2008 December 28 Sunday and December 29 Monday.

Did I mention that it is snowing again?
It snowed non-stop for four days straight.

How much did we get?
Take a look at the photo on the left and see for yourself.

I haven't driven my van since last Thursday, so you can see how much piled up since that time. A lot.

Certainly enough for every ski ground both near to the city and far away, to get a long awaited blessing and open up full time.

Ikuko and I finally finished printing and writing messages on about 300 New Year Cards 年賀状 that we send out every year, so tomorrow I am ready to go snowboarding for the first time this season.

I will be going to Santa Present Park for the night session starting at 16:00, most likely Charlie and his oldest son will be there too.

Charlie sent me an email telling about his big adventure at Kamui Ski Links yesterday.

He came to the conclusion that he needed some more practice time at a smaller mountain before he was fully ready to get back up on the big slopes again.

I know exactly what he means.
About 16 years ago when I tried snowboarding for the first time in my life, I was having a really hard time with it.

ven though I was born and raised in Snow Country in Spokane Washington, I was never allowed to go skiing by my parents.

So before I came to Asahikawa in 1990, I had never even been on a chair lift before.

In fact, the first time I tried to get onto a chair lift with my new snowboard attached to my left foot, I fell off right at the beginning.

How embarrassing is that!?!

On my second try, I was able to ride the lift up to the top and then promptly fell down again as I was trying to get off of the chair lift, and slide down to the staging area below.

After I had attached my right foot to the snowboard binding and tried to stand up, I fell down again, and so on and so forth.

The first 3 or 4 times I went to a ski ground, I did a whole lot more falling down than I did of any meaningful riding.

Finally on the 4th or 5th trip to the ski ground, I found my balance and was off down the slopes in a free riding style that I still use to this day.

In a word, learning how to ride a snowboard is very much like learning how to ride a bicycle.

Once you find your balance, you will remember it for the rest of your life.

Even if you haven't ridden a bicycle for many years, you can still get on a bicycle and ride it again immediately.

The only question is HOW LONG can you ride it before you get really tired. Snowboarding is the same basic principle.

I didn't go snowboarding at all last season, and only one or two times during the season before that.

Tomorrow I will try it again for the first time in almost two years.

I know I will be exhausted after about 60 to 90 minutes, but I need more exercise in my life because I spend most of my time sitting in a chair, either talking to people or making stuff on a PC.

It's time to spread my wings again.


2008 December 26 Friday and December 27 Saturday.

Finally!!! The Big Snow!!!

This is the light and fluffy powder snow that Hokkaido is world famous for.

You can see from the photo on the left, that it has piled up fast, and that it continues to come down heavy.

In fact, it is coming down so heavy that I can't even see the lights of the Santa Present Park Ski Ground which I know for sure is fully open today.

Charlie Hamel told me in an email last week that he and some of his students were planning to go to Kamui Ski Links today, and get in some skiing and snowboarding.

If it is snowing this hard down here, imagine what it must be like up there on the mountains.

I know from personal experience that being able to see where you are going on the ski slopes during such a heavy snowstorm, can very very difficult if not impossible.

You can call it a White Out.

On the other hand, if you can see where you are going during a heavy powder downfall, you will have the most excellent adventure humanly possible without leaving the ground.

Riding a snowboard through deep powder snow, is equivalent to flying through the clouds on a magic carpet.

It is unbelievably easy sailing.
Almost effortless.

The only problem you may encounter is trying to get back up on your feet, if you fall down.

Not because it hurts, in fact it is like falling into a bed of feathers, but because there is nothing solid to push against while trying to get back up on your feet.

This can take a lot of time and effort, and cause you to tire out quickly.

Overall, this is the season to do some of the best snowboarding that the world has to offer.

Right here in Hokkaido.
That is why people come here from all over the world, especially from other parts of Asia and also from New Zealand and Australia.

I am going to hurry up and finish writing all of my New Year Cards 年賀状 tonight, so I can get out my dusty old snowboard and go for a big ride tomorrow.

I can't wait to get back into it again.

2008 December 25 Thursday.

Merry Christmas Everybody!!!


第200話  米国、ゼロ金利政策と量的緩和の採用(薄まるドル) ☆☆☆

前回の第199話にて、「海図のない航海、ゼロ金利に向かう?FRB」として米国がゼロ金利政策の採用に向かう可能性が高いこと、また既にリーマン・ブラザーズの破綻後の金融の混乱への対応策として、金利から通貨の供給量という政策の変更すなわち「量的緩和策」に実質的に乗り出していると した。





































2008 December 24 Wednesday.

T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care. In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter's nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."
Poem by Clement Clarke Moore

Reading Voice by
Norman Delaney
Piano Music by

Reading Voice recorded on 2006 December 24 


2008 December 23 Tuesday.

Today is a National Holiday in Japan.

It is the Emperor's Birthday 天皇誕生日 to be exact.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko came to Asahikawa on July 4, 2003 for the first time in more than 30 years.
he Royal Couple were on a tour of Hokkaido that year, and they traveled around this beautiful island by motorcade.

