Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Meeting Day

Yesterday, my friends and I went to Korean BBQ restaurant.
I was surprised that this restaurant was very stylish and quality of meat was very good! All you can eat for lunch was $14.99.

Then, we went to Kean Coffee, and I ordered cappuccino.

My Japanese friend, whom I mentioned before, is going to attend graduation ceremony of an elementary school where he used to work as principal in Japan. He said that he will stay for two weeks this time, but he is planning on moving back to Japan this summer permanently. It's because his daughter and son-in-law rely on him financially. He has been supporting them since she got married, but they haven't tried to save up money to support themselves, despite having three children. He wants them to think about the future and be independent as adults and parents for children.
My Korean friend gave birth to a baby boy last December. She showed over 300 pictures and looked happy. :) I gave clothes for babies 0-3 months old to her before her baby was born. The baby is getting bigger and bigger every day. So, he can't wear it anymore. Now, he is 2 and half months old though.
Then, we were talking about plastic surgery. In Korea, plastic surgery is very popular. My Korean friend said that most of her friends in Korea got plastic surgery. Some of them got drastic change from surgery, and their faces became prettier than before. All my friends in Japan have never gotten plastic surgery, at least I am not aware about it. Japanese people usually don't share whether they have had plastic surgery or not. In Japan, plastic surgery is not common. As I mentioned before, Japanese people believe that our bodies were given from our parents, and we shouldn't damage our bodies intentionally. I felt a cultural difference between Korea and Japan.
And, my Korean friend is also going to visit Korea and stay for three months. I'll meet her three months later. She said that she will bring her baby to our next meeting. I'm looking forward to meeting her baby!

 Today's Vocavulary
・ attend graduation ceremony : 卒業式に参列する
・ support oneself : 自活、自立する
  ex) support oneself financially : 経済的に自立する
・ despite : adjective / ~をよそに、~にもかかわらず
・ a drastic change : 劇的な変化
・ at least : 少なくとも

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

IHOP National Pancake Day

Today, I went to IHOP to have pancakes because IHOP was giving pancakes to every customer for free. In return for the free pancakes, IHOP asked customers to consider leaving a donation for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

There were many custmors, and most people were only eating pancakes! I was very surprized.

I ordered quesadilla and pancakes.
I thought quesadilla is Mexican food, but it was very Americanized. But it tasted good anyway. And pancakes were soft and tasted good as well. There were four kinds of syrups for pancake, and I tried three of them. The syrups made pancakes to taste better.

After eating, I donated and felt happy for my donation.
I'd like to say to IHOP thank you for giving good opptunity to have free pancakes and donation. :)

 Today's Vocabulary
・ in return for : ~と引き換えに
  ex) in return for someone's present : プレゼントのお礼として
  ex) in return for money : 金と引き換えに

Monday, February 27, 2012

100th Entry

I've been updating my blog everyday.
So, this post will be my 100th post. Yay! ;) For me, today is anniversary day for my blog.

So far, I've learned a lot of new vocabularies and new phrases through writing my blog. Even though I've already forgotten some of them, I got used to using a lot of them! And, I enjoy reading back my own blog. I've done it many times! When I read back my blog, it's kind of restuding many vocabularies and phrases. :)
When I meet my friends, I have a chance to speak in English. Before starting my own blog, It felt difficult to speak in English, and I couldn't fully express what I wanted to say in English many times. Even though I still sometimes have difficulty, but I can feel that I have improved much better than before.
I'm really sure writing something everyday is one of the best ways to improve my English. Thinking about something in English also organizes my opinion.

I hope I'll continue my blog for at least 9 more months!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vegetables of Chikuzenni Ingregients

Tonight, I cooked Chikuzenni for dinner. It is a local dish of Southern Japan and is eaten in special occasion like New Year.

Most vegetables used in this dish are Asian vegetable. So, you might not know some of them.

Satoimo / Taro of Japan
Satoimo / Taro of Japan
I usually buy frozen Satoimo at  Japanese supermarket. The frozen one is already peeled and can be used right away for convenience.
Frozen satoimo

Renkon / Lotus
Renkon / Lotus
I also buy frozen Renkon at Japanese super market instead of fresh one.

