Sunday, November 27, 2005

Boshi means hat!

Okay chalk this up to another American mommy blunder! When I had just 1 kid it was quite easy. But with two, it gets very hard at times and I have a tendency to be running late *all the time*, I know that must sound awful but it's true! Anyway, N was at work early this morning. And I was juggling my two boys the best I could. I had Noah in the high chair and for the most part he was behaved and playing and quite quiet and content. Branden was also just fine, he was laying upside down on the couch watching Clifford the Big red dog. Meanwhile it was mommy mayhem in the kitchen. I was listening to the best of Hall and Oates on my CD player. And making my munchkins lunch as fast as I could. Honestly? I should be waking up 30 minutes earlier then I am right now! Sigh.

Anyway I was feeling pretty good. I had washed all his uniforms the night before and got them all folded and the smock all nicely hung last night. And his lunch was coming out just beautiful as usual. Then I looked at the time and it said 9:15 am. OMG! School starts at 9:30 am, I knew we were totally late. Especially since I would more then likely be stuck in traffic for 10 minutes! Now here is where the frenzy begins...

So, now I am running around like a chicken without my head. Packing up the lunch box and putting it into the backpack. And realized where are Branden's socks? Well, they were in the sock drawer upstairs! (Insert scream here)! Ahhhhh! So, I frantically run upstairs. Race to get his socks actually run down the stairs and honestly even jump and clear the last two steps! I rush and put them on his feet, tell him to put on his shoes pronto! Then I realize....where the hell are my socks? Ahhhhh! So, I go running up the stairs AGAIN. And can you believe, that I can't find 1 single pair of my socks? Isn't that *always* the case when you are in a mad crazy rush, figures it's when you can't find whatever you're looking for! By this time the clock upstairs is growing later and later! So, I remembered I threw a pair of socks into the dryer last night.

So, I raced downstairs and only found 1 flipping sock in the dryer? How did this happen? At this point I was going to go sockless but then I remembered that I have to take my shoes off, when I enter the classroom and I am sure they'd all notice me not wearing socks lol! So, by this time, I am running around the house looking for the missing sock saying shit, shit, shit, shit, shit! And I finally got my hand and face in the dryer looking all around and presto....I found the missing sock! (relief)

Now here is were it gets even funnier. But let me give you all a visual first. I am wearing navy blue Abercrombie yoga pants, that actually say Abercrombie on the butt (had these for years and I love them), and a navy blue long sleeved t shirt. And fleece zip up that's, also navy blue on one side and red fleece on the other from Uniqlo (it's one of those reversible jobs, if this helps giving you a better idea of what I'm talking about). Not a terrible outfit right? I mean not gorgeous, but for a sahm of 2 kids and it being so ungodly early and all, not horrible, right? Well, now add in black socks. Yup something about me adding long black socks to the outfit, just screamed, call the fashion police! And I also wore Nike sneakers. Yup, now I know to some black socks and Nikes is a sin....but being that they were the *only* socks I could find for some odd reason today. And add that, I was so completely late, I really didn't care at the time! (ducks)

So, I am driving now in the car with my two boys in the back. I am thinking okay.... I did good. I got my boys all set. His lunch is fab! And all is well! Then it hits me....I forgot my munchkins hat! Ahhhhhh! Now if that just didn't beat all!!! I have NEVER forgotten my sons hat before! I truly blame the MIA socks, for me forgetting his hat! At this point I thought....oh screw it, should I just drive us all back home and say...forget it!? Then I thought....nah! It'll be alright, so I forgot the hat...big flipping deal! I am sure I'm not the first mommy on the face of the planet who forgot the hat! I'm glad I have a more roll with it type attitude, otherwise I am sure I would have just dropped dead of a heart attack by now! Ha ha ha!

