#759 A book called “Letters of twelve people”(written by Hisashi Inoue)

It is a small joy when the book I read was interesting.

I feel lucky when I actually enjoy reading the book recommended by others.
I like reading books because it makes me happy. And when someone recommends a book to me and I actually like it, it makes me even happier.

A book called “Letters of twelve people”

A while ago, my cousin recommended a book called 「十二人の手紙」”Letters of twelve people” (written by Hisashi Inoue) on her blog, so I read it. My cousin reads a lot of books, so she is a connoisseur of books.
The book was set in Showa era. It is a series of short stories composed only of letters addressed to someone by twelve people. The stories are scary, sad, loving and so on. Most of the stories are not so happy, actually they are rather unhappy or related to death, but there are some dark humor and I don’t feel gloomy after reading them. There is always a twist at the end of each story.
And the characters in each story, which have nothing in common, are connected in the final story! I was amazed by the author who can think of such surprising plot.

The message in letter is heavier and more dramatic than that of a smartphone.

Back in the old days when communicating with letters was the norm, it was really time-consuming to write letters and wait for a reply. It takes effort to write so each letter was valuable. I felt each message was heavier than it is now in the smartphone era. It was more dramatic in the letter era.

I highly recommend this book, which my cousin enjoyed and I also enjoyed. I hope you will enjoy it too.

Small joy!!(2022.2.23)

2022-02-23 | Posted in English4 Comments » 


#760 Let’s send a letter with nice stationary and cute stamps.

I’m a stationery collector.

A stationery store near the station has closed recently. There was a pre-closed sale and most of the items were selling at half price or less, so I went there many times and bought a lot of things. I’ve always loved stationeries since I was a kid, and I have a small collection of stationery.

I find cute stamps at the post office sometimes.

It doesn’t make sense if you don’t use what you bought. I have stopped writing letters these days, but I sometimes exchange parcels with my family and relatives. In those occasions, I would use cute stationery and cards to write a few words.
Since I have a lot of stationary, I’ve also started writing letters to my relatives and friends. The other day, when I went to the post office to send a Christmas card, I found a stamp sheet of “Kimetsu no Yaiba”, and I bought it and put it on the envelope to send to my friend overseas.

Why don’t you write a letter to your friends once in a while?

There were also “Peter Rabbit” stamp sheets and some cute bear design stamps at the post office. I haven’t written a letter for a while, but I would like to share the delicate fun with the person to whom I send the letter, using nice stationery and stamps.

Small joy!!(2021.12)

2022-01-21 | Posted in English2 Comments » 


#761 Eddie Bauer is closing their stores in Japan.

↑an outlet store in Rinku Premium Outlets

Eddie Bauer Japan is closing their stores and online shopping website.

Eddie Bauer, an American apparel brand is going to withdraw from Japan by the end of this year. Nearly 60 stores nationwide will be closed. The U.S. casual fashion brand was established in Seattle in 1920. So it has quite a long history. It came to Japan in the 1990s. Although I didn’t go shopping there very much in recent years, the brand was familiar to me because I lived in Seattle.

↑At the outlet store in Rinku Premium Outlets

They are holding a clearance sale.

↑At the Aeon mall

I was pretty shocked when I heard the sad news. Then I went to an outlet store in Rinku Premium Outlets. It was holding a clearance sale with most items selling at 60% off. When I got there, there were some customers waiting for the store to open. They were around my age I think, around 40s-60s. I think the brand was loved by many fans. I saw a couple, with the husband sitting on the wheel chair. I think they are loyal fans to the brand. I bought a pair of jeans and a scarf.
The other day I went to another store in an Aeon mall. Of course it was holding a clearance sale too. I bought a nice down jacket and so on. Actually I went to the Aeon store twice.
I bought many clothes like a shopaholic and as one of the brand’s fans. Some stores have already closed but some stores are still holding clearance sales until December. You can also buy on the internet. The price is very cheap.
Here is the link : https://eddiebauer.jp/

Thanks and goodbye Eddie Bauer. It taught me about American style.

↑At the Aeon mall

Small joy!!(2021.11.26)

2021-12-01 | Posted in English2 Comments » 


#762 “Come Come Everybody on the radio”~the radio program belongs to the “Asadora”

NHK morning TV drama series “Come Come Everybody”

I watch the NHK morning TV drama series “Come Come Everybody” every day. It is a moving story (but full of turbulences!) in which a female hero listens to an English course on the radio and learns English while opening up her own world. Every time I watch it I cry.

I’d like to show you a radio program and its text book.

