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This journal is written by Kuma (Felis catus) and Kuma's owner Y (homo sapiens). We have moved from Japan to Australia in 2011.


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2018-03-11 10:25   Seven Years Ago


Today seven years ago, a massive earthquake struck Fukushima, Japan. When it occurred, I was at home in Kanagawa near Tokyo, it was about 300 km away from Fukushima. Even it was about 300 km away, the power of the earthquake was unbelievably strong.

I still have a video that was recorded in the living room of my house when it happened. We had a web camera in the living room and the camera recorded I was holding an aquarium that was splashing water and my cats were in a flurry and running around the room. If that disaster hadn't happened, I think I would still live in Japan.

Now, there are still lots of people who cannot return to their home. I hope people who evacuated and lost their own home are able to find a place where they can live at ease.

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2018-03-04 07:21   Sue Grafton


I heard the news that an American author of detective novels, Sue Grafton, died in late December 2017. I have read some of her novels long ago. I saw one of my colleagues was reading her book and I felt like reading it. That was the opportunity to read her books.

I like mysteries and detective novels. Firstly, I thought it should have been difficult to read for me, but it wasn't so difficult as I thought. There were many words that I didn't know but I just wanted to know who was a criminal and that enthusiasm that I want to know the truth of the case led me to read to the end.

I remember when I went to one of the biggest bookshops in Tokyo to buy Sue Grafton's book. It was easy to find her books even from far because the titles of her books were like the alphabet; "A" Is for Alibi, "B" Is for Burglar and so on.

I don't remember which books I have read but I would like to read them again. I would like to say thank you to Sue Grafton.

Her books gave me an opportunity to read English novels.

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2017-11-17 21:58   Santa Claus is coming and Amazon is coming to town too

Y (Kuma's owner)

The same as other shopping centres in the world, here in Australia, there are lots of giant shopping areas. It's fun to visit there but I noticed almost every shopping centre has the same shops; McDonalds, Hungry Jack's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sumo Salad, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and so on. Some of them, like McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken are world-wide companies and we can see them everywhere in the world. It makes us feel comfortable that we can taste food that we got used to. On the other hand, there is no special feature because every shopping center has the same retail shops. I heard that the retail rent price is increasing year by year and it's difficult to afford money for small retail shops. Franchise shops can afford the rent and even if one of them cannot make enough money, other shops will cover for it. Therefore, all shopping centres look the same. There is no variety.

However, there is an exception in Australia, it's Starbucks.

When I came to Australia, there were Starbucks in every big city and now they have gone. I heard that there is a cafe culture in Australia. Every city and town has a local cafe and people love them. That led Starbucks to withdraw from Australia. According to The New York Times article, the American giant bookshop "Borders" was rejected from the locals and withdrew, and people are paying attention what will happen to the next, Amazon.

Australians seems to purely like local businesses. In addition, approximately 60% of books selling at bookshops are domestic writers. Is Amazon going to sell Australian writer's books a lot like other local bookshops do?

Honestly, I like Amazon and I have been using Amazon often because their service is very good. I bought lots of books, miscellaneous goods, I also use Kindle. One of the reasons I use Amazon a lot is the arrangement is quick and I can get what I want very soon. Wait, there is one very important thing that Amazon cannot do, it's a delivery.

Australia is a huge country, as huge as the U.S.A. and less people. As I wrote before, the distribution system network has its problems. I cannot tell if Amazon will do well or not.
I will see what happens.

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2017-11-08 21:05   The Minister of Finance in the family

Y (Kuma's owner)

There is plenty of information about Japan on the internet, books and TV. I look at it from a Japanese point of view and some of them are incorrect. Today, I'm going to introduce about common Japanese family's customs that most foreigners don't know. It's the Finance Minister at home.

Sometimes, foreigners say that Japanese women are in a weak position. Maybe it can be said depending on a situation but when they say about money, the circumstances are different.

In Japan, the wife is in charge of the family budget. It might be changing with the times but still lots of wives have the right to make decisions about using money. Long ago, at the time when people got their salary by cash, the employer put cash into an envelope and gave it to his employees. The envelope was of course sealed. So, people said that a husband who brought an envelope that was sealed was a paragon of a husband. That meant a husband who did not sneak money from the envelope was a nice husband. I think you already can guess who has the right to open the envelope, it's the wife.

Maybe you are wondering how husbands get their pocket money. Usually, the wife decides how much money her husband can use. It's the same as children. The Japanese husband gets pocket money from his wife. Therefore, people ironically call wives the Minister of Finance. When I was a kid, every family had a Minister of Finance. The numbers of households in which both partners work have been increasing lately, so the circumstances might be changed to some extent but I think this custom still remains strong.

I remember my childhood when my family went out and had a meal at the restaurant, my mother paid for the meal every time. I thought it was a natural thing to do. However, one day when I was watching an American movie on TV, I saw a man pay money and I felt a bit strange.

I know now most (or all countries except Japan?) countries have the opposite custom of Japanese. If you are not Japanese, maybe you are surprised reading my blog. On the internet, I found an article that male foreigners who live in Japan and know about Japanese customs well say Japanese women are nice but they believe that they can control the money, so it's not a good idea to get married with them. Foreigners seem that they don't want to receive pocket money from their wives. If you are considering marrying a Japanese woman, don't change your mind by reading my blog.

Me? Of course, I'm the Minister of Finance.

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2017-10-23 22:21   The requirements to be an Australian citizen

Y (Kuma's owner)

I had been paying attention to the citizenship test and English ability test which were considered to be mandatory to people who wanted to be an Australian citizen.
I heard that the Australian government is planning to demand university-level English to applicants. I didn't know exactly how much score would be needed, for instance on IELTS, and looked for news and found that the government were considering to achieve a minimum level of "competent".
"Competent" was still a blurry image to me and I looked for the information again and found that it's level 6 or 6.5 score of IELTS because many Australian universities require a minimum overall IELTS score of 6 or 6.5. It's a bit high for people who come from non-English speaking countries.

Now I'm writing this blog in English and wondering how much score of writing category of IELTS I am able to get?

Australian Citizenship Test

However, I heard the news that this proposal was rejected recently. I think I'm going to take the citizenship test in the future. The Japanese government doesn't allow to have dual citizenship, so if I got Australian citizenship, that means I will lose Japanese citizenship. Most Japanese who live in Australia keep Japanese citizenship for the reason that they cannot keep dual citizenship. If I could, I would like to keep both citizenship but if it's not allowed even in the future, I would choose Australian citizenship because my base of life is here, Australia.

I heard the news that Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel prize for literature. He was born in Japan and grew up in the United Kingdom. He said that he had to abandon Japanese citizenship by the reason I wrote above. People who abandoned Japanese citizenship are increasing for several reasons.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to my friends' home party. There, one of my friends gave me several Australia quizzes. It was a good opportunity to learn about Australia but on the other hand I realised that ironically Australian friends couldn't answer some of the questions.

I like quizzes and was curious about the citizenship test, therefore I bought the book literally titled "Australian Citizenship Test Practice Questions." Unfortunately, there are lots of political questions which I'm not good with. It seems not easy to get a high score without studying but I can understand it because it's the citizenship test, if it's too easy I would be surprised.

After ten years later, I wonder what kind of society we will have. So many people are moving beyond the borderline recently and the world seems to be greatly changing. I hope that everyone will have a peaceful life regardless of nationality.

I hope the Japanese government will change the regulation and will allow dual citizenship in the future.

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2017-10-18 22:56   Having no friends

Y (Kuma's owner)

I moved into the current house in 2013. I like the town I live in now; beautiful nature, friendly neighbors, small but convenient shopping centre. My husband and I preferred a small town and this town was exactly what we wanted.

However, I have one issue since I have moved here. I have no friends.

Several years ago, I lived in a much denser residential area and I often had chances to meet neighbors. I sometimes had a chat with my neighbors and it was fun. We visited each other's houses for talking or having tea and I'm sure it helped my English. In retrospect, the days I lived in that town was a very good environment for learning English.

Here I am in one of the small towns in Queensland. The population is not so big and my neighbor's houses are not close. Therefore, I don't have much chance to meet them. My time to talk in English decreased sharply, and in addition all my friends have sold their houses and moved too far away. That was very unlucky for me, I couldn't believe that all of them have gone.

I don't think this situation is good for me. I'm now looking for some gatherings of hobbies. Isn't it a good idea to join a club or a gathering? However, here I also have an issue. There are no gatherings or activities that I'm interested in. This town isn't big and no wonder there are no varieties of activities and gatherings. Now I'm at a standstill.

Should I join an activity even if I have no interests? No, I don't think so. I think it would be fun to talk with the local people but I have to put up with something that I'm not interested in. I found some volunteer work several months ago. The one I was interested in was the volunteer work of planting tree seedlings in the wild area. I love nature and maybe I will have a chance to meet people who have the same interests.

I believe that I'm able to find some activities or gatherings that I'm interested in someday and it would be great if I could find good friends there.

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2017-10-17 03:00   Escargots

Y (Kuma's owner)

It has been raining since last week and all my vegetables and flowers got wet and look miserable. This year there are many snails and my vegetables were eaten by them. I heard that it is because the weather during winter was good conditions for snails to propagate.

I have something to remember looking at snails. It was my good old days when I was in Tokyo. The company I worked for held a Christmas party every year at a hotel in Tokyo. Most of the time, we had French cuisine at the party and one party I saw snails on the dish for the first time. I knew that was famous French cuisine but it was a big challenge for me to eat snails.

Snails look ugly and in addition I had heard that they have parasitic worms. I hesitated to eat them but I made myself believe that this was a good chance to try them. So, I tried one. What made me think was it was tasty! I didn't expect that. It was really good and I took another one.

It always needs courage for the first step when we encounter something unfamiliar, doesn't it? My first step at the Christmas party was worth enough to do it. I still have some food that I don't want to eat but if I tried, maybe I would be able to eat them or maybe not?

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2017-10-15 03:30   The greeting that is misunderstood

Y (Kuma's owner)

I have been having a strange feeling for a long time about greetings that foreigners (except Asian) do to Japanese. What I'm writing is the greeting of putting hands together in front of your chest and making a bow. I don't know why but so many foreigners do this greeting to Japanese and I'm sure that almost every Japanese has a very strange feeling. Please remember Japanese don't do that greeting.

Tonight, I saw a TV program of introducing one of the famous historical places, Kyoto. The reporter was an Aussie woman, she wore Japanese traditional clothes "Kimono" and looked nice. However, she put her hands together in front of her chest and made a bow several times. I was disappointed to see that.

I think she tried to do the Japanese greeting that she believed. What she did was strange to me but she was in Japan and I know she did it because she tried to show her respect to Japanese customs.

But sorry mate, what you did just made Japanese feel strange and maybe they thought "What is she doing?"

I wonder what made people believe that Japanese greet that way? It's incomprehensible, isn't it?

If you have a chance to go to Japan, please remember that greeting isn't a Japanese custom. The bow is a Japanese custom. If you don't get used to bowing, just smile. Smiling is the universal language.

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2017-10-05 12:10   Consideration about Australia Post

Y (Kuma's owner)

I came to Australia in 2011 and I'm now a permanent resident holder. Yes, I'm not an Australian citizen yet but as one of the residents who loves Australia, I have something that I would like to say.

Australia is a great country; friendly people, beautiful nature, good medical system, there are lots of things that Australia can be proud of. I would like to show respect for the people who established the system of this country.

I clearly remember when I saw the movie "Rain Man" for the first time. In the movie, a guy who Dustin Hoffman plays says that "QANTAS never crashed." I was surprised to hear that. I think it's amazing for keeping the record with no crashes. I'm not a specialist and I don't know anything about planes but I can imagine there are so many factors to cause plane crashes; mechanical factors, atmospheric condition and human factors. I know there are many non-Australian employees who work for Qantas but I think it's not an exaggeration to say that Qantas' remarkable record shows the ability of Australians. Well, I'm not writing this blog for praising Qantas.

Let me get to the subject, I have been having some problems sending and receiving parcels. I sometimes go to the local post office. The staff are kind and friendly. I have no dissatisfaction with them but unfortunately, I have had an issue with sending parcels recently. I think the missing rate of letters and parcels is very high. I have been living in Australia for nearly 6 years and already have several experiences that I couldn't receive letters that the sender said were sent to me. Also I have several experiences that I have received letters which were written to a different address. I regard this as a very serious problem. I know humans make mistakes but the rate of making mistakes is high and I don't know why.

My husband and I run an online shop business at home. It's very important to send our products to the customers safely and with certainty. Last month, we sent several parcels on the same day and one of them has been missing. The parcel we lost contained about $80 product but we have more expensive products to sell and if we lost them, it would be a big loss.

Maybe you may think that if we don't want to lose it, we should have taken an insurance out on the parcel. However, as is often the case with online shops, customers pay postage and they decide what kind of parcel type; non- tracking parcel, trackable parcel, express. People don't want to spend extra money and they don't want to pay money for insurance. Even if it's lost, usually the shops will send the same products again. So, this situation is a bit hard for shop owners. In addition, postage of Australia Post is expensive. I heard that the Queensland government or Australian government (I don't know which is which, maybe both) recommend and encourage "Made in Australia" exports. If so, please improve one of the important factors: transport.

Even if the service of Australia Post is not good I don't think that the staff are the factor. As I wrote above, Qantas has been doing a remarkable job. It doesn't mean that only Qantas can hire good workers. It's impossible. I'm sure that there are lots of good and talented workers in Australia Post as well. Then, why is the service of Australia Post notorious? As you can see in the review of Australia Post on the website of productreview.com.au. I can't say that the review rating is good even just as flattery. My guess is the badness of the system of Australia Post.

According to ABC News, the former chief executive of Australia Post was paid a total of $10.8 million after quitting. What an enormous amount of money, it is! However, I don't know about the former chief executive so I cannot simply blame him. Maybe he has done a remarkable job, hasn't he? If Australia Post is rich enough to pay a big retirement bonus, why didn't they use the money for other things?

All right, I'll imagine myself as chief executive of Australia Post. What should I do first? The first thing that came up in my mind is get an executive from Amazon. Well, I'm not a native English speaker so I'm a bit worried of being taken wrong. I mean not someone who lives in Amazon, Brazil, I mean someone who has a career in the American company, Amazon, you know?

