Monday, September 26, 2016

Branden’s 9th grade Sports Day! His final Undokai at the JHS...

Saturday, September 10th was Branden's final Sports Day at the local one and only Junior High School in our tiny town of under 5,000 people. It was a sunny day. The weather was hot, granted not "steam room" middle of summer, type of heat. But it was hot, but we luckily had nice and cool breezes throughout the day. We had a pretty good spot to sit and enjoy watching Branden's final undokai/sports day at this school! Branden running in his first race! He came in 3rd place!

And another event. 

Branden laughing with his friends...

Smiling!

This race was for the 8th graders. And they had to blow up a balloon with a bicycle pump and then sit on the balloon, pop it and then run to another event. It was like an obstacle course of sorts! We were all laughing!

Branden and Genki! Best friends since their yochien/kindergarten days. They will not be at the same school next year! So it's good they have this final year! : )


The Tug of War! Go red team! : ) 

They pulled and pulled and pulled!!!

And then the PTA members and the Father's Club Dad's challenged all 9th graders to a tug of war battle!

Branden really enjoyed his final sports day at the local JHS. 

Pull kids pull! : )

Smiling!!!


What a genuinely happy kid! : )

This was a "father and 9th grader" event. It was a 3 legged race while rolling a big giant ball across the field. There went team red! Branden and his dad (Noboru) and Bran's classmate and his dad. This was hilarious to watch.

Love this picture so much! Love these humans so much! : )
Time for lunch! Homemade karaage. Potato salad, macaroni salad. A regular salad. Rice balls. Grapes (seedless enormous Japanese grapes, so delicious!) Lemonade. You can see those frozen pouch drinks of Calpis, I always buy pouch drinks also for undokai, my kids like those. We also had chocolate cake (store bought, but so good) Sports day picnic meals... are usually really special and for the most part, everyone always goes all out, regarding their obento. So, I try my best too. Oh and those 2 unopened boxes of tissues were gifts for Noboru for running in races. : )

Eat kiddo! : )

Noah drinking some lemonade. And why yes...we recognize that shirt! That's the OshKosh shirt I got on sale at Costco. : )  

These grapes were seriously so ginormous, they were karaage size. These were freakishly big grapes. Hahaha. : ) But they were so delicious. : ) 
Between the regular salad, macaroni salad and potato salad, hmm, I ate more salad than karaage. : )  But I like to eat a little bit of everything. The kids were so stuffed after lunch. Noboru was too. Time to enjoy the last bit of the undokai. 
There was a chicken fight. There were pyramids. There was even a girls dance team. They also danced! Square dancing! I enjoyed this very much. The kids enjoyed this too. There was a final relay race and then that was it! We all packed up. And we parents left. The JHS kids all ride bikes to school on undokai day, because there are so many school tents and stuff to dismantle. So they were leaving about 45 minutes after undokai was over. Branden rode home with Genki and a good bunch of his friends who live near our house. : )

Noah and I meanwhile had a kakigori/shave ice before leaving the JHS. I picked green apple! Noah picked cola!
Branden came home. He quickly took a hot soapy shower as soon as he got home and parked his bike in the shed. After his shower we 4 drove to Jolly Pasta for dinner. Since it was Branden's undokai it was Bran's choice for dinner. We always go out to celebrate as a family after Sports Day. Branden loves Jolly Pasta. Our nearest one is an hour away! That's far, but then we do live way out in the inaka! But...with nobody having school or work the next day, we said...okay. When we arrived we were starving. 

We all had pasta, we had pizza, we had an all you can drink, "drink bar" just sodas, juice, iced tea and iced and hot coffee, etc. But it was a truly awesome way to end our day this way.

And because the red team won! Which because our school is so truly teeny tiny... all class A's were team red and all class B's were team white (7th, 8th and 9th). The 9th grade A class, which were team red decided on Friday...if they win, then they would go out to eat together on Sunday. So, since they won, the next day, on Sunday, all 9th grade red team/class A kids...all met in the "small city" nearest our town at a shabu shabu restaurant. It rained hard the day after Bran's undokai. So we all drove our kids to the shabu shabu restaurant. : ) All us town folks met up in the parking lot, in the city nearest us... dropping off our kids. And they did have a reservation. Us parents made sure of that. : ) And then we all picked them up, when it was time to pick them up. So all in all, it was a fantastic way to end Branden's final Sports Day at the JHS. : )  

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The undokai spot has been saved and a little update on that...