This time, leave the story explanation aside, I’d like to show you the radio program “Come Come Everybody on the radio” and its text book. They belong to this morning TV drama. The content also explains the English used in the drama, commentary on songs, practice exercises explaining the content of the drama in English, and the social background related to the drama. The teacher is Mr. Oosugi Masaaki who was a teacher of NHK radio broadcasting English lesson from 1980’s to 1990’s. Have you ever studied English using radio? Yes, I have. I learned English from Mr. Oosugi on the radio. He was the best teacher for me when I studied English on the radio. These days, people can study English with many ways, such as the internet. Before the invention of the Internet, the radio English program was very popular.

It’s like a TV drama fan meeting for me.

Anyway, the radio starts after the TV drama finishes. So it is like a TV drama fan meeting for me. You know, you want to share your emotions with someone after viewing an episode. The other radio hosts are “AI” san, who sings the TV drama theme song, and Mr. Amano Hiroyuki, a comedian. The two join in from the viewer’s perspective of the drama to lighten up the radio show. Their conversation is bright and interesting. Their personality not only motivates me to learn English, but also inspires me.
You can listen to the radio program with smart phone using these free apps.
Live broadcast: 「らじるらじる」 https://nhk.jp/radio
Recorded shows:「NHKゴガク」 https://nhk.jp/gogaku
You can also buy the text book.

I recommend you this radio program if you like English and “Asadora”(morning TV drama series). I hope you enjoy it.
“On the sunny side of the street”♪♪♪

Small joy!!(2021.11.24)

2021-11-24 | Posted in English4 Comments » 


#763 My lemon tree has yielded 9 lemons this year.

↑The color of the lemons is the same as the green leaves (Aug.24th)

My lemon tree has yielded 9 lemons. It is the first time since it yielded lemons 3 years ago.
I was worried if my lemon tree had some problem since it hadn’t grown anything at all for 3 years. Then I gave her a fertilizer last March. After that the leaves got well and bloomed white flowers with nice aroma. As tiny lemons were growing bigger, I counted the number of lemons in July. Strangely enough, the number varies from 8 to 10 depending on the day, because the color of the lemons is the same as the green leaves. It’s hard to find them sometimes.

↑Can you find the 4 lemons? (Nov.10th)

Recently the lemons are turning yellowish green from dark green.
Then I ate a grilled salmon with a slice of the lemon. It was very good and I was moved. Because I waited for 3 years for my lemon tree to grow this lemon.

*I used a fertilizer called “hyponex”. I think it is available in many gardening stores.↓

Small joy!!(2021.11.11)

Here are my previous posts about my lemon tree!

2021-11-11 | Posted in English4 Comments » 


#764 「二月の勝者」(“The winner in February”)

「二月の勝者」(“The winner in February”)

I don’t usually read manga, but I’ve just started reading「二月の勝者」(“The winner in February”) since I watched its TV drama in October. I like Yagira Yuya who plays the main character in the TV drama. The story is about 6th graders taking junior high-school entrance examination and the setting is at a cram school. There are various types of elementary school children, parents and teachers. Yagira Yuya is a charisma teacher.
Since I am a cram school teacher, I am really interested in this drama. The first TV episode was interesting, so I bought the manga. It was really useful for me to know about “chugaku juken” and the cram school business. The manga explains a lot of insider information about cram schools and educational issues at the family.

↑ I saw a full page advertisement on Nikkei newspaper on Oct 16.
I am citing a part of the advertisement here.
”A realistic portrayal of modern day junior high school entrance exams, and a look at the family and educational issues that emerge from these exams, as well as various other issues of modern society! This drama is not just about school entrance exams, but a life strategy drama set in a cram school for everyone.”

↑ You get a special pencil when you buy their manga at bookstores.
It feels like the cram school really exist, doesn’t it?

↑ You can read vol. 1 to 3 of the manga on Amazon for free until November 15th.

Small joy!!(2021.10)

2021-11-04 | Posted in English2 Comments » 


#765 Short stories bout 2 boys in my class

I’d like to share a story about 2 boys in my class this time.

A 5th grader, very tanned boy

The first boy is a 5th grader, very tanned, wears a baseball cap every day and speaks loudly. One day when I checked his homework, I found he wrote “Ramen” in his answer. Actually it was wrong. The instruction was to translate the phrase “What is your favorite food?” from Japanese to English. They were learning about “What” in that exercise. He was not supposed to answer with his favorite food. I knew he was not trying to give a wrong answer. He probably just misread the instruction only.
He is such a funny boy.

