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CA's JOURNAL, 2004

These are the year 2004 entries to: CA'S LATEST NEWS.

My initial reaction to the damage and loss in the tsunamis of December 26th was that the world is equipped to carry out extensive wars, but at a total loss when it comes to the kind of relief work needed in this disaster. Photos that show just how much people didn't understand the destruction force of the overpowering waves can be seen at http://home.san.rr.com/clkoberg/tsunami.html. The photos have a disclaimer, since the person who posted them doesn't know their origin. Nevertheless, there is a horror at knowing the loss of life that resulted.

Mac and Tippy

On the afternoon of Halloween, 2004, one month after the term "furkid" was officially recognized by MED Magazine (the monthly webzine of Macmillan English Dictionaries), two furkids in the form of 3-month-old kittens entered my life, changing it completely. See the first photos of my "boys."

You can also see photos, a short bio, and a diary at Caster.com. Please leave a treat for them!

On October 9th, I attended a wedding reception for, Yuu Takahashi, the daughter of good friends who live in Otaru. I first met the Takahashi family when they were living in Belmont and I was living in Waltham, Massachusetts. See photos of the reception.

On the morning of September 8th, Sapporo was hit by Typhoon #18, the worst storm many had seen in their lives. The worst destruction was the number of trees, especially in the botannical garden and in the many parks in Sapporo such Nakajima, near my apartment. See photos of my neighborhood that afternoon and the next day.

On August 21st, Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 opened in Sapporo. I went to see it with a group of international women, after having read his book, Dude, Where's My Country?"

The last week in July, I visited Furano, the "navel" of Hokkaido, for the first time. Actually, I got to see it twice. Once was on a free tour for English speakers by groups

Calligraphy Exhibit 2004

The second week in June was a calligraphy exhibit of works by the students of my teacher, Umeki-Sensei. In the section in the photo, each of us wrote part of a Chinese poem.

On May 25th, our chorus had a concert, this time consisting mainly of German pieces by Bach, Brahms, Wagner, Smetna, Straus, and Weber. Many were sung in German, but several in Japanese--by memory, which put more pressure on me.
What made this concert particularly hard on everyone, though, was the tragic death of one of our basses a couple of weeks earlier. On May 15th, he had been gathering wild edible plants at a river bank. He apparently slipped and was carried by the rapid current over a mile downstream. By the time he was rescued and taken to the hospital, he was unconscious and passed away that evening.
The next evening we gathered for a memorial service, at which our chorus sang a Bach Cantata that we were going to be doing for the concert. As we went into the hall, there was music playing from the Mozart Requiem that we had done 5 years ago (a bit poignant for me since it was the concert we were rehearsing for when my father passed away). Several people, including our conductor, spoke. As part of the service, we filed up and were handed carnations to place in front of the altar with Adachi-sensei's photo, where we prayed or took a moment of silence. Choral music was playing at that time, too, and you could feel people holding back their tears. Afterwards I had a chance to hug a couple of the altos that had been particularly close to him; one of them kind of broke down, and the other clung to my hand for a long time - it was rather like giving them a chance to express their grief. I sense a stronger bond already established among all the other members of the chorus because of this loss.
His sudden loss was such a shock to us. Having sung with the chorus around 10 years, he was almost exactly 6 months earlier than I and had just retired from teaching. The last time I had ridden with him -- he often gave me a ride home from rehearsals -- we had talked about his post-retirement work. He was the person who had been driving when we toured Shiretoko. Just before the concert, one of his friends, who had also been in the car with us that day, showed us a photo that he was going to have in his jacket pocket during the concert. "Adachi-Sensei will be with us," he said, and I could feel his spirit during the concert.

On May 20th, I had the privilege of having my astrological chart done by Mrs. Choezom, a Tibetan astrologer who was visiting Sapporo. I was especially interested in the differences between Tibetan astrology and the type of astrology I was familiar with, which came from a Hindu origin. Not much about the interpretation of the chart was remarkable, but I was startled when the first question asked by the astrologer was, "You like chocolate, don't you?" How can an astrological chart show that I'm a chocoholic? She said that eating too much chocolate was disturbing my sinuses, and that I should cut down. Easier said than done.
Tibetan Astrologer

During the time I was in the U.S., my apartment was "reformed" or renovated. What had previously been two small apartments was changed into one large one-room apartment. Extra space was created by knocking down the wall between the two former rooms, clearing out a previously walled-in extra bathroom, and eliminating one of the entrances. The closet was changed from the Japanese style oshiire, mainly for storing futons, to a Western-style closet where I can hang clothes, including my long concert dresses. Having more space is delightful in that I can do yoga without bumping into walls or knocking anything over. There's even enough space for dancing -- well, a little. With windows on 3 sides, I get a nice cross ventilation as well as a feeling of brightness. The new wallpaper, in off-white swirls, and the white ceiling also make the place more spacious. I'm looking forward to having guests, especially after I serendipitously found a sofa in the gomi (trash) that fits perfectly against one wall.

While in the U.S., I was in the Los Angeles area for a few days to see my nephew, Damian, who treated me to a Mexican meal, and a good friend, Ron. The TESOL Convention was being held in Long Beach, so I got to attend for one day. Although I attended hardly any presentations, I consciously materialized some former colleagues from Boston University and enjoyed spending time with them. It was disheartening, though, to hear that the numbers in the ESL program were way down, and that some jobs had been reduced from full-time to part-time.
Dave Sperling
Although there were thousands of attendees at the conference, I ran into Dave Sperling (with me in photo on the left) not once, but twice. He created Dave's ESL Cafe where I volunteer at the Help Center and, although we had corresponded several times by email, this was the first time we met in person.

The annual LifeRing Secular Recovery Congress was held in Berkeley, California. There I got to meet numbers of sober friends with whom I communicate with via list serves on an almost daily basis. At the business meeting, I was the only delegate from Japan but didn't win the prize for traveling the farthest since there was also a delegate from Australia. After the congress, I got a personally guided tour of Telegraph Avenue, where I bought a purple outfit to wear when I celebrate my 60th birthday, and a visit to a chocolate factory.

In March I made my annual trip to the U.S. First I stopped at Tudor Oaks in Wisconsin to visit my mother. I took a short jaunt up to Weyauwega to visit my sister who was busy preparing to teach another hypnotherapy training class. I got to visit a self-hypnosis class she was teaching at a community college while I was there. Then my good friend, Sandy Pendell, took me shopping at my favorite store, Chico's, where I bought a year's outfits of clothes, all practical ones that could be used for teaching.

On February 24th, I saw live kabuki for the first time. It's rarely performed in Sapporo, so it was a real treat. Although I could barely understand the exaggerated classical language, by reading a synopsis of the plot, I was able to get the gist of it. The elaborate costumes and stylized gestures kept me entranced.

On January 18th, I sang in my chorus's annual in-house recital. This year I sang Donde lieta by Puccini, one of the most challenging pieces I've ever sung, particularly because it goes up to a B flat, which is high for a mezzo-soprano!

On January 13th, my Aunt Joy passed away at the age of 77. My father's younger sister, Joy R. Stuteville, was born October 21, 1926, in China. She loved music, both singing and playing the piano, and taught piano as well as conducting her church choir. Her death has gotten me in closer touch with my cousin, her son, David Prudon. I hope to see more of my cousins Kathleen Fitzgerald and Bobbie Prudon. You can see a photo of my Aunt Joy at my father's memorial service.

On January 2nd, I went with a friend, Toshiko Morimoto, to Hokkaido Shrine for hatsumode or the first visit of the New Year. See photos of our visit.

See more news from 2003.




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Last updated January 3, 2005.