Saturday was a good day for laundry and cleaning and having some down time which I need so much. I declined the offer to make a trip to McDonalds but stopped by duringmy run, which very happily happened without pain in my knee. I donít know if I mentioned that I tried to run one night and went too far and hurt it again Ė duh! I ran for a short time but was happy that Iíd recovered so quickly. I had a nice chat with Mark, Thilman, and Krystal. I bought too many groceries at the Ogino and of course the evening was church. We had play practice afterwards. Iíll miss dress rehearsal, so it might be a little interesting! Charles was kind enough to take me home after dinner since we were out later because of the play.

Sunday (Dec. 4th) I went into 甲府 (Kofu) at 8:30 to meet Bonnie and Atley Jonas. They had offered me a ride into Tokyo, which I gratefully took up because today was the day for checking out the Irish music session in Tokyo! Lucky for me they had also planned a trip to Costco. Now, I think I only went to Costco in America once and I was then about ten years old. The beauty of Costco here is that there are a lot of products that you canít get elsewhere in Japan and even more products that are ten times cheaper! Even though I spent a lot of money there were only a few indulgences and the rest were very sound purchases. What items does an American in Japan find irresistible? 75 packets of SwissMiss hot chocolate (16 yen each!), pasta sauce, graham crackers (!), oatmeal (enough to last a few years), chocolate chips (enough to last five years Ė or it should be. Note that you (or at least I) cannot find them here), Nacho Cheesier Doritos (total indulgence Ė yum, yum), granola, Nutela (just because I could get it!), Thai Kitchen Pad Thai noodles (nice surprise!), dried cranberries, and I got a huge thing of pickles because my JTE (Yuko) was asking about them but now I donít know what Iím going to do with them all. I also got bagels and a huge thing of sharp white cheddar cheese. Oh cheese! They just donít eat it often over hear so it is insanely expensive.

We spent almost two hours in the store, which was plenty long for me. I kept adding more unnecessary things as my self-control waned. We had lunch at the food court where I had an extra cheesy piece of pizza that I couldnít finish and a churros for 90 yen! Boy that reminded me of home.

They dropped me off at the Nakano Sun Plaza where the session was held. I suddenly began to worry that I should have checked with a real person that the schedule was up-to-date before jumping into Tokyo, but sure enough on the eighth floor I could hear the strains of Irish music! They were a bit surprised to see me come in, I was able to understand when the asked me if this was my first time and I said yes, signed in and paid my 800 yen. Where else can you get three hours of interactive entertainment in Tokyo for 800 yen? The session was not all I had hoped. It was a bit like the Friday night sessions in Rochester. Somehow things just donít feel right if youíre not in a bar with normal life singing around you. This was just a smallish room with a ring of chairs. The session struggled from a lack of instrument variety. Sadly, the most common instrument was the whistle, which made me feel even the more unwelcome. I didnít realized until near the end that one of the main problems was that there were no fiddles! There were a few flutes, two concertinas (which helped a lot) and a few guitars. I canít remember, but it was something like eight whistles . . .

They played much slower than we do in Rochester, but again, Rochester is known for playing ridiculously fast. But when I suggested She Beg She Mor (Iím not sure how to spell it) they ripped into it at about three times the speed we play it! So, Iím not sure if it was the awkwardness of being a strange foreign face in a new place, but I found it a little tedious. I also didnít want to play too much or show off. Itís not that they werenít open Ė they invited me to start tunes many times and even got me to sing a song Ė but somehow I just didnít slip in. I guess I somehow expected it to feel like a Rochester session, which of course it couldnít and shouldnít! It did help that their English was much better than my Japanese and by the end of the three hours I was much more comfortable. At five on the dot the session broke up but one guitarist and one concertina player kept going and I joined. This spontaneous session that grew to about five of us was the best part of the evening. We played for a whole extra hour then we had to stop for the dance class. I decided that instead of trying to navigate Tokyo by myself in the dark to districts that were closing soon anyway, Iíd just stay for the dance. I miss it greatly as well! They were doing ceili dances and I was told I could stay (for another 800 yen) even though I wouldnít be able to understand the instructions . . . Luckily, I was familiar enough with the dances to pick up pretty quickly. They got their instructions from the English book, and much of the calls were English as well. I was pared with a great dancer because I was new, but with my experience we were able to have grand fun. I discovered an interesting difference in how Japanese people do western traditional dances, though. Oh, I might say that everyone was Japanese in both the session and the dance lesson. Interesting for such an international city and international function! But back to my observation. I could be mistaken, but it seemed to me that I made my partner uncomfortable by looking at him when we swung. In folk dancing eye contact is very important. I learned that earlier on and it was a hard lesson to learn Ė itís awkward to look into a strangerís eyes for three seconds! However, it sure does break the ice and itís a great way to get to know people (really!) and have a fun evening. I noticed my partner looked over my shoulder (like we were doing tango, maybe?) and would only glance at me occasionally. Of course, when he did look at me I was looking right into his eyes and wearing a big smile. That is normal for such a dance, but I think itís not the way they do it in Japan. I noticed that none of my partners would make eye contact for very long and never during a swing. Oops, my poor first partner! I wonder what he thought the new foreign girl was trying to communicate! Iím happy to say he was a gentleman about it if it made him uncomfortable. He wasnít shy about swinging me Ďround, though!

