Weekly Logs: Dec.21 – 27, 2020

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Dec.21 on Monday
9:05-10:25: Reading class, online, for class 1939. The article was actually weird one in which a TV anchor interviewed a historical person who was brought to the modern times by a time machine. The interviewee was brought from 1000 years ago, Murasaki Shikibu who wrote the world oldest long novel “Genji Monogatari (aTale of Genji). I expected that my students would be interested in female literature around 11 century in Heian era of Japan. After the class I took a rest until the lunch and spent two hours for uploading the last week’s weekly log to the wordpress. The rest of the afternoon was just nap and rest on the bed. My fatigue accumulated for the semester. 17:30 – 19:30: Cook and Supper. I bought some commodities from Amazon.co.jp after the supper. The shopping took two hours. And then I went to bed.

Dec.22 on Tuesday
I requested eight books to the city library in the morning. And then I started working to calculate students’ grading for the conversation class of this semester. Grading composes of the test result and performances in classes through the semester. Two are 50 to 50 in proportion. For the performances, I combined three factors to calculate. Of course the attendance is the most important. I added other two things to the attendance: One is scores of right answers to the quiz during a class. The other is how good a student responded to my questions during a class. Both are actually “Big Data” because 55 students took the classes 17 times. All the numbers are written on my business notebook by handwriting. Here is an issue; those numbers must be typed in the excel spreadsheet in order calculate the scores. In the last semester, I did that right after the class in the same day. In this semester, I decided doing this at the end of the semester because it would affect preparation for the next class if I input data about quiz answers and students’ performance right after each class. Now is the time to input “Big Data” of whole semester at one time. Actually I realized that the way in the last semester was better than inputting huge data one time at the end of semester. It is not because of accumulated fatigue at the end of the semester. If I don’t input students’ performance during semester, I cannot know how a student is doing better or worse. Every time I ask a student to answer my question during class, I need to choose a student who is suitable for asking that particular question. I mean, “This question is a little difficult, so it is better to ask an excellent student”, or “This question is a basic one, it is better to ask a below-average student”. If I input the students’ performance class by class and make it visible during semester, I can easily make a judgment for this kind of decision. In this semester, I don’t have such a good reference. Looking at the result of students’ performance, I found that my evaluations without data are not correct for some students. That is what I regret for this semester.

Dec.23 on Wednesday
Since February, I turn the light on every morning and turn it off night, at the altar where my dad’s photo is put. Having passed ten months, the fluorescent light has almost ended. If a deceased person’s photo is placed in the dark, it is NO good. I thought I would change it to a LED light of less electric and more longevity. I went to D.I.Y. shop in the morning to buy a LED light bulb, code, and a switch. Went back home I tried putting the LED light above the altar. My fault was that I didn’t think about how I fixed the bulb. It was already in the afternoon when I complete the LED lighting because the work took more than three hours. After that I made some PPT slide for the last class of conversation class on Thursday.

Dec.24 on Thursday
9:05-10:25 was conversation class for sophomore students, let’s say, the Class A. I taught the auxiliary verb “-souda” for hearsay. The important thing is the difference from “-souda” for inference. This class was the last one for Class A. Since the conversation class was canceled once some time middle of the semester, the Class A only had chances to take conversation class 16 times in this semester. IN the afternoon, 13:40-16:00 another Class B also took the conversation class. But Class B had chances to take my class 17 times. In order to treat both classes A and B equally, I made the last class a special one for Class B. At 13:40, I started the class with a test with 40 questions. I am going to evaluate students’ answers during spring semester, not now, because now is the time to grade for the semester. My purpose is that I would like to make individualized teaching that is suitable to each student such that can overcome his or her weaknesses. And then I made the students the first half of the old tale “Kasajizou” and made them write what would be the last half of the story by guessing. Actually I did the same thing last year. At that time some students wrote that old lady got angry with what her husband did. I wouldn’t say it is bad inference, though, this time, most students could predict what the ending of the story would be like correctly.

Dec.25 on Friday
I did the final examinations of conversation class; one class in the morning, the other in the afternoon. It was a pair work of conversation. I made the students make conversation for a task, record it to mp3 or m4a, and send it to me. The tests in the morning and afternoon went almost well for 28 pairs of 56 students. However, two pairs were problematic. I should not write about them in detail here.
After the afternoon test, I had to cut and make slices of salmon. It took more than hour. So my supper was delayed a little than usual. I worked two hours for grading, 40 minutes for bass practicing, read an English book a little, and then fell asleep.

Dec.26 on Saturday
I went to the morning market in Niitsu in the morning. This was the last market in this year. I worried about sold out of Ms.Yamashita’s Kimchi, I left home early. So, before 10 a.m., I was already back in home. Then I wasted three hours for uploading two blog posts here and https://blog.goo.ne.jp/liangzhi.
After taking a long nap in the afternoon, I worked to calculate the gradings of the students’ performance in the conversation class, for rest of the day.

