Monday, August 24, 2015

I Have Great Kids

Yesterday was my birthday!
I wasn't looking forward to it, another year gone, another year older.  Body is not doing that well.  Nothing major, just seems to take a lot longer to recover from whatever I get!  In my mind I still feel like I'm in my 30's, but I look in a mirror and see an old woman staring back, I wonder what happened!
Yesterday I was feeling rather down, I have a slight summer cold, not really bad but headaches and a sore throat.  I decided that the best is to rest as much as possible.  I watched TV and read a bit.  Directed the kids in cleaning the living area.  David made party food and his own chicken dish.  He made a sauce of honey, mirin, sake and some spices, really nice balance of sweet and spice!  After dinner the kids gave me a lovely present and card.  The card said "Thank you for everything"  I was moved by this because many times I feel I don't do that much for the kids, more I have to rely on them because my Japanese is so bad!  The present is really wonderful, a digital photo frame.  I can put up to 2000 photos on it.  It's something that I have  wanted for the past couple of years.  I have a lot of photos of my hubby on the computer and it would be awful if I lost them because of the computer crashing or a virus.   I wasn't expecting anything at all for my birthday, just a day to relax so this was a really nice surprise.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Few Days Holiday

We decided to take a few days holiday over the Obon holiday.   Most people travel to their relatives or have family visiting at this time.  So even if we want to teach most of the students are away.
I had great plans, but when the heat started most of them flew out the window. All I wanted to do was sit in the air conditioning!  But we did manage to get to the museum.  This museum (Kyushu National Museum) is about 40 minutes drive from here.  This summer the special exhibition was The British museum: A History of the World in 100 Objects.  Very interesting but very busy!

Walking towards the museum
The kids outside the museum

Exit of the exhibition

How to use the toilet!!!!!!
We also celebrated Davids birthday, but didn't get any photos from that.  He needed some trousers so we went to the recycle shop (David's idea!).  He got two pairs for 700yen, good price!  We had party food but no cake, I bought sushi instead, which David loves.

I decided that we should get out into nature.  So we drove up the mountain near here.  The drive was nice but then we got out and found that it was too hot and too many insects.  We walked around for a bit but decided that we prefer the air conditioner to the fresh air!

mountain walk, maybe autumn is better

Hannah and Mikey

Hannah making an offering of Christopher

Christopher and Hannah are back to school next week.  The summer holiday has been cut short by about one week!  But there is a typhoon coming this way, Christopher and Hannah are hoping for another day off!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Feeling Nostalgic

The past week or so has seen a real heatwave here in southern Japan.  Hot and humid, up to 38C one day last week.  I am confined to one room, no central air conditioning.  I didn't realise how much I miss being able to walk to the local shops or just walk with Christopher and the dog.  I can still do those things but I get so sick so easily in the heat.  I've already spent to much time at the doctors this year, no more!  So I've been spending hours on the computer.  But there are only so many blogs, newspapers and magazines to read until things feel the same. So I've spent ages sorting through some old photos.  We got our first digital camera in 2002, so I have loads of photos.  So many memories.  One thing that comes to mind is I always felt life was tough.  Dealing with schools that did nothing to protect or support my boys when they were bullied. That always makes me sad. The best time of their lives was ruined by inept teachers who always demanded that the victims change.  Also not having enough money was another worry.  If I had known that I would be a widow at 50 I would of done things differently!  Maybe!!!!

So a few photos from back then!

from 2005 Christopher, David and Hisao

Davids birthday 2005

David was looking at this photo and pointed out that the bookshelf is now in his room, the sofa, curtains and table are all the same!

maybe 2007, all the kids lined up

last trip to UK 2003
Hannah with Grandmas cat
Hannah was just one years old when we visited last time, now she is 13.  Got to go soon!

