George has finally found his "Home Sweet Home" after 14 years of searching. George convinced Erika to move back to Japan, but it has been an uphill struggle. There are many problems that lie ahead for George and Erika before they can finally call Japan, "Home Sweet Home". Please join them as they face the difficulties and celebrate the successes. The journey promises to be entertaining as well as informative.
We are on
winter holiday for the next few days. It has been snowing and the temperature
is hovering around -4C. The time off has allowed me to catch up on a few
things. One of my projects was to turn a coffee table into a kotatsu. A kotatsu
is a heated table. I took the top off the coffee table and set it aside.
added cross-bracing and mounted the heater. The bracing also added support to
the table since the table top was no longer attached. The bracing will be
stained when the weather warms up.
A 2 meter by 2 meter futon was placed over
the framing and under the table top. Kiley was the first one to test out the
kotatsu. I think it’s her new favorite spot.
I wanted to
wish everyone a Happy New Year. I think it will be another great year for us.
It’s an exciting time and each day is full of surprises and laughter. I can
only wish you the same. Thank you for reading our blog.George
thanks to everyone for helping us make the 1st annual Y.E.S. Christmas
party a huge success. The students and parents were greeted by our surprise
guest (Santa Claus). In the U.S., it’s not a big deal to see Santa at a party.
Actually, it’s not a big deal to see Santa in Japan. The surprise for everyone
was that Santa looked like, well…Santa. In Japan, these terrible looking disguises
that look like a red Robin Hood are offered as a Santa costume. So when the
kids and parents saw a “real” Santa, they freaked out. It was a great photo opportunity
for everyone. Santa didn’t say much since his Japanese was rusty, but the kids
had a good time trying to figure out who he was. “Of course, it was Santa!” we
repeated throughout the evening to every child that asked.
provided a wide assortment of edible delights. The students provided
entertainment by giving speeches and singing songs in English. They performed
magnificently! The kids enjoyed the freshly popped kettle corn.
looking at the faces of the kids as they tried to break open the piñata. I'm sorry that you can't see their faces because of privacy issues. (Erika did a good job at adding "hearts" to the pictures.) The
youngest kids were the first to give it a try. By the time we reached the
oldest kids, the piñata was getting heavy. I think it weighed over 10 pounds.
The scene was perfectly choreographed as the last student gave the piñata a
mighty blow. The contents showered onto the floor and the kids scrambled to
gather the goodies. The super balls worked as planned (earlier post). They
bounced all over the place!
It was time
for the parents to have some fun. The Christmas Quiz Game Show was a hit.
Candies worth various points were given out as each question was answered
correctly. The one with the most points at the end of the game was given the privilege
of choosing the first present under the Christmas tree. The highlight for
me…playing the guitar and singing Silent Night in Japanese. To add drama, I
turned the lights down and the room glowed with Christmas lights. The audience
sounded like a choir and it was an emotional experience. I redeemed myself for
an earlier childhood trauma (earlier post) and I was able to sing without a
mistake. Woo hoo! It feels good to get that monkey off my back.
went home with a candy train, a present, a foam picture frame ornament, an
assortment of candy, photos, a full stomach, and many good memories. What’s
next? Santa will make an appearance on the 25th in Yufuin. It should
be a lot of fun. George
We will have
a Christmas Quiz show as part of the party activities. The questions have
multiple choice answers (A, B, C, D). Each family will have a set of answer
paddles. There are 10 easy and 10 challenging questions about Christmas traditions
and Santa Claus. Individuals will receive a reward for answering a question correctly and a
grand prize will be awarded to the person that correctly answers the most
will give speeches and sing Christmas carols in English to the parents. The
parents will have a chance to sing Silent Night in Japanese while I play the
guitar. I’ll do my best to sing in Japanese, also. I’m kind of nervous about
singing Silent Night in Japanese. When I was very small, I had to sing this
song in front of a school audience. I forgot the words and I have been
suffering from stage fright ever since. Well, maybe not ever since, but I
suffered for a long time. This is my chance to redeem myself.
In an earlier
post I mentioned that we stuffed candy and super balls inside of a piñata for
the Christmas party. The reason for the super balls: They are harder to collect
when they bounce on the floor. The super balls can be exchanged for special
candy and gifts. The party is less than 3 days away. I’m starting to get
anxious, especially about our surprise. Surprise?..stay tuned.George
Joe Reinhart invited us, along with
several other guests, to a very nice late Thanksgiving, early Christmas dinner. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, gravy and stuffing.
Lucky and Kiley quickly became friends with Joe.
Our host even
made home-made beer. The conversation was refreshing and strange to my ears. I
had become used to hearing only Japanese and broken English. This was the most
fluent English I had heard in over a year. The turkey was purchased from Yoyo
Market Online, a subsidiary of Costco. Thank you Joe!George
It’s time to
catch up on our posts before we’re too busy to write. This week we’ll have our Christmas
party so we’ll have a gazillion things to do beforehand.
clocks back to about a week ago, I installed gutters on the back side of the
house. I’m not sure why the house didn’t come with gutters. My guess is that it
has something to do with the severe pitch of the roof and most log cabins are
not used on a day-to-day basis. Anyway, the brackets which hold the gutter
consist of a large nail that is welded to a curved piece of aluminum.
Installation is straightforward.
First mark the slope of the gutter, 5/8” for
every 10’, and pound in the brackets every 24”. The plastic gutter slips into
the brackets and the downspouts are glued in. I still need to install the
second story gutter, but I may have to wait for awhile. The snow has arrived
and climbing a ladder is not a good idea. To be continued…George