Saturday, January 30, 2021

Miscellaneous Things I am Thankful For This Week

  1. inner joy independent of outer circumstances 
  2. occasional sunny days
  3. good books 
  4. pea sprouts growing by the window in my kitchen 
  5. concise poems
  6. singing songs when nobody is around
  7. a handmade throw 

  8. the washing machine 
  9. kaki-no-tane (soy-sauce-flavored piquant rice crackers) with peanuts for snack

  10. (relatively) peaceful and quiet days 

Friday, January 29, 2021

A Sunny Day in January

 I took this picture while walking on the bridge in the afternoon the other day.
I'm thankful for a sunny day in January.

Skywatch Friday

My Corner of the World

Thursday, January 28, 2021

#Six-Sentence Story: A Seashell

When Hannah opened the antique music box in the dimly lit attic, it gave a slight creak and began to play "For Elise", slowly and haltingly. 

Inside the wooden box was a seashell, approximately four inches long, which Victor had given her decades ago, on the day when he had come back from a field study on the island. 

She took out the beautiful conch carefully, and placed it on her delicate palm. 

Hannah remembered how Victor had taken her right hand gently and placed it on her palm, on that chilly evening in mid-October, when they were in their early twenties.

The music had already stopped.

Slowly, she held the souvenir to her ear, to listen to the sound of the ocean, -- the oceans that now lay between Victor and her.

this week's prompt: ocean

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

#Wednesday Hodgepodge: January 27, 2021

1. Have you done more binge watching this past year than in 'normal' years? Any plans to break that habit in 2021? Tell us one or two shows you binged last year that you really liked.

Strangely, no. I spent far less time watching TV and videos in 2020, though I watched more videos on YouTube...

2. January 26th is Australia Day. Have you ever visited or lived in Australia? Have you ever tasted Vegemite, and if so what did you think? Is a trip down under on your bucket list? We answered a question about travel three months ago (the October 21st Hodgepodge), but let's revisit now...where are you when it comes to planning or even imagining travel this year? 

I have never been to Australia, and I have never tasted Vegemite, though I have heard of it. (I have worked with someone from Australia before, and I have had several Internet friends there, so Australia is one of the countries I am curious about, but I don't think I am going to visit it myself. For that matter, I am not planning to go abroad in the near future.)

3. Something that zaps your energy? Something that energizes you? 

Talking with an "insensitive" person for a long time zaps my energy. A cup of hot chocolate with milk energizes me.

4. On a scale of 1-10 what are your eating habits like these days? (1=all junk food all the time and 10= juicing every green thing in the frig) Healthiest meal you've eaten in the last week or so? 

8. A couple of days ago, we had some brown rice, vegetable soup, grilled salmon, and natto (fermented soybeans). -- We usually have typical Japanese dishes.

5. What's your most often 'Back in my day....' thing to say? 

-- Now that you mention it, I've realized that I don't remember saying 'back in my day' or any phrases to that effect for ages! I hope there is nothing wrong with me... 😀

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

This morning, I woke up much later than usual. It was raining, and that may be why. I was awaken by the loud sound of the radio that my father had turned on downstairs. -- By the time I got up and went down to the kitchen, he had made breakfast. 😊

Somehow, I find rainy days a little more depressing than snowy days, especially when I have to go out. I had to go grocery shopping today. The weather forecast says we are going to have a heavy snowfall this weekend, so I got some extra food in case we should get snowed in.  


From this Side of the Pond

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

My Self-Imposed Task

I've been trying to learn Psalm 34 in Hebrew by heart. 

Since this is an acrostic poem, I hope it will be easier to recall, but slow and steady wins the race. I memorize only one verse a day.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