Saturday, August 8, 2015


I don't like any kind of insect.  Even the ones that might be considered pretty, like butterflies or ladybirds give me the creeps!  Other creatures that scamper around like snakes, frogs and small lizards don't bother me. They might surprise me but are not really scream worthy!
So summer is tough here.  So many insects to contend with.  A couple of years ago we had an infestation of stink bugs. These things were everywhere, especially on the screen doors. The trees out front looked like they were moving, there was that many!
The cicadas are so noisy. They drive me crazy with there constant chirping.  It sounds like there is an army of them but it is usually only one or two making so much noise.
But the insects that really freak me out are the cockroaches!  We have monster cockroaches in this house.  I go screaming out of the room and hold the door closed, leaving whoever is in the room to deal with them!  I got brave once and sprayed one.  It chased after me. I ran across the room, shouting "Mommy, Mommy"  That is the affect these things have on me! 
Last night was awful, we saw one the living room, managed to kill it. An hour later I went to brush my teeth and waiting in the bathroom were two more.   David got one, I got the other!  So I guees another good clean up is needed.  I haven't done under the bathroom sink for a while and when I looked last night I noticed ahole where the waste pipe goes out.  I am guessing that is one way they are getting in! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

An Adventure, Sickness and Heat

A couple of weeks ago my friend invited me to visit.  I had to take the train to get to where were meeting.  No being a big fan of trains I took David with me. I thought he had some idea about  which train to get on and where to change.  But he didn't! Every train we took he would go and ask somebody if this was the train we needed.  The last part of the trip was on the Shinkansen!  My first time. The ride lasted all of five minutes!  But it was an experience!

Once we got to the right train station my plan was to take a taxi to the meeting point. But we exited the station on the wrong side.  So we had a little walk round and found our way to the meeting point.  By this time I was hot and my face felt burnt!  I told my friend that I couldn't see an taxis at the train station. David said "But Mom there were loads"  I could of killed him, why didn't he say something!

The following week I had a few days off from teaching.  I had great plans and then got sick.  I found a lump in my arm pit!  I was so worried but it turned out to be an infection.  I couldn't believe how awful I felt. No energy at all. Even watching TV took more energy than I had.  I am now on my 2nd course of antibiotics,  seems to be working.  I hope so because I do not want to go to the big hospital!
Poor Christopher also got sick. Painful neck and throat, high fever 38.5C.  He went to the doctors but within 24 hours he was okay.  To be young again.

And of course it is HOT.  Every day,all day.  According to the forecast this could be until next week.  I am house bound and not enjoying it at all.   When the weather is good I walk to the local shops and I have found that I am missing that.  Mikey takes me in the car but there is something nice about being able to walk. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


I can't believe the weather this year.  It is so wet!  We have had so many rainy days recently and only a few really hot days.  One problem is once the rain stops, everything warms up and it becomes so humid. 
On Sunday we had an incredible thunder storm.  I do not like thunder storms.  I've had too many close calls.  As soon as I hear thunder I pull the TV antenna and the electric plug!  This past Sunday the storm was right over head.  I am sure something near by got hit!  There was an enormous explosion!   Our poor dog hates thunder as well.  She was in the bathroom but started crying so I let her into the living room.  She was sniffing around where there was a loud boom. Poor thing jumped straight up, all four paws came off the floor!  Rather funny but at that point I was so scared that I sat in the corridor with Hannah until the storm passed!  I hope we don't have many more like that!
This weekend there is a typhoon forecast.  The eye will pass just south of Kyushu but the storm is massive and is getting stronger everyday.  I hope that we have a few hours over the next couple of days to tidy the yard.  Looks like a jungle out there, all this rain has done wonders for the weeds not so good for the grass!!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Not Ready

Schools are finished for the summer holidays and I am so not ready.
I try to make some plans for the summer holidays, especially trying to get my kids
English improved.  But this year I just haven't thought at all about what to do!
One problem is that both Hannah and Christopher have to go to school!  Yes it is the summer holidays but the kids still have to attend certain things.  Christopher I can understand, this is
his last year at high school and a lot of the things he has to do is to prepare for entering college next year.  Hannah should attend her club activity at least four mornings a week.  I feel it too much.  Either give the kids a holiday or have them attend all year!  Plus they both have homework. I haven't seen Christopher's but Hannah has a small mountain of prints, plus science experiment, two posters to make and a book report to write out!  I wonder if the teachers know that a lot of the mothers end up doing part of the homework because it is too much for the kids! 

