Friday, August 29, 2008

Yesterday...was one of THE best days..

I apologize...this is kind of long and possibly a bit 'rambley'...if you don't want to read all the way through (I can't imagine your not wanting to, but...that's just me!!!),that's okay...just make sure you go to the bottom....there's some fun stuff down there!!!

I had one of those days yesterday that, when it's over and you're thinking about what all happened, you just really wish you could go back and live it again. The boys got up and ready to "carpe diem" with very little stress....I didn't have to make a bento for Issei because we had ordered one for him...on the way to the daycare, there was very little traffic and I hit every single green light on the way...after dropping Koji off, I continued to a special English class that I was helping a friend with.

Here in Nagasaki (as in the majority of anywhere), English education starts in the first year of Junior High (7th grade), continuing on through High School (3 years) and for many, into a couple of years (or more) of university. If a student is lucky enough to go to a private elementary school, then, sometimes, English study begins in the 1st grade...and usually with a native speaker.

A few years ago, the Nagasaki Board of Education started a program called "Hello English"...designed to get the elementary school kids interested in English and give them some contact with the language. The Board of Education hired native speakers of English and also some Japanese people who can speak and understand the language. I think that it is a good program and the kids seem to like it.....but soon, there will be some new changes....

Next year, starting in the new school year in April, all 5th and 6th grade curriculum will include...yes...English. It will be a special class, not everyday, but once a week....and with a textbook. Has the local board of education made provisions for native speakers to come in and teach those classes? no no! The homeroom teachers will be in charge of this.

Do most elementary school teachers speak English well enough to teach it?

Oh..No No NO NO NO NO N!

Do most elementary school teachers speak English?

You can say it with me now....NONONONONONONONONONO!

Are the teachers getting a bit nervous?

You bet your bippies they are!

And this, my friend, is where yours' truly comes in.

Yesterday, the class I helped with was a group of teachers that my friend works with at one of her schools she visits as a Hello English teacher. The principal had asked her if she could give his teachers a lesson to help them get prepared. She asked me to come and know...because I am a "native speaker of the English language :-D.

The original plan for a 30-minute "mini" lesson, turned into a little more than an hour. The teachers had a great time and did really well. The principal (who also took the class!) LOVED IT!!! He was so excited!! My friend called me after I had left and said that he was still talking about it and the teachers were still very excited!!! Hell, she and I were e-mailing each other 3 hours later saying how excited we still were!!!!!

Before I had arrived, she said they were talking about how nervous and unsure of doing this they were....after I left, they were energized and excited and had the feeling that maybe, just maybe, they could do this!!

When I first heard about this curriculum change last year, I wanted to get a class going for teachers, because I know they are going to need one....not only for their own English language ability, but also for "how to teach" English help and advice. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way a "Master Teacher" in this area, but...I have been teacher for over 20 years (Good Lord! Can that be possible?!?!)....5 of those years in an ESL classroom in the States...and 17 years here. Plus...the teachers need someone that is energetic and fun and willing to help.

Yeah....hello...this class has my name all over it!!! :-D

We were talking to the principal after the class and he was saying that the "teachers really needed this kind of class to help them prepare"....yeah, uh-huh...keep going....and that he was going to talk to other principals....about the class....and....about me!!!

Let me just stop here for a moment and say....Holy Mother of all that is right with the world....THIS is what I need. Please, let this happen...I hate to get my hopes up, but man oh much fun would this be!

I have been feeling, for the past few months, that...even though I love my life and my classes and my students here....something is missing...I'm not sure what it is...but....maybe, just maybe...this is what was missing. I don't know but...even as I am typing this....the idea of teaching this kind of class is getting me energized...and a great feeling!!

I'll keep you posted on what happens...I don't see anything happening very quickly...I can hope it will, but....we'll just have to wait and see.

I'm also thinking that it might not hurt to go to the temple AND the church to talk to the Powers That Be....definitely can't hurt!!!

Flamingo Friday

(He is supposed to be moving...I don't think he is...oh well...if he's NOT moving...just picture him taking a drink every now and then of his Boat Drink!!!)

And now....something that just tickled my proverbial 'funny bone'......enjoy!!!

song chart memes, if you are thinking to yourself..."Oh man! I haven't seen that skit in such a long time. I remember I laughed so hard!!!"

Then, maybe, you were all, "I wonder if YouTube has it?"

The answer But...if you go here... you can see it.....and enjoy the moment all over again!!!

"Candygram." Priceless!!

more graph humor and song chart memes

Sunday, August 24, 2008

....oh...and Happy Anniversary!

About fourteen and a half years ago, SHE...
met HE.... a very respectable drinking and eating establishment. (oh yes it was!!!) Even though SHE spoke very little Japanese and he spoke even less English, he had a car and liked to take drives it was a very special relationship from the very beginning.
(Actually....this picture is from the second night they met. There were no pictures documenting the "first meeting"....and that's a good thing...they could probably be used for blackmailing purposes. Let's just say that SHE had been partying pretty strong with her very special foreign, gay friend...they met the HE...both thought HE was pretty cute...there was an intense game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" when it was discovered that he was one is really sure who won. Since the HE doesn't play for "that team", I got him.)
So SHE and HE spent a lot of time getting to know each other...searching for words in the dictionary...driving all over the island (or so it seemed to her!!)...and laughing...always laughing and having a very good time.

Even though SHE had only met her a couple of times, his mother was kind enough to make a yukatta, a summer kimono for her.
Since high school, HE has always been in a band and hung out with other musician-type people. Even though SHE pretty much sings for crap (IMHO), HE and some of those friends decided to make a band for a "one time only show. (Thank you, Jesus, for that!!) SHE didn't really want to do this, but HE was pretty damn persuasive and SHE thinks that HE still owes her big time for this!!! (That's HE on the keyboard.)

