Meet my dog, Laurence!
He is a Jack Russell Terrier and about 19 months old.
He loves to chew on things so I often buy him chewy treats and toys so he doesn’t chew on other things in the house!
Laurence is a very energetic and rowdy boy so it’s important that he gets a lot of exercise everyday. We go on long walks in my neighborhood and play catch ball and tug-of-war at home.
When he’s not running around and being active he enjoys taking naps on the sofa especially when laying next to me.
I love him very much.
I really love a good historical mystery. I often spend my free time watching documentaries on the Internet. I especially enjoy watching ones about the ancient world. Not too long ago, I found out about the Yonaguni Mystery.
Off of Yonaguni Island, there is a mysterious rock formation 26 meters under the surface. What makes this formation interesting, is that there is a ongoing debate about the origins of this formation. Some people believe it to be the remains of an ancient structure, while others believe it to be just a freak natural occurrence. There are many unique natural formations around the world, like the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
I’m not sure which I believe, but finds like this one help keep our imaginations alive. I also think it’s great for getting more people interested in the past, enjoying the outdoors, and encouraging people to do some sleuth work of their own. Which do you think it is, man-made or natural? If you ever have the chance to go to Yonaguni and are interested in diving, please check it out!
On Saturday, June 4th, I was teaching at our Shigenobu school when we had an unusual visitor! With so many fields near the school, we are used to an occasional spider, frog, or bee coming to visit our school. On that day though, we discovered a baby bat!
Some people are quite scared of bats, but most are harmless and only eat insects or fruit. I actually find them quite cute! In America, though, bats are often carriers of disease and are usually killed. Japan is fortunate to have eliminated rabies, the most dangerous disease that bats sometimes have in the United States.
Our visitor was safely removed with a net by Fuji staff and returned to the fields. It is very important not to touch wild animals!
Bats are an often misunderstood animal, a topic which is covered in one of our textbooks, Impact, from National Geographic. All animals play an important role in the environment.
Have you seen any wild animals recently? How do you feel about bats?
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have come and gone. Unfortunately, I was only able to watch a few events from Tokyo 2020. I enjoyed skateboarding, the 100 meter dash, lots of swimming and basketball. In the USA, basketball is traditionally the second most popular sport, just behind American football. I was definitely more of a football fan, but was still able to watch lots of basketball games during the golden era of the NBA (mid-eighties-mid-nineties). This golden era is what I believe made basketball popular all over the world.
Basketball started gaining popularity in Europe in the late eighties and nineties, especially in countries like Spain, Croatia and Serbia. Yao Ming, who was a household name in China and an NBA player, made the NBA mainstream in China, which has their own professional league now. Basketball is also basically the national sport of the Philippines. While Japan has traditionally been a baseball country.
Though Japan has a strong love of baseball, other western sports have been gaining traction. Soccer, basketball, skateboarding and break dancing to name a few. How did basketball start to become popular in Japan? I can’t say exactly, but I wager that it was due to the golden era of the NBA and a child of that era- the internationally known Japanese comic book “Slam Dunk” by Takehiko Inoue. This comic book and later cartoon, change the course of basketball culture in Japan. It’s the story of a misfit high school freshman, Hanamichi, who joins the high school team to impress a girl, Haruko. He learns the game of basketball from zero, along with the reader. The comic book masterfully intertwines basketball rules, moves and terminology into the story, but in a very entertaining light-hearted way. Most Japanese people whom I talk to who were around high school age in the early nineties have read this comic book. It is still popular today.
From 2005, Japan started the BJ League (B = basketball J = Japan). It was a mix of foreign and Japanese athletes. In 2016, it was transformed into the B-League. The league is going strong. Ehime even has a B -League 3 team- The Orange Vikings. You can see them play at the Community Center. In addition to the B-League, two Japanese players have made it to the NBA- Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe. Last month a female player made it into the WNBA- Rui Machida. The Japanese Men’s Paralympic team also won silver medals in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Japan’s love and skill has come a long way in. Maybe all because of Michael Jordan’s 1990’s Bulls and a comic book named “Slam Dunk”.
I truly became a fan of basketball, when my daughter started playing mini basketball at her school. I was surprised to see how strong basketball culture is in Japan, even at a elementary school level. I’m excited to see how much more Japan progresses in basketball on the international stage in the future. I’m also extremely excited to watch the much anticipated Slam Dunk movie this autumn after a hiatus of over 25 years. If you’ve never read Slam Dunk, please give a try. Thank you.