Sunday, July 31, 2016

Monday, June 20th, 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 was my only day off this week.  It was not really that restful, however.  I washed dishes, vacuumed, dusted, did laundry, straightened, grocery shopped, scrubbed, etc.

I also me Misuzu, Tomomi, and Sachiko at the castle to go to Royal Host for lunch.  Misuzu spilled her drink and acted like a child, which she is prone to do.  Sachiko was "leechy", and Tomomi was great!  She's very nice.

I had a Japanese lesson today...ack!  I've forgotten a lot of it, and Yukari went pretty doggone fast!  So now I have to remember how to study again!

I bought new slippers (alas I had to part with my first purchased slippers- which I liked very much!)

I also found great chopsticks with wrappings resembling tuxedos and cocktail dresses- very chic!

I bought 2 cloth apples at zoo, for my "teacher persona".  Sachiko brought 2 pictures from when I was here 4 years ago- ugh!

I found a cute scissors/hole punch/cutter/screwdrivers/pen/pencil kit packaged in a tape case that I'm going to buy as stocking stuffers for mom, dad, Robin, and Steph.

 I still have mine!!!

So, it wasn't much of a rest day!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sunday, June 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.

Today was too busy for words.  I went to Hinomoto at 9:45, then taped my koto music together, grabbed my sambika, and went to Koro church, then ran back to Hinomoto for koto practice before the concert.


Machiko sensei and the koto girls!

The koto performance was really bad.  The kotos were out of tune, we all got lost in the music, and I was so nervous!  After the koto concert (Mr. M. and I did a pretty bad job on our duet too)(but I'm a gaijin, so I can get away with it).

After the koto concert I ran out to the karaoke festival, where I was the special guest, and knocked 'em dead with "Rise Again".  At least they looked like they enjoyed it.




my koto sensei!

Ree and me!

 Chinatsu

Then I watched Kidsland, more karaoke (Chinatsu was after me and she was great!), cleaned my office, etc.

At 4 we started taking things down.  I cut my finger.  It was actually fun taking things down!

I had to leave at 6 to go to M's for dinner and English class.  We talked socially most of the time and discussed future plans of the class.  Next fall I'm upping it to 2 classes a month.

I went back to school after, but they were done with everything.

the "clean up" crew!!

Mrs. Y. brought me home after.  We had a great ride...I think she's warming up to me!  She's actually very nice, and first impressions shouldn't set permanent opinions of someone.

Today is Father's Day I was reminded a few hours ago!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Saturday, June 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.

Well, today was technically my day off, but I had to go to school for the 2nd day of festival.  I rode in with K's, for Joyful Noise practice at 10, but as usual people poo-pooed until 10:30, then we realized we sang at 11:00 (actually it turned out to be 11:30) and rushed through everything.  The show sucked consequently, added to this was Karl's totally weird outfit, and the decision to wear dumb hats...my professionalism is really going to dive with these people!

After the concert we listened to Crestos.  Sachiko gave her testimony.  She did a good job!  I met Mrs. I. (Nobu's wife.  She's really nice!).  I also got to see M's son.  He's two, and adorable!!

Mr. M. & I practiced our duet (koto & shamisen).  It'll be...interesting!  Then, I had a 1-2 hour koto rehearsal for tomorrow.  (I'm so nervous!)

Machiko sensei had a Peter Rabbit exhibit set up, so now I'm very interested in Beatrix Potter and some books about her.  I also want to see a ballet made in the 70's about Peter Rabbit.  It was made in England, and looks very interesting.

I rode the train home for Kayo T's lesson at 6.  It went well, and she brought me dinner.  Curry croquettes, with hamburger in them & a tangy soy sauce.  Yum!  How thoughtful!  I must get the recipe!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Friday, June 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.

Today was unusually busy for a Friday.  I rode the train in with Mr. M., we left Koro eki and were taken to school by Mr. F.  I then went to the chapel to set up.  I spoke & sang at high school chapel.  I practiced my solo with Mr. M. and Mr. N., then went to a long chapel assembly to kick off festival '88.



I ate lunch, then practiced w/Joyful Noise (we really suck with a certain periodical attender...).

I practiced koto, then came home to teach my English class at Megumi.  I have another new student.  My enrollment is around 9 or 10 now.

Misuzu came back from Tsuyama last night.  She brought me a bonsai, some chocolate cookies, and two set of postcards!  Nice!

I listened to part of a synthesizer concert, bought a Japanese "Winnie the Pooh" book, some dessert sticks, and a coke at various student booth today.

All in all it was a crazy day.  With festival starting people were really high strung.

I catted with Chinatsu, Tomomi, Tomoko, Mari K., etc. before chapel as they were making sandwiches for their booth.  We were all high strung then!  (I calmed down after chapel, however).

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thursday, June 16th, 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 was a total waste.  Because of festival the girls were totally unmotivated in class today.  I finally just gave up & we played an English game.  Some of those girls just make me crazy!

I graded papers for the rest of the day, then went out to help with festival preparations.  I had a nice talked with Mr. N.  He's very nice!

