Thursday, 31 August 2017

Another postcard from Vietnam!

Dear Jim-sensei

Three days has passed in Hanoi.

It was very fast! Although it is second time to visit Hanoi, I could enjoy "new" Hanoi & felt Vietnamese kindness a lot. It seems it's so cold in Japan, I don't want to go back!!

See you next class :)

Best regards,


Monday, 28 August 2017

Postcard from Vietnam

Dear all at Luna,

Vietnam is an incredible country!

The food is amazing, the people are friendly, the sights are beautiful, the architecture is fascinating.

See you all again soon!


Saturday, 26 August 2017

Postcard from Kotohira Shrine, Kagawa-ken

Counting practice!
Can you think of anything better than to set of in the blazing mid-summer heat to climb 785 stone steps half-way up a mountain? If not, then I thoroughly recommend setting your sights on Kotohira Shrine on Mt. Zouzo, in Kagawa prefecture (Japan's smallest prefecture, by the way) on Shikoku Island.

Kotohira Shrine
It is a tough climb for the fit and able. My son raced up it; I paused 'to take photos'...but there were plenty of oldies making the climb, and I was humbled to a one-legged bloke about to tackle the steps as I was nearing the sanctuary of a noodle restaurant at the bottom.

There are a number of interesting shrines along the climb, but no information anywhere in English (or any other language) to inform tourists. This would have made my journey more satisfying - I like to know what I'm looking at!

Who he?
I did discover (Google!) that the main shrine is dedicated to mariners & seafarers - explains the massive propeller and anchor, and a subsidiary building with an ocean-going row boat in it, and pictures of boats great and small, new and some very old indeed. I found one stone plinth with the name "Hood" on it - a CEO or something of a shipping company. I wondered if he was any relation to the Hoods (an Admiral, a Baronet & a Captain), of Royal Navy service? I doubt few visitors up here have ever heard of HMS Hood?

Anyway, cracking view of the unusual Kagawa landscape from Kotohira-gu and plenty of good photos to be taken if you are not dripping with sweat! An easier walk uphill in the shade, through the woods, is much more relaxing and peaceful. I got as far as Shiramine Shrine before turning back to catch up with my family.
Shiramine Shrine - worth the extra climb

I loved this collection of shrines, and would like to know more/spend more time poking about!

Friday, 25 August 2017

My extreme sports experience in the summer holiday

I went to Otari with my family, to go white-water rafting, on the Hime River. It is a 5km course, and it took an hour. The river wasn't deep, but very fast and cold. There were huge rocks everywhere, and if we crashed into a rock it was very exciting, and there were a lot of rapids. It's really bouncy going through a rapid, scary because you don't know where you are going. I don't know how the instructor can control the raft or know where to go.

My brother fell in and everybody laughed. He was picked up by another raft. He enjoyed the experience. He went again the next day with his friends, and lost his glasses (see Rule 10). My mum had a lot of fun & we all want to do it again in another season or on another river. The instructor said the river is twice as high in Golden Week (mid-May), so the rapids are more violent then.

Here are the rules and some suggestions to enjoy your rafting trip:

  1.  You have to hold the T part of the paddle. If you don't hold the T part, it might hit you or another crew in the face.
  2. You have to put your feet in a secure place. If you don't, you won't be able to stay on the raft when it hits rough water.
  3. You have to do what the instructor says. If you don't, the raft might flip over.
  4. If you fall into the river, you mustn't try to swim or stand up.You should float on your back with your feet first.
  5. You must wear a life jacket and a helmet.You should also wear crocs or sneakers, and a wet suit if the water is freezing cold.
  6. You have to paddle hard together when you go through the rapids. If you don't, the instructor can't steer the raft.
  7. You don't have to be able to swim.
  8. You have to be fit and healthy.
  9. You have to have insurance.
  10. You have to leave your phones, cameras & valuable in a locker. If you take them with you, they'll get broken or you'll lose them.
  11. You have to enjoy the danger and high five your crew mates. 
Posted by Tomoro

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Postcard from Awaodori Festival, Tokushima

Thank goodness we don't have to provide our own band to produce the music for Bon Bon!

Every dancing group here at Tokushima Awaodori Festival brings its own drummers; some with shamizen & other instruments, and choreograph their own dance routines (but with the same foot & arm gestures). Some of them had really cool moves & wonderful traditional costumes; nearly everybody wears the signature conical straw hat. And they do this for three nights running?!

