One of the things I love about life is that it gives us a daily opportunity to improve ourselves. I am very committed to that process!


This leads me to talk about a wonderful Ted Talk featuring Brene Brown. Her topic? Vulnerability. 

Here is the address:

She starts off by talking about the importance of connection. She says that shame and fear oftentimes interfere with our ability to make connections. She defines shame as the fear of disconnection. This really got me thinking about the times when I disconnect from others. What I think happens is that when others disagree with me on an important or sensitive topic or when I am tired, I have a fear of vulnerability and shame, so I vehemently defend my position.

She then talks about a "sense of worthiness" and the "courage to be imperfect." She puts together courage and compassion and connection. "In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen." Whole hearted people have the compassion to be kind to themselves first, and then to others. The connection is "the result of authenticity." The willingness to "let go of who we think we should be" in order to be who we truly are. "What made them vulnerable made them beautiful." "Vulnerability is necessary."

In my case, when I feel that tension and feel the need to assert my desire to be right, that is the time to be vulnerable and to be the person who is willing to consider other options. The problem? People like me want to control and predict the situation, but the "way to live is with vulnerability" and tenderness. Fascinating!

She talks about people who have a strong sense of worthiness and love and belonging. The key is that those people believe that they are worthy of that love and belonging. "What keeps people out of connection is the fear that we are not worthy of connection." "Whole hearted living from a deep sense of worthiness."

She talks about the struggles many of us have with vulnerability. Again, it seems like this could be compared to a fear of losing or a fear of making mistakes. I do not want to be vulnerable and show those mistakes to others. 


  1. Asking my wife for help
  2. Initiating sex with one's partner
  3. Admitting that I am wrong
  4. Changing my opinion on the spot
  5. Changing my behavior on the spot

When we numb our negative feelings and our vulnerability with addictive behaviors and products, we also numb our positive feelings. Some also try to "make everything that is uncertain certain." I can relate to this with my black and white feelings. I want to have things be a certain way. It is either my way or the other person's way. There is a certainty to that perspective. 

"Blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort." "We perfect." Blame and perfection and the numbing of feelings are all ways to avoid vulnerability. Vulnerability comes when I am open to what is going on in the moment. It is when I am receptive to the perspectives and thoughts and ideas and opinions of others. 

For kids: "You are imperfect and you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging." "We pretend that what we do does not have an effect on people." "Be authentic and real and say we're sorry and we will fix it." "Let ourselves be deeply seen and vulnerably seen." "Love with our whole hearts." "Practice gratitude and lean into joy." "I am enough."



I have been thinking about patience. Sometimes I have it, sometimes I don't! I have been riding my bike 11+ miles from Junction City to North Eugene High School. There is one long stretch that takes me a good 10-15 minutes. When I first start that stretch, I cannot see the end of that segment. It truly looks like it goes on forever!

I feel the same way about sorting all the stuff in our storage unit. So far, I have put close to 30 hours into that endeavor! There are times when I feel like it will never end! However, if I am patient and if I persevere, the end will come, just as it comes on my bike ride to work. Now if I can just be patient when I am tired and grumpy!


Below is a list of some of the changes I have experienced.

  1. I hated running and cycling when I was growing up. By the time I was 21 years old, I loved both those activities.
  2. I had no interest in playing an instrument when I was growing up. I have now been playing the piano for almost 50 years. I also play the guitar and sing.
  3. For the first 20-25 years of my life, I did not always pay attention to time and would sometimes show up late. I now show up 30 minutes early!
  4. For the first 44 years of my life, I loved action movies and thriller books. I now much prefer to read more inspiring works that have more intrinsic value.
  5. For the first ten years of my special education work, I also taught tennis and worked some very long hours. COVID changed all of that as I realized I wanted more balance in my life. 
  6. For many years, I did not think twice about driving here and there and everywhere to teach tennis. Now, I want to spend that time on my bike. 
  7. For the first twenty years of my life, I did not think much about nutrition and environmental practices. Now, those are two of the most important concerns in my life. 
  8. For the first 12 years of my special education work, I really thought I would never retire, at least by choice. The last two years have changed my mind about that!

Balance, balance, balance! If COVID taught me anything, it taught me about balance. I now want to have time to ride my bike, spend time with Setsuko, run, stretch, lift weights, hike and camp and photograph nature, support Setsuko's family, play tennis with Setsuko, play music, write, do research, spend time with friends, and do environmental work. I also have to admit that I have grown tired of the special education bureaucracy and the limited focus on actual teaching. I no longer want to spend so much time doing case management!

The bottom line? I do not want to work 40-60 hours per week. I want to have a more flexible schedule and I want to have more balance in my life! 


I was thinking about the constants. Those include the following.

  1. Playing, teaching, and coaching tennis: 59 years
  2. Working with kids and young people: 51 years
  3. Running: 44 years
  4. Playing the piano: 44 years
  5. Serious commitment to good nutrition: 42 years 
  6. Serious commitment to recycling and environmental actions: 42 years
  7. Serious commitment to personal development: 42 years
  8. Strength training: 33 years
  9. Marriages: 28 years
  10. Cycling: 25 years
  11. Special education teaching: 16 years
  12. Serious commitment to quality reading: 15 years

While I am very proud of those commitments, I know I am ready for change. However, no one ever said that change would be easy! When I really think about it, it is tough for me to imagine not being in a classroom this fall. It is tough for me to imagine not coaching tennis in the spring. It is tough for me to imagine not running a year-round tennis training program.

To be honest, in some ways, this change feels like a divorce or a death in the family. I guess that is the price we pay when we make these kinds of decisions that bring about such serious change. The good news? In my heart of hearts, I feel like I am doing the right thing. It is my turn to support Setsuko, her two adult daughters, and her two grandchildren. The next commitment starts now!


I wish I could say that I make all the right decisions when I am tired and frustrated. No such luck! I found the following suggestions from the Mayo Clinic web site.

  1. Think before you speak
  2. Once you're calm, express your concerns
  3. Get some exercise
  4. Take a timeout
  5. Identify possible solutions
  6. Stick with "I" statements
  7. Don't hold a grudge
  8. Use humor to release tension
  9. Practice relaxation skills
  10. Know when to seek help

Now if I could only find a way to apply all ten of these when the pressure is on! Unfortunately, when that pressure appears, I have a tendency to turn the situation into an intense competition, one that I have to win! Well, I guess I need to find a way to let go of that competitive perspective and find a way to empathize with the other person. A work in progress!


Unlike some people, I am pretty fanatical when it comes to saying "thank you." Whether it is because that was how I was raised or because it is my way of forging a connection, it feels good for me to do that. However, that is not the case for many others. When doing some research on this, I found a fabulous article on the Greater Good Magazine web site:

According to the author and the researchers, this actually can be quite complicated. To simplify things, they look at three forms of gratitude.