I practiced koto, then came home.  I've been reading "Goddess", about Marilyn Monroe and am so frustrated.  The author is so wordy...let's get it over with I keep thinking.  I've also lost much respect for John F. Kennedy and Marilyn herself from what I've read, as well as Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra (who I've never liked anyway), and Sammy Davis Jr.

I feel desperately lonely right now, and although I do like it here, I miss Iowa very much.

Worrying about my plane ticket, paying for it, living on what's left until the next payday, etc. is taking its toll.  Zits, restless nights, upset stomach.  I keep saying I need to leave it to God, but I"m not following my advice!  I hope I survive until the actual ticket is in my hand!

Monday, July 25, 2016

We Interrupt 1988 for This Post About Mary Poppins and Kim's Visit!!!


photo by Jeanne Berget

This past weekend was the opening of the musical I've been rehearsing since early June..."Mary Poppins".  I'm playing the role of Mr. Banks, and it's been an amazing exploration of this character...his motivations...his regrets...his transformation.

The director pulled me aside after opening night, and said that she'd talked with several people who thought this was one of the best/deepest/most thoughtful characters I've played (this is my seventh show with this theater group).

It was a great compliment, and, I would have to say I agree...Mr. Banks is written very well, and I've put a lot of time and effort into portraying him as a "real" person...faults and all.  It's EXHAUSTING, but it's been worth it!  The "yell-y" angry stuff is easy (I, apparently, have a lot of inner rage!), but the softer stuff in act II has been challenging.

I've always wished that I had the ability to cry on stage...as so many actors seem to be able to do.  It was a rewarding breakthrough at dress rehearsal when, in the scene where Jane and Michael give Mr. Banks (their father) the coins they received from a customer at the bank, I started tearing up. 

So far, I've managed to produce real tears at the end of that scene for every performance.  It adds a touching nuance to the scene, and my director told me that I made HER cry each night while watching it.  I need to be careful though, because at yesterday's matinee, I had a hard time reigning it in enough to say my final line!!

Here's a photo that sums up my character (in act I, at least), taken by my friend, and AMAZING photographer Jeanne Berget:

This weekend's run was full of fun, and laughter, and...exhaustion!  Many friends came to see the show, including my cousin Kim, who was in town for a marathon, and came to stay with me afterwards, so that she could see the show.

It was SO MUCH FUN to have her here!  We had a chance to catch up BEFORE the show, then, after the Saturday night performance, we met my friends Lynn and Rick at the Tamarack Tap Room for a late dinner and drinks.



Sunday morning, we met Lynn and Rick again (and Duane joined us this time!) at Junior's Cafe & Grill for breakfast before Kim headed home.






Now I have two days "off" to rest my voice (which is a little fried!)...catch up on all of the stuff I've let slide over the last two months...and get ready for our final run of FIVE performances!!!!

Here's hoping YOU are doing something "exhaustingly fun" too!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Wednesday, June 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 (yesterday) I have been in the worst mood!  It was okay until the staff meeting, which lasted 4 hours.  I was so angry and frustrated after that, that all I did was read for the rest of the night- nothing else.

It was another day when I felt like everyone was dumping on me.  Linda Lee tried to dump another English class off on me, even Robin was asking for something.  Karl said something to make me even more desirous of breaking away.

The day was basically a loss:  prayer mtng., chapel, the monstrous faculty mtng., etc. to add to my frustration, after 1 1/2 hours "discussing" the new building, they decided to further discuss in another meeting next week...how insanely stupid!  Everyone has to voice their opinion, and argue, before anything can be done- ack!

Misuzu D. called.  She's in Okayama because her grandfather is sick.  I've got to wean her away...she's too often talking or visiting me.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Tuesday, June 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.

Today I taught my 3 classes.  I fluffed through my E.C. II classes with games, etc. because Karl drags his lessons, and is way behind.  I can't keep it up much longer- ho hum!

Chinatsu stopped by before school to chat.  Lunch club met.

Karl said it was possible to get even cheaper tickets to America, so we'll see :-).  God continue to help me!

Practiced koto, student was 45 min. late to let me in.  "Chatted" with Mrs. Y the P.E. teacher.  She's definitely odd!  But, has personality!!!

Have been thinking of Cathy J. all day.  She's been in the air all day on her way home- I'm so jealous!

Sent back a letter to Ruth G. saying I wasn't interested in "Special service worker" unless I already agreed to it.

Pictures didn't turn out for Steph's card, so bought & mailed one instead.

That is all.  Thank you. (humorous phrase, at the end of the final report in E.C. II book).

Friday, July 22, 2016

We Interrupt 1988 (Yet Again!) For This Post About Fairfield!!!

In the middle of the chaos involved with the weekend before tech week for a show I'm in (I'll post about that later...), and immediately following a promotional event at Jerry's Foods in Woodbury for that show (see previous post), Duane and I made a SUPER QUICK trip to Fairfield to see my friend Tena in "Beauty and the Beast".