Frozen Renkon / Frozen lotus

Shiitake / Mushroom

Shiitake / Mushroom
 Dried shiitake is used for many Japanese food.
dried shiitake

Konnyaku / Konjac

Konnyaku / Konjac
You can find konnyaku near tofu section at Japanese supermarket.  Konnyaku has two types of colors which are black and white. Black konnyaku is more appropriate for Chikuzenni. Konnyaku is zero calories. ;)

Black konnyaku

White konnyaku

 I'm going to share the recipe of Chikuzenni within the next few days. :)

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Said Good Bye to My Damaged Hair Tip

I cut my hair today. I had never cut my hair by myself until today except my bangs.
Next month, I was planning on going to a hair salon. But I found someone's blog last night. She mentioned in her blog how to cut your own hair. I was very interested by it, and I couldn't wait to try it.
I was little scared to do it myself, but it was fun! I said good bye to my damaged hair tip. Now, my hair has silky touch. :)
I don't know whether I was good at it. I might go to a hair salon next time.

 Today's Vocabulary
・ bang : noun / 前髪
  ex) My bangs are really bothering me. : 前髪が本当にうっとうしいんです。
・ hair tip : 毛先
・ tip of hair : 毛先
・ tip : noun / 先端、先

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Was Lacking Sleep.

I didn't feel good this morning. I had an intermittent dull pain around my chest and my back, but I don't know why.I went to pronunciation class anyway, but I couldn't concentrate and was a little sleepy. I was planning on going to the library today, but I thought I shouldn't go. After two hours into the class, my teacher finally gave us a 15 minute break. I walked around the campus for fresh air and bought a cup of coffee at cafeteria. Then, I felt better. After I came home, I ate lunch and slept for a while. I think I was really tired and was lacking sleep.
I didn't do any homework and didn't study for nursing today. I have to do it now.

 Today's Vocabulary
・ intermittent : adjective / 間欠的な、断続的な ( Pronunciation is ìnṭɚmítnt )
・ after _ hours into the class : クラスが始まって_時間後
  ex) After two hours into the meeting : 会議が始まって2時間後
  ex) After two hours into the event : 催し物が始まって2時間後
・ lack sleep : 睡眠不足になる

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We Always Shouldn't Lose Our Philosophy

I went to conversation class today and we discussed about gun problems.
According to my textbook, 25 % of U.S. citizens own guns. I know that it is legal for them and is for protection. But, there are some problems. People accidentally kill innocent people.
In Japan, owning guns is not allowed by law. Moreover, Japan doesn't have military. When I was in Japan, I thought that it was normal. After coming to the U.S., I realized Japan is unique. Many countries have military-draft system. One of my former classmate didn't have to enter military in her country because she attended university, but instead she had to learn how to use weapons and practiced combat skills in a special training course . When I heard about that from her, I was very surprised. She was so skinny and adorable girl. I couldn't imagine that she practiced guns. I wonder why people need a gun because the purpose of a gun is to kill people or animals. I know the culture of each country is different, but I still can't understand.
After World War II, Japan decided to disarm and never go to war again. Japan is the only country ever to suffer an atomic attack. Japanese people believe that going to war only brings sadness. When World War II ended, Japan was very poor country. Many people lost their family and home, suffered from side effects of the war, and there wasn't enough resources. But, people overcame it and made Japan a better county. Japanese people have improved many technologies but have never used their technology for weapons for war. Japan is committed to the three nonnuclear principles, not to make or possess nuclear weapons, and not to allow their entry into Japan. Now, Japan is one of the most peaceful and the prosperous countries. I believe we don't need weapon to make a better country. No more war and no more killing each other.

I know that it's not easy to get rid of protection, but I think we always shouldn't lose our philosophy.

I like John Lennon. This is one of my favorite songs.

John Lennon / Imagine

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one

 Today's Vocabulary
・ military-draft system : 徴兵制度
・ overcome : verb / (困難などに)乗り越える、克服する
・ three nonnuclear principle : 非核三原則
・ principle : noun / 原則
・ possess : verb / 所有する
・ prosperous : adjective / 幸運な、豊かな、裕福な ( Pronunciation is prɑ'spərəs )
・ philosophy : noun / 信条、視点、哲学
・ greed : noun / 強欲
・ brotherhood : noun / 兄弟の間柄、兄弟愛

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

They Will Always Be Great!

When I was a teenager, I watched this serial drama. I've already forgotten the content of  this drama, but it really drew me in at the time.

The title of drama is "Miseinen", which means teenager in English.

I was already familiar with the theme song which was "I need to be in love" and was sung by the Carpenters before the drama began. As I worte before, because my middle school teacher really liked the songs by the Carpenters and I often listened to them in school.

