Monday, September 01, 2014

Yakiniku restaurant...

August, 29th, Friday...same day we went to Costco that morning for pancakes and also back to school food stuff. : ) Also the same day, both Branden and Noah went and got their haircut for school starting this coming Monday/today. And same day they were Ripstiking (boarding) on our street in front of our house. : ) We had wanted to go out to dinner someplace special and fun...sort of a .."good bye/farewell to Summer dinner"...and that's exactly what we did. Noboru would be working Saturday and Sunday...so Friday evening was our last chance for our... "good bye to summer dinner." : ) We were debating all 4 of us...Capricciosa or yakiniku. Up until that morning, we were dead set on the Italian...but by the time dinner rolled around...the vote had been changed and the 3 of them wanted yakiniku and heck...I really don't mind which place...as long as we could enjoy it together, the 4 of us. So yakiniku it was. As usual we went to our favorite place, not in our town or city nearest us at all...it's quite a drive, other side of Narita actually and a chain restaurant but...we get tons of coupons for free fries...free drink bar...200 yen off rosu (the lean meat the kids and I love)...just all sorts of fantastic deals. I think by the time we walked out of the restaurant...it was $55 US/ 5500 yen. So not cheap...but a very fair price considering how much rosu/lean meat the boys ate...the large rice for everyone. Free fries. Free drink bar for everyone, plus at the end Noboru ordered a cold soup with apple or pear in it. : ) So everyone was stuffed to the gills by the time we left...so the amount we received.. considering the cost...super fair. 

We 3 (Branden, Noah and I) each got our own platter of rosu/lean beef. Noboru got a fattier...or juicer as he'd say...meat of his choosing, his fave cut of meat. : ) Noboru even ordered an additional amount of rosu for Branden, again since he's growing and needs more food now. : ) 

Noah with an ice cube in his mouth. This place has that really great crushed ice... type a cubes. : ) 

Marinated meat grilling and the coals are so hot below. 

Noah had 1 chopstick set for cooking his meat and 1 set for eating his meal with. They also shared a set of tongs on their side of the table and Noboru and I had our own set for our side of the table too. 

Not sure if you can see the pineapple yogurt with 2 pineapple pieces on top, in the little white ramikens/dishes. This is so good too. Kimchi in the background too. 

It was honestly such a wonderful meal and time together...we asked them. "Are you ready to go back to school?" Both of them said..."no!" Hahaha. I said..."I hear you! I'm not ready for waking up so early in the mornings myself. But...I am so proud of you guys. And I really hope you both enjoyed your summer." Next thing you know...we started talking about our crazy and fun summer. I said..can you believe all the meetings I had since May...like every weekend practically. Noboru said..how did you guys like the "haunted elementary school this year?" We 3 said..."we loved it!!!" "OMG...remember being bumped in Haneda." The good part is...that NOW we can laugh about it..but at the time? Yeah...we weren't laughing. Wasn't Hawaii fantastic? Yes it was! And the shrimp and Target...and our room that played music. They teased me for playing the music...that angel bird noise, while we slept. lol. To be fair though...I said...it was just so peaceful. We talked about card tricks. And The New Planet of the Apes movie, we saw...we told Noboru about the movie we saw in Guam...Guardians of the Galaxy. The amazing Italian we ate while in Guam. Our potato garden this year and zucchini. How June was quite cool weather wise. July was scorching hot and August has been cool all over again. We talked about the 3 upcoming undokais/sports day. 3 of them!!!! Branden's, Noah's and the town undokai. @.@ lol. We basically ate and talked and we were there for close to almost 2 hours. Eating...talking, drink bar..eating some more, drink bar and eating again. Talking some more...a few laughs here and there. Yeah....just enjoying ourselves a whole lot. And having a real good time. : )

My cooked marinated meat, marinating yet again...the after it's cooked..soak again. lol. : ) 

Both the boys like well done meat, same as I do. So Branden was checking...is there any pink tinges or signs of uncooked-ness. lol. Noah does the exact same, so do I. : )

A wonderful family dinner... to sort of... say good bye to our summer 2014! : )

What's on the horizon next? Branden's undokai is this weekend! September 6th. And this is a really good and positive thing, because... you know how they usually practice your child for a full month, before the undokai. Well at our local JHS, undokai practice started today, but a week from now, actual sports day will be over with! So...very nice to get it over with and out of the way. We know...Branden is a wicked swimmer, but he hates running, we know this and that's fine. So...I have already told him..."honey, just enjoy yourself, please no pressure...just get through it and most importantly have fun." Noboru, Noah and I will be there to cheer Branden on... be there and support him. I have asked during one of my yakuin meetings a month or two ago..do us JHS parents even show up to the undokai? I mean I don't want to do something uncool and embarrass him. 1 mom, who has a 8th grade daughter right now said..."yes all parents attend"...so we will attend. So less than a week of undokai practice...nice for Branden.  September 6th.

