Imaginary Friend

Hello there! How have you been so far? I am still busy with homework from my painting school. My teacher makes me upset a lot with the assignments because she doesn’t like anything I design. Well, it’s life, right?

Anyway, today I want to write about imaginary friends. A couple of days ago, I finished reading a book in English. The book is for children and written about the protagonist’s imaginary friend. This made me remind me of my imaginary friend when I was three years old.

Have you had an imaginary friend when you were a kid? Yes, I had. When I was three years old, my parents bought their own house, and we moved to the place. I had some friends in my previous place, but I had no friends in the new place. I have a younger sister, but I was an only child then. After moving, I started following my mom because I was scared to be alone where I was not familiar. She sometimes told me that stop following her, but I had never quit it.

One day, my parents bought me a swing. I was playing with it with my favorite teddy bear in our small yard. I thought if I could have a human company, it would be great. Then, a boy showed up from the gate of our back yard. He looked much older than me. I thought it was a bit weird that somebody showed up from the way, but I was glad to see the boy. He asked me if he could join me. I said yes, and we enjoyed playing together. I asked him where he lived, he told me four doors down. When my mom called me from our house, I told him that I would be right back. When I went back, he was not there. Since I didn’t ask his name, I couldn’t call him.

My mom asked me who I was playing because she heard my talking voice. I told her that I met a boy, and he and I were playing with the new swing. She seemed to be happy to hear that. After that, I med two boys, one lived in our next door who was one year older than me, and the other one lived in two doors down who was same age as me in our neighborhood. I made friends with them, and I forgot the boy whom I played with the swing.

Somehow, all the sudden, when I was around seven years old, I remembered him. I asked about him to my mom if a boy lived in four door down. That’s because since then, I had never met him. My mom said that there were no boys there because the house was a dormitory for nurses.  I probably mixed up our next door boy and four door down boy together. However, I thought that boy was much older and taller than them.  He didn’t look like them. I asked the boys how we met. They shared their memories, but they didn’t relate to the swing. Then, they and I visited the house where he told me that he lived in, but we couldn’t find any boy there.

So, what did I see? Did I play with a ghost? I think that was my imaginary friend. I was always lonely without any friends in the new place. My mom was always busy with settling up their house. Then, I created the boy. I don’t know why it was a boy who was much older than me. Does it make sense to you?

In the book the protagonist could see his imaginary friend whenever he wanted. However, in my case I saw him only once. I have never seen him again. Even so, can I call him as my imaginary friend, or he might be a ghost?!

Thank you so much for reading my blog post. I hope I will update my other blog (My Porcelain Painting Blog) in two weeks.

See you around here again in two weeks!

 

-Yumi

 

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My Review in 2017

Merry Christmas! How have you been so far? I hope you are having a happy moment with your family.

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I took this beautiful Christmas tree photo at The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Osaka when I had dinner there with my family.  I will write about this on my other blog entry some time.

I want to review my year this time, and this is supposed to be the last blog entry for this year. I will update my other blog, my porcelain painting blog at the very end of this year, though. Please visit my other blog then!

At the beginning of this year, I made some new year’s resolutions. I do this every year. I can be proud of myself with two things that I achieved. First, I lost 4.5 kg with exercise. Now, I got back a very flat stomach, and I can wear anything I want, even a bikini, lol! This makes me very happy. Secondly, I finished reading 38 books, 9889 pages in English! This year I focused on reading more advanced and thicker books. I am glad that I can enjoy reading in English now. Beside these, I almost finished my current porcelain painting course. I am going to the final course next year. I am getting closer to my goal!  I started learning Fair Isle techniques in knitting. It was a long time dream for me. I am glad that I finally made this come true.

On the other hand, I feel ashamed with something that I couldn’t achieve. I didn’t study conversational Italian before and went back to Italy. Of course, I couldn’t communicate with people in Italian at all. After I returned to Japan, I started learning conversational Italian. My progress is very slow, but I want to keep going. I wanted to knit something with an English pattern, but I didn’t do this. I wanted to get a higher award from the city art show, but I couldn’t.

