neighborhood walks

2020-03-30 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- We took 2 short walks today when it stopped raining.

When the fog and rain went away, we saw Cascade Head to the north from a hill behind our house.

At the end of our street is a statue of Abraham Lincoln on horseback. They recently built an attractive gravel garden around the statue. Behind the statue is the parking lot for the community center. The center (including my favorite swimming pool) is closed due to the COVID-19 disease. The parking lot is empty.

forest trumpet

2020-03-22 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Today is the last day of good weather for a while. We got out of the house.

First we took a walk in a
shady wood.

In our truck, we had sweet biscuits we brought from
Tokenukijizo in Tokyo.

Then we parked at the entrance of an inactive logging road to practice trumpet.

Noriko says my sound echoed off the hills. I hope nobody was listening!

I played "When you wish upon a star" for Kero.

This area will soon be built up, we fear.

online learning

2020-03-19 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Oregon governor Kate Brown issued an executive order prohibiting colleges and universities in Oregon from conducting face-to-face instruction until 2020-04-28. She states that colleges can continue to teach by remote and online learning.

I am grateful that online learning is considered a viable alternative. I am saddened that a pandemic is underscoring the value of e-learning.

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bayocean spit

2020-03-18 TILLAMOOK, OREGON, USA -- We went for a walk along the Bayocean spit.

The spit separates the Pacific Ocean and Tillamook Bay.

The tide was out.

We usually eat in at the
Pacific Seafood factory and restaurant in Bay City. All restaurants in Oregon are closed due to the COVID-19 corona virus scare. The oyster factory and store were open. We bought a small jar of fresh oysters for $8 and added that to heat-and-eat clam chowder. Fancy easy hot food at home!


2020-03-16 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Alas, our city, state, and nation have declared a state of emergency over the new coronavirus COVID-19.


depoe bay

2020-03-16 DEPOE BAY, OREGON, USA -- We went for a walk in Depoe Bay, located 22 kilometers south of our home.

The distance from our home to Depoe Bay is about the same from our home in Tokyo to my mom's house in Kanagawa. Driving to Depoe Bay is faster, smoother, and more comfortable because traffic on the coast is rural.

Just for fun, I used an
online tool for appraising automobiles. Our car is probably worth about $11000.

Family totem pole!

Fantastic weather.

Depoe Bay is known for whales and seals.

When we had Mexican lunch overlooking the ocean, we did not know that all restaurants in Oregon would be closed for the next 4 weeks.

Cliffs and rocks and waves. We walked between the place where this picture was taken and the promontory in the upper center of the photo.

pho noodles

2020-03-15 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Easy noodles for lunch at home.

I roasted beef a few days ago. Today we made Vietnamese pho noodles with spinach and beef. Quick to do and tastes fantastic.

neskowin walk

2020-03-15 NESKOWIN, OREGON, USA -- After a few days of rain, fantastic weather returned. We went for a walk in Neskowin, located just north of where we live.

Cherry trees are pretty.


Nice views of the ocean and golf course. The golf course is submerged several months of the year.


Neskowin used to be a tiny village. Now it's built up and rather crowded.

Some families seem to love frogs like we do!

easy fancy food

2020-03-11 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Easy fancy food at home tonight.

We bought heat-and-eat food at the store.

We steamed lobster ravioli. Boiling tends to result in soggy and broken ravioli. Steaming produces cleaner, well-formed ravioli.

We heated ready-to-serve king crab and corn chowder.

Placed ravioli in a deep bowl, poured thick soup over them, and topped it with home-made smoked salmon. Easy yummy dinner in half an hour!

chocolate frog

2020-03-11 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- We visited our friends at the Chocolate Frog candy store.

Love their new store!

Dark, milk, and white chocolate frogs!

Peanut buttercup!

downtown salem

2020-03-10 SALEM, OREGON, USA -- We enjoyed brunch and a walk along Salem's riverfront.

Wild Pear is apparently named after 2 sisters nicknamed the Wild Pair.