  • Verbal gratitude: Saying thank you in some way.
  • Concrete gratitude: Reciprocating with something the child likes, such as offering the person some candy or a toy.
  • Connective gratitude: Reciprocating with something the wish-granter would like, such as friendship or help. 

In short, there is quite a range of forms of gratitude.

Saying ‘thank you’ is the polite thing to do in the United States but, whereas it is incumbent on the Japanese to repay a gift with one of at least equal value, receiving meat after a hunt is not viewed as requiring gratitude among the Inuit, and although the Tamils find it easy to express their thanks nonverbally, it is much more difficult to do so verbally.

"The bottom line? I have a new found respect for how others view what I have taken for granted as a "common courtesy"!


As much as I love peace and quiet, I am also very comfortable processing issues and concerns. It can be challenging for people like me to interact with people who tend to be more quiet. When I did a Google search on this topic, I was taken to the web site for Dan Rockwell. He has some wonderful words of wisdom. Thanks Dan!

  • Never assume quiet is weak and loud is strong.
  • Talkers want to talk it out. 
  • Quiet people enjoy thinking it out.
  • Honor their strengths
  • Respect their ability to commit
  • Give them prep time. Don't spring things on them.
  • Don’t assume silence is disagreement or consent. Just don’t assume.
  • Enjoy silence. Give them space by closing your mouth.
  • Ask questions, after you’ve given them think-time.

And all this time, I thought everyone else acted and responded the same way as me! I had a feeling I had it all wrong!


As I reflect back on my 14 year special education teaching career at North Eugene High School, I am most proud of the fact that I never missed a day of work due to being sick. I have taken good care of myself and I have wanted to be there for my students. However, it certainly has not been a perfect process. The positive side?  A note I received from a senior who is graduating from an alternative school. "I also wanted to say thank you for all of your help over the years, I couldn’t have done it without you." It does not get any better than that!I have tried and tried to push students to achieve their full potential. I have had a small number of students who did not respond well to that approach and who asked for a new case manager. It seems those students were reluctant to get out of their comfort zones and persevere through the pain of learning. Ouch! I have just had to remind myself that despite my best efforts, I cannot please everyone all the time!


While I was reminiscing about my competitive running career, I was listening to the Jethro Tull classic "Living in the Past." Ian Anderson could sure play the flute!

When I was growing up, I had no interest in any form of exercise that did not involve a ball. However, that all changed when I started to run to work in Anchorage, Alaska in the late 70's. I did not have much money so I could not afford a car and the bus stopped 1.5 miles short of where I was working. To speed things up, I decided to start running that distance. Lo and behold, I started to actually like running. I found it to be relaxing and a good form of exercise.

I ran recreationally until 1985, with the exception of a race I did with my sister in Portland in 1980. That was quite an experience. The night before the race, I thought I should get in shape, so I ran 5 miles as hard as I could. Not a smart thing to do! Despite my stupidity, I managed to stick with some good runners in the race and I placed in the top hundred out of several thousand runners. Yeah!

In 1985, while starting my college career at the Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington, I was out for a run and I "ran" into the cross country coach. He recruited me to be on that team. Unbeknownst to me, I came to realize I had some real talent for competitive running. I was the top distance runner on the cross country and track teams and eventually ran 32:01 for a 10K. Not bad for a guy who started running at the age of 20!


For many years, my web site has been titled "Inspire The Kids." It looks like this blog will take the place of that web site. However, the inspiration just keeps right on coming. One recent example is the inspiration provided by the captains of the North Eugene girls tennis team. They have done a wonderful job of providing leadership for that program. To  cap it all off, they have invited my wife and me out for a good-bye dinner. How is that for grace and thoughtfulness and true inspiration for the next generation!


I feel so fortunate to have my Co-Motion bike; it was very expensive. However, I feel like I got what I paid for, as it is an amazing bike to ride! I have it set up for commuting, but it can be used for racing as well. The bags are made by Restrap, another excellent company. This morning, I made the 11 mile ride from Junction City to North Eugene in just over 34 minutes, an average of 19.2 mph! My average heart rate was 147 bpm, so I was definitely working hard!


Japan and tennis! I am very much looking forward to playing tennis with Setsuko in Japan. We were fortunate to go to Wimbledon in 2017. I think I took 5000 photos in three days! 

Speaking of tennis, we just had our final get-together for the girls tennis team at North Eugene. After 35 years of high school and college tennis coaching, this may be the end of that road for me. Wow! What a ride it has been! 

This was an exciting season to end on, as we had two singles players and a doubles team qualify for the state tourney. In addition, we went undefeated during league play. What a thrill! As in the classroom, it was a struggle at times to get the girls to stay focused and to put disciplined effort into fundamental development. However, I feel good about our end result!


Jack loves tennis! His backhand may not be as good as the player in this shot from Wimbledon, but Jack can still hit a nice ball! I met Jack shortly after I moved to Lane County in 1990. As a tennis coach at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, I coached one of his former number one players. Jack and I "hit it off "immediately, in more ways than one! We started a tradition that included work on one of his rentals, tennis, and then lunch. Another part of our tradition was my attempt to hit 500 shots in a row. Those shots had to land within the singles lines, using five different position combinations. If I missed before shot number 25 for one of the five combinations, I could start over on that combination. Jack would try to make me miss! How rude! I guess his strategies worked, as I only hit the 500 goal three times in ten years!

I worked with many of his players during the off season and also worked with some on a year-round. basis This collaboration paid off as Junction City won several state titles during this time period. In addition, Jack sponsored the Scandinavian Festival Tennis Tourney, a tourney that I started and ran for thirty years. Jack has a great sense of humor and a true love of life. I am honored that when we needed a place after selling our house, Jack offered us one of his rentals. What a treat to spend some time with this fine gentleman before we depart for Japan. I will always treasure the many great times we shared and the uplifting spirit that is so much a part of who Jack is. Thanks Jack for the Joy!


The first Willamalane Recreation Director I worked with was Rand Gerlach. What a treat to work with Rand! Today, I had lunch with the final recreation supervisor of my Willamalane career, Spenser Lind. Another gem of a human being!

I said to Spenser that he reminds me of the famous Robert Kennedy quote, "Some men see things as they are and ask, ""Why?"" I dream things that never were and ask, ""Why not?" 

Spenser is one of the people who sees possibilities. I am also one of those people. My history with Willamalane included expanding the outdoor programs, leasing covered tennis courts at the University of Oregon, running tournaments and other forms of competitions, running tennis camps, private lessons, and promoting special events scheduled to attract new players. Lastly, the Bob Keefer indoor multi-purpose tennis courts are named after my mom, due to a generous donation from her estate. My hope is that legacy will live on and on! Thank you Willamalane for 31 amazing years!


I would guess that I have spent close to 50 hours sorting tons of stuff from the last thirty years. Why so much? I have been so busy that I have not wanted to set aside the time to do the sorting that I have been doing these past two months. 

