Saturday, August 13, 2011

Random pics

Here is big son, age 22 mos.:

Here is little son, about age 12 mos.:

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The earthquake

I have wanted to write about our earthquake experience, though we were so safe up here in Hokkaido. I will try to write briefly. This is just to record what it was like for us up here in Hokkaido, far from the disaster. I will write in bullet form to try and stay brief!

  • I was at work, sitting at my desk in the teacher's room of a school in Sapporo. Many kids were in their classrooms getting ready to go, or out in the hallways cleaning. The earthquake started at 2:46 p.m., but for us in Hokkaido it would have been slightly later.
  • The shaking was very large and side-to-side, clearly a very powerful earthquake, and it went on for approx. 5 minutes. It seemed to just go on and on. I was on the 2nd floor of the 3-story school building. I was not afraid for my health as such, since the shaking was not violent - but it was clearly a "big event" and there was a lot of worry, consternation, shouting, etc.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Garden Flowers and Fruits 2010

I am making preparations to start covering more topics from my hobby, family history! In the meantime, here is another project I've been working on...

Nearly all the flowers and other plants of note that appeared in our garden during the previous year, in a slide show:

The slide show is arranged from spring (April, here in Hokkaido) to the beginning of winter (December). [UPDATE: it is arranged in alphabetical order, for some reason.  I will try to fix it.]  I don't know many flower names, and enjoyed looking them up for the slide show! Please comment if you know any flower names that I missed - I would like to learn more :)

Most of them were planted by our landlords, and appear year after year!! A few are wild, and I planted the annual vegetable plants (potato, tomato, green chili). Also, a few things did not get photographed (by mistake), like asparagus and edamame (beans), and in other cases the photo quality was too poor (a few flowers, but not major ones). Our garden does get very overgrown each summer, since I don't have time to weed much, but anyway, what work I do manage to do is very enjoyable and educational (for me as well as our children, though the education for them comes mainly at the dinner table, as they don't like to help with gardening)!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nearly 5 years on...

Was thinking about this old post today:

That was the legendary face-off in Koushien between two high school pitchers, Yuuki Saito and Masahiro Tanaka. 12th graders in high school at the time, Tanaka (Maa-kun) went straight to the pros, and Saito (though he could easily have gone pro then) decided to go on to college baseball at Waseda Univ.

Now, nearly 5 years later...

Maa-kun has been (and still is) an extremely popular and successful young pitcher for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. We still love him up here in Hokkaido, and Fighters fans enjoy seeing him as the opposing pitcher when the Fighters play the Eagles.

Yuuki Saito kind of disappeared from the public eye for a while while he played college baseball (it is not followed here on the scale that pro baseball and the Koushien high school tournament are). He recently finished college, and was signed to our team, the Fighters, over the winter!! Although he was the pitcher opposing the Hokkaido team in Koushien 5 years ago, Fighters fans have been very excited to get him on our team. He is getting a lot of interest and press. He is still referred to as the Handkerchief Prince, although I think he has grown out of that stage of his life and probably wishes he had a different nickname. However, he puts up with it gracefully.

My husband took one of our neighbors to see him pitch in a Fighters game today, and we won. :) Today's game wasn't against Rakuten, but at some point we will be sure to see another Maa-kun vs. Yuuki Saito face-off!!

Here's to Maa-kun and Yuuki Saito, two nice young pitchers -- glad they are both doing great, 5 years after they were catapulted to national fame in Koushien! :)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Weird coincidences

I seem to get these kinds of word coincidences a lot lately... it's kind of freaky, but maybe it's normal (?). This is a good example, so I thought I'd write about it.

Right now, I am playing on the computer, doing my favorite hobby, family history research. I was just researching my great-great-grandfather's older brother, Thomas Henry Darley, who was a blacksmith in England. He was shown as a blacksmith in the 1851, 1871, and 1881 censuses, living on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, England. This is where his wife Fanny was from - he and his brother (my ancestor William Frederick Dunn Darley), were from Devon, over on the other side of England. I just now found big brother Thomas in the 1891 census, and, expecting to see the occupation blacksmith, was very surprised to see that he was a "Bird & Animal Stuffer". I thought this was pretty funny, and made my kids pause the video so I could tell them about this sudden and funny change of occupation. He had also moved to the town of Gillingham, Kent (on the mainland of England, near the Isle of Sheppey).

[By the way, I am planning to change this blog to a more hobby-centered blog, probably next week. I haven't been using this blog much, and might find more use for it in connection with my favorite hobby! :) ]

Back to the coincidence -- my kids are watching the movie Jumper in the next room right now, and my husband is half-dozing on the sofa near them. Soon after I told my kids about the blacksmith-turned-bird & animal-stuffer, my husband perked up enough to criticize the accent of one of the characters in Jumper, called Griffin: "What a crap accent. Sometimes it sounds Irish, sometimes Mancunian, sometimes Scottish, now it sounds Cockney. I bet he's American." (My husband is from England). I thought I would be of some use... I went to imdb and looked up the character. "Oh, he's from Billingham, England." My husband said, "That's in Kent. He's from the south but he's trying to sound northern. (grumble)" I said, "Wait, it says Stockton on Tees, where is that?" "That's in the north. Hmmm.. (grumble grumble)." Me: "Oh, wait, when you said you thought it was in Kent, were you thinking of *Gillingham*?" "Yeah."

Me: "That's so weird!! You know that blacksmith bird & animal stuffer I was *just* telling the kids about, well he lived in *Gillingham, Kent*!!!"

Husband: "Hm, very good.. " (doesn't sound impressed)

Ha ha, I had never heard of either town until today. I won't forget them now!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


We are fine, and safe up here in Hokkaido.

Still very worried and stressed out about people down south, esp. in Iwaki-shi which it seems is being overlooked still. Last night on the news they said they have many faxes from people in Iwaki, and read out several, including one from a mother of a 1-year-old with a 40 degree fever, and a 2-month-old whose life many be in danger from lack of milk. Sekkaku iki-nokotta no ni.

As far as our lives up here in Hokkaido, we are conserving kerosene (heating fuel) and gasoline, and while I noticed a few blank spots on the supermarket shelves, they appeared to be mainly very random items - probably just certain specific items whose production or supply chain has been disrupted. Similar items right next to them were still fully stocked.