Saturday, 23 March 2019

My longest trip

I went to Switzerland about ten days in winter with my family when I was a junior high school. Although I think that the most of sight sinners go to Switzerland in the warm part of the year, we went there to go skiing.

I had a terrible jet lag that I was dizzy and could not eat anything and stand up at the first day.
At the second day, I saw a very beautiful view that there was Matterhorn in front of my eyes when I opened the door of the hotel. I was very impressed and my condition was much better.

Ski area was huge and couldn't be compared to Japan. There is a net in Japan as a sign that we can't go out from ski slope. However, there was no net clearly in Switzerland and it was easy to got lost.
I was interested in abroad by this travel. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Good evening to Jim sensei from Bangkok.
I wore a  coat yesterday and I am now wearing short sleeve shirt.
People serve me hot tea with lots of sugar, and feed me extraordinary spicy food!
My stomach burns and feel so hot outside, that’s for sure.
But weirdly I stop sweating while and little after having a hot cup of tea!!

Anyways, I arrived Bangkok at 5:30 and I am still working.
Nice cute reserved seat for people in need relaxes me. Hot but warm country.

Will send you another from Manila next week.


Friday, 15 March 2019

The Shinano River

Japanese Crested Ibis
The River Shinano is in Japan.

It's the longest river in Japan. It's about 367 kilometers long. It has more than 1,100 species of plant and fifty-five fish. Ducks, Cranes and Ibis live on the River Shinano.

People need the river because it produces 2,618 megawatts of hydroelectric power.

By Ayumi

Postcard from Hong Kong

Dear Laura, Yukari, Chikako,

I'm coming to Hong Kong now. It's a bit cold in the rain today. I will go to Shenzhen in China now!

I am looking forward to see you next week.

PS. I did my homework!! :)


Thursday, 14 March 2019

Postcard from...Chicago, Illinois, USA

Sweet Home Chicago, using Touchnote
Hi Jim sensei,

I have been in Chicago for a week for business meetings. It is windy and extremely cold. -10 degrees C was the highest temperature today. However, Unique heat-tech T-shirts kept me warm in the cold air. To enjoy this city, I recommend visiting during the summer.

Best regards,


Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Days at Daiichi

When I found out I was going to be teaching a class of teenagers I was terrified. My own memories of high school started flashing before my eyes. A class of girls, talking over the teacher and using our phones to text, shop, and do anything but schoolwork, but as soon as I set foot in the school I realised that my high school experience was very different to that of the students in the class that I was teaching.

Although the separation of girls and boys was still very clear, here it was by choice rather than the fact that the boys went to a different school across the road. Instead of groups of desks around the room, they were in uniform single file lines. Rather than chatting happily to each other and yelling out answers, you could barely drag an answer out of them without picking on them one by one, and the biggest difference; everyone has to hand in their phones to their homeroom teacher at the start of the day - a rule that couldn’t even be broken for educational use on the final day of school.

I walked into the class for the first time in November absolutely terrified but soon realised that my preconceived idea of what was to come couldn’t be further from reality. School in Japan is incredibly different to what it was back home, but the class welcomed me with open arms, just as they would’ve at home; and for that, I am so grateful. Thank you and good luck with your final year of school everybody!

Monday, 11 March 2019

Spring's coming!

Despite the gloomy days that Matsumoto has been having recently, we still believe that Spring is on its way. To celebrate, we have spent the last week pulling, planting, and watering this year's new plants! Thank you to all of our little helpers who have helped us start to plant the seeds to make what will be some very colourful seasons.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Ghost in the Garden

Yuki is twelve years old girl. Recently she moved to her grandfather’s house. It’s a big house. And there is a bigger house in the neighbourhood. It has a large garden and there were a lot of trees and plants.

One night she was looked around the garden out of her room’s window. It was dark but the crescent moon emitted dim light. She saw a white shape under a big tree. It was moving slowly. Yuki was very surprised and frightened. “What’s that?” white silhouette moved. Is that happen to be a ghost?

