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As I mentioned last week, I will be spending Christmas and New Year in Australia with a group of students this year. We are leaving tomorrow afternoon from Chubu Airport. We’ll be staying in Sydney, and I’m sure we’ll be doing lots of sight-seeing, but I don’t know yet whether we will have time to visit any other parts of the country.

I’m looking forward to going to Australia because I’ve never been there before, but I’m a bit worried about the number of dangerous animals, insects, and reptiles. Everyone knows about things like crocodiles, snakes, and spiders, but I found out the other day that even kangaroos might try to kill me! And of course, the dangers multiply enormously the moment you set foot in the ocean. If by some miracle I manage to survive the whole holiday, I will be coming back to Japan on January 4th, so I’ll be away for almost three weeks.

I suppose it might be a bit strange having a hot Christmas again, but I experienced that in New Zealand and in Singapore, so it won’t be the first time. One thing I’m really looking forward to is the food, because I’m guessing that most of it will be British (no sarcastic comments, please!).

I’m not planning on introducing new topics while I am away, and I don’t think I will be able to do feedback, but I will post comments on this entry to let you know what I am up to. If you don’t see any comments for a while, you can just assume that the crocodiles got me!

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52 Comments

  1. Biwa on Monday December 17th, 2012 at 05:30 PM

    Hi David,

    It sounds like you’re going into the jungles like Indiana Jones! If the kangaroos try to hurt you, show them some “kangaroo jerky” and say “I’m going to eat you, cutie-pies♪♪♪”
    Hope you and your students all have a tremendous time in Australia!



  2. amo on Monday December 17th, 2012 at 09:43 PM

    Hi David,

    Three weeks holiday in Australia? Lucky you:)
    Wish I had a long holiday in winter, too.

    I bet you will come back to Japan in one piece though please be careful about wild animals. By the way, one of my nieces likes any kinds of animals including reptiles, so there is a paradise for her. Actually, she has a bearded dragon as a pet. Oh, sorry I am getting off the track. Hope you have a great time there.

    amo



  3. Anne on Monday December 17th, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    Hi David,

    Spending Christmas and New Year in Australia sounds great! Bumping into exotic animals ans doing sight-seeing… Looking forward to hearing from you from time to time.
    By the way, I found an article “A Very Australian Christmas.” It is not white Christmas but blue Christmas.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/australiaandpacific/australia/9621339/Sydney-a-very-Australian-Christmas.html

    Hope you’ll have a great time with your students there!

    Anne



  4. Fumie on Monday December 17th, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Hi David,

    Christmas and New Year in Australia, sounds like fun! I’m guessing that it’s not a vacation because you will accompany your students. It’s summer in there, so I guess you’ll spend some time at beaches and you might encounter sharks! I hope you will not be their snack. So if we were lucky, we would see your report from Australia! Please have a safe flight and be careful with animals.

    Fumie



  5. kattie on Monday December 17th, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Hi David,

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    love Tom and Kattie



  6. YU on Tuesday December 18th, 2012 at 09:02 AM

    Hi David,

    Three weeks in Australia? Wow, lucky you!
    Three weeks sounds long enough to visit other parts of the country, though…

    “Christmas in Australia” reminds me of an Australian stamp I saw in the English textbook when I was in junior highschool. In the stamp “Santa was surfing”, and it made a very strong impression on my mind.

    Anyway, I hope you’ll have a great time with your students there!

    Have a safe journey!



  7. Biwa on Thursday December 20th, 2012 at 05:30 PM

    Hi David,

    I hope you’re still surviving! If you need more swords (but I don’t think I can get you any guns!), please let us know.

    Hi everyone,

    I’m not feeling really Christmassy yet (I’m still working here!), but do you have any special plans? Are you going to cook something special?
    We always have dinner at my mother’s for Christmas, and she’s going to cook lasagna. It’s one of her specialities. I think I’ll bring some marinated-mushrooms as an appetizer. I’d love to hear about your Christmas menus!



  8. Fumie on Thursday December 20th, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    Your holiday isn’t started yet. Are you going to have Christmas party or Christmas lessons at your classes? I finished working this year yesterday. I did Christmas lessons. I wore reindeer hairband?(カチューシャ) and red pompom on my nose. Yes, I was Rudolf! We had lots of fun singing a song, playing games and reading a book. I read “No, David”.(It’s not relevant to Christmas, though) David(I mean not that David who is now in Australia)is an naughty boy but a lovable child. Have you heard about David series?

    We gonna have Christmas dinner with my mom. I don’t plan to cook gorgeous meal: just light appetizer, roast chicken, salad, soup, simmered vegetable and cake. And champagne for adult and シャンメリーfor children.

