Monday, February 27, 2006

A visit from grandma and Noboru's new scooter.

My mil came to visit us for the day. She flew to Narita from Osaka. She spent the entire day here. All was peaceful.

She arrived at 9:00 am. And stayed until 3:00 pm. She looked around the house. She had lunch here, we all had sandwiches that I prepared. We sat in the dining room. Then she played out in the back yard with Branden as he rode his bike. Truly only a grandparent would think, how much fun it is to watch their grandchild go round and round all through the yard *that* many times. Noah is very afraid and shy around her (his age, it'll pass we know). Actually the minute he sees her or hears her voice, he starts sobbing away like crazy. He's just at that stage where he is afraid of strangers, I guess. She also brought us some yummy food for us. She brought karaage and potato salad, kimchee (daikon, cucumber and chinese cabbage, three different kimchees) and sushi for Noboru. And 2 summer blankets for the boys. She swears these soak up sweat, when they sleep? I'm not sure, but that's what she says. She also told me if I wanted, I could lay them on the wood floor so the boys can have a play area. So, I might actually use these blankets, who knows. Last but not least, she brought my dress. And she brought Branden's tuxedo, that he needs for the wedding. Branden is going to be the ring bearer, for uncle Jun's wedding. Yui-chan will be the flower girl. Jun asked Noboru if it would be okay, if Branden was the ring boy and he said yes. Noboru asked me and I said, it's absolutely fine with me too.

We dropped her off a bit early because we had to go to the Suzuki dealership. Yup, Noboru gave up on the yahoo auctions. He tried to bid on two different motorcycles and got outbid both times. So he figured, he would just buy himself a brand new scooter instead, since his commute will only be 20 minutes from our house. Plus he got a rather big scooter, not the tiny 50 cc ones but a nice sized bigger kind, a 125 cc one. So he will be able to zip back and forth quite easily. He's on cloud nine. He says he has never owned or bought a brand *new* motorcycle or scooter before. He's only ever owned used ones. So he is really happy and he gets to pick it up tomorrow after 3:00 pm.

What else? I went to the baby bunny store (nishimatsuya) and picked up a few things for the kids. Bought Noah, two pairs of sweat pants type house pants. Cheap ones (like 500 yen each but they were really cute too) And I bought Branden some new undies. He needed a bigger size now, 110 cm. I bought him a few packs of Buzz Light Year and a couple Thomas the Tank Engine ones. I also bought him two Thomas short sleeved T shirts for this upcoming spring and summer season, he's 120 cm for tops now. I bought them because I know he has, nice going out someplace sorta clothes. But he also has cheap priced, clothes that he wears at home only too. Stuff he can cruise around in the back yard in and just hang out. And I won't freak out and bust a blood vessel in my head, if he gets food or mud or whatever on his house clothes. I also bought him a cheap pair of Thomas slip on type sneakers. I usually only buy him name brand sneakers. And I don't mind him wearing them out for school or whatever. But I think it's ridiculous that he makes them so dirty playing in the backyard. His shoes get hammered! Totally dirty and beat to shreds by his heavy playing out in the backyard. I decided, the other day, if he has cheap house, play type clothes, why doesn't he got a cheap pair of sneakers, he came play in the back yard with too? Duh! Lightning moment. So, for only 900 yen, I got him a pair of Thomas sneakers in 17 cm. That way, he can beat them to shreds and I won't care and he will only be playing around the house in the backyard anyway. Ha ha ha, now that I said this, watch! He will want to where them *everywhere*, now huh?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The ol' agreeable head nod

You know, I think I'm coming down with a cold. I can't afford to get sick though, because I'm the mom, the one who is the care giver, not the one who gets taken care of. Ha ha ha. Nothing major right now, just a scratchy throat. Let's cross our fingers it passes.

I haven't seen a foreigner around where I live at all. Which is sorta sad in a way. Where I lived before, I lived near many good American or foreign girlfriends. But here, not a single one because there just aren't any around here, well except myself. : )

Also, sorry to change the subject but, I noticed that I have the habit of shaking my head at Japanese people, when they are talking to me even though, I have absolutely no idea of what they are talking about. Case in point, my door just rang. I looked through the intercom and didn't want to answer it, but I ended up answering it, since Branden blew my cover of being quiet in the house. He was giggling right near the door saying, "are they gone yet?" gee whiz could Branden get anymore obvious then *that*? We were trying to be quiet (shhh) and sneaky and *not* answer the door. So, anyway, I just answered it, I figured with our cover fully blown, I might as well. It was some lady with a Duskin catalog. I'm assuming she was selling stuff? And from the minute I answered the door she was speaking, a mile a minute. I smiled and just shook my head in agreement with her. Quite a few times, I might add! After she left, I wondered, what if she said something outrageous, such as....."I'm really a robber and I've just robbed your neighbors house" and there I would be shaking my head, "okay, okay!"