Next year I want to get a higher award from the city art show. I want to make a master piece that I can be proud of!!!!  I want to lose at least 3 kg more and build more muscles. I especially want to lose fat around my waist. I want to read more advanced and thicker books in English. I hope I will be able to finish my final course of my porcelain painting school, I mean I want to finish it at the end of March in 2018. I want to learn crochet. I want to knit something with an English pattern. I will keep studying conversational Italian and want to memorize basic stuff. These are more concrete wishes for me, and of course, I want to stay healthy and enjoy my life.

How about your 2017? I hope you could achieve a lot of goals. I think setting up some goals and making lots of efforts to achieve them is the best in our lives. We can feel the meanings of our lives.

I really hope 2018 will be better for all of us! I will keep making efforts to make my dreams come true, and I hope you will do the same!

I hope you all have an amazing New Year. See you around here next year again!

 

-Yumi x

 

 

Cafes in Japan

Hiya! How have you been so far? I am doing great to enjoy my life.

Today, I want to share something interesting with you. You know we have weird cafes, like maid cafes, right? Our cafes are getting more diverse. Now, we have lots of cafes where we can enjoy getting together to share our interests.

Cats cafes where we can touch cats or conversational English cafes where we can speak in English with foreigners or English teachers are more popular. We have more cafes like rabbit cafes where we can touch rabbits. Rabbit cafes are getting popular in Japan as well. I don’t think it’s a clean place to drink something, though, lol.

I have never been to those cafes before, but I had an opportunity to go to a knitting cafe recently.  I have to say that knitting is my hobby. I have found knitting is meditation for me, and that’s why I love knitting. I found a knitting cafe where I can learn Fair Isle technique from Scotland and went there.

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There were 10 students plus three teachers there. We all knitted the Fair Isle techniques.

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Fair Isle knitting started for fishermen, but they have become more sophisticated.

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We can see lots of Fair Isle knitting products which the instructors  have placed on the walls. They were so perfect! I was in love with them at first sight.

A student was knitting her sweater with the technique. According to her, it takes 6 months for her to finish one product!! Oh, I need a lot of patience to finish one piece!!!!

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The instructors show us lots of traditional patterns and books to make us think we can make these!

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Since I am a definitely beginner of this technique, I have nothing to show. I just started learning this technique. My goal is to knit sweaters for all my family! The yarns for the technique come from Shetland, Scotland. Their yarns are very light and warm like cashmere. Since I love conservative, classical and traditional style of fashion a lot, I really really love these knitting patterns!

Cafes where we can learn something is different from schools or clubs. When we learn something in schools or clubs, it’s hard for us to quit after one experience. However, it’s easy for us to quit in cafes. We don’t need to go to the cafes constantly. Whenever we want, we can book the cafes and keep learning. The knitting cafe is open 8 days each month from 10 am to 1:30 pm for students to learn . My plan is to go there once a month to learn. It’s more convenient for us to save time and money. It’s easier for us to start learning something new. Of course, we call these “cafe”, so we order something to drink while we learn.

I had a wonderful time there with knitting people. All of them were very friendly to share their products, ideas and technique.

I think these style of cafes where we can learn something will be more popular in Japan.

Thanks for stopping by my blog entry. I hope I will be able to update my other blog, my porcelain painting blog next week!

I hope you all start a great week! Take care!

-Yumi x

 

 

Let’s Stay Healthy!

Hello there! How have you been? I hope everybody is doing great.

Today I want to write about health. There are lots of things that we can’t buy, like love,  happiness, education, talents and I think health is one of them. Recently, I am very interested in being healthy.

At the begging of this year, my dad had a surgery of colon cancer. He was in the stage one, so, we don’t need to worry about him. Until he got cancer, I had never worried about him. Since I was a kid, he was just like a superman. He has a really good shape, still can run ( even though he is 85 years old), walks 10 km every single day and looks very healthy. I have never doubt he would be able to live until 100 years old. So, when I heard the news from my mom, I was very shocked.

However, his health saved him a lot. He recovered very quickly. My dad never ever looks like 80’s. He looks more than 10 years younger. He still keeps all his teeth.

