Saturday, December 31, 2016

Monday, October 24th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Well, since my last entry, I went to Mikage.  I met Kimberly at her place about 5:15, and then Nora P. came over and we practiced fro our show at Poporo in Okamoto.  We got there about 7:10 and started around 7:30.  Chinatsu and Michiyo came to see the show, as well as M's wife & some friends.

I sang several solos, and the whole thing went pretty well!  It was fun to "go out"!




I slept over at Kimberly's, which was hard, because Jimmy called at 11:00 & they talked/fought until about 2.  Oh well!

Today I went back to kaisei and had my ear canal "blown out" again-ugh!  I have to start going back since my ear isn't better.

I went to the post office to take money out by filling out the form, but I had to have my secret number even to do that, so I still have no money.  Felt stupid again.

Whatever lives in my ceiling is particularly active today- perhaps chasing a "friend" around the expanse above my apartment.  Yuk!  I hope it's nothing disgusting!

I got 4 packages ready to mail off to various parts of the world for Christmas.  Guess I need to get those sent now if they're to arrive by Christmas.  Of course, I can't do it today, because I can't get any money because of my forgetting the number.  Grrrr!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Saturday, October 22nd, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Well, I really screwed the above up.  It's actually Sunday October 23rd, 1988 at 2:43 p.m.  I'm very worried because I'm forgetting things that I shouldn't be forgetting.  My "big forget" this time is my postal savings card number.  Not too hard to forget since it's not a memorable date or anything, but I've had the blasted number for 2 years, and used the machine at least 50 times.  I fear that the infection in my ear has something to do with it.  God, I hope not, but what else could explain it?

Anyway, enough hypochondria.  Friday night was the Megumi class.  No biggie.

Saturday I had my lessons with Meg and Manna, then met Kimberly, Mike, and Resa for dinner and a movie.  We saw "Good Morning, Vietnam", and "Big Business".  Really good! 




They came back here afterwards, and Kimberly stayed over.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Friday, October 21st, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Yesterday was a pretty good day.  I met Kim on the 8:22 & we walked in together.  My E.C. I class went well.  It's a difficult lesson, so I must have patience!

In teh afternoon, I practiced with M. and N. at lunch, and made up, typed, & copied a quiz for chapter 4 and made a "Design a Robot" worksheet fro y E.C. I class next Tuesday.

I left early (4:10) and caught the shinkaisodu to Osaka.  I met Yoko at Sannomiya and we went on to Osaka to the "Hall and Oates" concert.  It was fun.  Darryl Hall has a very nice voice.

We ran for the train back to Osaka eki, and ran to catch a kaisoku to Himeji.  It took 2 hours.  I didn't get home until 11:45, but it was a great concert.  I felt like I was in America!  :-)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wednesday, October 19th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Believe it or not, today was better than yesterday, but meetings, meetings, meetings!!  I went to school on the 7:38 train to meet the other members of the student affairs committee to scout the area for girls driving illegally to school.  I rode with N. & we covered the Ginburu store parking lot.  We didn't catch anyone.

1st period was free, so I wrote letters.  2nd period was a really boring film in chapel on the Hopi Indians and how the bombing of Hiroshima was prophesied in their history.

At lunch student affairs met, and the rest of the afternoon was spent in a faculty meeting.  Yuk.

After school I went to Akira's for dinner.  Hiroko make yakisoba and omelettes.  It was very good!  I always enjoy my Wednesday evenings with them.

So, even though today was boring and very tedious, it was much better than yesterday!

I was supposed to meet with the special E.S.S. group to talk about Shirotopia, but I don't think they showed up.  I wonder why I'm not happy with my students/job at present?

Oh well, tomorrow is another day...sigh.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tuesday, October 18th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Yesterday I had my lesson with Kayo.  Later she dropped by with egg rolls she had just made.

Today was really the pits.  Kimberly was in a bad mood, and I was tired and cranky, too.  The assignment in E.C. I was difficult, and I was grumpy. 

My 2 E.C. II classes acted like they had never heard English before.  It was like pulling teeth!  I waited for one girl to read me the headline she chose and it took her 10 minutes and help from 2 people, and the sad part is that all she had to do was say the name of someone in the class, and read the rest of the headline already written on the page.  Augh!!  She's not going to pass this class, if this keeps up.

