Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hydrangea

I love this season!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Skype!

This morning, I enjoyed chatting with my friend in Boston via Skype!
How amazing it is that I can talk to my friend in such a distance for
free! Thanks to the technology!

When we realized, we kept talking for 3 hours!
I was going to have my vocal lesson today but it was canceled due to
my teacher getting sick. While wishing her quickest recovery, I feel
like I have plenty of time today..... Now after finishing lunch, I am
going to practice my piano. I am performing Chopin Ballade No.4 next
month at the student recital with my piano teacher. It's a very very
challenging piece and has been my dream piece since I was a beginner.
I want to do my best so I have to work harder!

Until next time.....!

Naoko

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

udon noodle

encouraged by my friend's comment......
this is one of my favorite meals in summer!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

long time no see!

Hello from Osaka, Japan!

It's been a long while since I last updated my journal here.
I just came back from my US trip last Monday. I had a lot of happy
reunions, wonderful new meetings, deep conversations and inspiring
learning opportunities.

During this trip, some friends mentioned my English blog here. Then I
thought, "Why I stopped updating my journal long time ago? Why not
starting over again!"

I don't know where to start, but I will try. I love listening to
people's stories and I believe some people might like my story as
well!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The third anniversary of theGreat East Japan Earthquake

I'm now watching the third anniversary memorial service of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on TV. The Prime Minister Abe gave his speech a while ago and now the Emperor and Empress are on the stage.

I remember the day like it was yesterday.
My place, in Osaka, was not hurt badly but still I felt a big and long shake.

I was practicing the piano that time and felt fainted, at least I thought so. The dizziness didn't og away for a while and when I realized everything in the piano room was shaking, the lamp cords, the calendar on the wall.... and I knew by the time it was an earthquake.

I thought it must have been near my prefecture because of the bigness of the shake. As soon as the sake went down a big, I went up to upstairs and went outside to see what my neighbors are doing. I saw the electric cables are shaking so hard, and some people were outside trembling.

Then I went back inside to watch TV and was being astonished for the next few hours..... I learned it was not near my place but the epicenter was in Tohoku area, which is very far away from my place, and which meant the earthquake was much much bigger than I had thought. I felt horrified. I had an experience of the Kobe earthquake years ago and knew things would have come out until a while later.  I remember in the morning of the Kobe earthquake, the TV didn't report anything big until, a few hour later, when the helicopters could fly to the venues and we saw the disaster with our eyes and it took another day or more until we learnt how many victims we lost.

Get back to the day of the Tohoku quake, maybe half an hour later or so after I started to watch TV, I did see the incredible scene. The tsunami live......  on NHK.  I heard the announcer's voice started to shake when the huge wave (not so strong, interestingly, just so slow, I thought, but never stopped and became bigger and bigger....) hit the coastal towns and brought away everything there, cars, trees, houses, and humans..... I couldn't believe what was going on, because, it was my first time seeing such a huge tsunami with my own eyes.  I had a tsunami warning several times in my life after certain bigger earthquakes, but it never came so big, so honestly, I thought tsunami warnings were kind of just a reminder but never serious.... my big mistake.

My facebook page became full of messages from my friends overseas. I knew all people in the world were thinking of the victims and the families.

After a while, we learned the Fukishima nuclear plant problem and that was getting more and more serious..... till.... now! Many many many Fukushima people are still away from home. Some have decided to leave their home and start new lives. Some are awaiting to go back home. Some have sadly ended their lives in a place faraway from home..... I don't know what is the best way for us to do right now or for the future.

One thing is clear that we must never forget this. We must continuously think what we can do for those people, because their our people.


Monday, March 10, 2014

My senior chorus group!


I've been a director of a community senior choir for the past 14 years.
We appeared at the stage of the city cultural festival last Friday.
We are consisted of about 50 members, all over 60 years old.  We have 3 people who are in their 90's! I loved their wonderful singing and so the audience did! We received a lot of kind comments that our music was impressive and moving.  I'm very proud of them!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

English learning

I had my English conversation class this evening. I attend yhe class every Tuesday. It's a small class, only three students and the American teacher.

Sometimes, I lose my motivation to keep going with English learning. I guess I feel a bit tired today with my music tasks. At the class, I felt like I couldn't find any reason to continue to learn English. I don't have any definite plan to go abroad right now. I don't have any English related job right now..... Yes I sometimes write something in English as   I'm doing now.  But what about speaking? Except the English class, I don't have any chance to speak English in my daily life. So why shoud I do it? Perhaps I feel afraid of forgetting everything I learned up to now if I stop learning it. Perhaps I feel afraid of getting old and cannot remember anything.  Or what?

