Sunday, October 9, 2016

Made A Start!

When I wrote about my house being a mess I had a plan!
I planned that once October started and the weather cooled down I would go through the house like a tornado!
First week of October it was still HOT!  Not warm but hot, 32C for about a week, then we had a typhoon blow by and the weather has finally cooled a bit.
So I put the plan into action, for two days!
I have a walk in closet in my bedroom but I can't walk into it. So that was my starting point.  I boxed up my husbands suits and a load of textbooks from elementary school.  Hannah tossed a draw full of prints that she had from last year!  Took a whole afternoon but it made some space!
I also tackled one cupboard in the kitchen, found that I had tea from five years ago!  Not nice!
The forecast for this week is cooler weather so I am going to get to work again and see if I can do one room completely!  Would be nice!

I've also joined the 21st century.  I have an iPad.  I have resisted this for ages!  I have a kindle fire which similar to an iPad but I wanted something with LINE on!  Christopher has a college trip to Korea the end of this month and I wanted a way to keep in touch with him. Of course the kids are playing on the iPad more than me! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016


I realized yesterday that living in Japan I am constantly worried about natural disasters!  Japan is one of the most dangerous places to live when it comes to nature.  Between earthquakes, volcanoes, typhoons, thunderstorms and incredible rain storms that causes floods or landslides there is always something to worry about and try to prepare for!  But when I was watching the news yesterday about the explosion in New York and the stabbings in Minnesota I felt that if I lived in the UK it would be the next terror attack or somebody going crazy attacking people that would have me on edge!  Whenever I watch the news I feel as if the world has gone crazy. Not just the people but the planet it self.  There just seems to be so much negative energy from earthquakes to killer storms to terror attacks to people going crazy and killing!  Maybe we need more positive energy in this world to heal both the planet and the people!  So even though I am an eternal pessimist I am going to try and send out positive, loving energy.  Every bit helps!
As I'm writing this I am wondering if the typhoon that has been forecast for tomorrow will hit or not.  Yesterday we had thunderstorms all afternoon and the most incredible rain!  Today it is drizzling.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring.  If the storm hits it will bring high winds as well as more rain.  Rivers in this area are already a flood level. We really don't need more rain! 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Work Experience

This past week the 2nd grade kids from Hannah's school had work experience.  Hannah and two of her friends got to spend two days at a local old peoples home.  For Hannah it was a real eye opener! The first thing she said after day one was that she never wants to work in that kind of place!  It is hard work, both physically and emotionally.  I think Hannah had a good time, she came back with some funny stories.  The first day one old lady, in her 80's, kept saying that she was only in her 60's and didn't understand why she had to stay at the home!  The staff told Hannah that she is a different age everyday and not to worry about her!  Then Hannah was asked to get a hair dryer from one of the bathrooms.  She opened the door to find a naked old man in there, talk about shock!  The second day they spent time making a poster with the old people.  Hannah felt sad that most of the people there couldn't grip a pencil or use scissors.  It made her think about her own future as well.  What she wants to do and how to get there!   All in all a positive experience!

We are waiting to see if this typhoon is going to hit or not!  According to the forecast it looks like next Tuesday.  The last typhoon that was forecast for this area died out before it got to us, we got a load of rain but no wind!  I am hoping for the same this time.  Most of the kids are hoping for a real typhoon so they can have a day off school!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