The river was running low and slow.

Cherries blossom earlier in Oregon than in Tokyo.

We walked beneath 3 bridges.

regatta park

2020-03-09 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Gorgeous weather we're having!


smoking whole salmon

2020-03-08 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- I wish I could fish! Until I learn how (or at least join a fishing boat for tourists) I buy at the local store.

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Today we smoked a whole salmon. The fish had been cleaned by the store person so I used a cutting technique that wouldn't usually use.

Our kitchen window faces west. Lots of sunshine today.

We place the smoker just outside the glass door so that we can check up on it.

The white portions are fatty paste that we don't mind.

Steamed veggies on the side.


2020-03-07 NEWPORT, OREGON, USA -- My trumpet teacher John Bringetto played for the theatrical performance "Cinderella" at the Newport Performing Arts Center.

Noriko and I got seats on the 2nd floor balcony overlooking the orchestra pit.

My eyes were glued to John's music. I viewed his music through binoculars. Great practice for reading music, because I could see (for the first time) the sheet music, and hear the correct answers as he played them. I got lost many times (almost always) during long rests.

I hardly paid attention to the play itself. Must have been wonderful, and sorry I missed it, but for me, John's trumpet was everything. Truth be told I didn't hear most of the other instruments.

These pictures were taken when the band was rehearsing immediately before the show.

trumpet lessons resume

2020-03-06 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- We are back on the Oregon coast. I had my first trumpet lesson since 2019-09-04 (oh my that was 6 months ago). Today was my 50th lesson with John Bringetto.

He inspected my playing technique, diagnosed my playing ability, and played duets with me so that I can learn how to read music. Fun!

moving from sapporo to tokyo

2020-02-26 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- We are moving from Sapporo to Tokyo. It feels like a double move -- that is, as if were moving out of 2 houses at once -- because I am simultaneously vacating both my office and apartment. Each place has computers and stationery items (naturally) and kitchen items (unusually), the latter because I would occasionally spend long hours at the office, and would cook while working instead of eating out (the time spent away from the desk seemed wasted).

It's snowy out.

A total of 25 boxes left Sapporo for Koenji, to join the 50 boxes waiting there since 2019-11-30. Our Koenji house looks like the ruins of Ankgor Wat.


Empty drawers! Ta-dah!

A mini-celebration is in order.

A few days later, on leap day 2020-02-29, the office was barren except for items that my colleagues requested I leave for them, and my apartment contained only my luggage.


I returned my employee ID card, and keys for both my office and apartment. In the afternoon I went for one last swim (2 kilometers, breast stroke as always), then hopped on a plane to join Noriko in Tokyo. We will miss Sapporo!


2020-02-18 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Hiroshi Watanabe, professor emeritus and former colleague of mine at Hokkaido University, spent a few decades translating Samuel Richardson's "Clarissa". Clarissa is one of the longest novels in English literature. The original book contains over a million words. The Japanese translation is approximately four million characters long. Richardson's style of writing to the moment made this mid-18th-century novel tremendously popular in its day. Hiroshi's translation is the first time "Clarissa" has become available in Japanese language.


I am indebted to Hiroshi because he chaired my job interview (we were strangers at the time) and he believed in me. Hiroshi is an avid photographer -- his monochrome candid pictures received awards from magazines. We shared a common hobby. I have nowhere near Hiroshi's photographic skills (regardless of my hours in the darkroom for both monochrome and color photography), but I do have an edge over him on internet technology, which brings me to the story behind Hiroshi's translation of Clarissa.

Hiroshi was concerned, wary, worried, fearful to the point of certain failure in finding a publisher who would print his translation. The book is simply too long. Plus, Hiroshi wanted to add notes to his translation -- notes that elucidate his interpretation of Richardson's writing, and that help readers appreciate the customs and values of Richardson's day. Hiroshi wanted a publisher that would not only publish the first edition of his translation but successive revised editions as well. I suspect he was correct in presuming that no publisher would accommodate his desires. Hiroshi dejectedly predicted that his manuscript would be locked away in a library, doomed to obscurity before anybody learned of it.

