A brighter day!

Hi there! It finally feels like we are turning a corner. Being stuck at home, and not having our business running at full speed hasn’t been great. However, people are starting to get back to work and school now, so hopefully things will start to improve.

We added a small vegetable patch to our garden a couple of months ago, and we are already starting to get some fresh veg from it!

It’s only small, but we a growing carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, mini tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green peppers, and asparagus.
Not long until we can eat some mini tomatoes!
We had a cucumber salad with lunch today. Great with oil and vinegar!
As you can see, it’s not very big. We just moved some of the gravel out of the way, and used some old signs from our English school for the border.
Everything else in the garden is growing up nicely too. I found that old iron wheel. I think it will look nice when the roses bloom.
I was given an old cable reel from the phone company. Painted it green and put a few plants on it.
Not sure what this is called, but every year it looks great when it comes into flower.
The one with the blue flowers on is my favorite. It flowers from May until November, and is really hardy.
The flowers along the fence at our English school look great at the moment too.
Lots of different colors.
The Hydrangea has more flowers than leaves!
The Conker tree from England is still alive!
The Oak tree from England looks more like a bush now. I try and keep it short so people can see our school from the road.

Anyway, hope you are all well and that we can all get back to normal very soon!

All the best,

Eddie

Local wildlife

Hi there! We will open AES again from next week, but will do all the lessons online. Looking forward to seeing everyone again!
While we have been closed and the kids have been off school, we have been going on lots of bike rides. Obviously at the moment we can’t go to crowded places, so we have been going to places off the beaten track.

The kids need the exercise!
We have seen so much wildlife too.

Here are some of the other animals we have seen whilst we have been out and about on our bikes.

Anaguma (Japanese badger)
We saw one on March 16th 2020
Grey Pelican
We saw one on March 17th 2020
Arisui (Japanese woodpecker)
We saw one on March 17th 2020
Hakubishin (Masked Palm Civet)
I often see these near my house. But have never found their nest until now.
The nest in this tree was huge! It was a couple of meters across, and the branches had claw marks on them. We concluded that this must be a Hakubishin nest.
We saw a hawk on March 18th 2020
We saw a wild board for the first time ever on March 18th 2020.
Then the next day we saw a raccoon dog.
On March 19th we saw a kestrel. It was amazing as it was hunting just a few meters away from us.
We see Pheasant almost everyday when we are out and about.
It was my first time seeing a weasel (Itachi) in Sodegaura.
The kids have become much more interested in the local wildlife, and have learnt their way around a bit more too!
It’s a good time of year to be outside!

Anyway, that’s all for now. Hope you all stay safe,

Eddie

Bamboo Stilts!

Hi there! While the schools are closed, I have been trying to find things to keep our children entertained. So, a couple of days ago we decided to try and make some stilts.

We went to the wood behind our house and cut some bamboo down. Then I knocked up two pairs of stilts.

A bamboo stilt

I thought that if our children could get into stilts, it would keep them busy, get them outside in the sunshine, give them some exercise, and best of all it wouldn’t cost anything.

The stilt walkers!

They have got really into it! They are making courses and having races with each other.

Maki takes the lead!

They are really enjoying the stilts. Maki even said she wants to walk all the way to school on them!!

Anyway, hope you stay safe and healthy,

Eddie

Maki riding

Hi there! We have closed AES for a couple of weeks, as all the schools here have closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

While I had time I thought I would post a video from last week. The place where we go riding has a small riding area for young children, and a bigger area for older children and adults. Maki has been allowed to start having lessons in the bigger area, and last week was her second lesson there. I think she is doing quite well. Here is a short video:

Anyway, that’s all for now!
Eddie

Wall Repair

Hi there! We have made a lot of progress with the wall that got damaged in the typhoon last year.

The tree that came down in the typhoon ripped apart the concrete wall.

The first thing I had to do was remove any loose debris, then get rid of the giant section of root ball that had appeared when the tree blew over.

A pickaxe, spade, saw, and wheelbarrow did the trick!
It only took a few hours to clear the roots away.

The next job was to get the tree out. We had to get a 50 tonne crane in, and they lifted the tree in 2 tonne sections over the top of Anytime English School.

