A McDonald’s lucky bag
Do you buy a lucky bag every New Year?
I don’t, but I got a McDonald’s lucky bag which was collaborated with Coleman this year.
↑There are two designs of the front and back.
It includes a tote bag, a clock, a mug, a porch and free meal coupons for 3160 yen. Moreover, if you were lucky, you had a 1/10th of a chance to get an extra meal card for 500 yen. The price of the lucky bag was 3000 yen (tax included).
It took a little bit of work to get this lucky bag. First, you had to enter an online lottery in December. If you won, you could buy at the McDonald’s which you designated beforehand.
Actually, I lost the lottery.
I was disappointed it at the beginning of this year. But my husband didn’t give up. He checked the internet and found that sometimes customers can still buy lucky bags, because some lottery winners don’t show up and there are usually leftovers. So we went to 2 McDonald’s in our area by our car before 11pm to see if there was any leftover bag. Both didn’t have any left.
Although we are not big fans of McDonald’s, I felt like we were playing a treasure hunting game, so it was quite exciting.
The game was finished and happy ending.
Although I almost gave up, he didn’t. Finally he bought it at the McDonald’s inside Namba station the next day.
He looked very satisfied since the game was over.
For me it feels like a good start of the year, in which I missed my chance but eventually I got it with the help of my never-give-up husband.
Anyway, the bag didn’t have an extra meal card. But I feel I am already lucky enough.
“Gacha gacha”(capsule toy machine)
Sometimes I want to try “gacha gacha”(capsule toy machine) when I find something I really like, or when I just want to kill time. I also like checking capsule toys on Instagram and one day I found some really cute capsule toys.
Wow, this feels so nostalgic!
They were famous confection’s miniatures. The series have 5 kinds of confections. I especially want the “Izumiya Tokyo-ten special cookies.” This cookie box reminds me of my childhood because I ate a lot at home and at my grandparents’ home.
This is “otona-gai”.
I have never seen this capsule toy machine anywhere, so I thought my chance of getting this toy was quite small. Then I found out that I could buy capsule toys directly on the internet. This was “otona-gai”「大人買い」(spending a lot of money on things. Splurge on things that we couldn’t get when we were young)! Each item was 400 yen. There were 5 kinds of them but the total was only 1900 yen. And plus 340 yen for shipping. The total was 2240 yen.
Wasn’t it good for an “otona-gai”? Sometimes it is great to be an adult.
↑My Barbie and “gacha”.
This year is 50th year anniversary of Mishima’s death.
Mishima Yukio was a famous novelist in Japan and was once nominated for Nobel Prize in Literature in 1963. Some of his novels were adapted into movies. He committed suicide by seppuku 50 years ago.
Recently some book stores set up a Mishima’s book corner for his 50 years memorial.
The audio book “My friend Hitler” voiced by Mishima
Since I’ve never read his book, I bought one named 「サド公爵夫人・わが友ヒットラー」(”Madame de Sade / My Friend Hitler”).
The book was probably a script written for a drama play, because it contains only lines of dialogues. Luckily, this book has a QR code and customers can listen to the audio book “My friend Hitler” voiced by Mishima. (The link is only valid until January 31, 2021)
Then, I listened to the audio book “My friend Hitler” (It took about 1 hour and 45 minutes.) I really enjoyed the book because I could hear Mishima’s vigorous voice.
I probably wouldn’t have finished the story without Mishima’s voice
If the book didn’t come with the audio, I think I probably wouldn’t have been able to finish the story.
First of all, it is a difficult book. It doesn’t come with any background information. The story starts right away in the middle of an event. On top of that, the dialogues are also not the common day to day Japanese. I was listening to the audio while reading the book. Sometimes it was difficult to tell which person was talking because it was always Mishima’s voice. I could only tell by following the lines in the book. It was a “team effort” by my ears and eyes. It was quite a special experience.
I’m not telling the story here. But I highly recommend this book and I want you to have this same experience. It’s truly fun.
↑There was a notice of cancellation of the event in the park.
Refrain from leaving their homes for any non-essential reason
The Osaka government declared on Thursday that the occupancy rate of the prefecture’s hospital beds set for serious cases in COVID-19 is expected to soon reach 70 percent. So the officials asked all residents to refrain from leaving their homes for any non-essential reason until the middle of this month.