During breaks I noticed a lot of people practicing a strange kind of step dancing. It wasnít the Irish step dancing I was used to and looked more like Cape Breton dancing. When I asked what it was I was sold it was ďsean nos,Ē which I know from my Irish music study means ďold style.Ē Thatís cool! I didnít know there was an old style of Irish step that was still alive today. It seems to be more popular in Tokyo than modern Irish step, though they do have some classes in modern. You learn something new everyday!

Very, very luckily for me one of the dancers offered to go with me to Shinjuku, where I was to meet Atley and Bonnie. By myself I would have found the Nakano station, I could have figured out the price of my ticket, I probably could have found my way to the correct platform and gotten on the right train to the right place, but it would have taken me at least half an hour (and Iím not exaggerating) to find the West exit. The station was so huge you could have fit half a city in there and we had to go up and down and around and onto another platform and up again before we saw a sign for the West exit. Thank goodness for my escort! I met Bonnie and Atley just in time (around 9pm) and we left Tokyo behind. Crazy, but fun!

Monday (Dec. 5th) was another good day of oral exams and since there are no club activities before exam week I didnít have to stay late for ICC. I got home in time to fix myself a American dinner courtesy of the Costco trip of a bagel sandwich (with lettuce, tomato, carrots, mustard and mayo), pickles, Doritos, and cheddar cheese cubes. Oh boy, did that taste like home!

At Bible study we talked about sex and keeping pure before marriage. I donít think the married and unmarried should talk about sex in the same room unless the married are willing to restrain themselves for the sake of their ďweaker brothers.Ē I just donít think I need to think that much about a healthy sexual relationship in a marriage when I am so far from it myself. After the night's discussion I started to think we get ourselves in a catch 22 where thinking of sex and whatís appropriate and trying to justify things gets us thinking more about it and more enslaved by it. Itís impossible to say to a glutton to just stop thinking about food because he is sick. However, there are so many wonderful things to do and think about that after time even the glutton can learn to forget about food in the presence of greater things. I just canít help thinking that thatís our problem with sex. All this blab about our natural drive and need. Surely we wouldnít be so aware of the need if we werenít thinking seen images that make us think about it all the time! Okay, now that Iíve turned away half my readership (I wonder how many people actually get this far in my rambles?), Iíll get back to the day. Luckily for me this discussion of sex occurred while we were making bead wreaths for when we go caroling in the old folks homes next weekend. It gave me an excuse not to listen or say anything, though I still managed to talk plenty.

Tuesday (Dec. 6th) was sadly the last day of oral exams. First I had my sannensei (三年生 3rd years) and we watched A Christmas Carol, which I was happy to share with them. I hadnít watched it in a long time and it was fun to see something Christmassy.