Also unlike Bon Bon, the groups move between set places to perform, where there are grandstands for the crowds to sit & appreciate the teams properly. This stops people walking through the groups, which is something that really annoys me when we dance in Matsumoto - it is very disrespectful and potentially dangerous.

And finally, there were no deisel generators chugging out noxious fumes to light the streets. This has to stop in Matsumoto.

There was a good crowd, and all the shops were open - plenty of ramen shops - and the party went on until 10pm. It's nice to see someone else's summer festival, and enjoy as a spectator.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Postcard from Universal Studios Japan - Osaka

Despicable Me!
Hi everybody at Luna.

I drove across Gifu prefecture on the backroads to avoid big traffic jams, but still got stuck around Kyoto & Osaka. The next day, I think we met everybody as they were all queueing for rides at USJ as well. Oh my word, so many glum looking people waiting for over three hours with NO entertainment to sit on a 90 second ride. Admittedly, the rides are pretty amazing (Harry Potter was first choice, and Despicable Me/Minions in the old Back to the Future zone was second) but good grief the waiting was grim.

Souvenirs? What a racket - Y5,000 for a plastic chopstick with a crap light bulb in the tip = Harry Potter's wand. Every other kid had a Minions water cannon backpack - starting at Y3,000 each. You can seriously drain your bank account here without trying very hard/doing very much.

My kids even had to wait to get a picture with Kitty-chan, and again with Elmo! Best use? Charlie Brown's bullpen.

Meet the throng
In all, I think we stood in line for 7 hours. My suggestion? Don't go to USJ or Disneyland in the summer, and certainly not on a national holiday. If you must, try a pre-typhoon day or a nice snowy one. Take your own food & drinks, and take turns waiting in the queue - go do something else while one of you waits :)

Monday, 21 August 2017

Greetings from Singapore

Hi, How are you?

I'm in Singapore with my students. We've studied in the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) two days. Today is holiday of Singapore, so I went to look for insects of Singapore.

See you in Japan.


Thursday, 17 August 2017

Rabbit-Proof Fence - A survival journey

His name was Junichi Toda. He was an ordinary office worker. But he didn't succeed his job. And even though he had been seeing a girl friend for five years, he didn't get along well with her. He wanted to change his life.

One day he climbed a mountain in Saitama prefecture in August. That was not a dangerous mountain. His climbing experience hadn't been even for one year. When he went down the mountain, he lost the way and fell down the cliff. He broke his left leg badly. He tried to stop the wound with T-shirt and an umbrella without panic. Then he covered with a plastic bag. But he couldn't go home. No one knew where he was climbing.

The food he had was the only seven candies. The second day he poured out his belongings in the mountain stream. He hoped that someone would find them.

Next day, he ate all of candies. He was't thirsty, because he was by the mountain stream. But he didn't have any food. So he ate ants and earthworms. On the other hand, his family had given out leaflets to the people in Chichibu area.

The ninth day they found the eyewitness. They asked the search party to find Mr. Toda in Mt. Ryokami in Chichibu. Two weeks later, he was rescued.

After he was operated on his left leg nine times, he could walk and got married his girlfriend and became a father of two children. Now he thanks everyone supporting him. I think it is wonderful that no one give up all hope.

Posted for Hiroko

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A Christmas Carol - Christmas Eve diary

It was a hard day, as usual. I worked at the cold dark office all day long. Today, Mr. Scrooge's nephew came to the office to say Merry Christmas to him. But, Mr. Scrooge said Christmas was humbug and he just said "good afternoon". He is very strange and mean. He doesn't care about other people, especially poor people.

Tomorrow is a Christmas Day. Everybody wants to be happy, cares each other, loves each other. Mr.Scrooge is a rich man and he is very good at business, but he doesn't look like happy. If he cares about others more, he could be happier. Maybe something very sad had happened to him before and he became such a mean man. But I like his nephew. He is a nice man.

Anyway, it is Christmas Eve tonight. We had Christmas Dinner with all my family. How wonderful! I am a lucky man to have such a lovely wife and good children. Poor tiny Tim, he can not walk by himself, but he is lovely. I love him very much.

Mr. Scrooge gave me a half day off tomorrow. I wish I could have a day off, but I don't want to lose my job. I hope Mr.Scrooge will change his mind next year and he will be more gentle and generous.

