Monthly Archives: January 2009

A New Year Party

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HI352162-a     There was a New Year party on January 14. It was Wednesday. I’m usually in the classroom on Wednesday night, but I was in a house that day. The party was held at my teacher’s house. Most of her students got together there not in the classroom! The party was very boisterous.

     I’ve learned English for some years, but the class is not a usual conversation one. It’s a kind of phonetic class, where students learn how to pronounce and train listening to English, at NHK Cultural Center in Sakae, Nagoya. HI352160-a

     I don’t know it’s a main reason though my class has been suffering from lack of students. I mean English daily conversation classes taught by native speakers are quite popular here in Nagoya, but phonetic classes especially taught by Japanese teachers are not so much. That’s why my class had been told that it would be cancelled soon by the cultural center’s stuffers many times.

     So, I thought that we might not be able to see each other in the classroom in January and the New Year party might become a farewell party at the final class last December. But there are nine students in my class this month! Wow! HI352161-a

     My teacher was going to treat her students with some of her homemade dishes especially American cuisines, but her plan was spoiled. All of her students brought many foods to her house. You know, that’s a kind of Japanese tradition. Guests usually bring something to their host’s house. I also brought some pizzas and dumplings. 

     That’s why she got disappointed and a little bit angry! She had been planning to welcome her students with American style! But foods in front of us were gyoza, ten-musu, goheimochi, sushi, fruits and sweets and etc…so I coaxed her into cooking somehow.

     Luckily she bounced back and cooked for us. She cooked very well! I didn’t know that she is such a great cook! All her dishes were excellent! All of the participants enjoyed themselves having wonderful food and interesting conversations at the party. Thank you for having us, Sensei! Let’s have an American style party next time!

 

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The Lunch Time Concert

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     What a graceful day it was! I went to a classical music concert and then had lunch at an Italian restaurant with some of my friends last Sunday.

     Last week a friend of mine emailed me, “Why don’t you go to a concert with me? I have two tickets.” It said that our friends’ daughter was going to play there. I replied her immediately, “Yes, I’d love to go!”  view_069

     The concert was held at Munetsugu Hall in Sakae. It was the first time for me to go there. The concert hall just opened in 2007. This time what I listened to was entitled “Cello-to-sugosu-nichiyobi”, or a Sunday when you spend time with cellos. As the title shows, the concert was performed by four cellists belonging to Chubu Philharmonic Orchestra.

     There were four parts in the concert and interestingly a cello was added at each part. I mean it was solo at the first part (Prelude-Fantasia from Suite for Cello Solo by G. Cassado), duet at the second part (8 pieces from 18 Duos by B. Bartok), trio at the third part (Requiem op.66 by D. Popper), and then quartet at the last part (Chaconne from Partita 02 BWV 1004 for solo violin part 2 from J.S. Bach). I think cello quartet is out of common. content_cms_378_ph1_20090106125028

     The concert was held at so-called lunch time. Munetsugu Hall has the lunch time concert almost every day. The owner of the concert hall started it in order to have people enjoy classical music with a light heart. So the lunch time concert costs just 1000 yen.

     Actually Mr. Tokuji Munetsugu, the owner, is the founder of a restaurant chain named Curry House CoCo ICHIBANYA, which is well-known here as established in Nagoya. He retired from the company and then started a kind of philanthropic work, one of which is opening Munetsugu Hall, in 2002. Anyway I think it’s wonderful to familiarize ourselves with classical music in our daily lives.untitled

     After the concert I had lunch with some of my friends who I met at the hall at an Italian restaurant named Il Nodo. Nodo means knot in English, but a waitress explained that the knot means people bond when I asked. The lunch was wonderful. Classical music, delicious lunch, and chatting with friends…I had a great time!HI352156

Mt. Fuji

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     The New Year has already started. How were your New Year holidays? I was in Tokyo, where my family lives, during the holidays. I was able to see Mt. Fuji from different directions and places on the first three days of the New Year. So, I’m going to write about Mt. Fuji for my first blog this year.HI352146

     I used Shinkansen, the bullet train, for Tokyo in the morning on January 1st. The train I got on was not crowded. Soon after I sat on my seat, I fell asleep…When I was awakened I saw a woman, sitting on the seat in front of me, pointing her cellphone at the train window.  

     There majestic Mt. Fuji was on my right. I also took out my cellphone from my pocket in a hurry and pointed it to the mountain. Snap! I felt that something nice was going to happen, seeing the mountain’s elegant line.

     That night I got an email from my old friend. She and I had not seen each other for a long time. The email said that she was in Mitaka on 2nd. Mitaka is not so far from where I stayed in Tokyo. So I went to see her next day. I was very surprised when I got on the train. White snow capped Mt. Fuji was seen in the distance from the train window. I didn’t know that you can see Mt. Fuji in Tokyo. Anyway I was very happy to see the friend.HI352148

     I went back to Nagoya by car on 3rd. It was really crowded on the highway and it took me more than eight hours from Tokyo to Nagoya. I was exhausted, but I was happy to have seen Mt. Fuji on the way.  HI352144-a

     Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 3.776 meters. It has been depicted in poems, stories, songs, paintings and other things since ancient times in Japan. Especially in old days, Mt. Fuji could be seen from many places because it was the highest, there weren’t high-rise buildings around the mountain, and the air was even cleaner. 

     Look at the snow capped mountain! How beautiful and magnificent! I’ve heard that most people in the world are not interested in just seeing a mountain, but they are interested in climbing it up and in seeing scenery in it or from the top of the mountain. But I think most Japanese feel happy when they just see Mt. Fuji. I can’t explain the reason, but it’s special for Japanese. Mt. Fuji is a symbol of Japan.