Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our Stupid Dog

We have a Labrador mix dog.  Not sure what the mix is!
This is what she looked like when we got her 5 years ago.

As you can see very cute.  But she grew...

And grew

She's a yard dog, but she is close to the windows, so every time we have the window open she pokes her head inside.
The other night she got free.  I woke up at 3:30 because the cats were yowling.  I heard our dog barking, then it went quiet.  As I was drifting off to sleep I could hear the dog again, but she sounded far away.  I went downstairs to check if she was okay.....she was gone.  The other couple of times she got loose she stayed in our yard but not this time.  She was in the neighbors yard.  I woke Christopher, she is his dog,  he climbed over the fence to the neighbors yard.  The neighbors yard is about a metre lower than ours.  We tried to lift the dog over, but she is rather heavy and at that time very excited.  In the end Christopher had to trek through the neighbors lovely flower bed, dragging the dog behind him.  This happened a few nights ago and so far the neighbors haven't said anything, if they do I'll give them the old "I don't understand Japanese" routine, gets me out of a lot of trouble!!!

In other news my dear friend took me shopping yesterday.  I can walk to the local shops but I wanted to buy a few things for back to school.  The shops nearby are okay but seem to be a bit expensive.  I am so grateful to my friend for driving for me.  She was in a lot of pain with her back but wouldn't stop.

Friday, March 22, 2013


My kids are great.  They are dealing with the death of their Dad in an amazing way.  They have all sat up at night and had a cry with me, they talk to each other and support each other and me.
But they all have my hubby's terrible sense of humor!
Last month I needed to order somethings from a Japanese catalogue.  But I can't read or write Japanese. So I asked David for some help, basically putting in my name and address and payment method.  He was having some problem with my name as the web page didn't recognise  the romanaji.  So being a clever lad he changed my name Jackie to kanji     邪気   looks okay.....I couldn't understand what he was grinning about.  A few minuets later I got the confirmation email.  My email has a translation application on it,  most of the time it doesn't make sense but I can figure things out.    There was my name Ms. Evil Spirit...yep that is what the kanji that my son chose for me means ....evil spirit!!!!  Lets just say that I can move very fast when needed and gave him a good chase and a whooping when i caught him, which was easy has he was having a giggling fit!!!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Congratualations Christopher

Christopher passed his high school exam.  I am so happy and relieved, it has been an awful stress the past few weeks.  Pushing him to study, that was always hubby's job, I was the kind parent.  We balanced each other, now I have to do both.  So I am glad that is over and done with.  Yesterday morning Christopher and Mikey went to the school to see if his number was posted.  Mikey called and said that Christopher had failed, my kids love to get me!!!  So starts a new adventure for Christopher!
To celebrate we went to the local mall, there is an Italian restaurant that I have always wanted to try, so we went there.  It was nice we had different pizzas, Christopher had pasta.  I stopped by the grocery store and got something simple and light for tonight, salad, soup and bread. And we got donuts to munch on, I'm hoping we can decide on a DVD to watch together!!
Tomorrow is back to the high school to see about uniforms, bags and books and all the other things that go with starting school.  That part I am not looking forward to as it costs an arm and a leg for all this stuff!!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013


I am very tired today.  Exhausted more like!
Friday was Christopher's graduation.  I think sitting in the cold gym for hours made me tired.
Saturday was shopping, not easy with no car.  The local supermarket is good but seems very expensive for some things.  Then from 1:30 to 9pm teaching.  Thankfully all my students are very nice and easy to teach.
Sunday I decided on a little adventure.  Hubby was our driver.  Since he died we haven't really been anywhere.  I am not big on going places, especially on Sunday, but I thought the kids would like
to get out a bit.  Also I haven't used public transport very much so I need to learn where the buses and trains run from and to!!  So Sunday morning we set off to Kurume.  By car it would take maybe half an hour.  But we had to walk to the train station, about 40 minutes, train 10 minutes and bus another 10 minutes. We went to the library, I wanted to walk around the park behind the library, but it rained.
The kids had a good day and I realised that we can do things without a car.  Not easy but doable.  We got obent on the way back and watched a DVD together.  I'm trying to be with the kids as much as possible, I realise how short life is.  We really don't when our number is up!!
I got to bed nice and early.  But was woken by the awful storm that raged from about 4am.  The wind was really strong and I got scared.  I came down for a drink but could hear a rattling from the back yard.  I thought that something had been blown down.  When I looked out I could see a white shape moving through the yard.  I realised that the dog had gotten free.  I managed to get her but had to get Christopher to put her back!!!  She is really big and strong, she also suffers from selective hearing, if she has something more interesting to do she ignores us!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Christopher's Busy Week

