Tuesday, July 31, 2012


We went to the beach on Sunday.  The first time in years. I'm not over keen on Japanese beaches, they all seem to be dirty, over crowded and full of idiots that think throwing beer bottles on the beach is the right way to dispose of them.  But Hannah really wanted to go.  The last time she went she was only 2 years old and doesn't remember.  So early Sunday morning I packed a few sandwiches, snacks and bottles of water and headed to Keya Beach.  It took about 2 hours drive to get there. We arrived just after 9 o'clock, there were already a lot of people  there and already very hot!!  We paid to sit at table in the shade.  It was the same place we used 8 years ago, the guy running the place remembered us.  That was nice!

The place we rented a space from, the service is good, free showers with hot water!!

Nobody was swimming, the boys weren't interested and poor Hannah, who really wanted to swim, still had a bad cough and I didn't want to risk her getting any sicker.  We spent about 2hours there, everybody, except Christopher, had a little paddle.  Hannah got her first shaved ice, I think that was the highlight for her.

Shaved ice!!!!!
We left at a good time, as we were driving away a big party of young adults arrived, and cars were backed up for a while.  Nice day out, but somehow exhausting!

Few random photos from the day.

Friday, July 27, 2012

What a week

This has been a very hard.  Nothing major but lots of little happenings.
Poor Hannah has had the worse luck since the beginning of the summer holidays.  The cough that she has is really hanging on, nights are the worse.  The other night she coughed for 3 hours without stopping.  Poor thing was rather blue after that bout and I was rather scared, it is not nice listening to her hack away.  Back to the doctors, more medicine.  She is still coughing but not so bad. During all that she managed to loosen one of her baby teeth, it's been loose for a while, but she said it was in the way.  So she was pushing it with her tongue to get it out when it broke.  Great!!!  Just what I need at 2am,  Hannah panicking with blood running down her face.  I had a look but couldn't get the other piece out, so off to the dentist.  She got 3 teeth pulled.  Christopher was very sweet.  While Hannah was at the dentist he made a little soft toy for her.  In Japan sewing is taught to all students and they are expected to make something.  I was very surprised with what he made, no pattern, just cut and sew.  I can't sew at all. maybe that has to go on my list of things to do!!

This is what Christopher made and below Christopher showing it off

The two big boys both wearing orange T-shirts.
In other news David managed to break my oven.  I don't know how he does these things.  It isn't on purpose but he does seem to have a lot of accidents.  I'm upset about the oven.  I love to bake and had planned on doing some baking this weekend.  Never mind, the oven was on it's last legs and would of needed replacing soon.

Also I have started to update my other blog   This is more about teaching.  If I ever figure out how I will put work sheets on there.  Please have a look.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Of coughs, cockroaches, parties and stumble upon

The past few days have been rather interesting.  I still have a cough from that summer cold I had two weeks ago. I'm not coughing as much as before but the cough is SCARY.  Coughing forces air out of your lungs, then you need to breathe in to get air back in.  But the last few days when I cough it feels as though my throat is closing off and I can't breathe.  From research on the web, (where else?) I have found the best way is to relax and breathe through my nose.  Sounds easy but it is very difficult to remember in the middle of a panic.  And because misery loves company both Christopher and Hannah have started to cough.  Hannah has been sleeping in my room the past few nights, she prepares me a bag for the night, a bottle of water, tissues and a towel.  The other night she woke up every time I coughed and took care of me.  Sweet!!  Last night was her turn to be sick, she coughed for about 3 hours.  Today we went to the doctors, I have asthma, Hannah maybe a cold!!  Great fun.

Talking about fun, or maybe not really fun, was the return of the cockroach or his friend.  Another monster found its way into the house.  Just in the entrance, above the door. David, being very clever, got a chair, stood on it and sprayed the cockroach.  The stupid thing flew at him and he fell off the chair, poor kid, I'm shouting "Have you got it, where is it?"  David looked at me and asked "What about me, I fell off the chair?"  My answer was "But David you are always falling off things."   The cockroach is still on the loose, I am being very careful!!