The crane has to boom out over the roof of AES.
The tree was cut into smaller pieces.
Then lifted over our premises.
You wouldn’t want this falling on you!

The next step was to start rebuilding the wall.

First of all the damaged section had to be removed.
Reinforced steel bars were inserted into the wall.
Then a cage was built to add strength to the new section.

It was really interesting to see how they attach the new section to the old section of wall. They insert reinforced steel bars into the wall with anchors that open out once they are deep into the wall. Then the weld on additional steel bars, and build a cage.

Concrete was pumped in from the top.

Then concrete was pumped in from the top. They had to open a hole at the bottom and use a vibrating tool to make the concrete go all the way down.

The cover will stay on for a couple of weeks.

In a couple of weeks the builders will come back and take off the plywood and scaffolding. I will post a picture of the new wall here soon!

All the best,

Eddie

Here it is!! The finished wall!!

The builders did a fantastic job!
View from the road

We are closed at the moment, as the government asked the schools and after school educators to take a break to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus.
While I was off work, I finally got round to replacing the guttering on the back of our premises.

It was bit windy when I put it up, but am pleased with how it ended up
Even put a manhole in!

Anyway, that’s all for now!

Eddie

Bracing for typhoon Hagibis

Hi there!

We have another typhoon heading towards Japan this weekend. So, we have been trying to prepare for it as well as we can.

Yesterday, TEPCO came and cut lots of branches off the tree that fell down behind AES in the last typhoon. It is much safer now. They will remove the rest of the tree at a later date.

They put a support underneath it, so it shouldn’t be able to fall down in the typhoon.

I boarded up some of the windows at AES this morning.

There is so much debris that is going to fly around this time. A lot of houses have sheets on the roofs as they are still waiting for them to be repaired from the last typhoon. People are worried that these sheets will all blow off and wrap around the powers lines, which will cause another power cut.

Anyway, fingers crossed it’s not too bad!!

Ed

Typhoon

Hi there!

A massive typhoon hit Chiba last night. All our neighbors said it was the strongest one they have ever experienced. We were very lucky as our house only suffered a little damage.

When I went to check our English school, I was in for a surprise though.

Its only a few minutes from our house, but there was definitely more damage there.

Then, I got to our premises and couldn’t believe that the massive tree right behind the classroom has fallen down!

The tree is only being held up by the electric cables.

I couldn’t get through to City Hall as all the lines are down. So, I drive down there and they sent some people out to look at it. They are going to cut the whole thing down. Just hope my neighbor will pay for his wall to be fixed!!

Hana and Maki seem pleased to be off school, but not happy to be without Wi-Fi!

Hope we get the power back on soon. I was helping some elderly neighbors this afternoon and the heat index was 41 degrees. Way too hot for them…….

Ed

Trip to Shizuoka

Hi there!

We just came back from a trip to Shizuoka. We weren’t sure if we would be able to go, as there was a typhoon making landfall at the same time. However, it was further south than where we were going so even though we did get a bit of rain, it was fine.

Atami

We left home at 5 am, and missed all the traffic! We got to Atami at 7 am and had some breakfast at a place that looked out onto the beach.

Then we decided to go for a drive around and see what Atami had to offer. Then we stumbled on Nagahama Beach! It is perfect for families, as there are almost no waves, and they had diving platforms!

Then we drove through the mountains to our campsite.

BBQing in the rain!

It was nice and cool at the campsite, but we still needed the air conditioner. We all slept well, and all said we want to stay at this campsite again.

Then the next morning we drove across Shizuoka to Awashima Island. We took a boat there from the mainland. The highlight for Hana and Maki was seeing the penguins being fed Japanese style!

Here is a video Hana posted on Youtube:

Nagashi Sakana!

They were first in line when it was time to feed the penguins again!

We had a great time in Shizuoka, and hope to go back again there soon!

Eddie

Fun day out!

We went to a place called Tondemi in Tokyo today. It’s a great place for kids to play. They had a great indoor climbing area!

Then we went on the trampolines!

Then they had a quick game of Tetris before we had to leave…….

I am not sure who had the most fun, me or the kids!

Anyway, that’s all for now,

Eddie