Mother’s Day 2017

I used to see people visiting flower shops for Mother’s Day gifts, but these days I feel Mother’s Day gift trends are changing.
For example, more and more people choose potted carnations rather than bouquets.
Hydrangeas and moth orchids have also become popular as Mother’s Day gifts.

To be honest, I’ve been fed up with giving a carnation bouquet or a potted carnation to my mother for a few years, especially when I knew that her favorite flower is moth orchid.
So I bought her a moth orchid pot for the first time 2 years ago, if I remember correctly.
Of course, I chose a small moth orchid pot for her this year!

As for me, I don’t particularly ask my children for Mother’s Day gift.
Luckily my children instinctively observe my favorite things; they’ve bought me MY favorite flower for a couple of years.

This year, my son and daughters chipped in for the cactus pot above.
For the last four years, they give me one cactus pot a year, saying “How humble you are!”

The Panda Cub at Ueno Zoo

I was so shocked to read the article on the Internet that the panda cub at Ueno Zoo died this morning.
It was only six days old.

Some people in Japan say that we must not grieve for the death of this baby panda but for lots of nuclear victims in Tohoku district.
I feel sorry for both of them.

I have been in chronic shock since we had the East Japan Giant Earthquake and that terrible explosion at Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP following the earthquake.
I have been against nuclear power generation ever since; I can stand however tough regulations for saving electricity in order to stop all the nuclear power plants in Japan.

But it’s also true that we do need a heartwarming news to pump up ourselves.
The birth of panda cub is one of them.
All babies have great power to make us happy; I don’t know why but they sure do.

Rest in peace, our little baby.

A Blue Helon

Herons and egrets are my favorite birds.
When I see them in rice fields, I’m so relieved; assuming that the rice from here may be grown chemical-free.

In my residence, egrets are seen more often.
Brue herons make us happy somehow, because they are so careful and don’t often come down to residential districts.

Last month, I saw some egrets in a quiet rice field in northern Mito.
I went down to the path to take pictures of them.
I looked over the rice paddies and found one blue heron among two egrets.
This brue heron really made me happy and I photographed it many times.

Black Kites

A black kite,

it’s not a tool which we enjoy flying in the sky, but a very common bird in Japan.
I just learned to call it “kite” in English today!

We can often see them in the afternoon with gentle breezes, soaring and gliding around rice fields and river banks.

Last week, I succeeded in photographing a flying kite for the first time.
I want to try again with a bigger telephoto lens!

Full Moon

満月 2012/07/04

I love full moon nights.

Yesterday evening, I saw the full moon on the way to my son’s cram school.
As soon as we got home, my son and I began to take pictures of the full moon.

My son shot it outside, and I did at the veranda.

I have photographed the full moon since this April, as long as the sky is clear enough for us to see it.

Chemical Complexes

My eldest daughter loves factories and chemical complexes.
She loves them so much that she bought a picture book of complexes in Japan this March.
Ducts and steel pipes fascinates her a lot.

The first time we looked at the book together, I wondered why she was infatuated with chemical complexes so much although I thought the factory pictures in the book were very cool.
However, the second time I opened the picture book, it brought me to Kashima industrial district.
I’d become yearned to shoot the pictures by myself!!

コンビナート(背面から)

One day when I was off, we actually visited the Kashima industrial district and took pictures of the chemical complexes.
We saw other people with cameras there, who were also taking pictures of the factories, the docks, and the gas tanks.

タンカー止まってます

タンク群

Ever since, I have been dreaming of shooting other complexes in Japan.

Poor Learners’ Points of View

This is one of my memorable experiences in teaching at a local juku (cram school for students).
I studied several kinds of English textbooks used at junior high schools in Mito, and used to tell my students how to prepare for their term exams.
Test results at their schools are very important, because they are used as applicants’ information materials in high school entrance exams.

One day, it was at the end of May, one of my 8th-grade students did a fabulous job in his English test.
He followed my tough lessons and practiced the past form of verbs so hard. I was really glad to see the result, which scored three times as high as the one on the 7th grade’s term-end test.

“I’m glad your English has improved a lot,” I said to him.
But he replied in a glum voice, “I was just lucky this time. Next time I will get a worse score than this time, since I’m basically poor at English.”
“Don’t be so pessimistic!  Your efforts will sure pay, so keep up your good work,” I encouraged him, but after that his test results on English dropped again.

I changed my workplace in May so I’m not teaching him now.
But I can’t forget his words, which showed a typical attitude of those who don’t like English and think it not neccesary for their daily lives.
It seems to me that they are not willing to improve themselves.

My daughters don’t like studying in general, and take a similar attitude like him.
“I’m satisfied with my current poor results, because I only have to do my school assignments.”
This is such a miserable thing…

School subjects, especially in junior high and high school, seem not useful when young, but that’s not true.
Studying every subject hard helps create inclusive attitude toward people and tasks, which is very important to succeed in business or in family.
If I had found this point in my schooldays, I would have studied math and science harder and my life would be quite different.