Noah's undokai is at the end of this month.

The town undokai is in October, it is an undokai that was created for the elderly of our town, powers that be, felt the seniors were left out. And perhaps wanted a sporting event to look forward to. And while I do "get that" I do understand that. However...to be fair us younger folks, with kids in elementary school and JHS, are honestly sports day-ed out! We have made obento twice already, by the time "town undokai" rolls around. We're over it. Yet...they force all kids to attend, otherwise, they will be marked as absent. Therefore...making us adults attend to...to watch our kids. Last year we were block leaders and housing community reps so we had to serve obento to all who lived in our housing community for this "town undokai" ...we wish they'd just "do away" with this event all together. However if it rains the day of...it's canceled. No postpone day exists for "town undokai" day. I think 3 times so far during our 7 years at school in our town, it has been canceled. So we will see what the weather has in store for us, "town undokai day"

Our family of 4, will be going to one of the Disney's (Disney Sea or Disneyland) in October for some Halloween cheer. Also staying a night at the hotel near Disney as well. Have a little Kua Aina Burger and stuff. Hotel room has been booked forever and it's just something we will be looking forward to. The room is 100% for free for us, because of Noboru's work and the free hotel stays we get yearly. So, yep, something we're just keeping on the down low for now..but it is something that we are really looking forward to. : ) 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Random pics from Summer 2014...

This is sort of a catch up, or a... what have we been up to basically, you know... after Hawaii, between going to Guam and even after Guam. I have 1 more post after this of the same type/along the same lines, but different stuff. : )  Back to the picture....Card tricks, while waiting for our lunch at Coco Ichiban curry. Noah's been really into card tricks this summer and therefore, started Noboru sharing 1 or 2 he knows. Here they were trying to show Branden and I some card tricks while waiting on our meal. : ) Also the fries are 100 yen here and the 4 of us shared these fries while waiting on our lunch. : ) These curry lunch pics were after the Hawaii summer vacation, but before the kids and I went to Guam.

Noah put his cards away and we 4 all enjoyed our lunch. The kids and I enjoyed out chicken tenderloin cutlet curry, Noboru had croquette curry. : )

Branden has had 2 hair cuts since this picture. : ) The haircut Bran got, at my salon I go to in Guam and the cut he gets at a great place he and Noah and Noboru usually go to, together in Japan.  His last haircut, was just a few days ago. I always make sure they get a fresh haircut right before school starts. : )

Noah enjoying his lunch that day. He also just got a haircut a few days ago too. : )

I very rarely watch Japanese TV shows or Japanese movies. However, I watched this Japanese movie on the way back from Guam to Japan, August 11th. The English title is...Bolt From the Blue. The description is easy to read from the picture. I really really loved this movie, it made me cry, during the flight, of course a few other people sitting near me, were crying too. You know...Back to the Future, with Michael J Fox. How he went back in time and met his parents. Semi sorta along those lines. He's a magician, a really unsuccessful one. The magician is pictured at the top of the trio pics in this picture. He got a phone call that his dad had died and the city cremated him. Anyway, he started talking how his mother, he never knew, she just took off after he was born...how his father was never around and a cleaner at Love Hotels. Anyway next thing you know...he wakes up and it's the 70's or whenever. He gets a job as a magician. Meets his mother, she is his magician assistant, she is pregnant with him (the guy who went back into time)...long story short. Problems in her pregnancy, they tell her if she delivers the baby she will die. The magician tells them...abort the baby... he will be a loser in life anyway! His father (also a magician) smacks him up...how could you say that, you idiot!!! It's their son (but they don't know he's their adult son). Anyway..she loves that baby so much...that she is willing to give birth and die for him. The parents never know he is their son. But as she is a day or 2 to deliver...the magician (son) comes to visit her...and she says...you tell good stories... tell me stories of my future son...and the real son says...one day the son FINALLY gets Valentine's chocolate and he's so excited and he saves it in the fridge and 3 days later the son opens the fridge to enjoy his chocolate and the dad ate it! She laughs in the hospital bed and says...that sounds like him!!! Meanwhile...the father tells the magician...I will lie to my son and say..his mom left us. The magician asked WHY??? He said...to spare my son of the pain to walk around feeling guilty for his mom not being there, thinking it's his fault. There were many tear jerker moments. And it had English subtitles. It was just a really great movie and I'm really glad I saw it. 