Along with taking many drives.....HE and SHE would also go to concerts and other types of musical shows. One of their favorites was a reggae concert they went to. The met up with many friends of them had just a. bit. too. tight. of. a. grip on him. But SHE understood how charming HE could be and let the bitch the friend off the hook. SHE also knows that HE understands that SHE feels she needs to {{hug}} most everyone she knows. HE and SHE had a pretty damn good relationship!!! day...while on a drive on a cold February day....HE and SHE had stopped for some hot coffee and steamed bread....without any kind of warning whatsoever, HE informed her that HE thought they should get married. SHE, not really realizing that this is where the relationship was going, (Really, SHE didn't!! Actually, SHE never really saw herself as ever married...a mom, yes, but married? No.) couldn't answer for about 35 kilometers...and then SHE finally came out of her shocked daze and mumbled that SHE would marry him.

So....on August 24, 1996, in a small church in her hometown in Colorado, HE and SHE got married. It was, to say the least, an interesting wedding.

First of all....SHE was escorted down the her mother.

(Can't imagine where SHE got her smile, can you??)

It was....a colorful day.

To sum up the day very quickly.....

(a) there were usherettes, not ushers...three girls SHE loves dearly

(b) SHE has too many friends and couldn't decide who would be the lucky ones to stand up with her....and HE didn't want to put a financial burden on any friends to come and join them, (they also had a BIG party in September, here in Nagasaki.) instead, they had "Best Men" and asked the two most special men (besides HE, of course) in her life to stand up with them. (Still wondering where that one on the right was looking at and what was going on!!)

(c) SHE had 3 very cute nephews and one cousin who were the "Matsuri Boys" ('festival boys') (d) the two absolutely darling candle lighters belong to one of SHE's BFFs (who also did the flowers!!)...SHE loves those girls and their mom dearly! and

(e) HE was quite tickled that the minster came to the wedding with jeans on under his robe and cowboy boots.

All in was a very wonderful day.

And 12 years later....HE and SHE are doing quite nicely....they still drive all over the island, but now with Son #1 and Son #2 tucked safely in the back seat. HE still doesn't speak much English (but HE understands a lot)...SHE should be much better at Japanese, but....HE understands what SHE is trying to say (most times)...and it is still a pretty damn, good relationship.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

A musical meme for your reading pleasure...

It's been awhile since I have attempted a meme. Color my butt lazy, 'cause that's what I have been. I do love reading though what others have written about and shared with us...but, for me, coming up with (for example) "100 Things About Me" was really hard to do. Oh....I have plenty of things about me to share....I just want to do it little by little....and yeah, okay...I really wasn't in the mood to do that one......I'm a weenie. I know.

So, in the manner of MoxyJane and Fond of Snape...I'm doing a meme that they both have done and the best thing about this is that it really takes very little effort on my part....BONUS!!!
Both of these ladies write blogs that are very cool. Their answers on this particular meme, I have to admit, didn't really surprise me...from people's blogs you can kind of get a sense of what each writer is all about, and I have to say that these two did NOT disappoint me.'s my turn.

1. Open your music library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod, whatever)

2. Put it on shuffle

3. Press play

4. For every question below, type the song that’s playing

5. New question — press the next button

6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool

Opening credits: "Good Love Is On The Way", John Mayer

First day at school: "29", Gin Blossoms (from album NewMiserable Experience!! :-D)

Falling in love: "Taking Over Me", Evanescence ( this is getting a bit weird!!)

Breaking up: "New Slan", The Shins (from an awesome 'once a year' album from KBCO!!!)

Prom: "I've Gotta Find You", Lonestar

Life’s Okay: "Hands Are Tied", Gin Blossoms

Mental breakdown: "Waiting on the World to Change", John Mayer

Driving: "Snitches and Talkers Get Stitches", Fall Out Boy

Flashback: "Busted", Matchbox 20

Getting back together: "Corazon Espinado", Santana

Wedding: "One on One", Bad Company (!!!)

Divorce: "Song From Half Mountain", Dan Fogelberg

Current Mood: "Hot Cookin'", Ray La Montagne (teehee)

Final battle: "Bandit", Neil Young

Death scene: "Next Contestant", Nickelback

End credits: "Man Of Our Times", Genesis

Very cool music meme....a little freaky at times, but cool nonetheless!!!

If you have a few minutes, you should do would be fun to see what kind of music everyone else is listening to!!!

......I'm just saying.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm thinking of changing's know what that means

Due to the fact that I'm tired and that I fell asleep in Koji's bed.....he just asked me to lie down with him for a little bit at bedtime and ~~~~~~~~~~~~that's pretty much all she wrote. Debbie was down for the count and didn't wake up until about 2 hours later. You'd think I'd be rested after that little 'cat nap' tired. ANYHOOTS.....I'm going to make this a quick post...and get to bed!!!

About every other month or so, we get a that's not true...we get 3 catalogues from 1 company. Catalogue #1 is what I like to call "Clothing I will NEVER buy or probably even be small enough to ever wear". Catalogue #2 is pretty much same as #2 but waaaay more expensive. And #3 is their "housewares/ home furnishings and furniture" catalogue...again, a lot of nice stuff but 99% of it will probably never be purchased by me or anyone else in this house.

I do like to thumb through the home furnishings one,'s kind of fun to find things that I KNOW I can get oh so very much cheaper at the 100 Yen store or any one of the discount shops that have become so popular.

I've been looking for a new dish rack. The one I had is really old and well, quite nasty. It's time to get a new one. So...I went to the page for kitchen wares and found this:

Dish rack. Nice. Rubbermaid. Good. Design. Functional yet cool.