The kids have finished the first term of school.  So we had a party on Sunday, we ate nice food and watched a movie.  I feel that time is passing so fast and I want to celebrate things. even just getting through a term at school is something to celebrate. 
I spent a lot of time in the kitchen (thank God for air conditioners and fans).  I made some zucchini pizza bites.  I got the idea here      I changed them a bit to fit what I had in the fridge, but they were nice.

Party food, middle of top photo are rhe zucchini pizza

Hannah helping with the cupcakes
Finally for today I found the 'Stumble upon' web page.  Very dangerous.  I spent hours the other day.  It is too easy to start following links.  But I have found some great sites!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Tomorrow starts the summer holidays for the kids.  I am sure this is some sort of trick, where has the first half of this year gone to?  I'm really having a hard time believing that it is the last half of July.
Summer holidays here are hard, the weather makes it impossible for the kids to get out much.  My memories of summer holidays were long days walking the hills near my house, or playing in the garden.  But with temperatures over 30C that is rather difficult.  We try to get out, there is a nice water park near here which is fun.  Other than that late evening walks with the dog are our chance to get out.  So what to do when the "I'm bored" whining starts.  I don't want the kids on the games all day everyday.  This year I am going crafty, Hannah is at the age to learn sewing, knitting etc.  I can't really sew so we can learn together.  Christopher is in the last year of junior high school so his summer will be made up of a lot of study, he has to choose his high school and prepare for the entrance tests.  The term examination hell really makes sense as the tension increases as the tests get nearer.  I'm going crazy and I'm not taking the test!!  But I also hope to spend time with him, he needs to learn to cook and since I will be making 3 meals a day it's a good chance!  Also we have a 1000 piece puzzle to do. 

A few random pictures from the last week or so

Hannah on the way to school. Monday mornings she has so much to take

The dog  Lucky

A tori no where?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Marine Day

Yesterday was a national holiday in Japan, Marine Day or Ocean Day.  There is a little article about it on Wikipedia
I always thought the idea for the national holiday was to make people take a day off.  Japanese are real workaholics and won't take a vacation unless they have to.  The younger generation of Japanese are more laid back but the older Japanese seem to have no other interest other than work.
We stayed home.  I thought about going somewhere but most places near here were recovering from the awful storms of last week.  Some places got hit really bad plus there is now a typhoon (number 7 of the season) heading this way.  I think we will spared the worst of it, looks like it will stay over the sea but probably a load of rain....again.  I don't mind the rain, it cools things down and the plants get watered but having a load of laundry that won't dry drives me crazy.  My washing machine has a dryer function on it but if I use it too much my electric bill sky rockets (and I would much rather run the air conditioner!).  Also the rain has been accompanied by terrible thunder storms.  Last Friday we had a thunder storm that lasted all day.   So not fun.

I'm still trying out some new recipes.  Last week I made chicken with ginger, Worcestershire sauce and sake.Nice change from the usual soya taste.

This was really easy to do.  Pan fry the chicken, remove from the pan, fry sliced ginger, add Worcestershire sauce and sake, add the chicken and cook until the liquid has evaporated. 
I also made chocolate pudding, very yummy.  The recipe is from this web page
Some of the recipes on there look really yummy and simple.  And when the temperature is in the mid 30C's simple is best.

Our garden is really taking off, thanks to all the rain.  Our green curtain is covering most of the windows and we even have some Goya to harvest.

Something else growing, not sure what...pumpkin??
The green curtain

These are lovely flowers that just appeared

This is the last week of school before the summer holidays start.  I have a lot to do as I would love to get the house clean and organised before having everybody at home for the next 6 weeks.  It is easier to keep some kind of order that way.  But it is hot, it is only 9am and I'm already too hot.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The midnight cockroach fight

This cough is now driving me crazy.  I am a lot better but still coughing, not as often, but it is really heavy when I start.  One big problem is getting enough sleep.  I drop off but am woken every hour or so coughing.
The other night I gave up trying to sleep.  About 1am I came down and started to watch TV.  Mikey came down and offered to make some tea.  Tea always helps.  While he was making the tea Mikey saw a massive cockroach race across the room.  He put the light on and spent the next few minuets looking for it.  I'm sitting there, sipping my tea, I hadn't seen the monster yet.  Mikey then tells me to look at the wall, there crawling slowly was the biggest cockroach I had ever seen.  That's when the screaming and jumping around started, even sick I could really move it.  Poor Mikey was left with the task of killing it, took a good fifteen minutes to get it, then we stood looking at the body, doing the "is it dead?"  routine, neither of us brave enough to go near it!!

