Saturday, February 26, 2011

Farewell Lunch

Our farewell lunch and certificate ceremony was held today.

Japanese/Brazilian dinner with UCR Friends

As a small token of gratitude, I wanted to cook some Brazilian food for the people at UCR who have made our programs at UCR successful the past years. We had a Japanese/Brazilian dinner party at Teramoto-sensei's place. I thank him and his wife for the patience with me and for letting me make a mess in their kitchen!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mission Middle School

We went to Mission Middle School today and the students talked about calligraphy.

Amemiya-kun in Riverside!

Amemiya-kun is in Riverside today. We were together in my office in Togane two weeks ago so it felt a little weird to be talking to him at the UCR Extension lounge this morning. He decided to stop by California on his way back to Bolivia. He was in La Paz and look at how sun tanned he got. He showed me all these beautiful photos. He is visiting his former host family and will be flying back to Narita this weekend, too.

Dinner with Wan's family

Look at the HUGE salad and burger that Jean and Paul had last night. I had a bowl of wild mushroom soup that was excellent and, of course, some fried artichokes.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


We also went to the campus for a short walk near the tower.

Downtown Riverside Tour

View of the Mission Inn from the City Hall.
View of the Court House from the City Hall.
Mission Inn Entrance
Araras at the Mission Inn

After lunch we went for a walk around the downtown area where the City Hall and Court House are located.

Lunch with Ed Traynor & Sheila Dwight

We were so fortunate to have been invited to lunch by Ed Traynor, my favorite potter in the States. He did not only invite us all but also gave us all beautiful pieces of work (photo 1). Our present for him was very small compared to that: "hina" dolls. We certainly hope that he will make plans to travel to Japan in the near future. I found out today that he is a Taurus, too, and I would very much like to enjoy great food on great pottery with him in Japan--typical Taurus people love good food. We also had the honor of having Sheila with us. She was my boss and mentor while I was in Riverside 24 years ago, and she is the one who encouraged me to go to Japan in 1992. I miss the days she took me to the theater, out for ice cream and invited me to these great parties at her place. Spending time with great people is always, always very inspiring to me. Thanks, Sheila. Thanks, Ed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Beautiful day in Santa Barbara

We went to Santa Barbara today. It took us about 2.5 hours to get there, but the drive was really nice (see photos taken from the car).

Santa Barbara: fun photos

Taking beautiful photos of beautiful people.
Pressing a penny.

Afraid of falling in the water....

Afternoon with Sharon & John

Look at the great artichoke pizza John grilled for us. I had never had pizza prepared that way. It was SO crispy and good! He also put some romaine lettuce in the grill and I learned a new way of preparing it--I want to share that with my parents. The artichoke pasta was also excellent--actually everything is always good at their home.

Pharmacy group arrived

Seventeen students from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences arrived here in Riverside yesterday. They are going to be here for two weeks and will be visiting some pharmacies, attending lectures and visiting Loma Linda and Western University.

Hiroko in Riverside

Hiroko was with us at JIU just one semester and she is back in Riverside for her interviews for medical school. We met at Starbucks and it was really nice hearing about her plans--I really hope she'll be able to enter a great school.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Salted Pig

Yes, this is the name of the restaurant where I had lunch today. Dean Sharon Duffy invited me there. With my terrible allergy to pork, I was a little concerned they wouldn't have non-pork dishes for me, but of course they did. The chicken I ate was very good!

Interview #3

Today I am interviewing Haruka who went to the Mission Bell Elementary School for the second time. She took part in our special program in September as well.

MSI: How was visiting Mission Bell for the second time?
H: It was exciting because some of the students remembered us. They made a Pikachu for me and one of them had a crane. We taught them how to make that last time.
MSI: Was it easier for you to communicate with them?
H: Yeah, I think so. This time it was easier especially because we made flowers. Last time making cranes was more challenging. I had the experience before so it was easier to communicate with them.
MSI: What grade were your students in ?
H: Sixth grade. They tried really hard to talk to us. Last time I was with much smaller children and they couldn't understand our English. This time it was much easier to have conversations and answer their questions.
MSI: Were you surprised at their questions or something at the school?
H: They really like singing. They wanted us to sing Japanese songs.
MSI: Wow. Did you do that?
H: Yes. They sang the national anthem to us and we sang the Japanese anthem to them. They also wanted to know about the lyrics so I tried to explain, but it was really hard.
MSI: Did you sing a children's song, too?
H: We sang "Twinkle twinkle little star" in Japanese. They know the melody so I thought it would be fun for them to listen to that in Japanese. After that they sang to us in English, too.
MSI: That sounds like fun. I'm sure the sounds in Japanese surprised them.
H: Yes, they looked very surprised.
MSI: What do you think you could have done to make this visit even better?
H: I think this one was better than the one in September because we were prepared to explain about some Chinese characters and they learned some Japanese. Last time we visited more classes and didn't spend much time with one group. We could have taught more about Japanese culture, for example, we could spend more time teaching them how to write in Japanese.
MSI: Well, I hope you'll be able to go back for the third time and if not, I'll give the future students your advice.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mission Bell Elementary School

We visited Mission Bell Elementary School today and made some origami flowers with the 3rd and 6th graders. We also answered students questions about Japan. We were welcomed by Principal Huben who gave us the thank-you letters students had written for our visit in September.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Artichoke....with Karen

I had to have an artichoke and salmon salad for lunch today. Karen was so kind and invited me to this great meal! She will be at JIU on April 11 to interview students who are applying for the Disney Internship Program.

Preparations for the school visit

Students spent two hours this afternoon preparing for tomorrow's elementary school visit.

Today's Creative Writing Workshop

Students took part in the Creative Writing Workshop with Amanda today.