I think the system of Amazon will be helpful. I don't agree 100% with their conduct but they are good. I heard the news that Amazon is coming to Australia soon. To a greater or lesser extent, it's no doubt that some Aussie company would get damage because of Amazon. It would be helpful to get someone who had a career at Amazon and we can get the different points of view. I seriously think this is a good idea.

Mailing service is the key of our daily life and if we cannot count on it, our life will be more inconvenient. Furthermore, employees in Australia Post would be happy if they are able to feel the people's trust on their job.

I've been writing this blog with a layman's way of thinking but I hope my wish to Australia Post will come true and one day, the review of productreview.com.au will be filled with praise.

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2017-08-16 22:45   The temperature rollercoaster

Y (Kuma's owner)

One of the topics that people often talk about but cannot do anything about it, is the weather. The weather is far from our imagination which we cannot control or maybe should not control. I heard that scientists made the brightness of the aurora clear with a mathematical formula but we still cannot predict the weather perfectly.

Last week, I used the wood-burning stove at night. Last week's lowest temperature was -1 degrees Celsius (30.2 degrees Fahrenheit.) then suddenly, the temperature went up this week. Today's highest temperature will be 31 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit.) The line of temperature from last week to this week will be like a rollercoaster on a graph.

It seems like it will be spring very soon but I think it might be cold some days in August. So, people who live in South East Queensland are on the temperature rollercoaster and have to tolerate the ups and downs.

I heard that there are lots of people infected with a cold and influenza. It's not easy to catch up this up and down. Please take good care of yourself, mate!

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2017-08-02 00:52   What kind of creature am I?

Y (Kuma's owner)

One day, one of my Twitter friends wrote about DNA testing. It is a test that can examine genetic diseases, carrier status, traits and so on. It also can find genetic links.

I have been having an interest in biology and palaeontology. I like reading books such as how birds became birds from dinosaurs, and my interests were always about animals. I had never had an interest in myself biologically.

However, this time my interests went to myself. I wonder what kind of creature I am?

I'm getting interested in DNA testing. Maybe I should try. I think it's a good opportunity to know if there are diseases that I'm going to be suffering from in the future. If I could know the disease beforehand that is likely to appear, it would help to prevent it.

Every student in Japan learns about ancient people who lived on Japanese Islands. Honestly, I wasn't interested in these kinds of subjects and I don't remember what I have learnt well. Therefore, I searched for information of ancient Japanese who are called Jomon people on the internet.

The Jomon period started about 14,000 years ago, it depends on research, some researchers say it started about 16,500 years ago, anyway it was long long ago. The people who lived in that period are called Jomon people and I think they are my ancestors.

I had been believing that Jomon people came from the current Chinese territory but one Japanese researcher found using the latest technology, Jomon people carried a specific genetic marker that people who live in the current Chinese territory don't carry much. It's Haplogroup D. The current Japanese have Haplogroup D. The interesting thing is people who live in the Andaman Islands and Tibet have the same Haplogroup D. So, Andaman people, Tibetan and Japanese are biologically close. How interesting!

The reason that people who live in only these three areas keep Haplogroup D is not clear. Some researchers think that the people who carried Haplogroup D were driven out of the land by other people where they lived and the place they reached was the mountain area and islands where the other people could not reach or which were not good places to live in.

There is a more interesting story I found. Professor Jon Erlandson of Oregon University studies ancient marine people of the circum‐Pacific earthquake belt. He thinks that Jomon people came from Japanese Islands to the American continent by boats. There are similarities of DNA between native American and Jomon people. If that hypothesis is correct, native Americans' old ancestors and Japanese' old ancestors are the same.

I haven't had an interest in archaeology but I'm changing my mind as it seems to be an interesting study. The latest technology of genetics may reveal facts that we couldn't find out.

Fact is stranger than fiction.

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2017-07-19 00:28   My Everyday Drawing Challenge

Y (Kuma's owner)

At the end of last month, I decided to draw a picture with coloured pencils everyday at least for 10 minutes because I thought that if I make a strict rule for myself, I am not going to be able to keep it. I think my decision was right, I still draw a picture everyday, sometimes drawing a picture for an hour and sometimes drawing for about 10 minutes, it depends on my mood.

Eastern Rosella

What I understood after I started drawing is coloured pencils can overglaze. I had been believing that only oil painting can overglaze. It depends on the firmness of the lead of a pencil but some types of coloured pencils are good for overlaying.

I have already finished drawing three bird's pictures. I draw the picture using a photo that I have taken but there is an issue. My camera is not so good and it's difficult to see the details of the birds. The pictures I took are mostly low resolution.

I know it's no problem to use pictures on the internet for my practicing at home but if I want to upload the picture that I drew looking at someone's photo to Twitter or somewhere in public, it's illegal. If I could draw a picture well, I would like to use it for my Twitter's header, so I have to use the picture I took. I have never imagined that before I draw pictures, I had to take a fine photo.

The picture below this page is the third picture I drew. I wanted to draw the feet but this bird was walking on the lawn and its feet didn't appear in the photo. I'm going to choose a good photo for the next practicing.

My Everyday drawing challenge is still going on!

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2017-07-15 11:36   Christopher Nolan's Movies

Y (Kuma's owner)

The first Christopher Nolan movie I saw was "Interstellar." I like science fiction and am interested in realistic stories. In that sense, I like "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "The Martian" as well. That does not mean denying other types of science fiction movies, what I mean is that I don't like half-baked stories, stories that are between fantasy and reality.

I don't know why I like stories that have different chronological orders. A story that has different chronological orders is complex and it's not easy for me to understand especially in English but I like it. Therefore, I see such types of movies again and again until I understand. I like mechanical puzzles and it seems that I also like to be puzzled seeing movies. I think that I like mysteries for the same reason.

The second movie I saw of him was "Inception" and this movie is exactly my favorite, and it's a story that has complex time series. The third movie was "The Dark Knight" which I wrote before on my blog.

As I see Christopher Nolan's movies, I'm getting to understand how the stories were elaborately built. There are tricky jokes in some of the computer software that are called "Easter Egg" and I like it. I think there are some Easter Egg -like scenes in the movies and it's fun to find them. It reminds me of the movies of Alfred Hitchcock's cameo appearance. I love that.

When I was doing a puzzle game creator, I put one of my cats (He had a unique face that is totally different from any other cat) into the puzzle in secret but nobody noticed it. I love such types of mischief which is harmless.

Let's go back to the topic of the movie. I haven't seen one of Christopher Nolan's movies called "Following." I heard that this movie is also a complex time movie. I love movies which are not only complex, I love movies that I am able to enjoy even if I see them many times. Some movies are difficult to understand seeing once and I need to see them several times and after I finish seeing them, I can sometimes notice that there is a meaning that was put in one scene in the movie, and it was fun to know.

Christopher Nolan's latest movie is "Dunkirk." According to Wikipedia, this movie doesn't have too many lines in the script. As represented by the Joker in "The Dark Knight", I like the actor's lines in his movies and I'm not interested in historical movies, so maybe I'll skip his movie this time.

If I could request him, I would like to see a movie which is not scary but mysterious. I don't think mysteries always needs a murder case. When I was young, I tried to think of a mystery where nobody dies but couldn't write it.

The latest movie has not yet released but I'm already waiting for more movies following that. I wonder what kind of movie it would be?

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2017-06-17 03:40   Challenging to make 1/12 scale breads 2

Y (Kuma's owner)

It's fun to attempt something new. My latest challenge is making 1/12 scale breads. Actually, I was going to make 1/6 scale breads but I learnt that the worldwide standard size of dollhouse is 1/12, so I decided to make 1/12 scale breads with polymer clay. I searched the Internet to find the common sizes of breads and divided them by 12. I could guess how small they would be, but I was still surprised to see the sizes that I calculated.


My first 1/12 scale bread was a French bread (baguette). I don't know what it's called in French, a bread that is long and has a couple of cuts on the surface. Before I made the first one, I thought that making the shape would be the most important thing; however, I noticed that the colour is also very important to make it look real.
The picture below shows the bread of 1/12 scale. They haven't been painted enough, so I'm going to paint them a bit darker brown to show the burns. I bought two books that were written by Tomo Tanaka, who is a miniature creator. He says that it's important to paint a lighter colour little by little, so I'm doing as he says. If you are interested in miniatures, I strongly recommend that you see his creations. His creations are amazing! I hope I can make realistic breads, as Tomo Tanaka does.My challenge continues.


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2017-05-28 22:03   Looking for something worthwhile

Y (Kuma's owner)

I like to listen to a radio when I'm working or driving. Radio broadcasting teaches me songs that I didn't know and it's a chance to find the songs of my tastes.

Recently my favorite is Labrinth who is an English singer and songwriter. My favorites of his songs are "Beneath Your Beautiful" and "Jealous." I found a man who attended the famous TV program "The X Factor" and sang Labrinth's song on YouTube. He sang very well and it was really touching. I realised how music influences people's hearts.

Long ago when I was one of the accounting staff department, my colleagues and I talked about how lucky artists are jokingly. In every month, we calculated and entered the data on computers and made reports. If we miscalculated and made wrong reports, we would be warned. Our job had to be always accurate and it was a stressful job for me, even if we made correct reports our work didn't deserve to be praised because people thought it's natural to be correct.
I remember one of my ex-colleagues said that he has finished making the monthly report correctly and said that "I have made sure that all the numbers are accurate. Isn't it wonderful? Will anyone clap their hands for me please?"

business image02

I know that the artists or singers who are often on TV and radio are the tip of the iceberg. Most artists and singers are having a difficult life to earn money. So, maybe doing accounting is not such a bad job to do, as at least people who work at an accounting job, who cannot get either the applause or the cheers, can have a stable life instead.

I respect people who can express their talents in any way; singing, painting, writing, dancing or whatever, they are great. The creations they made ease the stress of my life and make me happy. What a wonderful job that can make people happy!

business image01

I'm not an entertainer and an artist but I have an experience of being thanked by a stranger who played my jigsaw puzzle on my website long ago. At the time, I made online jigsaw puzzles just for fun. One day, I received an email from a man who played my online jigsaw puzzles. He said that he hadn't laughed for a long time and he didn't think he could laugh any more but after he finished assembling one of my jigsaw puzzles, he laughed. The jigsaw puzzle he enjoyed had a little trick that was a funny and comical animation that would be displayed after he finished assembling all the pieces, and he saw it and laughed at it. He seemed that he was suffering from depression or something. He said that he has got hope and said thank you to me. Actually, I have got hope from him. It was one of the most remarkable emails that I have ever received. I was so happy when I read the email and it became an opportunity to encourage me to make more puzzles. Making online puzzles wasn't my job at the time but I felt it was worth doing it.

I wrote about artists above, because it's easy to imagine that they felt merit from their fans. I'm very sure that every artist had the same kinds of experience that I had once and I think that it's not only artists, any kind of jobs have a moment to feel worthwhile.

Since I have received the email, I had been looking for a fulfilling and worthwhile job for me and I think I found it. A job is not only for making a living.

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2017-05-27 05:39   Knowing each other

Y (Kuma's owner)

Long ago when I was young, I got a working holiday visa and visited Australia. At the time, Japan recognition was not high. Most people knew that Nissan and Toyota are Japanese companies but they seemed not to know about Japan. For example, when I was asked where I came from, I answered I came from Tokyo, then an Aussie lady said to me that she has a Thai friend too. She believed that Tokyo was located in Thailand.

At the time, common people didn't know about Japan, therefore Japanese food wasn't popular at all. There were several Japanese restaurants in Sydney and most customers were Japanese businessmen who worked for Japanese companies in Australia. Now, Sushi restaurants are everywhere, the differences between at the time and nowadays are remarkable. Common Australians are getting used to the taste of soy sauce and I can buy Japanese soy sauce at the local supermarket even though I live in a remote area. Once people got used to the taste of soy sauce, it seems that the other Japanese dishes are easily acceptable. There are several Japanese restaurants and I heard that most customers are locals, not Japanese businessmen.

Japanese food in Australia

As the recognition of Japan is getting high, the number of Australian tourists in Japan is also increasing. It depends on the foreign exchange rate but the visitors to the famous ski resort at Niseko are mostly Australian. I heard that the rate of Australian tourists at Niseko is higher than Japanese. The prices in Australia are high, and also the prices in the Niseko area went high. Australians get used to the high prices and they think the restaurants' prices at Niseko are reasonable but Japanese don't think so. This is one of the reasons that Japanese don't visit Niseko a lot.

Even though most Australians' purpose is skiing, people visit other cities in Japan as well and have a chance to communicate with local Japanese, and I think that is good to know each other. What is more, lots of Australian students learn Japanese at school and some Australians who I met speak Japanese fluently. I think the distance between Australia and Japan is getting closer.

In the economic aspect, Australia and China are very close. I think there are many Australians who can speak Chinese well like former prime mister Kevin Rudd. Most Japanese cannot speak English well, what's the difference?

Now, I'm not misunderstood that I eat raw fish (not sliced fish) from the head, people know what Sushi is like now. On the other hand, sometimes I hear that Japanese say there are many flies in Australia. I think the Cork Hat influenced the image of flies in Australia. Actually, there aren't many flies in towns. There are still some that misunderstand each other.

It will take time but both nations are getting to know each other little by little. The day that Australians eat Sukiyaki for dinner and Japanese spread Vegemite on a slice of toast in the morning are not far away.

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2017-05-25 03:12   The hurdles of handicrafts

Y (Kuma's owner)

I love miniatures. Whatever they are, I love miniatures; houses, cars, food, furniture and plants. I hadn't tried making miniatures before and now I really think that I should have made miniatures when I was in Japan because there are lots of materials and tools in Japan. Not only miniatures, there are not many choices of materials and tools for crafts here in Australia, especially in remote areas. I think it is because the population of Australia is not large. It cannot be helped that the supply decreases if there is little demand.

miniature furniture

However, there is another reason. One day I heard that the younger generation people don't make things using their hands compared with older generations. A few years ago, I attended a gathering of handicrafts at RSL. There were more than ten people and most of them were over sixty. The people who are the older generation got used to making things. I guess that it wasn't easy to buy cheap things when they were young, like nowadays. Now, there are so many shops which sell cheap products that were made overseas. People don't make things if they can buy cheap things easily. I can find amazing cheap products that if I made them in Australia, the cost of materials will be more expensive than the cost of product in the cheap shops.