    Fumie



  9. Biwa on Friday December 21st, 2012 at 02:42 PM

    Hi Fumie,

    Today is my last work day, so two more lessons to go! Hooray!
    I’m not having parties but I do lots of Christmas activities, too. By the way, did your students know the name “Rudolf”? None of my students did. It’s funny because everyone knows the song, but the name doesn’t come in the Japanese lyrics. Also, “Rudolf” is a bit difficult for them to pronounce, I think. Anyway, some of the students said they wanted to learn the other 8 names(Dasher, Dancer, Donder,…), and they memorized them really quickly. I’m often amazed at their eagerness.

    The book you mentioned is one of my students’ favorites, too. Do you also know “David goes to school”? The children love finding lots of “Davids” among their classmates.

    Your Christmas dishes sounds great! Do they still sell “シャンメリー”?(懐かしい!) I love eating and chatting together. I can’t wait!



  10. David Barker on Friday December 21st, 2012 at 07:13 PM

    Hi everyone,

    This is my third day in Australia, and I’m happy to report that I haven’t been attacked by any crocodiles, snakes, or spiders yet. (I’m sure it’s just a matter of time, though.)

    I’m staying in a hall of residence at the University of Sydney. The room is not great, but I have my own bathroom, so that is very convenient. I was worried that it would be too hot here, but actually, the weather has been nice. The temperature is in the high twenties every day, and there is a cool breeze most of the time.

    We went on a tour of the harbour yesterday. I was really looking forward to seeing the Sydney Opera House, but I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. It’s much smaller than I had imagined. We are going to see a concert there next week, though, so I’ll let you know if it’s more impressive from the inside.

    The Australians are all in “holiday mode” because it’s Christmas, but it feels very strange to me. The students are downstairs at the moment putting up Christmas decorations in the classroom, but I just don’t feel Christmassy at all. We are going to have a turkey dinner on Christmas Day, though, so I’m really looking forward to that.

    There is another teacher here with a group from Shizuoka University. He’s from the U.S. We are going to rent some bicycles tomorrow and go for a ride to Bondi Beach while the students are studying. It’s a hard life!

    Hope everything is okay in Japan and that you are not too cold.

    Bye for now.



  11. Fumie on Friday December 21st, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for the report from down under and I’m glad to know that you are still ok. Sound like a very pleasant weather in Sydney. The weather report says the temperature will drop on Christmas eve so we might have white Christmas in some parts of Japan.
    When you go to Bondi Beach, you should be careful not to be sharks’ and crocodiles’ prey. If we were lucky, we could hear another report from you!

    Hi Biwa,

    So your holiday will be start from tomorrow!
    >By the way, did your students know the name “Rudolf”?
    Neither do they. I think most Japanese people don’t even know how many reindeers Santa has much less their names.
    Thank you. I’d rather want to eat turkey and bubbly(シャンパン) than chicken and シャンメリー!
    Cheers!

    Fumie



  12. Anne on Saturday December 22nd, 2012 at 09:27 AM

    Hi everyone,

    What is the weather like where you live? It’s raining and chilly in Nagoya.

    Hi David,

    I’m glad to know you are safe(!) and are having a nice time with the cozy weather.
    Enjoy the ride to Bondi Beach and the turkey dinner! Looking forward to hearing your stories when you have time.

    Hi Biwa, Fumie and everyone,

    Both of you have finished this year’s work and I guess you are having a relaxing time even though you are busy. I hope you are having Christmassy feeling.
    Same as Fumie, Christmas dinner at my house have been roasted chicken, various kinds of salad, soup, Christmas cake and シャンメリー!
    Since my sons were away from home, I spend the day with my husband; menu is almost the same but no more シャンメリー。
    Biwa, I like lasagna,too. (By the way, when I first read your comment, I had no idea with “lasagna”, and looked it in a dictionary. あーラザニアってこう書くのね! That was my honest feeling:))
    By the way, David said that he was going to have the turkey dinner. To tell the truth, I’ve never cooked turkey at home, and when I went on a cruise tour this spring, I had turkey with” a cranberry sauce” for the first time. (I have had turkey itself though…) I’ve watched this menu in the movies and also, I’ve read it in the novels, and I have been wondering what the cranberry sauce was like. I was wondering if this sauce went well with turkey. I had to admit that the taste is a bit sweet for me. Have you ever had this dish? I mean, “turkey with cranberry sauce.”
    >Have you heard about David series?
    What a coincidence!
    I read the article about his book(It’s Christmas,David!) in the Asahi Weekly a couple of weeks ago, and I was interested in it, so I bought it!
    I love this naughty boy ‘David’ (not David,here!), and I liked the naughty lists at the end of the cover.
    If you are interested in him, you can listen to the interviews from the following site:
    He answered how this series was created. I like the one “unruly kids” most among them.

    http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/shannon/

    >. I wore reindeer hairband?(カチューシャ) and red pompom on my nose—That’s really Christmassy!