Our spot has already been saved! Would you believe I was first in line? @_@ Like seriously...not sure how that happened. But...shoot...I'll take it! : )

I woke up at 7am. Went and started the hot water pot for coffee downstairs. Then went back upstairs, washed my face with some Basis face cleanser and a hot wash rag. Washed my face all nice and good then put on some Olay face moisturizer. Brushed my teeth. Listerine-ed myself. Put on some foundation, concealer and face powder. Did my eyebrows with eyebrow mascara and was done. I basically just evened out the face and strengthened my brow game a bit! : ) And that's it. I got dressed. Slapped on a pair of cute patchy denim pants and a top. The fam-bam sort of knew today we were sort of on...stand-by regarding when to save our spot.

With knowledge how some folks have leisure sheets like 100 tsubos type big. Like seriously as big as houses. Meanwhile some other folks save spots for like tons of their friends. We all know this. It's the only complaint I would say I have about my town. If...everyone just considered each other....instead of thinking...only of themselves... and every one just took 1 spot. Then there would be no need to worry or race for a spot. But since some folks get a tad greedy. It's best to just...get your spot saved. And then not have to deal with the headache after wards. Live and learn. And after all these years. I know..best to get my spot. And be done with it. It is... what it is. And ya can't change people..no matter how you wish you could.

So...we 4 this morning were by now all dressed all ready and downstairs in the kitchen. I made the kids and Noboru a breakfast sandwich. A really good one. Skillet slice of ham, that good ham from Costco. That bakery bread toasted and buttered... a slice of American cheese and an over medium egg. These sandwiches are so delicious. All 3 were eating and just finishing. I was about to start cooking mine. But I was enjoying sipping my coffee and enjoying watching the kids and husband eat theirs. When our email which was open...because duh...we're waiting on that school email. The email notification ding donged. And we checked and it said...the field will be open from 10:30am to save a spot. @_@ It's 9:30am. I did not eat my breakfast. But frankly...I don't even care. I am an adult and I can most certainly wait until AFTER we set up our spot. So...we 4 pile into our mini mini van. The stuffs already packed inside since yesterday and Noboru took off and we were on our way to the school. We know...we *know* the entire rest of students and their parents...whole population also just got the same exact email. Our housing community is a bit away from the school. So...we drove. We were debating...should we go in this way or that way (which way to park the car). The way Noboru did it was BEST. He parked in a good spot. I jumped out of the car first with leisure sheet in hand, the kids grabbed the stuff after wards. I was honestly fully expecting to see 20 folks in line ahead of us. Was totally shocked to see...I was first? Me? Little ol' me? This is a first! About 2 minutes after we were there. Came a kid from Noah's class. And a mom friend of mine. And then another mom friend. And then a lady...that looks familiar but I don't know her. And then more people trickled in. And the line got super long. Noboru parked the car and walked up quite fast. So we like 4 mom's were chatting. They talked to Noboru too. And then a Father's Club dad arrived and Noboru and him talked. The teachers said they might need the Father's Club dad's to come help tomorrow at 6am. Since the grounds will be wet...since it's been raining here off and on all day today.

We went and saved our spot. 1 leisure sheet spot and 1 spot for our tent A very conservative spot size. The family to the left of us...have a leisure sheet that seems the size of a house, but again you can't change folks and so there is no sense in worrying about something you can't fix or change. Noboru mentioned it to me. He said..."gawd do they really need a spot THAT big?" I just said...that's why we just save a spot big enough for us. And hey..if the whole town or school wants to get mad at them...they deserve it...but..that's between that family and the town and school. Not us. We're out of it. @_@

Genki (Bran's best friend since yochien) apparently told Bran he'd like to go to Noah's undokai. Branden apparently then extended an invitation saying...if you'd like to come...you can sit in our spot, and have lunch with us. Branden mentioned that to me yesterday and asked if that's okay. I said. Of course it's okay...Genki's like family. And he can have lunch and drink lemonade and have cake and have whatever we have. He's more than welcome. So...not sure if he'll come for sure 100% or not. But he might. : ) There's not too much to do in a small rural Japan town like ours...so an undokai is a very exciting event. Hahaha. So yep..he may just come and visit tomorrow. : )

Anyways...oh what else. Yes! I went and bought a new potato salad and a new macaroni salad so we can take a fresh one tomorrow. And we'll eat the one we were originally going to have today that I bought yesterday. Since we're having ebi (means shrimp in Japanese) fry for supper tonight, like I said...and we can enjoy the mac salad and potato salad as a side dish for tonight's supper. I also bought fresh cake today for tomorrows undokai dessert too. So the silver lining is...we will just get dessert twice now. Tonight and tomorrow. : ) How funny. : )

Anyways, I am in my comfy clothes. And as soon as I post this, I am going to run upstairs and wash my face. Watch some TV. And just chill for tonight.