My meal, while I was watching the movie about the magician. This picture is horrible, I know...I took it with my camera phone versus my camera. This is a curry chicken breast and mashed potatoes and bok choy, I love curry chicken breast and mashed potatoes and I love bok choy. : ) I had my salad and my dinner roll and gave my tart to the boys to share. : ) Oh and my drink was cranberry apple juice. : ) 

After Guam...one day while out running errands with the boys, I said let's stop and get some ice cream...so we got some mint cookies and cream Mc Flurries. They really hit the spot for all of us, that day! : )
It's been 1 year since we got a close (to us) Costco. My thoughts? It has totally changed my life for the better. Just having it close-ish/near-by-ish. Helps me, more than you could ever know. Before last year...we'd get to Costco Makuhari 3 times a year. With toll roads. This new Costco, no toll roads and really super easy for me to get to. I can pick up a pizza for an easy meal or a rotisserie chicken. Find seasonal stuff like Christmas or Halloween...turkeys and spiral sliced ham. Cheese used to be harder than heck to find or buy. Now it's super easy. This has been the best and nicest year with a Costco so handy. I will never take it for granted. I love it. : )  We have been to Costco so many times this Summer break. This particular picture, the kids and I went in the morning to pick up something real quick and we had a quick and cheap lunch before heading home. : ) Drinks are just 60 yen, free refills. Lunch is super cheap there. 
What else...every nice and sunny day after laundry is dried outside and brought inside, I always throw someone's comforter outside. 2 full hours on one side and after being whacked with the futon stick, then I flip it over and 2 more hours or an hour at least, per side. However this past week... it's been very gray and cloudy...so no blanket hanging this week. : ( Just wash and tumble dryer this past week. 

When the boys are home, they help me out with cleaning SO much! They are the greatest helpers! This day, Branden and I pushed the fridge way way back and out of it's spot. 

It needed a good cleaning alrighty, however we do clean back here two to three 3 times a year. I am sure...Martha Stewart cleans the back of hers daily. : ) But for me, it's heavy....and I do move and clean back there around 3 times a year, like I said. But I do sweep and vacuum daily just not behind the fridge. : ) It did however get it...in summer of 2014. 

I buy this generic/store brand cream cleanser for 98 yen or however much. After sweeping back there first. Squirted some on the floor and on a rag and scrubbed like crazy.

Made sure... no dust was on the back of the fridge. 

Cords were all dust free, all clean and dried back there and then we pushed and pushed it back into place. That fridge is heavy!

My food pantry needed a thorough huge overhaul. The 3 of us, went checking dates on everything, I said everything expired.. put it on the step stool! : ) Noah and Branden and myself went through the pantry. Checking dates. 

Sorry, but ya'll are long gone and history! I do however have a fresh poultry gravy in the fridge and a new container of chili mix/powder. This was all tossed though. 

This may or may not look like a mess. I'll explain. And I do have higher shelves too. The shelf with the giant Skippy on it, is basically for baking. Chocolate chips, frosting, sprinkles, jam, baking mixes and we also have a few packs of cookies, same shelf. Below that has coffee creamer and the rest is food stuff. Pickles, dressings, meal helpers, hamburg mix, Taco Bell taco seasoning. Buffalo wing powder, etc. And the bottom shelf is breakfast stuff, cereal, coffee, pancake mix, Mrs. Butterworth's and also honey. So there is a method to this madness, I assure you.: ) And I can find everything I am looking for. 

Another shelf, rice, beans...grains basically on this shelf and sauces, tonkatsu sauce, bbq sauce, ranch dressing (for wings)...
This is a week later and while food is constantly changing...switching and new stuff going in and going out. I went in here this day and was like...it's crazy in here all over again!!! A total wreck. Miso soup and drink powder packets all over... (Branden uses the drink packets as extras to refill during the day at jr high)...it was crazy town in there, in the pantry that day though. 

We always have curry and beef stew roux in here and at least 1 type of Cook-do...that rice topping is Noah's fave. 

Put the miso soups and drink powder mixes in the plastic tupperware thing...just looks tidier. 

