Sad To Say.

Last night in Toronto (this morning Sendai time), my mother passed away peacefully in her sleep. My greatest regret is that my trip home on Monday is a few days too late for I can't bid farewell to her. We were facing a few weeks of her suffering a lingering illness but she went earlier than expected, a blessing really.

Don't worry about me, I have been expecting this since she was hospitalized 17 years ago. Much to her credit, she fought every step of the way. I'll miss her but I'll eventually be okay.

The following is a Kanji that I created for her several years ago.
治(jo)-can mean: at peace or calm
恩(nu)ーcan mean: grace, kindness, blessing and benefit
図(zu)ーcan mean: map, plan, diagram, picture etc.
度(du):number of times
菜(na):vegetable, greens.

All of these words reflect her spirit. A picture of calm & grace, an avid gardener and a constant flower arranger.

Maybe It's...

Of Course, it's Maybelline! I am hoping to go to the event of the year featuring everyone's favourite DJ Mixture!

It promises to be quite a night!

During the day, I hope to attend a wacky Hanami party with dozens of brewsters, but that all depends upon how soon I can depart this city.

After today, I may be slightly incommunicado. I hope to update as often as possible but that is all dependent upon my computer access in Toronto.

See ya someday...


Turn, Turn, Turn.

You might have heard me hint at it over the last few weeks in the comment sections of Facebook posts but the date has finally arrived. I am now officially an unemployed bum (as opposed to the employed bum that I've always been.) I had resigned a while back with the expectation that I'd land an ALT position in a High School or Junior High, yet that plan didn't come to fruition.

The cover story that I've told my students is that I need to take time off to return to Toronto and take care of my ailing mother. Much to my chagrin, the reality is that I need to take time off to return to Toronto and take care of my ailing mother. (It's a good thing I didn't land a job for I'd have to take a leave of absence in the first few weeks of work!)

Because I may be returning to my current ex-employer as a part-time employee, I haven't made a big deal of my departure. (Similarly, neither did my employer nor my co-workers.) I had a dandy shindig with one set of corporate students last week and today I had a Pot-Luck Party with my Senior Ladies class. They're a lovely sextet of sextugenarians who I've had the joy of "teaching" for the last several months. I can't really call it teaching, it's more like guiding them through conversations and adding a few tidbits of knowledge and some bad puns.

They had the pot-luck dishes all spread out before I arrived and they certainly went all out. The long pointy things are bamboo shoots wrapped in bacon. They were superb. (Oyaji gaggu alert: I said, "Let me ta-ke a picture." Bamboo in Japanese is たけ pronounced take. Oh, hilarity ensued.) The final picture is my special Ume-Hikari Chicken Balls (Sliced chicken covered in dried sour plum sprinkles) and they went over spectacularly!

I shall miss all my students dearly, I shant miss the weekend work & split days off. Upon return, I hope to see them all again, albeit on a part-time basis.


JoJo Was a Man...

ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 (JoJo no kimyou na bouken or JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) is a bizarre adventure manga written 25 years ago by 荒木 飛呂彦, Araki Hirohiko from Sendai! (Every other manga writer gets a museum in his hometown, why don't we?**)

**I take that back, according to Wikipedia, a "Hirohiko Araki Jojo Exhibition" will open in Araki's native Sendai at the end of July to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, it will then move to Tokyo in October.

Hirohiko Araki contributed a piece of artwork to promote the historical Hiraizumi ruins which were affected by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster. Despite the devastation caused on March 11 at Hiraizumi and elsewhere in Iwate Prefecture, the 900-year-old ruins were successfully registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site this past June.

Last week, I picked up a pair of chocolate/strawberry waffle-like wafers because doing so entitles you to a JoJo Calendar. I find the artwork to be somewhat Ditkoesque (Spider-Man creator/artist) and appropriately bizarre. On the front of the box, you get a couple of drawings and on the back, you get some punch-out trading cards.

So that's JoJo. Prior to this the only JoJo I was aware of was the Get Back loner.


Go Fly a Kite!

I was in Tagajo yesterday morning and alongside the river were dozens of トンビ (tonbi or kites/Milvus migrans) soaring overhead. I tried to snap a few pics but wasn't too successful.

There were also several ducks and a flock of seagulls picking up dead fish and then dropping them again. I saw a lot of dead fish so I wonder what killed them? I think it was the following...

Cocos Channel.

Last Sunday, I ventured out to Izumi to dine in splendour with Alex & his family. His daughter is getting more precocious and snarky (in a good way) and his son is developing his own little ego, Freud would be so proud. We ate at Cocos and the 3 kids all got lovely Doraemon bibs.

The little figure you see Seita playing with is a Toy Story 3 strap currently on sale with a CC Lemon Zero. (Surely you don't think I'd give away such a cool item without accumulating a set for myself, do you?)

Speaking of Doraemon, he has an Animal Adventure, ドラえもん のび太と奇跡の島 ~アニマル アドベンチャー~, where he hooks up with a prehistoric gang!

The fine folks at McDonalds have a Happi Setto devoted to the movie and I have Doraemon deliberating with a Dodo and strattling a Sabretooth.

I prefer to get my Happi Settos on the weekend for they often have a little extra tidbit such as these 100 stickers or this fridge magnet.

Good meal, good fun, good goodies!

Here's an added bonus, Buzzed Lightyear!


Size Does Matter!

I have lots to blab about but I have an early morning, so just a quick cartoon from The Japan Times:

Where is the CN Tower?


Jimmy Olsen's Back!

As mentioned yesterday, I had misplaced my camera but fortunately it was discovered between the seats of the gentleman who drove me home (the seats of his van, not the seats of the gentleman).

Here for you then are some of the dishes that we consumed. (For privacy sake, I shant be showing photos of my students, however cute they might be.)

Sashimi and me blowing on a conch:

Some appetizing appetizers, the last one is dried burdock.

Some yakiniku and cold soba but I forgot to click a pick of the hoya (Sea Pineapple) which does nothing for me. I've scammed a photo for you.

We had more snacks at a nijikai at BeBes (mmm. Absynthe & Corona) and ended the night at a Ramen shop. I was stuffed to the gills by night's end.

Apart from being treated for the entire evening's ribaldry, I was given this TV converter! Woohoo!

Since every other person in Japan loves demonstrating their talents for photographing food, I occasionally fall into the same trap as well (to wit the above.)
Yet one thing that places me above (?) the rest is my proclivity for showing bizarre stuff as well. So here is a selection of shops that you can find all your shopping needs. Ghibli, NHK, Moomin, Bandai, Lego & Ultraman to name a few.


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