Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Please don't give up on reading my blog.  But I will be leaving in a few hours for the airport and a month holiday in my home in Idaho and with my sons in California.  So next post will be in August when I should have lots of photos of my summer holiday.


Sunday, Kelly and I went to our last summer luncheon with our AFWJ friends.  We were to have a fleaMarket but since it was raining we all went to the luncheon instead.  It was buffet style so most people were very happy.  But being a vegetarian, 2,790 yen for a few salads, bread and cake was a bit steep for me.  Like I tell everyone though I don't go for the food, but for the friendship.  Hopefully we can have our flea market in the fall when we all get back from our home trips.  Below is Kelly's DH and kids sleeping!  He took the girl and went to a circus while we kept the boy with us at the luncheon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

birdbath update

Well, no birds have come but on our walk we found this little turtle.  Jack decided to save its life by bringing home.  It would have been ran over by a car and smashed if left where it was.
Well it seemed to prefer the water to the island I made inside.

But even better, it liked to find a cement place and in time manage to get out of the birdbath and head for wherever it can have complete freedom???  After several more rescues we decided yesterday to take it on our walk and put in the creek.  On the way we met Shintaku Aunt and she said she wanted it.  She said she has another turtle and wants to give it a friend.  I told her not to make turtle soup.

weird styles

I can't believe the messages we can read on the T shirts in Japan.  Japanese do not buy a t-shirt for the message but for the beware or enjoy?
More popular styles in Japan.  This year the young ladies like to wear layers with high socks, high heels and short shorts.  Us older ones just wear what we want as long as it doesn't draw too much attention!

Monday, June 23, 2008

No thank you job!

There is no way I would survive doing this work!  How some people can work suspended on cables, hanging down with more than enough space below to be just a greese spot if the cable broke, I will never understand.  Yet it is good that there are enough people who are not afraid of this kind of work.  You might have to click on the photo above to see what I'm writing about!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bird bath

This is the bird bath I made.  The idea had a start in March when I invisioned using my husband's broken ceramic works to decorate the wall in front of our house.  However, he thought it would look too cheap.  Well I decided totry it on the back entrance which is small and not visible to public.  I found it wasn't as easy as I thought!  It wouldn't stick on the side part!  So I scraped it off and gave up. That week when I went to Costco with my friends one of them almost bought a fountain as she wanted a bird bath.  It told her she could make one and then I got this idea.  I had noticed outside the back door this old cement sink with 2 holes in the bottom.   I bought a screw drain with a screw plug and  went to work.  Inside the circle (which is not cemented in and can be lifted out) is the drain.  Since it is so hard to do edges, I decided to just paint the outside. On the one corner I cemented in a plate to put seeds on to feed the birds.   Now to wait and see if the birds come?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Just keep on blooming.

This wonderful plant just keeps on growning out and keeps blooming!  I'm wondering when it will end?  I also wonder what is the real name of this plant?  I know my grandma always called hers the "hen and chicks", however hers never bloomed.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Horse Radish robbers

When our renters finished their daikon (horse radish) harvest they left these lovely yet not perfect daikon.  Of course I took friends up to help themselves.  Here are the 3 K's with me.  This was done over a month ago but I just got the photo yesterday and thought it was great!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Groom's family

Here are the members so the grooms family.  The mother in the center was telling us a funny tale of the little girl who is the daughter on the left's daughter.  This little girl is often outside with her and one day she saw her sucking/chewing on something she thought was a rubber toy.  When she checked closer she found it was a live lizzard!  Good things kids are strong!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Iizuka 4

Here are the 4 of us at the luncheon.  We got there first so we grabbed the side where we could lean up against the wall!  Those are my wonderful in-laws sitting after Jack.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Not cake cutting!

Since this was a Chinese restaurant, there was no wedding cake at this luncheon.  But I teased the bride that she was now cutting cake when she was dishing up the noodles.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Funny Aunt

Here I am with our funny aunt.  When my boys were small this aunt was always one of the favorite to run to for spoiling.  She is so loving and funny.  She has had hip or knee replacement and gets around on her little 4 wheel electric chair.  Even here at the lunch they brought her a little chair as it is just too hard for her to get up and down.  My mom was the same from 80 years and on.  Wonder if I will also have problems?  I already look for a spot where I can have a back rest and stretch my legs out under the table.  No Japanese style sitting for me!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Family lunch

Last Saturday, my husband and his parents joined some other Iizuka's at one of our cousin's kids lunch party to celebrate his marriage.  This boy grew up next door and was a classmate with my younger son. (They went to different schools but were always playing together)  Their wedding a few weeks before was a private immediate family only so this lunch was for the rest of us so we could meet his lovely wife.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Click above to see our baby swallows.  They are gone now, flew the coop!
Notice in the background our collection of license plates from almost all states and some from Micronesia.  Also the strings in front are to keep the crows from distroying the nest and eating the babies.  Funny but now the parents are back trying to make a second batch before winter.