I've been listening to this song these days. I found that some famous Japanese singers covered this song.
 Keiske Kuwata

Chihiro Onitsuka

The Carpenters have always been popular and I feel that their greatness will never cease even in the future. 
The Carpenters / I need to be in love

The hardest thing I've ever done
Is keep believing
There's someone in this crazy world
For me
The way that people come and go
Through temporary lives
My chance could come and I might never know

I used to say "No promises,
Let's keep it simple"
But freedom only helps you say
It took a while for me to learn
That nothin' comes for free
The price I've paid is high enough for me

I know I need to be in love
I know I've wasted too much time
I know I ask perfection of
A quite imperfect world
And fool enough to think that's what I'll find

So here I am with pockets full of good intentions

But none of them will comfort me tonight
I'm wide awake at four a.m.
Without a friend in sight
Hanging on a hope but I'm alright

I know I need to be in love
I know I've wasted too much time
I know I ask perfection of
A quite imperfect world
And fool enough to think that's what I'll find

I know I need to be in love
I know I've wasted too much time
I know I ask perfection of
A quite imperfect world
And fool enough to think that's what I'll find

 Today's Vocabulary
・ cease : verb / 終わる、やむ、止まる ( Pronunciation is si'ːs )
  ex) You never cease to amaze me. : あなたにはいつも驚かされます。
・ good intentions : 善意 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Strawberry Season Is Coming!

I have seen many red strawberries in fields near my home, and strawberries have become less expensive these day.

Last Sunday, I bought a pound of strawberries for $1.50. Then, my husband made strawberry smoothie for my breakfast yesterday.

It was tasty and also cold. It made me wide awake in the morning!

I like seasonal fruit and vegetable because they are healthy and cheap.

 Today's Vocabulary
・ wide awake : すっかり目が覚めた

Monday, February 20, 2012


Today, my husband, my friend and I went to BBQ grill in our apartment comunity.

This morning, my husband prepared shish kebab and also cooked fried vegetable.

This was the first time for us to use charcoal for BBQ in the U.S. We usually use propane gas BBQ grill.

We barbecued shish kebab and pork meat. We also put sweet potetoes beneath the grill.

The smell of BBQ was appetizing.
The shish kebab was very good. We ate a lot.
Then, we noticed the scent of grilled potetoes. I picked the potetoes form the grill.
 These were grilled just right.
It was sweet! It's good for our desert. :)

We enjoyed our BBQ!

 Today's Vocabulary
・ appetizing : adjective / 食欲をそそる
  ex) appetizing smell : 食欲をそそる匂い
・ be grilled just right : ちょうどよい焼き加減である
  ex) be cooked just right : ちょうど良い焼き(煮)加減である、うまい具合に火が通っている

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How to Cook Nabe

I ate nabe, which is Japanese pot dish, for dinner tonight. In winter season, nabe is very popular in Japan.

When I visited Japan two years ago, I went to a nabe restaurant with my former coworkers.

It was very reasonable for dinner. It was only 880 yen, which is about $7 for nabe buffet.

I could eat as many vegetables as I wanted. It's very healthy!

It was interesting for me. I usually eat some vegetables with nabe such as chinese cabbage, Japanese radish, bok choy, mushroom, chinese chive and spinach. But there were more vegetable which I didn't eat with nabe such as asparagus, lettuce, squash, sweet potato, broccoli, corn, burdock root and so on.
I thought I got some idea from this restaurant!

Actually, it's very easy to cook nabe at home. The pot is better to use donabe, which is made of clay, because it can keep warm for a while after being taken off the fire.

When I came back to the U.S., I brought my clay pot which I used to use in Japan. I have cooked nabe many times in the U.S. since then.

I'm going to share the recipe.

4 cups of water
2 tablespoons of Hondashi
1 pack of tofu (cut it into bite-size pieces)
1 pound meat of your choice (sliced pork, diced size chicken or tsukune etc)
some vegetable you like (chinese cabbage, Japanese radish, bok choy, mushroom, chinese chive and spinach etc)

1. Pour water and Hondashi into pot. Put Japanese radish and mushroom into the pot, cover the lid, and simmer it over high heat until boiling. Then, simmer it over low heat until Japanese radish is cooked.
2.Then add tofu, meat and green leaf vegetables. Simmer it until boiling. That's it!
3. Pour ponzu sauce into your small bowl. Pick the cooked ingredients into your bowl from the pot.
4. Enjoy. You can pick more from the pot as many times as you want! If the pot becomes empty, do over step 2.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Names of the Characters of "Heroes"

I still feel difficult to remember many names whose are not Japanese. I think I should get used to them. I decided to try to memorize name of the characters which I've watched.

These day, I've been watching Heroes. I'm going to write about the names of the Heroes characters.

Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli)

Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennet)

Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli)

Sendhil Ramamurthy (Mohinder Suresh)

Ali Larter (Tracy Strauss / Niki Sanders / Jessica)

Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman)

Jack Coleman (Noah Bennet)

Zachary Quinto (Sylar/Gabriel Gray)

Noah Gray-Cabey (Micah Sanders)

Adair Tishler (Molly Walker)

Cristine Rose (Angela Petrelli)

James Kyson Lee (Ando Masahashi)
Milo Ventimiglia :  マイロ・ヴィンティミリア
Hayden Panettiere : ヘイデン・パネッティーア
Adrian Pasdar : エイドリアン・パスダー
Sendhil Ramamurthy : センディル・ラママーシー
Ali Larter : アリ・ラーター
Greg Grunberg : グレッグ・グランバーグ
Jack Coleman : ジャック・コールマン
Zachary Quinto : ザカリー・クイント
Noah Gray-Cabey : ノア・グレイ=ケイビー
Adair Tishler : アデール・ティシュラー
Cristine Rose : クリスティン・ローズ
James Kyson Lee : ジェームズ・キーソン・リー

Friday, February 17, 2012

Movie "Listen to Your Heart"

Last night, I watched a very touching movie which was Listen To Your Heart.

I'm going to write the story of the movie.
Danny, who is a song writer, and Sam, who is hearing-impaired girl, fall in love at first sight. Sam's family is very rich. Her mother doesn't allow Sam to use sign language and hides that her hearing will be possibility recovered to get implantable hearing aid surgery because the mother wants to control her daughter. The mother knows that Sam has a boyfriend, and she tries to make her daughter to break up. Then, Sam and Danny are torn apart. Her mother arranges meeting with rich families for Sam's engagements. She ends up escaping from her mother and goes to Danny. But he is diagnosed with brain cancer and is only left with several months to live. He is undergoing chemotherapy and suffers side effects. He tells her to get the surgery and move on. Before she comes back from surgery, Danny was already gone. Even though her hearing has recovered, she feels sad for Danny's death. She gets his letter at his funeral. He mentioned in the letter to go outside, see, listen to the world and enjoy beautiful life. She gets over his death, and enrolls into music school which was her dream.

Alexia Rasmussen (Ariana or Sam)
Kent Moran (Danny)

Cybill Shepherd (Victoria)
Frank Watson (Roger)
Lisa Benner (Marianne)

Amy Clare Lockwood (Nicole)
Ernie Sabella (Tony)
Robert Ousley (George)

When I watched the movie, I recalled my old memory. I met some young patients who were diagnosed with brain cancer. I felt very sad. If I work at a hospital here now, I can't do anything. My English level is incredibly poor. So, I have to improve my English skill for now.

 Today's Vocabulary
・ touching movie : 感動的な映画
・ hearing-impaired : 聴覚障害のある
・ at first sight : ひと目で、直ちに
・ implantable hearing aid : 植え込み型補聴器
・ tear apart : phrasal verb / バラバラにする、引き裂く
・ suffer : verb / 苦しむ
  ex) I suffered a bad headache.
・ be diagnosed with : ~と診断される
・ side effect : 副作用
  ex) No side effects were reported. : 副作用は何ら報告されていない。
  ex) There are side effects with the drug. : その薬剤には副作用が伴う。

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Never Had a Chance

After taking the class, I went to a cafe to meet my friend for Thursday conversation session.
I told her that I got my ears pierced! She said that she did it when graduating from college.
I haven't had a chance to pierce my ears before moving to the U.S. Actually, I could have done it if I really wanted to do so. When I was in high school, students were not allowed to have piercings. I didn't want to have piercings at the time because I didn't want to hurt my body and was also scared. After graduating from the high school, I went to a nursing school. Students were also not allowed to wear earrings in school and hospital, but we were allowed to wear them on our days off. My roommate in the dormitory got her ears pierced, but her ears got infected. That looked painful, and I thought piercing was a lot of work. Then, I became a nurse. In my hospital, we were not allowed to wear earrings because having earrings might hurt patients when moving or carrying them. And also some elderly patients don't like piercings because person with piercings portray delinquency. Long time ago, Japanese people valued our bodies because our bodies are given from our parents, and people thought that we shouldn't hurt our bodies intentionally. Nowadays, having piercings is very common for women in Japan, but some are still hesitant.

I sanitize my ears three times a day from last Sunday. So far, my ears are still doing well. :) I have to continue this for 5 more weeks. :( Having piercing isn't easy, is it? But I'm looking forward to wearing any earrings in the near future! :) I can't wait!