Posted for Yasumi

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Last Sherlock Holmes Story - Holmes's final diary


I won’t have forgotten forever that I did have an irreplaceable friend Dr. Watson. I have enjoyed the life myself. Especially I have lived with my best friend Dr. Watson. I knew that something was wrong since I found my bedroom door was locked in Watson's house. I knew what happened. Dr. Watson was not Dr. Watson. He was not my best friend Dr. Watson. We had solved many cases together. There were some cases which we couldn’t forget. One of them is Berlin case “one in three”. But he couldn’t remember it. He forgot it. It surprised me and I doubted him.

When I tried to hit the man who came in the room I rested, he jumped away. And he wrote the letter to Lestrade, which said that I was the White Chapel murderer. What rubbish! He wasn’t Dr. Watson, of course.

Moriarty had killed my poor friend and taken his place. I saw him injecting himself with cocaine, but Dr. Watson would never, never do that. So I understood.

I’ll go to the Reichenbach Falles today. That is a wild and lonely place. He has asked me to walk with him. Certainly, he will try to kill me. But he will not succeed because I have put blanks in his gun. 

But I am sad, so sad. Because I lost my friend, Dr. Watson. When had he killed by Moriarty? Why I couldn’t help and save him? I’ll try to get the answer, but I don’t want to know it actually.

Posted for Naoko

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Wind in the Willows - a letter to a rescuer

Dear Mrs. Keeper's daughter.

Sorry l haven't written for a while but I've been spent very tough days. I hope you're well. I have no words to express my gratitude. I am writing this letter in my Hall now. I think I was saved by the grace of you.

In prison you heard my rubbish story. At that time, I thought I hadn't been silly at all. Although I was in prison, I had such a foolish thinking. How foolish I was! Now I know I was silly, dangerous and boastful. I want you to know the reason of changing my thinking. Please read my story about escape.

I wore an old washer woman's dress which you bought and I passed the guards of the castle entrance easily. Then I got on the train. In the morning I met a barge -woman who said I was a fat lazy little toad. I stole her horse which I sold to a man later. At that time, I said to myself. "What a clever Toad l am!" l am ashamed of me in that time. I was just a criminal and an escaped prisoner. How silly I was!

I came to a road and began to walk. Then a terrible thing happened. The person whose car I had stolen recognized me. They chased me through a wood. I dropped into the deep water. When I was too tired to pull myself out of water, the Rat helped me.

The Rat told me about my Hall. The Scots and the Weasels and the Ferrets - they had taken my Hall. They had been living there.They had got guns knives and sticks. They kept guard round the house night and days.They said they were going to stay there for ever. At first I couldn't believe it. But my good friends, the Rat, the Mole, the Badger and I made a plan to get the Hall back.

When they held a big birthday-party we run into dining hall. W could go there because there was an under ground tunnel. They didn't have any guns or stick s with them at the party. So we could chase them and beat them and hit them with our weapons.

What a battle it was! But we won the battle. Our attempt was a great success. I have fortunate to have good friends. I changed my ways and became a sensitive animal.

Still now I love to talk. But it isn't only about myself. It is about my likable friends. I am a very different Toad.

I'm going to talk if your will visit our river under the Willows. Of course you had better come here in spring. It will be very peaceful and beautiful. Maybe you will like here.

See you again next spring!


Posted for Olga

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Bon Bon 2017 - slideshow

Where were we this time last week?

Well, why not watch the slideshow & find out ;)

Don't miss out on all the fun - get your fabulous t-shirt for 2018 now (while stocks last!)

Friday, 11 August 2017

The Long Tunnel - A fond holiday memory

When I was an art university student, I entered a certain club. It was the travel club. When I was 20 years old, I went to the Okino Island with the friends in summer holiday. In first day, we stayed my friend’s house in Hiroshima. And we were entertained with dinner there. The next day, we went to Shimane by a local train from Hiroshima. Then we went to the Okino Island by a ferry from the port of Shimane. We carried a big rucksack on our back and traveled. We stayed overnight at tourist home. From the next day, we camped out in the shore. We cooked curry for dinner. We washed vegetables and pans in seawater. We were not worried about using the seawater and being inconvenient. Everything was fun. We swam and took a walk in the daytime. In the evening, several cows approached there. There was quiet Nature. I had a valuable experience and I had happy time.

Posted for Reiko

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - A letter of your adventures

Dear Mrs.Douglas,

 Hi, this is Huck. Have you been anxious about me disappearing suddenly? Now I am at Mr.Phelp's farm in Arkansas. Mrs. Phelps is Tom’s aunt and what are the chances, I met Tom here. At that morning on the way to school I was caught by my father and was confined in a cabin in the wood near the river. He drank heavily and hit me every night. I thought I would be killed some day. Then I escaped to the Jackson’s Island in the river, and there I met Jim who escaped from Miss Watson.

