Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Swallows 6 -- Giants 4

We won! We finally won! I screamed my lungs off, and we held on for the win. It was a bit of a home run derby there for a while! I think four of our guys hit one yard today.

I've decided to stop yelling so much at Petagine when he comes to the plate. He still feels too much at home when he visits Jingu, and he regualarly hits one out of the park. I yelled several impolite things at him on Saturday, and as usual he parked one in right center. On Sunday I kept my mouth shut, and he didn't have that much impact on the game. I will test this theory further and report back.

Aside from Uehara, the Giants' bullpen is pretty thin. They've got a bunch of goofy guys in their who aren't nearly as effective as their salaries suggest they should be. Not that I'm complaining or anything...


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Saturday, June 26, 2004

Swallows 2 -- Giants 8

It happened again. The Swallows beat the crap out of the Giants last night, but we got blown out this evening. I still have yet to witness a game where the monopoly is cut down. They threw Uehara at us tonight, so that didn't help. And Billy Martin helped a few runs come around with his less than stellar work in right. To his credit, he did have a couple of base hits, but then he whiffed with two men in scoring position during the middle innings.

I'm going back for more tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will hold, and I'll get to see the Swallows beat them with my own two eyes. One question...has anyone in this country ever heard of a salary cap?


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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Sunburns

Just received my second burn in one week. All it takes is a half hour under the sun, and I'm bright pink. The temperature is confidently above 30 degrees centigrade these days, and I think it's about to get worse. We've got the door open, and the fan pulling cool nighttime air in, but it's not doing much. It's still 29.5 degrees in here next to the computer.

The air conditioning nazis on the second floor at work won't relinquish their control of the AC on our floor. They keep a slow trickle of chill coming out of the vents, and it does nothing to cool the rooms that we're in on the fourth floor. They sit at desks all day, so they're apparently just fine. I would really love for one of them to come upstairs and teach a class in that heat. The students are dying as well! Apparently they're trying to conserve resources. There aren't any hand dryers in the bathrooms either. Towels? Yeah, right. They're probably planning to ration toilet paper next.

SPF 20 sunblock isn't enough to prevent the sun from having a BBQ on my body. I need nerd-care, SPF 40, I guess.


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Sunday, June 20, 2004


Lake Sai. Summer, 2003. Miyu and her father, Masaki. This house was designed by Uncle Yasu. It's beautiful! Posted by Hello


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Rash of Photos

I just felt like posting a bunch of pics from the past 12 months, so it now takes twice as long to scroll down to the bottom. I wish there were some other way to organize photos on here. There probably is, but it would most likely take too long to figure out how to do it.

I'll be doing more mass-postings of photos in the near future. It's so easy to do, so I might as well...


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Trip to Itou. April, 2004. In search of food, we find a creature who was also on the hunt. Posted by Hello


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Trip to Itou. April, 2004. Back at the hotel, watching the game. Chunichi vs. Yomiuri. I'm visibly bummed because it looks like the Giants are going to win. Little did I know that Alex Ochoa was about to ruin Yomiuri's night with a 9th-inning dinger. Posted by Hello


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Trip to Itou. April, 2004. Kelly goofing around under a Cherry tree. Posted by Hello


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Trip to Itou. April, 2004. Cherry trees, clean water and no people near our hotel (Harvest Club). Posted by Hello


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Trip to Itou. April, 2004. Kelly standing on a bridge that sways in the wind. Pacific Ocean on the left. Posted by Hello


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Summer Festival: Seibuyagisawa Station


July 24, 2003. Festival day near Seibu-Yagisawa station. Chris and Kelly. Posted by Hello


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Christmas, 2003. This is the second stocking Kelly's seen in two days. Posted by Hello


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Christmas, 2003. Scott is hot. Posted by Hello


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Christmas, 2003. It was cold when we went home. Kelly was not impressed. Posted by Hello


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This is George. Posted by Hello


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Ally Rood, myself, Mama Brisson, Dan and I checking in with Jesse via landline connection. We're all excited because we just saw pictures of Jesse and Zita's new house down in Florida. Posted by Hello


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Christmas, 2003. Kate and Aaron. Posted by Hello


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Christmas, 2003. Grandma and Grandpa. Two of the warmest and best people I know. Posted by Hello


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Christmas, 2003. Granny and Popsie. Two of the warmest and best people I know. Posted by Hello