After our session, I stayed at the cafe and studied for 3 hours having coffee! Good job me! ;)

 Today's Vocabulary
・ portray : verb / 表現する、~がどういう人物か言う
・ delinquency : noun / 非行、義務の不履行  ( Pronunciation is dili'ŋkwənsi )
  ex) juvenile delinquency : 少年非行
  ex) delinquency payment : 滞納
・ intentionally : adverb / 意図的に、わざと、故意に
・ hesitant : adjective / 嫌気の、ためらって、気乗りしない ( Pronunciation is he'zitənt )
  ex) reply in a hesitant voice : 気乗りしない声で返事する

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Abbreviations, Slangs and Emoticons in English

I've seen some abbreviation and slang on facebook comments, e-mails, blogs and so on.

I've recently learned these.

LOL : "laughing out loud"

XOXO : "Kiss hug kiss hug"  X means kisses and O means hugs.

TGIF : "Thank goodness it's Friday!"

I used to use emoticons in e-mail when I was in Japan. Japanese emoticons are very easy to understand and have a lot. I can't keep up with these already because there are too many new Japanese emoticons. Haha...
These are some of Japanese emoticons.

( ^^) _旦~~   Cup of tea, take a rest

(・∀・)   Laughing

(●^o^●)    Happy

(-_-)zzz   Sleeping

( ゚ Д゚)   Shocked

(-_-;)   Nervous

(;_;)   Crying

(^_-)-☆   Wink

( ..)φメモメモ   That's important! I feel like it's necessary to write it down!

((+_+))   Confused

orz   Despair

When I moved to the U.S., I didn't know any emoticons which American people use.
Now, I can use some of them. :)

:)   :-)   =)    Smiley or happy face

:-))   Very happy

:D   :-D   =D   XD  X-D   Laughing

:(   :-(   :<   :-<   Sad

:((  Very sad or weeping

:-||   Angry

:/   :-/   :\   :-\   Annoyed

: |   :-|   disgusted, grim, no expression
;)   ;-)  *)   *-)   Wink

:P   :-P   XP  Tongue sticking out

:X   :-X   Embarrassed

 Today's Vocabulary
・ abbreviation : noun / 略語
・ emoticon : 顔文字
・ despair : noun / 失望
・ weeping : 涙を流す、涙ぐんだ
・ grim : adjective / 気味の悪い、不快な、ゾッとする

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to Bake Chocolate Cake

Today is Valentine's day.

So, I've decided to bake a chocolate cake by using my KitchenAid stand mixer.

This recipe is my favorite one.
I'm going to share the recipe.

8 oz (225g) of chopped chocolate
300 ml of whip cream
5 oz (150g) of sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla flavor
1 cup (240g) of all-purpose flour
2 oz (60g) of cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of baking powder

1. Beat whip cream and sugar until creamy.
2. Add beaten egg and vanilla flavor to the mixture. Mix them thoroughly.
3. Add all-purpose flour, cocoa powder and baking powder to the mixture. Mix them gently.
4. Add chocolate to the mixture. Mix them until moistened.
5. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan.
6. Bake it in an oven at 355 for 50-70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake pulls out clean.
7. Let it cool, cut and serve.
8. Enjoy!

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 Today's Vocabulary
・ bake ~ in an oven at _ degrees for _ minutes : ~を_度のオーブンで_分焼く
  ex) bake bread in an oven : オーブンでパンを焼く
  ex) bake cake in an oven : オーブンでケーキを焼く
・ toothpick : 爪楊枝
・ let ~ cool : ~を冷やす
  ex) Let it cool.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kohl's Haul

When I bought KitchenAid stand mixer online, I got $55 Kohl's cash coupon. So, my husband and I went to Kohl's to buy something over $55 yesterday.

When we went there, they were having clearance sale. Before going there, I already decided to buy a watch. I was expecting it's over $20. But, it was labeled 60% off! So, the retail price was $24.99, but it was labeled $9.99. I was excited! But, there was a mystery. When I checked out, it went down to $1.49. I don't know why.

And I also looked around the shoe section. Many boots were on clearance sale. Most shoes didn't have enough sizes. I finally found Vera Wang black knee high boots. The retail price was $119.99, but it was labeled $23.99! And there was a mystery again. When I checked out, it went down to $14.39! It was a bargain!

My husband bought a jacket. The retail price was $60, but it was on sale for $33.

And we decided to buy more because the watch and boots were cheaper than I expected. I purchased one more watch and two Yankee candle air fresheners for our cars. Yankee candles were not on sale, but I really wanted to buy them.

The total retail price was $241.95, but we paid $6.72 with using $55 Kohl's cash coupon.

 Today's Vocabulary
・ bargain : noun / お買い得品、特売品、掘り出し物
  ex) I think you've gotten some great bargains. うまい買い物をしましたね。
・ air freshener : 芳香剤、消臭剤