My house is a mess!
A disaster!
Every room is over run with things.  The bedrooms are the worst!  Clothes spill out of the closets onto the floor!  Clean laundry is left lying around!
I need to get sorted.  I need to throw out stuff that we no longer use or need!
But I don't and my kids are following my example which is very bad!
Part of my problem is that I worry if I let things go I won't be able to replace them!  So I have clothes that are too small for me.  Drawers that are full of clothes that I haven't worn for about 5 years but I feel bad when I think about throwing them out.  I feel guilty that I have wasted money on things!  Crazy because I almost never buy clothes for myself!
Then there is the problem of the books!  I have hundreds if not thousands of books.  I have book shelves all over the place.  Some I have read and will want to read again.  Some like my cook books I look at time and again,  finding new recipes or making recipes that I know everybody loves.  But then I have books I bought when the kids were little and I wanted them to learn English.  Those take up a lot of space and aren't being used but again it is hard to throw them out.
But I am tired of trying to organize stuff.  This house is very dusty and because stuff is lying around then the dust builds up and drives me crazy!
So  I have to try and sort out.  That is going to be my mission for the rest of this year.  I really want to get things in order. 
Then there is the garden.  But that is another post!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

3 months

So yet again I've been a bad blogger!
I don't mean to! There are so many things that I have to do everyday. So many things that are still on my list and writing seems to be last on the list!

Hubby asleep on the floor!!
So June.  My least favorite month.Beginning is my husbands birthday!  This year David cooked all his Dads favorite foods!  The end of the month is the anniversary of my Moms death.  And between the rainy season starts,  lots of rain and high humidity!!!
Mom yelling at somebody
July and August were really bad for me!  It was just so hot!  Almost everyday was at least 35C.   I went with David and Hannah to the city one time.  According to google map the store Hannah wanted to go to was 5 minutes walk from the station.  I don't know who checked that but it took us almost 20 minutes!
We also went bowling and all you can eat restaurant. Not such a great summer holiday but the heat was exhausting for me!  I'm so glad that David can cook! The couple of times I tried I got so sick from the heat!
So again I will try to write more!!! 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hannah's Birthday

The beginning of the month was Hannah's birthday!  She is now 14 years old!  I am really having a hard time wrapping my head around that!  I always think of Hannah as a little 1st grader, but she is now in junior high school!
She had a great birthday.  We had a little party and watched a DVD.  Nice family time!

Party food

Hannah and her cake

trifle and a strawberry flan made by David

The next day Hannah and I went to see 'Beauty and the Beast' musical.  I was not expecting it to be so good but I was amazed.  The dancing and singing were very good!

We were early so we had Mos Burger and waited for a while

Watched part of the festival

got to watch Japanese Drummers for free!

Outside the theater doors

Next year is 'Little Mermaid'
Great day but rather exhausting!

We are still having a few earthquakes.  Where we are they are not so strong but the people living near the epicenter are getting jolted a lot, up to ten quakes a day.  Today is one month since the start of these quakes and over 1400 have been recorded.  That is a lot of shaking!!

Monday, April 18, 2016


Yes, another large quake!
This time the epicenter was in Oita Prefecture.  We are in Saga.  Bit closer than the last big one.  Really not nice!

All I want is a good nights sleep.  But because the biggest quake happened at 1:30am I can't sleep until after that time.  I know that quakes can happen at any time but my mind has got 1:30am equals quake time!  Crazy.
This morning news said that quakes over 1plus are now over 500!  Intensity of 3 to 7 is 80 something times, that is a lot of shaking!
We are lucky here.  The only damage is to nerves!  But people in Kumamoto are really suffering!  Supplies are getting in slowly, this morning the main airport could open but a lot of roads are still too damaged.  The news was showing  one road that had split, there was a meter difference between  the two parts of the road!

I am trying to think of different things.  Making plans to go back to UK for a visit.  We finally have a credit card so I can apply for a passport!  Today I went to the UK government site to check what I need to apply!  According to the site Mastercard, Visa and a few other cards aren't accepted.  I checked the leaflet on how to apply and it says they are accepted.  Somebody has messed up the site!  Typical!  Anyway I sent them an email and hope to get that sorted soon.