Next night Yuki looked around the garden, she didn’t see it. “Was the silhouette an illusion?”. A week later Yuki saw it again. It was moving. She went downstairs and told to her grandmother that she saw a ghost. Her grandma laughed. “OK, you didn’t know. I have to tell about it. It is a girl. She is fourteen. She has a problem. She can’t move under the sun ray. She only move at night.” Yuki felt relieved, and thought I could be her friend someday.

Posted for Misako.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Travel to the Stars

I am Kogi Hirabayashi. I’m Japanese. I’m high school student, 17 years old. I live in Nagano prefecture, the place is countryside. I love space and watch the stars. I can see beautiful stars sometimes. It is special time for me.
Our country is no building and no bright lights. Only mountains. So the stars are especially beautiful. I have one younger sister, Miho. When I watched the stars, Miko certainly beside me. I want to become an astronaut. A trip on a spaceship is excited for me. I like to study galaxy and astronomy. Moho likes UFO stories. She wants to read some UFO books. The day was especially bright at night. The stars were all over the sky. I hope to watch a meteor stream and Miho hopes to appear UFO. We are both dreamer. What happen tonight?

Posted for Yoko.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

The Monster Party

150 years ago, Mr Frankenstein lived in the small house in Switzerland. But he was very boring in this town. He couldn’t go outside in daytime. He could only walk at night time. One night he saw a strange black coat man. He was Mr Dracura. He was tired of Switzerland too!
So they decided to move another country. They went to Holland.
Ride a ship, they thought it will go to England. But they go to East Island Japan. They didn’t know that, they got off the ship midnight, and went to the mountain. They saw some red monsters. They were very surprised and went down the mountain, hiding in the forest daytime. The red monster called Oni were surprised too. They talked about last night monsters with Hitotsumekazo and drunk sake. They fell asleep.

Midnight, Mr Stein and Mr Dracura went to mountain again. They saw many sleeping monsters. They had many bottles with their hands. Mr Frankenstein and Mr Dracura were scared but a nice smell came from the bottles. They couldn’t stand, they drunk sake. That’s wonderful, excellent! Suddenly Oni and Hitotsumekozou got up. Both monsters surprised each other, but Mr Dracura and Mr Frankenstein gave them their beer an wine. Both could not understand their language, but they didn’t need worlds they love alcohol! Alcohol make friends all over the monsters that night, people heard strange voices from the mountains.

Posted for Misuzu.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Museums in Matsumoto

Image result for miami police file black cat cidebThere is a Matsumoto City Museum in Matsumoto city. There is a big green statue in front of it, you can find it easy. It was made by Yayoi Kusama. She was famous modern artist.

There are many her`s artifacts, statue, objects,and pictuers. She likes pumpkin motive and dots. Many years ago, I went to the museum, and watched them. I felt her arts were very strange. It was not so beautiful. But many people like her art. About 8 years ago, our family went to Paris, and we looked her art at Louis Vuitton`s window. It collaborated with her. It wasn`t beautiful, but very modern. Her exhbition is very popular all over the world. There are red dots bus in Matsumoto city, it was her idea.

Posted for Misuzu.

Postcard from Silk Road - After reading

Postcard I
Hi, I passed Pamirs which are located on high mountains 2 days before and am taking a day-off of long journey in a village at the foot of the mountain. The Journey in high mountains area were difficult for us to walk and to cook things because it is in thin air.
But, we saw unusual sheep there with very long, round horns. I have never seen that. I am not good at drawing, but please see my drawing of the unusual sheep.
On March 02, we start our journey to China again. I will send another postcard later.
I’m sad that I cannot be with you, but I am look forward to talking you about this journey when I am back to Venice. Of course, I promise you to bring a lot of souvenirs!
Postcard II
Hi, I am staying in Kinsai. I often remember Venice when I visit Kinsai because it is a large city on the water like Venice. The people in Kinsai is clever and kind and they are working for silk cloth, other made things of silver or gold. There are 12,000 bridges and some very high bridges which big ships can easily go under the high bridges.
What I interested in here is bath houses. There are the hundreds of bath houses in Kinsai and people here usually take three times a month.  They are always giving visitors like us best service in bath house and always prepared us warm water.
I want to bring you here to know Kinsai and people in Kinsai someday. I will stay here for trading for a while and will send another postcard later.
Postcard III
Hi, I am in Cipangu. Cipangu is a group of islands and is located in the east of the Khan’s empire. I heard before from Khan that these islands were rich in gold and had a large palace with floors and windows of gold.
When a warm and a sunny season is closing, I saw trees with beautiful flowers called Sakura in Cipangu. Some trees have white flowers and others have pink flowers. We could enjoy Sakura trees for long period because these are fully in bloom for 1-2 weeks.
Our trading in Cipangu is going well and will be finished within a few months. Once our trading is completed, I will be back to Venice. I am very happy to see you again and look forward to talking you about this journey.