Isn't that just crazy? I'm sure I'm not the only foreigner, who does this in Japan. I think in a way it's better for me to just agree, even though I secretly don't know what I'm agreeing to. Then to say, "geeze I'm a dumbass, and I don't understand a word coming outta your mouth" . Making a mental note to self, I must learn more Japanese!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wonderful days spent at home





Yesterday was a peaceful day at home. With the exception of Noah once again waking me up at 7:00 am in the morning. I cleaned house for a bit and made curry for dinner. Noboru came home from work and went straight to the front yard work. He is obsessed with yard work and grass growing these days! Seriously he has been reading so many online websites about it so much (the Japan based sites only though) that I barely get computer time these day. He's also planning to buy another motorcycle soon, so he has been scouring the Yahoo.jp auctions sites every single day.

Anyway, so I made dinner, and we all ate. Noah couldn't share regular dinner with us, since curry would be much too spicy for him, so I gave him a baby niku jaga jar of baby food. And a slice of buttered toast that I cut up in small tiny bits and pieces. Both the boys fell asleep rather early. And I sat watching American Idol on TV in the living room, meanwhile Noboru sat and surfed the web for more lawn and landscaping websites and the search for his motorcycle continued. He finally finished and came and sat with me and we watched the second hour of American Idol together. We sat together trash talking the bad singers and praising the good singers, getting *really* into the program as usual, while snacking on some popcorn. I even jumped up and cheered, when a few of my picks made it to the next round! Noboru laughed at me, but he also cheered for a few people *he* wanted to win too.! Ha ha ha, just your average typical husband and wife spending time together type night , I guess.

This morning, I was once again woken up by Noah bright at early at 7:00 am. Oh man! This has gotta stop, it's killing me! Then Noah woke up Branden and I had two guys wide awake (N was already at work). I changed my pj's to my regular day time clothes. And I went downstairs. This morning, I had undereye bags the size of your typical standard pillow, I'm not kidding. I am *not* a morning person at all whatsoever. Yesterday morning I made crispy bacon and eggs and toast for the boys. But this morning, ugh forget it! I grabbed a box of cereal and the carton of milk and somehow managed to get it into a bowl. Branden had cereal and some apple juice and a slice of toast. Noah had a handful of cheerios and some mashed up banana that I mashed for him. I had nothing, I just had hot strong coffee. I sat staring off into space, at the kitchen table while the boys ate. I think half my brain was still asleep. A couple cups of hot coffee later and I began to feel a bit better.

Branden watched some cartoons, some Disney and some Nickelodeon ones. Noah played with his activity table and crawled all over the place downstairs, he is getting so fast with his crawling. He crawls from the kitchen to the living room, like you wouldn't believe it!

For lunch, Branden and I had leftover curry. Noah had a jar of apples and grilled cheese sandwich that I chopped into the tiniest pieces you ever did see! He only had a handful of pieces and the rest Branden and I munched on while we ate the curry. After lunch Branden got on his bike and went out in the back yard. He played out there forever it seems (about 2 hours) I kept checking on him and sure enough, he was back there but he was just having fun. I even opened the sliding glass door and said, "you ready to come in now?" no way, he said. I figured he could be getting hungry again. You know isn't that so typically Italian? Always thinking your kids are hungry and starving when they clearly aren't? And when guests come, I can't wait to pounce on them and stuff them to the gills. Haven't taken a bite in the last 3 minutes? Hmm, you surely must be starving again, let me fix you something else, some other dish completely! Ha ha ha. See the insanity of it all? So yeah, I was certain Branden was dying of starvation out there, even though he had a nice big lunch earlier. So, I fixed him and Noah a plate of snacks. Nothing fancy at all and sorry the pic won't even look remotely fancy, I figured it was just my kids and no one else, so I didn't fix the plate to impress anyone at all, sorry but that's so typically me, I just don't make meals to impress, I make simple good tasting food, I'll leave the impressing for someone else but it ain't my thing lol. I fixed just some cheese and crackers and peanut butter celery sticks and some pineapple rings. I brought out a fork for Branden to eat the pineapple with. Noah had a cracker and a tiny piece of cheese and a tiny piece of pineapple. Branden ate everything, cheese and crackers and celery sticks with peanut butter and pineapple. Then he went outside again right after he ate. And Noah feel asleep after their snack. I wanna take a nap, but I know I can't now, because there's not enough time (Noboru will get off at 4:00 pm and we only live 20 minutes away lol), I gotta get dinner prepped. I'm making ebi chili tonight, which means I gotta get my tempura mix out pretty soon. Sigh, I have just been pretty tired lately with the waking up at 7:00 am stuff ha ha ha. Hopefully something good comes on TV tonight. : )

The pics are of, our curry lunch from today. My boys snack plate (the after lunch, but not quite dinner time snack, lol), Branden playing out in the backyard (you can see our satellite dish on our fence in the background, I think, because N wouldn't hear of it getting attached to the house, lol), and a pic of the Thomas plate and cup Branden got a couple days ago.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Zeroing in on a new school.

