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!