The prices in Australia are high, therefore it will be expensive if I make something. I can buy cheap products everywhere but cannot buy cheap materials and tools for handicrafts. This is my problem making miniatures. I sometimes see the websites of Japanese shops and I can find so many options with cheap prices. In Japan, people say that the younger generation don't use their hands for making things but I think there are still lots of people who love to create things. The many kinds of materials, tools and books for handicrafts in shops are maybe proof that there are still lots of people who love making things. In fact, I had several friends who loved handicrafts in Japan but I don't have even one here now.

miniature bread

If Australians who love handcrafts go to Japan, I'm sure they would be happy to go shopping. I sometimes buy materials and tools from Japan, even I pay extra postage, it depends but mostly it would be cheaper than buying them in Australia. I'm disappointed to hear the news that the Australian government is going to impose a tax on products which were bought overseas.

I'm now struggling with buying the materials and tools for miniatures. I want to have Aussie friends who love miniatures and also who love to make miniatures. I know it's not easy to find them here because I live in a remote area. I found information about The Sydney Miniatures and Doll House Fair on the internet. There seems to be lots of Aussies who love miniatures. I wish to attend the event someday and also I wish that more Australians were interested in handicrafts. If the population who love handicrafts increases, the chance of finding materials and tools will also be increased, I think.

For the time being, I'm going to pay attention to make miniature furniture and food, and I would like to join some events of miniatures at some future time.

If anyone who read this blog loves miniature, please feel free to talk to me.

My Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/Kuma_the_Cat

miniature furniture

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2017-05-12 09:53   Using Mobile Phone

Y (Kuma's owner)

Nowadays, almost everyone has a mobile phone. I have an iPhone, which is very convenient for when I want to know the weather, when I want to contact a friend or when I'm bored and want to kill time. It contains lots of applications and it is easy to carry.

I realise that I use it quite often, so I'm a bit worried that I will become addicted to the mobile phone. However, I like computers with a big display, so the only reason I use a mobile phone is because of its portability. If the technology were more advanced and it were possible to make a computer display that could be folded up small enough to put it in a pocket, I wouldn't use a mobile phone. I wish that someone could invent a foldable display someday.

Yesterday, I received an email from a friend of mine who is a beginner user of iPhone. She wrote about an interesting episode that could happen to anyone. She has a favorite seafood shop and she registered her mobile phone number with the shop. When the shop stocks up with recommendable fish, they let her know by sending a text message. When she was looking at her messages on her mobile phone, she accidentally touched the screen of the mobile phone and sent a text message with a kiss mark to the seafood shop. She said the employees of the seafood shop understood what had happened and they seemed to enjoy it. The mistake she made unexpectedly turned out to have a happy ending, but it might not always end happily.

One day, I was reading Twitter on my mobile phone and I think somehow I touched an icon without realising it. I had unfollowed my friend. I wasn't going to unfollow her but I did it by accident! If I may make excuses, I would say that it's because the touch screen of a mobile phone is very small. I followed her again a few days later but I guess she wouldn't have been happy if she noticed that I had unfollowed her.

I have an issue when using my mobile phone because when I want to tap an icon, sometimes it doesn't react. My skin is quite dry and someone said that's the reason for it. However, the surprising thing is that my cats can tap the icons on the touch screen! They like to jump on my desk and walk on my mobile phone. Therefore, I always put my iPhone's touch screen face down when I put it on the desk, otherwise they might take their selfie someday.

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2017-03-22 21:50   The tact when it needed

Y (Kuma's owner)

I still clearly remember the day I made an account on Twitter, it was on the 10th March, 2011. I had been having a little interest in Twitter and made my account just on a whim. I told a friend of mine that I made an account and the first day of Twitter ended without knowing what will happen on next day.

As you know, next day was the day that the massive earthquake struck Fukushima, Japan. I could use the telephone at home but I heard that some telephone lines had communication disorders. Then, what people who couldn't connect the telephone lines did was use Twitter. The Twitter account I didn't expect much that I would use often was very helpful after the earthquake happened. I exchanged information through Twitter with my friend that night.

If you have an account on Twitter, maybe you have seen the page which is indicated as a whale with a text, "Twitter is over capacity." (At the time I made a Twitter account, the page indicated a white whale, but maybe they have changed the design now.) If a huge amount of people access Twitter at the same time, the server would be down. But that day, the Twitter server didn't go down. Connecting Twitter helped so many people, especially people who couldn't use telephone lines.

After a while, I saw an article which was written about why the server of Twitter didn't go down on that day. According to the article, one engineer who worked for Twitter heard the news that a massive earthquake had happened in Japan. He remembered that there were unopened servers in the cardboard boxes in the computer room. He thought if people cannot access Twitter, people in Japan may take a secondary damage. He added servers for Japanese Twitter users using his own judgment, and that was the reason Twitter didn't down that day.

I'm very sure that one engineer's tact saved lots of people. On the article, there's no name, it just indicated "He." I couldn't find his name but whoever he was, I would like to say thank you, you did a remarkable job on that day. Thank you very much.

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2017-03-21 04:27   The rain which continued for a long time

Y (Kuma's owner)

It had been raining for more than one week, and it has finally stopped. Everything in the yard and even the flower pots on the veranda that were under the roof were drenched with rain.

Usually, the area around Brisbane has lots of rain and thunderstorms in summer but this summer didn't have much rain. I didn't expect rain and thunderstorms in early autumn but this long-lasting rain must have been a good gift for nature.

Mushrooms are coming up everywhere in the yard. They must have been waiting for the heavy rain. My Aussie friend said that he used to eat mushrooms that came up in the yard but I cannot do it. I don't know which mushrooms are edible and which are poisonous.

The maximum temperature is getting low these days and I'm happy with that because I don't like hot weather. I like Australia very much. People are friendly, kind and cheerful, the only thing that I don't like is this hot weather. Aussie friends said that people are able to get used to the climate. All right, I'll trust what they said.

My favorite season is coming soon.

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2017-03-19 03:01   I may be misunderstood by somebody

Y (Kuma's owner)

I have been writing my blog for over a year hoping that my English writing ability will be improved, but still I make many grammatical mistakes. It's not easy to write correct English to me, my mother tongue is Japanese and the Japanese language has completely different grammatical manners, that makes it more difficult to acquire the ability of English.

There is a book which was written by an American who went to Japan to study literature. From the experience during his stay in Japan, he pointed out some common mistakes that Japanese make. One of the most remarkable is the mistake of using "a."

English books

He says that one of his Japanese friends who went to the United States for studying sent him a letter, and it said "Last night, I ate a chicken in the backyard." This sentence gave him a complicated feeling. He understood that his Japanese friend wanted to say he had a backyard barbecue party and baked chicken. However, the first image that came up to his mind was his friend eating a chicken with blood around his mouth. It's almost a horror movie.

When I read this, I thought I might have done the same type of mistakes. The sentence is not correct but it's still not so serious because people who read it would guess that he made a grammatical mistake. I think the most serious mistakes are sentences in which people cannot guess the real meanings. Words have nuances that are hard to understand for foreigners. Understanding subtle nuances and using the word appropriately are the most difficult for me.

Another example is a Japanese man who lives outside Japan who said that he told his friend "I went to hospital." He has got scratches that were not serious and what really happened was he went to see a doctor in school, but his friend was worried what happened to him.

I think he translated the sentence directly from Japanese to English. "I went to hospital" is a common phrase in Japan. The two examples I wrote above are both grammatically correct but the meanings were different from what they wanted to say.

Inconveniently, if I say the same type of mistakes, people ignore them and the conversation goes on as if there's no mistakes and I miss the chance to correct my English and also I may be misunderstood. I don't want to be misunderstood that I ate a chicken with blood around my mouth but it might have happened.

I know it's not easy to correct mistakes every time I say them, I cannot rely on others I have to acquire the knowledge by myself. If I never give up, my dream of acquiring English ability will come true, I hope.

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2017-03-17 01:03   Elegant creatures named giraffes

Y (Kuma's owner)

You have seen giraffes, haven't you? They are amazing creatures with unique features. They have a beautiful long neck and long legs. The pattern on their body is like geometric patterns.

I have been to the Tama Zoo in Japan and saw giraffes. They were in the wide area with zebras which was surrounded by a fence. The day I went to the zoo, it was a weekday and there were not many visitors. I was alone looking at giraffes, and giraffes were also looking at me.

I enjoyed looking at giraffes and decided to go to see other animals. That area was big and I had to walk along the fence where the giraffes were. Then, giraffes followed me over the fence. It was very strange feeling like walking with giraffes. If I stopped, they stopped too. Can you imagine, that tall and beautiful creatures walked with me, I thought that was a rare experience.

Their way of walking is elegant and a little pretentious, like a fashion model. They remind me of Miko who performs Japanese traditional dances and sings songs in Kyoto. Miko decorate their hair with Kanzashi (traditional hair ornaments) and giraffe's ossicones look like Kanzashi. Their eyelashes are long as an eyelash extension.

According to the survey of IUCN (The International Union for the Conservation of Nature), the population of giraffes is dramatically decreasing. On the other hand, there was news that a zoo in Denmark killed a giraffe in front of visitors and fed the dead body to lions. What are human beings doing? This news shocked me with another meaning as well. Killing animal in the zoo in front of visitors including kids was unbelievable.

In the future, I don't want to say to young kids in the past tense that there were big and long-necked animals that were called giraffes in Africa.

Their fate depends on human beings.

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2017-03-09 22:43   Australian Movies

Y (Kuma's owner)

On Tuesday this week, I went to see the movie "Jasper Jones", which I had been waiting to be released. I have read several books that were written in English since I came to Australia, and "Jasper Jones" is definitely the best book I have read since then. The story is set in a remote town in Western Australia in 1965. The main character named Charlie loves reading books, and the second main character is Jasper Jones, yes, his name became the title of this story.

I have some experience of reading original books and then seeing the movies. Honestly, most of the time, I thought that original books were better than the movies. I know movies have a time limit and it's difficult to reproduce a story in that time, but I was a bit disappointed, you know?

However, this movie didn't let me down. It was pretty good. The actors and actresses were close to the people that I had imagined while I was reading the book.

I didn't know any of the actors and actresses in the movie, so after watching the movie I searched the Internet to find out who played who. Levi Miller, who played Charlie Bucktin, seems to be a famous actor. He is also in the movie "Red Dog." I remember this title because some of my friends recommended it to me.

Since I came to Australia, I have known that there are lots of good Australian movies. The most famous Australian movie must be "Crocodile Dundee." This movie is really fun. I'm sure so many people in the world have seen this movie. There are lots of Aussie actors and actresses in the world as well. I recently found out that the actor who played Joker in the movie " The Dark Knight" was Australian, Heath Andrew Ledger. His acting was amazing! I'm so sorry that he has passed away.

I hope that more Australian actors and actresses are able to get a chance to step into the world.

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2017-02-28 08:42   Slow and steady wins the race

Y (Kuma's owner)

I've been here in Australia for more than five years. Some Japanese people say that if I've been living in an English language country I must be good at English. However, I'm not as good at English as other people think. It's not easy to acquire foreign language ability, especially for adults.

Generally speaking, I heard that Japanese are good at writing, and are not good at hearing and speaking. I'm also not good at hearing and speaking. Unfortunately, I'm not talkative and even in Japanese, I don't talk much. I don't have much will to talk, so the most difficult part of improving English for me is speaking. I cannot change my character, if I could have friends who have the same interests or hobbies, I think I can talk a lot more than usual.

Concerning listening to English, I use movies. I bought DVDs and I see movies almost every night and see the same movies again and again. It depends on movies, some movies are easy to catch the words and some of them are difficult. Generally, old movies are easy to listen to.

Seeing the same movie many times sometimes works for improving listening ability. At first, I couldn't catch the lines at all, and gradually I was able to get some words one by one with repetition. The other merit of seeing movies is I can use the subtitles, it's really helpful.

I always encourage myself and say " Slow and steady wins the race."

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2017-02-24 01:13   Ant Watching

Y (Kuma's owner)

I love science books and love to read scientists' biographies as well. Richard Feynman has written lots of books not only for physics, he wrote about his childhood and his daily life. I had read one of his books and there was a description about ants. He said he liked to watch ants moving and so I do.

I feel like I have become a giant and look down on a small town of ants. There are so many kinds of ants in Australia. Comparing Australian ants and Japanese ants, Australian ants are aggressive and I have been bitten by ants many times.

To me, the lawn in the yard is flat but to ants it must be a forest. In the movie "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids", a scientist which was played by Rick Moranis invented a machine that can shrink everything, and there are scenes of ants walking under the lawn. As long as I have seen the movie, an ants' life seems not to be so easy. They are always busy as business people in New York or Tokyo. I haven't seen an ant that was taking a break, they are moving all the time.

One day when I was watching ants moving, and I found that they were running on a hose. Lots of ants were running on the hose. It looked like cars running on a motorway. Then I noticed that running on the hose is easier than running on the ground because there are no obstacles. Hoses are really the motorway for ants. I have never thought that they used a hose that way. We think that insects are not higher animals and not clever but they seem not to be so stupid as we think.

Yesterday, when I was feeding my cats, I saw a tiny flake of Katsuobushi was moving.

Maybe I should explain what Katsuobushi is, before starting this topic. Katsuobushi is dried flakes of smoked fish (skipjack tuna). It is very common in Japanese food. Usually, cats love it and that's because I sometime give it to my cats that don't have a good appetite.

Back to the topic, I gave some Katsuobushi flakes to one of my cats. I think he dropped a Katsuobushi flake onto the floor. A strange thing happened, a tiny Katsuobushi flake was walking! I moved my face close to the flake and made sure it was an ant carrying the flake. She was carrying a flake that was four or five times the size of her body. That state reminded me of a bearer who was carrying a flag in the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. I don't think people say "adorable" to insects but this time I thought she was adorable.

I don't expect people to understand my feelings, but I think that if Richard Feynman was still alive, he would.

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2017-02-23 04:07   Let's keep writing!