The million dollar question. Have I been too busy? I think not. I have prioritized doing my tennis and special education work to the best of my ability. However, I now realize that I am ready for a reduction in those responsibilities. I am ready to have more time with Setsuko's family and am ready to explore all of the interests I have. The bottom line? I cannot do it all!


This Fortune magazine article headline caught my eye.

"Billionaire investor Mark Cuban says he sees one trait in all successful people—and it’s one of the only characteristics you can control."

Any guesses as to what that trait is? 

“The one thing in life you can control is your effort,” said the man worth $6.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. “And being willing to do so is a huge competitive advantage, because most people don’t.”

They say that the number one reason people leave their jobs is their manager—but according to Cuban, disliking your boss can actually be a boon.

  • If a person is struggling with their manager, learn from the manager's mistakes instead of quitting 
  •  "Disgruntled employees need to reframe the situation as a learning moment, grit their teeth, and get on with it." 
  • "In college you paid to learn, but now that you’ve graduated you’re getting paid to learn. Take advantage of the ‘to learn’ part of it."
  •  “That’s where people who are in jobs they don’t like make a mistake. They’re so miserable they just can’t wait to get out, and they don’t realize that you can learn more from the jobs you don’t like than the jobs you do like. "
  •  “Learning what not to do is just as critically as important as learning what to do—particularly if you have any aspirations to go on to management or to launch a company.”
  •  He added that at the jobs and companies that hadn’t worked out for him, he’d learned “as much, if not more” than the employers where he’d had a positive experience. 
  •  Cuban said working a job you don’t like is like attending a class at school you don’t enjoy: “If you really make an effort to learn, ask, ‘How is the company run? How are managers managing? If I don’t like my boss—why? Is there a way I can communicate with that boss that makes me better at communicating?
  •  “Learn from what they’re doing so you don’t do the same when you become a boss.”
  •  Early on in careers it can be “hard to have that perspective,” Cuban added, but said: “Look at your ultimate goal, and within the context of that ultimate goal, what can you learn for your current set of circumstances?”


 This is the link for our new house in Japan. Unfortunately, I have not been able to figure out how to copy and paste a picture to this blog. I will take my own picture when we get to Japan. I will then post that picture on this site.

It is a four bedroom home with about 1000 square feet. It is in Chofu, a little less that nine miles west of downtown Tokyo. It is very close to the American School, an English speaking private school. I will probably contact that school about the possibility of working as a substitute teacher, helping with their tennis team, and/or helping with their reading and behavior programs.


This past week has been filled with some memorable and difficult goodbyes. It is tough when people express sadness about our departure. At the same time, it is very endearing that we have had that kind of positive impact on many people. One of the teachers at North said that I think about other people, not just about myself. What a nice thing to say!

I certainly know that I cannot please everyone all of the time. I guess I just hope that I please most of the people most of the time! I also know that I can only expect that I do my best. In terms of my teaching and coaching, I expect the same of my students. I refuse to accept mediocrity!


My topic for today is defensiveness. My source is the following article.

"The Four Horsemen: Defensiveness," by Ellie Lisitsa

This article is based on the work of John Gottman, one of my favorite experts on relationships. The Four Horsemen are Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling. 

It is interesting to me how quickly I can become defensive. 

"The third horsemen in the Four Horsemen is defensiveness, which is defined as self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victimhood in an attempt to ward off a perceived attack. Many people become defensive when they are being criticized, but the problem is that its perceived effect is blame. It is usually a counterattack to a complaint, which is not criticism.

Everyone has been defensive, and this horseman is almost always present when relationships are on the rocks. When you feel unjustly accused, you fish for excuses so that your partner will back off. But defensiveness is a way of blaming your partner. You’re saying, in effect, “The problem isn’t me, it’s you.”

Fascinating! To paraphrase this, I believe that  what the author is saying is as follows.
  1. Someone complains about something to do with me.
  2. I get defensive as a form of self-protection.
  3. This defensiveness is a way to "ward off a perceived attack."
  4. I may perceive that I am being criticized, when it is just a complaint.
  5. What I am doing is blaming the other person. "The problem isn't me, it's you."



Instead of blaming the other person, I could say something like this. "I am sorry that my actions upset you. That was not my intention. I was somewhat impatient and I apologize for that." Easier said than done, but something to strive for!


It is sad to me that so many families struggle with family chemistry. My father went to his death bed not communicating with his sister. My mom had very little contact with her sister for many years. I was talking to a friend about his mother and father. He said that his father needs full-time care. His mother really wants to spend some time traveling, but her husband is not physically able to do that. The adult children are willing to help take care of their father so their mom could travel. However, the mother does not want to leave her husband for fear that he will die in her absence. She is not willing to relinquish that control, despite the fact that the control is causing her to be living an unhappy life. Ouch!

I had an unpleasant interaction at the gym this morning. I could have done nothing and the unpleasantness would live on and on. Even though the situation was not really my fault, I chose to say "I am sorry for what happened." Those words were all it took to eliminate the tension. How much better would lives be if we were all willing to make ourselves more vulnerable, take some responsibility for what happened, and show more empathy toward others. 

Speaking for myself, I am trying to work hard at nurturing all of the relationships in my life. I treasure those relationships. In the case of family, I hope I can provide as much support as possible while I am still capable of providing that support. I then hope I am worthy of receiving the same support when I am in need. I truly believe that "what goes around, comes around!"
I am very thankful for the amazing relationships I have had over the last 33 years in Lane County. It has been priceless to hear such wonderful words from my students and co-workers about the impact I have had on many people. My hope is that I can nurture the same kinds of relationships in Japan. My hope is that my future relationships will continue to inspire me to keep giving and giving. "It is in giving that we receive."


As I think back on my 33 years of life in Lane County, I have been revisiting some of the gifts I have received. Below is a partial list.

  • Almost 17 years of being married to Setsuko, my amazing wife. 
  • Wonderful relationships with people I have met through tennis and my school teaching work.
  • USPTA tennis teacher certification and work as a tester for those wanting to be certified as a tennis teacher.
  • Assisting my wife Setsuko with gaining USPTA certification
  • Work as a personal trainer and experience with strength training
  • Part of a Hood To Coast Team that set the mixed masters course record
  • Created community tennis programs in North Eugene, Springfield, Creswell, and Cottage Grove
  • Worked with Setsuko to make a large donation to Willamalane from my mom's estate. That donation helped create four multi-purpose courts that are great for tennis.
  • 14 years of work at North Eugene High School as a special education teacher.
  • 26 years coaching high school tennis at Springfield and North Eugene High Schools
  • Coached Tina Davis at Springfield the year she placed 5th at the state tennis tourney.
  • Co-teacher for a successful high school reading intervention class.
  • Purchase of two wonderful racing bikes and my renewed commitment to consistent cycling.
  • Yearly photo trips to keep my love of photography alive!
  • Discovery of the wonderful book "The Little Book of Talent," which convinced me to have students do more slow repetitive work when working on the development of key tennis fundamentals.


