I can’t believe it has been almost a year since I visited my blog. A few things have happened since then but in some ways not that much has happened. I still have the same job, still doing the same things, mostly. But somethings have definitely changed, and not all for the better. I have not written for pleasure in far too long, consumed as I am with another new thing, working on my Master’s degree. I’m just a little bit past half way through and I’m dying for it to end, even though I’m enjoying the intellectual rigour of it. It kind of gives me something to focus on, to make my days seem less repetitious and boring.

At the same time, though, because of the long hours I’ve had to spend sitting front of the computer, it has definitely made me into even more of a sedentary person than I was becoming before and that has had some unpleasant side effects for my health. I’ve gained more weight, sadly, and it appears as if I’ve started to develop some orthopedic problems, as well. I need to have my life back so I can start the process of doing more exercising and sorting out my physical self.

Mentally, well, that has always been a crap shoot, especially in recent years. I’ve always had a tendency to live inside my own head, far too much so, I know, and living by myself for so many years has not improved that. Nowadays I’m very much caught in the ‘what next’ syndrome. What next after the degree ends? What next re leaving or staying in Japan? What next in terms of finally, maybe, finding to share my life with? So many questions, so few answers and so little time…

I heard some news about my cousin today…..shocking and sad….Always expect the unexpected…Meanwhile, my brother soldiers on caught betwixt and between with his daughter’s mom…my sis and my mom…the never ending story. Family can be a trial….

Still, in all things give thanks. M I&O students this year are a good bunch and I honestly wish the term was longer so we could bond more. So much for them to learn, so little time to teach them. Again, the never-ending story.

The pic of the woolly mammoth skeleton is from a trip to the Natural History Museum in Ueno, Tokyo with my EIP students two years ago.





That was the week that was!

This last week has been a bit of a roller coaster and I’m largely glad it has come to an end. While school has been largely ok I have been troubled by ill health, in a week, ironically enough, when I celebrated my birthday.

As per usual whenever the weather starts to get colder, my asthma flares up and had me coughing like a crazy person and because of which I had to miss school and go to the doctor. On top of that I contracted a cold and on Friday I also got a toothache. On the bright side, it was my birthday on Saturday and it was nice to have my friends write to me and wish me a Happy Birthday.  Of course the week had to end almost as badly as it started, as on Saturday night I cut my finger rather badly on a broken drinking glass.

On the plus side, again, this last week also saw me resuming my own studies and although I’ve enjoyed getting back into the swing of things with that, studying and coughing is not a fun experience and I don’t recommend it!

I’m just hoping that I don’t get sick again during this winter time but I’m not counting on it. After all, it has only just begun! Fingers crossed, though…

A crazy weekend…and planes!

Sometimes I wish that my weekends were a week long, especially on weekends like this one when I have so much to do.  For some reason this weekend, just after exams, is also the same weekend when I have a lot of baking to do for an event on Monday and juggling dealing with grading and running in and out of the kitchen is a balancing act that is wearing me out!

One saving grace, however, is reading in their Reflections, the comments from my students about their experience during this half term. For any teacher it is always priceless to receive feedback from students so you can have an idea of whether or not you are actually managing to teach them anything; if you are being at all effective.  The greatest joy a teacher can have is the realization that they have had, and are having, a positive impact on their students. I’m daring to hope that, based on what they have written, that they have learned a few things in my lessons, and for that I’m happy. I’ll keep trying to explain things to them and try to engage them as best as I can. I have never regarded myself as the greatest teacher in the world but I do try and I do care.

The term is at its half way mark and I’m hoping that the second half of the term will be even better than the first half. Now, if I can only finish baking all those cakes in time I’ll be happy!

On a completely different note, below are pictures of aircraft that I took at an air show I attended in Tottori when I lived there some years ago. I really love aircraft and I dream, still, of learning to fly a plane some day.  I haven’t figured out how to caption individual pics yet so I’ll have to just identify them in the next two paragraphs. In the first two pictures below, people are going into and out of the belly of a C5 Galaxy Starlifter aircraft which is one of the largest military aircraft in the world. These monsters are used to transport large quantities of things and/or people. They can carry, for example, other aircraft, tanks, missiles and large quantities of cargo. Below the first pic is an exterior shot of the front end of the plane. Another pic of people going in and out of this plane is further down.  I can’t remember the exact model of the yellow biplane just below those but I do remember that the guy who flew it did some seriously amazing aerobatic stunts in it. His flying ability was unbelievable and it is breathtaking how maneuverable  – and fast! -this small plane is.

The helicopter below the biplane is a Japan Air Self Defence Force Chinook helicopter. It is a US made aircraft and they are huge, hence the need for two rotors rather than one. They are workhorses and are used for transporting anything and everything, from troops to small vehicles. With two huge rotors they are also very noisy! You can see and hear them flying across Tokyo’s skies occasionally. The last pic is of the Japan Air Self Force Blue Impulse aerobatics team climbing into the sky. Their formation flying and stunts were a delight to watch. Those guys are good,perhaps as good as the Royal Air Force Red Arrows or the US Air Force Thunderbirds.

That air show was great and I enjoyed it thoroughly. My dream is to visit the Farnborough Airshow some day, and also to watch the Red Bull Air Race. Farnborough, held in the UK, is an annual event and is one of the biggest air shows in the world. Red Bull Air Races are held around the world every year, including here in Japan, in Chiba. The tickets are very expensive, though, so I guess I’ll better start saving up for tickets…!




Weekend blues


We long for them and we live for them and most of the time when they come along we are overjoyed and look to make the most of them. I’m no different. It is a time to rest, relax and forget the week that went before, particularly of that week was not an especially great one. But sometimes when the weekend arrives it kind of leaves us a little cold, particularly of we have to work, or if the weather is bad, or if we have no available cash to spend. This weekend was a little of all of the above.

I had to teach all day on Saturday, which meant that I was unable to meet with friends as I had wished. Still, teaching a group of only six students does have its advantages, as you can work quite closely and give extra attention to each of them. I also did manage to catch up on some sleep this weekend, which has definitely helped.

Next weekend promises to be a lot more fun than this one has. There will be no teaching and there will perhaps, be at least one fun trip, to Enoshima to see the fireworks. I look forward to it.


First day!!!

It is kind of ironic that I am a writer but I have never actually been a blogger. I suppose being a child of the 1970s, pre-blogging or pre-historic days for some, I never was introduced to blogging as a child or when I was in high school, so I never got into it. Still, it is good to have another venue or outlet for expression other than just through my writings. It should be fun doing this, I think. Let’s see how it goes. I also look forward to seeing the things that my students write. They are a very smart set of young people with lots of different personalities, ideas and interests and I can already see how their personalities are reflected in the stuff they write.