After getting home, I tried to remember my start point of learning English seriously when I was 39 years old.

I first studied abroad when I was 39 years old in Vancouver, Canada.
I had already been married for 10 years then.  I didn't have a job at that time. I quit my full time job a few years after the marriage and became a full time housewife, then after a while I started doing some volunteer work sometimes.

I remember one day my husband came home in January or so and told me that his salary would be going down 30 % in coming April. It was a lot. We had to figure it out. It was perhaps a kind of insane but I thought this way, "OK, now it's time for me to work full time again, starting from April. Then I won't be able to have a long vacation any more..... so now might be my last time having a long time off? One of my dreams since my childhood is going abroad and stay there for a while, not on a trip but attending an ESL school and stay at a local people's house.  Why not doing it right now? It might be my last chance to make it true!"  Was I crazy? maybe......! Then I started to do my research about it and found an affordable one-month home stay program.  I told mg husband about it.  I think I am the luckiest wife in the world because he said yes to my dream right away!

I made it in Vancouver, Canada, in 2001, staying there for a month.  My English was a beginner level. So I felt so happy when my English greeting was understood, such as "hello", "thank you", "how are you?".  I enjoyed everything there. Staying at a local people's house was exciting although there were both good things and bad things.  Attending an ESL school was exciting although some other students laughed at my stupid pronunciation.  I was the oldest student in my class.  I was the earliest student going to the school in the morning. I just liked the atmosphere of the empty class room.  I liked the teachers a lot. After a week or so, I started to take private lessons only focused on pronunciation.  My teacher, Andrew, showed me his mouth as he pronounced English words.  I tried to mimic him but couldn't do it well. Tried and failed.... but it was always fun!

In the end of my stay, I received my certification of finishing the one-month course with Honorable mention (I didn't know the meaning of "honorable" so had to ask about it to my classmates!). I was so surprised because I thought I was the worst student in my class. I was so glad that the teachers found my hard work meaningful.

In the end of my stay in Canada, I was going to end my English learning after getting back to Japan but my motivation went up so high through this experience.  I felt happy with this one-month stay but at the same time I felt so sad that I couldn't communicate very well with people I liked there. I wanted to understand what other people were talking about. I wanted to share my deeper thoughts with others.  I wanted to express my opinion in details with  many topics.  I wanted to express my gratitude to people who were kind to me.  I very much wanted to be a better English speaker.  I realized it after getting home.  I thought that next time I would be a better speaker and wanted to communicate with people in English in much deeper way.  I wanted to understand other people deeply, as deep as possible.

My English learning started in this way in 2001.
It's been 13 years already! Time flies!

As I'm writing this.... now I remember how much I wanted to learn English.
I think I want to continue a little bit more! Everything is made by baby steps, little by little.  I don't know where I'm going with this learning but I have already made a lot of English speaking friends through this learning.  So why not keep going? Yes!

It's time to go to bed now.
Good night from Osaka, Japan!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

finally feel fine!

After taking cold medicine for three days, I finally feel much better, almost fine now! The headache, nosy voice, exhaustion, all of them are gone! Great! I'm glad it was not a flu.

Today, my husband and I went to the Bunraku theater and saw their performance. It was just amazing! The Gidayu singers, Shamisen players, and puppet players, all of them made the play so wonderful! I was glad I made it going there today!

Friday, January 24, 2014

cold or flu?

I might have caught a cold. I hope it's not a flu, will see.....
Influenza is spreading around in Japan now so rapidly in the past week!
I heard it's extremely cold in the US. I know we should be careful for not catching one but sometimes you just cannot help it but catch it from somebody on the street or in the train car!

Well..... at least I should have a good rest tonight.
I'm glad I made it for my senior choir rehearsal this morning and a piano lesson in the afternoon.

I'm going to have a kid piano student next morning and another choir rehearsal in the evening.  I hope it's gone till next morning and I can make everything as planned tomorrow!


Good night from Osaka!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Momo

Momo died in the late evening of January 1st, the new year day! She went to heaven in peace. She was 17 years old.  lived quite a long life. We had been so happy being with her. thank you, Momo. we love you!