One of the events on their schedule was to have a Luncheon Banquet at the Taisetsu Crystal Hall which is right across the street from my classroom.

Because I knew the schedule of events on that day, I waited outside on the street along the route of the motorcade as it left the Luncheon Banquet at about 15:00.
I was in a big crowd of people, but lucky for me, I am taller than most of the other people, so I could raise up my one-shot-at-a-time digital camera over my head in an attempt to take a photo of the Emperor as he and the Empress passed by on their way to their next event.

Even though I couldn't use the viewfinder so as to be sure that I got a good photo, I got lucky none the less.

As you can see from the photo on the left, this was a very lucky photo indeed, because I only had one chance.

The one and only chance in my lifetime perhaps.
As a result, I nailed it. Later that same day, during the evening, there was another large gathering of people, this time in front of the Asahikawa City Hall to wave up at the Royal Couple as they waved back down to the crowd below from a 15th floor window in the Asahikawa Grand Hotel.

I was able to take some very interesting photos of the occasion and you can see the photo gallery for that day by clicking here.

You can also read the very short essay I wrote about it by clicking here.

As I said at the start of today's blog, today is a National Holiday so I had no classes to teach.

With about 3 weeks of winter vacation in front of me, I began to think of all of the things that I must do, and most of the other things that I want to do.
It is a rather long list. 


2008 December 15 Monday thru December 22 Monday.

Today, December 22 is the Winter Solstice.
It is the longest night and the shortest day of the year.
It is not the coldest time of year in Asahikawa, that will come in the middle of February.
This past week was my last week of classes before the start of my 3 week winter vacation.

As such, there was a small Xmas Party during each and every one of my classes, with a small gift for each and every student to take home with them.
Speaking of Xmas parties, I was invited to the
METS 英会話 School's Xmas party, that was held at the Leo Palace Hotel on Saturday night from 19:00 until 21:00.

I don't know for sure, but I think this school has been around longer than my own classroom.
I remember seeing their Town Pages Advertisement every year since I first started my school back in 1996.

Anyway, I met the people who work at and manage the school for the very first time on Saturday evening.

In a word, they are very nice people and if you live in the Suehiro Area of Asahikawa, you may enjoy attending some of their classes.

They even have classes at other locations around Asahikawa such as Lumine and other citizen learning centers.
Be on the look out for METS メッツ 英会話 posters when you go shopping at the 100 Yen store or you local supermarket.

After the METS 英会話 Xmas Party was finished at 21:30, I was invited by the manager Mr. S., to join everyone at another location for a second party, but I declined the offer because I was thinking about doing some more work on my affiliate website the
Every Thing Japan Network.

So, I sad thank you very much and started walking home along the icy sidewalks of downtown Asahikawa.
As I passed by the Planet Building, I suddenly remembered that I haven't been to the
Piano in Pub, for a very long time.

Since I was already in the area, I decided to take the elevator up to the 8th floor and join the party.
The reason I like this place so much, is because the owner can play any song on the piano and the customers can sing along on an open microphone.

If you like going to a Karaoke Box and singing all of you favorite songs, you will like this place even better.
Not only that, but on Saturday nights they are open until 02:00 on Sunday morning, and a lot of really talented musicians stop by to play their musical instruments. It is an excellent place to meet up and get together for for a LIVE JAM!

On Sunday afternoon starting at 14:00, I went bowling with the Asahikawa University Lifelong Learning Class
旭川大学生涯教育クラス at the Dinos Sugai Building located on Taisetsu Doori. About the only time I go bowling at all, is with this group of people, and in 2005 I got the highest score over two games and won about 10,000 yen worth of book certificates.

However, this year I didn't do as well.
Although I paid 1,200 yen for two games of bowling, I won a total of 1,500 yen in book gift certificates 図書カード.
Not a bad deal by any standards.

Tomorrow is the Emperor's Birthday and thus, a National Holiday.


2008 December 8 Monday thru December 14 Sunday.

An open letter to Link Share Japan. Thank you for wasting my time!!!

As you may already know if you are a regular reader of this blog, I have started a new website in early September of this year, the main purpose of which was to be an affiliate advertiser for the products and services of other companies.

Although this type of affiliate marketing has been around for a bit more than ten years, it is still a relatively new business idea in the course of human history.

With a lot of help from my good friend Charlie, I started to understand a little bit of what this world of internet marketing is all about.

I receive several internet newsletters from various organizations, one of which is from the
Highlights for Children education company.

I used to read this monthly magazine as a child and was hoping to share it with my students here in Japan, so I looked at their website to see if they had an affiliate program.

Sure enough, they did. When I clicked on the link, I was taken to the English language website for
Link Share USA.

On that website I clicked on the big button that said Publishers Join Now. I was taken to a Japanese Language sign up page.

I didn't think anything was unusual about this, as it often happens with many websites such a Google.

Anyway this is not a problem for me because I can read Japanese.
So I filled out all of the required information, in the Japanese Language.