This past week has been really busy for Christopher.  On Tuesday and Wednesday he had High School entrance tests.  He had to walk to the school, which took about half an hour.  Tuesday Mikey walked with him, just make sure he got there okay.  Actually it was more to reassure me than anything else, I worry way too much!!  Tuesday was lovely spring weather, just right to a walk.  Wednesday was rain, rain and more rain, then very strong wind, not good for walking in!!  Christopher said the test was okay, and some points easy. Does this mean he did okay or he missed a load of questions?  Again worrying!!!  We won't know until next week, March 19th, fingers crossed that he gets in!!!

Then today was his graduation.  Very long and rather boring.  I always feel that the joy is sucked out of these ceremony's!  I know that ending one period in your life is sad but at the same time there should be a feeling of hope and moving forward.  Maybe that is talked about in the speeches, most of which I missed.  I just shut off sometimes and stop listening.  After the main ceremony, in the freezing gym, we all went back to the homeroom.  There each student stood up and gave a little speech.  Christopher got every bodies attention by speaking in English, to me, first, then switching to Japanese.  Very smooth!! 
I'm glad that this is over and done with.  I've been so worried about everything, tests and graduation.  I have never had to deal with all these things by myself before.  I made Mikey come with me.  I wasn't sure that I could go through it without breaking down.  Mikey is very calm and helps me out.  It felt weird to sit there without hubby.  I guess it  will never feel right!!

Anyway some pictures from today

The program

Christopher's class entering

the song that made me cry

Christopher giving his little speech

With his homeroom teacher  Mrs Ueno

With a class mate

Japanese teacher who has helped Christopher a lot

Me and Christopher

Another class mate

ALT teacher from Germany, teaching English


And Goodbye to Tosu Junior High School

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 11th 2011 two years on

There are some dates that people remember.  I have heard people say they remember exactly what they were doing when President Kennedy was assassinated.  For younger people Princess Diana's death, the 9.11 terror attacks and the bombing of the underground in London remain in our collective memories.  But for the Japanese and those living in Japan March 11th is synonymous with tragedy.  It was the day that the world changed forever for thousands of people.
I remember watching the images on TV, for days the news media ran the same images of water flooding areas, of houses, buildings, boats, cars, railways being sweeped away.  Of lives destroyed.  It seemed impossible that destruction on such a vast scale could happen. I think that mankind has become arrogrant in our belief that we can tame nature, that with our computers and machines we can bend the natural world to our will.  This disaters taught me that we are very small and rather weak when Mother Nature roars!

As the aftermath of the disaster became known I felt deeply saddened for all the people who suffered through it.  Where we live in Kyushu earthquakes are few and far between,  I could never imagine the shock that those people went through.  This year because of my own loss I feel more grieved than before.  Loosing my husband so suddenly was ( and still is) an awful shock.  I miss him everyday.  But I am lucky in that nothing else really changed in my life.  My kids are okay and give me strength through their determination to keep going.  My house is still standing, the city I live in is still there, the schools and stores unchanged.  Life around me goes on, even if I wish everything would stand still because it seems unreal that nobody else feels what I feel.  So I wonder and admire those that survived that most awful of days.  Those people lost everything, the people they loved, their pets, their homes and businesses.  Everything just gone!!  But they keep going, they are rebuilding.  Not just the structures for living but rebuilding lives and creating new memories.  Those people of the Tohuku Region are real heros!