I decided not to go to a kimono party.
I am supposed to take part in a kimono party on Saturday. It is a large event. Over 100 people, all wearing kimono, are going to attend a banquet in a hotel in Osaka. I had already prepared my kimono and I also paid the party fee.
However, upon hearing the announcement from the government, I decided not to go to the party. I feel sorry for the host of the party because of my cancelation. But I think I should take responsibility in helping the government to stop the spread of COVID-19. With such a large event, it is quite likely to run into someone infected with COVID-19 in the party.
Nobody has the right answer under the pandemic.
Under the pandemic, all over the world, we are losing our freedom. Some cities have forced lock-down the second time this year. There are protests between the government and the citizens about the lock-down policy.
Everybody has his or her own ideas and I try my best to understand different views. Someone doesn’t wear mask and someone travels and someone goes to parties. Nobody has the right answer.
Let’s focus on what we can do moving forward!
Now, under the pandemic, our personal choices and actions towards the virus are revealed to the public.
How would you look at the people who are making choices different from you?
I’m afraid that the society would be further divided, and this gap would get deeper to a point that may not be repairable in the future.
We should stick together, find our common ground and create a well-balanced solution for everyone in the society.
Let’s focus on what we can do moving forward!
Mom’s cafe, it’s like in heaven.
It’s been about a year since I met my friend who had a baby this May. We met together at “Chano-ma” cafe where she chose. She showed up carrying her baby and she looked fantastic.
I heard the cafe was very popular among young couples, young girls, and mothers with newborns. One side of the cafe has a big window and the cafe was very bright from the sunlight that came in through the window. All the things in the cafe and even the staff’s uniforms were just pure white. I felt like I was in heaven. Customers can choose to sit at the table or on the elevated podium on the mat by the window. My friend requested the elevated space because her baby could lay down on the soft mat.
We had lunch on the wood plate table that has no legs. It was quite a strange style and it was not very easy to eat, but we had a nice conversation. Although sometimes her baby was fussy and cried, it was OK, nobody cared because other groups were also moms and babies and we were in the same boat.
We were so relaxed and we stayed in the cafe for four hours! She fed her baby three or four times there. It was like magic when you are with babies, you tend to forget the time. Moreover, people tend to be nicer where there are moms and babies around. This time I had a new experience with my friend’s baby and found a cafe that I usually don’t go to. It was such a nice cafe for moms and babies.
Two mitten hats
I gave her baby two mitten hats with French braids that was custom-made in Thailand. They suit to her baby very much! She looked like a very cute 3-year-old toddler with those hats, even though she was only 6 months old.
↑”I can’t sit up straight yet. I am still 6 months old!”
“Wife of a spy”「スパイの妻」
I went to see a movie called “Wife of a spy”「スパイの妻」, which won the Silver Lion award at the 77th Venice International Film Festival this year.
The story started in 1940s before the Pacific War during World War 2. A Japanese merchant went to Manchuria in China for business. There he witnessed the uncivilized behavior of the Japanese army towards the local villagers. After he returned to Japan, he decided to reveal the awful secrets to the world. Then he and his wife tried to flee to America from Japan.
I was satisfied to watch the actors speaking old-fashioned Japanese.
Although this movie was based on a serious subject about the war, it was filled with many romantic and beautiful scenes, so it was not as dark and solemn as one would expect. I felt like watching a stage performance. The story unfolded at a good pace and the dialogues were long but intense. The performance of actress Aoi Yu was amazing. The way she spoke in the movie makes me feel like I was watching a movie star from the Showa period. I was very satisfied to watch the actors speaking beautiful and old-fashioned Japanese.
I especially liked a line that she shouted “Omigoto!” meaning “Bravo!”. With only one word, she was able to express how sad she was, but at the same time she remained strong and cool in the scene.
This movie was thought-provoking to me.
It has been a while since the last time I went to watch a movie in the theater due to the pandemic. It was a wonderful movie that taught me a lot about the Pacific War and the unit 731, which I didn’t learn much when I was a student. It was thought-provoking and the ending remains an unsolved mystery to me. Nevertheless, I like this movie and I hope you will enjoy it too.
My favorite sweet in autumn is “kurikinton”.
It is made of chestnuts and its shape also looks like chestnuts. It is usually available from September to January. It is a special seasonal sweet from Tokai area. Nakatsugawa area in Gifu is famous for it.