Oh, I did watch the first episode of that new show with Kristen Bell, called "The Good Place." This show is so funny! I really enjoyed that show a lot. I also caught the new season of American Horror Story. This season looks really good! And last night I watched, The Blacklist. Holy cow...that episode had me on the edge of my seat! Tonight the series premier of the Exorcist TV show comes on the Fox channel. I will be watching that tonight. Hope it's good. : )

Friday, September 23, 2016

Postponed until Sunday...

Just picked up both the kids. And just got another email from Noah's school. They have decided. Sports Day will be postponed until Sunday September 25th. Cool, very cool! Now a total rest and relaxation night here. No early morning wake up tomorrow. We were going to go out to a restaurant tomorrow night. But we'll just go Sunday instead, no worries at all. : ) And I'll make ebi fry (fried prawns/jumbo shrimp) tomorrow night for supper instead of making it on Sunday! So sounds like a good idea to me. : )

The rotisserie chicken is in the oven as I type. And I'm about to run upstairs. Wash my face. And put on some comfy clothes. Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend! : )

Update on the undokai for tomorrow, as of right now...

Tomorrow is supposed to be Noah's undokai, as ya'll know. However you also know from yesterdays post that it has been raining super hard here. Like raining cats and dogs times 2. Like pouring severely.. pouring mass amounts of rain. Like...is this a typhoon? No it isn't...but honestly we've had more rain today and yesterday than when the typhoon came last week. @_@  Like..will folks have landslides...types of rain. So raining heavy is an understatement.

I woke up this morning. Packed 2 lunches. Sent 2 kids to school by car because well..rain. Duh. : ) And our town doesn't have a "walk only" rule, like some parts of Japan do.

So it has rained all day long here. I checked my email. Emails from 3 of my girl friends...my cousin, my dad. And zip from Noah's school. They send out mass emails giving us news and updates. So, I figured undokai was still on.  And went about my day. I chopped the chicken for karaage, this morning. I ran and picked up a container of macaroni salad. A container of potato salad. Some lettuce and tomatoes for a regular salad. Some extra lettuce for the rotisserie chicken sandwiches we're going to enjoy tonight, since my plan is to set up our spot on the school grounds. What else did I get this morning. That's right...two 2 liters of water for lemonade. Picked up some fresh seedless American grapes. Also wanted some watermelon but the watermelon said...not sweet. They have a scale of sweetness on the package on the watermelons and frankly today's watermelon didn't look good...didn't want to buy it...if it's not sweet. So just the grapes. Also made sure to pick up a spare tin foil and plastic wrap for...packing the lunch...lining the lunch with. Or wrapping rice balls with. I ran to 2 stores today in the pouring rain. And each stop, I would check my emails. Hoping an email would come from the shogakko/elementary school. And nope nothing.

I figure...gee this school must be super die hard sports day fanatics! LOL. Like rain or shine...they'll have it no matter what types. Because no email. As I am now driving back to my tiny town...still no email notification. I am listening to some music. Twenty One Pilots...song called Ride. And as I pulled into my parking space...I hear...ding!!! @_@ By now I am thinking...nah it won't be from the school. I waited all day long. I check and sure enough...it's from the school. I quickly grab my bags and enter the house.

I open my computer here at home...only because I can cut and paste my email from the shogakko and throw it into the google translate. I don't want to get anything misinterpreted. So I do that. And it says this...

We still haven't decided if the undokai will happen or not tomorrow. Because the weather can change all of a sudden. So we will make our final decision tomorrow at 6am. However...for those of you wishing to save a spot tonight at 5pm...the grounds are soaking wet so please...REFRAIN. Yes it said refrain into my translator. So...the gist is this...