Postcard from....Bangkok, Thailand

Hello, Jim

I'm in Bangkok, Thailand.

I'm doing very well!

I enjoyed shopping at one of the biggest malls in Bangkok. Again, I've found that Thai is a country of "smile".

From Taka

Monday, 4 March 2019

Tennis Talents

Image result for alien alert in seattle black cat cidebI`m Yoko. I`m 63 years old. Now my hobby is playing tennis. When I was forties I was buzy to child care and working office everyday. So I have no hobby. A friend invited me "Let`s go to tennis school together. It is city-run. It is cheap!" That was starting to my pleasure.

I could make new friends for tennis. Because playing tennis could not only one. It was necessary to belong a group. Now I`m playing tennis twice a week indoors. Sweat is good for my physical condition. But I had some practical problems. Playing skill could not advanced! I gave up! and I changed my mind. It`s better to enjoy. So we are able to do for all ages. I`m enjoying to play a game of tennis now.

Posted for Yoko.

No snow in Nozawa

Dear Jim,

How are you? I enjoyed the Christmas holiday.

It was a fantastic time, although the weather wasn't so good. I went to Nozawa Onsen for skiing and hot spring with my family. It was raining and sometimes snowing. There wasn't enough snow for skiing, so we didn't buy a one day ticket, got some single tickets because some lifts didn't work. Anyway, we didn't really enjoy skiing. However, we enjoyed hot spring.

Did you know Nozawa Onsen is free? There are several free places, although the spaces are small. That spring is famous for making the skin beautiful.

By the way, did you enjoy the Christmas & New Year's holiday? Write soon, and tell me about it!

from Kazumi

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Typical New Year celebrations in Japan

Children goes back to hometown and spend New Year with family. Japanese cleans their house not to carry dirt over next year.
Some families watch the TV waiting for New Year and some families wear kimono and go to shrine/temple to pray.

I eat traditional New Year’s foods that have good keeping quality, not to cook and take a rest. There are good/lucky meanings for each foods such as health, long life and luck. For example, shrimp curls up when boiled and it looks like elderly people with a bent back. It is something like wish for long life. I have liked datemaki and kurikinton since I was child because it is very sweat. They are in the picture above.

I put New Year’s ornaments to an entrance of my house and round rice cake with my wishes. Finally, adult gives their relative’s children money.

Cambridge English Qualification: Explaining results

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Selfies & personal intros - digital/analog blending

Our digital natives could compose their selfies, add filters, bling themselves up and save their work in next to no time (teaching each other quick tips & offering fashion advice!) using the iOS app "Snow".
The actual writing task took longer, thinking about personal info that we can express as we start our new text book (OUP's Everybody Up 3).

Love this class - motoring along in the fast lane with the roof down. Super cool, obviously cute, and inspiring the teacher to try even better ways to prove they Can Do!

Friday, 1 March 2019

Ayumi's favourite flying animal

It's a bird. It flies. It is about forty-five centimetres tall. It has feathers. It's feathers are soft. It can fly quietly. It has big eyes. It can hunt mice at night. I like this owl because it is beautiful and cool. I saw an owl at school in Matsumoto.


A stitch in time - a New Year's letter

Dear Jim,

How are you? You must have had a nice holiday in Australia!

I have a nice new year's holiday at home as well. My daughter and my brother came back from Tokyo with their family. My granddaughter is four and my grandson is two. They are very cute. However, they are very noisy. We have a lively table every night, although I'm very tired. Anyway, they go back to Tokyo soon.

By the way, I have to sew my restaurant's tablecloths during the holiday. I like sewing, although I feel a little bit blue thinking about so many things to do. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures you take in Australia. Have a fantastic holiday!!

