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Friday, 30 August 2013

Kamagaya Fire service

There is a small park near our house. Last month, I had to chance to see the firefighters trim the grass over the emergency wells.
Ian with a pumper truck

Firefighters cutting the grass over the emergency wells.

A utility truck where the firefighters would chuck their weed whackers and brush cutters.

Big Hop Mall, Inzai, Chiba-prefecture, Japan

This is a garden style mall, with many outlet shops. Most of my Eddie Bauer clothes I buy here.
This is some of the new remodeling at  Big Hop Mall. This fountain was nice on a hot summer day. I then was told the sign told you not to do what we did.

Leena decided to climb on the new jungle gym outside the Wild One Outdoor shop.

Ian and Leena finally got a chance to be in a tumbler.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Arakawa World School Camp, August 24-28, 2013

WOW, I had a pretty busy but good week!
I had to finish up the Matsudo city Junior High school English Speech contest, then I had to do a special work assignment.

Back in June, we had an invitation to volunteer for this camp, which is put on by Arakawa-ku Board of Education. It's a massive program involving 20 Assistant English Teachers (the native English speaking ones,) 12 Japanese education student teachers, 10 Japanese teachers and about 140 Grade 6 students from all over Arakawa-ku's elementary schools. The event took place at Arakawa-ku's Summer education camp in Kiyosato, Yamanashi-ken, a 3 hour bus ride from Tokyo. The place was GREAT! The accommodations were similar to a YMCA conference centre. The food was superb and our students were top notch, as were the men and women to work with.

The pictures I took are of the teachers and some scenery.

Viren from California and I. This was taken in the Teacher's lounge which had a soft drink and beer vending machine! Each night, after we had our meetings, we'd go here to relax and have snacks which were provided. Usually they had hot dogs or sandwiches, or instant soup. There was coffee in the mornings.

Chris from Colorado, and Martin from Michigan

There is an interesting story involving this shot, but I leave that one for Martin to tell. It involves his teenage years. Viren, Chris, Martin and I all shared the room. The accommodations provided Japanese futons, Japanese style chairs and a table.

Jessica from Philadelphia, incidentally a fellow wargammer, and Matt from Belfast, Northern Ireland. We were coming back on the bus on August 28. We went up on the same bus and came back on it.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

My buddy Tony

Tony and I are both from Nova Scotia and have been teaching in Asia since 1997.

Tony came to stay with us for 2 weeks. We went out to our favorite Indian restaurant, went to Costco twice. It was too hot for a bbq, but we did grill steaks.

On August 13, we sent him back to China, these are the shots from Chiba-New-Town station on the Hokuso-Kodan line, which also is a part of the Narita Sky Access Line.

See you Tony

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Battle of Paoli 1777

This was a night attack on an American camp by the British.
(photo courtsey of Kerry DeLorey)

(photo courtsey of Kerry Delorey)

Battle of Germantown October 4, 1777

This battle was an attempt by Washington to get back at the British for Brandywine.
(photo courtsey of King's Orange Rangers)
The American forces consisted of Wayne's Brigade, Weeden's Brigade, Muhlenburg's Brigade, Maxwell's Light Infantry, Bland's 1st Dragoons, Stephen's Division, Stirling's Division, Militia of New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  
The Crown forces were made up of:
Composite Grenadiers, Composite Light Infantry, Composite Guards, 5th, 25th, 27th, 40th and 55th.
(photo courtsey of King's Orange Rangers)
(photo courtsey of New France/Old England site)

(photo courtsey of artist)
(photo courtsey of artist)
(photos courtsey of the Jersey Militia, UK)
The battle refought August 15, 2013. The battle started off with the Americans charging at the Chew House.