Y (Kuma's owner)

I have been writing this blog for improving my English. It started on 1st of January, 2016. What I have been writing were about my cats, wild birds, puzzles and other desultory topics. The Japanese language does not have a word equivalent to "the" therefore I have been making many mistakes related to "the." Luckily or unluckily, I have friends who have an excellent imagination that can guess what I want to say. They can understand even if I forget to use "the" in the sentences. I know that it's awkward to point out when I say something wrong grammatically every time. They are not my English teacher, I cannot expect them to correct my English. If they can understand the meaning of what I said, they wouldn't tell me the mistakes that I made. People ask me only when they cannot understand what I said. It's very difficult noticing my own mistakes, you know. This is one of my issues. I wonder if I could have a gilded robot that is in the movie "Star Wars", he is talkative and good for correcting my mistakes, I guess.

Another issue of my English is that I don't know the differences in the delicate meaning of words. I'm still unsure of the difference between "large" and "big." I think I may use the wrong expression in the bad situation and I might be misunderstood.

I don't like grammar but I have to learn. One of my Japanese friends who has been living in Australia for a long time said to me that I can live well in Australia with the knowledge of English that I already have now. Well, I know I'm not going to be a novelist but I want to learn, I want to write English like my Aussie friends do. So, I'm not going to stop writing my blog.

One day, I read a blog that was written by a man who lives in New Zealand. I don't know his nationality but he seems not be Japanese. His blog is written in Japanese, it was amazing that his Japanese is excellent like a native speaker of Japanese. I wonder how he has learnt Japanese? I had been working in American companies when I was in Japan. I had some colleagues from different nationalities and they were all born and grew up in Japan but no one could write Japanese like the guy who lives in New Zealand. On his latest blog, he wrote when he started the blog about ten years ago, he spent a week to finish writing a half page of Word.

Then I thought, I should spend more time to finish writing. Usually, I write quickly, maybe I write too quickly. I must write more carefully.

In addition, I must check the mistakes I have written otherwise I will write the same mistakes again and again.


Reading books is also important. I can learn new expressions from them. During these past three years, the best book to me was "Jasper Jones." It's nice to come across the good books. I have a habit to read books that I like several times and it helps remembering new words and expressions.

My strong point is not giving up easily, my weak point is I don't know when to give up. If I give up, that means improving my English writing skills also stops. I won't stop it until I'm able to write good English. Let's keep writing!

Oh, I almost forgot! In the end, I should say I spent about 100 minutes for finishing this blog.

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2017-02-06 03:25   The last lettuce that remained on the plate


Recently, Sushi is becoming a popular food all over the world. Here in Australia, Sushi is not an exotic food anymore. Almost every shopping centre has at least one Sushi Bar. Therefore, people are getting used to using chopsticks and some people use chopsticks really well.

However, when I was young (I won't say how long ago it was), Australians didn't eat Sushi and as is obvious people had no chance of using chopsticks. I remember that I was asked how I managed to use two sticks to pick up food. People seemed to think that I was good with my fingers.

If I wasn't Japanese, maybe I would have thought as people did but if I look from a different viewpoint, Australians or other people who live in the world where using knives and forks are good with their fingers as well. The reason is a thin leaf of lettuce.

One of the things that annoys me is a salad which contains lettuce. I don't mean I don't like lettuce, I like lettuce. I always have trouble picking up the last thin leaf of lettuce from the plate. It's too thin to stick a fork into a lettuce leaf, you know. It's lucky if the last lettuce leaf is on something like tomato or avocado, I can stick lettuce together with other vegetables and it's easy. The most difficult one is a thin lettuce leaf on the plate by itself.

The last lettuce that remained on the plate

Even I know it's almost impossible, but I try to stick it with a fork at least one or two times. It's not often that my effort is rewarded. When I can pick up the last lettuce leaf with a fork, I feel like that I have accomplished a difficult task. I want to say "I did it!" but my common sense stops me saying it in public and stops people thinking that I'm a weird woman.

My teacher when I was at elementary school used to say "Never give up, if you try to work harder, you are able to do anything you want!"

I knew that the teacher wanted to encourage kids but even when I was small I knew it wasn't true. He didn't notice how difficult it was to pick up the last lettuce leaf from the plate.

When I went out for lunch, I paid attention to how other people manage to pick up the last lettuce. I couldn't stare at other people eating so I mostly tried to pay attention to my meal and glanced at them only a few times. The result was I missed them seeing me eat the last lettuce!

I gave up learning by watching other people do things. I do what I can. I use a knife together with a fork and pick up thin lettuce, this is my method. Holding a lettuce leaf with a knife and pushing it with my fork. If I'm lucky, lettuce bends and it can be stuck with a fork or scooped with a fork. I hope this method isn't a breach of manners.

Back to the first topic as people seem to think that using chopsticks is difficult but it isn't. It's easier to pick up thin lettuce with a pair of chopsticks rather than a fork. Can't you believe it? Please try!

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2017-01-30 01:50   It's Monday!

Y (Kuma's owner)

I have been asking a question that is "Why Monday comes faster than any other day?" I know a day is 24 hours but it seems to me that Saturday and Sunday are shorter than the other days. It might be an intrigue to make people work longer.

He-he, I'm just indulging in idle speculation.

Now I remember that Albert Einstein said "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity."

If I could have a skill to make fun time longer, life would be so happy. One day, I persuaded myself to think the job that I didn't like was fun. It's difficult to make myself believe, you know?

However, I can think that if there are no unhappy jobs or something unpleasant, can I feel happy things? Maybe, the existence of unpleasant things makes my favorite and happy things more fun.

I'm sure I will be bored if I could have only fun things around me. I like roller coasters but I don't want to ride a roller coaster everyday. I like hamburgers but I don't feel like eating a hamburger every meal.

Well, what I want to say is I'll work today as I always do.

It's Monday!

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2017-01-08 21:17   The Close Encounter of The Eastern Brown Snake


This is my first blog in 2017 and I was going to write about some related topic of the new year but I have to write about what I still haven't written about, a very impressive experience that happened on New Year's Eve. It was a close encounter with one of the venomous snakes, the Eastern Brown Snake.

I live in Queensland, Australia. This area is a paradise of marsupials, birds and reptiles. Yes, that's right, there are many reptiles here and some of them are venomous snakes. I have seen small tree snakes twice since I moved here but they are not venomous and are not aggressive. However, a snake that I saw on 31st of December was different. It was an Eastern Brown Snake. They are notorious as aggressive snakes.

I was inside of the house and one of my cats looked outside curiously, then I looked outside too. There it was! It was a brown coloured snake and was not so big. The snake looked at my cat and me and rose its head in the shape of an S character, then it seemed to try to strike toward our side and hit its nose against the glass door. I have never thought of thanking the glass door like this in my life. I keep my cats as indoor cats therefore all windows and fly screen doors were always closed. If the door was open, it would have entered our house, I'm very sure. I wanted to take pictures of it and run to the next room to get a camera. While I was away, the snake went somewhere.

I searched the key word "venomous" and "snakes", and found the website of the "Top 10 Most Venomous Snakes." In my impression, the Rattlesnake or Cobra seem to have strong poison. They are world wide famous venomous snakes. I had taken a look at the top 10 most venomous snakes from the tenth. The surprising thing was the tenth of the top ten was the Rattlesnake. The Philippine Cobra was seventh. It was unbelievable that there are six kinds of venomous snakes that are more dangerous than the Cobra. I took a look at the top six and found it, found the Eastern Brown Snake as the second most dangerous venomous snake in the world!! The number one dangerous venomous snake was the Inland Taipan, which also live in Queensland but in a slightly different area I live, phew.

After I saw the snake, I didn't go to the backyard for a while. It might be somewhere hiding. The Eastern Brown Snake is not colourful, they are brown, the same as its name. It's not easy to find them if they are on the ground. In wildlife, some creatures that have poison have colourful colours to warn other animals. I think they are very kind. To me, the Eastern Brown Snake is not kind. If they have strong poison, I want them to have a stronger colour, like yellow, red or pink.

I could go outside after I heard that my husband saw a mouse in the backyard. Mice are clever. If there was a snake around here, they wouldn't roam the backyard. You know, this was the first time that I was happy when I heard there is a mouse around my house.

Well, whatever I complain they are here. My neighbor said that they are part of our life. Yes, that's true.

I hope this year will be peaceful, healthy, with lots of fun and no encounters with the Eastern Brown Snake.

Eastern Brown Snake - Queensland Museum

Top 10 Most Venomous Snakes

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2016-12-24 12:20   Christmas and Expectations

Y (Kuma's owner)

It's finally Christmas Eve today. I like the decorations and an atmosphere of Christmas. I live in Australia now, but I had been living most of my life in Japan. Most Japanese are not Christian but there are lots of Christmas decorations at shopping centres, department stores and public spaces. I don't know how the custom of decorating Christmas was widespread.

There are many customs that came from overseas as well. One of them is Valentine's Day. There's a famous rumor about Valentine's Day that said one of the famous chocolate companies used Valentine's Day for increasing sales. That rumor also indicates the real company's name and that makes the rumor sound more realistic. Therefore, in Japan, people buy only chocolates for Valentine's Day.

Regarding Christmas, I have no idea how it started in Japan. As at least I know, Christmas has no religious meaning for most Japanese. Japanese are not religious. There is a very simple way of thinking, Christmas means Santa Claus or gifts. Christmastime is the season of beautiful decorations, Christmas trees, cakes and gifts. That's what most Japanese think of. I wonder what people who are pious Christians think of these customs?

For people who work for retailers or other businesses, Christmas is the best chance to sell products or services in the year. For children, this is the big chance to get their favorite toys. People have expectations individually.

Whatever reasons we have, people love Christmas.

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2016-12-15 10:14   Having a dream of Santa Claus

Y (Kuma's owner)

It's the 15th of December already. Santa Claus is coming over in another nine days. I don't know why but the town where I live, there is Santa Claus sitting in front of Coles (an Australian supermarket chain). I had been believing that Santa Claus is only one person. But, maybe he is not.

Snowman and Christmas tree

At this time of the year, I see the website of NORAD. NORAD prepares special pages for Christmas. They have a special service called "Santa Tracker", where we are able to see where Santa is on Christmas Eve. It's just an animation of Santa traveling all over the world, I know it but I cannot help watching it. Almost every Christmas Eve, I watch NORAD's Santa Tracker and when Santa passes the area I live, I would say "Oh, he has come!" I know I am not able to get a gift, yes this is the actual life. The life is not easy. I think it is good to imagine something dreamy once a year, isn't it? Not only children, even grown ups needs dreams.

This coming Christmas, I'm having my friends over from Sydney. It's going to be a fun Christmas this year. I and my husband are planning a Christmas BBQ at home. This is the Aussie way of celebrating Christmas, I guess. It's a good chance to meet friends, so I'm going to invite other local friends to the BBQ too.

Santa Claus will come to town along with a smell of BBQ.

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2016-12-10 09:21   Opposite Abilities

Y (Kuma's owner)

Recently, I heard the news about mathematics and science score of Year 4.

ABC NEWS: Australian schools continue to fall behind in maths and science

The results show Australia dropping from 18th to 28th out of 49 countries in year 4 mathematics. I was a bit disappointed on hearing the news.

However, I had been noticing the results even if I hadn't heard the news. For example, one day I was watching my favorite TV program and two people on the show said "What is hexagon?" The two people (They are adults) didn't know what a hexagon was! Haven't they ever wondered about the shape of bee's nest?

On the other hand, most Australians are very good at communicating. I think Japanese are not good at communicating but most Japanese are good at mathematics and science compared to Australians.

I noticed that the field that Australians are good at, and Japanese are good at are opposite. The place where we live are also opposite; the Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere.

I wonder if the teachers of both countries shared the method of teaching, can we both improve our abilities?

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2016-12-07 05:54   Santa Clauses in Australia

Y (Kuma's owner)

It's already December and my 6th Christmas in Australia is coming.
You may think that enough time has passed to get used to a hot Christmas if I have been living in Australia for over five years but it is not so. I still have a feeling of strangeness for a hot Christmas. Even if I hear one of the famous Christmas songs like "White Christmas", my feeling does not become Christmas mode under the strong sunshine.

I went shopping yesterday and I saw a lady who was preparing for the service of taking a picture with Santa Claus for children. Santa Clauses in Australia wear the same clothes in other countries, a long-sleeved red jacket, black boots and a hat with fluffy white boa. They mostly appear in shopping centres, therefore they can stay in an air conditioning area but I still feel sorry for them. It must be a tough job, isn't it?

Santa in Australia

It's difficult to enjoy the mood of a white Christmas here but Aussies enjoy the Australian way of Christmas. I love to see Australian Christmas cards. I saw several funny pictures; Santa Claus enjoys surfing, wearing sun glasses, short pants with a beer bottle in his hand or riding on a sled that is pulled by kangaroos.

I think Santa Claus comes from Finland but he seems to be having a good time with the Aussie style Christmas here. When in Australia, do as the Aussies do! This is a tip to enjoy a summer Christmas.

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2016-11-20 05:42   Summer in the Subtropics

Y (Kuma's owner)

I live in Queensland, Australia which the state refers to as the "Sunshine State." It sounds tropical and beautiful, doesn't it? The area I live in is subtropical and even in winter it is not so cold. The blue sky, coloful birds and palm trees, it's full of natural beauty here. If you love hot weather, this place is paradise, I reckon.

The blue sky

In my case, honestly I am not good at hot weather. Five years ago when I came to Australia, I thought I was able to get used to the hot climate, but I still haven't got used to it. I remember that my neighbor who came from New Zealand said that they couldn't get used to the hot climate either. It seems my natural constitution won't change so easy. My ancestors lived in a snowy area and I am not sure but I guess that this is one of the reasons I am not good in a tropical climate.

colourful birds

It is November now. That means the temperature is going up day by day. Summer started only two weeks ago but I have already started counting the days when autumn comes.

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2016-11-18 23:51   Nobody can resist hassles

Y (Kuma's owner)

There are many obstacles in our life. Can you think of any of them? Money is one of those obstacles. I'm very sure that everybody has an experience that you couldn't buy what you want because you didn't have enough money to buy it. This is an economical obstacle.

Depending on purpose, your physical condition can be an obstacle. For example, you like basketball but if you are very short, you have less chance to be a player in a famous team. If you want to be a jockey and you are very tall, it might be difficult to ride on a horse. These obstacles are very difficult to overcome.

However, I know an obstacle that is more common and stronger, that is a hassle (troublesome). People don't like hassles.