I couldn't think of the word in Japanese for hat though. So, I arrive at the school. And park and grab Noah in my arms (no time for Baby Bjorn today lol), and take Branden by the hand. And we run through the security gate at the school. And I race to the class. His teachers come outside and all the kids are in class. Saying Ohayo Branden-kun! So, I look at one of his sensei's (he's got like 6 different teachers in the class) and try to explain that he has no hat today. I made a gesture of me wearing a hat with my hands and taking it off and on! Sorta felt like I was playing charades! Finally she smiles and says...ahhh no boshi? I said yes, hai! that must be boshi! Gomen nasai!

Sunday at home

Today was Sunday and we enjoyed a really nice relaxing day at home. We got up about 10:00 am. So it was nice that I got a really nice long sleep today. Both the boys also snoozed until then as well. Branden and I had cereal and toast for breakfast and orange juice. Typical generic 5 minutes or less breakfast lol. Oh well, it tasted great and it was quick. Besides I'd prefer spend quality time with my boys then make each meal by hand ykwim?

Branden has been using these computer learning games. He has a preschool one and a kindergarten one as well. Teaches him counting and ABC's and more. I mean, we teach him this stuff ourselves anyways yk, but he actually enjoys playing the game and interacting and learns so much so I let him play for an hour today. Meanwhile it gave me a chance to clean house a bit and throw in a load of laundry. Then I made lunch.

For lunch today I made some grilled cheese sandwiches, because Branden asked for those. And I also warmed up the leftover cream stew on the stove and we each had a nice warm bowl of cream stew with rice and also had a yummy oohy gooey grilled cheese sandwich. It was a nice lunch. Again our lunch only took me about 5 to 8 minutes. So easy and so fast! We enjoyed it on the mini table in the living room and we watched reruns of the series finale of Joe Millionaire on Fox TV here in Japan. Noah also had cream stew. He's my second child, so there's an experience or wisdom that I got the second time around (lol hard to explain but it's all pretty much, been there done that! And I don't intend for it to sound cocky at all, not my intention at all but I know the signs of a baby interested in food yk) and I am pretty comfortable with him dabbling with foods now at this stage. He is ready and he loves to eat! Obviously I don't give him gigantic chunks of chicken and whatnot. But I do give him the broth of the cream stew and a tiny bit of rice. That's all he needs at this age and it fills him up pretty good, well besides the side of milk that he gets from mommy. LOL.

After Noah ate his lunch and I breastfed him, he took an hour nap. This gave Branden and me some together time. We got out our play doh and sat at the kitchen table and had fun. We only played for 30 minutes. Then we cleaned up. And he laid down for a nap.

I was feeling a bit tired but I decided I better start breading the shrimp for dinner. I also made the rice. I did 1 more load of laundry, this was a load of Branden's yochien clothes mixed in with Noah's stuff.

Noboru came home right on time and I had dinner all ready to go. We all sat down in the living room and watched TV and ate. We had ebi furai/fry, green beans and white rice. Noboru also had a cup of instant miso soup to go along with it. So not an absolutely gorgeous dinner, but certainly a good basic typical home cooked meal.

Now, baths have been given and Noah is fast asleep in my bed and Branden is also laying on my big giant queen sized bed watching the TV in my room. Hmmm I think he's watching Tom and Jerry. : )

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A nice saturday spent at home

I made cream stew today. Hokkaido corn cream stew with boneless skinless chicken breasts, onions, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and I was going to add the broccoli as well, but at the last second I changed my mind about the broccoli lol, so I left that out. I also made a small very basic Italian salad with just lettuce, bell pepper, small cherry tomatoes sliced in half. Grated mozzarella cheese on top of the salad, pepper and black olives (simple but a very typical type of Italian salad, that I grew up with that reminds me of what my mom and family has made since as long as I can remember) . We had Italian dressing with the salad..and yes I could have done it up even better, but what the heck, it was just a lazy Saturday dinner yk? No big deal and besides we weren't trying to impress anyone lol! . And of course we had white rice to go along the stew.I popped in a DVD rental and just stayed warm and cozy in the house and enjoyed stew! We rented Batman Returns It was okay. After that, we watched the new DVD Herbie Fully Loaded movie again for the millionth time lol! But I don't really mind because my munchkins just love that movie!