It is different from “osechi kurikinton”.
When you hear “kurikinton” and if you are not from Tokai area, you might think of the “osechi kurikinton”, which is a special dish for the Japanese New Year. This time I am not referring to that one. “Osechi kurikinton” is sticky and uses a different recipe than the Tokai version.
I learned about this kurikinton the first time when I moved to Nagoya 15 years ago. Before that I have never heard of this version. It is easier to buy it in Tokai area more than other areas in Japan. Of course, you should be able to find it on internet or in the department stores where you live.
My favorite shop is “Suya”.
There are some famous shops for making kurikinton. My favorite shop is “Suya”. Because it is not too sweet and the taste of chestnuts really stands out compared to other shops.
I buy kurikinton from Suya every autumn. I’m look forward to the kurikinton season.
Kids are unexpected creatures for me sometimes.
One day a 4th grade boy suddenly lay his face down on the desk in my lesson. When I called his name, he didn’t answer. Then I walked close to him and called his name many times. He didn’t respond at all. I bended my body and tried to look at his face from under his desk but I couldn’t see his face. Then I touched his shoulder and called his name again. I found that his back was sweating so much.
Since it was a hot day, I thought that maybe he was not feeling well. I panicked because he didn’t respond to me. Could it be a heat stroke!?
I ran out from the classroom and went to the office and said, “one of my students is sick!” Other three teachers came to my class and one teacher called his name. The boy rose up his head. I looked at his face and he looked fine. But he was crying.
As soon as I realized he was fine and he was just crying, I was embarrassed of my over-reaction. I immediately apologized to the three teachers for my hasty action.
Since the boy got a bad score at the quiz, he felt sad and cried. The other teachers were used to these kinds of behavior, so they were not surprised and left the classroom.
Other students surrounded him and tried to cheer him up.
Although he was still upset, I started my lesson again. I said “hey, ○○(the boy’s name), you can take part in our lesson whenever you like.”
Near the end of the lesson, when we were playing games, suddenly he said, “I want to join the game!”
Then we played a bit and finished the lesson as usual.
All students left the classroom. I was alone and began to reflect on what happened today. I still couldn’t understand his tears. I know that he didn’t do his homework at all, so it was only natural that he got such a low score. Why was he frustrated? If he did his homework but still got a low score, I could understand his frustration.
Most important thing is that all my students like English. I try to give them proper encouragement and boost their skills. And sometimes I have to understand their complicated feelings and unexpected actions, too. As a teacher, you always learn along with your students.
There is an old saying in Japan that says, “Autumn is for reading”.
Lately I bought several books to read. Let me talk about one of them.
My favorite author Nakano Kyoko released her new book「中野京子の西洋奇譚」(Western mysterious stories). There are 21 stories, including my favorite Dracula, in the book. （I’ve attended “Dracula seminar” before.）
It’s not only about stories. This book tells the background history, mystery, and funny things.
I didn’t know that the ghost of President Abraham Lincoln haunts the White House, but it seems the myth is quite famous.
Other story such as “Do dogs commit suicide?”
The most interesting story was the Dyatlov Pass incident in Russia in 1959. 9 Russian hikers died in the mountain. The cause of death is still unsolved. For me, Russia itself is a mysterious country.
There are many books and movies about the stories in the book. I’ll check and follow some of the stories.
Halloween is coming isn’t it? Why don’t you read some mysterious stories?
My previous article about Dracula ↓
“TABATA Training” is one of the popular “HIIT” training methods in the world. “HIIT” means High-Intensity Interval Training.
The name “TABATA” comes from Dr. Tabata Izumi from Ritsumeikan University, who is the inventor of the training.
He explains that “TABATA Training” enables us to improve both aerobic and anaerobic energy-releasing systems.
The training method is (20 seconds on + 10 seconds rest) x 8 = 4 mins.
The exercise is not easy, but I think it is very effective.
If you continue to do it for only 4 minutes a day, you definitely will change your body.
You don’t need a lot of time and any exercise equipment. Let’s do it!
YouTube link: Tabata Protocol
Other YouTube link:【最強 “たった4分” で脂肪燃焼！】TABATA(タバタ)式 “HIIT” 全身トレーニングでどこでもダイエット