I had my Japanese lesson.  Informative, but not very intense.  We "practiced" at lunch for our show at Popporo Sunday.  What a disaster this is going to be!

Linda Lee & Karl are back.  Barrett stopped by my office.  I watched "Cobra" on television.  End of exciting day number 216.

Not a very good day.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday, October 17th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Saturday was really busy.  Yukari came for my Japanese lesson at 10:00.  I had a kanji test, and it went pretty well.  Kimberly came at 11:00 for her lesson and I went to the bank to get cash.

Yukari left, Kimberly & I ate & talked, then at 2:00 Manna & Meg came for their lessons.  First, I gave Meg an English lesson.  It's hard, because I'm not used to advanced students.  Next was Manna, no problem, beginning stuff.  Then hour #3 was my Japanese conversation lesson...ugh!

Mike, Resa, & the kids picked us up at 5:30 & we went to Sato for dinner, then to Higashi Kakogawa to Hiraki shopping.  I only bought a few things, believe it or not!

We got home around 9:00, talked, then went to bed.  It was a busy day, but fun.

Sunday, Kim and I left for Sannomiya around 10:00.  First we went to Mikage to drop her stuff off.  We ate okonomiyaki at that quaint restaurant at the bottom of the mountain in Mikage.

We talked to two ladies from Okayama on the Shinkaisoku.  One was an author of poems and worked at NHK, the other made kimonos.  It was fun. They were on their way to a high school reunion.

After lunch we shopped.  We went to an office supply store.  I bought a calendar.  It was neat to think that when this calendar is used up, there'll only be 5 months of my stay left!

We went to Maruzen, then to a futon shop.  Kimberly & I decided what our big purchase would be...a wedding futon set (complete with 4 mattresses and covers, sheets, 5 summer & winter pillows).  They'll even ship it all to America.  It'll be really expensive, but I've decided I was a strictly Japanese room in my home in America (bedroom).

Like this:


Sunday night we went to KIBC.  Rev. B. has a bad cold, so the message didn't have the usual impact...poor guy.

I went to my first singles fellowship.  It was really fun!  We talked about negative comments, gossip, slander, etc.  Very informative.  To begin with Erin had us throw bread crumbs over the terrace railing behind B's house.  Afterwards she explained that these crumbs were like gossip & negative comments.

She asked us to go out and try to pick those bread crumbs up, and, just as we couldn't pick those crumbs up again, we can't "take back" negative comments once said.

I stayed over at I's.  Got there late, left early.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Friday, October 14th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Wednesday night Akira came for Kayo's lesson, and Hiroko came at the end.  Kayo wears kimono from October to March every day, so I'll get to see lots of them between now and then!

We had chili for dinner.  I think they liked it.  We looked through pictures, and Akira and Hiroko asked me to sing at their wedding.

On Thurday I was late for my E.C. I class, and forgot about getting K's classes started.   Luckily no one had left yet.  Mike gave me some biscuit mix, oatmeal, etc. (economy size).  I helped Taiko write her speech for the speech contest, and had E.S.S. after school.  Chinatsu & Tomomi were the only ones out of the old crowd (who I'm not too fond of at present) that came, but Tomoko I. started coming.

Today I listened to Mikes' chapel talk, looked through catalogues and texts from the JALT conference, had a secret conversation with Sonia about Hinomoto and her hopes of becoming full time.  I also designed an expansion activity for the newspaper unit we're working on in E.C. II. Should be fun.

I had my first koto lesson of this term today, too...ugh!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday, October 12th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Okay, I'm finally getting to this again, but no apologies, or regrets.  I'll write when I can I guess, besides not that much happens every day that' exciting enough to bother with.

So, since my last entry the main event has been the JALT conference on Portopia Island in Kobe.  Kyl came down on Wednesday, so we'd have some time to see each other.  He got in on Wednesday night.  Matsuo-san took me to the station to pick him up, and we went to Matsuo's for dinner.

Hiroko cooked yakiniku, and waited on us hand and foot.  We looked through hundreds of pictures, and exchanged cultural names.  Kyl is now Masao, Akira is Steven Carter, and Hiroko is Rebecca Williams.  I'm still Akira Hahayama- lecturer of the funny mountain.




