Aug 1, 2015

Our Visit to Itoigawa

  I went to Itoigawa with Kaori, T. S. and H. K. last Sunday. The drive was comfortable. We attended the worship service at the small church in the peaceful city on the Sea of Japan, where I used to live many years ago. I was delighted to see some of my old friends, as well as a few new people. We went there as an ad hoc team to help organize the evangelical meeting. We also played the role of a choir, and sang the three songs we had been practicing. --Though we had practiced together only twice before, our performance was great. In addition to singing, Kaori played the flute, T.S. played the piano, H.K. played the guitar, and I played the reed organ.-- I read a five-minute testimony as well. T.S. gave a sermon based on the story of the prodigal son.

  After the service, we had a pot luck lunch. The food was good. It was fun to talk with my old friends. Time seemed to fly too quickly. I wished I could stay there longer.

  On our way home, the four of us stopped at Takada and had coffee at the Starbucks. I've known Kaori for more than six years, but I met the other two members for the first time less than one month ago. Having working together for only a short time, we've become good friends. At the parking lot of the coffee shop, we shook hands with each other and said good-bye. I came home in Kaori's car.

  I'm really thankful that I've joined this team. 

  --I took my camera with me, but I was so happy and excited to see my friends in Itoigawa that I didn't have time to take out my camera from my bag. Though they've taken some pictures of me, I haven't got them yet.  Instead, I'll post a photo of the 芙蓉 (fuyou), cotton rosemallow, which are in bloom in our garden this week.

-- I don't number the things I'm thankful for this week. I've written more than ten sentences, and each sentence contains at least one thing I'm thankful for. In fact, I'm thankful for hundreds of things about our visit to this beautiful town.

Jul 25, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: July 25

I visited Kaori last weekend, and we had a good time talking. (#1) We had some watermelon, which Mrs. O* had given her. (#2)

Last Sunday, after the worship service, we had lunch together at the church. Noriko cooked curry and rice for 20 people by herself.  The curry, which had been simmered for more than six hours, was superb. (#3)

T.S. has given me a CD, which has a song he has written himself, so that I can practice singing it. I like the song titled このままで (konomamade) --'Just as I am'. T.S. and his friends have commercially released six CDs so far. (#4)

The Chinese balloon flowers in our backyard are now in bloom. (#5)

We have survived another terrible heat wave earlier this week. It was not so hot on Thursday, and I was able to sleep well. (#6)

The meteorological agency has declared that the rainy season is over in our area. (#7)

Yesterday, I worked at the International Affairs Center, helping a nine-year-old girl from the Philippines to learn how to read and write ひらがな (hiragana )-sylllabary. It was fun to work with a young student, who was amazingly patient. (#8)

When I went shopping a few weeks ago, the cashier gave me a few lottery tickets. I had forgotten about them completely, until I opened my purse when I was about to go out yesterday morning. The lottery was held on that very day in the shop close to the International Affairs Center. So, I went to the shop on my way home. I won the fifth prize -- a box of tissues. (#9)

I'm ready to visit my old friends in Itoigawa, a small town by the Sea of Japan, tomorrow! (#10)

Jul 23, 2015

A Six-Sentence Story

   When I was an elementary school pupil, I loved reading monthly science magazines my parents gave me. The magazines had beautiful photos, interesting stories, and wonderful craft ideas. One of the magazines featured beetles, and the article told us how to attract the insects so that we could observe them. Following the instructions, I made some sugar water, and brushed it on the trunk of the young cherry tree in front of our house, hoping that a beetle or two would come to the tree. To my disappointment, no beetles came to the tree. Instead, there were hundreds of ants there the next morning.

cue: trunk

Jul 18, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: July 18


When I went to Takada last Saturday, I played the lovely pipe organ at a church there. It was my first time to play the real pipe organ, and it was an exciting experience.

Last Sunday, it was my turn to give a testimony during the worship service. I'd written it weeks before, and practiced reading it aloud many times, trying to learn it by heart. I'm thankful that I was able to speak without depending on my notes too often.