The weather is not being typical at all.  We have had a few very hot days but all in all rather cool this year.  A massive typhoon passed over Japan last night, we were very lucky here in that we only caught the edge of it.  It was windy and rainy last night but not too bad!

David is making pizza for dinner, from scratch.  Smells really nice!  Can't wait for dinner, I think I should go and help!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The "can't think of a catchy title" post

The past few weeks have been busy and productive.  I have been cleaning and decluttering as much as possible.  The one room that really needed doing was the room we use as an office and second teaching room.  We still have to many books.  Last Sunday I decided that I needed to sort and clean out that room.  What I thought would take 2 hours took 5 hours!  There are still somethings that need to be done but it is a lot better.
The weather has been rather nice...for me at least!  Until this week it has been cool and rainy.  The rain is not so nice but the cool weather has been wonderful.  Instead of feeling exhausted, sick and out of sorts I have been able to get things done!  If course the heat came, with a vengeance. From high 20's to 36C overnight!  Thursday and Friday were awful.  Both Christopher and Hannah came back from school with bad headaches on Thursday!  I also felt sick and had to use the air conditioner!  I don't mind being hot but the humidity is killing.  I sweat very easily and I hate the way the  sweat just stays on me.  I feel like I am drowning!  
The rain has done wonders for the garden, looks like a jungle.  The grass we laid has really taken but the weeds are aggressive.  If the rain stops tomorrow I will be brave and try and do a bit!  It seems very futile though, I pull weeds, a couple of weeks later they are back!
No photos this time.  I have a hard time uploading them and I've asked David but he hasn't had a chance!

Friday, June 12, 2015

The past few days.....

have been interesting.
Tuesday was a rather awful day.  I had no energy at all.  All I wanted to do was sleep and in the past that is what I would of done.  But I decided that even if I couldn't do anything I could at least read or watch TV.  We had borrowed a DVD that had to go back, "The Butler", so the older boys and I sat and watched that!  Of course that turned into a heated debate on the situation of African Americans today and the problem of racism in different parts of the world.  I am always amazed at how well read David is, he can really debate things that he feels strongly about!
Wednesday was a lot better for me.  Managed to do a few jobs that I have been putting off.  I seem to leave things until it is too late.  Cleaning rooms is okay, not favorite activity but no choice, but places that aren't seen, cupboards, drawers etc aren't really cleaned.  I have a few drawers that I have no idea what is in them!  So I am cleaning out and throwing out, feels good!
Thursday was another bad day.  It rained ALL day, the house felt damp and I had the most terrible headache!  Sleep most of the afternoon, no choice, I just felt so bad!  As I have gotten older I have found that heavy rain can really pull me down.  I like rain but the pressure sometimes feels so heavy.
Today was great.  Mikey and David wanted to go to the library so I went along. The library is in the next city and the supermarkets are a little cheaper there, meat is a real bargain!   While the boys were in the library I had a walk around the park.  It was hot, but there was a slight breeze.  I couldn't stay out for long but it felt good!

From my walk around the park!
The past few days have been good.  The weather has helped, it is getting hot but so far not to bad.  I think what has changed in me is I am not going to be a victim any more!  I HATE summers here, the heat and humidity make me sick.  But what can I do?  I can either deal with it, find ways to be productive everyday and ways to be happy.  Or I can sit around and moan.  I am choosing to do the first!
Does that make sense?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Husband's birthday!

