Apr 24, 2014

U is for Ursula

Ursula Bear makes a short speech on etymology.

   Hello. My name is Ursula, and the name comes from a diminutive of the Latin word ursa (she-bear). So, Ursula means ‘a little bear.’ The Latin word ursa comes from ursus (he-bear.)

   We can find words related to ursa in most English dictionaries. For instance, Ursa Major (the Great Bear), and Ursa Minor (the Little Bear). 

    Now, let's have a look at some of the Romance languages. The bear is called oso in Spanish, orso in Italian, urso in Portuguese, and ours in French. All of these words come from the Latin word ursus.
Ursula Bear
   I wish I could talk about more words corresponding to bear in many other languages, but I'm afraid we have only one minute left...

    Finally, let me take just one more example, from a non-European language, Japanese.
   Do you happen to know what a bear is called in Japanese?

   The Japanese word for 'bear' is pronounced kuma, and the kanji character for kuma is: 
     Do you think this symbol looks like a bear?

Apr 23, 2014

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch 136

 Everyday Ruralty

1. Do you enjoy crossword puzzles, word finds, or any "word" activities?
I haven't worked on any crossword puzzles and word finds recently. When I was teaching English as a foreign language, I used to enjoy puzzles like them with some of my students after school.
2. What's on your dining room table right now?
We have finished supper, and I have done the dishes, so there are only two empty cups, a pencil, a ball-point pen, and a notepad on it right now. The writing instruments are for my shopping lists.
3. Do you like Italian food?
Yes. I love them. We have pasta for lunch every other week. I also like pizza and gelato.
4. Did you ever want a brother, twin, or sister, when you were a child?
I am the only child, and I wished I had an elder sister as a child.

5. How far away is the nearest grocery store?
It's only a fifteen-minute walk from our home. I go there three times a week, either by bicycle or on food, depending on the weather.

 photo 14apron_zpsa319e240.jpg   By the way, I've made this new apron out of an old yukata, a cotton kimono for summer, today. It took me about two and half hours to sew it by hand. It was a lot of fun to concentrate myself on sewing, and I am proud of what I've made. So I am showing it off to everyone. :-)

T is for Translator

   Hi. I’m Teddy, one of the teddy bears Romi has created. Today, it’s my turn to tell you something interesting about her.

    If you have read our previous posts for Blogging from A to Z Challenge, you already know that she has spent so much time in sewing, making teddy bears, crocheting, studying English, and blogging so far. You may also be aware that she used to teach English as a foreign language in high schools in Japan.

    What do you think she does now?

     She does housework, goes grocery shopping, blogs, enjoys her hobbies, and so on. And there is one more thing.

     Romi is a translator now. She is currently working for RBC Ministries Japan as a volunteer. She is a member of the team that is translating the devotional booklet Our Daily Bread into Japanese. She has been reading the original English version for many years and finds it very helpful. Now she is glad that she can be of a little help to the people who need to read the devotionals in Japanese translation.

       Obviously, translating something into another language is not always easy. First, you have to thoroughly understand the text. Then, you need to select the most appropriate expressions in another language corresponding to the original. This process itself helps the translator to understand the original text better. Romi is thankful for what is gained in translation. The harder she works to make better translation, the more deeply she comes to understand the Word of God.


Wednesday Hodgepodge Vol.171

1. April 22nd is Earth Day. Are you inspired by nature? In what way?
I am often inspired by nature. I love walking along the river near my house, observing the river, riverbanks, plants, insects and birds. I enjoy discovering something new every day. Looking at various flowers often makes me think of our Creator and His words. Nature gives me pleasure and joy. It is also a source of my poems.
2. Down to earth, four corners of the earth, move heaven and earth, not have an earthly chance, or salt of the earth...which earthly idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.
Salt of the earth. “You are the salt of the earth..." (Matthew 5:13) I often read this verse in the Bible, and the pastor often quotes it, too.
3. Share one piece of advice you might give a newly engaged couple.
Love is not merely a feeling, but it is a will.
4. When did you last engage someone to perform a job, task, service, home repair, or improvement? On a scale of 1-10 (ten being the best) how would you rate their work and/or your satisfaction with the job or service provided?
We had an electric snow-melting system installed on the roof last October. I would rate their work 7. It took longer than they had planned. --It is ironic that we had little snow last winter. We couldn't really tell how effective the snow-melting system was.
5. When did you last find yourself engaged in small talk? Are you awkward or an expert or somewhere in between?
I chatted with Mrs. S** before the worship service last Sunday. She talked about the flowers she had been given by someone she knew, and I asked her a few questions about her friend and the flowers. I tend to be awkward. I am more ready to listen than to talk.
6. What was the last historic place you visited?
I went to Zenkouji in Nagano with my students several years ago. It is a Buddhist temple built in the 7th century and it is designated as a national treasure. It was in early May that I went there, and the road leading to Nagano was lined with gorgeous dogwoods in full blossom.
7. The world would be a better place if we just__________________________.
... stopped being so selfish.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Recently, I have started a new blog: Letters from the Land of Cherry Blossoms, in which I am going to write mainly about the culture and language of Japan. I have always wanted to have a blog focused on some specific theme, instead of a miscellaneous one like this. If you are interested, please have a look.
I will keep writing in this blog, In the Way Everlasting, as usual, especially for most of the blog hops I am taking part in. I am posting only the articles related to my country in my new blog.