Noah usually sleeps until 9:00 am every morning and he does sleep through the night, so I haven't had many complaints. But this past week Noah has been waking up at 7:00 am to 7:30 am every morning. This is much too early for this night owl. And on Tuesday Noah decided to wake up at 5:30 am. Yup, it was total pitch darkness when he woke up. I stayed awake with Noah until 7:00 am and by that time , I figured I watched him for an hour and a half so I woke up Noboru and asked him to watch him for a while because I was exhausted. He woke up and took him downstairs and watched him until Noah fell back asleep. I woke up at 10:30 am because my schedule was all thrown off by waking up at 5:30 am. Noboru was outside in the front yard tilling the dirt and plucking the odd rock out of the soil. We are about to start planting grass. He worked so hard on the front yard that I was really impressed.

I made lunch and we all ate and our plan was staying home basically and doing yard work, while I cleaned up the inside. But we wanted to go check out a few schools for Branden. We checked out the Catholic one first! We went inside and we asked if they have any openings and yes they do. The school was very clean. Actually school was just finished and we got to check out the uniforms. I liked the uniform and Noboru didn't, lol. All the sensei's were cleaning and wiping down the stairs and banisters and windows etc. I never saw such a thorough cleaning by sensei's like that before. So it was super clean. The secretary was nice albeit a bit taken a back that a foreigner was there, yk you can always tell that shocked look. Geeze, talk about giving me an utter complex, lol! She called the president of the school (she was in the building) and she came and sat with us. And Noboru told her, we just moved to the area and were contemplating hoikuen or yochien. Branden had gone to a yochien before yada yada yada! And she brought out her brochure. Spoke about entrance fees (50,000 yen hmm it is cheaper then the old yochien, our old school was 90,000 yen entrance fee), she spoke in lengthy detail to Noboru about bento's. I only understood bits and pieces but he told me the jist of it in the car. Seems I can make his lunch every day or I can make it 3 days a week and he can have the school lunch 2 days a week. Our choice.

Then she pulled out a scrapbook type of thing with pictures for all the things, like undokai and Christmas recitals and everything in between. She had pictures of the summer uniform and the gym uniform and the winter uniform. Field trips they take the kids on. She gave us a tour of the school and we took the literature and left.

We then went to the other yochien that Noboru's coworkers family sends their kids. Remember anti- hoikuen mom? LOL. We checked out the school. And it sucked! We didn't even go inside. The school looked a billion years old. First thing Noboru said was "the fence is too short" and he was right, the fence was so short any child predator could just grab a kid outta the school yard! This thought scared the shit out of us, since we're parents! Also it was right near a river and with a short fence, who's to say a kid couldn't wander outta the yard and drown or fall into the river? The river was just behind the school. It looked dirty and grungy! The yard looked blech! And they had really long sun bleached curtains that were sun faded. This alone made me wonder, if the entire place was filthy or what. And as a mom we all know our children are our treasures! Would I feel comfortable sending my son there? Ummmm, not really. Noboru never being one to mince words said "this place is *worse* then the hoikuen", I said honestly, yes it is!

So, we have to decide soon, but we sorta are 95% sure right now that we will be sending him to the Catholic yochien.

After that we went to the baby bunny and got Noah some baby senbai's and got Branden a Thomas plate and cup.Came back home and Noboru got started on the front yard work again and I prepared dinner. I made steaks and cheesy, butter baked potatoes and salad.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Stuck in traffic, on a rainy day : )





The traffic was horrible. You wouldn't believe how long we sat in traffic for! As we sat in the car stuck in traffic. We said, gee we coulda driven home by now. Hmm! Amazing that we live actually farther now, but it actually takes us less time to get back and forth to Costco and makuhari. I think it's because Chiba's normal roads are just so congested no wonder it would take us so long to get back and forth where we used to live. We did our shopping quickly at Marui and as usual the prices are just unbelievable. The shrimp was on sale half off! I got two sizes of shrimp, one size for ebi fry and the smaller size for ebi chili. Steak and pork for a pork roast, I plan to make this week. Chicken teriyaki and a pack of chicken tenderloins that may end up becoming karaage or curry lol. Just a lot of meat and veggies and stuff.

They were roasting sweet potatoes outside, when we were leaving, so I bought one and ate it on the drive home. Noboru and I and Noah shared it actually. Branden slept in the car on the way home. It rained all the way home. It was nice to get home. We unpacked everything. I threw the chicken parmesan in the oven. And made spaghetti and we (Noboru, Branden and I) had chicken parmesan and spaghetti for supper. Noah just had plain boiled pasta and munched it up sitting in his high chair. He also had some tiny bit and pieces of garlic bread. And a small piece of chicken parmesan.

Both boys fell asleep right after supper. Noboru and I watched TV for a bit but we were both asleep before 10:30 pm which is unusual.

Our morning at Costco : )





Monday, we went to Costco. I forgot the list I made at home, which was totally dumb of me! We jumped on the highway and got to Makuhari in absolutely, no time.