Thursday Kyl came to school for the day.  He came to my class and part of Kim's, sat in on my Japanese lesson, and participated in E.S.S.

Friday he went sight seeing/shopping.  I came to school and talked and sag at high school chapel.  It went well.  I left at noon  met Kyl.  We went through Himeji Castle and shopped some more.

We took a later train and went to Nobu and Carol's for the night.  Kyl was a hit, Nobu favored Kyl to me, I was jealous- enough said.


Saturday the conference started.  I attended many good lectures, and received lots of practical ideas.  Most notably from the 3 days was a lecture on using a point system in motivating students.  I implemented it in both of my E.C. II classes with fabulous results.  Very encouraging!

We stayed with Carol & Nobu again Saturday night.

Monday Kyl left & I went to the last day of conferences alone.  Exhausted & burnt out I somehow made it through the day.

Monday night Kim stayed over.  We talked a little, but she was late, so I went to bed soon after she arrived.

Tuesday was a full class day.  My attitude was positive the whole day and my classes went very well.  I'm enjoying my newly smaller E.C. I class, and for the 1st time, was excited about E.C. II.  Mike used the point system too, with equally positive results.  Kim is going to use it in her E.C. I class.  I guess they are pretty surly.

K's are gone all week, so I can relax, and reduce my stress level.  I love Linda Lee, but I just can't take Karl anymore, unless its in small doses.

The jazz group practiced at lunch outside today.  We perform at Poppolo in 2 weeks...ack!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Saturday, October 1st, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Since this is the first entry in my 2nd volume, I thought I'd write now, while I have time, to keep my vow to write every day again...not that today has been anything to write about!!

I got up at 9 and ran to the store to buy the stuff to make chili.  Mike and I had planned a meeting to go over our tests together and Karl somehow invited himself, so he was here too.  He (Karl) was his usual grumpy, caustic, aggravating self.  No more said.

Karl left and Mike & I ate lunch & chatted.  He's such a nice guy!

As of this minute Manna and Meg M. have not shown up.  Manna's lesson is at 2, and Meg's from 3-5.  I passed up going to the Kobe International picnic, in the mountains of Kobe, to be here, so I'm a bit aggravated!

At 5:30, or maybe sooner now, I'm going to catch the shinkaisoku to Sannomiya, or the Honkyu to Mikage to go to Kim's.  From there we are going to spend the night at I's.  Ryan has a performance of his band tomorrow, but for now I'll close, as tomorrow will be written about on the next page...I hope!

Uneventful things done today- laundry, dishes, cleaning.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Books I Want to Get (circa 1988...while living in Japan)

I found this list on the last page of VOLUME ONE of my three journals I kept, while living in Himeji, Japan:
  • "C.S. Lewis:  Images of His World" by Douglas Gilbert and Clyde Kilby; William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • "The Secret Country of C.S. Lewis" by Anne Arnott; William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, 1975.
  •  "Surprised by Joy:  The Shape of My Early Life" by C.S. Lewis; Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1955, or more recent reprint.
  • "Poems" by C.S. Lewis, edited by Walter Hooper; A Harvest/HBJ Book, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (London, MY) 1964.  
  • "The Tale of the Tales: The Beatrix Potter Ballet" by Rumer Godden; Frederick Warne & Co. Inc., NY, 1971.
  • "The Magic Years of Beatrix Potter" by Margaret Lane; Frederick Warne & Co. Inc., NY, 1979.
  • "I'm Nobody!  Who Are You? Poems of Emily Dickinson for Young People", illustrated by Rex Schneider; Stemmer House Publishers, Inc. 
  • "A Swinger of Birches: Poems of Robert Frost for Young People", illustrated by Peter Koeppen.  Stemmer House (see above).

Monday, November 7, 2016

Friday, September 30th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Well, I'm not doing very well, am I?  Since my last entry, I don't even remember everything that's happened.

Yoko, Kim & I had lunch a couple of times, I've gone shopping (of course) a couple of times, and went to Osaka to see Nobu & Carol's friend Jinnouchi Taizo, an up and coming rock singer, perform at a club there.  He used to be Ryan's tutor, and has a very good voice.