And then....I saw the price.....8,715 dollars that would be...just a minute, must find calculator.....okay.....that would be about $98.61!!!!!! For a Rubbermaid dish rack!!

So...being the curious type that I am....I checked out a discount store I sincerely love on the internet (think big red sign that resembles a bull's eye!!) and found the exact same items...the bottom tray and rack are sold separately, but...if you buy them together, you get a special price.


.....together with this...

And you can take those 2 items home for only $22.98!!!!!!

On my list of things to do tomorrow......

#1. Research becoming an importer of American goods into Japan.

Flamingo Friday......"Lost Flamingos"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A bit of a rant...and a "who do YOU think it is?"-type question

Answer: 163.

Question: How many posts are in Debbie's Google Reader right now waiting to be read and hopefully commented on?

That's right....163! I haven't even been on vacation!!!
At this point in time, I'm thinking that I'm just going to hang on until 175 (that sounds like a good number, don't you think?!) before I get serious about this reading thang.

And then again...I might just say, "Nah...." and click all of them as "READ" in the past tense. For some of you....and you know who you are...I'm blaming you.

Yes....You...and I know that I'm guilty of this too, so I'm apologizing right now, but for this post, it's all about your attempt to "share the love" and pass out the wonderful bloggy have, in turn, put me in "Blog Reading Hell"!!!

No. I canNOT just read your blog and "Oh that's nice." and go on to the next good friend that I read almost daily. OH NO!!...I have to go and check out all 7....or 14 of the blogs that you have passed on awards to! Seriously....I have to draw the line somewhere....and errrrrrcccccchhhh (sound of a car squealing to a with me here!!)....there's the line. Ride is over. Get out.

I appreciate your wanting to introduce me to your friends...really I do. But...I have friends already that I have been slightly ignoring. Many of you have 7 or 9 posts that I have yet to read....and I will get to them soon...really...I'm going to try.

But....if I don't...please don't hold it against me. It's hot here and NO we still have no air conditioner!!! My brain has now become kind of mushy. My thighs are sweating and starting to stick to the chair. There is a bead of sweat that is making my life quite's going down the middle of my back and right now is about to meet the top of my boxer's been fun tracking its route.

Okay...enough of that crap. Shake it off Debbie. You can do this.

Thanks for letting me vent...I figure that if you are still reading, then you truly are a good friend, and for that, I thank you.
And really...I have had fun reading and meeting new many out there to get to know!!! And I don't even have to leave my house....though right now...I'm looking for a chance to get in the car with air conditioning...hmmm....Internet Cafe? May be a new option!! See....I'm getting more positive about all this even as I type!!! {{smile}}'s the question....the K-Man comes into the kitchen tonight and shows me THIS picture...."Dare to omoimasuka?"...."Who do you think this is?"

I looked at it....hmmmm....knowing the K-man like I do, I know that it has to be a musician....but....who? After throwing out a few names (all wrong!), he told me it was........THIS MAN...!! As I hadn't really thought of Jackson Browne in a really long time, this took me by surprise. Personally, I'm thinking he is still pretty know...for an old guy!!! teehee

He has a new album that is coming out...and yes, of course, the K-man has we have already ordered it. I'm really looking forward to hearing what he sounds like now....I can't imagine him sounding very much different from the way he did back in 1979. Oh...I did love him and his music.

And so....I will leave you with this blast from the past. This music always takes me back to a very happy time.....I hope it works for you too!!! Enjoy!!!

The day that went from GREAT to WHAT? in about 9 hours I am thinking about the events of the day, I seriously wonder: Is this a test? Is God giving me these little "adventures" to see how I will handle them? Will there be a prize? (Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know...Heaven...wings...harps....but I'm curious about while my body and spirit are still on Earth!!)., being Monday and even though Issei is still on 'summer vacation', some of my classes start again....the K-Man has work...Issei has his "big kid" daycare (they went to the City Pool today!)...and Koji has daycare. We were all just a little slow in getting up and around, but....we got up, got dressed, go ready to "Carpe Diem" of us made a bento...and off we went....and a little ahead of the schedule, which is always good.

I got everyone (except the K-Man...he is on his own!!) to where they needed to be and I headed on over to my one and only class today....other classes are still on a bit of a "summer holiday". This class has 4 ladies and we spend the majority of the 90 minutes (today almost 2 hours!!) laughing...and yes studying, of course!!! I do look forward to seeing them!

After class, I had made plans to meet some other students at a place where none of us had eaten lunch before (I had dinner there once, and it was really good!!!). The food was pretty good....I had a tempura lunch set....very nice. Ended up being only 2 ladies and myself, but...we had a really good time and then we went to the bookstore for a bit of shopping.

While we were there, I was thumbing through a sports magazine and came across something that, really, was just kind of exciting.

On one side of the page was
a picture of this man........

...and on the other side was an advertisement with a picture of this man.

Really....I was thinking to myself that I should probably buy that magazine because, well....hellllloooo....It was Koji AND the same almost the exact same place.....what are the odds of that happening again AND of me actually finding it!?!

I told one of the ladies that I thought this was just a really lucky day.....and that I thought I'd go and buy a lottery ticket!!! Good Karma, you know!!!

She just laughed....and then....she made one of those "A-haaaa" kind of sounds......then pointed out that these two men were actually very similar in their looks and that I have a bit of a pattern going.......

So......I came home and found a picture of the K-Man.....and did a little playing with it...and VOILA!!!! I'm really going to have a talk with him tomorrow about facial hair!!!

