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  Andy's Blog

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UK Trip


Another YouTube longboarding vid Smiley.


We had snow!

Snow in Kumatori

I changed my diet recently to eat a lot more fruit and veg and cut out unhealthy stuff to see if it'll help me stop catching so many colds each year. Fingers crossed! Last night's dinner was expecially unusual for me though, and a bit too wriggly for my liking Smiley.



Christmas dinner with the family! Naoko cooked the chicken, I did the rest!

Xmas Dinner

Both the Halloween and Christamas parties went well and you can now see pictures in the photos section.

I'm gradually getting better at longboarding and when I was practising with an ex-student Shigeru, he took this picture of me going around a corner, cheers!

Longboarding Pic


October Randomness

This month Ayumu had a surprise classmate in his lesson and our youngest student (Sean) has also started sleeping with Yuki occasionally. We followed the Noda danjiri around Kumatori again, and Leon and I helped steer it in the evening. The whole family was also invited to a Sunday lunch at the danjiri home to help entertain some Australian visiters who were part of a city exchange programme, which was interesting.

I also tried out our new tent last week at our local camping site for one night with the 3 oldest kids. Cooked curry for dinner, yum! I've also stepped up my exercise program, part of which has been to rearrange the ropes on my climbing wall to give myself a new pull up exercise. This evening whilst trying to learn some parkour/free-running vaults, I realised pushing the sofa over created a great practise vault as demonstrated by Leon, nice!


We had our summer BBQ on July 14th, and for the first time since starting it, there was bright sunshine and no rain, hurray! A thunderstorm did hit just as we were packing up the car though, so it was a narrow escape! I'll try to get photos uploaded to the Photos Section soon. During our summer break we went to Kagoshima and stayed at what used to be Naoko's grandparent's house, which has been recently rennovated. I was particulaly looking forward to swimming in some really clean and clear sea water, as last time we went, about 6 years ago, the water was picture perfect. Unfortunately the water was saturated with plastic rubbish this time, so although the kids still had fun, I found it quite unpleasant and didn't swim very much. After 2 days going to the beach we decided to try an outdoor pool instead, and found one that was really fun and not too busy either. One of the pools had a bunch of floats for the kids to run across, so I had to give it a go as well, and here is a Javascript slide show of one of my efforts Smiley. I did make it across a few times, but being a lot heavier than the kids made it a bit tricky!

The area near the pool was good for walking as well and the water was much cleaner than on the beach we went to. Unfortunately it was too rocky to be able to get out to a decent depth to go for a swim. If we go again I'll take our inflatable boat!

Here is a slide show of the holiday I created with Flash.


First, a nice family picture I just noticed from Colin's birthday in October.

Colin Bday no4

Now what have I been up to in the last few months since my last post? Well, it's been a bit busy for me since Christmas, but all of my own doing. I started work on some sign boards for the house over Christmas, only for my electric saw to let me down. Fortunately Naoko managed to order a replacement part for me and it now works fine, but the initial delay means they still remain unfinished. This is because after Christmas my focus turned to the new pre-school course I'm starting - Let's Begin.

New Helmet

This is replacing Magic Time course as I much prefer the approach to grammar and it's a much more suitable lead in to Let's Go. The lighter vocabulary content also means I can spend more time teaching the alphabet and phonics to get the kids reading before we start Let's Go. I've decided to make my own worksheets for this course, so I can get the balance between learning vocabulary and learning to read just right. What makes the Let's Begin great though is the fun CD-ROM homework, just like Let's Go. It's both fun and interactive, so much better than just listening along to a CD. I've also spent a bit of time on the website, popping up pictures of the puppets I'm now using in class occasionally, and creating the newsletter, a different, more formal method of letting everyone know what I'm working on and what changes I'm making to the courses.

Due to being busy, and in part because of football and Kung Fu tiring me out, I haven't been longboarding so much lately. However, I did have enough time to smash my face on the tarmac a few weeks ago so have bought a new helmet with face guard which the kids are modelling for me above Smiley.
Cardboard camping

I also managed to squeeze in some time for an afternoon hiking up in the local mountains at the weekend. Yuki and Colin were more worried about bugs than falling off the path, hence the climbing gear and ropes for safety! In the morning before hiking I finally got round to putting some IKEA cabinets together. The kids are putting the cardboard boxes to good use as tents. In this case size does matter!

I took took a few quick snaps last time we had our 3 weekly trip to the library, shown on the right here.

Sports wise my swimming is continuing to improve and I'm now starting to focus a bit more on my running. I'm hoping to run in the Kumatori 10km race next year, as well as compete in a triathlon. We'll have to wait and see if my achilles tendons are up to it....


The Halloween and Christmas parties both went well, and a selection of pictures are now on the website here. Naoko was able to get much better pictures using our new zoom lens, as she was able to maintain a greater distance from the kids, so catching them acting more naturally. A lot of kids stop laughing and smiling as soon as they see a camera pointed at them! So hopefully you will notice more smiling faces this year. Smiley

Over the Christmas holiday I got started on making some new 3Lions signs to put on our house, as we only have one sign on the fence in our garden. It's something I've wanted to do for a while, but I've been putting it off as it's a lot of work, and not so important. However, on New Year's Day my classroom computer refused to power up, so I spent a lot of time investigating, then swapping my older computer back into the classroom until a Dell engineer came to give me a new power supply and motherboard. Thankfully all is now OK, but needless to say my signboards remain unfinished.

Table strengthening

Another job I've wanted to do for a while, I did finally sort out last Sunday. I've stengthened/ reinforced my teaching table as it's been getting a bit wobbly and bent. I knew I'd be able to finish in a day, which is why I decided to get it done before finishing the signboards!

New football kit

On a more exciting note, I've recently started to play football again thanks to one of my students, Yumiko, inviting me along. Plus, of course, my achilles tendon injuries are much improved, mostly though wearing more socks! I noticed a while ago my feet were usually colder than the rest of me and knew it couldn't be helping my recovery, but didn't realise just how crucial it was. Now my calf muscles and tendons are much better, which is great!

I've played a couple of times so far, so now I know my old body can handle it, I went to the Sports Depo on Saturday to get some new football kit....

More blog: 2012 blog

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