#Ten Thing of Thankful: January 23, 2021


  1. Though it has been freezing, we haven't had a heavy snowfall this week. 
  2. I am thankful for my father, who prepares breakfast when I happen to get up late.
  3. I watched the Presidential Inauguration address on YouTube last Thursday morning (Japan Standard Time).
  4. While watching the video, I heard a phrase, "level with," which was new to me.  I googled it, and now I know it means "tell someone the truth." -- Let me practice using the phrase in a sentence. --"I hope all the politicians all over the world will always level with us." 
  5. I also watched the video of the invocation, actually praying with Rev. Leo O'Donovan, whom I hadn't known anything about until then.
  6. I am thankful that I know big words like 'inauguration' and 'invocation' in a foreign language, though I am not very interested in politics, and I do not think I have a lot of chances to use these words in a meaningful context, except when I am blogging about it.
  7. I am thankful for Mr. Homma, a former colleague of mine, who videotaped the presidential inauguration address and showed it to the other teachers of English as a foreign language including me, in the audio-visual room in the high school where we worked decades ago, so that we could learn from the speech. If I remember correctly, the new President at that time was Bill Clinton, which makes me feel kind of 'advanced in age'... Anyway, thanks to Mr. Homma, I've got sort of interested in listening to inauguration speeches, and State of the Union speeches, though I am an outsider.
  8. I took a long walk on the other side of the river last Thursday. I saw a female pheasant on the bridge, though it is not pictured here. I have seen pheasants around here before, but it was my first time to see one at this time of the year.

  9. My writing project in Japanese is making progress.
  10. My list of things to do is so long every day that I never have time to feel bored.

Friday, January 22, 2021

#Sky Watch Friday: A Snowman on the River Bank


While I was taking a long walk on the other side of the river in the afternoon yesterday, I found a big snowman on the bank. 

I like the contrast of the sky, the snow, and the shadow in the photo.

Skywatch Friday

Thursday, January 21, 2021

#Six-Sentence Story: Marvelous Memory

I cannot help but marvel at Hannah's outstanding memory. It seems as if she can recall everything she has seen, heard, and read vividly and accurately, whenever it is necessary. 

When she was a student, she almost always got full marks in exams, thanks to her photographic memory, though she was not very good at P.E. and fine arts. When I asked her what the secret to memorizing things so efficiently was, she slightly tilted her head to the right, saying "I don't know--I'm not doing anything special."

Hannah is in her fifties now, but her memory doesn't seem to have diminished, and it is almost uncanny to listen to her recounting a specific scene from a social gathering that took place more than four years ago, mentioning who was sitting where, who said what, the way they spoke, how the others reacted to their remarks, and how she felt about them. 

The fact is, however, Hanna does not remember everything: there are at least two kinds of things she finds it extremely difficult to memorize: phone numbers and musical scores.

this week's prompt: marvel

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge on the Coldest Day of the Year (So Far)

 1. What's something we'd find you doing most afternoons? 

You'd find me playing the electronic organ, listening to Podcast, reading, or studying the Hebrew language.

2. Who do you take after? In what way(s)? 

Definitely my father. We look so much alike, except for our hair styles.

3. 'After every storm comes a rainbow' or 'the calm before the storm'...which phrase do you relate to more right now? Tell us why? 

Honestly, both. If I were forced to choose one, I would go for the first. I'm getting over a certain friendship disappointment and learning new lessons from the experience. Certainly, another personal storm or two seem to be on the horizon, and I'm learning not to rehearse my troubles repeatedly before they actually come...

4.What are your plans for the day after tomorrow? 

I'm going grocery shopping in the morning. 

5. Complete this sentence-"After all is said and done_____________________."

... love is the most important thing.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

According to the traditional Japanese calendar, January 20 is the day of 大寒 (daikan) this year. 大 means 'big' and 'great, ' and 寒 means 'cold', thus, the 'coldest day' of the year. I am always amazed at the accuracy of this calendar. Today is the coldest day so far this winter where we live. 

From this Side of the Pond

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Studying Jonah

Daniel has told me that the book of Jonah is written in simple Hebrew, so I have started studying it, in addition to listening to the Bible Study series in English, Surprise!, which I have found in the DTW archive.

Jonah 1: Interlinear Bible

Monday, January 18, 2021

A Quote from "Asking Questions"


We ask, “Who are you?” “Who are you?” “Who are you?”, and Jesus’ answer is “Will you decide who I am? The way you decide who I am and demonstrate who you’ve decided that I am is by loving Me, and letting Me love you back." 