Anyway.....ahem....back to the story....I said "good bye" to the ladies and on my way to the car in the parking lot, I realized that I had missed a couple of phone calls on my cell phone. I found a semi-quiet place where I could listen to them......Well.....butter my butt and call me a seems I actually had a class this afternoon..... at 1:30 (At this time, it was about 3:30!!)....and the students were all waiting for me (the message was at 2:00!! I wonder how long they waited!?!?!)
Well....crap. I tried to call a couple of the students, one was answering....(yes, the "7 words you can't say on TV" by George Carlin were just rolling through my brain at this point!!!) problem....I've been teaching that class for almost 6 years...I'm thinking I can be forgiven for this one time of not remembering a class!! (No clue as to why I spaced the class....).

I went to pick up Koji and after some grocery shopping and some time at the 100 yen store (like the $1 Store, but oh so very much more fun!!) we picked up Issei and the three of us came home. After unloading the car....turning on the air conditioning.....putting away the groceries...I realized that I had some time that I could spend on the computer so I came back here for about 20 minutes.

Time to cook dinner....I go back into the kitchen...and it was hotter than hell in that part of the house. Long story short...the air conditioner has gone out. Shit. I know....Japanese people will tell you that it gets cooler after the Obon Holiday....and to that I say.....NOT!!! Swear to is still very toasty even in October!!!

So...the thought of not having cool air for the rest of the the idea of possibly having to pay some un-Godly amount of yen (I'm sure!) to have someone come and fix the silly thing....PLUS the fact that THERE IS NO BEER IN THIS HOUSE DUE TO THE CHANGE IN SOMEONE'S borrow a phrase from one of my favorite bloggers (Thanks Katydidnot!!).....

And then my head exploded!!!!!!!

I'll be back tomorrow....maybe I need to go and buy that magazine....maybe even a lottery know...just to make me feel take the "sting" out of the crappy day.....good idea....first thing tomorrow, me thinks!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Big 'ole storm going on out will just update!

Yeah....we have one hell of a thunderstorm happening right now....and as I count (Mississippi 1, Mississippi 2, Miss....) I'm finding my self not getting much further than 2 or 3. Getting a little close, me thinks, so will do a quick update and I'm shutting this puppy down for the night!!!

Olympic Hammer HottieUpdate

Damn. Damn. Damn. My man Koji looked vurrrry nice out there on the field...threw pretty good, but...just. not. good enough. I think that he ended up 5th overall....which really isn't that bad. The K-man and I thought that the fact that he was smiling and laughing and talking to the other hammer throwers was a good sign. No bad sportsmanship there!!! Just one more reason to pledge my undying affection to him!!! {{smile}}.


A few conversations during tonight's competition:

Deb: (as I walked into the living room to catch the Olympics, already in progress)

Oh, my God!! He shaved his face!!!

K-Man: It's a clip from the Athens Olympics...don't worry.

Deb: Oh...I was worried....

K-Man: He looks better without the mustache and stuff.

Deb: No....sorry...not really.

K-man: He looks like me.

Deb: .................................................

K-man: But, look....his hair is getting really thin.

Deb: That makes you very happy doesn't it?

K-man: {{smile}}


K: His face is really small. If he were fat, his face would be bigger.

D: uh-huh

K: He is really big...he just has a lot of muscle.

D: You're right.

K: Like me.

D:............oh yeah...just like you. You and that Koji could be twins.

K: {{smile}}


D: Tomorrow when you shave, could you shave so it looks like his?

(The K-man has been on vacation for the last 5 days and hasn't shaved!!)

K: I can't.

D: Oh C'mon. I'll take a picture and then you can shave the rest'll look so cool.

K: No. I. Can't. I don't have enough hair. Murofushi has "hairy Russian DNA"...he's got a lot of hair.

D: I'll fill it in on the computer.

K: {{smile}} (and raising one eyebrow....he's thinking about it!!!)

(By the way....Koji Murofushi's mother is a Russian athlete, shot put I think...Dad was also an Olympic hammer thrower...the guy couldn't help being a great athlete!! His sister is too!!!)


D: I love you, but.....I'm sorry, you do know that if he calls me....I'm gone.

K: Okay, I understand............I'm not really worried.


(At the end of Murofushi's 5th throw, I was sort of talking to the know how we do when we watch sports!!!)

D: Oh...Koji Koji Koji!!!!!!

My Koji: What? What? What?

Okay....on that note...I'm out of here!!! Big thunder!! Big lightening!! Time to call it a night!!! Oyasumi nasai, minna san!!! Good night, everyone!!!

And I will leave you with......."The boys of summer....Japanese style"!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Note to friends: If you call tonight between won't have my undivided attention...

This man will.............

The Olympics guide for tonight has:
7:30-12:30: Athletics W 100, 400, 100, Triple Jump, M HAMMER THROW, 10000 F
Yeah...I'll be watching....GO KOJI!!!

I'll be back later!!!! Have a good weekend, ya'll!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Flamingo Friday...Water Shots...and more of The Hammer Man...yummm...

Greetings all! I do hope that this finds you doing well and looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend. Here at the Kuroiwa House...we are pretty tuckered. Tonight was the final night of the Obon Festival and we found ourselves amongst the throngs of people all clamoring to get a good view of the parade of shorobune...or "spirit boats"...that families built to honor their loved ones who passed away this last year. It was hot. It was noisy. It was very very crowded. We had a wonderful, sweaty time!!!

I'm trying to put together some pictures that will give you a good idea as to what it is like here in Nagasaki during this season....will have those ready in a day or two.

The K-Man and I were talking and both agreed that if someone really wanted to come and visit Nagasaki and get the whole "Japanese" feel of what it is like here....then this season is one of the best. Yes, it's hot and sweaty...but...there are thousands of people out there...sweating and enjoying it with everyone else!!!