A 4th grader, baby castella for dad

Another boy is a 4th grader. He comes to our class after his abacus lesson. He often talks to me after our lesson.
He said, “Today is my father’s birthday.”
I said, “Your mom is going to get a birthday cake, isn’t she?”
“Yes! I’m also going to buy baby castella for dad. It is 200 yen for 12 pieces.” Then he showed me his little wallet. ”Look!” He looked a little proud of himself.
The baby castella place is not a shop but a street vender in front of the station. I always smell its sweet aroma when I pass in front of the street vender.
I said, “Your father will be proud of you! He will be very happy! Take care of yourself on your way home.”
Just imagining how he was going to buy the baby castella makes me smile.
Such a sweet kid!

Small joy!!(2021.10)

2021-10-21 | Posted in English4 Comments » 


#766 A sweet called “murasame”

A sweet in Kishiwada

I go to kimono lesson every week. A lady who is a member of the class taught me about a sweet. It is called “murasame” and it is a traditional sweet in Kishiwada, Osaka. Kishiwada is famous for its “Danjiri Matsuri”, a cart-pulling festival held in Kansai area. She said the sweet is plain but she likes it.

I like the sound of the name “murasame”.

Murasame is a steamed cake made from rice flour, red beans and sugar. I really wanted to try it. And more than that, I was interested in the wabi-sabi name. Wabi-sabi means traditional Japanese beauty in a little sadness. Murasame is written as “村雨(むらさめ)” in Japanese. It literally translates to “village rain”. It refers to a type of rain that falls hard and then gently stops that usually happens in autumn and winter. I really like the sound of the name “murasame”.
Recently I finally had a chance to buy it and try it at home. The taste was plain and rustic. It is not rich at all, but I like it.

Now I understand why they use “murasame” for the sweet. The name and the taste match together. I think it is kind of a sweet for adult. One will have to experience life long enough to be able to enjoy the true meaning of the sweet.

Which do you like sweets or handsome guys?

Speaking of “murasame”, it reminds me of a handsome “celebrity gardener” whose name is also Murasame. Do you know him? He is often on TV. He comes from Sweden and became a naturalized Japanese. I think he chose a beautiful Japanese name.

Small joy!!(2021.10)

2021-10-11 | Posted in English2 Comments » 


#767 It’s the best season for peaches!

Wakayama is famous for peaches in Western Japan.

My husband and I drove to a farmer’s market in Wakayama to buy peaches last Sunday. It took about an hour from my house.
When I got off the car in the parking lot, I could already smell the sweet aroma of the peaches in the air, because the peach market was right next to the parking. At the moment, I was sure that I could buy some delicious peaches. It was a crowded day at the market and many customers were buying lots of peach in boxes.
We wanted to send a box to each of our parents. I needed to make sure that there was a small piece of warranty paper in the peach box. Without the paper, the box cannot be delivered.

We found nice-looking peaches and sent to our parents.

I joined the crowd at the market, and luckily I found 2 nice-looking boxes. There were 8 peaches in the box and it costed 1800 yen. The price was labelled on the box. While I was holding my 2 boxes, more customers were rushing in. I saw the other boxes flying off the shelf in front of me. I was kind of overwhelmed. My husband wasn’t there at that time. I don’t know why my husband is always missing during important moments. Then he suddenly appeared and we chose 4 peaches for ourselves. The market has “kuroneko yamato” delivery service. We used it to send the peaches to our parents in Niigata and Chiba.

Our “first peach” this year!

On the way home, I could smell the peaches, herbs, flowers, and vegetables in our car. It feels wonderful when you can smell fresh groceries.
Next day, our parents called us and said, “the peaches were very delicious. Our “first peach” this year! Thank you!”

Small joy!!(2021.6.20)

2021-06-30 | Posted in English4 Comments » 


#768 Having 15 small kids posing together is a very cute scene.

Sit up straight! , Raise your hand!, Touch your nose!とかスピーディーに指示をし、生徒に予め決められたポーズをさせます。15人くらいの小学生が一斉に同じゼスチャーをしているは可愛らしい。こちらは支持している側なのでちょっとした優越感である。

I teach grade 4 students English at my cram school. We often use gesture to help the students remember English vocabularies.
“Sit up straight!”
“Raise your hand!”
“Touch your nose!”

The students follow my instructions to make certain poses as quickly as possible.
Having 15 small kids posing together is a very cute scene. And to be able to lead them to do what I want makes me feel superior sometimes.

One of the instructions is “Smile!”, but since everyone is wearing mask during the class, I can’t find out whether they are actually smiling, so this one is skipped.

Small joy!!(2021.6)

“Sit up straight!”

2021-06-17 | Posted in English2 Comments »