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Christmas, 2003. The family. Kate, Dad, Mom, Scott and I. Posted by Hello


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My sister Kate and I at her friend Adam's birthday party. Jan., 2004. Posted by Hello


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Christmas, 2003. Mom and Popsie at breakfast. Diner in Brandon, VT. Classic Popsie. Posted by Hello


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Christmas, 2003. Opening stockings in mom and dad's room. That's Kate sitting between my parents. Scott is front left, and Kelly's on the right. Posted by Hello


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Early morning beer and chuckle at the Kirin Brewery. Ok-nyeo and Kyu-nam (my very good friend from Korea) visited us last summer. Posted by Hello


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Sunday, June 13, 2004

Babysitting 3

One of the main problems that we've had with Miyu is that she's just so young. Her attention span is about 4 seconds long--if that--and it is therefore difficult to keep her going on any one game or task for a long time. That is not to say that my approach to 'teaching' her resembles my approach in the classroom. We mostly just hang out. We take walks and play in the yard. We read books and eat donuts together. Sometimes we just run around like crazy inside her grandparents' house and drive everyone nuts. The name of the game is 'exposure' to English. And she's getting it.

She can now understand long, multi-clause sentences. Mixing past, present and future doesn't throw her off that much anymore. She enjoys playing the role of mother, so she usually responds correctly to any requests that I make. I often ask her to cook me some food, read me a book, sing me a song, get something for me, put my possessions on the table, etc. She doesn't mind doing things like that.

However, a lot of the time she'll simply ignore me. I've always heard about the "terrible two's", and maybe it's not all that bad of a generalization in this case. As I've mentioned before, Miyu's mood is like a tsunami much of the time. She comes riding in nice and high, and then all of a sudden she crashes--destroying everything in her path in the process. On days when she's in a bad mood (ie. she didn't take a nap that afternoon), a two hour lesson can easily be whittled down to just 30 or 40 minutes of play. I don't help matters much, because I tend to just wait her tantrums out. I guess I could be a little bit more proactive and try to cheer her up. She throws a fit quite frequently, although anytime we go for a walk on our own she's fine.

It is still early in the process, and we may have started a bit young with Miyu. I started working with her about 18 months ago, and in retrospect we probably could have begun six months later than we did. She has a lot of the language that she needs for communicating with me, but she just doesn't use it. It's like the English in her mind is very small, and the Japanese is very big. If her mind were like a toy chest, it's the Japanese that she sees first when she's looking for something. The fact that she's also had the English for a long time doesn't seem to matter at this point.

The only time she uses English is when she really wants something. "Give it to me" and "Pick me up" are two phrases that she will often produce without prompting. She knows that I will respond favorably, and immediately, to these phrases, so she often grabs them first when she's searching through the toy bin in her mind. In effect, they've been enlarged, and are perhaps almost the same size as their Japanese equivalents. Most of our conversations involve her speaking in Japanese, and me speaking in English. We both understand each other, and I think this probably makes things slower in terms of progress. I wonder if she would produce more English if she had a teacher who couldn't speak any Japanese...

I suspect that we'll be able to enlarge more and more phrases as she gets older. She only sees me for two hours each day, and that amount of time is easily trumped by the dozen hours that she spends speaking Japanese with her family. My hope is that by the time she's four, she'll be able to converse with me in short, stock English sentences. I imagine that she will start using a lot of the high-repetition phrases that I repeat every day.

I have noticed definite progress, but I guess Yukiko and Masumi were hoping for more at this stage in the game. I definitely don't blame them, but I hope they don't put to much pressure on Miyu to perform. We could run into a world of trouble if Miyu starts to resent English, my presence, or both.


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May 30th, 2004--Jesse and Zita's Wedding


Just after the ceremony. Standing (l to r): Frank, Chris, Jack, Aaron, Travis, Lance, Ryan and Zita's brother. Kneeling: Dan, Matt, Pete and Jesse. Posted by Hello


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Jesse and Zita checking out one of their wedding gifts (the quilt of love). Posted by Hello


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Top Row (l to r): Jesse (he's married, you know), and Nick. 2nd Row: Frank, Jack and Chris. 3rd Row: Ryan, Travis and Aaron. Bottom Row: Pete. Posted by Hello


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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The Journey

I made it! I don't know how, but I'm alive. I flew back to Vermont two weekends in a row. I don't recommend it.