Stocked up on 5 or 6 packs of spaghetti. Some Doria sauce too. 

Pringles...senbei and tonkatsu snacks in green package with frog on the package...

Doria quick meal...my family loves Doria..make the rice, pour this sauce on top, some cheese and presto change-o..done. : ) 

And this could use attention next...the bottom of the pantry...where heavy stuff goes. Always keep canned peaches and pineapple..Country Time lemonade...canned tomatoes and mirin and Costco sized shoyu, lol. Curry ramen also pictured and yep, where my canned pumpkin for pies go too. 


There is a pattern and place things go. There is a specific spot for breakfast stuff or meal helpers or sauces go. 

Straws...Blendy...

Also this summer, I took Branden and.... Noah went with us but...Branden's summer pants needed to be taken down, length wise. They were becoming high waters which was weird since he just got the pants in April. @.@...the genius grandmother type who owns the tailor shop had Branden try them on and she said....those are way too short. I said...I know, right? She said they need to be lengthened 9cm. Okay let me repeat that again...since April...and he needs them lengthened 9cm. @.@ How tall did you grow since April, Branden....talk about a growth spurt!!! @.@ Geeze Louise! 900 yen to lengthen them and sewn in again. Not bad. Keep in mind... there's like...20cm hiding in the length at Branden's bottom of his pants anyway...well now only about 11cm now. Hahaha, since 9cm were let out. I did take his pants to the tailor before Guam and we went and picked them up after we returned from Guam, they were ready, we picked them up the day they were ready. And after that....the Summer pants went straight to the dry cleaners!!!! You... dirty birdy's!!!! : ) Ohhhh, I also asked the seamstress...what about lengthening Branden's winter pants also? She said okay...and then she said...wait a minute...when will Branden be wearing them?..switching his pants from summer to winter??? I said October. She said...keep them still! At the rate Branden's growing... they could be too short if we lengthened them now. Hahaha. Given we have about a whole other month...I agreed. So the summer pants have been lengthened and dry cleaned. The winter pants have *not* been lengthened and dry cleaned. I say...September 17th or so, I will take Branden back to the tailor to have her let down his winter pants. Sorry...letting them out...sounds like width wise to me...so I'll just say take them down, since it's the length being fixed or altered anyway. I say September 17th-ish because it should take 4-5 days plus consider they need about 4-5 days to be dry cleaned too. So...Considering all that...I'll go in around September 17th some time. 

Tossed all their old cleaning rags their last day of school. And went to the Daiso to get new cleaning rags. Bought two 3 packs. You need 2 rags for cleaning the school with. And the other rag, I cut in half and for Noah, half he uses for shuji as a rag and the other half he uses in his paint kit. And Branden, I cut his 3rd rag in half too, and he just uses the 2 cut up pieces for his painting class at the JHS. 

Branden has got some mechanical pencils, some American flag pencils and he needed some more pens. And he picked out this black eraser. He also got a notebook but it's not pictured. Noah needed a new math notebook, 10 squares. And he also got American flag pencils, but he picked these 2 pencils also and this coupy eraser. 


In the middle of the countryside, teeter tottering Chiba and Ibaraki. In our housing community...last street of the entire housing community. The road... no cars ever drive down.. unless you live on this road...hahaha. The kids far off in the distance on their boards. Gray overcast and cloudy. I'll zoom in a bit...

I see you...

I think they've had a pretty good summer. I know, I sure have.

A nice fresh clean hair cut...he got this hair cut, Friday...yesterday. 

You are so loved...

You too little one! And you too... with your nice new hair cut. : )

And who watched them play their Ripstik and boards back and forth...while the neighborhood kitty of course! She loves to watch our family a lot of the time. She likes to sleep and stay in the field next door. We do not bother her...harass her...we will wave or say "hi kitty" but we... leave her alone...leave her be. She does not run when she sees the boys or Noboru or I. She just sits down low and watches. : )  
My pots and pans are toast! After we moved to Japan, we bought a great big set of pots and pans with lids at Costco Makuhari. This was years and years ago. Anyway we don't use forks on pans to scratch them obviously. We use wood utensils. Anyway...long story short...even with gentle use...they're over. They're done...they are needing replacement. Best thing ever... would be...an exact same set for sale at Costco. That would be a dream. However it's not happening. So I have decided I will start replacing them, when I see one I like. So far, I found this one. I'm still on the look out for more though. What I want...not IH (since we have a gas stove). Affordable... but not so cheap it falls apart a month from purchase either. I'd rather not spend more than 1000 yen ($10) per pan...1500 yen ($15) tops. So, have purchased this one so far...it's a wok style/type. : )

Tossed Noah's inside shoes he uses at school, replaced them with new ones, same size. Around $4 US. I wash them weekly, but after a while... they just get grungy and need replacing. : ) 

Salads, we have been eating salads almost daily here at our house. I like to make homemade salads, but I also don't mind buying store bought premade salads either. : ) Thousand Island dressing and some croutons. 


