Yesterday morning (Sunday) I took my children to the Nishigaya Sports Centre in Shizuoka City, a few kilometres up the Abe River.

I always knew that Nishigaya has a big swimming pool but I didn’t know that there is also a great athletics track, plus tennis courts too.

My children joined some other young children next to the athletics track, who were with a running coach. They really enjoyed the 2 hour training session. In fact all around the track were children and adults training. Some were sprinting, others were practicing long-distance running. And there were even children practicing high jump and pole vault.

It was wonderful to see all these people enjoying their athletics.


Spring vacation

Most of you should now be having your spring vacation.

Are you studying? Are you doing a part-time job? Are you travelling anywhere in Japan or abroad? Are you  doing something else or are you just relaxing? Please let me know.

New book

I’ve written a book!

It’s not a long book. In fact it hasn’t got many words at all. But it’s full of beautiful colour pictures. It’s a children’s book. I didn’t draw the pictures, they were done by a talented university student.

The book was printed a few weeks ago (my friend is a printer), and there is also a CD with a narration of the words so children can practise saying them. I recorded the CD with my children and my friend’s son.

And I sold the first book today. Robert was kind enough to buy one.

The title of the book is ‘Puppy, puppy, puppy’. Here is a picture of the puppy.


Eagles and Hawks

In a recent article about ‘My favourite bird’ (which is a kingfisher) Tomohisa asked a very good question: what is the difference between an eagle and a hawk? My answer was ‘Not much’, which doesn’t look like a very good answer. So I did some research and I found that my original answer was not so bad.

Both eagles and birds belong to Class Birds.

Both eagles and hawks belong to the Order Falconiformes. What are falconiformes? Basically these are birds of prey, birds that hunt and eat animals. There are other birds which eat animals, for example seagulls, owls and penguins, but birds of prey have strong beaks, which are hooked at the end, they have feet with sharp, curved talons, they are strong flyers, they hunt during the day and they have extremely good eyesight.

There are five families in the Order Falconiformes, and both eagles and hawks belong to the Family Accipitridae. These birds include vultures, kites and harriers, as well as eagles and hawks. They are believed to have a common ancestor, they build nests from sticks, and the inside of their eggs is green.

So eagles and hawks are very similar. They belong to the same family, but they are different species.

Eagles are powerful gliders who live in wide open places like mountains and fields. They have large wings, and their tails are quite short, They have strong feet with short toes, which they use for killing.

Hawks are agile hunters who catch their prey with quick, surprise attacks in woods or near hedges. They have shorter wings with longer tails, and their feet and toes are slimmer. Most hawks have yellow, orange or red eyes.

I hope Tomohisa can now see that eagles and hawks are different, but only slightly. Do you think the bird below is an eagle or a hawk?