Two weekends ago I flew Northwest (flight 18 from here to JFK, and 17 on the way back). Northwest is pretty bad on that route. The service is consistently crap, as I've done the 'how long does it take them to notice that my flight attendant call light is on' test on several occasions. It routinely takes them over 20 minutes to get around to checking on what it is that I need. Just as often I've simply given up after close to an hour of waiting. But hey, they're usually the cheapest out of Narita.

One of my best friends from high school, Jesse, got married. That's why I went the first time. Took off on Saturday, arrived in Burlington, VT at 11:45PM that night, and was promptly whisked away by my brother, Scott, and sister, Kate. The wedding coincided nicely with Kate's 21st birthday, so we headed straight to the bars to welcome the opening moments of her newborn legality.

Jetlagged and drunk, I finally got to sleep at about 4AM Sunday morning at my brother's apartment. Woke up at eight. My body was not happy. We had a family brunch down in Middlebury at Tully and Marie's to go to, so I emptied my stomach, did the three S's and threw on a suit. I wasn't able to eat very much at brunch, so I worked on rehydrating myself and catching up with Granny. We spent a little down time at her house following the meal, and then it was off to the Lilac Inn in Brandon.

To make a long story short, the bar was open before the ceremony even got under way. I had plenty of time to hug and greet all of my old buddies and walk out into the garden for Jesse and Zita's big moment. It was a beautiful, hot day in late May, and I started nailing wine glasses filled with ice water. The wedding lasted about 12 minutes, and the gallery promptly started the party. By the end of the night, the bride was dancing on the bar at the pub down the street, so I'd say they got off to a good start. I flew back to Japan the next morning.

The second leg of the journey started last Friday. I took number three of my five paid sick days off from work, and headed off for Vermont again. American Airlines this time. I was skeptical at first (flight 168 to JFK), but the AA Boeing 777's are much more comfy than the planes that NW flies on the same route. I had a lot more space, and my own little TV to boot. One of the big drawbacks to AA is that they charge five bucks for beer in coach. That was a first. I've flown international flights on NW, Korean Air, Iberia and Air Canada, but noone has ever asked me to pony up for a Bud. The amount of food provided also felt slightly sparse in comparison to Northwest. All in all, however, the comfort level was considerably higher with AA. NW crams 10 seats (3/4/3) in a row on this route, whereas AA gets by with 9 (2/5/2). That extra seat makes a big difference. AA arrives at terminal 8 at JFK airport. It's a hole in comparison to terminal 4 (NW's parking area). On the flipside, NW flight 17 (the return to Tokyo) doesn't park at a gate. It stops way the hell out in the middle of nowhere, and you have to spend an extra 10 minutes on a bus zigzagging your way to immigration. That's a surefire way to leave a bad taste in your mouth, even if you do give out whiskey for free during the flight. AA manages to creep all the way up to the building before putting the blocks behind the wheels on flight 167 from New York.

The second trip was made in order to attend my mother's ordination. She's now a deacon in the Episcopal Church, so I guess that means I have to watch my mouth around her now. Kelly came with me this time, and we were fortunate that Scott put us through only one bottle of wine down at Half on Church Street before letting us go to bed. The ceremony was held at the cathedral in Burlington--a concrete block with a hole blasted out of it for a sacristy. Uncle Roger, uncle Reed, uncle Bill and uncle Pete all came up from Wisconsin, Tennessee, Virginia and New York respectively. Aunt Emily, aunt Beth, aunt Darinda and my cousins Charlie and Michael made it, too. All the regulars were there except for mom's father, Papa, who was at his new home down in Middlebury.

Lots of family friends were able to make it as well, and most of the crowd trickled down Route 7 to St. Stephen's in Middlebury for a reception that my father organized. By the end of the night I was a bit out of it, and I hardly remember witnessing the upsets of Smarty Jones and the LA Lakers. Kelly and I stayed through Sunday for a family-packed day (including Papa's 80th birthday), and then we woke up at 4AM Monday morning to come back home. The plane touched down Tuesday afternoon, and it's now Monday at a little after 6AM. Work starts soon. All of my paid sick days at work for the year are gone now, so I've got to make sure that this jetlag doesn't turn into something more severe. Time to hit the showers.


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