. Foods, the Uji-river, flowers, local people and so on. See you soon!!





the Kyoto Tourism Federation's website featured Uji-city


listening and looking up the right word...

I've heard the words, "indite" and "inditement" a lot on the radio in the past few days. I looked for the words in my electric dictionary but I coundn't find any of them.

When I catch a new word on the radio, I guess the spelling and go to my dictionary. But it often doesn't work well because I misspel it!

This time, yes, I was wrong!
I found the right spellings when I checked newspaper articles. "Oh! those are the words Brian said on the radio many times!!"

"indict" = to officially charge someone with a crime (indict sb for sth)


"indictment" = the act of officially charging someone with a crime

Two classes on Thursdays

I have two English classes every Thursday, the afternoon class and the evening class.


Our teacher got sick and absent from the afternoon class today. I heard she's had a terrible cold. Really hope her quick recovery!!

So the substitute teacher came and taught us. He then asked us to introduce with each other. We have only 3 students in this class, a man and 2 women(including me). A male student started to introduce me to the teacher. To my big surprise, he didn't remember even my first name although it was our fourth meeting and we spent 2 hours each time. Yes, I have to admit that I have a bad memory, too. However, remembering only two classmates' names should be easy. Anyway, I told my name to him and he could start the introduction.

We mostly spent time to discuss a lot of issues. As the discussion went on, I noticed the fact that my classmates almost never call anybody's first name when they talk to each other. I mean, when they asked like, "what do you think about the violent scene in this movie?", they used only "you", didn't add somebody's name in the end like, "what do you think of it, Naoko?" something like that. I think it's is one of Japanese people's aspects. When I was in NY or other countries, people always added the speech partner's first name in every end of greeting or asking sentences. I hadn't been aware of it so strongly until today, but I realized I've come to try to call people's first name to respect them or to feel close to each other. When I speak in Japanese, and greet to my friends, for example, "Good morning!", we wouldn't add the partner’s first name in the end. Just say, "Good morning!", "Good bye". That's it! I think It's a part of our culture. I found it interesting!!


As for the evening class, we learned how to state our opinion smoothly and politely. One of the topics was asking the partner what he or she thought about the Internet and then we exchanged opinions with each other. My group was 3 people. Two people except me said they didn't like doing the Internet very much. And I insisted I loved it! And I added I even had my own blogs and also I enjoyed exchanging emails with my friends either in Japanese or in English. Our teacher overheard this dialogue and asked me, “Do you have your blog in English or in Japanese? ” I answered that I have both. Then he asked this blog's address. I told him about it with joy. Actually, I haven't yet had a chance to talk with him very much. I hope he will enjoy my blog and it'll help us develop a good relationship with each other!

It was really a great day today!

season's over.....

It's over.
The Tigers lost the Japan series. They couldn't win a single game. It was never expected. It's really painful.

But I know the players and staff are feeling more painful than we, the fans do. I still thank the wonderful players to make us happy during this season. I hope they can have enough rest for the next season now.


Last night a friend of mine came over and we enjoyed watching the game together. We have a nice time anyway...


So... Thank you very much, the Tigers's greatest players in the world!!

New words and phrases

New words and expressions for the past few days.


* pro-active = making changes to improve something before problems happen,rather than reacting to problems and then changing things


* courtship = the period of time during which a man and a woman have a romantic relationship before getting married

e.g. My parents got married after a two-week courtship.


* constraints = something that limits your freedom to do what you want
= facts or conditions that limit what you can do, for example not having enough time, money etc. (always plural)

e.g. The constraints of prison life are sometimes too much for people to bear.
Part of the school was closed because of financial constraints.

* pop in for = an informal expression used especially in British English, meaning to visit someone for a very short time

e.g. I might be able to pop in for about half an hour.


* deduction = the process of making a judgement about something, based on the information that you have


* reprehensible = bad and deserving criticism


* utilitarian = useful and practical rather than being used for decoration

* be on the same wavelength = to have the same opinions and feelings as someone else

e.g. Luckily, everyone working on the project is on the same wavelength.

* to sit back = to make no effort to get involved in something or influence what happens

e.g. All we have to do now is sit back an watch the checks roll in.

Do you know Jones Soda?