    Bye for now,

    Anne



  13. amo on Saturday December 22nd, 2012 at 04:00 PM

    Hi David,

    I am glad to know that you are having fun there:)
    Enjoy a nice ride around the beach!!

    Hi everyone,

    How’s your three days holiday?
    As I mentioned before, I am going to dine out tonight. I am duty tomorrow and am going to visit my eldest sister’s place on Xmas eve. Of course I am working on Xmas so it doesn’t sound that exciting for workers I guess.

    Anyway have a nice weekend.
    amo



  14. Fumie on Sunday December 23rd, 2012 at 05:41 AM

    Hi Anne,

    Thank you for introducing us David Shannon’s interview. I enjoy watching it. Oh, the author himself was an unruly kid! He looks charming (likeable) like David in the books!

    Fumie



  15. David Barker on Monday December 24th, 2012 at 05:33 PM

    Hi everyone,

    I went to one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever see yesterday in a place called Newcastle, which is about two hours north of Sydney. I just emailed my brother to tell him about it, and it turns out that Newcastle is his wife’s hometown! I can’t understand why they chose to settle in England.

    The beach was full of really, really beautiful people, and I don’t mean just the women. Most of the men were really muscly, and quite a few of them looked as though they could work as underwear models! I felt very inferior. Even when I was young and fit, I never looked anything like that.

    One thing that has surprised me here is the number of people who have tattoos, even women and young girls. I have seen girls as young as 15 or 16 who were quite heavily tattooed. I couldn’t help wondering if they will regret it when they get older. Mind you, pretty much everyone here is covered in tattoos, so I guess not.

    I am very much enjoying life in Australia. The best thing about it is that everyone is so friendly. Everyone talks to everyone, and no matter where you go, it feels as though the people around you are all your friends. I wish Japan could be more like this. A young Aussie guy sat next to us on the train yesterday, and we spent about an hour chatting about life in small-town Australia, the mining boom in Perth, and his plans for the holidays. He also gave me lots of information about dangerous animals. Apparently, salt-water crocodiles are the dangerous ones (“Oh yeah, the salties’ll getcha!”) He was really nice. There was a really fat woman who was struggling to carry five bags full of Christmas presents. When she got on the train, she bumped into a lot of people. I thought they might get angry, but everyone was laughing and asking her about the presents. When we got off, everyone offered to help her carry them to the bus.

    Anyway, I hope you are all enjoying Christmas Eve. As in Britain, Christmas Day is the bigger event here. We will be going to the beach where my brother used to live in the afternoon, and then we are going to have a big Christmas dinner in the evening. I’m really looking forward to that!

    Happy Christmas everyone!



  16. Fumie on Tuesday December 25th, 2012 at 07:02 AM

    Hi David,

    I’m glad to read your happy report. You seem to be really enjoying life in Australia. I’m happy for you!
    >The beach was full of really, really beautiful people~
    – That’s must be eye candy! I wonder what makes them so beautiful: food? genes?
    >I felt very inferior.
    – I would feel the same way as you if I were there. BTW, “I felt very inferior.” is new to me.
    >One thing that has surprised me here is the number of people who have tattoos,~
    – I can’t believe that. Even students have ones?
    As a parent, I can’t imagine allowing one’s children having tattoos!
    > I wish Japan could be more like this.
    – I wish that too. If people talk to everyone, the society would be better one.
    You must had a wonderful day yesterday at a beach and having big Christmas dinner! Did you see beautiful people again?
    Be careful with salties and enjoy the rest of your stay!

    ☆Happy Christmas everyone.☆

    Fumie



  17. Anne on Tuesday December 25th, 2012 at 09:14 AM

    Hi David,

    I’m glad to hear you are enjoying yourself in Australia.
    I bet you had a nice Christmas dinner.

    >The beach was full of really, really beautiful people
    >That’s must be eye candy!–Yes,indeed,Fumie.
    –Maybe I should fly to the beach:)

    >One thing that has surprised me here is the number of people who have tattoos ー–In Japan, having tattoos has a kind of negative image.
    Actually I know two people who have tattoos, and had a chance to ask how to curve tattoos. The other day he added another tattoos, so I just advised him not to curve stupid Japanese Kanji. His mother were not happy about it, but he isn’t a child any more, she could’nt say ‘NO.’ Just for the record, both of them are not Japanese.

    Hi Fumie,
    >He looks charming (likeable) like David in the books!
    –I think so,too! I’m also guessing David here must have been like a naughty boy in the book:)

    Hi everyone,
    I had a Christmas dinner last night and I am going to a Christmas concert held by a college orchestra tonight. It’s a charity concert for The Tohoku earthquake and Christmas Charity chorus group is joining. A friend of mine is singing with other members.