All the best!


Wednesday, 27 February 2019

A letter from Disneyland

Dear Jim,

How are you? I'm fine. How was your New Year's holiday?

I went to Disney Resort with my family. Before going, I thought it might be crowded. However, it was not so much than I expected!

My son wasn't tall enough to ride some thrilling attractions, although he really enjoyed to ride some for small kids.

By the way, have you had a thrilling experience on an airplane? After Disney, we went to my hometown by the airplane. The weather was bad and it snowed around my hometown, so it shaked so much and so often. It was more thrilled than any attractions of Disney. Anyway, I barely arrived at my parents' house.

Love from Ai

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

My Emergency Pack

When I think about disaster, the earthquake is coming up. Nagano prefecture is the one of most famous area which earthquake happened in Japan. People who live in Nagano used to experience the earthquake. In case I would experience the big earthquake and need to survive independently, I would need the following items:  Water bag or water  Food  Rope  Scissors  Blanket - as much as thin  Sanitary goods  Underwear  Towel  Battery charger  Mobile battery  Mobile phone Maybe some foods/water and blankets would be provided from local governments. Therefore, it is most important things are mobile phone and batteries. If I have mobile phone, I can use it as a flashlight. Sanitary goods is also important for women because the local governments would not provide or found easily due to lower priority than food or water.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Marrying for love is a good thing, and it is nobody else's business?

I agree that marring for love is a good thing. Long time ago, parents made decision whom their son/daughter marring with. Sometimes, it was difficult to accept as a partner for him/her. However, if he/she decides a partner himself/herself, they will have responsibility and it will not happen that they don't accept/love each other.
I addition, if you love another person when your parents decide your partner, can you love your partner really? If I was, I can forget him/her and suffer from.
I hope that marring is very happy thing for everyone.

However, if it is royal family, I think that they should be celebrated from citizen because they are not commoner.

Although you may have had feeling with envy to be loyal family, which is good for you?

Friday, 15 February 2019

Notes in Nagoya

One way to get an abundance of English teachers in the same place? Put on an Expo. On Sunday I went to one of the many that are on throughout Japan; armed with a pen and notepad I made my way down to Nagoya, ready to learn about different techniques and tools that I could use in class and how they would benefit the students. My personal favourite was from David Paul and hearing about his seven-step sequence to teaching phonics. As this is a very new topic for me, I found hearing about these techniques from someone who spent so long developing them here in Japan to be incredibly valuable; thank you David! After meeting many other teachers, hearing about how their teaching journeys and going to a handful of lectures, I can honestly say that this is one field that will never stop evolving. The number of resources we constantly have at our fingertips is astounding and I can’t wait to slowly make my way through them.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Sculptures around the Castle

When Jim mentioned the Ice Sculpture festival around Matsumoto Castle I was very eager to go, until he mentioned that the best time to go was at night, when no one else was around. Whenever I’m asked about what Matsumoto is like in the winter there’s always one very clear thing that comes to mind: it’s exceptionally cold. Coming from somewhere that you’d be pushed to find a day with a temperature below 10 degrees, I don’t think this is something I’ll ever get used to. I headed out at about 9PM, equipped with enough layers to make me look like a marshmallow, camera in one hand and a hot chocolate in the other. But boy was it worth it, as the crowds started to slim out (and the temperature started to drop), we got to see the full process that went into the incredibly intricate sculptures. Despite having to take several breaks in the nearest FamilyMart, we made it until 3AM before the cold (and tiredness) got the better of us and we found our way home. If you’re willing to brave the cold, or are just better at handling it than I am, this is definitely the place to be!

Tristan's last letter

Dear Rual,

How are you’ve been? Are you all well? I’m sorry I haven’t written so often. Sometimes I miss you and everything in Lyonesse.

I serve to King Mark as a good knight. I was welcomed by King Mark’s court, and he loved me like his son. He teaches me many things and I always think that I want to be helpful for him. I already fought many battles and I won. A few days before a big man from Ireland came to the castle and he required an unpleasant demand. I fought him. He was very strong but finally I won. I got hurt my leg. It was small wound but unfortunately there was poison on his sword. I’m ill. Doctors in Cornwall can’t cure me. Only The Queen of Ireland can cure it. So I have to go to Ireland. Don’t worry I’ll go there as a minstrel.