I thought why he is so young and healthy. Then, I realized that he doesn’t have extra FAT.

Recently, I started adding weight and extra fat because of age. I am one of the women who is in menopausal. I tried to lose weight many times, but it was really difficult for me. One day, I saw an advertisement on TV in the States. I was visiting my American friend then, and it was in May this year. The advertisement was saying that it’s hard for middle ages to lose weight. That’s because their metabolism system is going down, they lose muscles and so on. So, this is the shortest cut for those people to lose weight. It’s very simple, BURN FAT! I thought that’s it! Then, I bought three exercising DVDs. My other American friend helped me to get them.

Since then, my body has changed a lot. After I returned to Japan, I started doing the exercise to follow the direction. At first, I couldn’t catch up with the speed. The exercise was really hard. I sometimes had to look at the video not to move. I sometimes thought I couldn’t do this because I was too old. However, I just don’t like giving up something in the mid way. So, I just kept going. Then, I realized that I was getting better day by day! When I started thinking like that, my body started changing. I started losing FAT and adding muscles.

Three months has passed. I thought I lost lots of weight because I made my clothes’ side down. I could wear my old jeans! I looked much more slim than before. I measured my weight. I so expected how much I lost. When I checked out my weight, I was shocked. Well, I didn’t lose any weight at all. However, I looked totally different from before. What’s happened to me? I looked for about this on the internet and learned a lot.

What I learned is that all my fat changed into muscles. Muscles are three times heavier than fat, and smaller than fat. That’s why I look slimmer than before even though I didn’t lose any weight. I can wear my old jeans or whatever. My waist, tights, arms got lots of muscles and became much smaller. I figured out this is the real meaning of LOSING WEIGHT! Since muscles burn more calories than fat, I will lose my weight gradually.

Before doing exercising, I had never thought burning fat is the key to lose weight. I had believed that it’s the shortest cut for us not to eat. That’s a wrong way to do. If you want to keep a better shape, MOVE, BURN FAT and BUILT MUSCLES! I can say that don’t give up because of your age. All we can do something to burn fat. There are so many ways to burn fat. Search it what you can do. Once you built muscles, it’s easy for you to lose weight, to keep a better shape, to stay healthy. I also want to say that exercising is good for our mental. I feel better, younger, more motivate, more positive and can enjoy myself more.

I highly recommend such you who are spending so much time for playing video games or internet surfing to exercise.

I want to keep my new shape as long as I can. So, I keep exercising, burning fat and keeping muscles. I have known this brings me more happiness!!

Thanks for reading my blog post. See you around in two weeks! I hope you are having a good weekend/week!

-Yumi X

You can see my before after photos.

Me before exercising

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Me after exercising

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Tosa Dog

Today I want to write about the biggest dogs in Japan. They are a family of Mastiff.

I have a female three year-old black Labrador Retriever, Coco, and a Tosa Dog is her male friend. I have known about Tosa dogs, but until Coco has made friends with the male Tosa Dog, Gun, I have never seen a Tosa dog in person before. I think this is really cool that Coco has a Tosa friend! They are a definitely rare sort.  Japanese people prefer tiny dogs like toy poodles.

When I saw Gun for the first time with Coco, I was very scared and avoided to follow his way.  Coco is very powerful, and I thought I might not control her when she got excited to see Gun.  Gun’s owner realized that I was afraid of him, and he approached us. We made friends then.

When I touched Gun, I was so nervous even though the owner told me that Gun was well controlled and never bit me. I still remember the feelings very well. Gun has a huge head. I have heard Gun killed a Boxer two years ago when they fought. I am happy that Coco and Gun made good friends.

In Japan, if people want to own Tosa dogs, they need a permission from a Police department. That’s because they are very dangerous dogs. We have heard about news that the dogs kill their owners or family members. They are fighting dogs in the Shikoku area. The Gun’s owner loves big dogs, especially Tosa Dogs. Gun is his eighth dog. According to him, since he got older, he retired Dog fights. He was used to doing the business. I am glad Gun is not a fighting dog. I can’t support all kind of animal fights. The owner has another dog, a female Mastiff, named Sakura. She is much bigger than Gun! He sometimes takes two of them together for a walk. I can’t believe how he can control two extremely huge dogs together. Sakura is one and a half years old and much more energetic than Gun.

