September 30, 2007

Shop Opening

A new shop opened in our neighborhood on the 29th. It makes and sells taiyaki. A pancake-like snack shaped like a fish. This shop sells them filled with the usual azuki beans, but also with custard. there is also one called okonomi taiyaki that is filled with cabbage, carrots, bacon and mayonnaise.

Too bad it was raining on their opening days, but people were still lining up to buy them.

Well wishers send big bouquets of flowers for a shop's opening day. On the third day after the grand opening, the arrangements were separated into small bouquets and put in pails outside the shop. A salesclerk was handing them out to customers.

This is the shop's sign. The blue fish on the left is holding a real bamboo fishing pole. In Japanese, it says yume aru machi no taiyakiya san. Big Sister translated it as "A Taiyaki Shop in a City that has a Dream". Papa called it "Dreamland Taiyaki Shop". That doesn't really mean the same thing, does it?

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September 29, 2007

Steve King from Pearson Longman

Steve King did a presentation for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Tokyo chapter. He talked about how to make a book proposal. His presentation was interesting and useful.

This book, Side by Side, was published by Pearson Longman. I used to use it when I taught English to international students in the United States. Pearson Longman has other great materials for teaching ESL and EFL, English as a Foreign Language, as well as other subjects.
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September 28, 2007

Policemen on Bikes

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Click on picture to enlarge.

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September 26, 2007

Garden Hose

Our garden hose is in a box. Pull the nozzle to unroll it. There is a handle on the other side that can be cranked to roll the hose up. There is also a handle on top to move the hose box. There are holes in the plastic base of the box so that it can be staked into the ground.

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The hose is attached to a faucet under that metal plate behind the box. There is a knob there, but we can turn the water off and on at the nozzle, too. Click to enlarge.

Moon Viewing

Check last year's post by clicking on the label below. On the streets where we live, people could be seen carrying this home. It's a decoration for moon viewing. We ate mochi and viewed the moon from our roof garden. There was a cool breeze and no humidity. It feels like the season is changing.

Kids Web Japan--Autumnal Moon Viewing

Kids Web Japan--Moon Viewing--Manga

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September 22, 2007

Update-------Last Days of Historic Denison High School

A picture of Old Denison High School (in Texas) was displayed on Times Square. It is no longer available on the internet, I suppose, because it disappeared from this entry that I posted for August 1. Sorry. Here's the post:

I started taking pictures around our neighborhood here in Tokyo because things are disappearing. Fields that once grew vegetables and shops that sold tatami, traditional bedding, incense, etc. have been torn up and torn down. Life here is changing.

Back in my home state of Texas there has been an effort over the years to preserve old buildings in small towns. Somehow the old high school in Denison, Texas has fallen through the cracks. It was built on the site of one of the first graded public schools in Texas. Doc Holliday had a dentist office down the street.

They have torn down some of it. Demolition stopped until August 10th. The town was trying to save it. Its picture was posted on Times Square in New York City. I'm posting it here because I can't be there to help save it or to photograph it in its final days.


There for a while it looked like the historic building was going to be saved, but the city council decided to tear it down. Demolition started up again. In these last few days there is still an effort to save the remainder of the building, the inner square that held an amphitheater where citizens celebrated the end of World War I.

I truly hope the City Council can be convinced to save the remainder of the building. It is probably the last of its kind in Texas, built in the Spanish Revival style of architecture. Check the photos at Save Denison History

I'll start posting again in a couple of days. Our rescued kitties are keeping me busy--and tired!

September 21, 2007

Spider Web

Our four little kittens have kept us busy and close to home. (They eat three times a day and need exercise and attention.) So, here's a spider's web in our bay laurel tree. Click to enlarge.

This summer there were lots of spiders! Do a blog search to find the posts.

Also, look at the wires on the outside of our neighbor's house. It's not unusual to see plumbing and wires on the outside of houses here.

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September 13, 2007

Cat & Kitten Rescue

We've been busy! We discovered a young stray cat and her four kittens in our neighbor's garden. We watched them for a few days. The mother started spending more and more time away from them. The kittens were starting to stray from their corner between the house and a shed. There are big crows that come and get into our garbage, so we were afraid the kittens were in danger. Our neighbor didn't have time to help them. So, on 9-11, we rescued them.

Because the vet's office was closed until today, I caught the mother cat this morning and took her in. (Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the cage.) She was very calm as I carried her in the cage down the street to the vet's office. She will be spayed tomorrow. Little Brother wants to keep the one with the yellow string around its neck. The vet put the strings on them to tell them apart after she bathed them to get the fleas off of them.