(Elisa Morgan)

"Asking Questions -- Discover the Word"

Saturday, January 16, 2021

#Ten Things of Thankful: January 16, 2021

  1. surviving the four-day-long snow storm 
  2. managing to go to church in the HEAVY snow last Sunday 
  3. getting better at using a snow scoop 
  4. taking a hot bath after clearing the sidewalk of snow five times a day last Monday
  5. encouraging e-mail from a friend, whom I haven't seen in person for months 
  6. the rice cake with soy bean powder and light brown sugar that we had on Monday, January 11

  7. the radio programs I listened to on the Internet this week, Asking Questions -- Discover the Word
  8. relatively warm days after the heavy snow
  9. the zenzai (sweet adzuki bean soup with rice cake in it) that we had on Friday, January 15 
  10. taking a walk across the bridge last Friday 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Thursday, January 14, 2021

#Six-Sentence Story: Filter

Hannah was awake in the darkness, thinking of Walt and Joyce, whom she had come across at the party on the previous day. She saw the couple for the first time in almost five years, and the moment she saw them, she was sure they were a match made in heaven.

Hannah first met Walt more than 20 years ago, when she lived in a small town in the countryside. A few years later, some of their friends came to believe that Walt would be her Mr. Right, but somehow, Hannah had been determined to remain single all her life. Another few years passed, and her friend, Joyce, fell in love with Walt...

As the pale morning light came filtering through the window, Hannah said to herself that each of them had made the right decision.

this week's prompt: filter

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Open up Your Heart


  • Open up your heart to God and say, “This is where I am, and it’s a mess.” Come to God with open hands to carry in all of the pain, all of the exhaustion, all of the frustration, but keep your hands open to receive any good gift that God may be pleased to place in those open hands. He may choose to meet you in the middle of that mess. (Jeff Manion, --Part 4)


  • Lament contains trust, and hope and conversation. ... Israelites complained against God, “We are going to take control of things into our own hands and going back to slavery.” ... Moses still yielded control to God, whereas in the complaint department, the Israelites were really assuming control. (Elisa Morgan --Part 5)


  • Their ability to pour out their hearts to God like this is not a symptom of their immaturity, but their maturity. I think it coaches us in how to come to God laying out our frustrations when we are absolutely exhausted. It opens the heart to relieve and it opens the heart to receive. (Jeff Manion --Part 5)

the Bible Study series based on Numbers 11:4-33,

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Incompatible Roommates

  • Complaint arrives as an uninvited guest. I’ve discerned one of the best ways to evict complaint is to invite another guest into my house, and the guest is trust. … trust evicts complaint. They are incompatible roommates. (Jeff Manion)
  •  Sometimes we need a stepping-stone to trust, … and I think it is thankfulness. (Elisa Morgan)

Monday, January 11, 2021

In the Wilderness

 Numbers 11: 10-15

  • In the wilderness, we come to know God better. 
  • In the wilderness, we also come to know ourselves better. 
  • God humbles us and tests us so that in the end it might go well with us.(Deuteronomy 8:15-16)
  • God leads us to love each other, and to love ourselves, in the way He loves us. God sees us as worth sacrificing His Son for. (2Corinthians 4:15)

--summary of the sermon by the Rev. F*

Saturday, January 9, 2021

#Ten Things of Thankful: January 9

  1. dried kaki (sweet persimmon) 

  2.  listening to The Land Between --Finding God in Difficult Transitions, which was educational, encouraging and inspiring
  3. a beautiful view from the bridge (last Wednesday)

  4. a phone call from F*
  5. the rice porridge with green vegetables and oysters that we had for lunch last Thursday
  6. While my father was clearing the sidewalk of the snow yesterday, he fell and got slightly injured, but he is getting better now.
  7. the beef and taro soup I cooked on Friday, which my father liked
  8. a new personal problem that makes me feel less concerned about the older problems, which seemed so serious before--  (No, I am not being sarcastic.)
  9. spending more time talking with J*
  10. surviving the snow storm, so far.

Friday, January 8, 2021

#Sky Watch Friday: January 8, 2021


I took this photo while I was taking a walk last Wednesday afternoon. 
It was a BEAUTIFUL day.

Skywatch Friday

Thursday, January 7, 2021

"Six-Sentence Story: Zip


Tamara put on her gloves, and zipped up her space suit, saying "I'm going for a space walk." She gave a hug to her sole shipmate, Max, who was sitting relaxed in the cockpit.

