2008 August 25 Monday thru August 31 Sunday.

The last week of August, and autumn is just around the corner.

My first gig on Monday was at the Chestnut Tree Kindergarten くりの木幼稚園 starting at 10:00.

As usual, I was up on stage in front of about 220 noisy kids.

See the photo above/left for details. This week I talked about summer vacation activities using big colorful laminated flash cards to make the English words easier to remember.

One of the cards represented the word DRIVE. I even made up a new song the night before called MY CAR, that was simple and easy to remember for the kids.

With my acoustic guitar in hand, we sang my new song, and a couple of other old songs that the kids already knew.

Finally, all the kids came up to the stage one by one and we shook hands and said; "Bye bye. See you next time!"

After my class, the kids got to go outside and play on the big lawn that the kindergarten has. They even got served freshly sliced watermelons.

My next class on Monday was the 神楽公民館で英会話を楽しむ会 from 13:00 until 14:30.

This week, one of the ladies told us about her family's 12 day trip to FRANCE, which started off on a bad note.

After the very long flight from Japan to France, they arrived at their hotel, only to discover that the hotel had NO RECORD OF THEIR RESERVATION even though the family had a printed out copy of their reservation confirmation in hand, and showed it to the front desk clerk.

Wow! How is that for a laid back attitude about running a business.

Actually, I have heard this same horror story before from other students who traveled to Spain and Turkey, arriving after a long hard day of traveling, only to discover that the hotel they thought they had reservations at, didn't have any reservations for them.

I seriously doubt if something like this ever happens in Japan or Germany.

Anyway, despite an uncomfortable second rate hotel room on the very first night, the 12 day trip turned out to be a wonderful experience for her and her family.

Other students talked about various things, and we never got around to the printed hand out that I gave to them last week.

No, problem there. We can use it anytime.

I have a thousand more that I can prepare on a moments notice for any class.

Tuesday through Friday was a regular school week at my little classroom.

On Saturday afternoon around 13:00, I drove out to Shibinai to visit
Charles Hamel and family.

They live in a farming community, and even have their own little garden plots.

Despite the rather small area that they had to grow in, they had an amazing abundance of tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, red hot chili peppers, carrots and corn.

When I first arrived and walked in the front door, I smelled something delicious on the gas stove.

Turns out that Charlie was making a big pot full of TEXMEX (Texas/Mexico) SALSA サルサ with fresh off the vine ingredients from his own garden, and the farms of his neighbors as well.

I don't know about you, but I just love Mexican food with a big dish of salsa on the side.

It was a lucky day for me too, because Charlie has so many tomatoes, that they are beginning to rot on the vine.

Not all of them, just some of them. There are still lots of green tomatoes that will become edible in the very near future as well.

As a result, Charlie let me pick as many of the edible tomatoes as I could, and I picked a lot of them.

After I got back home from Shibinai, I got out a big aluminum pot and started making a huge batch of my own fresh salsa.

It was so good, I even surprised myself. Fresh ingredients really do make a big difference.

I hope I will be doing this again, in the very near future.

On Sunday, Ikuko and I took a long drive to Biei, Shirogane and Tokachi Dake Observation Area.

The weather was perfect, and I brought along my video camera and new tripod.
I got some excellent video of the active volcano, the surrounding mountains, the sunset and myself in a natural outdoor hot tub in the dark with a chemical light stick, making light drawings in the water.

When these videos have been edited and finalized, I will put them on the
Private Hokkaido channel on YOU TUBE.

Please check it from time to time for new videos that will be COMING SOON.

Tomorrow is the start of my favorite month, SEPTEMBER.

The Autumn Appetite 食欲の秋 is now upon us. Harvest season in Hokkaido is something everyone should see for themselves.

Please come and visit some time