One day, I bought an electric fan. There was a manual of it. When I saw it, I didn't feel like reading it. It was filled with small letters and looked complicated. Therefore, I assembled it without reading the manual.

Like I did, people tend to do the same because we don't like hassles. It annoys us and it's awkward. Reading a manual doesn't seem fun. It's not only reading, there are many other hassles in everyday life.

What about time? People don't like to waste time by waiting in a queue. Long ago, I went to The Tokyo Disneyland with friends. It wasn't a special day but it was crowded. We wanted to ride on a roller coaster, "Space Mountain", this attraction is one of the most popular attractions. We had to wait in a queue otherwise we were unable to ride it. I knew it but I still felt it was a bother.

There is another example, I use online shops often. When I find something I want, I press a shopping cart button and then several columns which I fill in with my name or address will appear. Usually the procedures are almost the same at each shop. However, some shops ask me to fill in other personal information or register as a member of the shop. It makes me feel really annoyed, and most of the time I don't buy it. You know, I don't want to do extra work for shopping, I simply want to buy it.

I sometimes see websites that have no information what customers want to know. For instance, I want to buy a bookshelf and search on the internet. I find a good one but there's no size instruction on it. My room is small and I need to know the size. Maybe I am able to ask the shop but you know, it takes time and also that's a bother. If there was the instruction of the size on the web page, I could simply click the shopping cart button as I always do and buy it. Actually, things like this occur frequently. The shop owner seems to not realise that hassle is one of the biggest obstacles to selling products.

If you want someone to do something, you better make sure that there are no hassle procedures on it. People love easy things or something that they have got used to doing, or simple procedures. Don't expect people to read instructions which are written in small characters or don't expect people to follow a procedure that they have never experienced which takes time.

Come to think of these matters, I think an agreement of an insurance company is really elaborate in an ironic way. Usually, an insurance agreement is printed in small characters. I have seen a commercial film on TV, it said that aged people are also welcome. If so, why don't they print agreements with larger characters? Everybody knows that an agreement is very important and they have to read them all but I don't think most of us can concentrate such a long time as reading all the agreement to the end carefully.

Oops, I wasn't going to write for long but I did.

Life is short, we don't have time to do hassle things, don't we?

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2016-11-16 04:22   My Favorite Movie "The School of Rock"

Y (Kuma's owner)

I love comedy movies. Watching Japanese comedies are not issues to me, of course, but watching movies that were made in English-speaking countries are difficult. The most difficult thing is jokes. I have to know English, and moreover the background of the society in which movies are made. That's why I don't think I really understand most English-speaking comedies.

However, there is one that I could understand, it's "The School of Rock." The story is about a man named Dewey who was fired from the rock band he established. He lost his job and looked for a job which is related to music but it didn't work well. One day, he received a phone call for his friend from a school and he pretended to be his friend who was going to be a teacher, and got a job as a school teacher without telling his friend.

In this movie, Jack Black plays a man who always thinks that being a musician is his vocation job and encourages his friend, Ned, who lives in the same apartment to become a musician. In contradistinction to the funny story, I was impressed by Jack Black's guitar playing. I have seen him in the movie "The Big Year" but I didn't know he could play instruments and sing well.

The other characters are nice too. A school principal who is played by Joan Cusack is funny and really a well-cast role. Dewey's friend Ned who looks timid makes Dewey more funny. Some of the children in this movie play instruments really well. The movie script was written by Mike White who plays Ned in the movie. So many talented people are in the movie and I really enjoyed it.

I hoped a little that someone will make a sequel but maybe this movie has concluded itself.

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2016-10-12 22:36   Kawaii Addict

Y (Kuma's owner)

Everybody has a favorite phrase. My habitual word is "Why?" I thought it's not a good idea to use the same word again and again. Instead of using the same words, it's better to use other words that have the same meaning. Trying to use different expressions makes me remember lots of words.

After I had been paying attention to my talking and writing, I noticed other Japanese people's habits. As it is commonly known, Japanese, especially women (of course, it's not every woman) love to say kawaii. It means pretty or cute.

I have no objection to people saying kawaii when they see something cute like a puppy or a kitten. What I want to say is some people use kawaii too often. They use the word kawaii for everything.

As I think of that, I have paid attention to a wide range of firms, fashion, TV programs, books and so on in Japan. Then I noticed that Japanese like pretty things. There are lots of kawaii in Japan. Even on city council's leaflets, there are pretty illustrations printed. I haven't seen cute illustrations on the leaflets of city councils or the government in Australia. I'm Japanese but even I feel some illustrations or design that I saw in Japan are too pretty, I mean they are childish. Is that because we have a different culture?

One day, I met a Japanese lady in Australia. She said she went shopping and couldn't find kawaii clothes. Aha, here came the word kawaii again. I was counting how many times she had used kawaii in my mind secretly. I was not going to make fun of her, I'm just tired of hearing the same word frequently and I was bored. In addition, I would like to know why some of them love to say kawaii so many times.

I wonder what the concept of kawaii is in Japan? Kawaii culture is common in Japan and it may be hard to understand why it was created.

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2016-10-06 05:16   Coombabah Lake Conservation Park

Y (Kuma's owner)

I went to the Coombabah Lake Conservation Park last month. I was going to write about this topic but almost forgot. This park is also called Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area. It is located in the North Gold Coast region.

Coombabah Lake Conservation Park

I have read a blog that was written about koalas in this park. The writer of the blog said that she saw koalas and wallabies there. Wallabies are commonly seen around my house but I haven't seen koalas here. It was amazing that koalas live near a commercial area like the Gold Coast.

Then I went to the park with a camera which was charged with a full battery. There were lots of walking courses; Wallaby Track, Koala Track and so on. It was very convenient that I could choose courses that suite my physical condition.

As soon as I arrived at the park, I looked for koalas.

"Where are they?"

Koala Track

Most of the trees in the park are very tall. Koalas usually sleep on the trees, so I had to look at the top of the trees while I was walking.

The park was flat and wasn't crowded at all so that you might think it's not so difficult to look upward and walk at the same time, but it wasn't so. The reason was there were many droppings of wallabies on the ground. I just remembered a computer game called "Minesweeper". It was like walking on the Minesweeper board, I was so busy avoiding wallabies.

After I walked for about 30 minutes, I suddenly noticed that I forgot looking for koalas. I had been paying too much attention to my steps and forgot to look at the top of the trees. What a mistake! I might have missed a koala.

I could have gone back to the Koala Track but it was a hot day, and I had neither the willpower nor the physical strength at that time.

On the way to the parking, I saw several wallaby families. One of them was very young and it looked fluffy and really cute. I was a little disappointed but I tried to convince myself that today's walking was good, I could see cute wallabies here.

While hearing the laughing voice of a kookaburra in the rear, I promised myself "I will be back here someday."

A young wallaby

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2016-09-20 21:53   The big change in the small town

Y (Kuma's owner)

In 2013, my husband and I moved to the house where we live in now. At that time, this town was just a small country town that had a population of about 5,500. We loved small towns, so this town was the perfect place to live. We sometimes saw kangaroos in the mornings. I liked seeing them hopping in the yard.

However, there was a plan to develop this town. I didn't know about it and I was surprised. One day, some workers started tree felling and leveling the huge area near the centre of the town. It was a place that had many cattle. The scenery changed dramatically.

I heard there was a plan to build a new school, a small shopping area and a residential area. One the opposite side of the town, they are developing another area for industrial purposes. The town seems to be getting bigger.

Honestly, I feel in a complicated state of mind. Since the construction has started, I rarely see any kangaroos. I'm disappointed, I really am. However, it's not all bad. The new shopping area will be the closest one to my house. It must be convenient. I want nature and I want a convenient life. Yes, I know I am greedy. These two things are incompatible. I'm wondering if there are any good ideas.

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2016-09-15 23:35   It's spring now

Y (Kuma's owner)

Whether I want it or not, spring has come. Usually, people love spring. The cold weather has gone, colourful flowers are starting to bloom, and everything looks beautiful. It's nice to notice that spring is almost here when I find flowers blooming.


However, this year was different from usual. I saw a snake, and then I realised that it's spring now. I'm sorry to the snakes, but images of flowers are more suited to spring than those of snakes. During the week that has passed, I was bitten by a mosquito (in Australia, a mosquito is called a mozzie). A hateful thing is that a mozzie was waiting for me in the bathroom. How clever she was! This made me realise that spring has made one step forward and summer is not far away.

Tree snake

You might think that it must be summer if there are mozzies here. This area is subtropical and mozzies emerge in spring and late summer. In mid summer, there are no mozzies. I'm just guessing that it may be too hot in summer for them.


A snake came out, mozzies are waiting for me in the bathroom, what's next? I now try to be very careful when I wear rain boots because toads love rain boots. Every time I wear rain boots, I check the inside of the boots. Please don't ask me why they love rain boots. I would like to know that as well.


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2016-09-09 10:08   Otaku People

Y (Kuma's owner)

There are lots of Japanese words that became English words. For example, tsunami, sushi, teriyaki, sushi, panko and so on. Looking at these words, most of them are related to food. However, there is one of the common Japanese origin words that is not related to food. That is otaku.

My understanding was that "otaku" had a little negative meaning in Japan a few years ago. Maybe it still does. If I heard "He is an otaku", I would imagine that he has hobbies that he can be completely absorbed in something like animation films, movies, computer hardware and software.

I'm not sure of the suitable English word for otaku. Well, it is supposed to be nerd. I don't know many English words. I guess there should have been some more similar meaning words in English.

While many people imagine otaku people in negative way, I think otaku are important to create new things. They have plenty of knowledge in particular categories. At the time when this word is lionized by the media, most Japanese media introduced otaku people who are sitting at the computer desk or walking in Akihabara Electric Town. The media described otaku people as if they are an odd fellow who has only interests in what he likes in an amusing way. That has made up their impression.

I think scientists are a kind of otaku and so are artists. If we need to research or create something, we have no choice but to be an otaku. Otaku can create culture.

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2016-09-03 11:00   Show Jumping

Y (Kuma's owner)

Every once a year, the area where I live holds an event. There are lots of fun things, a travelling circus, various kinds of attractions, a travelling carnival, wood chopping, and a competitive exhibition of cattle, dogs and vegetables. I went there together with my friends.

My favorite is show jumping. The horses that are brushed beautifully jump elegantly. I can't ride on a horse. I once tried horse riding at a horse riding club to which my co-worker belonged. I thought it might be fun if I could ride on a horse but it was expensive to learn horse riding in Japan. In Australia, people who love horses are able to own a horse. In Japan, it's impossible because there is no room to keep horses and also it would be very expensive to keep them. I heard that it is expensive to keep horses in Australia as well. I can imagine that because even a cat needs lots of medical care, it is no wonder that a horse needs lots of money to take care of it. Therefore, I'm satisfied with just watching show jumping.

The biggest event in my town is over. I'm going to see a show jumping event again next year.

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2016-08-29 23:52   Standing at the Starting Line

Y (Kuma's owner)

Yesterday was a remarkable day for my husband and me. We started our business, selling our products (Juno's Spinner) on eBay. We both love puzzles and have been having a dream making puzzles as a business.

To start with our business, we had many difficulties such as getting information, studying English and preparing documents for the Australian government and so on. The highest hurdle was permanent residency, of course. We had to gain permanent residency at any cost otherwise we were not able to start our business in Australia. We had been having days of trial and error. We had spent about five years to reach our aim. In this five years, lots of people helped us. I'm grateful for their cooperation.

Transformable Plyhedron - Juno's Spinner

We haven't even established our company in our home country, Japan. We had no idea what to do and decided to ask specialists; accountants. They had done a good job, they prepared the documents to establish our partnership business. We had done all the paperwork and we are finally standing at the starting line.

I had been aiming my target to start our business, but I'm going to change my goal from now on. Making good puzzles and making a living with it, that should be our new goal.

Transformable Plyhedron - Juno's Spinner

We are mainly going to make and sell our original puzzles but our first product is not a puzzle, it's a transformable polyhedron (dodecahedron model) which was invented by my husband in 1998. I think it takes some time to produce wooden puzzles. We intend to sell our originals, even if it is not a puzzle, like we are selling this time, it's OK. We want to produce originals.

Luckily, we have plenty of ideas. We would like to realise our ideas. That's our dream.

Juno's Spinner on eBay

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2016-08-24 04:01   Winter is almost over

Y (Kuma's owner)

It seems that winter is almost over. I like cool weather and I love winter but this winter was warm and I sometimes wore T-shirts. The guests from Japan were surprised that Queensland's winter was very warm. I think this year is an exception, we had a much cooler winter last year.

My husband and I chopped down two trees that were authorised as pest trees and we are keeping them for firewood, but there was not much chance to use them.

I'm disappointed that spring is coming. Usually, people would talk happily when they are talking about spring. Most people like spring, it's a season of flowers. I love flowers but I'm not happy that summer is coming.

My Malaysian friend said that Brisbane is hotter than Kuala Lumpur. I was very surprised to hear that. I simply believed that Kuala Lumpur is hotter than Brisbane because it's located near the equator.

flowers in winter

I think most Australians maybe don't know that Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is hotter than Brisbane. Tokyo is humid and makes us feel hotter. So, Tokyo is the hottest city in those three cities.

Well, if you would like to go to Japan, especially in the Tokyo area, I don't recommend you go there in summer. The other seasons are beautiful but not summer.

If I were rich, I would like to spend half my time in Australia and half in Japan.

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2016-08-22 04:45   All we need is at supermarkets

Y (Kuma's owner)

The busy and fun week has passed. My husband and I had two guests from Japan, my husband's mum and brother from last week to this week. This was the first visit to Australia for them. My husband's mum wanted to see her son, and the brother was just an attendant because he is an English teacher at a high school and can understand English.

At the beginning, we took them to one of the famous zoos in Queensland and they cuddled a koala there. There was a long queue at the place where there is koala cuddling. It was so crowded. I felt sorry for koalas. They spend about 17 hours for sleeping and spend rest of the time for eating. I don't know how much time they spend taking picture with tourists, I'm just anxious that they may have stress. Anyway, our two guests had a good time there and got pictures with koala.

My brother in law wanted to see and buy something that can be seen and bought only in Australia. This was a bit difficult. Well, he saw Kangaroos and Koalas, and my husband and I wondered where else we could take them to?

