Sep 30, 2008

On Sunday I ended up walking a total of 29 kilometers, the most yet and the level that I will need on the Henro Pilgrimage. Yesterday, Monday, I rested all day and recovered from a bit of a hangover. The reason for drinking was that I MCed a meeting of the local language teacher's association and gave a short presentation myself. After the meeting, 14 of us went to an izakaya, a Japanese style drinking and eating establishment. We ate and drank and had a wonderful time, but I drank a decanter of wine and felt it yesterday morning.

The weather has finally changed a bit. We are having more sunny days and less clouds and rain. This is the sun shining on the buildings of the police station (special police force) that is across the street from our condo.

This is a nearby park (my condo is about 2 kilometers behind the big building). The people are college students having a cookout, a big fling before the new semester gets started in earnest.

Sep 28, 2008


I have not posted anything for a while because I have been very busy. My wife was sick for a couple of days and that upset the schedule for taking care of my granddaughter. Also I have started classes and have had to spend time preparing classes for the week as well as organizing the whole semester. Additionally two of my universities have started organizing schedules for the next academic year (beginning in April) and I have had to communicate with them to insure that the classes do not conflict. Both of the universities, by the way, asked me to teach additional classes. I accepted at one and turned the other down.

Tomone is getting bigger every day. It is really interesting watching her learn new things. Yesterday for the first time that we have noticed, she was trying to coordinate her hands and eyes. Also she is practicing 'talking' and making all sorts of loud noise as she looks at something. Oh, yes, she has almost learned to turn over. She gets all the way over but ends up with one hand trapped under her body. I figure that within a few days of learning how to deal with that hand she will be crawling.

In just a few minutes I will be leaving for a 20 km walk with Ian and then this afternoon I will be the MC at a meeting of Sendai JALT (the Sendai Chapter of the Japan Association of Language Teachers). Following the meeting, we will probably go out for supper and a few drinks. I hope to walk home (about 8 km) and get a good workout today. Tomorrow will be my last free Monday for a while as classes start at Tohoku U on October 6.

Sep 22, 2008

More rain

A typhoon passed just to the south of us, giving us a good drenching that we did not really need. After typhoons blow past, we normally have a day or two of beautiful weather, but this time the typhoon rains were followed by more rain. Yesterday when I went out for my walk, it was still raining.

This is the Izumi Dome, used mainly for high school sports. Seating is limited to a couple of thousand, so it is used for sports that are only important to the athletes themselves.

I took the pictures from the top of the bridge that I have discussed previously. It was raining hard, so I held the camera in one hand and my umbrella in the other - quite a balancing act.

On the way home, I passed the intersection of a current back road with the old foot highway and found that someone had decorated the stele with fresh flowers.

You can find this sort of thing throughout Japan - little stone statues or memorials, often related to a fatal accident, where someone comes and places flowers and other offerings.

Sep 21, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

I have been really busy and tired for the last couple of weeks. I have been averaging close to 10 km a day of walking, much of it on hills and strenuous enough that I am constantly tired. Also school has started and I have the stress of getting organized for the semester. At least the classes so far are with the same students that I had during the first semester. I won't have any new students until October 1st, which makes things a little easier. Finally Tomone is still running our lives.

Actually Tomone is a very happy, easy to take care of child. She smiles easily and frequently, only cries when something is seriously wrong, and is developing patience. We can now tell her that we are making her milk and she will stop fussing and wait patiently until it comes. She also has apparently decided that, when she leaves the house, she has to be on her best behavior, so Naomi is taking her shopping and for walks. Tomone seems fascinated by all the sights and sounds.

I have drawn a couple of new pictures, using ink and pencil with a little watercolor on one of them. Starting on October 4 my art class will have a two week exhibit in the culture center where we have classes. All the other students will have one or two pictures hung, but the teacher has selected five of mine to be in it. Yesterday I started a new picture - piles of rope in a shipyard. When finished it will more or less be a still life since I have included on the various ropes and not the shipyard or the dock.

This morning, as soon as I post this, I am going for a 10 km walk and after I get back Masayo has promised to make pancakes.

Sep 16, 2008

Tomone and her new book

Tomone is definitely part of the family. This picture shows her at age 2 1/2 months with her new picture book. She stares at the picture and 'talks' to the book by making strange noises at it, just as she does with people. She is beginning to make different sets of noises for different things: being hungry, her mobile toy stopped, etc.

Sep 15, 2008

Respect for the Aged Day

Today is a holiday keironohi (/kay row no he/), Respect for the Aged Day. However, I am not sure I qualify because most of the stuff in the paper talked about people over 70 and I am not quite there yet.

I have not made an entry in this blog for quite a while. I have been very busy. Last week classes began so I had planning for the new semester as well as individual lesson plans to develop. Also last Wednesday Kyoko came from Tokyo and then on Friday she drove Naomi and Tomone home to Kawasaki. Saturday night was the annual BBQ that one of our friends puts on, so I was up until 2 a.m. after eating and drinking much too much. It was a great time though so it was worth it.

Next month my art class is having another two-week long show in the NHK Culture Center and the teacher asked me to submit five drawings for a special 'Charlie Corner'. The other students will have only one or two pictures hung. This means that I have had to spend a lot of time finishing up the pictures, making up titles, etc.

All of that has kept me very busy but I am also walking more than two hours a day, on average. This morning I walked 18.5 km, up the hill to Ian's house and back. Returning home, I took the back roads and passed right in front of the Kannon Tower. It was cloudy so this color picture looks almost like a black and white photo. To get a sense of the size of the tower, notice the windows on the right shoulder and the right side of the chest. These are about a meter square.

On one of the back roads I was very surprised to find this Baptist church. There are not very many Christians here so the buildings are not very big but it was well maintained. Most of the limited number of churches in Sendai, in fact in Japan, are not well maintained because they do not have much money coming in. The Cathoics have a number of churches around but there are only a few other denominations.

Also on the way, I passed some rice paddies that came right up to the edge of the road. This picture shows the rice growing out of the standing water. The tops of the plants reachs to about half way between my knees and my waste.

Sep 3, 2008

New Drawing

This is a very poor copy of my latest picture. The paper is actually white but the camera insisted on making it gray. It is a Japanese farmhouse and was done with ink and graphite.

I am beginning to truly like working in ink and graphite. The ink allows shape strong lines that are not available with pencil and the graphite allows for shading that is not possible with ink alone.

Sep 2, 2008

It is still raining

The rain from our balcony at about 10:30 this morning. I walked with Ian this morning, about 15 kilometers and had to use an umbrella most of the time.

We had a little sun yesterday morning but it was gone by noon, so I did not get to enjoy it. Sunday night I went to OctoberFest and did not get home until 2 a.m. I normally got to sleep about 9 p.m. and get up around 4 a.m. Yesterday I managed to sleep until 5 so I was pretty much out of it all day. Also at the OctoberFest I consumed a substantial amount of German wine and that slowed me down a little bit yesterday.

As for the rain, this is just like the spring Rainy Season. No one can remember a summer that had this much bad weather. There is one good side to it, though. It is not hot.