They haven't decided if the undokai is happening tomorrow or not. However...don't go down there today and save a spot. Unless you want everyone to think you're completely insane. LOL. : )  So...I know this...and no I won't. : ) I will not make a dork of myself and go with leisure sheet. I also asked Noboru to read said email and he said it says that too. So...will Noah have undokai tomorrow or not? Errr...honestly? I'm not sure. My weather forecast says our town is 90% likely tomorrow for rain. And only 40% for Sunday. @_@

What I do know is this. The karaage is cut sliced and marinating in a ziplock. In the fridge. It will last until Sunday night. I wouldn't use the chicken after Sunday. So...I hope the undokai happens tomorrow or Sunday at least. Everything is bought. And ready pretty much. I will have a very chill night now with the kids. Noah gets out at 3:30pm today. Bran at 4pm. So...Noah and I can Eiken practice... in the car for 30 minutes until Bran gets out of school and then we 3 will head home and rest and chill for the night. We will be having delicious rotisserie chicken sandwiches tonight I bought lettuce, a fresh tomato, we can have 2 big sandwiches each if we want. I also bought the bread from my fave bakery so the sandwiches are going to be amazing tonight. I will also be throwing the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes to recrisp the skin, heat up the chicken and stuff. I also bought some chips to go with our sammiches. : )

Hmm, undokai tomorrow or no undokai tomorrow? I really don't mind either way. Though...honestly I'd like to just get it over with, if we could. It's just the whole...not knowing. The whole unknown. The whole anticipation and wait for that email at 6am tomorrow. But oh well...nothing we can do. What will happen...will happen regardless...so no sense in spinning our wheels about it... all night long. You know what I mean. I'm just gonna enjoy my evening with the kids. And watch some good TV.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Throwback Thursday, Sports Day 2008...

Branden's elementary school field day/sports day (undokai) 2008. I make our obento/picnic lunch every time the boys have an undokai. Just doing my part! To help fuel my kiddos on their big day! : )  Here was our obento for Branden's sports day from that year! I made delicious croissant sandwiches, I really go all out with my sandwiches. : ) I made karaage (fried chicken nuggets a staple inside an undokai obento), we had a little fruit platter. We had potato salad and macaroni salad (store bought, it just honestly makes food prep easier that way, on such a hectic morning) meatballs and tamagoyaki (these are store bought too, mom's if buying store bought mac salad or potato salad isn't something you wouldn't mind doing...please sincerely go for it..it honestly just makes the undokai morning run smoother that way) Mom's in general do *so* much, please try to take care of yourself and not over do it too much. : ) Other times of the year I make mac salad and potato salad from scratch but not on sports day. Frankly I am so occupied with that chicken...frying in batches, making the sandwiches plus packing things up. I made sure to pack lots of drinks and snacks for toddler Noah at that time. 

I also made a regular salad. Noboru loves salad so I always bring a regular salad too. I always wake up at 5am the day of undokai and start making and packing our lunch, while the chicken is frying up fresh that morning. And I always have the chicken cut and marinating from the day before. 

Branden drinking some tea. He was sure thristy! And hungry. : ) 

I was so happy I could fill up Branden during our 50 minute lunch break. And then all the younger grade kids got changed into their dance outfits. Which is what Branden was changed into. Proud of you kiddo! Childhood is *so* fleeting! Have fun! : )

And what was our newly minted 3 year old doing? Noah was such a little champ! It was freakishly melting hot that year for Bran's undokai (this was the hottest year out of all the sports days we have ever been to). We didn't get our...buy our... big undokai tent until the next year. Was it the following year? I think so. : ) We were melting hot, not even a nice cool breeze, nothing that year...just steamy heat. We had only bare minimum sun protection from that tiny beach umbrella. It was doing basically "jack diddly"... with regard to sun protection. We had been sitting outside from 7am to 4pm. @_@ We were melting outside. Noah didn't whine..nor fuss, such a sweet gentle child always has been...even now he's so chill. He sat quietly and drank some iced cold water in his Diego cup. I refilled him often. Poor kid was so hot and dehydrated. So were we! But we stood and we cheered so loudly for BrannyMcB! Granted...running has *never* been BrannyMcB's strong point...we all know that! : ) However...no matter...we cheer for him no matter what... regardless! Noah clapped his little heart out for his big brother! Of course Noah thinks Branden is the coolest thing about... the whole undokai. Hahaha. : ) If you have more than 1 kid...then you'll understand how much the older one is idolized over... by the younger ones! : ) 

At one point, I could see Noah was just melting to death. Even in this picture he looks so hot. Poor baby. : )  And while watching the undokai/sports day of 1 child...I do have to make sure the other child is okay too. So, I walked Noah to the shave ice/kakigori stand on school grounds...during another grades race. And I bought Noah a lemon shave ice. It really cooled my toddler down. And I felt relieved especially since he was such a young kiddo. So...the lemon shave ice saved the day. Noah cooled down and lucky for us, the undokai was over with and done. Phew! We all did it! We survived. That was a record breaking day...such a hot day for a sports day. : ) 