Divergent was here a day after we got back from Hawaii. The whole family finally saw it together...we had a movie night with popcorn and snacks and everyone loved this movie. : )

My plan was to clean my closet 100% before we left to Hawaii. That did not happen. While I did get 20% or so done...my closet is pretty huge and has so much to do and go through. And given the meetings in July, the summer festival and all. I can't beat myself up and I won't.. for not getting my closet 100% done by the time we left to Hawaii. However...since we have been back from Guam, I have jumped right back to my closet. I am now...50% or so done. However I do see a light at the end of the tunnel regarding my closet. And I did find bags I could wash, and I tossed in the washer and line/pole dried them. My jean bag, my fleece-y Old Navy bag, I use in winter got freshly clean...my LeSportsac (2 of them)

My FBC shopping tote. I have been working quite hard on my closet. : )

This night...we had taco night. Chicken tacos and beef from Costco. All 4 of us, enjoyed dinner that night. 

Omiyage from the grandma next door. She went to the onsen and brought back cakes inside this onsen container. I love this container...little Japanese onsen container. It's a tub. : ) 

Aha...and who was just kicking back this particular day....our neighborhood friendly kitty, that's who! : ) 

Another one of our summer dinners! A simple but yummy dinner. A store bought salad (no shame, at least it's healthy and at least we're eating salad...am I right or am I right?) Rice a roni and 2 American style fried pork chops. : )

This day, let me go check the date. August 21st. We went and picked up a pizza for dinner for that night. And the rotisserie chicken was for dinner the next night. So 2 easy dinners, 2 days in a row. Right on. : ) Oh and big hunk of cheese and salsa for tacos the next night.  

Dinner that following night...rotisserie chicken tacos. Couldn't possibly be any simpler. I throw mine back into the oven to get warmed and the skin crisp again. And then I get all the breast meat and put it on a plate...see the blue plate in the pic. And all dark meat I put onto a different plate. We grate some cheese, get out some salsa and sour cream and everyone assembles their own,,, however they'd like theirs. Sour cream on the bottom, some rotisserie chicken breast, lettuce, cheese and salsa. Superly easy. Delicious. And the whole chicken is what...500yen 600 yen. And feeds a family of 4. That's really a fantastic price and a simple meal. Everyone loves this meal. And it just adds new ways.... to use a Costco rotisserie chicken. So when I say we're having.....rotisserie chicken tacos...this is what I mean. : ) And the flavor of the rotisserie chicken is so good. Makes the tacos super yummy. : ) 

We had 2 curry/pasta plates, but needed 2 more. So purchased 2 more from Nitori. 

New school toothbrush for Noah for the semester. Bought and his name is on it already. : )

Big container of hand soap. probably my #1 question to ask in our house..."did you wash your hands?"..."don't forget to wash your hands"...we go through tons of this stuff. : ) Hand soap for the upstairs sink and downstairs sink. : ) 

Jasmine automatic air freshener for the genkan/entryway, plus a refill, this way I won't have to think about it for a good long while. 

Lavender for the downstairs toilet...

Detergent for the dishwasher...

With school about to start...this coming Monday. I went and picked up about 10 days worth of meat, a couple days ago. Made a very nice pork curry from this pork loin, I cubed...that's what is pictured...the very lean pork loin cubed and fried about to be boiled for hours until fall apart tender.
Also, on Friday before haircuts we went back to Costco to get pancakes for school. The pancakes are now in the freezer. Also pictured is...lean sliced ham and provolone for after school ham sandwiches. Sliced mozzarella cheese for pizzas. Hot dogs for Noboru and Noah. Chips... corn tortilla and kettle chips. 

Also from this angle you can see the tortillas and the other pack of pancakes. Both packs of pancakes are in the freezer, like I said. I am gearing up for...back to school breakfast stuff...after school sammich stuff...and various other things. : ) Anyway...that's it for now. : )