Yesterday would of been Hisao's 54th birthday!
It's hard to believe that he passed away two and half years ago.  Seems like the other day, seems like eternity!
One thing that I have realised is that I have let things go over the past couple of years.  Grief is exhausting on so many levels.  And coping alone doesn't help.  I have good friends who listen to me moan and cry but no professional grief councilors around!  Sometimes it has been hard, sitting on the kitchen floor crying my eyes out hard.  But I realise that I have a life, I didn't die with my husband, only part of my heart.  So I need to live, need to get my health better so I can all the things that we dreamed of.  I don't know how but I want to travel, at least see more of Japan!
My goal for the month of June is to do  something everyday!  May not sound like a lot but I hate the rainy season and the summers here.  When it gets hot and humid I just want to sit with the air conditioner on and not move at all.  So this year I am going to challenge that!  So far it isn't too hot, actually last Friday was only16C. I was so happy!
I will let you know how this challenge goes.  Today was good, did half an hour on my exercise bike and cleaned behind the stove!  Tomorrow........?

This is how I remember my husband. playing peek a boo in a restaurant!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

May....What happened?

So May came and went and I didn't write!
Bad, I know!  But I have a good excuse!
The best time for me to write is in the evening.  But I have been trying to avoid late night computer sessions.  I start out with good intentions.  Just going to update my blog.  But then facebook calls, checking a new recipe, read a couple of newspapers before I know it's 2am and I'm exhausted, and the blog still isn't updated!

So May saw a lot of dentist visits.  Both Mikey and Christopher are suffering.  Mikey got toothache, went to the dentist and found that his teeth are crowded.  His jaw is too small and teeth are over lapping. So far he has lost 3 teeth. One tooth that was taken out had a strange root, instead of the usual two roots it had 3!  Even the dentist had never seen such a tooth!  A week later Christopher started to complain about toothache.  Turns out he has two bad teeth!  He is getting fillings, maybe a couple more visits and finished!

Recently the local supermarket has been selling whole chicken.  I got one a couple of weeks ago. Made a lovely roast dinner, but this is the wrong time of year for roasts.  I bought another one for tomorrow (Hubby's birthday) but I'll cook it tonight and do a load of salads to go with it!

Christopher saying hello to the chicken

Finished product!
I am sure more things happened in May but I can't think now!
I will try to do better in June!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hannah's Birthday

We celebrated Hannah's birthday this week.  She is now officially a teenager!  My little preemie who decided to come far to early, was only given a 50/50 chance of living is now 13!  Hard to believe by just looking at her.  She is strong, stubborn and knows her own mind!  She can still surprise me sometimes.  When we talking about bullying she said that as much as she doesn't like to be bullied she knows who she is and doesn't need her friends to agree with her all the time!  She has her own likes and dislikes and is not easily swayed by peer pressure!
Yesterday we had a little party for her.  Plenty of good food, a cake and some presents. She got a book, a DVD and CD.  Also Christopher bought her a book!  We took some photos, why does it take so long to get one good photo?  This time only half an hour instead of the usual hour or so!

Hannah with her cake

The Nakano Kids

All of us

In the morning poor Mikey had to go to the dentist.  According to the dentist he has a small mouth and his teeth are to crowded which makes it difficult to brush properly.  Mikey had a tooth pulled yesterday and has to go back for some more treatment!  I feel so sorry for him as teeth problems are really hard to deal with!

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Typical Evening At Our House

This is what happens when there is nothing on TV.


The editing is not so good but you get the idea!  I think my kids are crazy, this kind of daftness goes on all the time!

And the reason we need a good laugh is that things keep happening!  I am doing a lot better since my eye surgery.  I am still recovering, not so much from the surgery itself but from the stress that I built up before hand!  I am now exhausted from that!  I have to say thank you to my students for their good wishes and for putting up with my moaning before hand!  Also one of  my lovely ladies stopped by with cakes and a beautiful plant after my surgery.