Then it was a hair cut for Branden (after dinner) which I gave him in the bathroom right before bath time. I like my sons to have clean cut boy hair. Just the typical American little boy hair cut, if you know what I mean....and no I don't mean GI Joe (yuck that's too overly short). But in Japan, so many little boys have such long hair and so many little girls, have such short hair that often many times, I often wonder quietly to myself when I'm out and about. If it is a little boy or a little girl ykwim? Where in American little girls look like little girls with pony tails and barrettes and wear pink or red or purple lol. And little boys with their cute little clean cut hair do's and baseball caps or floppy gilligan hats. Cargo pants and sweatshirts ykwim? Where in Japan many kids look and dress so damn androgynous! Sorry to say it, but it's truly how I feel sometimes. So.....Branden got himself a trim last night. And then I threw both boys into the shower washed both their hair and bodies and brushed both their teeth. Well Noah just got a gum brushing ha ha ha, with the Gerber infant toothbrush and non fluoride toothpaste.

Branden didn't want to soak in the hot bath tonight, so Noboru dried him off, got him into his jammies and then Noboru and Branden played Playstation 2, Grand Tourismo (it's a race car game) Meanwhile Noah and I soaked together in the hot bath for a good 10 minutes!

Then I got out of the bath got Noah into his PJ's. And he fell asleep in my bed upstairs. And I got on my PJ's and went downstairs. Got a cup of hot cocoa with 2 marshmallows and made a cup for Branden and Noboru as well. Then I played the race car game with Branden! Mommy vs. Branden!!! Ha ha ha! It was a close match! I beat Branden once and he beat me twice! Darn, he is so good at that game! Ha ha ha! I can't believe, he just turned 4 years old and he is so totally good at that game!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Strolling around Korea!!!

Branden and I site- seeing around Seoul, while pushing a very tiny 4-5 month old Noah in his stroller.
Branden in Seoul, near a famous/well known shopping street! Seoul was gorgeous, the food was fantastic, the hotel amazing and the people were fabulous! Very modern, really awesome place to visit!!! Seoul rocks!!! Ha ha ha! It was really cool! And boy did I lug the kimchee back to Japan with me! Double yumm! Ha ha ha! : )

More pics from our trip to Korea!

We're back!

Korean air: The flight was amazing! They treated all the passengers like royalty! They were all very kind and nice. All of the flight attendants went nuts for both the boys! Noah especially! One flight attendant inparticular kept sitting in the empty seat in front of us and turning around and playing with him about 6 different times. Honestly it got to be a bit much for us actually! Some other flight attendant got so excited that she actually grabbed Noah out of Noboru's arms and walked away carrying him into the galley to see the other flight attendants. Noboru told me, more then likely they were taking pictures of him! Sheesh! Even a guy flight attendant went crazy for him! And 2 more attendants as well! Now that's just nuts isn't it!

They brought out blankets right away for us to use without us even having to ask. Also the blankets were really nice plaid ones too. Unlike the plain thin material navy blue ones we usually get on NWA. Also sometimes the FA on NWA won't even give you a blanket unless you ask for one. Also the pillows were twice as fluffy compared to NWA. So even though we shouldn't say so, since my husband works for NWA, Korean Air was by far totally better!

Lotte Hotel: The Hotel we stayed at was top of the line. We stayed at the Lotte Hotel. The hotel was gorgeous, the concept of this hotel is travel accommodations and shopping and dining all under one roof. The shopping was amazing.

Korea itself: I thought Korea itself was absolutely amazing! I truly kept thinking....why hadn't we gone here before? What took us so long? Ha ha ha! As modern as Japan, without a doubt! And in many respects better then Japan. You see, Seoul is way more foreigner friendly compared to Japan! What I mean is, if I lived there or just travelling there on vacation, it is way easier then comparing a foreigner living in Japan hands down! Simply because availability of foreign stuff! Let me give you a run down of what they got.