In Lyonesse I learnt to play the harp, that helps me. I’ll recover and be back. I promise.


Posted for Misako

Postcard from...Kamakura, Japan

Dear Jim,

Hope this finds you well…I’m on holiday in Kamakura this weekend. I went to the Silk skin care products’ laboratory with my friends who joined from Tokyo yesterday. This lab was one of my friend recommended to visit and it’s worth to be there.

I stayed at Japanese styled hotel with hot spring near Kamakura and today I tried SUP (Stand-up paddle surfing) in the sea. This is the first experience to do SUP in my life! Other friend who lives in Kamakura helped me to try. It was really difficult to stand up on the surf board at the first time, but finally I could make it! I’m going to stay one more night and I will go to temple called ‘Hokoku-ji’ before on the way back home.

At this temple I can enjoy the traditional Japanese tea ceremony with fancy sweet while I enjoy to see the bamboo garden. I would be great rest day after hard working on the sea!
Look forward to seeing you in Matsumoto!

Lots of love,

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Postcard from...Connecticut & Massachusetts, USA

I went to Mark Twain House & Museum with some students.
The house is located in Hartford, Connecticut. It was built in 1874, though, the house has a lot of facilities such as nursery rooms, school rooms for the children, guest rooms, a study with billiards table, and so forth. We walked around the house and enjoyed the architecture of the house. After the visit to the house, we did the shopping in the souvenir shop and I bought a post card of a cat. I really liked it at once because the cat stared at me saying “let me come with you.” We left the Mark Twain House & Museum and headed for the next destination, Boston

Now, I am in Boston! It is one of the academic cities in the US. I am visiting Prudential Center, which is a very famous building in Boston. From the observatory of the building, I can see a lot of red brick buildings, which, by the way, remind me of the atmosphere of London. I like Boston because there are a lot of famous universities such as Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, and Tufts University. I visit some of the universities and listen to the talks by the students in the universities. I also watch a match of Boston Celtics in TD Garden. The “Celtics” is named after “Celtic.” This is because Boston has a lot of emigrants from Ireland.

Posted for Takafumi

Knocked off the Bucketlist

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to find my way to the Sapporo Snow Festival. Being on my bucket list for an exceptionally long amount of time, I was definitely overly excited that I got the opportunity to visit. Three days of sculptures, snow and a very large amount of seafood and I've got to say this festival deserves all of the hype it receives and more. It was even worth bracing myself for the sub-zero temperatures (and in my world, that’s definitely saying something). I was chased by human-sized bears, found my way into the media section of the festival and slipped over more times than I could keep track of; definitely an experience of a lifetime.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Memory with my first pet

My first pet was a dog.  He was Shetland sheepdog which had beautiful brown and white hair.  His name was Mark.  He was given by my father’s friend and he had been in my house before I was born.  He was much bigger than me, but his character was very gentle and friendly.  I did not have any brothers or sisters, so he was like my brother and friend.  Even if it was cold or snowed, I enjoyed taking him for a walk.
He got sick and died quietly when he was eight years old.  It was my first experience to face death.  I was very shocked and could not believe the world without him, but he taught me life is finite.  After his death, I believe he watches my growth from sky and I looked back at the days with him whenever I see beautiful sky.

Did you know? Manufacture of medical mannequins in Nagano

When you dig up a history of your hometown, you can find someone who had an extraordinary achievement. Back in 1822, a man named “Fumimoto Kobayashi” created a medical mannequin in Saku city. His mannequin was designed densely based on a famously known medical text, Kaitai Shinsho translated by Genpaku Sugita in 1774. It is 55 cm tall, and made of paper, wood, and copper wire. What is so surprising is that its gender is switchable from an original female body to a male body. As far as I searched on a web, medical mannequins from Edo period are extremely rare. It is remarkable that there was a man who learned human anatomy and made one of the most valuable masterpiece of medical mannequin, so far away from Tokyo and Kyoto. 

I have no idea why the locals like me have never heard of him. 
You must have someone like him in your area. He/she will definitely stimulate your intellectual curiosity.