We got there before 11:00 am. And on a weekday nonetheless and would you believe the store was already jammed packed? Unbelievable! Didn't get anything rip roaringly fabulous. Just got each boy a toy. The boys managed to come back from Osaka with a good deal of cash and I keep it safely tucked away for them but, I decided to let them each get a new toy since they usually don't get too many toys unless it's Christmas or a birthday.Noah got a Learning Table, by Leap Frog. Basically it's an activity table that plays music and sings the ABC's and it lights up all colorful and stuff, it's actually really nice and Noah has been playing with it since we bought it, it certainly keeps him entertained. Branden got a toy by Playskool, called a Bull's eye bounce and roll. I saw the commercial's for this when I was in Denver in August and wanted to get it for Branden but I didn't have any luggage room for it, so I didn't buy it. I saw commercials for it in Guam over Christmas,as but they were out of stock. I saw this and I knew he'd like it and I loved skeeball when I was growing up, so we got this for him. Actually Noboru and I play this as much as Branden does, the only thing I dislike is the volume seems a bit loud!

From my memory, some of the things we got were, celery (bought this for making peanut butter celery sticks, this is the only way I can trick Branden into eating celery and I love it too....Noboru hates celery btw), got two packs of American bacon, chicken parmesan from the deli, a case of Kirkland soda (ok I think we all know what a cheapo I am), and got a gigantic caramel apple pie from the bakery, Cascade dishwasher liquid (I seriously don't need another, since I got one bottle and one powder, but I thought might as well btw, I like the liquid much better), an enormous amount of 2 ply toilet paper, Kleenex, and Orange clean and something even called Kaboom? LOL, it's supposed to be for your bathtub and shower and sink, I will try it out, who knows!

We had lunch at Costco and then we got into the car and instead of jumping onto the highway and being home shortly, we figured we might as well, drive the regular roads and hit the Marui grocery store, since we were fairly close to where we used to live anyway. So yup, that's what we did.....

I will continue this in a second post....

PS, I also looked at the BBQ's, at Costco too, we are going to be buying one very soon. We don't want a gas one. Only because they don't make the food taste any different then a indoor stove. Anyone who's ever had "real" BBQ, and tasted that mesquite type flavor, knows what I mean. A gas grill? Heck, you might as well, roll your regular stove outside because the taste will be no different. Growing up, my mom always had to have a gas grill because it was fancier. Ha ha ha. Sorry mom! But I always agreed with my dad, the charcoal grill maybe not as fancy but it just tastes better. Ha ha ha, so yup, we are on a search for a good charcoal grill. I did find one I liked at Costco.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sunday night






Noboru has one of those wonky shifts tonight. He works until midnight. Which means the boys and I will eat dinner alone tonight. Sometimes this is nice, because it means less work and one less person to cook for, but sometimes, it also means less help with the kids during dinner and no help cleaning up after supper. I drove to the store this afternoon with the boys and picked up something for dinner for the boys and I. Hmm, I got a ton of food in the freezer and cupboards and fridge, but I just wanted something fast and different (yet not exactly wanting fast food if that makes sense still cooked at home is what I mean). In Japan, most grocery stores, have meat chopped up and marinated in all sorts of different types of sauces in the meat section. I really love this about Japan. You can find chicken teriyaki, or ginger pork or whatever already made and marinated in the meat section and somedays, that really is a blessing. I found something that looked different and sorta appealing to me. I found some white chicken breast meat with some dry curry powder and seasonings. This reminded me of a curry, that I used to get at a Chinese restararant in Denver. So, I thought what the heck, and got it and bought some veggies and planned to make some chicken curry stir fry with veggies for me. And for Branden, I found some sliced chicken breast with some seasonings, it read that it had a mayo flavor that kids love? Hmm, I never heard of this before! But, I figured what the heck! Let's try it and see! I bought a tiny broccoli for Branden.

Later that night, I cooked mine and his side by side. Branden got seasoned chicken and broccoli and rice. And some milk for dinner. Noah had some broccoli and one tiny piece of mayo chicken minced up and mixed with some rice (I mashed it for him), and I had the curry stir fry. It came out pretty good.

I managed to get dinner made, and set the bath and got both boys all washed up in the shower and bath. We all sat and watched TV. The boys fell asleep and I carried each one upstairs one by one. And then I laid on the couch by myself totally vegging out and relaxing until Noboru got home. He said, he ate at work but he did sniff around the kitchen looking for any sign of left overs. Sure enough there were leftovers of each. Noboru ate the leftover mayo chicken and he loved it!

It's so nice being home. Our nice, boring, peaceful life, lol.

Model looks!

Noah got scouted by a modeling agent! I totally swear to you! We were walking in Umeda and were coming from lunch and heading to the Hankyu and some woman saw Noah (Branden was dead asleep in the stroller) and she looked startled! Honestly, we get lot's of attention for our kids. So I didn't even pay attention to her and we barely even noticed it but she motioned her surprise, with her hands in a Home Alone, type hands on face type look, that is why we even noticed it. She actually was heading the opposite direction and yet she must have made tracks to catch up with us, because she tapped Noboru on the shoulder and we stopped and turned around.

She said, honestly she couldn't believe he looks *that* good. She said he was gorgeous and kakkoii. She said she happens to be a top modeling agent and was on her way home. She opened her purse and found a card. You could tell, by her surprise she was *NOT* expecting to see Noah that day! She gave us her card! She told us she would like to use Noah is a commercial right away!