Let's start with the bad news. I was about to make a right hand turn in the car this morning. Setsuko and I were in a bit of a hurry, so I was in a bit of an impatient mood. I looked to the left and figured that I could make the turn, but I would need to do it quickly because a car was coming. I did not pay close enough attention to the pedestrian who was to our right. As I started to turn right, the "walk" sign came on and the pedestrian started to walk. Fortunately, my reflexes were fast enough for me to slam on the brakes and stop before hitting the pedestrian. I then apologized to that person. A stern reminder for me to drive more defensively!

Now the good news. I sent my final Lane County farewell notice by text and email tonight. I received 30 responses! Those responses were so gracious and kind and appreciative. Those responses are also not making it any easier to leave!

I am convinced that our move is the right choice and that the time is right to make that move. I feel blessed to have had such a positive impact on so many people. I also feel blessed to have been inspired by so many people. May the blessings and the inspiration continue! So it is with longevity! Thank you to everyone!
I cannot tell you how many times in life my first impressions turned out to be way off base. Such was the case with these pictures. At first glance, I was not happy with them. However, they have definitely grown on me, especially with some editing! They are all pictures of temples and cemeteries adjacent to those temples. It is fascinating to me how elaborate some of those gravestones are!

We are in our new house with no furniture! All of the items that were shipped will be delivered on July 17th. The plot thickens!

Setsuko reserved a tennis court for today, so we had the pleasure of playing tennis when it was 99 degrees, with 75% humidity, and with a Dew Point of 75. Yes, it was toasty! Speaking of toasty, I decided to pick this day, of all days, to get lost in Japan for the first time. The vast majority of the time, Siri and the iPhone are extremely reliable. However, on this glorious scorcher of a day, Siri did not recognize my new address and had me going in circles until I finally put Siri to sleep and figured out the way by myself. So much for modern technology!  

This is a picture of the Shogaigakushu Workout Center I have been using. This is a public facility that includes tennis, swimming, strength training, table tennis, badminton, and other activities. I have really enjoyed being able to lift weights on a consistent basis! Yes, I love to maintain my strength for fitness purposes!
The bad news is that we lost power this morning. Setsuko freaked out and texted me while I was out exploring. The result of a clerical error, power was returned pretty quickly. Nothing like a great introduction to our new house!  

I took my first longer bike ride today, almost 11 miles to and from the Tama River. Felt great to be back on the bike! I do need to be careful as I almost got hit going around a blind corner close to our home. It is going to take some time to get used to these narrow streets. 

It is another warm day as it is currently 97 degrees and is supposed to hit 99! Call me a little crazy, but I have a different way of dealing with the heat. I try to use air conditioning as little as possible so that the heat is not as much of a  shock when I go outside. That seems to work for me as the heat does not seem to slow me down. I just sweat up a storm and drink gallons of water!

All the best,



One of the things I am enjoying the most about our move to Japan is the time I have been able to put into strength training. Due to my busy schedule in the US, I had not been as consistent with those workouts as I would have liked. Below is the routine I have been following at the city gym in Fuchu. I have been walking the .75 miles to and from this facility. Nice warm-up and cool-down!

  1. Overhead Press 
  2. Bench Press
  3. Upright Rows
  4. Leg Press
  5. Calve Raises
  6. Abdominal Pulls
  7. Roman Chair Leg Raises
  8. Back Extensions
  9. Lat Raises
  10. Rotator Cuff External Rotation: both arms
  11. Rotator Cuff Internal Rotation: both arms
  12. Oblique Rotation: both directions
  13. Hip Adduction: groin muscle
  14. Hip Abduction
  15. Hip Football Kicks
  16. Hip: Kick backward

This covers most of the major muscles of the body. I do one set of 10-20 repetitions for each exercise. The whole routine takes me about 40 minutes. Below are the guidelines for using this gym.

  1. The cost for Fuchu residents is about $1.50 per day.
  2. The locker rooms are spotless!
  3. Free lockers are available.
  4. The facility also has table tennis, badminton, tennis, an indoor pool, and other activities.
  5. You have to wear indoor gym shoes in the weight room. You have to leave your street shoes in a shoe box. 
  6. They typically have 2-4 staff members in the weight room at all times. As with many stores and customer service operations, some of those staff members stand ready to serve the constituents. It is very impressive!
  7. Everyone is expected to grab a towel and wipe down machines after use. 
  8. For the popular machines, there is a dry erase board. You are expected to record what time you will be finished with that machine. There are time limits for those popular machines. There is also space for one person to put their name down on a waiting list. 
  9. They have an intriguing massage tool with round pieces that go round and round like a bike wheel. The person sits on the seat and then puts the desired body part over the moving round pieces. I am hoping to try this but it is very popular!
Round 3 of photos for the beautiful Takahatafudo site. I can hardly wait to go back there when the sun is shining!

I am sure, like me, you have never made the mistake of lecturing someone when they are down and out. I only wish that were true! Live and learn! I found the following site with some excellent advice in this regard.

I love the title of this web site by Robert Carr, "How To Live A Meaningful life." Here are some highlights.

  1. People may not want to hear the truth. The timing may be better for a believable lie. What does the other person want at this time?
  2. Timing is everything. Does the other person really want my honest opinion at this time? Am I invading that person's personal space by giving my opinion?
  3. We need to find a balance between being genuine and not hurting the feelings of the other person. Again, timing is critical. It can also be helpful to ask the other person if they want our feedback.
  4. We need to be careful to not use our power or authority to justify communicating honestly. Just because we have more power than another person, that does not justify being honest and hurting the feelings of another person.
  5. People sometimes just want us to listen and not give advice. In these cases, brutal honesty and clearly stated opinions may fall on deaf ears!
 Thanks Robert!
All the best,


One of the things I have struggled with is how to deal with people who think they are right when I am pretty sure they are wrong. The following article by Arturo Guillen has some great advice!

Recommended Steps

1.   Listen. When dealing with closed-minded people, you must not take things personally. Instead, listen; this becomes more important when having a conversation with someone that is edgy and seems irrational. If we do not pay attention to what someone says in a peak of transitory anger, our oversight will only increase their anger.

2.   Keep calm and stay positive. When we find ourselves in a situation with a high emotional load,. it is difficult not to get carried away by the heat of the moment. Do not fall victim of the situation; use control breathing with slow and deep inhaling or internally count up to ten - or a hundred if necessary. This will help us not to end up as nervous as the other person.

3.   Always be courteous and respectful. Even though this is more difficult in reality than what it sounds, we need to always be respectful during these moments; getting agitated will not make things better.

4.   Analyze the situation and/or the person. Consider internal and external factors to see what’s really going on; this will help in determining the next steps and perhaps even identify the reason for the behavior.