As she went out of the airlock carefully, something zipped through the view, shining brightly, and disappeared. In front of her was the vast universe, a long way from home. 

The immense silence ... 

was abruptly broken by a voice from downstairs, "Supper is ready." 

"I'm coming," said Tamara, as she took off the red wool gloves and the hoodie, kissed her teddy bear, and went out of her room.

this week's prompt: zip

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge: January 6, 2021

1. What advice would you give yourself as we begin this new year? 

Listen to your inner voice more attentively, and be what you are meant to be in all circumstances, no matter what happens.

2. If you could throw a themed party for yourself what would the theme be? 

Learning languages. -- I love studying languages, including my mother tongue. In the party, I would binge study various languages.



3. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21.

I went to university hundreds of miles away from home. I majored in linguistics, and spent most of the time studying English as a foreign language and reading books.  I lived in an apartment near the campus alone. I had a number of good friends, and I was satisfied with my life there.

4. What's on the menu at your house this week? 

Today, vegetable curry for lunch, pork and Chinese cabbage for supper. Tomorrow, January 7, we will have some rice porridge with seven kinds of herbs, according to the Japanese tradition, and we will probably have ramen noodles for supper. For lunch on Friday, I will defrost the herring cooked in soy sauce, ... and I'm not sure about the rest yet, except on Monday, January 11, we are going to have some rice cakes, following the tradition again...

5. What should you do more of this year? Less of? 

More of listening to and empathizing with others, and less of criticizing and giving unsolicited advice. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I am glad to take part in Wednesday Hodgepodge again. 
Thank you for your visit, all the way to this snowy island in Japan. 


From this Side of the Pond

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Big Decisions and Crossroads



“When we are at that crossroads, we can choose for God and with God. It’s a ‘we’ experience at that crossroads.”
“When we’re in a ‘we’ with God, His spirit directs us. His being woos us onto the right choice with Him.”

  • Proverbs 16:9 

  • Jeremiah 6:16 

I'm especially impressed with the vivid imagery of the Holy Spirit in the passenger seat giving step-by-step directions as I am at the wheel, (which appears at about 10 minutes after the video starts.)

Monday, January 4, 2021

Who is Hobab?

Now Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, "We are setting out for the place about which the LORD said, 'I will give it to you.' Come with us and we will treat you well, for the LORD has promised good things to Israel."

(Numbers 10:29)

Is Hobab Moses' father-in-law, or a son of Moses' father-in-law? 
Is Hobab the same person as Reuel in Exodus 2 and Jethro in Exodus 3, 4 and 18? Or, is Hobab the son of Reuel (that is, Jethro)?

(Cf. English translations for Judges 4:11)

In the older versions in Japanese, he was referred to as Moses' brother-in-law, but in the latest version (2017), it is translated as 'father-in-law' instead.

*   *   *

I don't know who exactly Hobab is, but I've learned that Moses respected his knowledge and experiences, and that he intended to work with the Midianite and share with him the good things God had promised to Israel.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

#Ten Things of Thankful: January 2, 2021

I'm thankful for the peaceful New Year holidays. 

A few years ago, I made up my mind to take it easy, and not to make a fuss about cooking special meals for the occasion, because we no longer need very big meals. 
The photos show some of the dishes we had for lunch on January 1.

1. small sardine and sesame, 2 boiled broccoli, 3 boiled carrot 
4. soy beans, and 5. black soy beans

zoni soup in preparation

6. kamaboko (steamed fish paste), 7. shiitake  8. boiled spinach and carrot 

 9. grilled rice cakes 

and 10. soup (not pictured here).

This year, I opted for an easy-to-make type of zoni instead of our usual,  elaborate version with various kinds of vegetables based on my mother's recipe. I'm going to make the orthodox soup next week.

Ten Things of Thankful

Happy new year!

Friday, January 1, 2021

#Sky Watch Friday: New Year's Day, 2021


Happy New Year!
We are having a freezing, snowy day here.

Skywatch Friday

New Year


I'd like to start the new year, praying for His protection, 
reading Psalm 121 as a prayer prompt.