I was looking forward to todayís genki (energetic) 一年生 class, especially one group who insisted that their dialogue be kept a secret from me. I was a bit worried that I might not be able to understand them since I wasnít familiar with the script and hadnít helped with pronunciation, but I had nearly no trouble at all. Luckily, they had given me a hint as to what they were doing so I was a little prepared for what was to come. They had said it was a love story (a topic many pairs chose, and might I add that both boys and girls had no trouble playing the part of the opposite sex, but not one pair was a guy/girl mix!). Sure enough, the scene opens with two students meeting in the halls after class and the one (Singo) confesses to the other (Yuuta) that he is ďlove sick.Ē Yuuta admits that he is, too, and asks who the object of his affection (okay, so they didnít use that phrase) was. There was a bit of a pause before Shingo said ďIn truth [seriously Ė the Japanese English dictionaries give the kids some pretty old English], I am in love with . . . ď another pause, ď . . . with Janet!Ē he shouts. As you might have guessed Yuuta exclaims the he indeed also is in love with me. Commence extremely hilarious, dramatic scene of two teenage boys fighting over a girl. I must admit this must have taken some guts. Yuko got the whole thing on video of them coming up in turn to my ďjudging deskĒ and ďdeclaringĒ their love for me. The scene ended with an imaginary sword through Yuutaís body. I almost died laughing. Other JETís complained that their kids arenít so creative. Give them space. Give them room. They will blossom. Thatís hard for a teacher to do because it shows us just how unimportant we are. Plus, they have a long history in school and theyíre still in it. Yet, yet . . . I still hope.

Wednesday (Dec. 7th) was the start of exam week so I have no classes. I did my best to make life easier for me later. At the last minute 清水先生 (Shimizu sensei) and I decided to go see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ハリーポッター. Iíve been wanting to see it but havenít had the chance. I like how Harry Potter looks in katakana: ハリーポッター. Anyway, I really enjoyed it. It was quite a piece of eye candy and though the characters were a bit underdeveloped there were a lot of really well done things. It also helps that I almost completely forgot the plot of the book so it was mostly a surprise to me. Random bit of trivia: the Japanese translators translate Hermioneís name to voice the ďoĒ as in ha-ma-o-ni. Interesting . . .

Mom, Dad and Heather Ė have you seen it yet? While listening to Dumbledoreís stirring lecture after Cedricís death while the camera panned up to the grand hallís ceiling (why didnít I see a sky in it this time?) I was distinctly reminded of Henryís speech at Agincourt. I thought it was Dumbledore thundering voice, but as I was sitting through the lengthy credits whose name did I see? Patrick Doyle! Sure enough, he was in charge of the music this time, and I canít wait to see the movie again and see if there was something in the speech music that reminded me of his work on Henry V. Iíd like to listen to the whole score more carefully. Oh, and at the theater I realized that Narnia doesnít come to Japan until March! Thatís not fair!

I had a bit of dinner at home and went to bed at a decent hour.

Thursday (Dec. 8th). Iíve been having so much fun discovering the Japanese on my computer that I wonít get to bed at a decent hour. Jon helped me set it up before I came, but I never tried to write in it. Now I know my computer at school well enough to figure out how to use it on my computer and Iím having too much fun! I hope it shows up okay on the blog for everyone. Hereís where I live: Ryuo 竜王. Ryuo means dragon king Ė can you see it in the Kanji? Cool, huh? Kanji is kakkoi!

Okay, so today I did get a fair amount of stuff done at school though I took to long to grade essays for 湯子 (Yuko). I was supposed to have dinner with her but she had to stay home so I had a productive evening at home, too. That is until I sat down to write and update and took two and a half hours. Is my life really that interesting?!?!

Congratulations if you made it all the way through. Iíll give you a hug when I come home. :)
Posted by harp on Thursday, December 8, 2005 at 2:11 pm | Edit
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Can you see the Japanese in this post on your browser? If you can, the rest of us can see it if we install the Japanese fonts. If you can't either, it is probably because LifeType knows that you are writing in English, so doesn't save/display it properly. You could take screenshots of your Word document, and then upload them as resources, and include the images in your posts. Then everyone will be able to see them without installing anything special, though it will take some work on your part.

Posted by jondaley on Thursday, December 08, 2005 at 3:48 pm
I can see the Japanese characters (very cool!) fine on my system (Windows XP, Firefox browser); if anything special was installed, I didn't do it. :)

Posted by SursumCorda on Thursday, December 08, 2005 at 4:26 pm
When Mom and I read this post from Mom's laptop, the Japanese came out fine. When I look at it from our desktop at home, they are blocks with letters and numbers in them. I guess that means I just need to install the Japanese fonts, like Jon said.