5.   Give some space. When someone is upset or irritated, repeating what he is doing wrong in front of other people will not help; this may be taken as humiliation and you may end up being blamed.

6.   Don’t take it personally. Don't get on the defensive mode... if you put yourself at their level you will enter an endless loop; remember that drama does not go with you.

7.   Vent and release your stress afterwards. Find a positive method to release the frustration generated from these uncomfortable situations. - I decided to write this article; writing this article helped me analyze myself and share how I dealt with the situation.


One of the things that keeps me going with the temples and cemeteries is the uniqueness of these locations. It seems like there is a new shape or color or design around every corner!

Our stuff arrived today. I am now swimming in that stuff! As much as I tried to really reduce before we left the United States, I am afraid I failed miserably! Well, I will be back at it!

I am overjoyed that my Yamaha P515 keyboard arrived safely. I played for a few minutes tonight. What a thrill to be playing again after a 5 month break!


Given that our things from the US have arrived, I now have access to my professional photography gear. However, when I consider the quality of these photos and the simplicity of the process, I am not super motivated to complicate matters!

"Some men see things as they are and ask why; I see things as they could be, and ask why not."
Robert F. Kennedy

"Don't believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation."
Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

I talked recently about dealing with close-minded people. I should probably correct myself and say people who are. at times, close minded. In truth, I think that very few people are always close-minded. I think it depends on the circumstances and the timing. 

I also think this idea of being close-minded is closely related to the above two quotes. My all-time favorite song is "The Impossible Dream." I love the idea of considering the impossible. What are the possibilities? If we listen to our heart and soul, what dreams and possibilities could we and should we pursue? How many people have pursued their dreams and accomplished feats that were largely considered impossible?



 These are more temple and cemetery shots. I have not been able to take new photos these past few days because of our work to get our house organized.

This unpacking process has prompted me to reflect on my past. So many memories tied to all these objects! I have a wonderful shot of my sister with a couple of kids from Senegal. That picture was taken during her stint in the Peace Corps. The picture was so well liked by her supervisors that they used that picture for a Peace Corps stamp. How cool is that!

I have been fortunate enough to have won some awards related to tennis and competitive running. I won the 1989 Crater Lake 6.7 Rim race. What a gorgeous setting! In 2005, I was given the international Star Award for tennis community service. That was particularly memorable as Setsuko was able to join me for the awards ceremony in Miami, Florida. That was the start of our courtship!

Far more important than the awards are the gratifying experiences I have had as a serious competitor, coach, teacher, husband, and as a human being committed to living a meaningful life. Although the setting is new and the lifestyle is different, I certainly plan to continue to do what I can to stay healthy and do what I can to make life better for others. I am fortunate that I now have some choices about how to partake in this new endeavor!


Sorry to be out of touch. We have been very busy! I am back shooting with my professional gear! These two pictures were both taken with that gear at the Jokyu-ji Temple. Yeah! Although I enjoy the ability to customize the shot and the versatility of the equipment, I am still blown away by the quality of the pictures taken by the iPhone 14 Pro. 

I have started the process of re-entering the work world as a paid employee or as a volunteer. I contacted the American School, an English speaking private school that is very close to where we live. They have a half-time position available for a special education assistant working with a 10th grade student in math. Right up my alley! I applied for that position and completed the substitute teacher application.

I also contacted an English-speaking tennis organization that provides lessons at sites around Tokyo, including the American School. A friend suggested that I contact St. Mary's, another local prominent English speaking school. The cool thing about that school is that it would involve a 10 mile bike ride along the Tama River. What a treat that would be!

I am honestly not sure what direction I want to take. Below are questions I have been asking myself. 

  1. Do I want to get a position that would involve consistent Monday-Friday attendance?
  2. Would I rather be a substitute teacher so I could pick and choose when I want to work?
  3. Do I want to go back to teaching and coaching tennis?
  4. I would like to get involved with environmental activism in some capacity. How could I do that?
  5. I am enjoying the freedom and flexibility of my current schedule. How can I preserve those characteristics and still find ways to contribute in a meaningful way? 

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Given the amount of experience I have, I would guess that I will be contacted by these organizations. I will then need to consider the pros and cons and make some choices. No one ever said that this would all be easy!

All the best,




Back to Takahatafudo! Such a gorgeous place! This time, I came armed with my professional gear. I was able to take these close-up shots with my 100-400 lens. Nothing like that kind of zoom telephoto power! Some additional editing and here are the results!

As I mentioned previously, I contacted the American School about a school intervention part-time position. It looks like I will be discussing that position with the administrators this coming Monday, August 7th.  Although I do not necessarily want to give up all of the freedom I have had these past two months, I am excited about the prospect of going back to work in the school intervention field. 

I believe that part of the reason I am on this earth is to serve the youth of today. I realize I will not be able to do that work forever. However, I certainly have more to contribute to the well-being of our next generation. I love the challenge of helping youth who struggle! I will keep you posted!

All the best,


More lillies from the Jindai Botanical Garden. Ah, the simplicity of this kind of beauty. If only life could always be so simple! I remember a comment my mom once made to me. "Bob, you are just like your father. You always have to make life so difficult!"

Just when I thought that maybe I was invincible, I threw out my back. So much for invincibility! I had been sitting in the car for an hour or so. I got out of the car and mistakenly lifted a box full of lemonade bottles in an awkward way. I immediately felt that twinge in my back; that is always a bad sign. Sure enough, within an hour or so, I was stiff as a board! 

It is now just over a week later. My back is much better, although it still gets stiff when I am sitting. I have set a new world record for the number of stretches performed in a week! Fortunately, with plenty of warm-up time, I have been able to continue running and cycling and swimming and strength training and tennis. 

I have started my job at the American School. Last Friday, I met the student I will be working with. We had a great time getting to know each other! It also did not take me long to find the tennis courts! I will be volunteering with the tennis teams, starting this coming Tuesday. Old habits do not die easily!

The first book the 10th grade English class will be reading is the classic play, "The Crucible," by Arthur Miller. I have had fun reviewing that play, researching Arthur Miller, the Salem Witch Trials, and McCarthyism. It is scary to realize how easily people can be swayed to judge and interpret situations inaccurately. Even scarier is to realize that this is still very possible today!

My birthday was yesterday! A young 67! My supervisor at the American School made my day when he said I do not look a day over 40! Setsuko took me to a wonderful restaurant last night. The Japanese sure know how to do it right when it comes to a tasty meal! 

I gave myself a nice birthday present when I took 5 seconds off of my best time for the stairs sprint that is in the middle of my run. Another victory in the "let's stay young" race!

 I hope this finds you happy and healthy!

All the best,



 This is a water shot from the East Garden by the Imperial Palace. I love the challenge of shooting water!