    ☆Happy Christmas everyone☆



  18. Biwa on Tuesday December 25th, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Merry Christmas!
    David, thanks for your lively report and I hope you had a nice turkey dinner. I think I like the juicy stuffing rather than the meat, though. lol!

    Yesterday, I was at the beach, too. However, it was freezing cold (very different from the southern hemisphere), and of course no one was wearing swimsuits! My sons are in the beach volley ball team at school, and they join a tournament called the Christmas Cup every year. There aren’t so many high-schools that have a beach volley ball team, so lots of university students and also pros take part in the tournament. Anyway, all the players play barefoot on the ice-cold sand, and I’m always impressed at their beautiful bodies (just as David said!) and sharp-looking faces. I really admire them!

    Enjoy your day, everyone!



  19. Tomo on Tuesday December 25th, 2012 at 09:41 PM

    *☆*:;;;:*☆*:;;;:*☆*:;;;:*☆*

      Here’s wishing you all,

       Happy Christmas!!

             Tomo

    *☆*:;;;:*☆*:;;;:*☆*:;;;:*☆*

    Hi David,

    It sounds like you are having a great time there.
    Enjoy the rest of your stay!



  20. Fumie on Wednesday December 26th, 2012 at 06:26 AM

    Hi Anne,

    >I’m also guessing David here must have been like a naughty boy in the book:)
    – Ha ha ha, I guess no matter how naughty he was, his mother always held him and said “I love you”

    Hi Biwa,

    >There aren’t so many high-schools that have a beach volley ball team, so lots of university students and also pros take part in the tournament.
    – I’ve never heard beach volley ball clubs. Where do you live, near the beach? I thought if they have beach volley ball clubs, schools should be near from beaches. Anyway, watching and doing beach voley ball seems fun!

    Hi YU,

    I just watched TV program featured German Christmas Market. It’s so wonderful! I didn’t think I want to visit Germany so much, but I added Germany in my want-to visit list.

    Fumie



  21. YU on Wednesday December 26th, 2012 at 09:31 AM

    Hi Tomo,

    I’m glad to read your comment here again!
    I’ve missed you a lot!(変な意味じゃなくて!)
    How’s everything going?
    I hope you’ll have more comfortable working shifts and have time to join here from time to time next year!

    Hi Fumie,

    > I didn’t think I want to visit Germany so much

    Me either(!), but I bet you’ll like the landscapes, buildings, Christmas Markets, etc…
    To tell the truth, when I returned to Japan several years ago, I felt Japanese buldings(in the downtown area!) were so ugly…



  22. Tomo on Wednesday December 26th, 2012 at 06:37 PM

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for your kind message:-)
    Unfortunately, the situation has not changed yet. They’ve been looking for new workers, and we’ve got two people this month, but they are not in my section. One of my colleagues will quit the job next month because she is expecting her second child. It seems like things are getting worse, but I don’t have to work from December 29 to January 4, so I’m going to recharge my batteries;-)

    Happy holidays to you all!!

    Tomo

    PS 変な意味でもいいけど(!?)笑



  23. Biwa on Thursday December 27th, 2012 at 09:49 AM

    Hi Tomo,

    Glad to hear from you again. I hope your boss will hire another person soon to cover your friend’s (who is expecting her second child) work.

    Hi Fumie,

    I live in Yokohama, but not near the beach. It takes about 30~40 minutes by train. They have a beach(sand) court at school, so my sons pratice at school on weekdays, and go to the beach on Saturdays or Sundays.
    By the way, have you ever run barefoot on the sand? When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers was a funny man and always let us run barefoot in the long sand box which was located at the side of our schoolyard. It was fun, but also quite tough! At the time, I didn’t understand why he let us do that, but now, as many people say, I know it is very important to grab the ground and stimulate the nerves directly, because usually your feet are covered up with socks and shoes.

    Hi everyone,

    Are you cleaning up your houses? I wonder why there’s so much dust!! even in the cupboard which has doors! There’s really no end to housework:(



  24. Anne on Thursday December 27th, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    Glad to see your comment here:)
    I hope situation changes soon and things go well.

    Hi Biwa,

    >There’s really no end to housework:(
    —Yes,indeed! It’s a hectic time of the year,isn’t it? There are lots of things to do!

    Hi Fumie,

    >his mother always held him and said “I love you”
    —I know!
    Anyway, in the interview, the author said, “I never meant to be malicious or anything like that.” That’s the important aspect to keep in mind when you(in general) raise a child, and that’s why his David serious are popular with kids and their parents.

    Has any of you watched a movie called “Les Miserables”? I watched it last Friday. It was great and I highly recommend you!