These are the kittens that will be given away in a few weeks.

Here are two in Baba's apron. I take the kittens downstairs. Baba and I play with them when Little Brother and Big Sister are at school. We play and cuddle with them whenever they are awake. They sleep a lot, but they keep us busy! Baba helped me take these pictures. It's hard to take pictures of kittens! These are busy kitties!
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September 11, 2007

Dry Cleaners

Click to enlarge.

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September 09, 2007

PET Bottle Machine

At first glance, this looks like a drink machine.

It's actually a place to put PET (plastic drink) bottles. You have to take off the plastic cap and plastic from around the bottle. You put the bottle in the round hole. The other plastic goes in the horseshoe shaped hole. There are step stools in front of the machine so kids can climb up to put their bottlesin. Click on the picture to enlarge.

The drink machines were on the other side of this small sidewalk.

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September 08, 2007

Missing Turtle

On my way out to go shopping, I glanced over and saw this. The turtle box was empty and a young stray cat was lounging beside it. Ethel, our 18 year old turtle, was gone! I feared the worst. Aunt, Baba and Little Brother came out to help me search for Ethel in the garden. We couldn't find her. Little Brother announced that he was going to the park to look. The park is a pretty long distance for a turtle to go, but we both thought she could have crawled under the gate and out into the neighborhood. On our way out of the gate and past our neighbor's house, I glanced over and saw this:

There she was! Our neighbor had found her and put her in a flower pot. She didn't know Ethel was ours. Ethel didn't look very comfortable in the pot, but she wasn't very happy to be put back in her box. How do I know? She opened her mouth wide and hissed at me.

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September 07, 2007

Kids' Phone

It looks like a regular phone.

But pull that gray loop and an alarm goes off. It's a safety feature for kids. This is Little Brother's phone. He takes it with him when he goes to someone's house to play after school. He can't take it to school.

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September 06, 2007

Schedule for the Storm

Little Brother brought this memo home on September 5th. It says a typhoon is heading for Japan and will make landfall on the 7th. Another memo tells us what to do about school if it hits on the morning of the 7th.

This is basically what it says:

1) If it's raining heavily and the wind is strong, stay home.
2) If it starts to rain heavily and the wind starts to blow heavily on your way to school, go back home.
3) If you're at school and the typhoon hits, you will go home in your neighborhood group (the one they walk to school with on the first days back to school). Teachers will lead a group to its usual meeting place. A parent is expected to watch the storm and be at home (or make other plans) in case children come home early.

I watched for the storm. Little Brother made it through a whole day of school and came home at the usual time. The storm is moving slowly and is expected to reach landfall at 7:00 P.M. Tokyo time. School will start at 10:30 tomorrow unless the storm is still strong. Big Sister had to leave school early, too.
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September 05, 2007

Medicine Shop

There are pharmacies in hospitals and in neighborhood shops. There are also shops that sell traditional medicine. These bottles of ginger or ginseng root are in the front window of a medicine shop. See the brown spout on the right? That's a tea pot. I'll go back and get a picture of that.

There is a snake in the jar. Can you guess how the wooden thing is used?

This is the shop. Click to enlarge.

This is another view of the shop.

Note: There was a downpour off and on today, so I wasn't able to get out to take pictures. I took this picture a week or so ago.

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September 04, 2007

Praying Mantis' Lips...Or Jaws?

Click to enlarge. I don't think I've ever seen a praying mantis' mouth.

A praying mantis sits on a Syrian Rose.

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September 03, 2007

End of Summer Vacation

The summer vacation ended today for students in our area. This is some of the homework Big Sister had to do during the summer break. She's in the first year of high school. She had homework in every subject plus a book report in English and one in Japanese. Little Brother had lots of homework, too. I already posted a picture of his rice and miso soup homework. Click on the label below. For more about school work, do a blog search.

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September 02, 2007

Work Shoes

These work shoes were put here between the bars in this window to either air out or dry out. Click to enlarge to get a better look at the shoes. This type of shoe is worn by construction workers, gardeners, etc. Any worker who climbs on a ladder or walks on roofs would need this kind of shoe. The soles of the shoes are rubber or plastic and are grooved so that they are slip-proof. (Bars are put on most windows especially those on the first floor of the house.)

Rubber gloves drying on a back porch.
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