David is getting be a really good cook.  He made a wonderful yoghurt cake yesterday (photo next time).  Very nice!  I was telling a couple of my students about Davids cooking abilities.  The one young guy said to David "You are wonderful COCK"  I almost died!  I left David to explain why I thought that was funny!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I've had enough

I am so finished with these earthquakes!
Since the first event on Thursday there have been over 400 earthquakes!  Most are focused on the epicenter at Kumamoto and along the fault line.  But we are still feeling a few here!  They are lighter and shorter, but I still stop, hold my breath and hope that it is over quickly!  How people in Kumamoto are surviving is a miracle to me.  Thousands are homeless, no power, no clean water, no toilets.  This mornings news showed people lining up to get food.  Most were quiet, just waiting, but some were chatting and laughing, as if this was the most normal thing to do!

Saturday evening I had to take my mind off things.  So Hannah and I watched 'Gone with the Wind'.  Four hours escape from earthquakes!  That night the boys dragged my mattress downstairs so I could sleep.  But I didn't fall asleep until after 1:30am.  That was the time of the biggest quake and somehow that time now equals earthquake! I know that earthquakes can happen at any time but my emotions are stuck with that time!  Does that make any sense?

The experts predict that these quakes will go on until this weekend.  I really hope that they are right and I can stop being so scared all the time.  Christopher has just left for college and I know that I am going to be worrying about him all day!  Hannah isn't sleeping at night, she went to bed last night but came down later saying that she felt an earthquake but I think it was the wind.  She is really nervous at the moment.  School was hard for her before now seems impossible for her to go.  I can understand her problem.  She lost one parent already and the thought of being away from me at a time when things are not stable is more than she can deal with!  I just hope I can make the teacher understand!  Today Hannah is going to read 'Gone with theWind', she got the books from the library yesterday!

Friday, April 15, 2016


The earthquake I wrote about yesterday was bad.  After shocks were on going through out the day.  Not too bad here, 2 or 3.
Went to bed at 11pm, exhausted, bit worried.  But I thought the worst was over.  Was I wrong!
Got woken up at 1:30 with the whole house moving.  For those who haven't experienced an earthquake it is hard to describe.  This structure, that is solid and has withstood typhoons and thunderstorms is swaying like a reed in the breeze.  The noise that goes with is horrifying.  Sounds like the earth is roaring and tearing apart at the seams.  My instinct is to run, just to get away from it but the best thing is to stay put if there is nothing that can fall on you!  I put pillows over Hannah and hope that the boys have the sense to do the same!  The quake seemed to go forever but it was only 40 seconds!  As soon as it finished I got everybody downstairs.  The epicenter was in a similar area as the night before but the magnitude was 7, here it registered as 5!  That is the strongest I've ever experienced (and hope to NEVER experience again).  As we watched the live news and got an idea of the strength of the quake another one hit.  It was so intense that the news didn't have time to report one quake before another hit.  This went on for an hour or so.  Here the quakes were getting weaker but we could still feel them.  Mikey and David went back to bed.  Christopher, Hannah and I stayed downstairs. I was trying to sleep on the sofa.  Then at 3:55 another big one hit!  I called the boys down as NHK issued a warning for the whole of Kyushu.  Basically saying be ready to evacuate.  There have been a few more quakes but here they are not strong.  I really hope the worse is over.
I know we are lucky here.  In Kumamoto apartment blocks have collapsed, one hospital is leaning over, there are fires, highways have been destroyed.  There was also report of one dam being damaged.  I went out this morning, even our bikes didn't fall over!
But I am really feeling the stress.  My body is over reacting.  Even typing this is making the computer desk shake and I can feel my stomach churn.  When we  have the TV on and the alarm goes off I start heaving and throwing up.  Feels the same as when my husband died, my bodies reaction to stress!  I keep telling myself that I can't change this. All I can do is be prepared, be ready to get out and keep the kids safe.  I can't stop the quakes and I guess nature has to take its course to get back in balance but it is driving me crazy!
I read in a novel once that Mother Nature is bipolar.  Looking out at my yard this morning I feel this is so true, spring is really here and even though my yard is a mess I can see lots of flowers coming up, everything is green.  Compare that to the destruction of last night!!!  Really bipolar!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2016