The next day, we took them to Tamborine Mountain which is near Gold Coast. There are lots of souvenir shops and cafes. He wanted to buy something with aboriginal art but it was hard to find. We barely found T-shirts with aboriginal art but the size of T-shirts were all too big and we couldn't buy it. In general, most clothes are too big for ordinary Japanese. I know my friend who is short always wears children's wear. Unfortunately, we found really good aboriginal design T-shirts but couldn't buy it.

Kangaroos at a zoo

I wanted to find a place where he would be able to enjoy Australia. How about national parks? No, no my mother in law was old and she was not able to walk long distance. Well, how about a shopping centre?

Then, we took them to a big shopping centre. It was a very fashionable area but not peculiar to Australia. He found an opal accessories shop there and bought some for his wife and his daughter. A shop assistant showed us a booklet with an Australia map. The map showed the area where opal can be mined. I asked a shop assistant that if I could dig in my backyard and get opals. He laughed and said "I'm sorry, the area you live has no opal."

I love a little chat like I had at the opal shop. It improves my English and is also fun. Australians are friendly and most shop attendants enjoy chatting with a sense of humor. I love it.

Oh, no, no. I had to entertain our guests, not me.

Then, we went to the local supermarket to buy food for dinner. What happened was our guests became excited to see products there. They bought lots of Tim Tams and cheese. One of the surprising things was that my brother in law said that he loved Vegemite and he bought it as his souvenir. I know that most foreigners don't like Vegemite due to that unique taste. I asked him "Are you sure that you like Vegemite?" He said he was sure. He was given a bin of vegemite as a souvenir before and he became a vegemite lover. This was the first time I met a foreigner who loves vegemite.

After that, we went to the local supermarket "Coles" two times and bought chocolate, ice cream, and sausages for BBQ. I didn't expect that my guests would love the local supermarket so much. They bought lots of souvenirs at the local supermarket, not at souvenir shops. Supermarkets have everything.

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2016-08-10 23:34   The new habit and the old habit

Y (Kuma's owner)

We all have habits. Some habits are related to cultural backgrounds or the environment. Since I moved to Australia, one of my habits has disappeared.

I had lived in Japan for a long time. As you know, there are many earthquakes in Japan. If I put something on the edge of the shelf, it might fall off when the earthquake happens. Therefore, I was getting a bit nervous to put things on the shelf, especially the shelf without any depth. I used to put breakable or delicate things towards the inside of the shelf just in case.

When the Fukushima disaster happened in 2011, the energy of the earthquake was massive and all my effort was helpless, but usually it's helpful for small earthquakes. After I moved to Australia, I still had this habit and I told myself "Don't worry, this area has no big earthquakes", and the habit of putting things towards the inside of the shelf gradually disappeared.

Then, I lost one habit and got a new one. The lawn sometimes gets wet with morning dew, so I wear rain boots in the morning. One day, I inserted my leg into the boot and touched something soft. It was a weird feeling.

"What did I touch?"

A toad in the watering can

It was a toad. I have no idea why he was there. The inside of the boots were not wet. I've been believing that frogs and toads love a place which is wet, don't they? Since then, I check the inside of the boots every morning. This became my habit.

However, I don't have to do this in winter because they are hibernating. I know that they are hibernating and still peep into the boots, you know a habit doesn't choose the season. Once it became a habit, I do it always. I think myself I'm stupid but that's the habit.

A frog

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2016-08-09 20:32   The guests from Japan

Y (Kuma's owner)

Australia is one of the most popular countries for Japanese tourists. The beautiful beaches, pretty Koalas, Kangaroos, unique scenery and friendly Aussies all attract Japanese people. There is not a big difference in time between Australia and Japan, and that makes people feel it is easy to come here.

This weekend, my husband's mum and brother are coming to Australia. I think my husband's mum wanted to see her son (my husband) and asked her the other son who teaches English at a high school to go with her. Isn't she lucky? She cannot speak English but she has got a nice interpreter.

I was wondering what she wants to see in Australia. Come to think of it, the first time I came to Australia, I wanted to see kangaroos and koalas. I think we have to go to a zoo.

Well, what else? She is staying for seven days. She is going to stay our house located in South East Queensland. There aren't many options because we live in a rural area which is far from the most popular sightseeing places.

Therefore, my husband and I plan to take them for a picnic at the local park. It's not exciting but she will be able to enjoy a relaxing time with wild birds as background music. I hope this holiday will become a memorable one for her.

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2016-08-08 00:21   Maybe it will be needed again

Y (Kuma's owner)

One day, I was watching a popular TV show and saw a girl who couldn't tidy her room. Everybody makes a mess but her room was beyond my imagination. It was as if a tornado had passed through it. I couldn't even see the floor, it was covered with rubbish. This was completely far from the level of most people's mess.

I have seen the same type of people in Japan on TV. People who cannot tidy their houses. Some of them throw the rubbish outside of the house and it becomes a serious issue for the neighbours. I heard that some of them suffer from Alzheimer's disease, that's why they can't be tidy. However, the girl on TV was a teenager and she was healthy. As I was watching the programme, I realised that she had got many clothes and shoes. Maybe she couldn't abandon the clothes she bought.

I have a similar feeling to her. It's quite difficult to throw meditative things away. Once I throw something away, it is impossible to get it back. I need courage to throw something away. Do you think I'm exaggerating? Of course, it depends on the things, but I need a strong will to throw something away.

I tend to think that someday it will be needed. Yes, maybe I will need it and if I throw it away, I will regret what I have done. This is my bad habitual way of thinking. A bad habit is hard to get rid of.

Honestly, in my experience the possibility of needing it in the future is very low. I know that.

I think many people have the same habit of keeping things that won't be used forever. I remember the story that my co-worker told me. She moved to a new apartment. Before she moved, she packed lots of her belongings into boxes. After she moved, she emptied the boxes but some boxes remained. Those boxes contained things that she didn't need soon. She said she was going to open those boxes later. After four or five years passed, she noticed that she still kept those boxes closed, which means she doesn't need the things in those boxes.

I cannot laugh at her. I do the same as she has done. The day that it will be needed usually doesn't come. Yes, I know it, I know it!

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2016-07-31 01:19   I love peanuts

Y (Kuma's owner)

There are many kinds of addictions; alcohol, cigarette, gambling and drag. My co-worker was addicted to Pachinko. Pachinko is a kind of pinball game and public gamble that is authorized by the Japanese government. He went to play Pachinko every day (he didn't go to work) and he was fired. As you see, these kind of addictions are very serious. I'm not addicted to these things but honestly I have one thing that I cannot stop. That is peanuts.

I know peanuts are not serious. Even if I ate too many peanuts, I would just put on weight. I haven't heard that people talk about peanut addiction seriously but I really think that peanuts are a highly addictive food. Once I start eating peanuts, I'm not able to stop it soon. What makes peanuts so addictive?

I love peanut butter as well. I eat peanut butter almost everyday. When I was in Japan, I always bought "Skippy Super Chunk", which was my favorite. After I moved to Australia, I buy Aussie peanut butter because there's no "Skippy" here.

My favorite Aussie Peanuts Butter

If I eat peanuts everyday, what would happen? Is it bad to eat peanuts everyday? Maybe it depends on the amount. At the moment, I'm healthy.

I admonish myself not buying peanuts when I go to a supermarket. I know where they are. They are placed just at a good height to get customers' attention. People who work for a supermarket are very clever. They know how to sell products. I can skip the lane where peanuts are, but they call me "Hey where are you going? Peanuts are here." Is this auditory hallucination?

I heard that somebody was saying peanuts are good for the health because they contain unsaturated fatty acid.

No, no please do not encourage me to eat peanuts!

I think every food has some kind of nutrition and is good for the health in some way, if we eat a proper quantity. Eating in moderation is important for all food and also difficult to fulfill.

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2016-07-23 22:14   Comfortable Season

Y (Kuma's owner)

It's a lovely day today. Yesterday and the day before yesterday were hot like summer. The temperature went up to 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 degrees Fahrenheit). I live in Australia and it is supposed to be winter now. Where has winter gone?

Sunflowers sprouted, birds came to our backyard to take a bath and I wanted to eat an ice candy.

sunrise colours

Then, today is not hot at all. The temperature in the early morning was 6 degrees Celsius (42.8 degrees Fahrenheit). It's almost like riding on a roller coaster, it suddenly went up and went down.

However, this is an exception. I think winter is the best season in Queensland. Usually, it's not so cold and not humid. To me there's another reason that I love winter. The reason is there is no chance to meet snakes.

I went to the local supermarket yesterday and saw people who wore various kinds of outfits. Some of them wore T-shirts like me, or some wore long-sleeved shirts. I also saw children who had bare feet.

I'm getting confused what season it is now?

Anyway, if you are planning to visit Queensland, I strongly recommend you to come in winter. It's a most comfortable season.

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2016-07-05 11:55   A Memorable Day

Y (Kuma's owner)

Today is a memorable day. A lawyer called me and said the application that my husband and I had sent for permanent residency was granted. It's finally granted!

I was so relieved to hear that news. That means my husband and I can stay in Australia and we are able to start our new puzzle business here.

I've been studying English and it worked for applying for permanent residency. I took an exam which is called IELTS. My result was not very good but good enough to get a discount of my visa application fee. (If you are not able to clear the lower score which the immigration office determined, you have to pay an extra fee.) There's four categories of IELTS, Listening, Writing, Speaking, and Reading. On my results, Speaking was the highest score. I think I've been trying to talk to people who I met at the local supermarket, local friends and the Red Cross where I was volunteering helped to improve my speaking skills. I really thank everyone.

Well, we have to get ready for our new life. The life we have been dreaming is coming.

I would like to say special thanks to my friends, Brian, Chatie, George, Jasmin, John, Matt, Ralf, Raza and Sue.

| | Category Misc.

2016-07-04 02:50   Sniff-sniff

Y (Kuma's owner)

I had been taking a medical check-up every year when I worked for a company in Japan. There were several tests I had to take and they were chest X-rays, a blood test, an eye test, an audiometer and so on. I don't know why but there's no olfactory test in the medical check-up program. If I had a chance to take an olfactory test, I think I would get a good result.

It's rare to become aware in daily life whether or not your sense of smell is good. One day, I was in the kitchen and I slightly smelled some LP gas. I called the gas company and a man came to check the gas facility. He had a special tool to check the gas, and the hand of the meter of the tool moved a little. That meant gas was leaking. I was asked "Did you smell that?" and I said yes. He said that a very small amount of gas was leaking and he was amazed that I could smell it.

The other day, I was at the office where I worked. I belonged to the accounting section and the next room was a laboratory. I sometimes walked around the company for paying business trip expenses. When I entered the laboratory, I smelled a different smell from usual. I told a man in the laboratory that today's smell was different and he said he had overheated a chemical substance. He said he couldn't tell the difference of the smell.

Since these things have happened, I realised that my sense of smell seemed to be keen.

My eyes are nearsighted. I always wanted to have good eyes, eyes that don't need glasses. If I had good eyes instead of a good sense of smell, it would have been more convenient, I guess.

I know I cannot change the abilities of my eyes and nose. All right, I'll try to think positively. If I didn't have a good nose, I wouldn't have noticed the gas leaking. I think having a good sense of smell helps avoid danger.

I also had an interesting experience at my work. I worked for an American company that often had guests from overseas. One day, I needed to find Mr Ramos. He was a big guy and I thought I could find him easily but I couldn't. I asked my colleagues where he was but nobody knew. I was wondering how to find him, and suddenly I got it! Mr Ramos used pomade which had a strong smell. I walked around inside the company and my nose caught the smell of pomade. I followed the smell and finally I found him! It was like having a police dog. If I were a dog, I'm sure I would have succeeded on the job.

Now I think it's nice to have a good nose. I can catch the slight smell of flowers. It's my little happiness in my daily life.

Sweet Alyssum and Viola

| | Category Misc.

2016-06-30 22:21   It's already July

Y (Kuma's owner)

The first time I heard the English expression "Time Flies", though I had never heard this expression before, I could easily understood the meaning. Today is 1st of July. That means half of 2016 has already passed. Unbelievably fast. How did time go so fast?

What if time passes fast only at night? Thinking this way pressed my switch of delusion. I guessed that dwarfs came out from somewhere and climbed a clock. Then they move the hands of the clock, and that's the reason time passes fast.

Well, I think I have seen too many Disney movies. This idea is not scientific at all. I recalled the memory that I had read a book long ago which was written "Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute." This was Albert Einstein's words. Mostly scientists talk about difficult things but I think these words are very plain.

So, applying Mr Einstein's words, the first half of this year should have been good. If I felt it's not good, I should have felt the time went by slow.

Well, I'm losing what I was going to say. To cut a long story short, I wanted to say the first half of this year was good and I hope the rest of this year would be fine too.

| | Category Misc.

2016-06-30 05:01   Wooden Clock Project

Y (Kuma's owner)

I have decided to take up the challenge to make a wooden clock. I know it's not easy. I haven't even made boxes made of wood. I'm a beginner of woodworking. The prop is my husband. He is very good at woodworking.

I bought a book of wooden clocks and had chosen one of the easiest clock that I thought. I checked the materials that I had to buy. Some of them were unfamiliar materials and I couldn't guess what they looked like. I looked for the images through the internet and gradually understood. It's always hard to take a first step in an unfamiliar world. The measurements in the book I bought are basically in inches. That made me more confused.

I asked help from my husband and ordered some materials from the internet online shops. Well, everything that I can do was done. Before I receive all the materials, I would like to change the design of the clock face. It's fun work for me. However, the other work seems to be hard. I think it will take at least three months to complete. My long project has just started.

| | Category Misc.

2016-06-28 00:45   My bad habits 2

Y (Kuma's owner)

I've been keeping writing this journal about six months. The reason for keeping writing is simple. I would like to write in English well. English is a completely different language from Japanese, that's why it's difficult for me to learn.

I remember when I met my friend's wife, she couldn't speak English at all. She is Dutch and one or two years later, I met her again and realised that she could speak English fluently. That made me very surprised and I heard that for example in Dutch "cat" is "kat". Wow, that's similar to English! I was a bit jealous.

English became the world's most widely spoken language and unfortunately it's a far cry from Japanese. Well, never mind. My Aussie friend told me that it's good exercise for the brain to learn different languages. All right, I'm exercising while I'm writing.