Costco Specials

This yard fountain is on the mind of one of my friends.  She really wants a bird bath but thinks this might fit the bill!  It costs over 400 dollars.  She is still thinking.
I priced the large cookies as every year my husband and I argue over his buying lots of large breakable cookies in USA before returning to Japan to give his students.  I feel chocolates or something not breakable or space consuming would be better.  So I checked out getting them here at Costco so he doesn't have to use our alloted checkin space for cookies.  Below are the Canadian Maple cookies, but they also are too dear for us to buy enough.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

cute kids

Ever put your foot in your mouth?  This cute kid does it with ease!  Below is his sister who is tired and bored.  Their mother and I drove into Costco to go shopping.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

return presents

Can you imagine getting a present when you go to a funeral?  Well, in Japan they have this idea of always a return.  You give them an envelope of money and then they return you a present worth 1/2 of the money you gave them.  Below is the lovely summer single size blanket we received. 

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Koga lunch

My special vegetarian lunch is on the right and the normal lunch is on the left.  They were so kind to have a specially made one for me.  Not many restaurants want to go to the trouble of making special order sets for one person, but this place was excellent not only once but twice!  I praised them so much they invited me back--however Koga is too far for us to drive for a meal!
The above was only the first course--later they brought more dishes.

cemetary in Koga

See the little red box on the right?  It has some nasty little white balls of glue inside that we were each given one to eat!  At least they were tiny!  But had no taste or no topping.  I asked one of the sons the meaning of it and he didn't know either.  The priest didn't stay around to answer that question!  

Friday, June 6, 2008


Here we are in the cemetary.  The man who looks like he has no legs in front of the monument is actually standing in a hole where he is putting the bones in to join the family members who preceded her.  A Canadian friend once told me she had figured out that Japanese buried their dead standing up--only way to get them to use so little space.  She knows better now since I told her that under each stone is a storage place for the bone box only.  Everyone is cremated here to tiny bones.  In the photo below you can see the long wooden sticks.  This is the sticks bought from the temple by the immediate family.  I think these are where the buddist name is given the dead person.  I heard the more money the better the name.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Temple Grounds

These three photos show the temple grounds on the front side.  I stood in one spot and too the side, entrance and temple shots.  Above shows the side rooms where we went first to have tea and snacks until called into the temple proper for the ceremony.  Below is the gate we entered.
Below is the temple proper.  Behind the temple is the cemetary.  It was a rainy day and cold but not pouring so endurable!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

49 day ceremony

In Buddism not only do you have the ceremonies at death but 49 days later you have another ceremony.   Since Jack is the oldest son and his father didn't feel he could go, it was our responsibility to represent the family at this smaller ceremony.  I was so happy we got to sit on the little chairs behind the immediate family!  The chants went on so long if I had to sit Japanese formal style I would not have been able to walk again ever!
During the end of the chant the family and then the guests went by and pinched the incense again from one box to the next.  Below is the front view of the inside of the temple where this ceremony took place.  The funeral was at a funeral hall (see previous posts for that)

Monday, June 2, 2008

graveside chant

If you click on this video you will hear the Buddist priest chanting.  Sorry, I can't translate and when I asked DH to tell me what he is saying, he said he doesn't know either.  This was the first time to hear it at the graveside.  Tomorrow I'll explain about the ceremony.  Today I just wanted to see how to post a video!  I see it works.  Just have to remember to keep it short.


This Saturday we drove from Chiba to Koga City in Ibaragi Prefecture.  On the way we drove for miles along the river where countless homeless have set up shelters.  It was raining all day but I did snap this photo to give you an idea of how their camps look.  This was one of the larger ones.  Quite a few loners have little single blue tarp shacks off by themselves.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

lonely house

This house is on our daily walk route.  It is empty and for sale, but doubt it will ever sell as they want 47,000,000 yen!  It is a lovely huge Japanese style house and my friend who wants to buy went to look at it.  Said it was lovely, but the price was just too much.  The land is 300 tsubo (Japanese measurement is 1 tsubo equals 2 tatami mats).  There is an old man who rides a bike who is always working to keep it lovely and there is a lonely poor dog who is tied up off to the side that sometimes barks at us in a friendly way.