    Anne



  25. Fumie on Friday December 28th, 2012 at 06:48 AM

    Hi Biwa,

    Oh, you live in Yokohama. Lucky you! I thought Yokohama is an energetic city with lots of Chinese restaurants and shops also it’s marvelous that it is just 30-minutes train ride to the beach. I visited Yokohama once long time ago.

    I’ve never run barefoot on the sand but after I read “Born To Run”(recommended by David), I became want to try that but I don’t want to run barefoot on ordinary roads because I might get injured or step on dogs’ poops. I want to do that on clean sand to see if I really be able to run faster!

    >There’s really no end to housework:(
    Yea, it’s a hard work but it’s worth it. Living in cleaner house feels nice!

    Hi Anne,

    >“I never meant to be malicious or anything like that.” That’s the important aspect to keep in mind when you(in general) raise a child, and that’s why his David serious are popular with kids and their parents.
    – Oh, I see. I hope parents should have know that or they are generous enough to understand children’s feeling. But I’m afraid I was not such a parent when my children were little.

    Hi Tomo,

    Glad to see your comment. I hope situation of your workplace get better soon!

    Fumie



  26. David Barker on Friday December 28th, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Hi everyone,

    It’s another scorcher here today in Sydney! We’re going to the Opera House to watch a concert this afternoon, so I’m looking forward to that. I’ll have to bathe myself in suncream again, though.

    As some of you may have noticed, this site has now been optimised for smartphones. If you access http://www.btbpress.com on your smartphone, you will see a different view. The buttons are much bigger, and the text will be much easier to read than it was before. You can also create a “web app” on your home screen so that you can access the blog with just two clicks.

    Please let me know if you have any feedback after you have tried it.

    Bye for now.



  27. Anne on Sunday December 30th, 2012 at 08:32 AM

    Hi everyone,

    How are you doing? Are you rushing to prepare for the New Year? Or are you having a nice time at Onsen or other places?
    It’s raining and chilly this morning in Nagoya. I finished year-end cleaning and all I have to do now is to prepare “Oshogatu dishes” including shopping.

    Hi David,
    I hope you enjoyed the concert at the Opera House. By the way, sorry to say, I don’ have the smathone, soI’m not sure how different the view is. I guess many of the people who visit here have smatphones, they enjoy the view. As for the “web app”, I just had a look at it, but I’m afraid I need time to use this app.

    Anyway, have a Happy New year in Australia!

    Anne



  28. Fumie on Monday December 31st, 2012 at 04:58 AM

    Hi Anne,

    ☆ Happy Birthday and many happy returns of the day! ☆

    Hi everyone,

    What’s your plan for New Year? We are going to 1day ski trip to kannabe Kougen. I hope I don’t break my legs. Have a happy New Year!

    Fumie



  29. Anne on Monday December 31st, 2012 at 09:00 AM

    Hi Fumie,

    Thanks for your message.

    Have a great time at the ski resort(?) with your family! It’s been a long time since I skied.

    Hi everyone,
    It’s fine and not so cold today around here, but I saw the news that in Hokkaido and Tohoku are it had a heavy snow fall. I hope it doesn’t cause accidents.

    Have a Happy New Year!

    Anne



  30. David Barker on Monday December 31st, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Hi Anne,

    Happy birthday! I hope you have a great day.

    Hi Tomo,

    Sorry, I forgot to say “nice to hear from you again” in my last comment. Sorry to hear about your job, but it’s pretty much what I expected. All Japanese companies seem to do this, probably because they know they can get away with it as the remaining workers will just work harder. I hope your company is not like that, though.

    Hi everyone,

    We are going to watch the fireworks display at the harbour tonight. The good news is that there will be hundreds of thousands of people there and the fireworks will be spectacular. (They even have them going off the bridge.) The bad news is that we have to leave shortly if we want to get a place to sit. Apparently, we have to wait for about 9 hours! I hope it’s worth it!

    Anyway, happy new year to you all. Talk to you in 2013.



  31. YU on Monday December 31st, 2012 at 04:35 PM

    Hi Anne,

    Is today(or yesterday?) your birthday?
    ☆☆Happy birthday!☆☆

    Hi Tomo,

    Sorry to hear about your situation.
    I guess you work very hard(as usual!), and your boss might not think it is neccesary to employ new workers… so, my advice for you is “Don’t work hard!!” hahaha…
    Joking apart, please take good care of your health. I’m waiting for your return!

    Hi everyone,

    I had a very bad day today.
    Our car was hit from behind.
    We’re 100% innocent, so we don’t need to pay anything, but the problem is we don’t have our car during this holiday.
    Now we have a loaner vehicle(代車), but I don’t think we’re going to travel in the car this holiday…

    Well,…
    I really enjoyed talking with you this year, and look forward to another year together.