Posted by joyful on Thursday, December 08, 2005 at 4:27 pm
Curiously enough, all the Japanese is missing except for the Harry Potter which came out fine.

Posted by joyful on Thursday, December 08, 2005 at 4:28 pm
Did you mean three times the speed you play the tune in Rochester? Or one third the speed? I was a little confused. Heather and I read this post together and you should have heard us laughing over your students' dialogue. We just saw the previous Harry Potter and now I really want to see the new one. (John Williams did the music for the one we saw.)

Posted by SursumCorda on Thursday, December 08, 2005 at 4:46 pm
I wonder if it could have something to do with the fact that "Harry Potter" is in katakana and the rest in kanji? For each the html looks like '' followed by the actual characters and the end span statement. However, the Japanese in the title is "日本語" (I can't wait to post this comment and see what of that which I've written shows up.)

Posted by SursumCorda on Thursday, December 08, 2005 at 5:05 pm
"I can't wait to post this comment and see what of that which I've written shows up.)" Not much, apparently. Let me try again:

I wonder if it could have something to do with the fact that "Harry Potter" is in katakana and the rest in kanji? For each the html looks like (less than sign)span lang="JA"(greater than sign) followed by the actual characters and the end span statement. However, the Japanese in the title is (string of three codes in the form of (ampersand)(number sign)(one set of five digits, 23085, 26412, 35486)(semicolon))

Posted by SursumCorda on Thursday, December 08, 2005 at 5:10 pm
It must be a musicial thing. Three times the speed means three times faster. So, Rochester plays it as a slow air, and they play it as a fast waltz. About the Japanese. I can see it just fine. I figured there might be some problems, but that's partly why I always included the translation, I think . . .

Posted by Harp on Thursday, December 08, 2005 at 10:43 pm
Janet. I love your posts about your teaching. In fact, they may be my favorite items - because they show your creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. I am reading this on my IBM machine, and I see all the katakana and kanji fine - and I don't think I had anything special installed.

Posted by Dad-o on Friday, December 09, 2005 at 4:11 am
I also love hearing about your teaching experiences. I've heard that good teachers often owe much of their teaching skills to good teachers in their past....I guess that's an indirect compliment to your parents ;-) BTW, I can see all of the gana/kana/kanji fine here, but I've done so many things to this poor machine that I'm sure it is not a "typical" installation any longer.

Posted by Andy F. on Friday, December 09, 2005 at 5:21 am
Well, when I saw the title of this entry in my RSS feed it certainly caught my eye! In Which Janet takes a tip from network tv and discovers how to boost her blog's ratings. Let's see; it included the words "sex" (specifically, "Sex in the Bible"!) and "Harry Potter".... Plus attracted my interest with the mention of Henry V.

I can't believe there are people in this world who 1) appreciate Nutella, 2) know who Pat Doyle is and care, 3) know the words to St. Patrick's Breastplate, and 4) browse with FireFox. The overlap of that particular Venn diagram is... well, is probably represented right here on this blog!

With regard to the topic of the Bible study, Andy again fills the role of plugging C.J. Mahaney, Josh Harris, and Sovereign Grace Min. in general. Specifically Josh's most recent book, "Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is)" (, in which he makes the case that our culture suffers not from thinking too much about sex but from thinking to *little* about it (which sounds less shocking if worded as "not overvaluing but in fact undervaluing sex"). He also talks about the fact that Christians often lapse into a quasi-Gnostic "sex is bad" mindset, which is neither accurate nor helpful. Of course going into graphic detail isn't helpful either or appropriate, but I think preaching on the role and impact of sex and sexuality in Christian life is too often taboo.

Finally, after all the talk of Harry Potter, is Narnia showing over there yet? I'm bitterly disappointed that a mature assessment of my semester-final projects has prevented me from standing hours outside to see the midnight screening, but I intend to as soon as possible.

Posted by Andy Bonner on Saturday, December 10, 2005 at 10:59 pm
I will agree that sex is generally undervalued, in the sense that it is too common and casual, but if somewhere it is underrepresented in the church, I haven't seen it. Sex saturates sermons, Sunday school classes, books, lectures, youth group discussions, and general Christian life more than enough as far as I'm concerned.

I'm not totally convinced, but leaning more and more toward the belief that much of our current problem with sex comes from having separated it from fertility. As a focus and a purpose, recreation is a poor substitute for procreation.