And that he can get tons of work. She looked him over and touched his skin, said he has the absolute whitest skin ever (not quite sure what this means and if this is a good thing?) and said he has the perfect head shape (err this caught me as a weird thing to say) and said he has the perfect look they are looking for and said he has big beautiful western eyes with just the tinyiest itty bittiest touch of Asian in them to still appeal to the market in Japan! But she told Noboru, he is the *ideal* look they are looking for. She was so certain. She told us, that many people come to her modeling agency *asking* for their kids to be models and she has to turn them down. But she said, she is actually *asking us*.

Noboru told her, we don't live in Osaka though. She said where do you live, America? He said no Chiba. She said well you are in luck our main headquarters is in Tokyo anyway! She said he could make a lot of money and his face could wind up many places!

Please understand, yes we think our kids are cute, but then *all* parents think their kids are cute, ykwim? So knowing this, please understand how shocked we were to be actually scouted by a top modeling agent, just while walking down the street. She then kept looking at Noah's facial features and pushed one step harder and asked for Noboru's cell phone number. He gave it to her. He told Mitsuko and she took it with a grain of salt, but when she asked to see the card, she was surprised. I guess she told Noboru, yes that really is the top modeling agency! The agent then told us she is going to call us within the next week for sure! She took down Noah's full name and Noboru saw her write something next to Noah's name and his keitai, he said, she wrote "he looks like a doll"

We aren't sure if we want to do this or not. But anyway that's what happened with Noah.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Thanks everyone, you're all the best! : )


Wow, as I don't allow comments on my blog. I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of how many emails, I have gotten about my trip to Osaka!!! Ahhh, thanks guys so much! I really appreciate it! Just somehow knowing that I got a good group of family and friends who support and love me and the kids, so much means a lot. : )

I also wanted to add. The very same day, I got back from Osaka, We received a box of goodies that I had ordered for the boys from the US. It really was good to get back home to Chiba. And about 10 minutes after we arrived home, the mailman rang the bell and sure enough it was a package from my family for the boys! What it is, is my mom sent Branden and Noah $150.00 gift card each. So $300.00 US total. I didn't use them in December or for winter stuff because the boys already had clothes for winter, but I have been holding onto them and waiting for the spring stuff to come out at Old Navy online. Checking every week or everyday just about. When some stuff finally came out I bought some stuff. I used only one of the gift cards. And I got basics for both boys. I will hold onto the other $150.00 card until I get to Denver. But these are some of the things that I got with the gift card.





Some of the basics I bought are a pair of jeans. I figure with rainy season coming up and with summer still not quite here. The boys could use a new pair of jeans each. I chose these because they were a bit different, and a heck of a lot more up to date, then the old boring humdrum carpenter style jeans that many little boys wear. These were called "crazy pocket" jeans. I bought both the boys a pair, because hey I gotta be fair to both my boys, right? Each boy also got a pair of cargo jean shorts. Again, I really like the look of little boys or even guys actually, wearing cargo jeans shorts or other types of cargo shorts. It reminds me of the same type style of the Abercrombie jock type guys, that I used to go to university with. It's a cute look for boys! And I like buying cute boy clothes for my sons. So I tend to go for, crazy pockets or cargo pockets or something cute, I always got my eye out for cute boy clothes. Lastly I went for a pair of short overall's. I went for these because they had the same cargo pockets I like. And I have no other excuse except I love overall's on little boys! Little boys and overall's go hand in hand in my book. So I buy any kind I can get my hands on.






Each boy got a very cute light aqua colored polo type shirt. And Branden got a khaki pair of overalls. Noah didn't get a pair because they didn't have his size. Noah got a gray pair of cotton shorts that I always call "house shorts" , I call them this because they are cheap in price and "okay" looking but not gorgeous. Just simple cotton shorts for my boys to play in the house or play in the yard and they can get dirty in and I won't care. I stocked up for Branden last year and he has 2 brand new pair in the bigger size that I will have him wear. I also will buy Branden maybe one more pair of house shorts when I get to Denver and Noah needs some more house shorts too.

Basically, I still have a bunch more stuff to buy, for the boys for spring and summer. But this is just a start. Like I said, I just got the basics to start with, in a nutshell they each got, a pair of shorts and shortalls and a pair of jeans. Noah got the house shorts and Branden got the Khaki overalls.

I also got each of the boys another t shirt. Same color as the polo, but it's just a t shirt. Also picked up Branden a pair of sandals as well. Oh well, like I said it's just a start and it certainly was nice to receive this package the day that I did. : )











PS, forgot to add that my dad also managed to stuff Branden's, Herbie car game into the Old Navy box. The game was on back order forever it seems. Ha ha ha, but we finally got it. We got the other game a couple weeks ago, so I will share pics of both the games we got. Also pictured will be Branden's sandals that I ordered for him.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'm back and all about the trip to Osaka (part 1)

I'm back from Osaka. Osaka itself. Wonderful, lively and busy, congested, crowded. People hustling and bustling everywhere! Which is nice once in a while but I'm glad we live, where we live, that would drive me totally nuts after awhile!