Oh..and by the way...we didn't have "official" earplugs but...cotton rolled up and stuffed in your ears works just fine!!! made it much easier to ignore Issei and Koji's seemingly constant pleas for something to drink!!! ("My throat is so dry, I really can't breathe." was the winner from Issei...but you have to also imagine the body language to really feel the moment...seriously...picture hand-- palm up-- on the forehead and a total "Woe is me" kind of pose!!!)


Flamingo Friday
These little beauties were gifts from a good friend...actually, I think she had them and the boys wanted them and they were reeeeaaalllly good at convincing her to give them to us. The boys are really good at finding a "soft spot" and then working it until they get what they want!!!
I love these flamingos.....they are such bendable, twistable, fun.
One, I keep on the paper towel holder in the kitchen....
....the other has a special place in the car.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ are some of the photos from our day at the river...and then....the sea. (Sorry, cameras aloud in the onsen...they frown upon that.)
Oh...and by the way...there will be none of "those kind of shots" of know the kind...I will not post any kind of photos like that.....unless/until large quantities of money have been deposited into a PayPal account. I'm not sleazy but...for the right amount of yen (or American dollars) I could possibly be persuaded .

(Right now, I'm wondering if anyone is actually thinking I would do that?!?!?! teehee!)

Okay....and honor of My Man Koji, the Hammer Dude (who is in 2nd place in his group, so far in the Olympics), I wanted to let you see one of the TV commercials he did a while back. It's for some cup-of-noodles....oh and by the, in Japanese, means "noodles" (think raMEN, soMEN....)
If anything, this proves that he does have a sense of humor...a quality that ranks pretty damn high in my book!!!
(Either he has a good sense of humor or he will do pretty much anything for a big hunk of yen...whichever...either one works for me!!! Possibly something he and I have in common!?!?!))

*If you can't see the video...go to and watch it!!! It's good for a giggle!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Today was just a great family-kind-of-day...with a "water" theme

I have some great pictures to share with you but...the K-man has the "keys" to the camera tonight (he took it with him to meet some old friends!) and I can't download them. Plus...I will have to convince him that putting them on my disc when he gets home later is a wonderful idea and he really should do it tonight.
*A note about the K-man.....he is very anal extremely organized in that he only likes to put pictures on my disc at the end of each keep everything in a more orderly fashion. I know!!! How I ended up with this man goes beyond the realm of believability!!! {{smile}} to Google Images, I can give you a bit of what we did today...

First...we played in the river...this time the boys had suits. Mom and Dad just said "to hell with it" and went swimming in their clothes. Note to self....don't ever wear a white t-shirt if there is the chance of getting wet. I'm just saying!

Then....because we didn't get enough water at the river....we went to the beach. We decided we like the river better because the sea salt is nasty and we feel all "peta peta" (sticky") in the car. BUT...the river doesn't have the'll be a tough decision next time.

And keeping with the "water" theme...we went to an onsen that sits right on the beach...yeah...I was all "But it's a hot day...why on earth would I want to go and sit in some hot water?!?!". The K-man's theory was that if you sit in water that is hotter than outside, when you go back outside, you'll feel cooler.
No....sorry, my love, not so much...but I didn't tell him...he felt so strongly about that, I don't want to be the one to burst that particular bubble. (ssshhhh...don't say anything!)

Realized that my sunscreen washed off in the river so now the back of my neck and my arms are a bit red...must find some of this soon....

Tonight, the K-man is meeting some friends of his from junior high...hence, the "old friends" remark up above....and the boys and I are on our on for we picked up some of this for dinner.

And when the boys go to bed...which I'm planning on it being early since they played so hard all day long....I'm going to watch this movie because it's one of my favorite "chick flicks" (thanks Bad Mom for reminding me of it!)

You all have a great day....Now I have to go and warm up some chicken for my boys and find me some know...'cause the pain from my sunburn is so very bad!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The one where Debbie realized that busy is better.

Yes....strangely enough...busy is better for this camper. Due to the holiday coming up (more on that in just a bit!), I had one class yesterday and one today...and will have only one tomorrow. As I usually have 3 classes on Monday and Tuesday and 1 class plus my dance class on Wednesday....I'm feeling a odds today.

You'd think I'd be loving the free time and enjoying the heck out of the easy schedule.
You'd think.
Actually....I'm about to go nuts....or more nuts, as the case may (or may not) be.

After going 90 miles-an-hour for so long, 6 days a week....I'm finding it hard to just. do. nothing.
I experienced this last year in America...and after about a week, I got over that feeling and started enjoying the "doing nothingness" of being on vacation.

I wish I had a few weeks to become accustomed to it, So will just suffer through these strange feelings and hope that no one gets hurt in the process!!

Tomorrow starts the beginning of the Obon Festival here in Japan.....and it will last for 3 days. This is a special season where many people return to their hometowns for a couple days or, as of late, many will take this time off from work (some companies this year have been off almost a whole week!!) and travel abroad.

What is Obon, you are asking?'s kind of like a part of Halloween.... with Memorial Day thrown in...and then add a bit of 4th of July....and VOILA!! There you go!!!

If you want to get the whole exact explanation, you can go to Wikipedia and search for "obon festival" and they have a pretty good one. But...that's pretty long and drawn out, so just stay here and let's see what I can do to do my own bit of 'splaining. Okay? Okay.

The Obon Festival is a time to pray for the souls of the family members who have passed away. If someone has passed away in the past year, then this year is especially is their hatsubon, or "first obon" and there will be special, official ceremonies and possibly a "spirit boat" will be involved.