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, December 12, 2005 at 1:44 am
Glad to see you back on the blog, Andy! I'm afraid I can't see TLTWATW until it comes out in MARCH here! At least Harry Potter came out only a week after it did in America. As for sex, I'm afraid I gave the impression that the talk at Bible study was graphic, when it was far from it. I'm all for responsible discussion of the matter, but once we're convinced to save sex for marriage, what have I to discuss? It's best just to keep my mind from it until I know I'm getting married. Then I might want to do some more research. Until then, it seems the more I know, the more I learn, the more I hear and see about sex will only help me to stumble. Besides, God made many great pleasures and somehow I doubt that his is the supreme one. After all, it is only human. Maybe people who have more experience may disagree, but I believe God has more for us in store and we're too obsessed with this one thing to be able to experience it. I don't mean to sound snobby. Don't take me the wrong way. I honestly don't see what further discussion of sex will be healthy. Maybe Harris is talking about discussing sex with those who are not yet convinced they should wait.

Posted by Harp on Monday, December 12, 2005 at 4:03 am
"God made many great pleasures and somehow I doubt that this is the supreme one." This is why (confession time) I like the TV show, "Numb3rs." The characters enjoy math, their work, attending lectures, learning, spending time together as a family, doing puzzles, having intelligent discussions, and other great pleasures. In contrast, the characters I meet in most shows/movies/books these days can't see beyond sex, money, intoxication, and power.

Posted by SursumCorda on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 3:33 am
I'm in cornell, its 3am, im doing ODEs and I remembered you! Those were the days, well mostly group theory. -Sasha

Posted by sasha on Friday, December 16, 2005 at 10:00 am
Hi Sasah! It's great to hear from you! I've been out of school so long I had to think hard before I knew what you meant by "ODE." Wow, I love being out of school. I can't say I miss those frantic sessions of doing homework right before class, but I sure did enjoy the lunch or coffee afterwards!

Posted by Harp on Wednesday, December 28, 2005 at 2:09 pm

Hi, Janet/Harp(?)

I just senendipitously stumbled into your blog when trying in vain to get Google to translate "She Boeg She Mor" for me, and your blog was the only hit. Getting only one hit on a Google search is such a rarity that I had to look further--though I still don't know what my answer; it's the title of a track on my "Quiet Nights" album. And since all my 700-odd albums are now on my computer and iPod, I don't have an easy way to go fetch the actual jewel box and read what the insert might say. (The CDs are now stacked double-deep in random order in a bookcase: very unhandy). The track appears to my ear to be plucked, perhaps on a Celtic harp. You seem to be a student of Irish. Can you help me with the meaning? Maybe it's something really simple, like "she begs for more", but that's more simplistic tha it is simple.

By God, it's been a whale of a long time since I did ODEs--and Laplace transforms and the like, too, and the lack of revealing context around ODE--until a bit later in your blog--had forced me to look up the likely meaning as well. I don't miss any of them and haven't used any of that arcana since university. But what I did learn and then used managed to get me through a good career and to retirement.

Well, it was a pleasant experience to stumble into your blog and it's varied excursions. I'm not too hopeful that your blog is still active, since the enties I'm looking at are late '05, but it's worth a shot: the question: "She boeg she mor"? The answer? ... will perhaps remain ever unknown to me.

Be well.


P.S. My iMac comes with standard software that has, among many others, fonts in Korean, Greek, and Japanese. Probably just a function of the normal temporal progresion in hard drives and language software. bcm

Posted by Barry Marshall on Thursday, July 05, 2007 at 8:27 am

Actually, I've heard a few guesses, Mr. Marshall. Neither are in the "we know for sure" category: one is that it translates to "So Big, So Little," and the other that it means "Big Hill, Little Hill," and apparently relates to a legend of a war between the fairies of two adjacent hills (strange, for such an un-warlike tune). I've of course also seen it spelled about 20 different ways--si bheag, si beg, sheebeg... but I've also seen several sources attribute it to the great Turlough Carolan.

Posted by Andy Bonner on Thursday, July 05, 2007 at 2:11 pm

Aha! Here are some Gaelic lyrics, even:

Posted by Andy Bonner on Thursday, July 05, 2007 at 2:15 pm
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