Gun is three years old too and very skinny. Coco is much energetic than Gun. Although I really want to take some photos of Gun with Coco, I have to apologize that there is no photos of them. I walk in the evening, and plus they are very playful. It’s hard for me to take their photos in dark, but when I take some, I will update them.

I know big dogs’ life spam is always shorter than small dogs’. Gun’s owner said Tosa’s life spam is around 8 years. I really hope Coco and Gun can hang out as long as they can.

If you want to get more information about Tosa, you can get it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tosa_(dog)

The word, Tosa means an old term of one of prefectures, Kouchi Ken in the Sikoku area. The Tosa Dogs are originally from there. In the Edo period, dog fights were one of the entertaining events for Shoguns.

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We still have dog fights, and the champions wear these kinds of costumes to show off.

These costumes are very similar as Yokozuna, the champions of Sumo wrestlers.

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It’s getting cooler in Japan, and I am very happy with this comfy weather. I will see you around in two weeks!

Have a lovely week or weekend!

-Yumi x

Do You Want to Learn Another Languages from A Robot?!

Hello there! How have you been? It’s been a while since I posted my last blog entry. I am sorry for the delay. Recently I am busy for painting stuff. I haven’t posted anything on my other blog either,  and I know I have to do this soon.

Today, I want to listen to your opinions and share mine with you. I hope I can listen to lots of opinions from you.

Well, my question is “Do you want to learn another languages from a robot?”.  A couple of days ago, I found a robot which can teach us English on Amazon. I thought it was very interesting.

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Isn’t the robot cute? You can see more details here: https://www.amazon.co.jp/AKA-Musio-%E8%8B%B1%E8%AA%9E%E5%AD%A6%E7%BF%92AI%E3%83%AD%E3%83%9C%E3%83%83%E3%83%88-%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E6%AD%A3%E8%A6%8F%E4%BB%A3%E7%90%86%E5%BA%97%E5%93%81-MSX510017SB/dp/B06XPD111V/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498441590&sr=8-1&keywords=%E8%8B%B1%E8%AA%9E%E3%83%AD%E3%83%9C%E3%83%83%E3%83%88

The robot itself costs around 1000 American dollars and plus you need textbooks and you need to pay to “Friend Plan” ( I don’t know what it is.). It sounds like it costs a lot.

However, according to Amazon, it can teach us natural English. Do you want this?

Since I have not used the robot yet, I can’t say the robot is useful or helpful. Even so, I prefer learning conversational English from a real teacher. I doubt how much it can teach us “real conversation”. I think languages relates to history, culture, religion or other stuff. The robot might become a conversational partner, but I don’t think we can enjoy our conversations what we talk. Do you know what I mean?

I think I don’t like it if the robot shows sarcasm. I probably feel awkwardness. If the robot swears, I probably don’t like it either. The robot might work out for beginner level students, though. It might be good to practice pronunciation or ask them unknown words, difficult phrases and so on. Well, I think we can do the stuff without the robot anyway.

As a result, I don’t think I need the robot for my English, but it might be good for my Italian. Compared to my English level, my Italian is really poor. In that case, the robot will help me a lot to learn basic stuff.

I think the best way to learn another languages is to use both human and high technology, but I still believe that human skills are better than high technology.

Maybe in the future we will have robot teachers in school, and they teach us school subjects. What do you think?

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope I can see you next week! Have a great day!

 

-Yumi

 

Where There Is a Will, There Is a Way

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope 2017 brings lots of laughter and happiness to you all!

Today I want to write about English to motivate you. This entry is for all language learners, and this blog entry is the very first one this year.

The very last part of last year I made one of my dreams come true. It was studying abroad in Italy to improve my painting skills. It took five years, but I am glad that I made it. Before sharing the story, I want to share the English part first.