Noboru's extended family is wonderful. They rock! They are nice, very very warm and welcoming! They are genuinely nice people. So Noboru's grandma and aunt and her three kids (their father died a few years ago) the three kids are wonderful! Well behaved. Branden loves playing with all of them! I like playing with them. The food was great. He has a much bigger family, huge actually, but since we came on the weekday and most of them live farther away no one else could make it. But they are all wonderful though!

Oh yeah they also said, Yui-chan told her sensei today was her happiest day, because she could see her cousin Branden and he speaks English!!!

We then dropped off my mil at the house. And Noboru and me and the kids went to Umeda. We went to a Mexican restaurant (we used to go here, when we lived in Osaka), we figured it was Valentine's day so we wanted to do something semi romantic and as a family still. We had a real nice lunch and then we went to the Hankyu and I hit the MAC makeup counter. I bought another studio fix powder foundation and a brand new lipstick. I prefer the Chanel lipgloss, I usually use, but this color was new and a perfect color (a shade of red of course). I was surprised that the foundation costs 4,000 yen in Japan as opposed to the usual $17 or $18 dollar price I buy it in the US. But oh well, it was fine and it was Valentine's day, so Noboru bought them for me after he took us to lunch! He didn't complain at all, he also bought me some chocolates afterwards as well.Good guy good guy!

We ended up all going to the public bath, all of us, our family, my sil and her kids and my mil.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Leaving to Osaka now! Ittekimasu!!! : )

My hair straightening and haircut and massage were amazing. I like the salon and will go back to them in the future. I got a slightly different hair cut this time. I got side ways bangs. Not real bangs like raggedy Ann has. But a cooler side bangs that is just swept on one side of your face. And I got long choppy layers. I brought pictures of what I wanted and got exactly that! I'm loving my hair and hair style a lot right now! I'm glad I went for something a little different this time (meaning the cut).

This morning we are leaving to Osaka. We will drive to Narita. Take the limosouine bus to Haneda and then fly from Haneda to Itami (Osaka's local airport not to be confused with KIX). We could take the train to Haneda but it takes 2 full hours by train, where it only takes 70 minutes by limousine bus. And all kids under age 6 are free so it would still be cheap, because Noboru and I would just be paying our adult fairs and the boys would ride free either way.

Today when we get to Osaka, I am planning to go off to Umeda to the Hankyu because I wannna hit the Mac makeup counter for some new stuff, I saw in a magazine for Spring. After that Noboru and me and the kids might have lunch there. Otherwise we can eat at one of his parents restaurants.

We will get back to Chiba on Wednesday and we will fly directly into Narita coming back. Yup, which means we will now be staying two nights in Osaka versus just the one night. I actually managed to get us all packed already, and I got Branden's Buzz lightyear carry-on suitcase all packed with his portable DVD player and plenty of movies and snacks and even threw in a couple jars of Noah's snacks and jars of fruit). Seems we are all set and raring to go!

I hope, we all have fun and everything goes smoothly. We shall see. : )

Friday, February 10, 2006

Choosing a new school.

Branden's out of school until April. School's start in April here in Japan, so he's basically on vacation until then. Thing is, we're trying to decide which school to send him to.

In Yachiyo there were about 5 or 6 different yochien's and we went to all of them and then decided the best, where we felt most comfortable sending our son to. So for us, it wasn't so hard finding which school we liked.

But here where we live now, it's proving a little more difficult. In the town we live in there is only 1 school. Yes, you've heard that correctly, only one! Isn't that strange? And it's not a yochien, it's a hoikuen.

Since I'm American, and therefore have no experience going to school here myself, I can safely say I am not really anti- hoikuen. And I have no prejudices either way. I really don't see the difference. I mean they are both for little kids. And they both teach kids stuff and they both participate in school activities like undokai (sports day) and Christmas recital's etc. So as far as me caring which way or the other? I don't mind either way at all.

Here's the problem. It seems that many Japanese have a strong and I mean a *strong* preference to yochien.

We had company the other night. A friend of Noboru's who works at NWA and his wife and their two kids age 5 and 7. The seven year old is in first grade now but the younger one goes to yochien. Also, they live in the same exact community we live in.

I asked the mother (she speaks English btw, she was an exchange student in Florida and went to University in California) so, I asked her if her daughter goes to the hoikuen right down the street, like only 3 minutes away from our houses. She said, "oh no, no, no way!!!! I drive the 8 km every day to Sawara, to take my daughter to yochien" I didn't say anything because she seemed to be so utterly and completely anti- hoikuen and went on about how horrible sending your kid to hoikuen is and how yochien is the way to go, blah blah blah! Between you and me, I think driving freaking 16 flipping km every single day, rain or shine is absolutely more nuts then sending your kid to hoikuen! But then again that's just me and my opinion though.

Geeze, what could be said after that? I said, well, Branden was going to yochien, so I do know yochien is pretty good. But I am wondering about the hoikuen. She then switched to Japanese language and drove her point to Noboru. Telling my husband something about how utterly horrible hoikuen is. Gasp!