The Hachijuni Culture Foundation

(Topic: Write a magazine article about your home town in 1822)

New Year holidays -After reading

Dear all.
I write about my family during New Year holidays.
I always go back to my hometown, Komagane city, to spend New Year holidays with my family.
Do you know Komagane city? Komagane city is in the southern part of Nagano.
It’s a city surrounded by mountains such as Mt. Komagatake.

 I clean my parent’s house when I go back because my family is working on New Year’s Eve.
Many Japanese clean houses on New Year’s Eve like me. It’s called ‘’Oosouzi’’ in japan.
When my mother and sister return to home, we cook Soba together, and we watch New Year’s Eve TV program while drinking alcohol.
I slept through this New Year’s Eve because I was tired from driving and cleaning.

We see the sunrise and we made a wish for this year in the morning of New Year’s day.
The Rising Sun from Komagatake is so beautiful.
We don’t visit a shrine every year because every temple and shrine is crowded.
We intend to relax at my home after seeing the sunrise.

Thank you for your reading.


Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Postcards from Scotland - After reading

Postcard 1

Hi, I am in Edinburgh of Scotland. I am visiting here to see “The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo” event near the castle of Edinburgh. Have you ever seen in TV etc that the people who put traditional kilt and play music instrument near the Edinburgh castle? I am exiting that I can see it soon!! I learned this time that the first performance conducted by the solders of Scotland and England to bring citizens back into good spirits after World War Two.

I am going to explore this city tomorrow. Let’s see together a lot of pictures taken in Edinburgh when I am back to Japan.

Postcard 2

Hi, I am walking to see Old and New Towns of Edinburgh. This area is very beautiful and I could see a lot of impressive architectures that blends the character of Old Town and New Town. There are many tourists because here was world heritage-listed area by UNESCO and I will see many tourists in fudge shop because fudge is famous as souvenir of Scotland. I will take some fudge to enjoy them with you with a cup of English tea.

I am going to visit the Isle of Skye tomorrow.

Postcard 3

Hi, I am in the Isle of Skye and this island was referred to “Skuy” (Isle of could/ misty isle). This isle is the northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland and you can enjoy a lot of nature activities by walking, boat etc.

I am visiting Fairy Pools, and there are crystal clear blue pools. I have never seen such a clear pools and recommend you to visit here someday. You can see the beautiful pools like photo of this postcard actually. I think it is worth to travel long distance to see beautiful or impressive natures in the Isle of Skye.

I will be back to Japan and look forward to talking you about this journey with a lot of pictures.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Postcard from...Cairns, Australia

G’day! Australia

   My family went to Cairns, Queensland, Australia from 30th Dec. 2018 to 6th Jan. 2019. I had been to Australia 3 times, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Albany. I researched about Australian education when I was a graduate student so it has been familiar with me.

   At first, we stayed at a hotel in Palm Cove, one of the beach resorts near Cairns, for 2days. It took about 40 minutes by taxi from the Cairns International Airport. Unfortunately, the sea was rough because of a hurricane so we couldn’t swim in the sea. Instead of that, we could enjoy swimming in the beautiful pool of the hotel. Especially for Sou, it seemed to be better because he was still afraid of the waves of the sea at that time.

   At the night of New Year’s Eve, we could see many fireworks with the countdown by the local people and tourists at the beach. It was really different from Japanese one.

   Next 2 days we moved to the Green Island which is located in the Great Barrier Reef. It took only about 50 minutes by ferry from Cairns. There is only one hotel in the island so we stayed at there. Sou was scared of swimming in the sea in the beginning and he just played in the sand, but, as he could saw many fish in the sea he gradually began to swim and seemed to have fun a lot. My husband, my elder son and I enjoyed snorkeling. We could see coral reefs, many kinds of tropical fishes, green sea turtles, manta rays and even small sharks! Sharks were frightening but they didn’t try to attack humans.

   Besides that, we rode a glass bottom boat, went night hiking around the island and I was amazed by the starry sky. In a morning, my husband and I went to the sea and swam. There was no one except for us. I felt dignity and somewhat holy there.