Dec.26 on Sunday
I spent all day to evaluate the final examination of the conversation class. That’s it.

Cutting and Slicing a Whole Salmon (Photos may be Graphic)

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

So this is the end of the year 2020. Every year at this time a lady in Hokkaido sends us a one whole salmon as a year-end gift. That lady’s husband and my dad had worked together forty some years ago. Her husband died young, but she continues to send the year-end gifts to her husband’s old colleagues. Actually my dad had long been ill and was unable to deal with salmon by himself. But I couldn’t say her to stop sending. Because I thought that sending year-end gifts to her husband’s co-workers makes her feel the connection to her dead husband.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

But this year, a change had happened on our family side. My dad died in February. We should have told her soon, but we haven’t done that yet. This morning, my mom wrote a letter, although she hasn’t brought it to post office yet. Anyway, I had to cut and slice the salmon. I have done that yesterday.
The first thing I have to do was to sharpen a knife. I honed a thick blade knife with a whetstone. By the way, I want you to know that Japanese do not rubbing two knives together with clicking-clacking sounds when we sharpen a knife. We do that one by one with whetstone as in the photograph.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

He is bigger than the cutting board. I use the word “He” because I guess the salmon is male. The reason is simple; his nose is sharp. A female salmons have round nose. Anyway I have to cut the salmon neatly, but I think that, for this kind of techniques, how many times one has done it before matters to do it well. I mean if I had cut salmons one hundred times, I could do it well. But this was just the third times for me to cut and slice a one whole salmon. So please do not expect much.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

At first I cut the head and fins. Of course they can be eaten. There is no part that can be wasted as to salmon.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

OK, this is the most difficult part of the process. You need to cut a half body on one side. At the center of the body, there is a line of bones from the backbone to the top. It is important to cut as close as you can to those vertical bones at the center. But I should admit that I am not good at it. You can see that meat remains on bone side thick.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

The next process is to cut the backbone out from the other side of body.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

And then I slice the half body so that they can be easily grilled.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Then I wrapped each slice with cling film. Anyway I have almost done the work.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

A good thing about salmon is that you can eat even the head, bones, and fins by boiling them for several hours. Those parts will eventually become soft and edible. If you have a pressure cooker, boiling hours can be shortened to the less than an hour. Since I don’t have a pressure cooker, I just boil every time I stand in the kitchen. And then the head and bone can be soft in two days.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

The slices of salmon were a lot. So I just put them in the freezer. But they were still a lot. So my mom wanted to give part of them to her friend. This morning my mom went out to the lady’s house to give her some slices of the salmon. The lady is taking a care of her mother alone in her house. I have to tell ya that her mother is one hundred and six years old. I hope that the salmon that I sliced will be on the table of the centenarian as part of New Year celebration.

Weekly Logs: Dec.14 – 20, 2020

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Dec.14 on Monday
9:05-10:25: Reading class, online, for class 1939. The article was four speeches in one’s life; they are speeches in wedding, retirement party, golden wedding ceremony, and funeral. So the title was “Jinsei (a life)”. After the class, I wrote my weekly log. It was already afternoon when I completed uploading the last week’s log onto here, wordpress. The main dish of the supper was the same one as the day before; boiled chicken legs. On Sunday in the supermarket, chicken legs were very cheap and there was much I the package. I worked after the supper. I proofread three drafts for monthly newsletter, and sent the corrections to three students. I finished working at 9 p.m. and practiced my electric bass for 30 minutes or so.

Dec. 15 on Tuesday
At 7:30 I started working. I recorded my voice reading new words in the new chapter of the textbook. I uploaded the mp3 to BBS on Dingtalk. And then I started making PPT for that new chapter of Conversation textbook. I went to the “Outside World” at 10:50a.m. I got on a local train at the nearest JR station and got off at the next station. And then I went D.I.Y shop to buy some lumbers. Those woods were 2 meter long, so I didn’t get on a train but walked back to my house. It was more than 2 mile. When I came back, it was already noon. I spent whole of afternoon to make a table from lumbers so that I can work sitting on a chair. I know it sounds funny. But I have been working without a chair since the end of February. I have been in a Japanese style Tatami mat room. I was always sitting on the Zabuton which was a small cushion to sitting on the tatami mat directly. It makes my legs aching severely when I keep working for long hours. So I decided recently that I need a table with good height so that I can work sitting on a chair. There was a chair, but not a table. It was necessary to make a lot of hole for wood screws. But I didn’t have drill. I had to make a lot of holes using a gimlet. My palms were so aching that I thought I could not exercise my electric bass for several days. Anyway I completed my table at 9 p.m. I soon went to bed.