I started studying conversational English to study abroad  8 years ago. One day I found a very beautiful horse painting on a porcelain tile online. I couldn’t speak English at all then even though I could read and write. Our English education is based on grammar, and we don’t learn how to communicate with people in English at school. I wanted to learn how to paint the horse, but the class was in Arizona, the States. I couldn’t understand conversational English and how I could take the class……… There was no choice to study conversational English for me. Since then, taking the horse painting class had become one of my dreams.

There was a really good free online language studying site 8 years ago. I met an American boy who was 15 years old, just started studying conversational Japanese. He and I made good friends in the site. One day I asked him if he could teach me conversational English, in turn I would love to teach him Japanese for free. Since then he had become my conversational partner. We started exchanging languages on Skype every day. Sometimes we Skyped more than for 12 hours a day to improve my English and his Japanese. We exchanged our languages until he graduated from high school.  I really do appreciate what he did for me. After several years, he came to Japan to visit me twice. He became a fluent Japanese speaker and now he is getting a master degree at graduate university. Two years after studying conversational English, I made my dream come true. I studied abroad to take the horse painting in Arizona. It was my first trip alone  in the States. I met two really nice American ladies and since then, two of them have become my American moms.

English opened my world. One of the ladies whom I met in Arizona has run a porcelain school in Michigan. She asked me if I was interested in coming her school. I sad, “Yes!”. Since then she has been my closes female American friend. We have traveled a lot to take porcelain painting classes in the States. I have met lots of American painters here and there and made friend with them. Now, I have a lot of American moms in Alabama,Tennessee, Idaho and everywhere. Every year I have been to the Michigan school to improve my painting skills. I stay at her house and she has introduced her family, friends, culture, everything. She also has become my English teacher as well.

I also met several Americans ( one is American Jewish) and a Brit who were studying Japanese online 8 years ago. They all have become my language partners and we still have been exchanging languages on Skype. One of them become a professional online English teacher. He is teaching me English every single day on Skype. I do appreciate him a lot as well. My British friend visited me twice, and my daughter visited his two years ago. Now his family and my family are good friends. We sometimes Skype with our families.

While studying abroad alone in the Sates, I started being confident in conversational English even though I say funny things in English. One day I saw an advertizement of an international porcelain convention in Thailand. It was five years ago. A lady who is teaching Queen’s place, posted the advertizement on Facebook. She asked me if I was interested in coming to the show. I said, “Yes!” again. I have believed that if we want to do something, we shouldn’t hesitate anything. I went there with my Australian friend who had never met in person even though we had been friends on Facebook for years. I made good friends with her. We both won prizes.

Well, long story short, my dream that I made come true last year relates to the show. I saw some amazing works in the show. I figured out they were from an Italian guest artist. I was so inspired by her artwork. I asked her that I wanted to learn from her, but she said that she didn’t speak English. I was very disappointed at it but couldn’t give up to learn from her. I made friends with her on Facebook. After I returned to Japan, I messaged her. Her daughter replied me soon in English.

Her daughter told me that her mother would go to an international convention in Canada as a guest artist. I went to the convention to learn from her. I also took her classes in Texas, America as well. Then, finally I took her classes in Italy last December!

When I told my plan to study abroad in Italy alone to my husband and daughter, two of them dropped their jaws because they knew that I can’t handle Italian conversations at all. Two of them said they couldn’t believe that. I didn’t hesitate at all. I always grab all chances to make my dreams come true. I know where there is a will, there is a way.

I really think English opened my world much much wider and has made my dreams come true. Now, Italian will make my dreams come true. I know I have to study conversational Italian.

I want to say to all language learners, Don’t worry about your accents and mistakes. Languages are communication tools. I have a Japanese accent, but people understand my English very well. I have no problem to communicate with people in English. If you want to speak English, just start speaking English. Without speaking practice, you never ever come to speak English at all.  If you can handle two languages or three languages,  your world will become much much more international! I know it very well, and that’s why I am studying English and will study Italian!

Thank you so much for reading such a long blog entry. I know I have been making a lot of mistakes in my written English and I apologize it.

I hope this blog entry is helpful to keep studying another languages. I am thinking I want to publish a book with my experiences some day in the future. This is one of my dreams!!

-Yumi

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