They got....Outback Steakhouse (we saw 3 of them in just the short time we were there), Starbucks on every block practically. Mc Donald's and Burger King! Also Subway sandwich. And the difference is in Japan, the Japanese tend to change the menu *so* much that it doesn't even seem like the same damn restaurant anymore. Like Denny's in Japan, totally sucks when compared to Denny's in the US, which is why we went to Denny's in Japan once. And we won't go back, because it is terrible and ridiculously expensive for the menu they offer. Seriously how come they changed the Denny's menu *so* much that the only thing even remotely resembling an American Denny's is they have French toast in the mornings. Seriously they really should change the name to something else. LOL, it's like false advertizing or something. I wonder how many Americans in Japan walked in Denny's and got as disappointed, as I was when I went there? I bet a lot!!!! Same with Subway sandwich in Japan, because they tweaked the menu so freaking much, it barely seems worth going there ykwim? (depends how hard up, I am for a sandwich though lol) Like no meatball sandwich and no Italian BMT or many other things, that Subway Japan doesn't carry, plus the Subway in Japan costs an arm and a leg, just to buy some sandwiches for a meal for the family, meanwhile, it was more price comparable in Korea to the US for our sandwiches, go figure! Meanwhile what makes Korea so totally kick ass, is they don't change the menu at all! We went to Subway sandwich shop for lunch and the menu is exactly the same as in the states! I got my veggie and cheese sandwich. Branden got his Italian BMT and Noboru got to have his favorite usual meatball sandwich. Way to go Korea! Now that's what I'm talking about! Same with Burger King morning for breakfast I had a bacon, egg and cheese crossan'wich combo (or as they say in Japan ...a set lol). Pizza Hut everywhere too plus they have sit down Pizza Huts, which is totally not the case in Japan where they are just for delivery and the menu is so drastically changed too. I had that for dinner once night and the menu was exactly the same as the US and price comparable to the US. Totally unchanged. It was totally refreshing being there and much different then I thought it was going to be. I was so totally impressed being there!

Oh and Koreans speak a hell of a lot more English, then the Japanese do here in Japan. So while I muttered around trying to speak Korean. My English was fine to use anywhere! The people of Korea were all lovely and polite and wonderful to us. But we also, were very polite and respectful to them. But, let it be known, Koreans say whatever is on their mind. Like to give an example, a Japanese from Tokyo is far more polite and never quite says what they mean. Meanwhile an Osakagin will be more apt to say directly what they have on their mind. Koreans are the same way! Maybe even a bit more so! To be blunt, they are kind and wonderful. But they won't take shit from no one. And they are not afraid or nervous around westerners at all like they are in Japan. I spotted quite a few westerners while I was in Korea this week. And some Korean lady told two western women, who were looking at some of her stuff for sale at the big open air markets. "If you want it fine, then buy it, if not then give it back" The Korean lady then proceeded to grab the object the western women were looking at. You see the western women were conversing about if they should buy it or not and if they could get a better, cheaper deal elsewhere, they probably didn't think the old woman understood them. (they were both so shocked, meanwhile I was people watching at the time, so I saw the entire thing). Just be respectful and kind. Because, they take no gruff from anyone! And the gaijin card won't get you *anywhere* in Korea. Also like I said, they are all much more fluent in English, so watch what you say! So, if you go with an "I am superior type attitude, be prepared for a hellish time and to be taken down a notch!" I saw another couple (a western man and women who were behaving like two pompous asses humbled by another outspoken Korean, seriously). Meanwhile we went there with just our regular nice, friendly attitudes and spoke to everyone very respectfully and had a wonderful time and plan to go back soon! : )

They also have Krispy Kreme donuts! Man I love those and haven't eaten them since this summer when me and the boys were in the US. So we had Krispy Kreme Donuts. They also have Wal-Mart and Costco. Baskin Robbins everywhere and more. TGIFridays and Chili's restaurants (I love Chili's restaurants and we certainly don't got those in Japan lol). Oh and Bennigans. So Korea is *way* more foreigner friendly, then Japan is like I said. I was in heaven being there!