Dec. 16 on Wednesday
I sent emails to four students in the morning. I approved completion of their drafting for December edition of monthly newsletter. Then I checked the textbook that I would use in the next semester. After the lunch I took a nap for an hour. Then I went to the supermarket to buy food for supper. I bought a whole of horse mackerel. Actually it was for raw fish “Sashimi”, but I cut the body in half so that could be heated in the grill. Yes I grilled the fish for sashimi. I worried about raw fish, wanted to practice to cutting a fish, and after all, fishes for sashimi meant they should be fresh. Three hours after supper was spent for making PPT that would be used in the conversation class in the following day.

Dec. 17 on Thursday
I taught two conversation classes. One was for class 1938 from 9:05 to 10:25. The other was for class 1939 from 14:40 to 16:00. Between the two classes I was just making PPT for the classes. I cooked pork for supper. I continued to work for two hours after the supper. 30 minutes Bass practice before going to bed.

Dec. 18 on Friday
As soon as I finished my breakfast, I started sending feedback to 1939 students for their answers to the quiz on Thursday class. And I taught for that class, 1939, a conversation class from 9:05 to 10:25. Since the PPT for the afternoon class was already completed, I started another PPT making for the reading class on coming Monday. Before the afternoon class, I quickly went to the supermarket and came back. I bought fishes that were female “Hata-hata”, and chicken breast for main dishes of supper for two nights. My shopping pattern is simple. Every time I went shopping, I buy fish and meat for two nights. So I go there once a two-day. I worked two hours after the supper to send feedbacks to 1938 students for their answers to quiz in the afternoon class.

Dec. 19 on Saturday
Most of the hours in the day were not spent for working. It is rare for me to spend my time other than work. Anyway I made a plan to make my room better for working. This was because I needed to bear the chilly winter time and to work more effectively to prepare for the coming spring semester. Once I made a shopping list, I got on a local JR train to get to another D.I.Y. shop in the town next to my village. Buying some stuff with 7000JPY or some, I came back to my house and started working to change my room. I finished at 5 p.m. cooked supper, ate it, and spent two hours for PPT making for Monday reading class. Before going to bed, I took a bath. But I regret bathing because I could not warm up my body by Japanese style bathing. It was not just cold but even dangerous if I take a bath in such freezing circumstance.

Dec. 20 on Sunday
I kept working most of the day to make PPT for Monday reading class. I took a walk in the afternoon. The photo below was taken during the walk. And then I went shopping. I took a nap for an hour. Around 4 p.m. I started make “lemon in honey” and “Yusu citrus in honey” as shown in the photograph. I worked for PPT making after the supper and completed it.

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Weekly Logs: Dec.7 – 13, 2020

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Dec.7 on Monday
9:05-10:25: Reading Class, online, for class 1939. The topic was a fairytale of “Bamboo Princess”. The article contains some causative expressions. I introduced the concept of causative expressions, for example, I told that there was a difference between “To force someone to do something” and “To allow someone to so something” in Japanese causative expressions. But that was not a grammar class but a reading class. So I didn’t talk much about it in detail.
I modified PPT for the class before the class for one hour. Since the end of semester was coming, I made a excel spread sheet to calculate the performance of each student for the reading class. This took 9 hours. I cooked supper in the evening. The main dish was pork. I exercised my electric bass one and a half hours and read an English book with dictionary for one hour.

Dec.8 on Tuesday
No class. I tried making PPT for conversation classes for 1939 and 1938. This took nine hours. I went to a supermarket to get food for the supper in the afternoon. I paid 2655 JPY. One hour for cooking supper. I minced chicken breast as fine as I can by a knife, because it is hard to chew if I cooked chicken breast as blocks. Exercised bass for a half hour and read an English book with dictionary for an hour.

Dec.9 on Wednesday
I completed PPT making for Thursday conversation class. This took two hours in the morning. Then I spent five hours to correct students’ drafts for the monthly newsletter in Japanese. I went out for a walk from 2:30 to 3:30 with my digital camera. Photos are uploaded on the last post. Cooking for supper took one and a half hours in the evening. The main was grilled slice salmon. After the supper, I started making PPT for Friday conversation classes and spent three hours for it. I read an English book before I went to bed.

Dec.10 on Thursday
There were two classes that were conversation for class 1938 in the morning and 1939 in the afternoon. Between the two classes, I went to a supermarket to buy food for the supper. I paid 2543JPY. Times other than above were all spent for making PPT for conversation class on Friday morning. I have to do classes for class 1939 on Thursday evening and Friday morning. In a practical sense, it is impossible to prepare for Friday class if I start prep after Thursday class. There is no time for that. I try to prepare two classes on Tuesday and Wednesday. But it is not so easy for me to do so.