But Because

Then, I've noticed some issues with my writing. I have bad habits using the same words often. The words are "but" and "because". I have no idea how to solve the issue. Maybe I should read more books.

The one reason that I can think of is I don't have much vocabulary. If I know other expressions, I can use them. Therefore, I try to use a synonym dictionary.

This is all for today's writing and I didn't use "but" and "because" today. Yay!

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2016-06-27 08:24   Looking tropical but cold

Y (Kuma's owner)

Last week, the British Pound slammed down due to the results of the UK leaving the European Union and the temperature around here was almost like the curving line of the graph of the British Pound. It dropped suddenly!

I live in a subtropical area. It sounds warm, doesn't it? However, it's cold in winter. The scenery looks very tropical. I can see several palm trees and bright yellow Oncidium is blooming. In the veggie patch, there are still tomatoes. If I take a picture of my yard, people would think it's taken in summer or spring.

palm trees

Some of my local friends made me surprised because they said that they don't have any heating appliances at home. Wow, They have strong tolerance!

Yesterday's lowest temperature in my town was 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Even in the same town, the temperature is a bit different. It depends on the geographical features.


Luckily, my area is not so cold but I still need a heating appliance. Therefore, my daily work in winter is picking branches. Eucalyptus contains oil and it burns very well. It's a kill two birds with one stone job. I can clean up the yard and I can use branches as fuel.

I think this winter is colder than last year. I have to pick a lot of branches.

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2016-06-23 00:43   Making Bread Miniatures

Y (Kuma's owner)

I love miniatures. There are lots of types of miniatures, like cars, dolls, trains, houses and so on. I would like to make houses, furniture or anything that I can make but it's impossible to make all of them so I have chosen four things. Miniature bags, food, books and houses.

As I wrote before, I made miniature tote bags. The reason I had chosen making miniature bags was I had material and tools, like a sewing machine. I had enjoyed making miniature bags enough, so I wanted to make other miniatures.

One day I saw a fantastic book on Amazon. The book was written by Mayu Sekiguchi. The pictures of miniature breads look real. Once I saw the book, I couldn't wait to make miniature breads. The book I bought was sent from Japan. I was so excited but I found out that some materials were unable to get in Australia. The clay to make miniatures seem to be specific one. The author use the polymer clay "MODENA" and I decided to use the same one. I looked for "MODENA" but I couldn't find any in Australia, therefore I bought it from Japan. Yes, as you can imagine, I spent a lot on postage.

Other materials that I bought were a couple of acrylic paints, a tool to measure quantity of the clay (I don't know the name of this tool), colour clay, "Dessert Topping Master" (Artificial sugar for crafts) and "Deco Sauce" (Artificial sauce for crafts). I was amazed that there are so many materials for making miniatures.

Acrylic paints and Artificial sugar for craftstools

When I received a parcel from Japan, I was so excited. I had read the instructions in the book very carefully and had chosen some breads to make.

It had been such a long time since I used clay. I liked making animals by clay when I was small but I haven't even touched clay since then. I hoped I could make miniature breads well.

At first, I made a loaf of bread, because I thought it looked simple and it was easier than others. Well, I think my guessing was wrong. It wasn't so easy to me. I made three balls of clay and had to combine with them and make the shape of a loaf, but I couldn't combine and make a good shape of a loaf bread.

miniature loaf breads and hot dog buns

Then I tried to make buns. Buns weren't so difficult to shape, but it's difficult to cut in half. Almost every time, I made buns deformed. When I cut a bun, I pushed a bun with the cutter and made bun's one side flat. Then I thought I had to wait until the clay could stiffen. And, maybe as you are already guessing, I waited too long, and the clay became hard and I couldn't cut it in half. Bugger! ("Bugger" is an Aussie English word and this seems to not be bad slang because TV programs that are broadcasted on prime-time television used this word.)

miniature loaf breads and hot dogs

After that, I made hot dog buns, lettuce, sausages. I wanted to make hot dogs and I made them 90 per cent. The rest 10 percent was tomato sauce. I didn't expect that the tomato sauce was going to be difficult to make. The tomato sauce I made was watery. I wanted to make it more thick but still didn't succeed. The breads I had made were not so bad, but not very good. I was a bit disappointed. I wanted to make miniature breads that looked real.

I pulled myself together and started making miniature breads again last night. I made baguettes and croissants. They looked better than the others. Phew! I coated them with four acrylic colours very carefully. I looked at pictures on Google images and tried to make them look real. To paint burnt colour is essential. Uneven colour makes croissants' burnt parts look real. Hehe, I'm good at painting uneven. Easy, easy.

Finally, I made breads that I can be satisfied with...well satisfied with 80 percent. This was my first try of making miniature breads. Next time, I will improve some points that I couldn't be satisfied with this time.

baguettes and croissants

| | Category Misc.

2016-06-09 00:44   A gingerbread which deviated from the norm

Y (Kuma's owner)

Everybody is individual and different. I believe that the differences make this world attractive. Conversely, if we are all same, as if we were like cookie dough from a cookie cutter, this would be unattractive. We are not gingerbread which has the same ingredients and shape.

I sometimes think of myself as a gingerbread woman which deviated from the norm.

Since I was small, I have been thinking of my differences from other girls. I was a girl who loved brick toys. I had lots of stuffed toy animals and trains too, but I definitely loved brick toys or toys with which I could make three-dimensional forms, and origami is one of them.

I remember when I was seven or eight years old, a woman gave me a colouring book. There were many pretty pictures in it. A boy was given a book that had printed patterns showing how to assemble a three-dimensional car. I was disappointed because I wanted the book that the boy was given. I wondered why adults assumed what I liked?

When I was a junior high school student, there were parents and teachers who still had old fashioned ideas. One day, I took a class about the Japanese constitution. The teacher asked the students, "Can you think of any unconstitutionality in your life?"

When I heard the question, one thing came to mind. At that time, the girls had to take a homemaking course (such as sewing and cooking) and the boys had to take a skill course (such as woodwork). I saw the boys carrying a small bookshelf at school. That bookshelf caught my eye because I was interested in woodwork. "Did they make that bookshelf at school? I want to make it too!"

Then I said to the teacher, "There are two different courses of homemaking and skill, I think this is an unconstitutionality. I think there must have been some girls who want to make a bookshelf (I was talking about myself) or some boys who want to learn cooking. We should all have a chance to learn both courses." What happened after I finished my talking was lots of laughter. My classmates laughed at me, even the teacher laughed. However, boys and girls in Japan all learn both homemaking and skills at school now. See, I was right! I did not have an insight, I just wanted to do what I was interested in, that was the reason I noticed that unconstitutionality.

And now, a girl who loved brick toys and wanted to make a bookshelf at school still loves bricks, which are called puzzles. I have attended the monthly gathering of the Academy of Recreational Mathematics, Japan (ARM, Japan) a few times. Well, I hadn't realised the gathering's English name. It sounds very academic, doesn't it? Actually, it is a kind of friendship club for puzzle lovers. ARM Japan seems to have about 180 members but I have only met three or four women there. As you see, the members were predominantly men. One of them asked me why I like puzzles. He is a professor, and he said that every year he meets new students and asks if anyone is interested in puzzles but he hasn't met one. No wonder I haven't met women who love puzzles before.

Long ago, a dancing sunflower doll became very popular. When my girl friends saw it, they said "How pretty!". Yes, I agree, it was pretty. However, I was thinking about its internal mechanism. "How does it work?"

My friends are not interested in mechanisms, so if I talk about mechanisms, I would make my friends bored. As you see, I am the type of person who loves to go to hardware shops rather than boutiques.

When I see people, especially women enjoy chatting, they look so happy to me. I am jealous of them. I have not had much chance to talk with women about what I am really interested in. If I have common hobbies or interests, I could have women friends who can enjoy the same topic. Luckily, my husband has the same interests as mine so I talk with my husband about puzzles, science and woodwork.

I hate labeling people, because I was labeled wrongly by school teachers and adults around me when I was a kid. I want them to know that not every girl loves the colour pink, cooking or whatever. Everybody has different tastes and interests. It is not right or wrong.

And then, one question remains. This question is related to my problem.

As an obvious fact, there are some differences between men and women. For instance, when I go to a hardware shop which sells woodworking tools, I rarely see women there. I would like to know why there is a large difference in the gender of the customers depending on the shops? Why have I not met many women at the puzzle gathering? I would like to ask a brain scientist about why.

Well, I know it is pointless complaining about the differences. This is my brain. All right, I am going to try something my brain is good at. I could notice that the two courses of homemaking and skill were unconstitutional because I had a different point of view. I believe if I do not belong to the majority, there is another chance for me to think of new ideas that other people do not think of. Perhaps, a gingerbread which deviated from the norm can do something unique... I hope.

| | Category Misc.

2016-05-27 09:29   Kikkoman, you are here!

Y (Kuma's owner)

The first time when I visited Australia, Japanese food was not common at all. Sometimes, I felt like eating Japanese food but I couldn't eat it because most Japanese restaurants were expensive. I remember there had been several Japanese restaurants in Sydney. The regular customers were Japanese business people.

I still had those memories when I came here about five years ago. So, I thought Australians don't eat Japanese food.

However, I was wrong. There are a lot of Sushi Bars everywhere. I'm not exaggerating, it's true. Every shopping centre has at least one Sushi bar, some have two. What a surprise!

What happened in Australia?

One day, I went to a local supermarket. I got vegetables, meat and then I looked for soy sauce, but I didn't expect a local supermarket to sell it.

I thought that if they sell it, it would be in the international food corner. Then, I followed the sign and found the corner. Hm, there's no soy sauce. I didn't expect it but still I was disappointed.

I was beginning to give up to buy soy sauce and kept walking inside of the shop. When I approached the sauce corner, I found it! I found Kikkoman there! This was my second surprise.

I wonder how people get used to unfamiliar food? What would the first opportunity to eat Sushi be? Did they get used to Sushi first or taste of Soy Sauce first?

Whatever the reason, I'm happy that I could buy Kikkoman everywhere.

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2016-05-25 05:06   Pavlova, My favorite Aussie and Kiwi cake

Y (Kuma's owner)

Last week, I bought a small Pavlova at a super market. Pavlova is a common cake in Australia and New Zealand. It's a meringue cake with fruit toppings.

I usually don't eat cakes except chocolate cakes. I'm a chocolate lover, so I eat chocolate cakes but not often. The reason I don't like cakes is most cakes are too sweet to me. I wonder if my tongue is sensitive to the sweetness?
In addition, I don't like spongy textures very much.

However, Pavlova is an exception. It's made by meringue and it's not heavy. I like the edge of meringue most because it's crispy. Even if the base of meringue is a little sweet, the fruit topping is sour and has a refreshing flavor.

My only concern is, it's difficult to cut and put Pavlova on a plate. You know, it's made by meringue, the base of Pavlova is very soft and light but toppings have some weight. Every time I serve Pavlova, it collapses and looks miserable.
Well, I don't mind. However it looks, the taste is great.

I heard that Pavlova is named after a Russian, Anna Pavlova. Why is it not an Australian or New Zealander? This is a bit strange.

When I was in Japan, I have never heard the name of Pavlova. I think Japanese would like it.

I'll have guests from Japan in August and I'm going to buy a Pavlova for them.

I hope they will like it.

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2016-05-19 06:30   Something cold on my face!

Y (Kuma's owner)

Well, I cannot think of a good subject for my journal. Usually, the subject of my journal is a recent topic, but the meaning of this journal existence is for improving my writing skill, so I think it's O.K. to write about something I experienced long ago.

I am going to write about my most fearful experience. If you are the type of person who is easily frightened, please do not read this story, hehe.

It happened when I was 10 or 11 years old. I lived on the fourth floor of a building that has five-stories, near Tokyo, with my parents. My room was very small but I liked it because the view from the window was spectacular.

One day, I went to bed as usual. It was an ordinary night. I slept about a few hours, and woke up because something heavy was on my face! I remember that the outside was still dark, so maybe it was 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning.

I had a hamster when I was younger. One night he sneaked out of his plastic house and walked on my face. But he already died, it wasn't him. "What's this?" I caught it unintentionally. It was heavy and as cold as a dead body! Oh, no!

In movies, a heroine or hero screams at the critical moment. I think they are brave. I couldn't do it. I even couldn't scream.

That mysterious thing was still on my face and I grasped it. It was like a thick branch but soft. I moved my hand and touched it. It became gradually thicker. It bent on the way and I kept moving and touching by my right hand to find out what it was. And ... I touched my left shoulder! That mysterious thing was connected to my shoulder!

Yes, it was my left arm! I understood that my left hand was on my face!

I got up and made sure, yes it was mine! My left arm was numb. I was an untidy sleeper, I think my left arm was under my body and was paralyzed. That was why I couldn't feel anything when I was touching with my right hand. If I was left handed, I would have noticed quicker.

I was so relieved. It wasn't a dead body or zombie.

This is a true story that happened to me.

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2016-04-30 02:08   Making miniatures

Y (Kuma's owner)

Did you like paper crafts when you were small? I did. It depends on the person, but to me the things I loved in childhood, I love well in adulthood.

I loved to play with blocks, and I still play with blocks named wooden puzzles. I liked collecting small things, and I like miniatures now.

When I was 15 years old, I made a miniature house to look the same as the house I had lived in. It was so fun to make a small house. I measured the length of the house I lived, and tried to make it as accurately as I possibly could. At that time, the house I made was not good at all. I was not good at making that kind of thing and also there were no good materials. Since then, I've been thinking that maybe I could make it more genuine.

One day, I suddenly wanted to make miniatures again. Not just small, something realistic. I looked around my room to see what I had. I had some fabric, thread and a sewing machine. Hmm, what can I make using these? Then the idea that came to mind was a miniature tote bag. I made some tote bags before, not miniatures, real bags for my use. The experience pushed me and I thought "Maybe I can make it."

a miniature bag

I was particular about making them realistic, I didn't want to make miniatures that didn't have function like a real one. I saw some miniature bags on the internet, but some of them have pockets that just had a small, stitched rectangular fabric, it's an applique not a pocket.