I'm thankful that we've survived the terrible heat wave earlier this week. The high temperature was more than 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees F).


I'm thankful for ice cream, which helps us survive the heat wave.

The first morning glory in our garden has come out.

On Wednesday, I took part in a Bible Study Meeting, where we read the first three chapters of Genesis. This group meets only once a month, and there were more people than usual on that day. (There were five people last month, and there were ten this month.)

After the Bible Study Meeting, Mrs. S* gave us the cheese cake she had made. It tasted very good.

I'm thankful for なす漬けの素 (nasu-dzuke-no-moto), a mixture of salt, burnt alum, Vitamin C and so on, which I use for pickling eggplants.

Put trimmed eggplants in a container, add the mixture and some water, and place some weights on the eggplants. Put the container in the refrigerator and let stand for a day or two.

I could make the pickling liquid myself, but I often use this kind of mixture sold at supermarkets, because it is easier.

This year, I'm a member of an ad hoc team to help organize an evangelical meeting held in a small town on the Sea of Japan on July 26. There are four members in the team: two pastors, a theology student, and me. On Friday, we met at a church in Misono to make preparations. We also practiced singing three songs together. I'm thankful to be a member of this team.

One of the songs we are going to sing in the evangelical meeting is 御腕に抱いて (Miude ni idaite ) --Embrace me--, written by 中山有太 (Nakayama Yuta). I'm deeply moved by this song, which is based on Matthew 11:28.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Jul 16, 2015

A Letter

   At the International Science and Technology Exposition held in Tsukuba, in 1985, the post office there offered a service called 'Letters to the Future' , where letters were to be kept in a time capsule and delivered to the recipients 16 years later.

  When K.N. went there during the summer vacation, he was interested in the service and wrote me a letter, which was addressed in care of my parents, because he had no idea where I would be living in 2001.

  K.N. got a job in Tokyo in 1986, and in the next year I started working in a small town by the Sea of Japan.

   Years passed, and we lost touch with each other, but as the 21st century approached, I sometimes thought of the letter, and looked forward to receiving it.

   The year 2001 came, but his letter didn't.

   --Somewhere in my heart, I'm still waiting for the letter, wondering what has happened to it. --




cue: letter

Jul 11, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: July 11

I went to the lily exhibition held at the city hall last weekend. The flowers were beautiful and fragrant. The admission was free.

The first eggplants I pickled this season looked good, and tasted good.

I'm thankful for the buckwheat cookies I've got at the supermarket. I've loved these lovely cookies since my childhood.

I've completed my latest translation assignment and handed in.

On Tuesday, I went to the botanical center, where I saw colorful flowers including lavenders.

I'm excited about the plan to visit my friends in the small town on the Sea of Japan in about two weeks. I lived there many years ago, and I haven't been there since I moved to another town.

Mr. H* has given us a mealy sage.

I went to the open-air market on Friday. I got some young ginger, which I sliced thinly and pickled in vinegar. The house was filled with the refreshing smell of ginger.

I'm thankful for the air-conditioner in our living room.

Today, I went to Takada with Kaori in her car. We met some of our friends living there, and had lunch with them at their favorite Italian restaurant. We had a good time.

Jul 9, 2015

Weight Loss

   In September 2012, I attended a conference, where I met Sachie for the first time in four years. During the recess, she took some photos of me, which she emailed me a few days later. I was shocked to see how fat I looked in those photos, and realized that I had been so preoccupied with other things that I had paid little attention to my weight. Immediately, I made up my mind to give up eating between meals and to take a walk for at least half an hour a day.There was no significant change in the first two months, but I began to lose weight slowly in the third month.-- I've lost about six kilograms (thirteen pounds) so far, though I sometimes eat between meals now.

cue: pound

Jul 3, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: July 3

   I'm thankful for the people who answered my question last week. (#1) Thanks to your helpful answers, I've almost finished my translation assignment. (#2)

   I enjoy working at the International Affairs Center. I helped a lady from China learn Japanese last Friday. (#3) The Japanese grammar is a sort of complicated, and I'm thankful that I don't have to learn it as a foreign language. (#4)

  Last Sunday, we had a potluck lunch at the church. (#5) --The photo below shows only a half of the table. -- The food tasted good and we had a very good time.

photo by T. Y.