    I wish all of you a happy new year!!

    Talk to you soon!

    YU



  32. Biwa on Monday December 31st, 2012 at 09:13 PM

    Hi Anne,

    Happy Birthday♪♪♪ I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

    Hi YU,

    I’m sorry to hear about your car accident and I hope everything settles as soon as possible and you all don’t get whiplash injury(むち打ち症)afterwards.

    Hi Fumie,

    New Year’s at a ski resort! Have a great time!

    Hi David,

    I hope the “salties” don’t get active at night! Watch your step! By the way, do they have concerts outside the Opera House? because you said “I’ll have to bathe myself in suncream again”. I always thought they play inside those fan-shaped buildings.

    Hi everyone,

    I cleaned the windows and lamp shades with my husband today. He’s always great help because there’s a lot of places that I can’t reach. However, we noticed that our sons can reach much higher than him!
    Anyway, it’s really nice to have New Year’s Eve noodles 年越しそば in a bright clean house. We’re all set to greet a brand-new year!
    I wish you all a happy new year and look forward to hearing from you again soon.



  33. Anne on Monday December 31st, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    Hi David,YU and Biwa,
    Thank you for your messages.
    Yu, yes, December 31 is my birthday. Actually, this day is the busiest day for me, but I was happy that I was able to prepare for the New Year’s dishes.

    Hi YU,
    I’m sorry to hear about your car accidents. I hope you and your family didn’t get hurt. I mean, as Biwa said, didn’t get むち打ち症.
    I enjoyed talking with you,too.

    Hi David,
    How was the fireworks display? Did you wait long hours?

    2012 is almost over!

    Anne



  34. amo on Tuesday January 1st, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Happy new year:)
    Hope you all are having a great time with your family.

    I am on a train and heading to my eldest sister’s place. We don’t prepare the New Years dishes but she dose so we just visit her and have the dishes. She has four children and two of them are already grown up, so we will give お年玉 to the rest of them.

    I am off the train!! Bye for now

    amo



  35. Tomo on Wednesday January 2nd, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Hi Anne,

    Belated happy birthday!! Sorry, I couldn’t say this yesterday. I hope you had a great day and are having a lovely time with your family.

    Hi YU,

    Sorry to hear about your accident. I hope you and your family are all right.

    Hi David and everyone,

    Thanks for your messages:-) My clinic has been looking for new workers including for my section. I see their help-wanted ads on the net, so I hope we will get some people soon.

    I met up with my sisters at my father’s house today, and we had a big meal and a lot of fun. I’m going to my husband’s hometown to see my relatives tomorrow. I’m sure my children will be happier than now because they will get more “otoshidama.” I wish I was a child!

    Enjoy your holidays,

    Tomo



  36. Fumie on Wednesday January 2nd, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Happy New Year!Hope this year will be a healthy, splendid and fruitful year for all of you!今年もよろしくお願いします!
    We just came back from ski. My family and my brother’s family and my mom stayed at a Minsyuku (family-owned Japanese style inn)and did ski(My mom didn’t ski). I really enjoyed skiing! I felt relieved that none of us break our legs. I noticed that there were much more snowboarders than skiers. And I saw many snowboarders fell down often. I’ve never done snowboarding and I don’t know anyone who does that so I have no idea whether it is difficult or not but I guess snowboarding is more difficult than skiing. Anyway I don’t think I will try snowboarding at this age. My niece is an excellent skier. Although she is just 11 years old she ski down steep slope at quite high speed! She is a daredevil.
    Have a lovely holiday!

    Fumie



  37. Gussan on Thursday January 3rd, 2013 at 04:47 AM

    Hi all,

    Happy New Year!!!

    It seems you have god new-year holidays and are getting relaxations. I actually do as well.

    At near end of last year our TV set broke, so we bought new one and also bought a blue-ray recorder. We had to pay big money for them. However, I can study English with watching English movies. I lent some DVD movies and watched one of them. That was ‘The Sound of Music.’ I watched it with English subtitles and realized actors and actresses speak so fast and a few words are missing in English subtitles.

    Yesterday, I watched Hakone Ekiden on TV. As you know, the conditions in the race was terrible with too strong against winds. Every runners did their best. I’m going to attend 10-km road race today. I wish I could run fast like them.

    By the way, talking about Tomo’s sentence: I wish I was a child!, I think that ‘I wish I were a child!’ is better. What do you think about it?

    See ya,

    Gussan



  38. Tomo on Thursday January 3rd, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Hi Gussan,

    Thanks for pointing it out. Actually, I used “was” on purpose. Do you remember the quiz David gave us a long time ago?

    The quiz was how to say “もしこの世界が明日終わったらどうする?” in English, and his answer was “What would you do if you knew that the world was going to end tomorrow?”