   The following 2 days we went back to Cairns and walked around the city. There is a big complemental outdoor swimming pool and free barbeque sites. Many people had a good time there. We also went to Kuranda, a village surrounded by tropical rain forests. We rode a gondola, called Skyrail on the way and took a railway, which has a history from 1900s on the way back. It was my first time to see the trees and plants of the rain forest. We went shopping and a zoo. My elder son could cuddle a koala and my younger one petted the back. We took some picture with it. The Koala seemed to be angry because he/she woke up even he wanted to keep sleeping. I felt sorry about that but it was a definitely wonderful experience for my kids.   

   I’m really glad we could have a special time and go through the days without any problems in Australia.

A Year End Party

 The day before the New Year’s Eve 30 December, my husband and I had a year end party with our friends at home. I arranged some flowers and my husband set fire to the fireplace. We prepared roasted porks with salads with celery, potatoes, turnips, romanesco, mushrooms, paprikas, and smoked salmons with marinade onions for the table. I also cooked “paella” the typical Spanish seafood fried rice, for the main dish.
 We enjoyed dinner and recalled the year which we shared lots of wonderful things together. The outside of the house was freezing but we had a really good warm time.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Post card from Hotaka Shrine

Dear Jim-sensei,

Today is New Year's day. I'm at Hotaka Shrine with my friend who used to live near my house.
We are praying for health and good luck, then we bought New Year's fortune.

I spent New Year's Eve with my family and watched TV, drank wine and ate sushi.
After eating Soba, we went to the shrine near my house, and prayed for our health and good luck in 2019.

This year, I plan to go to Paris. I will go to The Louvre and see some of my favorite paintings.
If possible, I will also go to Italy to eat Pasta and Pizza.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Singapore shines!!

Hi all,

I am in Singapore for a business trip.It is excessively cold inside the office of my client, but nice weather welcomes me outside.

I would like to share the moment that I always wanted to see. 

This is "Infinity Pool" at Marina Bay Sans!! I wish I could climb up there yet I am here to make a deal. Singapore should be on my trip wish list.

Yesterday, I discussed about business with clients and received the order, happy happy.
People took me to one of the most famous seafood restaurant last night.
Although I saw turtles and frogs in a kitchen, I confirmed that none of them were on my dishes and enjoyed nice crabs and lobsters!! South east Asian spicy foods are so addictive!

For tomorrow, clients will take me to factories and working sites where my products are used. One of the most essential moments in business...that is, I am going to have many reports to write to my bosses on my way back to Japan. 

Goodbye, the latest movies on my way back.
Thank you Jurassic Park, Kingsman, and Venom on my way to Singapore.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Post card from Gofukuji Shrine

Dear Jim,
I’m at Gofukuji Shrine with my husband and daughter.  It is crowed so we parked far from the shrine and had to walk a long way.  I’m tired, but I prayed for a happy life in 2019.
It’s the first time for my daughter to pick a New Year’s fortune.  She put money in a machine and the fortune came out automatically.  It said “Kichi” which means ordinary, and my husband also picked “Kichi”, but I picked “Daikichi” which is the best.

I was nervous because I would have to talk about my New Year’s resolution in front of company’s people after the holiday.
For my resolution, I will get up 30 minutes earlier than last year to have enough time for taking care of my daughter and will read 3 books or magazines in a month.

I wish you have a good year.

After reading: The piano

Yesterday was Sir Anthony Evans’ eightieth birthday concert.

He played music for the piano by Liszt, and hundreds of people  came to listen to this very famous pianist. Before the concert, I went to see him and his wife, Lady Linda Evans, in the theater dressing-room, and Sir Anthony told me his story.
He came first in a music competition when he was fifteen, but the story really began before that. One day  in an old building a boy called Tony found a old piano. He was fourteen at the time. He didn’t come  from a musical family  and he didn’t know a lot about music, and when his fingers touched the keys of the piano, half-forgotten music danced through his mind.
After the win of the music competition, he has given thousands of concert as we know.
He told me to tell our readers that he was very lucky man.

Postcard from Obasute service area

I am going back to my home town to stay with my family for New year holidays.
I am stopping at Obasute highway service area on the way.
The weather is not very good, but the night view from the service area is very beautiful.

