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!!!

Friday, October 21, 2016

We Interrupt 1988 For This Post About Emilie's Trip Home and Mom and Dad's Visit!

Emilie was home for the first time since leaving for her Sophomore year of college in August.  Although it was a quick visit, and I only got to see her twice, it was GREAT to have her home.

Mom and dad drove up on Sunday to see her (and us!), and they all came over for dinner on Sunday night.  I made Italian Beef Stew with Ravioli, and we had a GREAT time hanging out, and catching up!!!

Here's hoping YOU were able to reconnect with loved ones recently too!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Monday, August 8th, 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 I met Kim and Jenny at 31.  We shopped for awhile, then ate at McDonalds.  Then we went to the castle.  Jenny left to watch fireworks at Tegarayama & Kim & I met Barrett & watched classical Noh theater by firelight in front of the castle.  It is the Castle Festival now, or was Saturday & Sunday.  After watching Noh for awhile I came home.

Yesterday I met Kim and her friend Gary at 1 at Himeji Station.  We toured the castle & shopped.  Chinatsu was playing taiko in the parade, so we watched her for awhile and were leered at & "accosted" by a bunch of men wearing diapers (men in a float wearing traditional clothes, or lack thereof).

We went to a shrine and joined the gaijin portion of the parade.  Kim didn't register, so they only had Canada t-shirts left & we didn't want to be separated, so I held a fan over my American flag t-shirt & rode in the Canada jeep with her and a lady from Himeji & Chinastu, who jumped on later.  It was fun.  We were on the news as Canadians & followed a group of wild Brazilian dancers.  They were great, gorgeous, and really nice.

As we rode down Miyuki Dori, all of the shop keepers of stores I frequent waved.  They guys at the coffee shop even ran out with ice cream for us.  Daiei tourist shop, Maruzen, Pizzeria Miyuki, the coffee shop & a clothing store all waved.  Afterwards we ran into Aya & a friend.  They tagged along for awhile & then Kim & I left.  We went to K's & watched "Somewhere in Time" complete with dumb ending.

Today Michiyo took Kim & I to a yukata/kimono exhibit.  Kim bought material & "making" and I bought an obi & under tie.  The cloth for kimono & obi was beautiful, and I wanted to buy one to drape over a stand in my apartment in America, but the one I wanted cost 450,000 yen- expensive!  It was really fun though.

Today is a momentous occasion...8/8/88.  That won't happen again for 100 years.

Kim, Michiyo & I also shopped.  Kim was the big buyer with a 28,000 yen yukata, a 10,000 yen chair & table set, and a 3,000 yen clothes rack.  I got off cheap with an 8,500 yen obi & a 3,000 yen t-shirt.

I don't think I'm going to Hong Kong because M. still hasn't called & I don't know if I have enough money now!