To add to this, Noboru and Mitsuko (my mother in law) seemed to have had belief's like this beforehand anyway. So this just further added fuel to the flame. Every time she would go to Branden's school she would tell Noboru, how Branden was getting such a top notch education and blah blah and how my sil was sending her two kids to hoikuen and they didn't learn anything at all! Now, I honestly don't believe this at all and think that's a big bunch of crapola! I think if my nephew and niece aren't learning things, it's because my sil hasn't taught them diddly squat! And I certainly wouldn't blame that on the hoikuen! Branden knows stuff because *I* teach him stuff and also the yochien. So, yeah Noboru and Mitsuko were pretty much slamming and making horrible comments about hoikuen for the past year. And this has drove me nuts this past year.

So anyway, we move here and we start thinking about which school to send Branden. Personally, I think we should just go with the hoikuen totally, because it is only 2 to 3 minutes drive away at the most! It's so close. We have a perfectly good school right near our house so why ship him off to another one that makes life even harder, this just doesn't make sense to me at all! The parking of the hoikuen is nice and big and yes it is important because the school Branden went to last year, the parking for me was hell. They never had adequate parking! So, to me, I think we should send him to hoikuen. Noboru was even sorta agreeing with me!

However our company a few days ago totally changed things and stopped that idea right quick!!! After that lady was bashing away at the hoikuen. Now Noboru doesn't even want to think about sending Branden to hoikuen! He won't even consider it because of what that lady said! Sigh! Who has to suffer for this? I do! Ha ha ha, because I'm the one who will be driving him 8 km back and forth, every freakin single day!

I don't know much about the difference between Hoikuen's and yochien's (I'm no expert) but for those of you in the US. Let me give a stab at the dark of explaining the difference. Yochien is for the most part, private school (for preschool and kindergarten). Yes, there are some public yochien's but most are private and I swear the sheer snob factor, plays a great deal into the fact why they are more popular! Also and this may be horrible to say, but it's what my husband says and what a lot of Japanese people say. They view hoikuen's as being for *poor people* plain and simple. People down on their luck, type people! People who have hit rough times! Again, this is probably just a stereo type (I'm sure it is). But, after speaking to a hell of a lot of Japanese about this, such as the other moms at Branden's old school, I realize yes, they really do feel this way about "hoikuen people". Come on, is this not just absolutely nuts! What's the big deal?

Hoikuen is for working parents or people who have family illness and can't care for their kids. So yes, even though we shouldn't say so, there is a stigma attached to sending your kid to hoikuen. And yes a ton of Japanese people feel this way (now, whether they are willing to admit it and own that they feel this way is an entirely different thing). I know because I have quite a number of Japanese friends and have all discussed this with them.

What do I think about this? Again, I'm not tainted either way! I really don't mind sending Branden to either one. But now this lady from the other night, got Noboru all riled up against how horrible hoikuen is and now he is not even considering it!

Anyway, we still got some time to think but, Noboru wants to send Branden to the same yochien Mrs. anti- hoikuen sends her daughter! Ha ha ha! Errr! I rather not! Because I figure if Mrs. anti-hoikuen is wound *this* tightly about yochien vs. hoikuen, then what else could she have her panties in a bunch about ykwim? I seriously don't see the big freaking deal with hoikuen in the first place! So, I don't think we really see eye to eye on this at all. So, no I rather not run into Mrs. anti- Hoikuen every single day for the rest of my life, if we both send our kids to the same yochien ykwim?

So, Noboru has checked online at all the schools in our area and he found a very nice private Roman Catholic yochien. I think he likes it for the sheer fact it's yochien and it's not only private, it's even one step better, because it's a private *catholic* school none the less! He sorta has me here, because me being Roman Catholic myself and going to Catholic school for my entire education, I have a soft spot for Catholic school. And I admit I would love for Branden and in the future for Noah to be attending private Catholic school.

I mean, both the boys are baptized Roman Catholics anyways as you all know already. And are being brought up and raised as Catholics by me anyway. So the boys going to private Catholic school, couldn't hurt right? In fact this could end up being the best idea, I mean I'd be sending them to Catholic school anyway, if we lived in the US, right? So might as well do the same here in Japan, if I have the chance. In fact they might end up really loving it!

We discussed this yochien vs. hoikuen talk at breakfast this morning. Noboru stated his opinion and he said "I'd rather the kids go to yochien and *not* go to hoikuen" and then I said, "I don't see the big deal #1 with hoikuen!!!" "and if we do end up sending him to yochien, then Branden, certainly isn't going to the yochien where that lady sends her daughter!" "If and I mean *if* we send Branden to yochien, I will only agree, if we send him to private Catholic yochien" he said, he agreed about that!

So anyway nothing has been set in stone as of yet. But that's what we are currently discussing at our house.

I'm sure all of you in the US are strongly rooting we send the boys to the private Catholic school huh? Ha ha ha.