Then we went down the river toward a free state together. One day two men got aboard the raft, one was a king of France another was a duke of England, they said. It was not true. They were confidence trickers. They planned some tricks for deceiving big money. But they failed. Now Jim is not a slave now. I know my father died. Finaly all`s well that ends well. I’ll see you some day.


Posted for Misako

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The Three Musketeers - England vs France

There were many wars England and France in the middle age. I`m interested in many queens battle. Eleanor of Aquitaine divorced from Louis VII, after she was married with Henry II. That was of the war, England against France. She had huge land in France. Her sons and France fought each other. Isabel of France killed her husband, Edward II with her lover. But her lover was killed and she was confined by her son, Edwad III. Then he demanded the claim of French King. It was the beginning of one hundred war. The end of one hundred war, there was rose war in England. Margaret Anjou fought against York family. She was very strong woman. She run away with mad husband and children, but they were killed by York. There were no strong woman in the middle age of Japan.Why so many powerful queens appeared? I want to read many England history books.

Posted for Misuzu

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Jane Eyre - A letter to a kind teacher

Dear Miss Temple,

I have very good news to tell you. One day I was walking on the moor. Suddenly, I heard a voice. The voice was calling my name- 'Jane! Jane! Jane!' That was Mr Rochester's voice. So I left Moor House, went to Thornfield Hall. But this was burnt, nobody was living there. I heard "He is living at Ferndean". Now I am living at Ferndean with Mr Rochester. I was able to marry Mr.Rochester. Now he is blind, and he have only one hand, because of house fire. I loved him very much at Thornfield Hall, but now I love him more. we have one first child. we are very happy. I want to meet you, and want to talk many. Please come to our house to see us, and to see our child.

Thank you Miss Temple

 Jane Eyre

Posted for Yoko

Monday, 7 August 2017

Keep Calm & Carry On Bon Bon!

Despite the apparent threat made to the festival, Matsumoto showed it's mettle Saturday night with a superb turn out to celebrtate the 43rd edition of Bon Bon. Luna was team number one, setting off from in front of the Castle, an honour we all took on board & kept in mind as we paced the rest of the city! Ceilidh and his mate Sola kept on poin the entire evening to earn MVP status, but to be honest all our young troopers were magnificent.

Massive thank yous to dads being vigilant, and to Damian, Naomi, Hannah & Sam for variously keeping us going in the right direction, dancing like disco 1978, and for keeping their elbows out! Yukari as usual on her sensible 'A' game & everyone in the right place at the right time with a t-shirt on etc. Brilliant.

Help yourself to downloads from Flickr (below). As you can see, we had an amazing time :)

Super Safe BonBon 2017

Would be remiss of us not to thank the police & emergency services for their extra vigilance & care tonight. We think the only scare was Kaichi being announced lost - just as his mum & dad gave him a thick ear for wandering off!

Friday, 4 August 2017

My dream house - probably (After reading of Don't Tell Me What To Do)

I have never bought or built any own house, but I would like to describe my process plan how to buy an own house. If I have a child, I will probably buy the own house when the child enroll at an elementary school to avoid him/her from transferring the school.

In order to decide a layout of house, I would like to visit many houses what types of layout there are and what layout/function is convenience for my life style. Also, we should confirm what construction/material have the quality to last long and how maintenance is needed. From seeing many houses, I may get many useful ideas.

I think it is very important to imagine not only current but also future life style and to find a best solution with satisfaction at that timing. My thought mentioned above is caused by my experience. When I bought my current car, I checked many many cars at car park etc to know what internal/external design I really like because I thought it was very important to like the look of the car to ride for many years.

Now, over 10 years passed after I bought my current car and I still like it.
When a rough idea of layout/function is made, I will ask some home builders for quotation. It is likely that the quotations will exceed our budget, and I mayl review again what part we can handmade or eliminate and negotiate the home builder to do markdowns.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Describing a photo

This is my best friend Hirono. She lives in Matsumoto. She loves music and dancing to jazz. She goes to dance classes on Tuesdays after school. In this photo, she's eating an ice cream. She's very happy because she loves sweets.

This is my friend Shibata. He lives in Matsumoto. He loves playing video games and basketball. he belongs to the same basketball team as me. In this photo, he's sleeping on the bus.

Posted for Karen & Yuta