Ume Blossoms


In every country there are some flowers that its people take pride in and Ume (or Japanese apricot) blossoms and cherry blossoms are quintessential flowers that Japanese people are proud of. Well, if you ask average run-of-the-mill Japanese people across the nation, they would answer “cherry blossoms” as the ones that represent Japan but in Mito, the city I live in, you might have a different answer. I am not saying this on an idiographic foundation so you have to take what I am saying here with a grain of salt but What I base this idea on is that the Lord who ruled Mito about 200 years ago (a descendant of sons of Lord Tokugawa who ruled Japan for some 300 years peacefully) opened up a national famous “Kairakuen” park in this city and planted lots of Ume trees.

Another story is that umeboshi, the Ume fruit dried and sort of pickled, is considered the best remedy for just about anything. As a little kid, when I had a cold, I had to eat one at every meal and then when I had a headache, my parents even had me put Umeboshi at my temples. Those two reasons combined, I would say people in Mito would say, “Ume is the one representing Japan.”

So, I was running an errand for my family on my mountain bike this morning and the air was so warm that I went on a little bike tour around my neighborhood. As a Japanese (these days many people denied me of my “Japaneseness,” which I do not give much thought about these days. I am what I am and I will do what I love to do. There’s no group or the norm or commonsense from a certain group intervening in my life. I won’t let them kick in. I am beyond all that), it is a duty to take a picture or two of those quintessential blossoms of Japan and show them to you.

Now I wrote my mission statement in the other site I run (that one is mainly in Japanese) . It is pretty much the same one I wrote in this blog. I take to English like a duck to a water. I am happy with working over time as long as it has something to do with English but In my job situation, there are so many other things to do and I am sort of propitiating myself with saying “someday.” What I am trying to achieve in next two years is to increase the proportion of English-related work. Hope I can achieve that somehow.


About dw64 (or Masa(aki) or Mark)

I am 52-year-old Japanese male. Ever since I watched Sesame Street when I was VERY young (5 years old?). I fell in love with American English and culture. I learned English hard and now I am teaching it. Then when I was 18, I had an opportunity to stay with an American family in Shell Knob, Missouri and I asked them to educate me as an American kid. So they taught me the American way and even my taste for food has changed completely so I call this rebirth! Then when I was 30 (I visited the U.S. several times but they were short stays), I joined the MA course in teaching English of graduate school in Vermont. I stayed about 10 months there (it was an intensive course). I stayed in a dorm and learned a lot inside and outside of classrooms. I got all the credits but I failed because of the difference in the context between the U.S. and JAPAN cuz it is so hard to teach English in The way I learned in the course because in Japan, teaching is about understanding grammar and structure in Japanese. But my journey does not end here. Last year I was admitted the CELTA course in NYC where I worked hard and got this certificate that certifies that I had finished the course and qualified to teach English to people who want learn English as a second language by Cambridge University standard. So if you are one of those people, send me a message and I can help you learn American English (I got this at Cambridge but basically they teach different English depending on location). Why did I pick NYC? Well, I am a huge fan of American everything! I live the country even when that demagogue guy is the President so I am an authentic fan of it. I mean, I love the U.S. more than anything in this world. There was a guy who loved Japan so much so after he retired he came to Japan and became a citizen. I want to do the same, actually. So now I am so into it, I listen to NYC CBS radio 880 all the time except when I watch dramas on Netflix, HBO or HULLU or read paperbacks on Kindle (read 70 books in the last two years). And then I am writing in English. I hope to be able to write something publishable in the future but I have to learn some more. As for my learning, I have almost done usual stuff so now I decide to do things that native speakers who wish to be writers will do. At least I learned 8000 words and phrases in the last couple years and I confirmed that I know more than 22000 words, which is tantamount to the number of words American graduate school students have. Well I might talk about these things, too, but I will talk about my favorite things in this blog. I love American dramas. I love the ones with some sci-fi portion in it. Like, from HULU, Gotham, Lucifer, Fringe, etc. I love good comedies so I love Seinfeld, SNL and night shows. Netflix? Luke Cage, Daredevil, and other defenders. I love legends of tomorrow, too. HBO, Game of Thrones!! And I also loved Night of and West World. I also might talk about cycling (road biking) and all other stuff! Please feel free to comment!
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