It probably doesn't sound like it but, I did eat a lot of Korean food too. I ate at a few street vendors as did Noboru. We had some delicious mochi in a *hot as hell* chili sauce. It was delicious! I had ginseng tea every morning. And ate some yummy tenjan chige (Korean miso kimchee soup) .

One night we ate and relaxed together at a restaurant as a family so that was nice. And the other night, we were all so tired from walking and sight seeing that we decided to do take-out, so N got some delicious Korean food to go and Branden and I did the same with the Pizza Hut and we all went back to the hotel and had a picnic of sorts in the hotel room watching TV.

What we brought back: We brought back kimchee (2 packs of it) and cucumber kimchee. Noboru brought some fish egg kimchee (yikes lol).

Wonderful Husband: Noboru bought me a brand new Prada wallet at the Lotte Duty Free where our hotel was. My Prada wallet, that I have been using is pretty old and has certainly seen brighter days. So when we walked passed the big Prada shop, I was all set to walking passed it. But he held my hand and pulled me towards the door and said "let's go in and get you a new wallet." We did and I found the one I really liked and he bought it for me. I'm lucky and really appreciate that I married such a thoughtful and generous man!

So, the trip was wonderful and I feel refreshed and relaxed. Going away and doing some killer shopping, eating yummy food and doing some amazing sight seeing really did the trick! : )

Monday, November 21, 2005

We are about to leave....

Okay the suitcases are in the car. In just a few minutes I'll be shutting down this computer. Just wanted to say, see you all in a couple days! I'll either call or email as soon as I get back.

Got all the snacks packed in the carry- on for the airplane for Branden. Got Branden's portable DVD player all charged up and got some of his DVD's in the carryng case, so he can watch movies on the plane like usual. Totally keeps him entertained, lol!

Noah has a couple of his favorite toys (chewie keys and soft musical bunny), a jar of bananas, his baby senbai (rice crackers) and his cozy blankie and pacifier. And a few spare changes of clothes for any unforseeable accidents :)

We are taking Korean Air, since NWA has an agreements with them. We only pay 1400 yen round trip ($14.00). So since I've never taken Korea Air before, I am looking forward to it! : )


I had a wonderful day today! I sent Branden off to school and got his lunch packed as usual. Met my friends (a couple sahm's from Branden's yochien) we ended up going to Miho's apartment/mansion. We had coffee and chatted about bento making. Our husbands. We all shared some laughs and I had a really nice time. I will really miss these ladies after I move!

Aiko and Miho and I all have boys who are 4 years old and they all go to the same yochien together. So we have a lot in common with just the fact we all have sons. Miho speaks fluent English and Aiko doesn't speak English really much at all, but it doesn't really matter to me because we have fun together. That's what makes it all so enjoyable doesn't it? Having nice friends to hang out with is fun. Also all our sons are totally into Thomas the tank engine, so we have that in common too.

Also Aiko has a second son just like I do. And her son and Noah are very close in age! Her son was born 1 week after Noah was.

I got my suitcase packed and everything and we decided that we are going to be going to Seoul, Korea afterall because the airplane is wide open, meanwhile the plane to Pusan is full. So, we changed hotels already and now our destination is Seoul! Wish me luck and hope we have lot's of fun!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

My weekend......

What did I do this weekend? Well, (thinking back) on Thursday I got together with a couple of my fellow American girlfriends. We went to Costco together and shopped a bit and we all had pizza and sodas for lunch. Branden was at school, so he missed out, but Noah went and he had fun. I didn't buy much. I bought microwave popcorn and a whole rotisserie chicken which we ate for dinner that night. And Darlene and I, split a box of donuts and also went halfers and split a giant cereal, it was two bags in one box and it was Wild Blueberry Cluster Pecan and it is yummy! After that I raced back to pick up Branden from school and then I went home and took myself a nap before starting dinner.