Each family will follow the basic principles of the festival, but, sometimes families or different religious groups have their own way of doing things.
Here is what the Kuroiwa Family will be doing:

Tomorrow, on the 13th, we will go to the temple where the K-man's father's bones are being kept (yes, here in Japan, after cremation, the bones are kept in special urns...the ashes~~I assume~~ are thrown away!!). At the temple, we will pray, leave an offering for his spirit (usually his favorite candy bar, tea or something else like that) and we will "take his spirit back to the house". Issei told me that we have to "go to the temple to remind Grandfather that it is time to come home for a while." The K-man just said that we have to go and get him....which just made me kind of giggle.

At the house, the family butsudan, "family altar", will be decorated with flowers, lanterns, special food and such. Even though his father passed away 13 years ago, we still do this...and will continue to do this for many, many more years.

For the next day, or so, the spirits of our loved ones come back and..... hang out, so to speak. As you walk along the streets, you will find beautiful lanterns, with the family mark on them, hanging outside the mark the way for the spirits so they can come home safely.

On the 15th, it is time for them to go back to "the other world".
For us....we will take some of the fruit and food from the butsudan and pack them tightly into a small straw boat....traditionally, we would light an incense on it and then take it to the river and send it off, letting it drift out to sea. But...due to the changing times and pollution and such, we will just carry it down to the pier where there will be a barge waiting to take it away. They actually have a Buddhist priest waiting on the barge to pray as they sail away!

For those families celebrating the hatsubon, here in Nagasaki we have a very special tradition called Shodo Nagashi...or "spirit boat parade". Nagasaki is very unique in that this is a very loud and festive affair. A friend of mine from the northern part of Japan was in total shock about our tradition down here. Thousands upon thousands of yen have been spent on fire crackers and fireworks. Boats have been built (also not done cheaply!!) that will be carried throughout the city by family members and friends...again, traditionally, they would carry them to the water and set them afloat. But...they are lovingly placed on the barge to be taken away.

When Koji was born, my mom came to be a part of his blessing at the shrine...and she was here for this festival. I went through some of our pictures and found some that might make this a bit easier to understand...or at least, that is what I am hoping for.
I will take the camera when we go on Friday (the 15th) and take some more pictures.
It really is a wonderful time to be here in Nagasaki....noisy, butwonderful.
Oh...must remember to buy ear plugs for all of us for Friday as it can get a bit too loud!!

So...enjoy the slide show! (I wrote comments on most of the pictures and it might go a little too fast to read so go ahead and pause it if you want!!!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

No post last night? It was the Olympics' fault!!

So, last night at 9:00, we started watching the Olympic opening ceremonies, live in this part of the world. At about 1:40-ish, they were over. The dinner dishes did not get washed until shower was finally taken at midnight. ** blog post last night.** It was all quite spectacular,! I thought it would never end!!!!

Did you watch? Personally, the K-man and I spent the majority of the time asking each other "How did they do that?". It was all so amazing!! Though it was all quite incredible, they had me at the taiko....or the drumming at the very beginning!!! That just gave me shivers!!! But....pretty much any kind of taiko will do it for me anyway!! But always amazes me how, at each Olympics, the opening ceremonies just keep getting bigger and more elaborate....Lord only knows what is in store for the next Olympics!!

As the K-man and I were watching....waiting for the Japanese and American teams...we entertained ourselves by trying to mimic the Chinese announcer's pronunciation of the really takes so little to make us happy!! ~~sigh~~

Japanese is a really hard language and I struggle with it pretty much every day....but Chinese!?!? Holy Moly....I have a few friends who speak it and.....I bow down in the direction of anyone who can speak and understand that language because it seems to me to be one of the most difficult ones to master!!!

We were also laughing at how many countries we didn't know!!! I don't know about the English commentators, but the Japanese ones would just say the country and a little bit about the athletes. What I was wanting was "and that country is located......." every now and then!!!!

On the Yahoo pictures this morning I found this......hmmmmmmmm.....I may have to do some investigating on this!!! As the Japanese athletes went by....the K-man and I were talking about the ones we recognized (of which I knew way more than he did!!! Score!!). And then when the American team finally made their way into the stadium....yeah....okay...nice hats, people. Didn't really know much about anyone.

Now....don't get me wrong...I'm all for the American athletes and want them to win. But.... I have to admit that, because I know more about the Japanese athletes....I'm probably going to be cheering for them just a little stronger. Also, please keep in mind, that when it comes to the media....I'm going to see the Japanese games, matches and races....if they happen to be against the Americans, then I'll get to see the Americans (like right now....the American women's volleyball team is playing the Japanese team....reeeeaaaalllly want to get in the living room and watch that!!!). Otherwise, I catch the updates on CNN or Yahoo, or read about the results in the paper.

There are a few sports that I am definitely watching.....swimming, volleyball, synchronized swimming, gymnastics and tonight, I watched and cheered for Ryoko Tani, in the 48-kg division of Judo. This is her 5th Olympics....she got married a couple of years ago and now has a baby. These Olympics were her come-back (of sorts).....and she got the Bronze medal. It was exciting to watch (even though the rules of judo really confuse me sometimes!!!) and yet, so heartbreaking when she didn't win the gold.....she was visibly disappointed....but she did say that she would possibly try one more time!!!


I have told you before about the whole 'slippers in the house' idea here in Japan and with the heat and humidity happening all around us, the LAST thing I want to do when I come home in the late afternoon, is to put on some slippers. I just want my dawgs to breathe!!!

The other of my students had on a pair of sandals that I really liked and promptly asked her where she got them. One of her friends makes these zori out of cotton....

...they are only to be worn inside the house, like slippers! When I first got mine...they were way too little and I was like "No way!! These are NOT going to work. Ouch!! They hurt!!" But, my friend assured me that after about 3 weeks of wearing them around the house, they would smoosh out and be more comfortable. (*smoosh out....would be what I translated what she said to for me!!*) put them on and damned if she wasn't right....they do smoosh out and they are getting more comfy!!! She also told me to throw them in the washing machine and that should help loosen them up a bit more!!!
They are great and I really love them!!! With the humidity, the floors are just kind of damp a lot of the time and these work great!!! Plus, I figure that in, yes, you got it, about 3 weeks, they will fit perfectly!!!


