The end of March is a bittersweet time for me. I have to say good-bye to some of my wonderful students who are graduating, moving, or just moving on. I wish you all the best of luck in your future. I will wish for you the same thing I tell my elementary school students at the end of the year. I want you to be happy, healthy and kind. If you have those three things, I have no complaints or regrets.
Saying good-bye is hard and always using the same phrase is a little boring!
Here are ten different ways to say "good-bye". Try one next time.
See you later alligator.
Well, I'm off.
Gotta hit the road.
Take it easy.
I gotta make like a tree and leave.
Catch you on the flip side.
Have a good one.
I gotta head.
Bye for now.
I'm looking forward to saying "HELLO" to my new students in April.
By the way, I woke up this morning to see this!
It's too early for April Fools'!
I wrote about White Day last March. So I won't repeat myself again. This week is a week of baking and saying thank you to all my wonderful students. Look forward to tasting some of these cookies this week. More later. I will post some of the recipes tonight. No time now.
Good Evening. Here are the recipes:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick oats (aka 1 minute oats)
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter then whisk in the sugar, cocoa, milk and salt. Turn the heat to high and boil mixture for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
2. Stir the peanut butter and vanilla into the chocolate. Add the oats and stir until well combined.
3. Using a small ice cream scoop or a 1 tablespoon measure, form dough into cookies( they can be flattened into cookies or into balls) and place on parchment paper to cool.
4. Allow to cool 30 - 45 minutes.
BAKER'S Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is our go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. When you have a craving for a classic chocolate chip cookie, bake up a batch of these!
Heat oven to 375°F.
Beat butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in flour and baking soda until well blended. Add chocolate chips; mix well.
Drop tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets.
Bake 10 to 12 min. or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet 3 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
Beat together the butter and confectioners' sugar till creamy. Add vanilla.
Mix the dry ingredients, stir into creamy mixture. Blend well.
Add the nuts, mix well, roll the dough out into two balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Flatten dough out and cut into 15 or 20 equal size pieces, shape into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes till firm but not brown. While still warm roll into confectioners' sugar, let cool and roll again.
Do you get cabin fever? I do! With the weather getting warmer and the snow melting, I really wanted to get out yesterday. I didn't have a lot of time, somewhere not too far, but also not too near. I finally decided on Kosaka Town. NHK had a short special about Akita, Friday night, that I happened to watch. They showed the Kosaka Mining office and the Kabuki Theater.
We left around 10:00 a.m. (a late start), and arrived at the theater at noon. Faster than I expected. The road from Akita to Kosaka has gotten much better! I was surprised that we were the only visitors at that time, but it allowed us to do and see many things that are not included in a normal tour. Here are a few pictures:
Built in 1910, the Korakukan was designated as a National Important Cultural Property of Japan in 2002. It is the largest existing wooden theater and one of the oldest surviving wooden Kabuki theaters in Japan. Tours and performances are held daily from April to November. The daily shows however, are not considered “true kabuki” as it often incorporates humor and contemporary themes. But rather, the shows are a mix of a kabuki, singing, dancing and rakugo style comedy.
Inside the Korakukan (seating capacity 600)
Beneath the stage. This is the rotating stage mechanism. Yes we rotated it!
I was able to try on some of the costumes.
This is Meiji Street in front of the theater.
Kosaka Mine Office
The Kosaka Mine Office was built in 1905 and used as the head office of Kosaka Smelting and Refining Co. Ltd. until 1990. In 1997, the Mine Office was scheduled to be destroyed to make way for a new smelter, but instead it was donated to the town. The Mine Office was disassembled and rebuilt next to the Korakukan. The Mine Office was designated as a National Important Cultural Property of Japan in 2002.
The counting office.
Beautiful spiral staircase
Muslim inspired balcony.
Along the Jukai Line (highway) towards Lake Towada is Nanataki Waterfall, a 60 meter high waterfall.
After a nice dinner and a stop at the new Futatsui Machi Michi no Eki, we arrived home around 7:00 p.m. I learned many interesting things about Kosaka. Did you know it used to be the 2nd largest city in Akita Prefecture? It had the first electricity, water works, and private railroad in Tohoku. Also the first Christmas was celebrated there.
I had a wonderful time and can recommend this short trip to anyone.
For more information. see here:
Happy Valentine's Day!
Do you enjoy Valentine's Day, or do you think it's just another excuse for stores to sell more chocolate?
I want to talk about the difference in Valentine's Day in Japan and America.
In America men and women exchange Valentine's on the same day, there is no White Day.
In America there is no "giri choco' (duty chocolate). The first time I was given this was a shock to me. I looked up the word "giri" in my Japanese dictionary and was so disappointed.
We have a school Valentine's dance starting around the 6th grade. I can still remember my first dance. So shy, so exciting!
School children in America typically give a Valentine's card to every member of their class. (maybe THIS is America's "giri choco"?) These cards are put in a special handmade box at school.
Usually, a couple, husband-wife, boyfriend-girlfriend, etc, will plan a special date for Valentine's Day. A nice dinner, a nice dance, a nice card etc. . . .
I have many nice memories as a young child of leaving cookies, or candies on the steps of my neighborhood friends, ringing the doorbell and then running away.
I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day.
Happy Setsubun!!! (???) What is the proper setsubun greeting? I have no idea. Do you have any plans for setsubun this year?
Are you going to eat an ehomaki sushi roll while facing east by northeast, without talking until you finish the whole thing? I don't understand why this tradition has become so popular in Akita.
Are you going to throw beans or peanuts around your house while shouting "Demons out, blessings in!"?
Or, like me, are you going to relax at home and not think much about it? Whatever you do, I hope you have a nice relaxing weekend . . . like this:
Finally, here are a few English idioms about beans.
He got hit in the bean. (head)
President Trump is full of beans! (all nonsense)
Is your wife a bean counter? (someone who watches money very closely)
I don't know beans about chemistry! (I know nothing about it)
Trump's advice isn't worth a hill of beans. (no value)
My wife and I had a wonderful three days in Okinawa last Sun, Mon, Tues. The weather was warm and sunny (20-23°).
I want to share a few photos with you.
Our first meal, delicious taco rice.
Traditional Okinawan houses (Okinawa Village)
A romantic dinner at Rizzan Sea Park Hotel
Okinawa dance show at Rizzan Sea Park Hotel
The view from our hotel room
Our last meal at Naha Airport, A&W hamburgers and root beer.
Beautiful Orchids at Naha Airport.
I hope you all have the chance to visit Okinawa in the winter. Going from cold Akita to warm Okinawa in January is so nice.
Sorry Okinawa, but I still think Oga is more beautiful.
Happy Year of the Wild Boar!
Oops, sorry wrong picture!
I had a great new years, did you?
I hope 2019 is not a boring year for you!
Don't be a borethis year!
Let English bore its way into your head this year!