I have received a letter from the post office saying that a package sent by Dianne was damaged.  I went and sat in the post office for 45 minutes, trying to figure out what the postal workers were saying, and waiting for them to figure out what to do.

It turned out that the package was a framed needlework.  The needlework was fine, but the frame busted.  It's of 2 blue fans.  I have it hanging on my wall, and it looks great!

I also received a package from mom, with my peanut butter, magazines, flannel robe, cocoa, t-shirts, etc.  in it, and a package with medicine.

I've survived my first writing, and administering, and contemplation of checking midterms.  As of this moment, I haven't actually checked them yet... :-(.  It's very strange to be on the other side of the exam, and to see the nervous faces, instead of being a nervous face!

I sang at International Church for the first time.  I sang "Stephen's Song" and was really nervous, because it was the first time in 6 months that people would really understand what I was saying.  It went well, though, and I made my first professional contact.  The members of a group called The Covenant Players, touring Japan, based in California, were in the congregation, taking a breather from their tour, and heard me sing.

One of the members came up afterwards and said that I made her cry.  She said the Covenant Players were always interested in quality performers, and gave me a business card.  C.P. has about 40 troupes that tour worldwide, so I'm definitely going to check it out!  Wow!

I've been watching a lot of the Olympics.  Lots of doping (notably Ben Johnson of Canada).  Matt Biondi and Janet Evans have been winning the gold for the U.S. and Florence Joyner & her sister-in-law, as well as Carl Lewis in track events.

I'm not sure why I'm so interested in the Olympics (for the 1st time).  Maybe it's the thrill in the winners faces, or on seeing non-Japanese people on t.v., or maybe the bits & pieces of English are enticing me!

My doctor said I don't have to go back, about my ear, if I have no further problems.

I called Kyl last night, and he may go to the JALT conference next weekend...so I may get to see him!!

Akira M. came over for tacos the other night.  It was his fist time to eat tacos.  I think he liked them...he ate 5!  He looked through my pictures, and we watched part of a movie.  He also sat in on my lesson with Kayo.  Kayo gave me 2 beautiful blue bowls with ginko and maple leaves on them.

M-san and I are going to get together once a week.  Next week it's at his house, and his girlfriend Hiroko is cooking.  He says she's not a good cook...we'll see.

I walked all the way to Megumi class last Friday, only to find that no one bothered to tell me class was cancelled...oh well, it was only 3 miles there & 3 back.  Nobody also bothered to tell me that I was in charge of fellowship at English church in Himeji on the Sunday I didn't go (same Sunday I sang at Kobe International Church)  grrrrr...

Well, as this is the last page to write on, I'll close EDITION 1 and try to continue on an every day basis in VOLUME TWO...

to be continued...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thursday, September 15th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Today I got up after a very late night and got ready, got the Messengers off to school, adn then caught the 8:22 with Kim.

We got here, talked with Nobu for awhile, talked, wrote letters, then went to chapel.

The Messengers did a really good gospel concert.  They called me up to do an English song with them.  I did okay, but was pretty stiff.  So much for this shot at stardom!

Tonight they & I are going to Linda Lee & Karl's for dinner...should be interesting!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wednesday, September 14th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Well, it's been almost a month since I wrote last, and I can't think of much that was done during this time.  Kim & I went to Osaka several times.  We hit a store that had complete kitchens set up, plus baskets and such.

I've been in Osaka a lot lately, because of the opera I'm doing now.  Last Friday was the first rehearsal of "La Boheme" (with the La Scala Opera).  We rehearsed Friday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and will perform Friday.  It's a lot of fun, and I've met some fun people.  I play a coffee vendor, with another red head, John R., who is from Ireland.

I also "rescued" a girl from Australia, who was being picked up by an Italian chorus member.  We have backstage passes, and its very strict, but interesting.  I push a coffee cart and sell in the 1st scene of the 2nd act & walk around on a raised platform later.

The principles were at yesterdays rehearsal for the first time.  The lead soprano is fabulous!  I'll miss it when its all over.  The strange thing is, though, that I don't utter a sound through the whole thing!