    He also said, “Some people would say that is incorrect because it should be ‘if the world were going to end’, but most native speakers would probably say it as I have written it above because the subjunctive is slowly dying out of spoken English.”

    I was taught “If/I wish I were…” is correct at school, but it has changed. My son learned both “was” and “were” are correct in high school. Languages change over time, right?

    Good luck with your race!!

    Tomo



  39. Gussan on Friday January 4th, 2013 at 05:19 AM

    Hi Tomo,

    Thank you for answering my question.

    I’d like to confirm my stance at first. I don’t think your sentence is incorrect. I think ‘were’ is better than ‘was’ in this case.

    I’ve heard the opinion that the subjunctive is slowly dying out of spoken English, and I know some English teachers who have teaching English programs said the same opinion on the subjunctive.

    However, When I think about English grammar, I prefer to thinking in a little conservatively. In this case, to make a subjunctive we can use the word: was because the subject ‘I’ suits the verb ‘am’ and the past form of ‘am’ is ‘was’ as you know. I mean ‘were’ is an exception in this case.

    But, I think when we study English we have to remember many exceptional grammar rules. I mean we, at least I, should follow exceptional grammar rules as much as we can. Therefore, ‘were’ is better in this case.

    By the way, in retrospect, I think David’s question sounds a little strange. “もしこの世界が明日終わったらどうする?” could be “もしこの世界が明日終わるとしたらどうする?” I think the later one is better.
    What do you think about that?

    See ya,

    Gussan

    PS
    I finished running for 10km without stopping or walking this time, too though it was a tough race to me.



  40. David on Friday January 4th, 2013 at 06:14 AM

    Hi Gussan

    Congratulations on finishing the race.

    Regarding the was/were question, Tomo is absolutely correct. I’m not sure what you mean about bring “conservative,” because all languages change and develop over time. If you don’t want to accept this, I’m afraid you will have to speak and write like Shakespeare! I am in Sydney airport at the moment with an American teacher from Shizuoka University. I asked him which sounds more natural, and he said, “Definitely ‘was’.”

    By the way, a number of native speakers who read this blog have commented on Tomo’s writing in the past. One of them said that even after reading her comments for several weeks, she still couldn’t tell whether Tomo was a native speaker of English. As a general rule, if Tomo writes something, it is usually both correct and natural!

    See you all back in Japan in about 12 hours.



  41. Biwa on Friday January 4th, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Happy New Year!
    I’m looking forward to learning lots from your comments again this year.

    Hi David,

    Welcome back to reality!
    今年もよろしくお願いします!(I wonder how you say this in English.) I hope you had a pleasant trip back.
    By the way, I read this blog through iPhone5. (I finally got one because my Galapagos one broke down!) I like the view, and it’s really easy to read because I don’t have to scroll sideways to see the entire text, but I wish there were the number of the total comments on top. I wonder what other members think.



  42. YU on Friday January 4th, 2013 at 03:17 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Happy New Year!!
    How are you spending your holidays?

    We bought lots of things during the first three days of the New Year. The most expensive purchase was a video camera. It is “must-have” when your children start kindergarten, right?
    We have one at home, but it’s a bit heavy, so we were planning to buy a new one just before new models will be come out in Feburary. They are usually sold at a rock-bottom price before the model change, so the one we bought this time was a good bargain, too.
    We also bought some “lucky bags”. Recent lucky bags are very practical, they are clearly viisible and there’s no risk to buy unnecessary things. However, I wonder if we should still call them “lucky bags”… hahaha…

    Hi Gussan,

    Congratulations on finishing the race!
    I watch the Hakone-Ekiden every year on TV. Sometimes I go to the beach to see the race(I live in Shonan area). This year, there wasn’t a big name runner like Kashiwabara, but all runners tried their best.
    I don’t know where you live, but have you ever seen the Hakone-Ekiden live?

    Hi David,

    It seems that you haven’t fallen a prey to the wild animals! I’m happy for you!
    I think you know this, but it’s winter in Japan now. Please be careful not to catch a cold!

    See you!



  43. kattie on Saturday January 5th, 2013 at 03:24 AM

    Happy New Year everyone,

    I hope you all had a good holiday. We had a good, but very busy, Christmas and I’m now looking forward to the new year. I have plenty of new year’s resolutions!

    Hi Anne,
    Because of your recommendation, Tom bought me Harumi Kurihara’s cookbook for Christmas! – I started reading it last night and I’m looking forward to trying out some of the recipes soon – do you have any favourites? I would like to cook something for my Japanese guest who’s arriving on 19th January.



  44. Biwa on Saturday January 5th, 2013 at 09:04 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Regarding the “If/I wish I were” thing, is it also more natural to use “was” for the phrases “If it were me” and “If I were you” which we talked a while back?



