Sunday Afternoon 8/9/2015

Enjoying kaki gori (Japanese shave ice) on a hot and humid day

Enjoying kaki gori (Japanese shave ice) on a hot and humid day

I woke up this morning remembering that a year ago this time I was in Japan and having a fantastic time with my grandson, daughter-in-law and son. Japan in August is hot and the humidity there makes ours look like child’s play, but I would give anything to be there again.

Brett was already up and working in his kana textbook when I got up this morning. Our Japanese textbooks arrived yesterday, and we both started right in with them. As I went through the Level I book yesterday though I came to the (horrifying) realization that I learned very little in my seven and a half years of study. I took lessons when we lived in Japan, and studied for three years in college – three years! – and am still barely at a beginning level. I know Japanese is difficult, but it’s become very obvious very quickly that Brett and I have our work cut out for us. We have no expectations of becoming fluent, but we definitely need to move beyond a beginning level if we are going to stay there each year as long as we hope to. We are motivated . . . gambatte!!

The girls’ first full week of school went well, and we’re all happy they were able to get their schedules adjusted so they could take the classes they wanted. The only downside was that the “new” t-shirts we ordered for this year turned out to have the same design as last year’s shirts and not the different design shown on the website, and the girls already have 10 of the old design. So, the new shirts will be returned, but for store credit only – hopefully there will be an actual new design that YaYu can buy in the next couple of years. It’s kind of sad though to think that in three years we will no longer have any of these concerns or worries. Brett and I are both excited about and dreading the time when the girls have all left the nest.

And, another hurricane, Hilda, is heading our way. Oh boy!

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I am almost done with The Decagon House Murders, and still haven’t got a clue who the murderer is! Most of my upcoming reading is going to be with the textbooks though. I still am looking forward to starting Snow Country this week.
  • Listening to: YaYu and WenYu are working in the kitchen, making their weekly bowls of ramen. The trade winds are fairly strong today (and there is almost no humidity – yeah!), so the palms are making quite a bit of noise. The chickens and roosters are surprisingly quiet for a change.
  • Watching: Brett and I finished all the Last Tango in Halifax episodes we could stream this past week, and are almost to the end of Inspector Morse, so we decided it was time to finally visit the murder capital of the Western world: Midsomer County. Yes, we’ve started watching the Midsomer Murders series. I’m frankly amazed they could continue the show after the first few seasons after all the murder and death that apparently occurs in the county. Still, the shows are interesting and well done so I can’t complain too much. Last night we watched and enjoyed Kingsmen: The Secret Service.
  • Cooking/baking: I’m trying to stay out of the kitchen today as much as possible, but I’m going to fix Caprese Skillet Eggs for a simple dinner tonight. We bought fresh basil and tomatoes at the farmers’ market last week and want to use up the basil before it turns brown. We had Caprese salad earlier in the week, and the leaves that are left over after tonight will be used to make some herbed butter.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Mostly a lot of small jobs around the house that needed doing and that had been nagging at me – I’m glad they’re done. I heard back from Oregon that my retirement paperwork was received and is being processed, so am feeling doubly glad that I got it done and sent off. It really wasn’t as difficult to figure out once I got started, although the amount of paperwork they sent was frightening. It turned out I didn’t need most of it, thank goodness.
  • Looking forward to this week: I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow (annual skin check) up in Kilauea, so Brett and I plan to go out for coffee at the Kilauea Bakery afterwards, one of our favorite places.
  • Thankful for: I am very grateful to have a husband that gets up before me and who puts away the dishes from the night before (we don’t have a dishwasher) and makes the coffee; he also gets up early with the girls on school mornings and fixes their breakfasts and packs their lunches. I am not a morning person at all, and it’s so very nice waking up and knowing I can sit and relax and enjoy a cup of coffee for a while, and don’t have to struggle through the morning chores these days. I’m a night owl, and for my part of the bargain I always make sure before I head to bed that Brett will wake up to a clean kitchen (no dishes in the sink), that the rest of the house is picked up and orderly, and everything he needs for the morning is ready and accessible.
  • Bonus question: Do you have a favorite word? I have always liked the word stuff. This one word can convey so many meanings, such as things (“don’t touch my stuff”), or to push into a tight place (“you’ll have to stuff it in there”), or etcetera (“he bought chips, salsa and other stuff”), and so forth. It really is a very utilitarian word, and as English speakers we always know what it means based on the context. It was a word my ESL students loved as well because it filled so many niches for them. I think one of my least favorite words is festival. I greatly dislike crowds and/or crowded places, and the high prices that are typically charged for anything you need to buy, like food or drinks (the quality is usually sub par as well). The thought of having to find a place to park as well makes me very nervous and anxious. I know there are people who love festivals of any sort, but I’m not one of them.

Anyway, how is your day going? What are you doing today? I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful afternoon, and looking forward to the week to come!


9 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 8/9/2015

  1. Hawaii Planner says:

    We have the exact same feelings about festivals. 😉 I’ve never thought about stuff, though. 😉 Sounds like a great day. I’m a little sore after a hard workout, but we’re enjoying watermelon (from the garden) & I’m wrapping up yet another book & getting ready for the week ahead. Hope your week is lovely & relaxing.


    • Laura says:

      It sounds like you are actually getting some R & R – yeah! We had watermelon a couple of weeks ago from someone’s garden – it was so good. Week before last he had casaba melons at the market, and this past week we bought a cantaloupe from him. I LOVE melon, so it’s been a real treat for me.

      Nothing sends a chill down my spine like hearing the word matsuri (festival) when we’re in Japan. If I think ones in the U.S. are crowded, the ones in Japan are over the top.

      BTW, I have tried to comment on your blog, but the WordPress link (the only one I can use) doesn’t go anywhere – just puts me in a never-ending “edit” loop. Arrrrgh! If you could add a Name/URL link I would love it (and hopefully it would work)!!


  2. Lorraine says:

    Totally agree with you about festivals! I just finished “Buddha in the Attic” by Julia Otsuka. It is an unusually written book about what it was like for Japanese women in the early 1900’s who came to the US as purchased brides. I don’t think there was a more hardworking and under appreciated group of women. Reading about how they raised their children and managed their homes makes me realize how easy my life has been. Good luck on learning Japanese!


    • Laura says:

      I loved that book! The Japanese work ethic was and is impressive (both men and women), but the women’s stories are often overlooked because they were literally at the bottom of the social hierarchy. They couldn’t complain (and still can’t in some cases). The word in my post – gambatte – roughly translates as “don’t give up!” but comes from the word gaman, which means persevering and “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity” which is what those women did.


  3. Denise says:

    I’m always impressed by how well you use the food you purchase – especially from the farmer’s market. Do you make a menu / plan in advance, or wing it and then go home to figure out how to use it all?


    • Laura says:

      I sort of do things 50-50 around here these days. I do some planning, but can’t be rigid any more because of the weather and other stuff. So, some days I know what I’m going to make, and other days I look at what I have and/or what needs to be used up and wing it. I’ve learned from experience that when I buy basil I better have two or three ways to use it up because they bunches sold at the market are always bigger than what we can use in a single meal (and is one of the reasons that I’m going to finally get around to growing my own one day). It’s still a learning process though.


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