One of the data input boxes required me to describe the purpose of my website, so I filled it in like this. 日本の全てを英語の世界に紹介する、または、日本に住んでいる外国人に、便利な買物サイトを紹介したいとのことです。 In English I would translate this as; "Introduce everything about Japan to the English Speaking World. Also, provide a one stop shopping website for foreigners living in Japan.

Is there any confusion, either in English or in Japanese, as to the purpose of my new affiliate website, the
Every Thing Japan Network?

About two business days after I made my affiliate application to Link Share Japan, my website was approved to become a publisher, so immediately started applying to most of the various companies that are registered with Link Share Japan as advertisers.

I was approved by about 80% of the advertisers that I applied to, starting with the companies that I myself have bought things from and know are good products and services.

Companies such as
ALC which also goes by the name アルク and publishes many language learning materials which I myself have used to learn Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

Sky Perfect TV, to which I myself have be a subscriber for about 10 years.

Glico グリコ which makes many of the snack foods that my wife enjoys eating, etc, etc.

I was very happy and satisfied to be able to introduce these products and services to the non-Japanese speaking world, which is about 95% of the world population.

I must have spent more than 100 hours putting up banner advertisements for my favorite companies onto my new website. I even made a sale through one of them, thus earning a small commission. Then, everything suddenly changed.

About two weeks after being approved as a publisher thru Link Share Japan, I received the following email from them.
ご登録されたWEBサイトは「ECサイトのパートナー」の観点から 一定の基準をもって審査を行っておりますが、審査の結果、下記の理由により、登録申請を一時的に保留とさせていただいております。 ※日本語以外のコンテンツで構成されているサイト
For those of my readers who can't read Japanese, let me summarize the above message.

Your website being registered as a partner to Electronic Commerce websites, as been examined, and the results of the examination are that your application had been put on temporary hold for the following reason.


Say What????

You have already approved my website, that is why I was able to get banner links from your advertisers.

Not only that, but I wrote about the purpose of my website in my application.
Didn't you read it before you approved my website?

Did you even look at my website before approving my application?

What kind of nonsense is this?

In an attempt to find out what this was all about, I contacted the Link Share USA branch of the company to find out if I could transfer my account to them, instead of the Japanese Network.

At first, I got an email from Link Share USA, with the URL for the signup page.
I went to the English Language sign up page, but I was not able to complete the process, because the data input form does not recognize "Hokkaido" as a legitimate location for an address.

So, I wrote them back again and asked what I should do. They said that they will contact me again when the issue is resolved.
As of this writing, I have heard nothing more from them.

As far a Link Share Japan is concerned; I have asked them several questions:
Number one. WHY did you approve my website in the first place if you already knew that the contents was written in English?
Number two. WHY is there no mention in the affiliate agreement that the contents of an affiliate's website MUST BE IN JAPANESE ONLY? For those of you who can read Japanese,
click here to read the agreement for yourself. Especially take a close look at article 8  第8条。

On December 6, 2008 when Link Share Japan deactivated my account, and thus wasted about 100 hours of my time that I spent applying to advertisers, getting approved, and then putting banner links on my website, I wrote to them again and asked them; WHY IS THERE NOTHING IN THE AFFILIATE AGREEMENT ABOUT PUBLISHER WEBSITE CONTENTS NEEDING TO BE WRITTEN IN JAPANESE ONLY???

Here is the reply I got.
参加規約に「日本語以外のサイト」の参加を言及する文章はありません。 但し、弊社は、参加規約の第18条に基づき、日本のネットワークに参画する アフィリエイトサイトが基準をクリアするよう精査しています。
English translation: There is nothing written in the affiliate agreement about publisher sites using languages other than Japanese.

However, in accordance with article 18 (of the affiliate agreement) all publisher websites are carefully checked to insure they clear the standards of the Link Share Japan Network.

Below this comment I was given a URL to click on that leads to a web page in the FAQ sections of the website!!!!
Click here to read that page.

Again, if you can't read Japanese let me summarize the contents of the page.
No affiliates under 18 years of age, No under construction websites, No gambling or adult porno or chat websites.

No websites that require a sign in page to access the website. No multi level marketing websites. No websites that promote racial or religious or ethnic hatred. etc. etc.

Oh! and by the way, no websites that are written in a language other than Japanese.

Can you believe this xit!?!?
Remember, this information was not written in the affiliate agreement itself.

It was written on a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) web page, and merely referred to by the agreement in article 18!!!

While most of these standards are just common sense, the requirement to have all publisher website contents in Japanese only, is not common sense.

After all, only about 5% of the worlds population can read Japanese.

The number of people who can read English is much greater than that.

Now, that is common sense.
Conclusion: Link Share Japan has a business model perfect for the stone age.

Wake up boys!!! Your competitors such as
Value Commerece, Commission Junction, Pepper Jam Network and so forth are going to steal your market share and put you in the internet marketing has been category.

Best of luck to you guys.

And once again, thank you so much for wasting about 100 hours of my time!!!!

Have a Merry Xmas.