   The Rev. Tsukada visited us and gave a sermon on this day. After the lunch, he sang a beautiful song he had written himself, playing the piano. (#6)

   I'm reading an informative book, Japanese Foods that Heal  (written by John & Jan Belleme), which I've borrowed from the library. (#7) I'd like to take in more of the foods mentioned in this book.

photo source

  On June 30, we had some traditional cake called minadzuki. Minadzuki means the month of June in old Japanese. (#8) I got it at one of the oldest confectionery shops in our city. The cake is made from rice flour, sugar and sweet adzuki bean jam. We loved its moderate sweetness.

   I'm thankful for my raincoat, which I wear when I go out on a rainy and windy day. (#9) -- We are in the middle of the rainy season now.

   The other day, I sent a packet to a friend who lives in the USA by sea. The friend got the parcel in only about two weeks, though it is said that it may take a few months. (#10)

Jul 2, 2015

A Six-Sentence Story: A Fall

   On the morning of February 22, 2012, I was walking to my office reluctantly. When I was about to cross the street, I stumbled upon a pipe on the icy sidewalk, and fell flat on my face. My glasses got broken, and I got a cut between my eyes. I got up and went to the office anyway. I was thankful that I didn't hurt my arms and legs. I was worried that the scar might remain for the rest of my life, but it disappeared within a year.

cue: fall

Jun 26, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: June 26

Ten Things of Thankful

I had a bad cold last week, but I feel much better this week.

I'm working on a new translation assignment, which helps me learn new things.

I managed to write a post for #1000 Speak for Compassion.

The hydrangeas in our backyard are in bloom.

I harvested some garlic chives from my humble garden.  They are the offspring of the garlic chives that Masako gave me about six years ago.

We got some soy-sauce-flavored steamed bread sold at Kawanishi, a popular confectionery shop in our city.

On Wednesday, I attended the Bible Study meeting, and we read John 20 together.

I went to the city library on Wednesday. I was looking for the Japanese translation of "The Treasury of David" by C.H. Spurgeon, which is now out of print. The city library doesn't have a copy, but there is one in the National Parliament Library in Tokyo, which can send the book to our local library, so that I can read it.

My father and I went to the farmers' market on Thursday. We got some brown rice, eggplants, green peppers, cloud ear mushrooms (kikurage ), a spaghetti squash, and potatoes.


May I ask you a favor? Would you paraphrase the following sentence so that I can understand what it means?

"The musical film captured the hearts and voices of people around the world."
 "The musical film captured the hearts of people around the world" means that 'people around the world were fascinated with the musical film," doesn't it? I'm not sure what 'captured (the) voices of people' means. I guess it may mean that people came to love singing the songs that were sung in the musical film, but I may be wrong... I searched the Internet and found expressions like 'capture the voices of the voiceless', 'capture the voices of teenage girls', and 'capture the voices of over 3000 residents.' In these phrases, 'capturing the voices' seems to mean 'representing what these people have to say.' Does the sentence, "The musical film captured the voices of people," also mean that it expressed what people want to say? Then, 'The film captured the hearts' may mean that the film excellently expressed how people felt. As for the context, the sentence in question is given as a reason why the film won many awards. Then the writer points out that people still enjoy singing along the songs 50 years after the film was released. -- I'm afraid I'm not allowed to quote the paragraph exactly because of the copyright issues.--

I need to translate the sentence into Japanese, so I need to know what it means. Every time I work on a translation assignment, I realize how different English and Japanese are, and how inadequate my knowledge of these languages is. Thank you in advance for your help.