In other news we have had lots and lots of rain.  Where we live is a good area, no major rivers nearby, no mountains to fall down on us, also the house is a good metre above the road.  Yesterday and all last night we had incredible thunderstorms.  Rain was intense, the lightening lite up the room.  The worst is over for now, but it should start again.  Then the next couple of days are going to be hot. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Table

Do other families have problems with flat surfaces?   I have a wall in my living room that needs something,  but everything I have put there has become the junk place.  When we moved in I had the piano on the wall but with in a month it was piled high with papers, books, flyer's etc.  So I got a nice unit. Same problem, the shelves and drawers were empty but the top had a mountain.  I needed bookshelves in my room so I moved it up there.  Then somebody gave me this lovely table, it has a real English feeling about it.  But I spend so much time moving the stuff off it that it is driving me to distraction.  This week I've been really sick with a cough and cold that has sucked all the energy out of me.  I get the basics done each day but haven't had energy to face "The Table"  look at it....

See, nice table with a disaster on top and underneath!!!

So I guess this week I will be moving furniture..... again.  No, it is not my hobby, even if my kids think it is!!

There are just two more weeks until the kids summer holidays.  I am wondering what to do.  Six weeks seems like a long time but it goes past very quickly.  I have to work so outings are limited to local places.  Maybe a trip to a river park would be good.  Need to think!

Today is the first real hot weather we have had.  Last week saw so much rain, but it was cool.  Nice.  But it looks like summer is really here now!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bad Day

Not really bad bad but not one of my best days.
I had plans, cleaning to get done, lesson plans to make, things to do.  But my cold has settled onto my chest making me cough constantly.  So after Christopher and Hannah went to school I went back to bed. Got myself drugged up with cold medicine, determinded to beat this.  Didn't work, still coughing, still have headache, still feel awful.
I slept almost all day.  Got up about 3 oclock, put some chicken breasts in oven to cook.  Even sick I still have to fed everybody!!  Hannah gets back just after 4 oclock with her usual greetings of   "I'm home. Mom, I'm hungry"  So I go to get the chicken out of the oven, thinking I could make her a sandwich.  As I moved the chicken the hot fat spilt out onto my foot, scalding it.  I stand in kitchen, shouting for help.  Mikey comes and puts some ice packs on it, but I need water.  Hubby comes and gives me a small bowl that my big foot can't get in.  He then has a great idea and gets the mop bucket, fills it with water and ice and gives that to me.  So I am sitting with my foot in a mop bucket,  the only thing the kids can say is that it is something to blog about!  No sympathy at all.

foot in bucket!!

Anyway there are no marks on my foot and the stinging ended a few hours later.
I get through my lessons okay, no little kids so no shouting which helps a lot.  The last class finished at 9pm.  Our dog likes to have a quick walk then but it was pouring down with rain, so she is quiet.  I'm all set for a nice cup of tea and a few pages of my book before bed.  About an hour later the dog starts yapping.  She has this horrible high pitch yap that goes through me.  I drag Christopher out of bed to walk the dog. The rain had stopped, just spitting.   Just as we got to the corner of the street the heavens openend and we got soaked.  Great ending to the day!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer cold

I have an awful summer cold.  I hate this!  Head hurts, throat is on fire and coughing all the time.  It is also raining a lot making everything damp and with the damp comes mold that no matter how much I clean it comes back.  So starts the summer!!  This year we have been lucky so far in that it hasn't been extremely hot, the highest so far has been 30C...good!  
Another problem this year is the power cuts that people will be getting.  Some of my students have all electric houses, which means that making meals is going to be tough.  I remember as a kid having power cuts because of the coal miners strike.  No coal, no electricity.  That was hard winter, schools were not heated, no school dinners, no TV in the evenings, no reading either because no lights.  It was a hard time and I feel sorry for those in Japan who have to go through this.  We got lucky this time because we live near the city hall which of course needs power so our area will not affected.   But I will be careful with power and not run the air conditioners 24/7, can't afford it anyway!