Then just because I need more stress Hannah came home with a broken finger, again!
It's a hairline fracture on the joint end of the second bone!  Again trying to catch a basketball during PE at school!

Hannah's broken finger and I don't know why she is sitting in a basket!
All in all interesting few days, lets hope things get better!


Friday, April 24, 2015


I had my eye operation last Thursday! I am so glad that it is over and done with!  I NEVER want to go through that again! 
I was so nervous before hand that I was shaking and managed to bring back what bit of lunch I ate!
I know it was silly to get so worked up.  In my mind I knew this wasn't a big thing, I've heard from many others who have had the same operation and also from reading about it online, it is quick and easy.  But sometimes my mind and emotions don't communicate very well!
The operation was strange. They placed a sterile cover over my face and a plastic cover over the eye to keep it sterile.  Then the local anaesthetic was given as an eye drop.  Then a little cut was made under the eye lid.  After that all I saw was bright lights, when the old lens was taken out it was really weird! Nothing to focus with so all I saw was pretty lights!  I was just getting comfortable when the doctors said it was all over with!  No pain, just some pressure around the eye socket!  I came home with an eye patch which made things very interesting! It is very difficult to judge depth with just one eye, so I kept trying to grab things but couldn't figure out where they were!
Friday I went back to check it was okay!
Now I can see all the dust that I missed for the past couple of months!
Looks like getting the spring cleaning done, I've had a great excuse for the past few weeks but no longer!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Playing Catch Up

I am so behind on this blog.  Time just disappears, before I know it a couple of weeks have passed and no time to write!
The beginning of April saw Hannah starting junior high school.  Of course the day of the entrance ceremony the weather was bad. No rain but very cold and windy. The gym where the ceremony was held doesn't get heated, so after sitting there for a couple of hours I was well frozen!

Hannah in her new uniform
She seems okay at school.  Thinks the English lessons are better suited to kindergarten than junior high school and already hates math!  Her homeroom teacher is a math teacher so I hope she can help Hannah a bit!
The most difficult thing is getting Hannah to and from school.  All through elementary school somebody would go with her to school and meet her after but now she needs to become more independent.  But she has an awful sense of direction. The other morning I walked half way with her. All she had to do was walk down to the crossing and turn right, but she got lost. I don't know how she managed that!  The past few evening she came back with a friend which is nice!

Christopher is now in the last year of high school. He has to decide what to do next year.  During the spring break he finally got new glasses.  He looks cool in them.  But Mikey and David decided to play with them!

David is wearing Christophers old glasses Mikey his new ones!

And we have finally made a start on the yard!  Last wekk some my husbands friends came and laid turf.  Half the garden looks good, the other half still needs doing!  The weather on Sunday was so nice, a real spring day but the rest of the week winter returned with heavy rain, thunder and cold winds.  That's my excuse for not doing the garden!

Preparing the ground for the turf!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Holiday...Almost Over

Christopher and Hannah's spring holiday will be over in just 4 more days.  Even though we didn't go anywhere or do so much I have enjoyed myself!  Not getting up at 5am is so nice!  I'm not a morning person!
We had a nice little party to celebrate Hannah's graduation.  Ate a lot and watched DVD's!  Nice and relaxed!

I asked David to whip up the cream for the cake and trifle, but he creamed me!

Hannah spent a lot of time drawing and watching her musicals.  I don't mind so much but she plays the same songs over and over.  Even I can remember the words and they are in Japanese!

Our yard needs to be done.  We have a few flowers but not much at all. I hope to get some done this month.  The camellia tree outside of the living room looks really nice but that is the only thing that looks nice!