Sunday night I stayed with Kim in Mikage (side paragraph- Mike & Resa, Kim & I moved Kim to Mikage the day before.  She had a lot of stuff & we got lost all day long.  We moved her in, ate at Danny Boy in Sannomiya, then went to B's to get the stuff left for us by someone returning home, then took her back  on the way home got hopelessly lost!  The main highway was closed and it took us 3 1/2 hours for a 1 hour trip.  I got home at 1:30.  They got home at 2:30 (am).).

We have to watch it because men aren't allowed at the apartment building.  But of course I ran into the landlord & his wife on the way out the next morning!

Kim went to Kyoto that same day and I got to Mikage at 8, she at 9:30, so I sat at the train station for 1 1/2 hours.

Monday night I stayed with I's.  It was fun. Carol took me to meet her 3 English students at a coffee shop, & it was a lot of fun!

Tuesday was dress rehearsal.  The conductor was there, & we were warned that if we took pictures, talked, or did anything out of line, he would huff off & we could be there for hours & hours, but all went well & we were out by 7:00.







 There's a lot of sitting when you're an extra!!

I ran to Osaka station, got a train home & got here about 2 hours before "The Messengers" arrived.  2 of the group are staying with me at present.  They sang today in chapel, but that'll be mentioned in my next entry.

They came at 12:30 & I was exhausted, but luckily they wanted to go right to bed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Saturday, August 27th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Well, it's been a long time since I've written, but only a few things have happened since then.

Now it's August 29th and I'm going to finish this....

The farthest thing back that was exciting that I can remember is staying with Nobu and Carol for a couple of days.  I went on a Monday and returned on Wednesday.  During my stay we went to Port Island and shopped and had dinner.

Nobu took me to the port on another day and we caught a crab for Becky.  We went to a sports/shopping area, and I found squares of obi fabric.  I bought 2.  I also found really good apricot, and strawberry tea.

The thing that sticks out the most, however, was going to a Japanese restaurant Nobu and Carol know.  It was good, but I couldn't eat all of the dishes, of which the most repulsive were raw horse meat, and barbecued sparrow yakitori.  Ugh!  I thought they ate these things in poor underdeveloped nations!

Kim stayed over the last night, too.  It was really fun.  Becky & I got to know each other better.  We caught frogs, did hanabe, and played the piano.  She also taught me some kanji.


On Thursday of that week, I went with Kim to Osaka and got a job at OTC.  We ate at a place called Studebakers, which was a 50's American type place.  At OTC I met Mr. M., who I'd heard a lot about, and he hired me on the spot.  I'll make 4,000 yen an hour there.  Of course the added stress may kill me.  My class meets on Wednesdays at 5:30, and I'm not sure I can get there on time, especially on the nights I have marathon faculty meetings during the day.  Ugh!  I'll give it a month though.

Kim and I have found an English church that we like very much.  It's in Rokko, and has bible study, church, and fellowship all on Sunday evening.  The people are very nice, and I think we'll go there a lot, especially since Kim will only live a few minutes away.  It's so nice to understand everything again.  The place is technically Southern Baptist, so it's okay, even though I don't know the hymns!

Kim and I bop to Sannomiya a lot, and this past Friday took Jenny along too.  It was a fun day.  We hit Maruzen, and I bought yet more books.  We also went to a spaghetti place called Hole in the Wall Spaghetti, which was really good.  I had potato bacon spaghetti.

We hit a coffee shop, and went to Kobe Grocers for the first of many to come visits.  They are an international market, with such things as Campbells Soup, Grape Nuts, Hormel Chili, Wheatsworth, Jelly Belly, etc.  What a place.  You can even takubin your stuff home so you don't have to carry it!  We passed an American pub on the way there- Danny Boys, which we're going to take Mike & Resa to next week.  They have lasagna!

Last Saturday Kim and I went to Hamasaka on the coast of the Sea of Japan.  My ear (gland) was giving me trouble so I was in pain most of the trip up & back, but it was a beautiful place, once we finally headed in the right direction.  After laying on the beach for a few hours...

 Squid drying in the sun











...we went on a 1 hour boat ride along the coast & saw lots of neat views of caves, etc. along the coast.