When we were trying to find a name for Koji....I knew that I wanted the name "Koji". The K-man had picked Issei's name out and, in all fairness, I should have gotten to pick the next one. (I was pretty adamant about that!!)

The name 'Koji' has always just sounded really good to me. It's short. Easy to pronounce. And to me, it just sounds really strong...a good name to give a boy. With Japanese names, most people choose a kanji for that particular name. You may find that one name could have 3 or 5 or 6 different kanji, all with slightly different meanings. Plus....each kanji is written in strokes and you must be careful because a certain number of strokes in a character could be good luck or bad. The K-man had found the kanji for Koji's name....2 characters with the last one being the same as his father's. We were set on that...or so I thought.

A few days before we were to go to the hospital to have Koji (both boys were scheduled C-sections!), we were watching TV and happened to catch a commercial with an athlete who happens to also have the name, "Koji"....Koji Murufoshi, Olympic hammer thrower. At the end of the commercial, they put his kanji on the screen and the K-man was immediately drawn to those particular we changed our plan. The kanji of Koji's name mean basically "wide spaces"....which is pretty much what he needs!!!

And why am I telling you all this? Well......I will now give to you....

Eye Candy of the Olympic Kind

Koji Murufoshi

The man at work.....
....and at work as the spokesman for FedEX.
(To be honest....I've always thought he was really hawt ("secret boyfriend" matererial, perhaps!!!)...and am tickled that my Koji shares his kanji....maybe that means something good!!!)
And....before I forget.....
Some "Flamingo Friday" on a Saturday!!!

Someday...after I'm long gone and the boys are going through my things trying to figure out what to do with everything, they are probably going to wonder why the hell I had so much flamingo stuff.....I need to start telling them right now that their Grandma Linda contributed to the collection quite often!!! Here are some salt and pepper shakers that she gave me one year for Christmas!!! (The margarita candle was added just because I thought it fit!!!)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The one where Debbie just answered some questions

My good friend Gina gave me an award the other day....and with it came an "A to Z Quiz". Since I am feeling pretty knackered (pooped, exhausted, tired, worn out, get the drift, don't you?)...I thought I'd fill in the quiz and call it good. Who knows...maybe you'll learn something new about the Debmeister!!

A. Attached or single? Attached, baby...but with a lovely collection of "eye candy" at my fingertips (figuratively, of course...literally and I'd be in a whole heap of fun trouble!!)

B. Best friend? Oh...too many (you know who you are!!!)...but first, will say the K-man!

C. Cake or pie? . Depending on the flavor...if it's a Strawberry cake (like the one Grandma Hutches used to make), then...definitely cake. But...if it's one of her Butterscotch pies...oh my...Pie it is!!

D. Day of choice? Saturday...all day!

E. Essential item? Contact Solution

F. Favorite color? PINK

G. Gummy bears or worms? Gummy Worms, definitely...they are so much more fun to eat!!

H. Hometown? Springfield, Colorado

I. Favorite indulgence? Reece's Peanut Butter Cups

J. January or July?'s too freaking hot in July to enjoy much of anything!!!

K. Kids? 2 boys....Issei, 10 years old and Koji, 6 years old

L. Life isn't complete without? My family.

M. Marriage date? August 24, 1996

N. Number of brothers & sisters? 2 younger brothers and 2 even younger sisters (All are "half",'s funny...I've never really referred to them as such... just "my brothers and sisters".)

O. Oranges or apples? Apples....preferably green ones with some peanut butter, please

P. Phobias? The dentist

Q. Quotes? Love them...especially when I'm talking and I can make the "quotation" signs in the air!!!

R. Reasons to smile? Life, in kids....the name a few!!

S. Season of choice? Spring

T. Tag seven peeps! I did on Sunday!!! (but only 4...sorry!!)

U. Unknown fact about me? Actually....I'm pretty shy (yuh-huh...yes, I am!!)...other than that, I'm pretty much a freaking open book!!!

V. Vegetable? I love all veggies...especially vinegar, with salt & pepper, on a sandwich with cream cheese...mmmmmm yummy!!

W. Worst habits? I lose my temper too quickly sometimes...and I cuss at other drivers when I drive!! (The boys have a very colorful vocabulary at times!!!) I'm working on both of these!!

X. X-ray or ultrasound? in Japan, every time a pregnant woman goes to the doctor, they do an ultrasound....we have 2 video tapes of both fun to watch, hard to really see anything for most of the first tape with both!!!

Y. Your favorite food? Mexican food....with a frozen margarita (or six!), please!!

Z. Zodiac sign? I'm an Aries....actually an Aries-Taurus cusp-kind of person....but more of an Aries personality, or at least, that's what my mom says!!!

Have a great day....spend some time with someone you have fun with!!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Some sweat, some love, some more love...and finally...some wannalove!

Today has been an interesting day....not in a bad way...just got off to a bit of a different start. In the city of Nagasaki, today was...and since my translator and assistant translator are in the bath-I'm just going to give it my own bit of a twist was the annual "Let's Get Out There Real Early in the Morning and Clean Up Our Neighborhood" day (or Park, or Street, or.....). Every neighborhood in the city participated....the trash men are going to love this tomorrow!!!

The K-man had to drive his mother to her hometown to attend a 3rd-year memorial service for one of his relatives. So, I was the one delegated to represent the Kuroiwa House in this neighborhood endeavor.