I know that this is Japan and that Japan is prone to earthquakes. But this is Kyushu and in the 25 years I have been here I can count on one hand the number of news worthy earthquakes.
Last night at 9:26 I was in the middle of my last lesson when the whole house started to move.  I looked at my student, who was far too calm, he said "Earthquake"  I called for the kids to get into the living room and stay together!  The kids put on NHK news, which within a few minutes was showing the epicenter in Kumamoto, which is about an hour and half drive from here.  The earthquake registered as a magnitude 7.  That was followed by a series of after shocks. According to news this morning there have been 104 earthquakes recorded since last night.
Hannah went into total freaked out mode.  Poor girl gets easily scared and it was scarey.  I let her stay down stairs with me until the worst had past.  We went to bed just after 1am.  I could still feel a few shakes but not as bad.  I feel really sorry for the people at the epicenter, in ine town people were evacuated from their home and had to spend the night outside.  It was rather cold last night, the news was showing people just sitting on the floor with blankets wrapped around them.
These quakes could go on for the next week, so not fun!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Never Ending Journey

That is how grief feels!
I remember the first few days after my husband died longing for time to pass.  I thought that with each passing day that I would feel better and the pain would not be so awful to bear!  But here I am 3 years and 4 months later and it still hurts!  Not all the time but enough of the time.  Insomnia doesn't help and dealing with stress makes things hard.  Life is not dramatic, no great dramas going on.  Hannah refuses school but I can cope with that, we need more money but that is nothing new, the house and yard are a disaster but if I get off my lazy butt things would be okay.  But somehow it all seems too much.  I miss Hisao, his had a calm attitude that helped me to focus.  He would constantly tell me that worry doesn't change things.  One of his favorite sayings was "If by worrying you can change things then you should worry all the time" 
Last night was awful.  I woke up at 3am and couldn't sleep again, just lay there thinking and missing Hisao.  In the end I came down stairs and just sat and cried. 
I try to focus on the good things in my life, my kids and good friends who keep me going!  But today is just hard!

Hisao and Hannah about 9 years ago

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Busy Couple of Weeks

It is spring!  According to the calendar. The weather hasn't decided yet what to do.  It gets warm then cools down again.  Last week we had an awful storm blow through here, wind, rain and even some thunder!

As I said March first was Christopher's graduation,  He then had a months holiday before starting college.  I had great plans for him to clean out his bedroom and help with the yard!  He did a bit!

April 2nd was his entrance ceremony!  I had to work but Mikey went!  Poor Mikey gets stuck with these things!  The ceremony was long, lots of speeches.  The first day was orientation, two days of lessons and a two day camp.  This week is the first week of classes!  I hope he does okay.  He seems happy with his choice!

saying goodbye to his favorite place at high school

Looking smart in his suit

View of part of the campus
Trying to figure out his new schedule has kept me busy!  He walks to college most morning, unless the weather is really bad.  Takes about an hour, but he doesn't seems to mind!

Hannah is now in her 2nd year of junior high school, but still doesn't want to go!  She has tried a couple of days but it seems to take a lot of energy for her.  She studies at home and I am trying to improve her English skills.  She is getting very creative with her art and will spend hours working on a project!

a collage of Beauty and the Beast that Hannah made
I've been trying to do some spring cleaning but not really getting anywhere!  There is always more to do!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


March has come and gone!
Busy month for us.  The biggest thing for us was Christopher graduating from high school.  I am so proud of him.  I think it was very hard for him to start high school.  He started just 4 months after Hisao died!  We were all in a very hard place and this poor kid, just 15 years old, had to face a completely new environment, new school, new staff and new friends.  Not easy under normal circumstances.  But he managed and actually did very well at the school.  He has a lot of good memories and made one or two good friends there!  Next month he will start college, another new adventure for him!