Speaking of challenges, who ever said that volunteering is easy???? I would like to explore that topic in some detail. According to many studies I have seen, community involvement is one of the best things we can do to keep ourselves healthy and young. One of the best ways to be involved with the community is to volunteer. If only it were that simple!

One of the challenges related to volunteering is tied to the organization itself. How well run is the organization? How well qualified are the staff members? How is the quality of the work done by the organization? Is the organization respected in the community and in the related field? 

It gets even more interesting when the volunteer has more experience than the staff members of the organization. Are the staff members willing to learn from the volunteer and are they willing to take advantage of the experiences and wisdom of the volunteer or are those staff members so vested in their own ways of doing the job that they are not receptive to the volunteer's expertise? 

Lastly, what about the volunteer with all this experience? Is that person willing to work with people who are so protective of their work habits that they are not willing to consider alternatives, despite evidence to support those alternatives?

I do not have any easy answers to these questions. Speaking for myself, I think I feel like in a paid worker situation, if I had a lot more experience than my boss, I would do all I could to make the situation work, even if my boss was not receptive to my input. However, if I was volunteering and had a lot more experience than the paid workers, I am not sure I would continue under the same circumstances.  If I am volunteering, I think I would want to volunteer with paid workers who would really want to learn from the experiences I have had.

One would hope that all of us would be receptive to the efforts of someone with more experience than us. What a great opportunity that is to learn from an expert. Are we willing to leave our egos at the door so we can be receptive and open to alternative ways of doing our jobs? 

I will never forget an extreme example of this. I was in the special education masters program and was also working as a substitute teacher's aide. I had renewed my teaching license so I could sub as an aide or as a teacher. I did not feel like the head teacher for this sub job was giving me the respect I deserved, In my nicest way possible, I shared that concern with him, after telling him that I appreciated his efforts. He then told me that as a teacher's aide, I was to shut up, put up, and do my job. I then requested to be moved to another sub position. Ouch! 

What about you? Are you taking full advantage of the opportunity to learn from others?

All the best,



You may be wondering what hair and bikes and exercise have to do with each other! Well, here we go!

You might remember that I paid $450 to have someone here in Japan put together my first bike. I certainly did not want to go through that again with my second bike!

I had the good fortune of checking in with my friend Stuart. He is a genius at coming up with solutions! When I told him about my situation, he said he had just the fix. He has a friend, Mr. Hara, who has done a great job with his wife's hair. That friend is also a bike fan. He said that his friend would set up my bike at no cost. Stuart said that as a form of gratitude, it would be good for me to schedule a hair appointment. Wow! 

Now, this all seems so simple, but.... I have cut my own hair for at least 30 years! We are talking some serious invasion of my space to let someone else mess with my head! However, it was truly a no-brainer, as I was not about to pay another $450 for this operation! 

I have been a part of many different connections in my life. But, a hair cut and bike construction? That is a new one! However, all is well! Mr. Hara did a great job on my bike. He even came to our house to do the work! Then it was my turn. Little did I know that I was going to lose twenty pounds worth of hair!

One of my hair-cutting goals has always been to keep my big ears covered with hair. So much for that! Despite my hair loss, it was a great experience! He was very gracious and made the event very relaxing. He certainly has earned a new customer! The enclosed picture is the end result. 

I honestly think I could now go undercover as I do not think my friends and family will recognize me!

And back to exercise! I have put the links to these machines at the bottom of this post. Two of the best and most important exercises are knee raises and back extensions. The knee raises exercise is very good for the abdominal muscles and is generally considered safer for the low back. The back extension exercise is one of the most effective exercises to help with the low back muscles. 

We had similar machines in Springfield, but decided to not bring them to Japan. I just purchased these machines and put them together yesterday. My body is loving the reunion!

Here is to good hair, good cycling, and healthy muscles!

All the best,

These are some more of my favorite shots of the Rainbow Bridge and the pseudo "Statue of Liberty." Gotta love those light colors!

Speaking of love, I am loving the exercises I have been doing for my feet! The link to the exercises is below. I have been dealing with some soreness in my right heel. That area is oftentimes particularly sore first thing in the morning, which is a classic sign of Plantar Fasciitis. Generally speaking, as I move throughout the day, that right heel feels better. However, during my run yesterday, I could feel that right heel soreness. I did the exercises last night and then, lo and behold, no soreness while running today!

Although the foot rolls with the therapy ball can be pretty painful, I think that exercise helps alleviate the soreness. A small price to pay!

Where do you get your inspiration? Given that this blog is all about inspiration, you can guess that this topic is dear to my heart. I am inspired on a consistent basis by so many people and events and occurrences and natural happenings. Wednesday was no exception. A student was having a tough day because he was tired and was a little out of sync. Going into his last class of the day, it seemed like it would be a challenging class. Boy did he ever blow that concern out of the water! He had a great class! He was energetic and miraculously overcame his fear of the saws as he practiced with almost all of those tools. Yeah! 

The gift I witnessed with this student will provide inspiration for me for days and days!

All the best,



 There is nothing like the change of colors that comes with the start of fall. I am very excited about the related photo opportunities!

When I first starting photographing in the Tama Cemetery, I focused on the amazing and gorgeous tombstones. With the photos pictured here, I was focusing on the photogenic trees. More to come!

Now that life has started to show some indications of structure and normalcy, it is time for me to follow through with the promise I made to Setsuko to learn the Japanese language. That is going to be a challenge! 

This adventure started with a free class offered in our community. I had a feeling that things may be a bit rocky when my volunteer instructor admitted that I was his first beginning student. Off to a great start! The second bad omen was when we started working with a textbook. He showed me the two books that he had chosen. I told him I liked the book that had English translations. He decided we should use the other book. Oh boy!

To make a long story short, he went way too fast and overwhelmed me in no time at all! This was such a great reminder of what it is like to be a student! I have not had that experience for a long time! It also reminded me how important it is to meet the student where the student is at.

I am supposed to meet with that same instructor in two weeks. However, I asked Setsuko to cancel that session. Instead, I will be working with two online programs, Mondly and Busuu. Both programs are very engaging, go very slowly, do lots of repetition and review, use great visuals, and give the student opportunities to repeat material. Bring it on!

All the best,



Moon River has always been one of my favorite songs. I recorded this version on my Yamaha P-515. I so appreciate the gift Andy Williams gave us when he did the gorgeous recording of that song. In addition, as I put in the previous post, this was the springboard for the singing career of Lucy Thomas. 

These pictures were all taken during a trip I did with my friend Stuart. We rode our bikes about 6 miles to get to this beautiful park. I do not think I have seen colors like this in the fall since I attended Trinity College in 1975. While I was at Trinity, I bought one of the smaller Suzuki motorcycles and I rode it between Hartford and Boston to visit relatives. The sunset picture was taken from the bridge that is about two miles from our house. What a scene!

I am sorry that I am little late with this post. I am very thankful for the following. 