That night, however, I couldn't take it anymore & had Kim call Mike B. to take me to the hospital.  He brought his neighbor and they took me to an ear, nose, throat hospital.  The doctor stuck numerous things in my mouth & down my throat.  I almost threw up twice.  He said I have a throat infection.  All 7 nurses stood around me because I was the only one there.  How embarrassing!  he gave me pills, for which I've gone back once to get a refill of.  So far my throat is better, but the glands in the right sided of my neck are still swollen, and my right ear has been ringing for 4 days now.

Kim & I made a trip to the gomi pile this past Thursday.  She really raked in the loot.  She came away with a t.v., a bicycle, a toaster oven, a hot pot, a tin, a basket, and some dishes.  I got some dishes too- only in Japan!

Saturday Kim & I went to B's for dinner and Trivial Pursuit.  We also played Wheel of Fortune & Jeopardy on his laptop computer.  I won at Trivial Pursuit, which was a really long game, because we'd break off into conversations throughout the game, and not get anywhere!

Resa made a fabulous dinner again with okra, steak, homemade biscuits, and a wonderful peanut butter pie for dessert.  We looked through gospel recordings catalogs and I got some new accompaniment tapes ordered.

Sunday Kim & I met Yukieh at McDonalds and went to watch Satoko perform in a traditional dance concert.  It was very interesting, and we got to see some kabuki beforehand.


We then went to Yukieh's for dinner.  What a trip!  We watched 6 short stories in "The Storyteller" series, and met most of the clan living in Himeji.  My favorite was Yukieh's aunt.  She was really sweet.  I even tried eel at dinner, but ate chicken mostly!  Yukieh's family reminds me of Masano's family.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

We Interrupt 1988 For This Post About MEA Weekend, 2016

So it's now MEA weekend (Minnesota Education Association)...a weekend in which teacher's have the option of spending two day in state association sponsored professional development workshops, or...take a four day weekend.  There are many dedicated souls who choose to go to the workshops, and then there are the rest of us dedicated souls, who just NEED four days to recuperate, recover, and brace for the Halloween to Christmas chaos to come...

Duane and I don't typically travel on MEA weekend, because it's BASICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to fly anywhere because ALMOST EVERYONE IS FLYING SOMEWHERE FOR MEA.  We looked at all of our desired destinations (and laughed a little bit that we even thought we'd get on a flight to one of them).  We looked at all of our "can't get anywhere else, so let's fly here" destinations (and laughed a little bit that we even though we'd get on a flight to one of them).

We ended up taking a "Daycation" (Duane had to work today), and drove to Northfield, Minnesota instead.  Duane found a state park that looked like a cool play to spend a "warmish" fall day, and so we went there, then had lunch and did a little shopping in Northfield.

We started at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park...complete with winding woodland paths, beautiful fall foliage, and a waterfall!



 "Snake Grass"...which we used to find on my grandparents farm!!





















After a DELIGHTFUL morning at the park, we headed into Northfield to find a place for lunch.  Before that, however, we needed to check out a place called Cakewalk.  We've REALLY missed Sweet Bebe Cakes since they closed a few years ago, and were happy to find that, although not exactly like the cupcakes we adored, these were quite nice!

OF COURSE, as happens all too frequently, as we walked in the door, a kid sitting on one of the sofas near the counter shouted out "Mr. S!"  Yep...one of the kindergartners from my school in Hopkins was staying with his grandparents in Northfield, and HAPPENED to be buying cupcakes at the same time as we were...what are the odds??!  He was really excited that he knew someone in Northfield, and, as they were leaving, I heard him say to his grandma "That's so cool!"!!!!

I got to meet his grandma, and we had a nice chat about the area, AND she gave us a great recommendation for a place to go for lunch...the Tavern of Northfield.


The place was packed!  In it's early days the tavern was connected to the stables in which visitors to Northfield stabled their horses....very historic!  I had a delicious baked macaroni and cheese with bacon, and Duane had a chicken parmesan sandwich.  Both were really tasty!

After lunch, we walked along the river for a bit, then checked out an antique store on Main Street, popped into Econofoods to pick up a few things, and headed back to the cities!

Here's hoping YOU were able to take a relaxing, "soul revitalizing" daycation recently too!!!