  45. David Barker on Saturday January 5th, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    Either is fine.

    Hi everyone,

    I got back to Gifu last night. I escaped from all the snakes and crocodiles alive, but only just. I’ll do a new entry on Monday and tell you all about it.

    Have a great weekend.



  46. amo on Sunday January 6th, 2013 at 09:09 AM

    Hi David,

    Welcome back:)
    Am glad to know that you came back in one piece!! I am looking forward to hearing your trip.

    Hi everyone,

    How is your holiday? I have started working from Friday. Actually I am on duty today and am on my way to work now.
    Hope you all are having a nice weekend.

    amo



  47. Anne on Sunday January 6th, 2013 at 04:24 PM

    Hi David,

    Glad to hear you got back to Japan safely. Do you miss the hot(or cozy?) summer in Australia?

    Hi Kattie,

    You got the book from Tom? It’s sweet of him:)
    >do you have any favourites?—Yes, there are a lot. Well, my book is the first edition, so I’m not sure the content is the same as the one you have, but using beef, pork and chicken are easier to get and cook.Here are some my recommendations:
    1. Beef on Rice (牛丼)
     Its taste is similar to “Sukiyaki.” You don’t need to serve by putting on the rice, but you can enjoy it by wrapping with lettuce or salad leaves instead.

    2. Leaf Wrapped Fried Chicken(鳥のからげ野菜巻き)
      Deep fried chicken is very popular in Japan.
    As for marinade, if you don’t have shokosyu, it’s OK to use sake instead.

    3.Steamed Chicken Salad with Sesame Sauce(蒸し鶏のゴマダレソース)
     I guess it’s good for summer.

    3. Beef and Vegetable Rolls (牛肉の野菜巻き)
      You can use pork instead of beef.

    By the way, have you ever used soy-sauce when you cook? It’s the starter for the Japanese food.
    I hope you enjoy cooking using the book!

    Hi Tomo,

    Thank you for message. I went to see a doctor yesterday, and the hospital was soooo crowed! As YU mentioned, please don’t work too much and take care.

    Hi Gussan,
    Congratulations on finishing the race!

    The New Year’s holiday is over and I guess you are back to the ordinary life. I was very busy during the holiday, and sadly I caught a bad cold at the end of the year. I somehow prepared for the New Year dishes and other things. I cooked for the family and guests, and now I had time to be lazy:) I’m getting better enough to write comment here even though I feel under the weather.

    Looking forward to new entry.

    Anne



  48. Anne on Sunday January 6th, 2013 at 04:25 PM

    it’s me again, sorry,” 3. Beef and Vegetable Rolls (牛肉の野菜巻き” should be “4.”



  49. Yukako on Sunday January 6th, 2013 at 08:10 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Happy New Year!! Last year I learned lots of things from all of you. This year I want to write more comments.

    Hi David,

    I’m glad you came back to Japan safely. Gifu is very cold, isn’t it? Please take care of yourself not to catch a cold.

    See you.



  50. Biwa on Monday January 7th, 2013 at 09:16 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your reply. I’ll pay attention when I hear these phrases.

    Hi Anne and everyone,

    I saw “Les Miserables” on Saturday. As Anne said, it was really fantastic! At first, I didn’t think a musical would be so moving, but the actors were all splendid singers, and especially Russel Crowe’s(ジャヴェール) voice was nice. I couldn’t hold back my tears where Jean Valjean(ジャン・バルジャン)was going to heaven at last.
    I found the story interesting because everyone is trying to carry out their own “justice” and of course it’s not wrong, but sometimes it can be wrong or hurt someone else. As the Japanese title 「ああ無情」, it made me think about the contradiction or mercilesssness of life!



  51. David Barker on Monday January 7th, 2013 at 07:31 PM

    Hi everyone,

    I was really busy today, and I’m quite tired. I’ll do the new entry tomorrow.



  52. Kattie on Tuesday January 8th, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for your recommendations – my book has all those recipes, have you listed them in order of preference? If so, I’ll try the beef and rice one first of all.

    I have just sent an email to my Japanese guest asking him whether there are any particular foods he doesn’t like, hopefully he will not say he doesn’t like beef!

    By the way, are there many vegetarians/vegans in
    Japan? There are a lot of non meat-eaters in the UK and I have often toyed with the idea myself because I hate the idea of intensive factory farming. Instead of becoming a vegetarian, I am very careful about what meat I buy and I really try to get only free range meat, I also try not to eat too much meat.

    Yes we do use soy sauce in cooking, especially for stir fries, it’s very easy to buy in the UK and I think it’s pretty popular.

    Thanks again. I must go to bed it’s very late!

    Kattie



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