I've also done a load of shopping this month.  Because Christopher has had uniforms for the past six years he has no other clothes!  At home he lives in track suits, he has one pair of jeans and a couple of tops.  So I took him shopping.  We had to buy a suit for the entrance ceremony, we got a full set, suit, shirt, tie and shoes.  He tried it on yesterday, looks very smart.  (I'll post some photos another day).  Also managed to get him some smart casual clothes for everyday wear.  He still needs some more T shirts, it gets so hot here in the summer that changing everyday is normal.

Hannah has finished her first year of junior high school.  I am very dissapointed with the school and rather worried about the coming year!  There is little to no discipline in the classes.  Hannah complains about the constant noise when the teachers are trying to teach.  There doesn't seem to be an atmosphere of studying, more like playing around.  This was reflected in the end of term test results.  The average mark was 55% on the main subjects. When Christopher attended the same school the average was 60 to 80%.
I am worried that the kids who are struggling now will not get the help they need to do the 2nd grade work.  If the study is to difficult then the kids will get bored which in turn leads to more class disruption which means that the kids who are trying to study don't get a chance.  I have said to the teachers that the kids disrupting the class need to be removed from the class.  But in Japan everybody has the right to an education.  But at this rate it will end up with nobody getting an education!  Looks like I am in for a long year ahead!

The two older boys are doing well.  David is improving his cooking!  He can get very creative when he wants to!  I've been trying to do more cooking but somehow it is nice having a meal served for you!  Mikey developing new games for teaching.  Must be working because I am hearing a lot more English being spoken by the kids and a lot of laughter!  But on a sadder note a few of our students have left us this month.  They have graduated from high school and are going onto university. So it is happy/sad feeling.  Most of these kids have been coming for a few years, so saying goodbye can be hard!
Tomorrow is April first,  I will try to write more than one post a month.
The spell checker stopped working so if there are spelling mistakes.....sorry!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Few Photos

Finally got some photos from Christmas onto the computer!

David got creative sweet potatoe donuts
Our Christmas Tree

Look what is hiding!!!

Christmas Eve food
Christmas Day full moon

Freezing outside

Back to a real fire?

No, just a youtube video playing Christmas Carols

With my friend and her daughter.
We had a great Christmas!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


I became a very bad blogger!
Time just seems to escape from me.  I have many excuses for not writing more!
We got very busy since September. Lots of new students, which is great but I never seem to have time to do the things that I want to do.  Also I went on a TV binge!  Somehow watching TV and seeing problems solved in less than an hour became very addictive for me.  I wish real life were like that, all problems solved in less than an hour.  How easy life would be! Reality is much harder!

I don't remember much from last September.
David did a lot of cooking and came up with some great ideas.  He discovered advoados, so we had lots of dishes with them in!

spicey mince with advocado and nan bread by David

beef udon with tempura by David

October was all about Halloween.  We decorated and baked.  I think the kids had a good time but it was exhausting!

a couple of little witches

party time


kids in costumes
November was rather stressful.
Christopher had his entrance test for junior college.  He passed okay but waiting for the results was awful.  We had no plan "B" so if he didn't get in it would of been hard.  He starts in April. 2 years course in Library and Information.  After which he can either work or do two more years for the next level. 
One morning in mid November we found these beautiful spider webs in the yard.  They were really amazing!

December was tough as always.  Hubbys passing on the 18th hit me hard this year.  3 years since he passed and some days I just can't believe it!  Grief is still there and I feel that even happy events are tinged with sadness.  He is missing in our lives.  And there isn't much I can do about it!
Christmas was good. My friend and her daughter came and spent the evening with us.  I don't have any photos as they are still on the camera!

So a new year.  I can't believe that it is already half way through February.  Time is really flying!
Things are changing a lot around here and I hope to have lots of interesting things to share!

I will try to write more but no promises!