Landscape of Salzburg

I visited my parents. In their house, there are many watercolor paintings my mother painted as well as many oil paintings my father painted.

My father took up a new hobby last April. It is oil painting. The truth was, one of my sisters bought some painting tools for my mother. My father mistook them for his. He tried using them while my mother was out. He realized that it was what he had long wanted to do!

When he was young, he wanted to be an artist. However, he did not realize his dream because he had to succeed to his father’s business. Now that he is retired, he has got around to working on paintings. He has never taken lessons, so he has developed his own style.

Last summer, he painted a landscape of Salzburg for me. Although I liked it, he did not like it and painted another one last month. I received the new one and hung it on the wall today.

I spent a whole academic year in Salzburg in my early 20s. I went to college, crossing the bridge over the Salzach River, sometimes by bus and at other times on foot. Looking at the painting brings back my happy memories in Salzburg.

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Happy Holiday

Happy New Year 2019! I trust you are having a happy holiday.

I had a nice family get-together. My husband came home after completing a six-month project in Chiba.

In mid-December, I joined a Russian Christmas party in Kobe. Some of my Russian friends performed on the stage. They acted, sang and danced beautifully!


On the day before Christmas, one of my students gave me a beautiful bouquet. What a surprise! The flowers warmed our hearts.


Thanks to the nice people around us, we had a wonderful Christmas time.

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Russian-style Birthday Party

One of my closest friends kindly invited me to her birthday party this weekend. I was very happy to celebrate her birthday together with her family and friends. She is a Russian lady, so her birthday party was held in the Russian style. In addition, all the guests were Russians except me. I should have learned more Russian words before the party! Luckily, however, they could speak either Japanese or English, so I had no difficulty communicating with them.

I was delighted to see how she coordinated her table. It was full of traditional Russian dishes.


Look at these beautiful dishes!







While I was thoroughly relishing the delicious meal, I was never silent; rather, I was busy chatting. Everyone at the table was very kind. They told me many things about Russian culture, all of which were really intriguing.

After the meal, we played games. One was a word association game using cards, and the other was charades. The former required good cognitive skills, while the latter required acting abilities. Both were so much fun that we laughed out loud! While playing charades, I was surprised that everyone was extremely good at acting except me. When it was my turn, my acting was pathetic. (Actually, I was trying to communicate “mayonnaise” by gesture! You can imagine how difficult it was.) However, the team together had such great imaginative skills that they correctly guessed what I meant.

At the end of the party, my friend’s husband sang Russian songs, while playing the guitar. My friend and her daughter joined the songs, too. Their singing voices were gentle, warm, and beautiful.

It was a fun, exciting, and heartwarming party! I will never forget the fabulous time I spent with all the people there.

Happy Birthday, my dear friend!

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Trip to Tohoku

My husband, who is an architect, is currently working in Miyagi Prefecture.  On a winter day, I went all the way to Miyagi to visit him and his associates. I was delighted to meet them after such a long journey and to find that he was working with such nice people.

I flew to Sendai Airport, and then took the Shinkansen train to go further northward. It was winter, so I enjoyed the beautiful snow scenery to my heart’s content.

I departed from Kobe Airport. As the airplane went northward, the mountains became snowier and snowier.





Here are some views from the Shinkansen. The rice fields were completely covered with snow.



After having a great time with those nice people, my husband and I left for home for the winter holidays.

Sendai Star Festival decorations in Sendai Airport Terminal

Lake Inawashiro

Craggy mountains

Back at home, we enjoyed the local specialties they gave us. They included a delicacy of Tohoku, which is literally “a Jewelry Box of the Sea,” and fluffy sponge cakes called “Hagi no Tsuki.”

Every time I pass by Miyagi while riding on the Shinkansen train, I remember the wonderful people there. I will always remember their warm hospitality.

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Hope you are having a good day!

I had a family reunion today.  We went to a photographic studio to take pictures. The photographers were very nice. At first, we were nervous, but they tried to make us smile, and waited patiently until all of us smiled broadly. I smiled a lot today.

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My father made a ceramic dog recently. It is Percy, a west highland white terrier. He lived with our family almost 20 years. We loved him. He passed away 11 years ago. Every time I visit my parents’ home, I remember him. He was named after Percy Blakeney from the novel The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Percy was like my little brother which I had never had, and he was my friend. He joined our family when I was 13. He was always with me in my teens, a time of life filled with worries. He always comforted and encouraged me. When I was 19, I left home for Tokyo. I did not come home very often, but he never forgot me. When I got home, he always wagged his tail to welcome me.

So when I found this ceramic dog at the entrance of my parents’ home, I was delighted! I felt as if I were heartily welcomed by Percy. My father saw that I was so delighted that he made another Percy for me. It is now at my home.


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Christmas service

I attended a Christmas service at Kwansei Gakuin University today. One of my students is a member of the choir there. His mother kindly invited me to attend the service.
I loved the beautiful campus. The school buildings were designed by William Merrel Vories, who is one of my favorite architects.
The service was conducted with solemnity. I was profoundly moved. I listened to prayers, quotations from the Bible, organ music, hymns sung by the choir, and solo singers. I also sang several hymns together with other attendees and the choir. I felt as if my heart were being purified.
After the service, we went outside the building and sang carols together. It was a truly unforgettable experience.
Merry Christmas!
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Chatting at a cafe in Kyoto

I visited Kyoto to see my long-time friend the other day. She is a professor who travels around the world. She happened to be in Kyoto for the time being, so I took advantage of this opportunity to see her.

We caught up with each other over a Kyoto-style lunch. I was eager to hear about her views on language education. I respect her for her extensive  experience teaching at universities, as well as her extraordinary skills in interpretation. She always inspires me by fostering my intellectual curiosity.

After strolling in Maruyama Park, we stopped by a historic building called Chorakukan. The stone façade of the building gave me the impression of solidity and solemnity. However, once I stepped inside the building, I found myself surrounded by a warm atmosphere. I was especially enchanted by the woodwork including curved railings and coffered ceilings. A live piano performance invigorated the atmosphere.

We were guided to a cozy room on the second floor, where we had delicious tea and cake. I liked the classical interior design and the fantastic view from the window. We talked and talked for a long time. Before we knew it, it was already dark outside. I had an unforgettable, precious time there.

Christmas decorations and Japanese lantern

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I found a nice quotation in an English textbook, which I want to share with you.

“Your friend is the man who knows all about you and still likes you.” ーElbert Hubbard

I absolutely agree. Luckily, I have wonderful friends. Friendship is my most precious treasure. I have some long-time friends from college, and we have been keeping in touch for a long time. I have made close friends in recent years. When I am with them, I always try to be true to myself and express myself honestly, as I did in my college days. They understand my strengths and weaknesses, and they are still my good friends. Thank you, my friends!

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Happy Birthday

On my birthday, I think how lucky I am to have been born into this world where my family, my friends, and my students are.

My resolution for the year ahead is to enjoy every moment. I am currently doing several kinds of jobs and studying a couple of languages. I also want to practice ballet and do household chores nicely. I have many things to do. From now on, I will free myself from the obsession with deadlines and concentrate on what I am doing at that moment.

This year, I met a person who had been born on the same day and in the same prefecture as me. We have the same blood type, too. (You know, Japanese people like blood type fortune telling.) Both of us were surprised! At first, I did not find any similarities between us; but I gradually realized we had a lot in common. I felt as if I had finally found my counterpart.

So, I will say, “Happy Birthday to both of us!” Let’s live a long, happy, and healthy life.

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