On Monday, I learned about a unique soda company in English class. Jones Soda is what they call "alternative" company in the beverage industry in north America. We saw a news report by CNN which aired a few days after Thanksgiving day. They made new product, sodas with new flavors for the holiday season. Various flavours were introduced; Mashed potato soda, Turkey and gravy soda, Fruitscake soda, Green Bean Casserole soda and so on. And a CNN reporter went out on the street, maybe in Manhattan, then asked passing people to try some. All of them didn't like the flavours at all!! Can you imagine what'd be the tastes like? I can't!!

I went to their website. Yes, they are really unique. They have a music website, where musicians and music-lovers can communicate. Musicians can upload their original music and people can get it by MP3 file for free! It's cool!!

Another unique point is their label policy. They frequently change their bottles' labels generated and submitted by their consumers. It's a great idea!

Have you heard of Jones Soda before? I haven't. Whether I'd try some if I found their product?? Maybe I'd try. But maybe only once because I don't think I like any of the taste.



Their website is links below.
www.jonessoda.com
www.myjones.com
www.myjonesmusic.com

"wonk"

I learned new words "nerd" -someone who is not fashinable and does not know how to act in social situations, and who studies hard in school and is often very interested in one subject-, and "geek" as the synonyms.

Our teacher then asked us like, "These two words are mostly used for bad meanings, so does anyone know other words used similar meanings but for good ones?" He taught us the word "wiz" for that.

I ansered, "I know!! I know the word 'wonk'!! It's used for good one, right?" The teacher said, "Oh it's a very new word, actually." He seemed surprised.

I learned "wonk" -someone who works hard and is very serious- when my favorite radio show, The Brian Lehrer Show, featured "Democracy Wonk" series. I didn't know that the word was new!




"To Be Good Diplomats" (revised version)

My teacher checked my writing.


*****************
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Yasukuni Shrine on Monday morning despite strong objections from China and South Korea. This time, he emphasized his visit not as the leader of Japan but as an individual. Following his promise to make annual visits and showing them to be personal, Mr. Koizumi wore an ordinary suit compared to a formal one in his previous visits.

Looking at one of the strong reactions against it, China has announced it will cancel the top-executives' upcoming meeting. We don't yet know whether or not we will see any worse effects from it in the future.

I'm not an expert on the international relationship between Japan and Asian countries. I'm just sad about desperately repeated conflicts with the two neighbouring countries, both of which we really want to get along with. The violent demonstrations against Japan that occurred in China this spring were memorable for me. It gave me a strong impression because I was not in Japan but in the U.S. at that time. I was in New York to study English. I want there this spring and spent three months. When the movement occurred suddenly, I felt sad and isolated at the same time. People on the street in NY seemed not to care about Asian issues at all. The mainstream media didn't mention it for at least the first few days. I felt that only I was worried about it. I have a few friends living and working in China. I thought about them being in danger in a foreign country. There was a long-distance between us. I couldn't do anything for them except praying. Tears came out as I walked on the street.

After a lot of tears, I got helped out by the countries' people, who were my classmates. One day while struggling with the feeling of isolation, I had dinner with two of my classmates, a Korean and a Chinese. In our class, there were students from all over the world. We, Asian students, gradually get united with each other under the circumstance. We could relate to each other because of having similar cultures and customs in many ways. On our way to the restaurant, we shouted out, "Oh, we all are Asians!! That's great!" I talked about the difficult situation with the Chinese classmate later on. To my delight, she loves Japan! she told me about her visit to Japan and how much she loves my country. I was really glad to hear that and my sadness went away. We became really close friends.

What I learned by the experience is that any difficult problems between us would be solved if everyone were a good diplomat. I believe we can make a wonderful relationship with every Asian nation in the near future. Each nation's effort is definitely needed. Also I want Mr. Koizumi to think about what he can do for the better relationship apart from his personal religion because he cannot just think of his personal matters as a leader of a nation. But at the same time, we should keep in mind that we shouldn't only leave everything to our leader but also sincerely try to solve any problems by making individual efforts. I want to be a good diplomat myself!
*********************

I didn't know "individual" is not only a noun, but also a adjective!

an article in the NY Times Magazine

I read an article in NY Times Magazine.
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/magazine/23lives.html

I was so impressed and almost shocked by that.
The person used to be a boy who just dreamed to go to university. When he was 17, his nation's polical situation totally changed and he lost the chance to have further education. He then became a warrior to fight for the right to education. He continued to fight for years, believed that he and his fellows could change the situation. But nothing changed. He got severely injured and also got a desease, AIDS.