And of course...gotta always be fair. If Noah had a shave ice. Branden had to get one too. Branden picked the blue Hawaii flavor. And we went home and unpacked all our stuff. UV beach umbrella, leisure sheet. Table, cooler. Put the obento containers in the dishwasher. Honestly? We were so flat out exhausted all 4 of us. Hey...the heat and sun can really beat a person down. We said..let's eat out. I certainly didn't feel like cooking after cooking all morning (our lunch) and then roasting outside all day long. Noboru didn't either. And we sort of made it our little ritual that year...this is the year we started it! We either go out to a restaurant after undokai or pick up a pizza or...anything...doesn't matter, as long as neither of us have to cook that night and you all know I cook 99% of the time. But we don't cook the night of undokai. Because honestly we're all pooped/exhausted. : )

This year from the TBT 2008...we went out for pizza. And LOL! The kids were so teeny tiny that 1 pizza was enough for all 4 of us! That makes me laugh! Because that is so... NOT the case now days! : ) Now they're so big...we'd need 2 pizzas and the baked fries to fill up the kids and husband now days. Awww how funny! Anyways that's the TBT for this week. : )

This Saturday is Noah's undokai. I think he asked to go to yakiniku afterwards. Branden picked Jolly Pasta when he had his undokai 2 weeks ago. : ) 


Anyway...today is like I said earlier in the week, a holiday and day off school for the kids. Today is a holiday here in Japan called... Shubun no Hi. Which basically means...Autumn Equinox Day. In a nutshell... today is the first official day of Fall for us in Japan! : ) For our area of Japan it rained like the dickens... all morning. Like crazy extreme amounts of rain today. It's heavy rain even now. I had a plan all week that today we would hit Costco first thing in the morning. Why? Because Noah's undokai is this Saturday. So, I wanted to get chicken breasts for my karaage. And a few other odds and ends too. But knowing in advance it was a holiday. And knowing how crowded it would be, we were at Costco this morning, the kids and I by 9:05am we were already there and parked. They rolled their gate/door open at 9:15am and we went in grabbed our huge Costco cart. Grabbed whatever we needed. What was on my list. 2 packs of chicken (so 16 chicken breasts), mozzarella cheese, 2 packs of pasta sauce (so 6 jars of pasta sauce)...that delicious handmade pasta.  A huge bag of mozzarella cheese sticks. A rotisserie chicken for tomorrow nights supper... because tomorrow I have to go and save a spot for Noah's undokai. At 5pm, plus prep the karaage tomorrow in the day time, go and pick up my mac salad and potato salad tomorrow morning and do any last minute things undokai-wise before Saturday that need doing. So, by the time we get home...we will make something yummy out of that rotisserie chicken for dinner tomorrow. Maybe sandwiches? Really good ones. Or something... I'll think of something. Tonight we're having leftover curry...so tonight is curry spaghetti night. That's how we always use curry on our second/leftover night. So curry spaghetti and salads for us tonight. A fairly easy supper and really good too. Here's hoping...I get a good spot tomorrow and that I can get everything set up okay. And that Noah has a lovely sports day on Saturday. : ) 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Mirror mirror on the wall, who was the sharpest looking scarecrow of them all? Suppaiderman!!!

Remember back in July when all the town 5th graders made scarecrows? Well they have been hanging in the rice fields ever since. And before the big typhoon all the town heads went down and decided which was the winner! Although, I thought they all looked pretty fantastic! The officials decided that the funniest, cutest and clearly most clever of them all was...Suppai-derman!!! LOL. Yep, Noah's team won! And I love that my son and his team thought *so* out of the box on that one! It was totally the most original idea...anyone and myself included had ever heard of! Congratulations to Noah and his fellow teammates. The creators of team Suppaiderman! LOL. Remember suppai means..."sour" in Japanese. And in the hot steamy Japanese summer...some iced cold lemonade or lemon shave ice/kakigori would be perfect! And us parents of team Suppaiderman also helped. In fact remember my hands turned black with all that newspaper rolling...to help stuff up Suppaiderman. : )
All kids on team Suppaiderman brought home these goodies. A bag of lemon jelly. Which is perfect considering they created...Suppaiderman, LOL! And just some other little treats too. Noah threw the lemon jellies in the freezer and he split them with Branden. : )  Anyway...just thought you all would like to know...Suppaiderman won the scarecrow contest! Hahaha. Isn't that cute! : )