Checking through the internet, I found dollhouses. There seems to be regulations, it's 1/12 scale. A twelfth part is really small. In conformity to the world wide regulation, I wanted to make 1/12 scale bags but I didn't think I could make a miniature bag that has the same function as a real bag. I couldn't change my convictions, so I decided to make bags of my favorite size. First I was thinking 1/10 size. It was still too small and changing the size little by little and decided to use 1/6 scale. This scale was the smallest size that is barely possible that I can make bags with usable function. Coincidentally, this size was just the right size for dolls.

a miniature bag

I have started making miniature bags and have made a lot. All bags are made using the same method of making real bags. Please don't ask me why I made so many miniature bags. I just can say because it's fun.

Then what I'm thinking now is making miniature books. Yes, I'm going to make (I would like to use the word "publish" if I could) my own miniature books! And further step is, I think you already can guess, making a small bookshelf.

Having a big dream with less materials is very convenient, I only need to have a big box because they are all small.

a miniature bag

| | Category Misc.

2016-04-25 02:16   A happy lizard

Y (Kuma's owner)

I went to a zoo, Ipswich Nature Centre this weekend. It's a cozy place and good for a family with kids. There are indigenous species; Kangaroos, Wallabies, and Bilbies. Oops, I picked up only the animals that look pretty. I should not forget the other native animals from Australia, that are reptiles.

I don't know about other countries, but Japanese people would imagine pretty marsupials when they hear the word "Australia". Undoubtedly, marsupials are adorable.

Long ago when I went to Northern Territory, a tour guide said that Australia is famous as the country of marsupials, but actually there are many reptiles. And he added that if we talk too much about reptiles, nobody would come to Australia, so we put cute marsupials like Koalas on an advertisement.

I think that it is interesting that most people who even have a different culture or background don't think reptiles are pretty. I wonder is that because of their appearances?

Honestly, I prefer mammals and marsupials over reptiles, but I felt a bit differently this weekend. I thought a big lizard was pretty. Please take a look at the picture below. I saw a big lizard that was taking a nap leaning against the glass. I'm a little disappointed that I couldn't take a picture of him/her as well as I saw. The eyes looked happy and its mouth seemed to smile. How cute! I have never thought that a lizard is pretty.

It was a nice day seeing a happy lizard.

a Lizard

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2016-04-22 01:30   English blogs

Y (Kuma's owner)

I started my blog in January this year. I had been thinking of writing a blog in English, but couldn't start last year because I didn't think I could do it. I thought I would lose interest soon.

Contrary to my expectation, I have been writing my blog for about four months. I think I have been doing well. No, no wait! Keeping a blog in English is not my target. The goal I am aiming for is to be able to write in English without making mistakes and to write good English.

There is no doubt that writing English is good for improving English skills. However, I think I need to read someone else's blog, someone who is a native English speaker. Native English speakers know lots of expressions so I am able to learn from them. That it would be a great help. All right, let's find some English blogs!

There are an enormous amount of blogs on the Internet. I wanted to read someone's blog who lives near to the area where I live, but I couldn't find any at all. So, I tried to find blogs about the same topics that I'm interested in. I found some blogs about cats, gardening, puzzles and Australia. I saved some of them in my favorites folder on the browser I use. Alright, I'm ready!

I promised myself I will read one or two English blogs everyday, starting from today.

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2016-04-20 22:53   Jasper Jones

Y (Kuma's owner)

I think that anyone has favorite books. One of my favorite books is "Jasper Jones" written by Craig Silvey. The reason I read this book was because I wanted to read an Australian author's books. I didn't have any idea about Australian books, so I searched for books through the internet, and found a book which has a good reputation.

Jasper Jones

It is a story of a remote area in Australia during the Vietnam War. The leading characters are Charlie Bucktin, a boy who loves reading and Jasper Jones who is believed to be a trouble maker. Before I started to read, I expected that the story was a kind of mystery, but it was not so simple. From the beginning, I was absorbed in reading. I'm not going to write the details of the story in case you read it.

I heard that this story was going to be a movie.

Usually, I don't expect much from movies when I had read the original books because some movies dramatized the stories a little bit, and that made me feel something was wrong.

However, there are some movies that didn't disappoint my expectations. For instance, an old movie "Gone with the Wind" was really good. I had read the original book before I saw the movie, but the movie was also good.

I don't know why but I think the movie "Jasper Jones" would be a good one.

I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

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2016-04-20 09:30   Humanity and robots

Y (Kuma's owner)

I think most people love movies. I love movies too. My favorites are heart-warming, funny movies like comedy, and science fiction.

I have been trying to see movies a lot because it's good for improving hearing in English, and also most DVDs have subtitles, which is very convenient for me. Even if I can't catch the words, I can understand what is being said by reading the subtitles.

However, I have an issue that it is quite difficult to understand the jokes in comedies. I need to know the background of the society or country where the movie has been made, otherwise there's nothing funny. Another reason for difficulties with comedies is the slang words. I didn't learn slang words at school. One of the few comedies that I could understand was "Back to the future". Therefore, to me SF movies are much easier than comedies.

My recent favorite SF movie is definitely "Interstellar". There are so many SF movies with beautiful 3D graphics. I love them too, but sometimes I feel a bit disgusted by the design that is conscious of the near future.

One of the reasons I like "Interstellar" is the shape of robots. The robots in the movie, TARS and CASE are not humanoid type of robots, they are just boxes. Yes, they really are! Maybe I have seen so many humanoid robots in movies and got tired of them.

I can understand that it's fun to see humanoids. Their bodies are similar to ours and we can feel familiar with them, but still I prefer TARS and CASE. If robots can move in any way, by wheels or caterpillars, I think that's enough. There's no need for them to be humanoids. To me, having a head, eyes, and even a mouth are extra parts.

Another reason I like "Interstellar" is that TARS and CASE have a sense of humor. Despite their mechanical looks, they can make jokes. That makes me feel that they are more human than humanoid robots.

If I could have a robot, I would choose the one that has a sense of humor set to 70%*, rather than a humanoid. Let me see, 50% is good enough at the moment, maybe.

*In the movie, the robots can be set to have a sense of humor of any percentage.

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2016-03-11 03:49   The day my life has changed

Y (Kuma's owner)

Five years ago today, I was in Japan. I was an Adobe Flash creator, mainly making online games, but I didn't have a job on that day and I was relaxing with my four cats without knowing what would happen. My husband was also at home and he was working.

It was before 3 p.m.; the massive earthquake struck us. I was in the living room and quickly held on to the water tank of tropical fish with my hands. The water splashed everywhere, my four cats lost countenance and walked around the living room. My house was shaking unbelievably. I hoped it would stop soon, but it didn't. I felt it lasted so long, and it was really long. It went on for more than 200 seconds. The time of shaking was 7 to 10 times longer than the Great Hanshin Earthquake and the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake.

I thought that that day might be the last day of my life.

After the shaking stopped, my husband turned on the TV and we were waiting for the latest news coming in. I checked around inside the house' the water tank lost some water but it was OK, and the fish looked scared. The living room floor was wet with sprinkled water from the tank. The books fell onto the floor, and the kitchen shelf doors were all locked automatically. (Japan has many earthquakes and some daily necessities have a special function corresponding to earthquakes. For example, heaters have to have the function that extinguishes the flame when earthquakes occur. This is decided by law.)

I could see the people on TV were all in utter confusion. All the TV stations changed their program to the news. After a while, I realised what happened. The epicentre was offshore of Fukushima Pref. I sent some text to my friends and made sure they were all right. Then I went outside. There were neighbors on the street. They found that there was a gap of about 1 to 2 cm between the boundary of the public street and our sites which were flat before the earthquake. Unbelievably, the massive energy made the ground rise up. We lived roughly about 400 km from the epicentre. If we lived near the epicentre how much damage would we get?

I went back to the living room to hear about the damage on the TV. I don't remember when I heard the news about the Fukushima nuclear reactors. I just remember that I thought the awful thing had started. We had a guideline book for nuclear accidents and we knew what to do. We stopped the ventilator and closed all the windows. Sometimes, we talked with our neighbor about the direction of the wind because we thought that winds might contain radio activity.

As time passed, people knew the details of damages including the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. That news of the nuclear reactor left us uneasy, very uneasy. That was not only the news that made us feel uneasy, we saw the scene of the damage to the town in Fukushima. It was an awful disaster. Many people died, and of course domestic animals and wild animals died as well. The beautiful scenery has gone and almost everything around Fukushima was devastated. It was very sad.

I suddenly recalled the memory that I had read "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery when I was small. There was a phrase ""The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched." This story tells something good or beautiful, but I thought the opposite. The most dangerous things cannot be seen, touched, tasted or smelt. You know what I mean. I was worrying about cesium, strontium, plutonium and so on. We didn't know what was going on inside the reactor, and five years past, we still don't know what is going on now accurately.

Pandora's box has opened.

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2016-03-09 09:18   It's a mozzy season

Y (Kuma's owner)

It is March, the month between summer and autumn. People say that March is autumn, but to me who grew up in Japan, it is still summer. The maximum temperature goes to around 30 degrees Celsius, and once I go outside, mosquitoes (Australian call them mozzies) follow me around.

In the middle of summer, we rarely see mosquitoes. I don't know why. Is it too hot for them?

From this season, I will have to be careful because of little vampires hanging around outside. They creep up silently and suck blood. I noticed that Australian mosquitoes are like a Ninja. They don't make noise. Japanese mosquitoes (not all mosquitoes) make noise like "Here I come." They are kind, aren't they?

My female cat likes to chase insects. I want her to get mosquitoes but she is not interested in them. Why not? Maybe she would say it is too small.

One day, I was watching a TV program, and saw a chameleon. They are experts in catching insects. I wish they could stay here and eat mosquitoes. Wait, do they eat mosquitoes? Maybe not.

I have a reason for hating mosquitoes. They love me, they really do. I don't know why. Long ago, I was on a camping tour and went to Northern Territory, Australia. It was a wonderful experience. I encountered lots of wild animals, of course including mosquitoes. Most tour members were Australian, some New Zealanders, and me, Japanese. The tour members were all bitten by mosquitoes but I was bitten the most. I heard that someone who drinks alcohol easily gets bitten by mosquitoes, but I didn't drink alcohol during the tour at all.

The guide said jokingly "Mozzies get tired of Aussie blood taste." He also said that he had guided Australian and Swiss tourists before, and Swiss tourists got lots of bites.

It does not happen only in Australia. I have heard that Sumo wrestlers who came from outside Japan got lots of mosquito bites.

I don't know for certain whether it is true or not. I would like to ask mosquitoes the reason. Is there a scientist who researches the reason that foreigner attract mosquitoes?

One biologist says that there are some blood types that mosquitoes like. Does it mean they can tell the difference of blood type without sucking blood? I have lots of questions about mosquitoes. Please do not take me wrong, I don't like mosquitoes. Oh, here she comes again.


There are so many mysteries and so many mosquito bite scars remain.

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2016-01-14 08:10   T.Rex Jr.

Y (Kuma's owner)

There are various types of animals that come to my yard. Mostly they are some kinds of birds or marsupials. The reason I wrote "Mostly" is because another type of creature is also coming, reptiles.

The poisonous snakes are one of the dangerous species in Australia, but luckily the reptiles that come to my yard aren't snakes. They are Bearded Dragons. The size isn't so big, between 30 to 40cm from the tip of nose to the tip of the tail. To me, before coming to Australia, a lizard whose size was more than 30cm was big enough, but I got used to the bigger size lizards now.

My friend sees Goannas that grow up to 2.5m in the back yard. Comparing with a Goanna, Bearded Dragon are much smaller and cuter. I gave them a nickname " T. Rex Jr.".

T. Rex Jr. is mild-mannered and has no wariness. Even if I walk in front of him, he doesn't care. My neighbour said they eat fruits from hands. It was surprising because the impression of their stern face and eating fruits doesn't match. On cold days of winter, they enjoy sunbathing. They are as still as ornaments. I sometimes see them on the driveway when I come home. Even though the car comes in front of him, he doesn't move. So, I get out of the car and say "Excuse me, Mr T.Rex Jr., would you move, please?"

He is tough-looking but peaceful. I love the gap between his looks and characteristics.

Eastern bearded dragon

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2016-01-08 02:20   My bad habit

Y (Kuma's owner)

I know I have a bad habit to use the same word frequently.

It's a "so".

This word is very convenient and addictive. I quite often say "It's so nice!". Maybe I should change the word to "It's very nice!". I can also use this word in the beginning of sentences.

I wondered why I use "so" again and again?

One of the reasons is there is exactly the same word in my mother tongue, Japanese. What a coincidence! I think that's why I tend to use "so" many times.

I am not a native speaker of English, but how about native English speakers? I have searched the word "so" and "sentences" through the internet and found an interesting article.

The CEO of Facebook notoriously uses "so" to start sentences.

Oh, I found a company!

But why? He has grown up in the English world, hasn't he? I don't have enough vocabulary, I don't know other words that can be used instead of "so" but I'm sure he does.

The word "so" must be a magic word, which makes people become absorbed.

I have decided not to use this word often. Even if it is an attractive word, I have to resist it. And I've got a good idea! I looked up the word in a synonym dictionary. I found several words which have nearly the same meaning of "so". If I could remember these words, my writing will be better than before, I guess.

That would be so nice! Oops!

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2016-01-02 02:10   Aussie English

Y (Kuma's owner)

It was a long time ago when I first arrived in Australia.

I had studied a little about Aussie English before I came and I thought I was well-prepared.

However, after I arrived in Sydney I keenly realised the difficulty of accent. I had enrolled in an English school. On the first day, a teacher said to us "G'day!", but to me it sounded like "Get die" . I was surprised from the start.

Fortunately, the family I was staying with spoke very clear English like English teaching materials. As I had been getting used to the teacher's accent, it made it much easier to understand other people's pronunciation.

But there were other hurdles ahead I had to jump.

Japanese learn American English at school. As you know, American English and British English are different. One day when I was walking on the street, a car came and stopped beside me. There were two ladies in the car and one of them spoke to me.

"Do you wanna lift?"

Suddenly, my head was filled with question marks. Yes, I had studied the word "lift". I knew lift means elevator but I was on the street! I thought that lady might be a strange person. She didn't look like it but maybe she was. I said "No, thank you." politely and they went. After that, I talked about what I experienced to the family where I was staying. They said a lift means a car ride.

Aussie English was not built in a day.

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