This article is written according to his interview.

Among his words, I got struck by this;
"The problem is, guns are everywhere. In Sudan, you don't need to go looking for guns: they come and look for you."

What is the world like, where guns come and look for us?!!


I strongly hope that the peace treaty, signed in this January in Sudan after 22years of fighting, will hold!!


There are many many things I don't know yet in the world.
It was such a sad story.

Too bad!!

I'm so depressed..... because of the result....


The Japan series of the professional baseball has started. And our Tigers lost the first two games. Too bad!! It made us so depressed.

However, the two games were held at the enemy's stadium. The next three gaves will be held at Koshien Stadium. We hope and believe the Tigers' players will be relaxed and get back their strength!!


writing -relationship with Asian countries-

I started two kinds of English course this fall.
One of them is to study General English, not only daily conversation, but also social issues, debate skills, listening comprehension, and so on. This course is held twice a week, on Monday and Thursday, started this week.

We mainly do listening and speaking in class. We do reading and writing at home. We have homework including some readings each time to prepare for the next class.

The Monday's teacher encouraged us to write something optionally and he'll correct it. It doesn't matter whether or not it's related to what we'd have done in class.

I think it's a good opportunity for me to write something and have corrected my unnatural expressions or practical mistakes. So I wrote the first one. For the record, I'll put it here. And maybe I'll put the devised version after I get the teacher's correction.

*******************************************

To Be Good Diplomats

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Yasukuni Shrine on Monday morning despite the strong objections from China and South Korea. This time, he emphasized his visit not as the leader of Japan but as an individual. Following his promise to make annual visits and showing to be personal, Mr. Koizumi wore an ordinary suit compared to a formal one in his previous visits.

Looking at one of the strong reactions against it, China has announced to refuse the top-executives' upcoming meeting. We don't yet know whether or not we see any worse effects on it in the future.

I'm not an expert on the international relationship between Japan and Asian countries. I'm just sad about desperately repeated conflicts with the two neighbor countries, both of which we really want to get along with. The violent demonstrations against Japan that occurred in China this spring was memorable for me. It gave me a strong impression because I was not in Japan but in the U.S. at that time. I was in New York to study English. I want there this spring and spent three months. When the movement occurred suddenly, I felt sad and isolated at the same time. People on the street in NY seemed not to care about Asian issues at all. Main stream medias didn't mention it for at least the first few days. I felt that only I did be worried about it. I have a few friends living and working in China. I thought about them being in danger in a foreign country. There was a long-distance between us. I couldn't do anything for them except praying. Tears came out as I walked on the street.

After a lot of tears, I got helped out by the countries' people, who were my classmates. One day while struggling with the feeling of isolation, I had dinner with two of my classmates, a Korean and a Chinese. Among our class, there were students from all over the world. We, Asian students, gradually get united with each other under the circumstance. We could relate to each other because of having similar cultures and customs in many ways. On our way to the restaurant, we shouted out, "Oh, we all are Asians!! That’s great!" I talked about the difficult situation with the Chinese classmate later on. To my delight, she loves Japan! she told me about her visit to Japan and how much she loves my country. I was really glad to hear that and my sadness went away. We absolutely became close friends.

What I learned by the experience is that any difficult problems between us would be solved if everyone is a good diplomat. I believe we can make a wonderful relationship with every Asian nation in the near future. Each nation's effort is definitely needed. Also I want Mr. Koizumi to think about what he can do for the better relationship apart from his personal religion because he cannot be personal as a leader of a nation. But at the same time, we should keep in mind that we shouldn't only leave everything to our leader but also sincerely try to solve any problems by making individuals' efforts. I want to be a good diplomat myself!

Oct. 18, 2005
****************************


ummm....
writing is so tough.... but I love writing. So I'd like to improve my writing skill. I think I'll try to write something every week. I hope I can keep this resolution!!

started to tell my friends little by little.....

I started this blog on my birthday this year. But actually I hadn't tell anyone about this except my husband, Takao, until recently. I don't know why.... I think it was a kind of a big challenge for me to have an English blog... At first I was OK no one would read it. Gradually I became to feel that I want my friends to read it.


At last I started to tell my friends little by little that I have this blog. Some of them gave me kind comments here or by emails. Thanks!!