Dec.11 on Friday
Two classes as Thursday. Between the two classes, I went to the library, but it was closed on the day. I sent feedbacks to 1938 students after supper, but I felt tired and went to bed at 9 p.m.

Dec.12 on Saturday
I spent a half hour for my goo blog and two hours for wordpress. I regret to have used several hours for blog postings in the precious morning hours. I went to the library and a supermarket in the afternoon. I paid 3045JPY in the supermarket. I started making PPT for Monday reading class. In the evening I grilled flatfishes for the main dishes of supper. After the supper I corrected two students’ drafts for the monthly newsletter. The correction took three hours before going to bed.

Dec.13 on Sunday
I corrected two students’ drafts for the monthly newsletter in the morning. One took two hours, and the other the same, so in total four hours. I continued PPT making for reading class and completed it at 5 p.m. I boiled chicken legs for the main dish of supper. I exercised my electric bass for a half hour and went to bed at 9:30 p.m.

Afternoon Walk, not Good to Take Photos Because of Dark Sky.

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

One of routes for my afternoon walk is on the other side of the river. My house is in residential area on west side of the river, and I often go to the east side where is the vast area of rice field.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I saw birds floating and moving on the river when I was walking on a bridge.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

And then I walked on a path on the river bank.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

The mountain is Mt. Awagatake located between Kamo-shi and Sanjo-shi. Its peak is 1293 meter (4,200ft) height from the sea level.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I walked down from the river bank. I saw Japanese Pampas grass was covering the slope.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Actually, the most of Chinese cabbages were already harvested. Leaves were remaining on the ground without being pulled out.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

During winter, onion seedlings grow very slowly. It takes time to grow for vegetables; there is no fast track. We have to wait until early summer for these onions.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

This cauliflower seemed almost good to eat. People like Broccoli far better than Cauliflower. So Broccoli is always more on the shelf and cheaper in supermarket. But I like Cauliflowers. I like to make them pickles.
When it comes to growing them, there is a big difference between Broccoli and Cauliflower. In case of Broccoli, you get the big one at the top of stem first, and then you can get some smaller broccoli of the branches. But in case of cauliflower, you just get one at the stem top. You will not get smaller cauliflowers on the branches. This seems to be a big disadvantage of cauliflowers. But I think it just means that cauliflower is a precious one and we have to taste it with many thanks.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I saw yellow chrysanthemum at the edge of vegetable field. The season of chrysanthemum was almost over.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

There was a small cluster of Japanese Pampas Grass by an irrigation stream.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

There was a tree. The far behind was Mountain Sugana.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

The board is saying “Don’t throw Trush”.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I was just about crossing the river to get back residential side of the river.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

That was snow-covered Mountain Ninojidake in Shibata-city. I was not able to see IIde Mountain behind because of clouds.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Everything was under the dark sky. It was early winter in northern Japan.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

When I was almost reaching my home, I saw one passenger airplane in the sky. It seemed to be landing soon onto Niigata Airport. Was the plane carrying many passengers? Probably not because of the pandemic of COVID-19.

Lemon in Sugar Syrup, but Better Use Honey

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


A refrigerator is not a grave of food, period. But my deceased dad used to, and now, my mom put food into the refrigerator, and that is the end of it. Although food is for us to eat, for some people, buying it is more important than eating it because shopping is a fun. Foods kept or left in a fridge stay there for months, sometimes even years. When they are found, some are apparently rotten, otherwise they look uncertain if it is edible or not. Besides, refrigerators in Japan are slender and tall so that they can fit in narrow space in a small kitchen of tiny Japanese houses. So it looks like a casket standing.

When my mom came back from walking-shopping with one lemon and showed it to me, I immediately thought the lemon would be a candidate for such fate. I usually make compote when I got fruit that I could not eat soon. But in case of lemon, I had preserved in honey once or twice before, because the lemon was so sour and could not be soft as fruits compote. This time, I didn’t have honey, so I tried using a lot of sugar. I used glass bottle, put slices of lemon with a lot of sugar, and heated the bottles in hot water. As shown in the photo, I made two small bottles of lemons slices with sugar syrup. Part of sugar could not melt, remaining white in the bottles.

Lemon Slices in Glass Bottles, Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

If you want to do the same, I strongly recommend using not sugar but honey. This time I got to know that sugar is not good to extract the flavor of lemon, or in other words, lemon’s flavor does not come out into sugar well. Honey can work much better than sugar.
Anyway, I make one litter of black tea every morning. When I pulled out the tea bags from the tea pot, I put just one slice of lemon into the pot. It changes the tea flavor, and makes me happy.