On Friday, we went to see our new house. And the bathroom is in. The insulation is all done. The front door and windows are all installed! It is coming along really well. : ) We also went to Roppongi Hills for the first time. Didn't like Roppongi hills at all. The parking was so expensive it was ridiculous...100 yen for 10 minutes. The shops were out of this world. Too fancy for my tastes, I think. Noboru didn't care for it at all either. Do they even have a Baby gap and Body shop? The floor plan was hard to find out where we were. And the map didn't help at all either. I looked around in Zara and it was fine. But the other stores.....Hmmm I don't really need an Escada ball gown anytime soon lol.I prefer Lalaport...more my speed with a Payless Shoe store and Gap, Baby Gap, Locctaine and The Body Shop. And Wendy's lol. Roppongi Hills, eh just to fancy shmancy for me.: )

Ended up driving to Lalaport afterwards to go and buy my Locctaine Shea butter that I usually use. It was more expensive then last time. 4500 yen now! Shit! That is ridiculous! But the skin on my hands has been killing me really bad lately. So dry! They get like this every winter. The Neutrogena hand stuff didn't work at all. I have been using Muji olive oil and it ain't cutting the mustard either! I hate spending so much money just for my hand cream, but when they hurt as much as mine do.....I don't care! (ducks) ha ha ha. With cleaning my house and doing dishes and changing poopie diapers all day long it seems. And then I wash my hands like 100 times a day and they get so dried out! Plus adding winter on top of that....they feel just painful! Yet in the summer, they are perfectly fine. It's just like this when winter comes, like clock work they become dry again. Oh well, I can use the 100% shea butter on Branden and Noah and keep them super soft too I guess! Since I bought this a few days ago, my hands are back to normal and soft again, ahhh much better. : ) We also rented a DVD called the Forgotten, it was so so

Saturday, I stayed home, and just tried to tidy up a bit. I made dinner, chicken cutlet, rice, green beans. Noboru had some instant miso soup with it as well. And we all had ice creams for dessert that I had in the freezer.So Saturday was just a lazy stay at home type day.

Today is Sunday and I am supposed to be packing. Because we are leaving to Pusan, South Korea for our first time on this Tuesday. I am beyond excited! I love traveling and seeing new things. I have been studying my Korean phrase book at home here today. My husband nominated me to be the family *translator*. And I didn't think it was possible but my Korean actually sucks worse then my Japanese does! Ha ha ha! Didn't even know that was humanly possible! I hope I don't say the wrong things and land our asses in jail! Ha ha ha! If any of you see me on CNN, help please! Ha ha ha!

Tomorrow I have got a date with the fellow yochien moms on Monday! They want to meet up at Aeon/Jusco for some coffee at Starbucks. Yup...I've been captured by the sahm's of my sons yochien lol! I will try to enjoy my time with my friends from yochien, but I also have to get my suitcase and packing done too. I am leaving to Korea on Tuesday and so Monday is a perfect day for packing my suitcase! And plus N is off work that day, so we can go get snacks etc for the airplane ride for the boys and he can watch Noah while I pack for myself and the boys! Meanwhile I will be stuck for god knows how long with the yochien mom's. One even asked me to go to her house.....ehhhh! she is nice but I really am busy on that day, darn it! We also got to go see our new house on Monday too. So, take Branden to school, go to visit with the yochien mom's (gee I wish I didn't have to do this!) and then drive to our new house plus pack! Yikes! Monday is gonna be one heck of a busy day! I will go for coffee *only* because I hate going back on my word, but it will have to be cut really super short because I gotta go home and pack.

In the pics are auntie Darlene holding MJ and auntie K holding Noah. And also the Shea Butter lol.