Writing my thoughts in non-native language is always hard but you won't improve if you don't do it!! I believe I can improve my English by writing my life and my thoughts here. And also believe I'm connecting with people in the world to have this blog!


Italian dinner!

Today, we went to Kyoto to help our friends who recently changed the Internet access from ADSL to the fiber optic system(Hikari-fiber). The procedure was sooooooooooo complecated, almost seemed an impossible mission! Actually they are British, but they understand Japanese very well. However, the insturuction manuals, written only in Japanese, are too difficult to get it right away even for Japanese people, I suppose. So it took 4 hours for us to finish the set-up. Great experience! The company should provide English support service, otherwise they would loose some good costomers!!

After accomplishing the job, we had dinner together at a beautiful Italian restaurant. All dishes we ate were just fantastic!!!
maguro.jpg

pizza.jpg


It made me think a lot about a bad part of Japanese system. We should make it change to be better!

reading through a book!

Wow!!
I read through a book, "The Dead Zone" by Stephen King, today! It was so interesting!


Actually I bought the book 3 or 4 year ago in Thailand when Takao and I visited there. It must be funny to buy English books in Thailand, but it happened. We happend to find a book fair where various books were sold by very reasonable prices. So I bought a few books. But to my sadness, my English ability then was so poor that I couldn't understand most of the expressions in those books. I had to give up reading all of them.

This year, I've read 3 paperbacks so far. After reading "To Kill A Mockingbird" in NY, although it was so hard for me to read through and I needed my electric dictionary all the time with me, I got sort of confidence of reading.

I read short stories after that, "Spooky New York". It was interesting, too. I found big differences between Japanese scarly ghost stories and American ones. American's are more light, and amusing, I think. Japanese stories are more grim, horrifying, kind of heavy..., I suppose.

And then, I felt like reading rather a longer story. I looked at my bookshelf and took "The Dead Zone". Previous time I could read it until 40-50 pages and stopped.. But to my surprise, this time, I could go on and on!! It was filled with real conversation between people. Sometimes I found some gross expression that I've never learned in English language schools. But I think I should know the kinds of expressions to understand what people talk about. I think reading books helps not only reading comprehension but also speaking ability, too. I feel very happy that I could read through it!!!! Maybe I'll find another to read soon.

books.jpg

New project!

We have been having so comfortable weather these days. So we decided to try gardening almost the first time ever in our life. We went to the shop and bought some seedings and fertilizer last weenend. On Monday, I spread the fertilizer. The shopkeeper gave me an advice to leave the soil for a few days after spreading fertilizer. So I decorated the seedings on the table.

This is the seedings waiting for being planted on the table last night.

treesontable.jpg



This morning, I planted them on the soil. We have a small small balcony garden that has been empty for many years. Now it seems nice, I think! I hope the seedings are growing well.
treesonsoil.jpg



Today, I've opened the window many times to see them. It's fun! They make me happy. I think I can enjoy watering them every day from now on. Thank you, guys!

Our kitties!

To meet Lisa's request, I'll show you our cats' photos.
We live with three cats, Buko, Momo(girls), and Gara(a boy).
bukosleep.jpg


This is Buko sleeping on the blanket. She is eldest but smallest.

bukofun.jpg


Now she enjoys tumbling around(the expression is right??). So cute!!


bukopretty.jpg

In this, she is making a stage face.


Now I'll introduce others.
cats1.jpg


Silver one is Momo, and dark brown one is Gara. They are always getting along with each other.

catsleep.jpg


Now they are sleeping together. Soooooo cute!!!


Did you like them? I hope you did!

I'm fine but...

Dear friends,

I haven't written for a while.
I'm fine but just not having energy to write anything. Things here is going great. The Tigers won the Central league championship last week and now heads to the next step, the Japan series. I hope they win it!!

I'm taking new English learning courses both starting this month. One starts next week. A university near my house offers some cultural courses where local residents can join. The participants can not only learn there, but also use the library. That's great!! I can borrow up to 5 books for 2 weeks for free and it has many English books!!

And another starts from 17th. This is going to be more serious. We learn mainly from news reports to help our speaking, listening, and reading skills. The materials must include social issues. I really look forward to both of them!!


Oh, it's 11pm! Time for listening to the Brian Lehrer Show, my favorite program in NY!! Bye for now!

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