Yesterday, I went to cell phone shop.
I bought a new cell phone there.
The feature of the phone said we could take a beautiful photo even in the night.

Tomorrow is New year's Eve.
I will stay with my parents at home.
I will have delicious dinner and drink alcohol watching that TV program which is broadcasted in New year's Eve every year.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Freezing Chicago

Hi All.  I was in the States for a week and spent the last weekend in Chicago.

First of all, it was colder than Matsumoto and had snow on Saturday.

Luckily, I could have a fun this time.  I went to the United Center to watch the ice hockey game, Chicago Blackhawks vs Vegas Golden Knights.  It was my first time to watch the ice hockey game.  The players moved around on the ice so quickly and the speed of shooting was so fast.  It was the exciting game until the last minutes, but Blackhawks couldn't beat VGK.

If I could have another chance to watch the ice hockey game, I want to learn about rules, teams and players so that I can enjoy game more.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

It's like riding a bike

Before coming to Japan I hadn’t rode a bike in a long time. After a classic ‘no hands’ incident I swore off the concept indefinitely.

When I returned home to New Zealand from my stint in South America, I became worried for what was to come. Much like the fear of getting back on my bike, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pull through with what I thought was expected. Although I had left home once before, heading into something where I knew exactly what was going to happen seemed a lot more difficult than heading into the unknown. But luckily for me, as I arrived in Japan, I was gifted a new pair of training wheels in the form of Jim, Yukari, and everyone who surrounds and forms Luna’s family.

It always starts off tough and there are always setbacks and learning curves, but it’s just like riding a bike. The expectations you place on yourself and those that you believe others have set for you are what inevitably limit you from your best ability, but if you keep riding, it’ll be like you never stopped.

P.S. Two months in and I haven't yet fallen off my bike. Progress?

post card from Komagane city

Hello, all
I go back to one’s home town Komagane city. I watch the program which I recorded in parents' house. And I eat my mother’s home cooking.
I cleaned my apartment in Matsumoto city yesterday. I cleaned the fan and filter for air conditioning equipment. Because I don’t clean there usually.
I’m going to get up on 6:00 am tomorrow. Because I’m going to watch first sunrise of new year and pray for happiness new year. And I’m going to eat sushi and rice cake with my  family. Thank you for your reading.
Momoko Kurata

Post card from Disney Land

Hi, I am in Tokyo Disney Land with my sister's family. We are enjoying parades and shows of Disney Halloween. This is the first visit for the mother-in-law of my sister and my nephew. They are happy to see Mickey Mouse and his friends actually.
We left Matsumoto at A.M.3:00 to arrive here before opening and because it had an annoucement to restrict entry to this park. We didn't sleep much last night, but we will stay here until seeing night parade.
Tomorrow, we are going to go Ueno zoo. I hope to have a chance to see a Giant Panda named Shanshan.
Let's see photos at Disney Land next weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing you next weekend !
Ritsuko Takeuchi

Monday, 14 January 2019

Postcard from ... hospital

Hello, all.
I am in a hospital now and waiting for having operation. It is the first time to be admitted to the hospital and I will stay here about one week.
I have not eaten anything from yesterday night... I'm hungry!

It will take one month to heal completely and there are some rules until then, such as no alcohol, no spicy food and no hard exercise.
I wanna go back to life as per usual early!

Postcard from...Bulli Beach, Australia

Dear everybody in the freezing cold in  Matsumoto!

Unfortunately I'm leaving the sunny hot beach at Bulli today.

Pool, ocean, wildlife, sport, food, wine, Santa and my family. Extremely relaxing and loads of fun. Perfect end to a very busy year.

Best to you all for 2019.


(posted Dec 29th with Touchnote)

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Postcard from...New South Wales, Australia

G'day everybody!

Today is my last day in Australia. I just had a big bbq lunch cooked by uncle Mike. I was hungry - this morning I was jumping through the surf and swimming in the pool. It is 32 degrees!

I have had an amazing time here, and can't fit it all on a postcard!

Qantas will take me home to freeing Matsumoto tonight - no more football or cricket or sliding in the garden :(

Goodbye summer - hello winter!

Ceilidh (posted on Dec 29th using Touchnote)