  1. All of you. I was recently asked if I miss Oregon. My response was that I miss the people. So very true! Thanks to all of you for being in my life!
  2. I am thankful for Setsuko and the rest of my extended family. I feel so fortunate to have such a wonderful wife. I also feel fortunate that I have such a good relationship with my siblings. 
  3. I am thankful for the relationships I have been developing since I moved to Japan. I have talked about Stuart, a true Renaissance man who is creative and resourceful. I have had some very engaging conversations with Dana, the father of several of our former tennis students. I joined the Japan chapter of Citizens Climate International. That has given me the opportunity to meet some new people and to use the Microsoft Translation app. It has been quite hysterical to read some of the translations!  
  4. I am thankful for meeting Rohan Gillett. Here is his web site, Wonderful pictures! This coming Monday, he and I are going to enjoy the rare treat of going into the Imperial Palace grounds. Should be exciting!
  5. I am thankful for my energy and my good health. A wise person once said that without our health, we are not good for much. May all of us stay healthy!
  6. I am thankful for being able to ride my bike, to run, to hike, do strength training,  play music, and to play tennis. I know that these are luxuries that many people in the world do not have. I had the good fortune of connecting with some teachers from my school who are avid cyclists. We ride together almost every Sunday. What a treat!
  7. I am thankful for the opportunity I have to work in special education. I will forever be grateful to Setsuko for pushing me to find another career so we would have more financial stability. That was the start of my 16 year special education career!
  8. I am thankful for having the ability to read. Without a doubt, that is one of the most enjoyable activities of my life!
  9. I am thankful for being able to enjoy this amazing world. I am convinced that unless we make some serious and significant environmental changes, the enjoyment I am experiencing may be short-lived. 
  10. I am thankful for music. Although I spent hours and hours listening to music as I was growing up, I did not start playing the piano until I was about 20 years old, 47 years ago. I also play the guitar and sing. Music has helped me through so many difficult times!
  11. I am thankful for having the opportunity to live in Japan. While I miss all of you, I am treasuring the opportunity to explore this aesthetically beautiful country! 
  12. I am also thankful for the fact that I rarely need to drive a car here in Japan. Between walking, cycling, and public transportation, I can get to just about anywhere I need to go.A small win for climate change!
  13. I am thankful for having the opportunity to become a better person. I have made so many mistakes over the course of my life. All I can do is to learn from those mistakes and keep working to improve. Definitely a work in progress!
  14. I am thankful for the opportunities I have to try and make this world a better place. Although I know I am only one small piece of the pie, I also know that every little bit counts!

Happy Holidays!

Bob Reed 


Happy Holidays!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season! I made the recording of "With You I'm Born Again" back in 2011 on the grand piano we had in Oregon. What a beautiful song!

I finally got my first group of nice pictures of Mt. Fuji! What a thrill! My friend Stuart and I did a wonderful hike to the top of Mt. Takao. I will never forget when we came through the trees and walked out into the observation area and were presented with this memorable view. What a treat! 

While I have had some nice views of Mt. Fuji, this was the first time I had my professional equipment. Nothing like that zoom telephoto lens! I am definitely convinced that I can get better photos with that professional gear. I also just purchased a lightweight tripod for hiking. Using that helped me get the clarity in these photos.

Inspiration is a big part of my life! It is interesting to me how that inspiration shows up. I remember when I was thinking about doing my last blog update. I was tired and really not in the mood to work. However, I then thought about how I had promised a friend that I would get the cycling photos on the blog as soon as possible. That thought then inspired me to get the job done. In the process, I totally forgot about how tired I was. Thank you to all of you for inspiring me!

Marcel Schwantes makes this point in a different way in the article, "The Ultimate Measure of Success Comes Down to a Few Simple Words."  The web site address for the article is below.

What are those words?

"Your success depends on the cycle of caring. When you practice care, kindness, and generosity throughout life, it comes back to you ten-fold."

I love those words! One of the commitments  I made when moving to Japan was to put more time and energy into developing and maintaining friendships. I realize now that due to how busy I was, that was not a priority for me when I lived in Oregon. With that said, I do feel like I have always done my best to be a caring and kind human being. Ongoing work in progress! 

All the best to you and your family and friends,

Bob Reed 


I recorded this version of Born Free on my Yamaha P-515. This song has always been special to me for a number of reasons. I love the message and loved reading the book and seeing the movie. I have always loved the lyrics and the melody. Lastly, it was the first song I learned on the piano. 

In 1976, I rode a motorcycle from Seattle to San Francisco. Each night, I camped on the coast. Before losing the light, I would practice this song on a melodica, a flute-like instrument with a short piano keyboard. My mom inspired me to try this instrument as she used to play one on our sailboat. 

After I returned to Alaska, I took piano lessons. I will never forget when I hit my first chord to match the first note of this song. I fell in love with that harmony!

The pictures are from a recent day I spent with my friend Rohan in the Shinjuku area.  Thank you to Rohan for your guiding! The Godzilla figure is perched up high on a building. The other two photos were taken at a very photogenic cemetery.

I am doing double-duty with this message. I am putting it on my blog and am sending it to my email data base. For those in the data base, feel free to let me know if you do not want to subscribe to these updates. 

Given that it is now 2024, it seems appropriate to reflect on this past year and think about 2024. Here are my thoughts.


  • I am so thankful for so many things and so many people!
  • First and foremost, I am thankful for all the people in my life, including all of you. Thanks for your messages! Please keep them coming! I will respond to all messages!
  • I am thankful for my good health. I know that many people are struggling with a variety of health-related issues. My heart goes out to them.
  • I am thankful for Rohan, Stuart, and Dana, three friends I have spent time with since moving to Japan. You have been wonderful!
  • I am thankful for Setsuko, my amazing wife. She has made the move to Japan one of the best things I have done with my life. While I miss all of you who live in the US, I am enjoying this new adventure.
  • I am thankful for the resources we have. While Setsuko and I have worked hard to get where we are, I also know that we have been very fortunate.
  • I am thankful for the technology that enables me to do so much, including staying in touch with all of you!
  • I am thankful for the organizational skills I have developed that help me stay on top of my many responsibilities. 
  • I am thankful for the discipline I have to make good choices and decisions. It is not always easy!
  • I am thankful for the ability to read and for the access I have to so many great books. What a treasure!
  • I am thankful for forgiveness. I have certainly made my share of mistakes. I fee fortunate that people have graced me with some slack!
  • I am thankful for the opportunity to live in Japan. I realize this is an opportunity that is not available for many people.
  • I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to work in the special education field. I am loving my job at the American School in Japan!