There are other things that happened but I can't thing at the moment.  Spring brings out my allergies and I am so doped up on medicine that it is hard to think straight!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hannah's Graduation

Last week Hannah graduated from elementary school!
The ceremony was nice and not overly long.  Hour and half in the gym and thirty minutes in the classroom after. The speeches were short and to the point, no old grandfather waffling on forever this time!
The weather however was awful, rain and wind.  Mikey drove David and I up to the school gate but we had to walk from the gate to the gym. Not far but the back of my dress got soaked and I had to sit in it for the whole morning, rather yuk!  David took photos for me! With my eye still bad I never know if the camera is out of focus or its just my eye!  He got some nice shots until the battery died!

Hannah dressed up for graduation

Hannah waiting, her friend yawning

Receiving her diploma

With her teacher and friend, at the end the sun came out

We have to finish sorting out her elementary school stuff, pack away all the things she doesn't need any more and make space for the junior high school stuff.

Hannah's hat and bookbag have now retired.

For me it is going to strange not dealing with elementary school anymore.  I've had a child in elementary school for the past 17 years.  Really the end of an era.  I feel old! While Hannah was still an elementary school student I felt younger!  Now I have one kid in junior high school, one in high school, one at university and one working.  Not a young mother at all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

weather,eye doctors and brass bands

The weather here has been interesting. It really can't decide if it is spring or not!  Two week ago Sunday was so beautiful, sunny, bit of wind and perfect temperatures!  Mikey managed to trim the trees outside and I gave the bathroom a good scrub.  I started to plan spring cleaning.  It felt good to be able to move around the house with freezing. Japanese houses don't have central heating so we only warm the room we are using, so going room to room is rather unpleasant when it gets cold!  But the weather that Sunday was a false start to spring, two days later it snowed!  Not a lot and it didn't stick but felt like winter had returned.  Since then it has warmed up until yesterday was up 22C.  but from today it will be cool again!

Magpies in the snow, they are building a nest in one of our trees
I finally went back to the eye doctor.  I kept putting it off but no choice.  I will have the operation on April 23rd.  One thing that I was very worried about was the local anesthetic.  I know for teeth you get an awful injection but for eyes?  I was having nightmares about this!  Turns out that my worry was for nothing, the doctor uses eye drops.  Now I need to learn the Japanese for numb!  Always learning something new! 

Last Sunday Mikey, Christopher, David and I went to a concert by one of the local high school's brass band club.  My student was playing the part of Jasmin from Aladdin.  There were three parts to the concert, first was classic music, the Aladdin, then "It's only Rock and Roll".  The whole thing was very professional, the teacher really got into the spirit of things dressing up and dancing with the kids!
I really enjoyed the afternoon!

This time of the year there are a lot of beginnings and endings.  Kids are graduating and going onto the next phase of their lives.  One of the first students we had here has graduated high and moves to go to university this April.  We prepared a little gift for her.  She loves "Jackie Tea", the way I have my tea, milk and sugar.  So I bought a basket and put in a couple of cups, some tea and cocoa and a gift coupon for books!  She was really pleased with it!

Saying Goodbye

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Our New Car

New to us that is!  We finally got a good deal on a used car.  My husband's friend introduced us to somebody who had a car shop, he is semi retired but still knows about cars! He showed Mikey an auction site and recommended 3 or 4 cars, Mikey went and chose a car but this guy did the bidding and got us a car under our budget!  He took the car to his place and replaced a couple of things, for free. All in all a very good deal and a very nice car!

Nice, new and shiny car!

Hannah is very busy at school. This is her last month at elementary school, so getting ready for graduation and junior high school.  Today's homework was math that she will be doing in junior high school.  She seems to know what she is doing, I hope so because math is the one thing I really struggle with!  She made a nice bag for me in her home economics class the other week!

Hannah with  the bag she made
Hannah has a very interesting way of explaining things!  Yesterday she was very tired and actually fell asleep after school for about half an hour!  Later in the evening she asked to watch one of her DVDs.  I said I thought  she was too tired to watch anything.  Her answer was rather unique.  She said it's like when you eat dinner and too full but then there is cake you can eat!!  Clever answer, so of course she got to watch her DVD!