I offered to disseminate Hiroshi's translation via the internet. I set up a web server 15 years ago (2 years after I was hired, and 1 year after he retired), and managed the web server until yesterday. Beginning today, Hiroshi's translation is delivered from
Hokkaido University's library website. Finally! Yay!

The translation is available in PDF file format. Clarissa Harlowe’s composition "Ode to Wisdom" is available both as an audio recording in MP3 file format, and as a music score in MIDI file format. Click on the links below to obtain your own copies.

Clarissa translation in PDF format, about 57 megabytes
Ode to Wisdom audio recording in MP3 format, about 2 megabytes
Ode to Wisdom score in MIDI format, about 4 kilobytes

former graduate students

2020-02-15 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Our former graduate students (who are each successful in their professions today) threw us a good luck and farewell party! We are overjoyed.

Truth be told, I was never popular back in elementary school or middle school ... sometimes picked on, sometimes ignored ... had I went to high school in the United States I am sure that I would have skipped the prom. So having our academic sons and daughters wish us well was a heartfelt surprise. I couldn't believe it.

First and best time anybody had thrown a party for us!

They showered us with gifts. They gave me towels that I can wrap around my neck. (I have a permanent minor neck injury. Keeping my neck warm keeps the pain away.)

A delightful keychain with a leather trumpet. I will attach this to my trumpet case!

We enjoyed castella (sponge cake) at home.

angkor wat

2020-02-06 ANGKOR WAT, CAMBODIA -- I visited Cambodia for my first time. There was an academic conference in Phnom Penh, the capital of the kingdom. I was ignorant of how distant Angkor Wat and other ruins were from the city. The drive took 6 hours!

Tuk-tuks were my means of transportation. For short distances (say, less than an hour) I prefer them over taxis. The air conditioning of taxis does not condition you for the weather outside! Tuk-tuks offer pleasant breezes and unsurpassed views.

I viewed sunrise over Angkor Wat.

The 5 towers are placed in a quincunx pattern (as in the 5 dots on a dice). From my vantage point I saw 3 clearly, and 1 partly hidden by a tree.

Crowds assembled before dawn.

Lots more photos of course! Come visit me for a slideshow!

farewell paddy

2020-01-30 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- I have been the faculty advisor for Hokudai's ultimate team PADDY since before the team was formed. I am retiring from that position because I am leaving Hokudai.

PADDY chose their name after the name of a dog owned by a founding team member. I know there is a
brand of whisky with the same name. I saw it at a bar near Sapporo train station.

I sent farewell videos to PADDY at their request. Good luck to you all!

last class

2020-01-24 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- We had our last class at Hokudai. Immediately afterwards, I submitted my students' grades to the registrar.

I will miss classroom S-5, which I was indirectly involved in designing.

My former grad student and co-teacher Naomi gave Sirokuro a beaded likeness of him. Delightful!

We celebrated with hot chocolate (warme chocolademelk) from Antwerpen.

leaving hokudai

2020-01-20 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Noriko and I are leaving Hokudai (Hokkaido University) to live in proximity to our 4 aging parents, who live in Kanagawa.

We started to consider moving oh maybe a few years ago, but it wasn't until last spring (about a year ago) that our decision solidified. Each semester (that is, 2 times a year), Hokudai allows up to 5 full-time faculty members to take early retirement. Leaving in summer was too early for us. We asked to leave at the end of winter. Today we learned that our request was approved. My last day of work is 2020-02-28. I leave Sapporo the following day (leap day). We will take vacation (paid time off) during the entire month of March.

Early retirement means that we receive the full amount of retirement pay (otherwise only a small amount is paid), and I can apply for unemployment benefits while I search for my next job. I haven't found a job in Tokyo yet. Wish me luck!

I will miss walking to work across the snowy campus. I'm the person with both arms raised in this picture that Noriko took from our apartment.

piano lesson

2020-01-18 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Ivy Lin, my former graduate student, gave me my first piano lesson today at her house. I am electrified!