We left at 2:30 on Saturday afternoon (after I got home from Jerry's and showered to wash the mega gel and Aqua Net out of my extremely slicked down and conservative Mr. Banks hair), and arrived in Fairfield around 8:00. 

On the way, we stopped in Ankeny for Maid Rites...because it's required...

...then got to Tena and Andrew's, dropped off our luggage, and headed out to look around town.  I haven't been there since last August, and there were a few changes...the Chocolate Cafe has closed...the art display around the square is "little libraries"...and my laundromat is now in the process of becoming "The Lord's Cupboard"...a local food bank.

We stopped at Everybody's so that I could stock up on my friend Debbie's "Cookies From the Heart" chunk chocolate peanut butter cookies (and other goodies the store carries)...

 ...drove around for a little while longer, then went home to wait for Tena and Andrew to get home from the Saturday night performance.

They got home around 10:30, and we stayed up chatting until about 1:15. 

On Sunday, we had brunch at Ila...my favorite restaurant in town, hung out at the house for a bit, stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up a few things, then picked up our dear friend Carol and went to the show.  Tena played Mrs. Potts, and Andrew was the narrator and the insane asylum owner.  The show was delightful, and Tena stole the show when she sang the theme song in act II.  Andrew also OWNED his scene with Gaston as they plotted to put Belle's father away so that Gaston could marry Belle.




After seeing lots of old friends, we made a stop at Hy-Vee (also a requirement while in town), then headed back to the house, and, when Tena and Andrew were finished striking the set, attempted to go back to Ila for dinner.  Unfortunately, they (and every other place we wanted to go) were closed on Sunday night.  After MUCH deliberating (and Duane spending a BUNCH of time on his iPod looking at reviews) ended up at Torino's, a local pizza and steak place, which really IS a local institution.


After dinner we tried to go to the new tap room on 4th street, but the music for the evening was a drum circle, and, after walking in the door and seeing the walls reverberating with the sound, opted for a quick trip to the Dairy Bar for ice cream instead.

We then went back to the house, and watched an episode of "The Great British Baking Show" before retiring (relatively) early.

Monday morning we got up, packed, said our farewells, then made a quick stop at Caribou for coffee.  We left town, with a quick stop at Jaarsma Bakery in Pella for Dutch pastries and photo ops in City Park...









...met my aunt Doris and cousin John Todd for lunch at Perkins in Ankeny...

...and arrived back in the cities with enough time for me to do some laundry and clean a bit before heading to rehearsal.

A super quick, but REALLY FUN, trip "home"!

Here's hoping YOU were able to reconnect with dear friends recently too!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

We Interrupt 1988 (Again!) For This Post About a "Mary Poppins" Promotion!!!

I'm currently in rehearsals for a production of "Mary Poppins" with a theater company in Woodbury, Minnesota.  We open this Friday, and it's been a grueling, challenging, exhausting, but SUPER FUN experience!  I'll post more about the show after the run has ended, but I wanted to share a few photos from a really fun promotional event we participated in at Jerry's Foods this past Saturday.



To be honest, I was dreading it...I LOVE acting, and being on stage, but I DON'T like being outside that space as my character...it seems odd...and is very "improvisational" (a skill at which I don't particularly excel).

The store had stations set up for kids to meet the cast and do a craft...make a kite...string Cheerios to feed the birds...etc. 

I hung out at one of the tables for awhile, but Christina, who plays Mrs. Banks to my Mr. Banks, and I just weren't moving with the groove, so decided to wander the store and greet people.

Once we positioned ourselves by the gourmet cheese counter near the entrance, things changed for the better.  We ROCKED it as greeters!  We were loud.  We were a little bit obnoxious.  We spoke in our BEST British accents, and, except for the shy customers we scared out of  their wits (and who, we noticed, took the long route around the back side of the deli area to avoid interacting with us), were well received.   Lisa, one of the workers in the cheese department, was DELIGHTFUL, and really enjoyed having us there.

 In addition to greeting people as they came in, and directing them to the crafts and goodies, we promoted whatever we could find around us...the cheeses (although we couldn't get ANYONE to buy the pearl mozzarella...)...the corn on the cob across the aisle from us...more of the cheeses...







We also yelled encouragement to any employee walking by...the ladies sampling salad dressing near us...and any shopper who needed help...it was a HOOT!

Favorite phrases/interactions of the day: 
  • "Welcome to Jerry's.  If you're here to see Mary Poppins, continue on, and turn left at the jellies!!!"
  • Customer, after being greeted heartily:  "Oh...are you the Jerry's?"  To which we replied..."Yes...yes we are...welcome to our empire!"
  • Flipping SEVEN or EIGHT cabbages (and two bunches of bananas) into the cart of one poor cast member who brought his family in to buy groceries.  We saw them later in the frozen foods and continued to "help" them shop.  After we moved on, his five year old said "Daddy, I want to go with those people".
It was a super fun time, and those cheese people really know what they are doing...I ended up buying $18.00 worth of cheese before I left (but no pearl mozzarella...)!!

Here's hoping YOU were able to participate in something fun recently too!!!!