 The American right wing
made up of militia hit the British Grenadier battalion
on their left and badly maulded them.
The British right wing continued to press the American left.
A final cavalry charge sent them packing while the British centre pressed the American right. The Grenadiers were destroyed, and the Pennsylvannia militia were able to break into Germantown. The Chew house was badly smashed up by the American artillery which cleared out the last of the 40th and Light Infantry. Unfortunately, neither side was able to press home their advantages. Like it's historic counterpart, the battle ended in a draw.
Stirling's Division

4th Battalion, Royal Artillery

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Battle of Brandywine Creek, September 11, 1777

This is a battle I have been waiting to play all summer. This was one of the major battles the British campaigned for during the pivotal year of 1777.

For this battle, we are using Ian's new fort to simulate the fortificaitons Sullivan's troops held on the American right.

King's Forces:

Right Wing:

16th Light Dragoons
Royal Artillery 2 guns

Guards and Grenadier Brigades

Light Infantry Brigade

3rd Brigade:
15th 17th 42nd 44th with one RA gun

4th Brigade:
33rd, 37th ,46th, 64th with one RA gun

Left Wing:

Queen's Rangers
71st Regiment (3 battalions)

1st Brigade:
4th, 23rd, 28th, 49th with one RA gun

The American forces consisted of:

Chad's Ford redoubt: 4th Continental Artillery: 6 Guns. These were to be deployed in the redoubt but Ian deployed them outside except for one in the earthworks.

(sorry for the blurry shot on the American horse)
North Carolina Brigade: 9 Regiments.Connecuticut Brigade: 4 Regiments.Pennsylvania Brigade: 2 militia brigades.Virginia Brigade: 2 brigades of 6 regiments.Wayne's Division; 2 brigades of 9 regiments from Pennsylvania As I didn't have enough figures, I was unable to field Sullivan's troops.
(However, as of September 24, 2013, I now have sufficient figures and will refight this battle again this fall)

The battle opened with Ian taking the American Army. He then has massed his artillery into a grand battery and began to blast apart my British troops. Slowly, they advanced while the Royal Artillery searched out and destroyed each gun.
The 16th Light Dragoons attempted a frontal charge on a militia brigade but amazingly, the brigade held and then proceeded to shoot down most of the troopers. The Queen's Rangers did a much better job by charging up with drawn pistols and blasting into the militia's ranks. At that, they then began to run. The 71st then made a wild charge at the remaining American guns killing many of the crews. The Highlanders were supported by Loyalist Highlanders but were pushed back by an American regiment. Ian plugged the gap in his line with regular infantry. However, once the British line advanced into firing range, the volleys cut down the Americans.

Despite still holding the high ground with defences, the Americans decided to withdrawl. However, since the British lost half of their cavalry force, they were unable to pursuit. The American horse covered the retreat. So once again, a victory for myself, but still not an absolute victory.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Curry in Japan

One of the most intersting foods one can find in Japan is Curry!
Curry has an interesting history in this country. It was adapted by the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Meiji Era (1868-1912) as a food which could be made aboard ship to keep the ship's crew healthy.
Curry was adopted from the influence of the Royal Navy. Friday was the day curry rice was served in the IJN. After the formation of the Maritime Self Defense Forces, Friday once again became, curry day.

Curry in Japan comes from 3 main sources:
Japanese curry, usually curry powder mixed with Apple sauce. These are sold in supermarkets. It's a block of curry powder, spices, apple pulp. Many households will stir fry pork or chicken then add onions, carrots and potatoes. The curry mix, known as roux is then added with water, brought to a boil, then served over white rice. As well, curry rice is a very popular food in school lunches. It is also served as curry udon, or put in dumpling and deep fried. There are also boil in the bag versions which can be used on camping, work lunches or emergency foods during diasters.

Indian curry from the many Indian/Nepalese restaurants. These have become nearly ubiquisous throughout the country. I cook either Sharwoods, Pataks or Asian Home gourmet spice pastes.
This one on the stove was a Patak's Very Hot Curry paste.
Thai curry. These are typically spicy combining spices from South-East Asia, with shrimp paste, as well as coconut milk.