Ivy was trained originally in classical piano. She has a degree in jazz performance in piano and guitar.

Ivy autographed a copy of "Beyer" she gave me as a gift. The book is written in German, English, and Japanese languages.

I hope to buy a portable electronic keyboard once we settle into our Tokyo home. Maybe a Kawai? Our names would match! Or maybe a Casio ... their products used to be considered toys, but nowadays their high-end models are highly regarded.

ethernet cables

2020-01-15 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Our students practiced reading assembly instructions in English language. They built ethernet cables by attaching RJ-45 connectors to twisted-pair cable.

We test connections. Of course nobody succeeds the 1st time.

What surprised me most was that our students had never seen ethernet cables. Everything is wireless these days! I knew young people have never seen typewriters or record players or rotary phones (a student asked me where the "off hook" button was). I was unprepared for students having never seen an RJ-45 connector. Wow the speed of innovation.

Wired connections are faster, more reliable, and more secure than wireless connections. But it does seem that as if my crimping tools are becoming obsolete.


2020-01-14 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Our TAs gave me a T-shirt that says I have teacher super powers. Thanks!

I hope the powers are more than giving course credit to students!


puppets and telescopes

2020-01-12 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- We visited a puppet exhibit and an astronomical observatory, both in downtown Sapporo.

Theater puppets were on static display (that is, the puppets were placed stationary, instead of being manipulated by performers). The difference is size, materials, and texture were apparent because we could see them close up.

A scene from Rudyard Kipling's "
Just so stories -- the elephant's child". This is where the crocodile says "Come hither, little one, and I'll whisper".

Some puppets are so large that they could be called giant props. This elephant head is handled by at least 3 people -- 1 for the head, 1 for each ear, plus maybe 1 for the trunk.

This puppet expresses emotion by raising or lowering eyebrows. The importance of eyebrow angle to the Japanese psyche is evident if you look at manga. Eyebrows are always drawn, even if they would be hidden from view by hair or hats.

astronomical observatory is located smack in downtown Sapporo. Not the darkest place to view stars at nighttime, but definitely the most convenient place to walk up to. Local kids play with their tobaggans (sleds) on the mound where the observatory sits.

A friendly docent explained the apparatus to us. He advocates refractive or Newtonian reflective telescopes over Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, because the latter suffer from distortion caused by heat convection within the telescope tubing.

During brief moments of sunshine, we viewed the sun.

happy new year

2020-01-10 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Happy New Year! We spent our winter break with our family.

Noriko and I walked over to a shinto shrine and a buddhist temple near our Tokyo house. They are both popular sites of religion. We avoided the thickest crowds by visiting early.

Oomiya Hachimanguu, a shinto shrine known for military fortune in general and archery in particular. By extension, the gods enshrined here assist worshippers in their quest for victory in any competitive endeavor, such as winning sports events, passing exams, or finding employment.

The shrine has the Frog Stone, a natural boulder somewhat resembling a crouched frog, believed to bring fortune back to you. The word "frog" in Japanese language is homophonous with (that is, has the same pronunciation as) the word for "return" or "come back". What goes around comes around.

Every January 2nd, the shrine hosts an archery ceremony. This year, the responsibility was handed from the patriarch of the Ogasawara family to his son. The picture shows the father, the 31st-generation head of the clan, holding an arrow tipped with a whistling arrowhead. The whooshing sound was originally intended to intimidate enemies before battle. Now it is sounded to ward off evil.

The son pictured moments before loosing the arrow. In Japanese archery, the bow and arrow are first raised above the archer's head, and lowered to eye level as the bow is fully drawn. The Ogasawara family crest is printed on the fabric screen in the background.

Myouhouji, a buddhist temple known for medicinal healing powers.

They served us ceremonial drinks in a tiny sake cup with drawings of mice. This year's animal is the rat or mouse or gerbil or whatever you like to call it. They are often depicted with long tails, so I guess they are not hamsters!