Apr 22, 2014

S is for Sweater


   I started to learn how to knit only five or six years ago. First, I learned to knit small dishcloths following the instructions I found in a book.

    Soon, I began to fantasize about knitting an Aran sweater. I was aware that it would not be easy for a beginner to knit complicated patterns, but I was so fascinated with Aran sweaters that I made up my mind to give it a try. I bought another book on knitting, and taught myself.

   I practiced making smaller items like a pair of socks, a cap, and a bag, and then moved on to an Aran sweater for myself. It was difficult. It took me more than four weeks to complete it.  When I finished it, I was overjoyed.

my Aran sweater
I knitted this based on the pattern found in the Japanese book (ISBN:978-4-529-04458-5)

   A few years later, I knitted small sweaters for my teddies, using the leftover yarn. My teddies and I have matching sweaters.

my teddy bears

This post is linked up to Two Shoes Tuesday.

Apr 21, 2014

R is for Romi

Rosemary Bear, a freelance journalist, interviews Romi, the author of this creative blog, In the Way Everlasting.

How long have you been blogging?
For more than 10 years. I moved from my first blog, which is now deleted, to this one in March, 2011.

That was around the time when the devastating earthquakes and tsunami hit the northeastern part of Japan. Is there any connection? Have you been affected?
No. No connection at all. I had been planning to create a new blog for several weeks, when the earthquakes occurred. I live in an area hundreds of miles from the epicenter. Still, I felt the impact. It was the longest, and second strongest earthquake I had experienced so far.

What is the strongest earthquake that you have ever experienced?
The one that hit this area on the evening of October 23, 2004. At that time, I was living in the city near the epicenter.

When the house began to shake,  I crawled under my desk. Then, I turned on TV to get some information, but soon there was a power breakdown. Everything was dark except my notebook computer monitor. I shut down the computer, put it under the desk, and headed for the exit.

Then another earthquake came. It was so strong that I couldn't keep standing. I thought the house would collapse and I would die. When the second earthquake was over, I put on my shoes, and opened the door.

Then, with the rumbling of the ground, the third shock came, which was worse and longer. When this was over at last, I went out of the house. People in the neighborhood had already gone out of their houses, and some were in the parking lot in front of our apartment. Someone in the neighborhood told me that the gas tanks had fallen to the ground. Water was leaking from the neighboring apartment. I heard a city official telling us to evacuate the houses and go to the closest place of refugee. 

I went to the school building where I worked, which doubled as a shelter for people in the neighborhood, and stayed there for seven days, until the authorities said it was safe to go back to our houses...

Fortunately, no one I knew was hurt.

Now, tell me why you blog.
First, I want to practice writing in English in a meaningful way. Second, though this humble blog, I can meet people living in different parts of the world. If I weren't blogging, I wouldn't have met these wonderful people.

The blog title, “In the Way Everlasting,” comes from the Bible, right?
Yes. That's right.
 “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:24)
I’ve decided on this title to make it clear that I am a Christian. It is from Psalm 139, which we read at the Bible Study Group on the day I went to church for the first time in my life. It was in April, 1985.

Your URL is http://www.romisdg.blogspot.jp/. What does sdg stand for?
It stands for Soli Deo Gloria, (Glory to God alone). It is well known that J. S. Bach wrote SDG at the end of his manuscript. J. S. Bach is my favorite composer.

Is Romi your real name?
No. It’s one of my nicknames. My mother often called me Romi when I was young, and most of my friends in my university days also did. My real name is Hiromi. It’s a very common name in Japan.

Rosemary Bear, the journalist

Apr 20, 2014

The Phoenix Bridge

     My house is near the longest river in Japan. I like to walk and bicycle along the beautiful river when it is sunny.
   The other day, I went to see the new bridge called the Phoenix Bridge by bicycle. This bridge was completed last November. It is called Phoenix because the city hopes to make it a symbol of reconstruction after the devastating earthquakes that hit this area eight years ago.
   The view from the bridge was beautiful.
   (Cars keep to the left in Japan.) 
Unknown Mami

Apr 19, 2014

Q is for Quilting

    After learning how to do patchwork, I dabbled in quilting as well, because these two skills seemed to go together. I practiced the art of patchwork and quilting by making these small tapestries.



   Somehow, I find it very therapeutic to do a patchwork and quilting project. The repetitive, and at the same time, creative work of sewing seems to remind me of the importance of taking one thing at a time.

Happy Easter

Crocheted Easter eggs with scrap yarn.

I've got this crocheting pattern from From Petals to Picots.

The Lord is risen. -- Happy Easter!

Apr 18, 2014

P is for Patchwork

     Many years ago, I found some beautiful photographs of American patchwork quilts and tapestries in a book in the public library. I was so impressed with the artistic works that I wanted to learn how to make something similar to them myself. Soon, I got some books on patchwork and started teaching myself.

  As a teenager, I didn’t like sewing at all. Home Economics was one of the school subjects I disliked. I was not good at sewing. I never imagined I would spend so much time in sewing in the future.

   I am not good at sewing even today, but I have come to love needlework. The pictures below show some of the things I have made.

   Do you have a homemade patchwork quilt?