  • Sending two North Eugene High School singles players and a doubles team to the state tourney.
  • Another successful year as a special education teacher at North Eugene High School.  
  • Leaving the US knowing that I did my best for the community in the areas of tennis and special education.
  • The sale of our home in Springfield, Oregon. This enabled us to move to Japan.
  • The move to Japan. 
  • Putting time into friendships here in Japan.
  • Helping Setsuko realize her dream of returning to her homeland and living close to her daughters and grandchildren. 
  • The consistent cycling and strength training and photography in Japan. 
  • Sharing music and photos and updates on this blog. 
  • Joining the Japan Citizen's Climate Lobby group and putting more time into environmental studies. 
  • The satisfaction that comes from knowing that I am doing my best to live a productive and meaningful life and that I am living according to my values and principles.


  • I am concerned about the environment. While I understand this is a controversial topic, it seems to me there is some substantial evidence to suggest that we need to make some major changes, especially when it comes to the use of fossil fuels. I plan to continue to study this topic and learn as much as I can and then take steps to act on my conclusions. 
  • I am concerned about the divisiveness and lack of grace in the United States, especially as it relates to politics, social justice, race, guns, and other controversial and sensitive topics. I desperately hope we can improve our capacity to have difficult conversations in a respectful manner.  

I hope 2024 is a great year for all of you. May we work together to make this world the best it can be!

All the best to you, your families, and your friends,



IMPORTANT! For some odd reason, the music formatting has changed on these Blogger posts sites.. To listen to the song, click on the small box with the arrow in it that is in the upper right corner of the post screen. That will open up another window with a box in the middle of the screen. Click on the "play" arrow and the song should start. Please let me know if this does not work. Sorry about this!

I made this recording of "Hello Again" on my Yamaha P-515. This has always been one of my favorite Neil Diamond songs. It beautifully captures the feelings that come with falling in love.

These pictures are all from our recent trip to Odawara. The castle is the Odawara Castle, which is gorgeous at night as it is lit up by some impressive spot lights. The water shot and the brightly lit up building were both taken right outside our resort room. A very attractive location!

As my climate change perspective has continued to change, my lifestyle has also changed. After many years of a love affair with beef products, I have decided to give up beef. As best as I can tell, the climate impacts related to beef are substantial. I am also doing my best to not consume dairy products, primarily milk. I have replaced that habit with soy milk.

 The good news is that in the process of making this change, I have discovered the joy of smoothies! Here is my current favorite.

3  bananas

1 cup of blueberries

I cup of pineapple

1 cup of strawberries

2 large Kale leaves

1 bunch of spinach

2 cups of soy milk

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon of turmeric

A bit of ground pepper

Put this all in a blender and enjoy this tasty and nutritious treat!

Shortly after we arrived in Japan, I joined an international climate change organization titled Citizen's Climate Lobby. I initially joined the Japan chapter, but realized that the language barrier was too much of an obstacle. I recently joined the Eugene/Springfield chapter. Despite the time change, I am very much enjoying my interactions with that group. Here is the web site address:

I am also excited about joining some "Climate Circles," meetings that give people a chance to share their concerns about climate change. Here is the link,

All the best,



I made this recording of the Cat Steven's song, Father and Son, on my Yamaha P-515. This has always been my favorite of his songs. I love the melody and I love the lyrics!

These photos were all taken with my new Canon RF 100-500 lens. I am particularly pleased with these photos as the conditions were pretty tough. When I started photographing early in the morning, it was in the high 30's, with winds ranging from 10-15 mph. Chilly! 

I thought it would be fun and interesting to do a review of my first nine months in Japan. This is going to double as my email message that I will send to folks in my data base.


A special greeting to the North Eugene tennis players and their coaches as they embark on the spring season. I wish I could be there to cheer you on!

Another special greeting to the staff at Willamalane. I hope your tennis programs are going well!

A third greeting to current and retired staff at North Eugene High School. I miss all of you!

Lastly, to everyone else, I hope you are doing well! Please email me at with updates!

SETSUKO:       I once again need to thank Setsuko for giving me this opportunity. It has been a great experience! Setsuko's recovery from knee surgery is going well. She is hoping to be back on the tennis court in May. Yeah! It has been really cool to see how happy Setsuko has been living so close to her two daughters and two grandchildren. They are all doing well!

SCHOOL WORK:       I have continued to enjoy my half-time special education teacher assistant position at the American School. Not only have I loved the work, I have also appreciated the welcoming I have received at that school. I have been cycling with some of the teachers and I played the piano at an open mike event. 

CYCLING:      I have missed the more tranquil cycling from Lane County, but have loved my cycling opportunities here. My regular ride of 13 miles takes about an hour. The 20-30 mile Sunday rides take 2-3 hours. Excellent workouts!

FITNESS:     I have had more time for strength training and stretching. My body has appreciated that commitment! 

HEALTH:     Setsuko is a wonderful cook! Primarily for environmental reasons, I have been cutting back on my consumption of beef and dairy products. I have turned into a real fan of smoothies and have been making some very nutritious minestrone soup. There is yet still hope for my cooking potential!

FRIENDS:     As I have mentioned before, I did not have much time to put into friendships when living in Lane County. Since moving to Japan, that has changed, for the better. 

PHOTOGRAPHY:     This has been one of the biggest changes I have made. Generally speaking, when I lived in Lane County, I did one major 7-10 day photo session during the summer. Since moving to Japan, I have been doing photography at least once or twice a month, if not more. In terms of bird photography, my new lens is making a huge difference! It has been very gratifying to be able to share my photos on my blog. To say the least, the photo opportunities here have been amazing!

TRANSPORTATION:     I have loved not driving! I have loved being able to get around by foot, bike, bus, and train. What a joy!

MUSIC:     My change in this area has been the same as the change for photography. Now that I have increased my standards for my piano playing, I am practicing 3-6 times per week. In addition, I have re-started to play the guitar and sing. I use an informal finger picking style that makes for a nice accompaniment to my voice. 

ENVIRONMENTAL WORK:        This is another area of big change for me. Although I have been committed to recycling and other individual steps, I had not previously invested any time in being part of an organization. Since joining the Citizen's Climate Lobby, I have become much more involved in taking collective action. Every little bit counts!

THE CHALLENGES:      I certainly miss the people from Lane County! I miss the ease with which I could find things I needed and the ease of shopping. I miss the easy access to beautiful natural settings and I miss the lack of traffic and the lower population density. I miss the school teaching opportunities. I miss being surrounded by people who speak English! Because I am not willing to fly, for environmental reasons, I will miss a family wedding this September. Darn! I miss the opportunity to attend in-person meetings and other events in Lane County.

In short, it seems there are almost always pros and cons to the major choices we make. Despite the challenges listed above, I am happy with this choice I have made. I feel very fortunate to be in a financial position that affords me the opportunity to spend time doing what I love to do. Given the incredible gift of Zoom and texting and emails, I am still able to stay in touch with folks from Oregon and with my siblings and with others who share some common interest. 

I think I have shared that one of my "big" goals is to live to be 100 years old. So far, so good! I feel like I am doing the right things and living in the right place to make that happen. One day at a time!

All the best to you and your families!

I hope you have a wonderful spring season,






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