At 8:00...bright and early, with a small towel around my neck and sunscreen sufficiently slathered on...I joined the neighbors in the small park very near our house. First of all....I was severely under dressed. My sleeveless t-shirt, shorts, towel around my neck and flip-flops were no match for the long-sleeved, long pants and towels draped over the heads with a hat on top of that, that all the others had put on.....oh...and gloves. I, at least, had my own gloves...which, I'm sure, saved me from ridicule. (One lady mentioned to another that, well, I was "younger than all of them and a gaijin (foreigner)" I guess those two factors were working in my favor.

So...there we were...all 12 of us...armed with our gardening weapon of choice...and for the next hour, we weeded the small park. park, I mean "small square piece of land where children can play", and in no way should you think there is grass. grass...but there were a whole hell of a lot of weeds...dandelions...and small rocks that needed to be dealt with.

At about 9:15, one of the ladies decided that we had done enough and it was time to quit. So, we bagged up all the weeds (Koji counted 9 big bags!!) and then we all gathered on the benches for tea.....AND BEER!!! And the angels began to sing. I don't know where you live, but here, in Nagasaki,'s hot and muggy and sweaty at anytime after the sun comes up in the summer. At 9:15...after pulling and cutting and is hotter than "insert your favorite phrase here".

Yes...a beer before breakfast...what a great way to start the day!!!

And yet...the rest of the day was a bit off kilter. A beer buzz at 10:00 in the morning is NOT the best thing to have...unless you are thinking about continuing that feeling and I definitely was not!! I had five a couple of cups of coffee and I was ready to seize the day!!

Actually....I felt pretty good after the coffee...once I got back in the groove...and got quite a bit done today!! Plus, I'm thinking that I must have sweated off a good pound or two....which is always good!!!


A while ago, I was lucky enough to be given a couple of "bloggy love" type awards. The whole idea of these lovely little gems is to, once you get one, pass them on. And I'm going to do that right now.

The first one was from Bad Mom. I do love reading her blog and felt so incredibly honored that she would pass this on to me!! Thanks Steph....this made my day!! (Even now, I'm smiling as I type this!!!)

Now I have to follow some rules:

1. Please put award on your blog. Check.

2. Add link to the person who awarded you. Roger.

3. Nominate 7 fellow bloggers for this award. Seven feels hard; so I am going to follow BadMom's lead and go with 4. (any concerns, contact her!!)

5. Add links to recipient. Will do.

5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award. Alrighty right then!

And so....I humbly pass this on to:

Christal at Ms. Teacher

Meg at A Day in the Life

Jenn at Juggling Life

Mary Ann at Very Mary


I am continually amazed at the group of bloggers I have chosen to surround myself with. When I first started this whole blogging adventure, I wasn't really sure of what I was doing. But...little by little, post by post...I have learned so much.

Many people ask, "Why do you blog?" the beginning, this blog was for my family and friends in the States and Australia to keep up with us and what we were doing. It was a way for me to keep a journal of sorts as to our lives here so far away from the ones we love.

Living in a foreign country is wonderful. is also very hard. Being so far away, not only from family and friends, but from life in a world where I truly belong and am accepted is sometimes so difficult...I felt so out-of-touch with what was going on.

But, by reading blogs....those feelings of being lost...of being homesick...are getting less and less. The people I read, I feel almost as close to them as to some of my friends from home. You have invited me into your homes....your families...your jobs...and your hobbies...and for that, I am truly grateful.

The next award I got was from a relatively new friend, Moxy Jane. She is a homeschooling mom in Texas and her blog is one that I always look forward to reading (when it doesn't freeze my screen!!). She writes with such love for her darling girls and her life, in general. She's smart, funny, has great taste in music. She is also one of the "bloggers I WILL meet someday"...we'll have so much to talk and laugh about...over drinks, of course!!

And from her I got this.....

Rules of this award: SHARE THE LOVE!!!

Share this award with all those blogs out there that you love. All the people who make you smile. All those that make you laugh. All those that make your day. All those that leave uplifting comments on your blog. **All I ask is that you include a link to this post with the award and ask your recipient to do the same**

And I was thinking as to whom I would pass this on....many of the ones I thought of, have already received it.....MoxyJane also gave it to Mrs. G...and really...whatever she said about Mrs. G, just picture me, standing behind her going "yeah...uh-huh...that's right...woot woot!!". Stephanie aka BadMom already has it....hmmmm.....

Okay....I have come up with three people to bestow this upon. I'm sure that with this award usually comes a really great introduction as to why you are giving this award. Well...let me be honest here...many times when I start to do that with people that I really like, I can get kind of emotional and I end up with writing that belongs at the back of some high school year know..."Dear are my best friend. We have had some great times. Never forget the time we.....yadda yadda yadda." escape from that....let me just say that the three ladies I'm giving this to are three bloggers that make me smile, make me laugh (out loud, many times!), make me think, and even make me cry. Two of them, I have been reading for quite awhile now....and look forward to each and every new post. The third one is a new friend...but one that I feel I have known all my life...hell...when they say "sister from a'nother mister"....that's her! I seriously need to sit down with her, have a drink and then we can figure out all the things that we have in common....'cause honeys, that list is loooong, I do believe!!!

And so.....I'm sharin' the love with.....

Cheri at BlogThisMom

Mary Alice at From the Frontlines


Hula Girl At Heart at Growing Older But Not Up all the others who help brighten up my days....who make me smile and laugh and cry...but mostly who make me smile....

**cue music Thank You For Being a Friend**

Some love for you too!!! Thanks so much for being you...and for coming by to my part of the world for a bit and letting me share my life with you!!!

Oh...and just one more teeny little thing before I go...' know it's been awhile and...well...I just can't help myself...but don't be surprised, okay? okay.