My stance is simple. The school closet to us, is hoikuen and we should send him to hoikuen. It couldn't be that bad, right? Should be the same, I imagine. However ever since Mrs. anti-hoikuen poisoned Noboru's mind about it the other night, he won't even consider this. And I'm also aware Noboru is trying to sway me, with the whole Catholic factor of the yochien, ha ha ha. I'm smart enough to figure that out! He wants Branden to go to yochien, bottom line. Anyway that's where we're at right now.

My hair appointment's all set! : )

I made my hair appointment for this Sunday. After looking at the phone book and since I'm new to this area, I had nothing else to go by other then their advertisement and picture ha ha ha. I know that doesn't leave much to go by huh? A few had websites and out of those I checked out the price list and the picture of what the salon looked like. I found one that looked pretty modern and trendy looking. This morning my appointment was made. My appointment is at 9:00 am on Sunday and they said I will get a full course, which entails a massage as well as a total hair styling besides hair cut after they do my straight perm.! Hmmm, I'm not sure if I care if they blow it out and style it or not, because they might style is weird, but the massage is what I could really go for! Ha ha ha.

I'm still totally thinking about my hair cut. Should I keep it long and all one length and super straight? Or should I keep it super straight and get choppy layers? Ugh! I'm not sure, I better start flipping through some magazines today and decide one way or the other. I've only got today and tomorrow to decide.

Also the 9:00 am thing sorta irks me because we all know, I am *not* a morning person at all. And if I got to be in their salon at 9:00 am, then what time do I gotta wake up then? Ugh. Also the sitting in the salon for 3 hours long is gonna bite and I am sure my butt will be dead tired from being stuck in that darned chair for that long but oh well, I know I will be thrilled when it's finished I'm sure! : )

Thursday, February 09, 2006

We're going to Osaka next week

We are going to Osaka on February 13th or 14th. We are only staying one night. We are going there for two reasons. First reason is that we have never introduced Noah to his entire family yet. So while my mother in law and sil and bil have all seen Noah the rest of the family has yet to meet him. Also, my bil Jun is getting married April 6th or 7th (pretty soon) and I have to get fitted for some wedding stuff. According to my mil she wants her and Kaori and me and also Jun's new wife to all be wearing new hand made kimono's. So I have to go to Osaka and pick out the material and colors I want and it takes a while to get made, so that's the other reason we have to go to Osaka. It's my mother in laws treat for us 4 ladies. And Kaori already picked hers and got it made. Mitsuko got hers made too. And Jun's wife went to Osaka and got hers made already as well. I'm the only one who has put it off to the last minute! Ha ha ha. So that's the second and final reason we are going to Osaka.

Other then that. We've had *a lot* of company and visitors to our house lately.

Also, I'm going to be getting my hair done in a couple days. I'm hoping to get it done before we leave to Osaka. More then likely, I'll get it done this Sunday. I'm getting just the usual, Japanese ionic straight perm. I've been getting this done for about geeze, way before Branden was even born. Hmm, maybe about the last 6 or 7 years? Anyway I've been getting it done for ages. It makes your hair smooth and sleek and straight as a pin and so silky. I haven't got it done since August and I need it done before the wedding in April, but I also know I'm going to Denver and will be super busy, so it's best to get it done now that I have the time and chance to do it!

As for my hair length, hmmm. I'm mulling it over at the moment. Sometimes I think I want to just keep it all one length and straight and simple the way I have it now, but once in a while I get a wild hair up my booty and I think maybe I should just chop it off to shoulder length and start fresh (still keep it super straight of course though)? Or get a bunch of choppy layers. Then I do it and I regret it! Doh! So, right now I'm flip flopping with the ideas. I still have a day or two to decide. And for the record, I just have mildly wavy hair to begin with, but being western or of European descent, my hair is not made for the humidity of Japan and my hair turns to total frizz and this is the only thing that makes it easy and manageable for me living in Japan.

Nothing else going on. We're just settling into our new life here at the new house. Noboru was in the dog house, briefly for not helping me as much as he should with both the boys. But he is being helpful again.

I'm making cream stew for dinner tonight.

I miss all of you and hopefully I'll be seeing you all real soon in a couple weeks : )

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Shinchiku-iwai











This word means, basically something to the effect of congratulating you on your new house! This is pretty typical in Japan and I thought for those of you in the US, you all might not know about this and might find this bit of info on this custom interesting.

You know how in America we have something like a house warming party and we have food and people bring small gifts such as a coffee pot or something small like that? Well, it's sorta like that but they are a little more serious about this! Especially people from very traditional Japanese families like my husband's. They are quite big on the heavy tradition type stuff.

Anyway, since we moved here last week. My bil Jun and his fiance have been wanting to come see the house, walk through the entire thing which is pretty common. We chit chat about the house, walk through it together. They compliment each room and go on about how sugoi it all is. Then we head to the kitchen where I prepared some small snacks and drinks. We all gathered around the table, chewing the fat for about an hour.

Then right before they left and yup it's always given right before they leave. They pulled out the envelop and gave it to us. We then turn to them and thanked them about a couple hundred times and bowed our heads. Then they left. We all walked them out the door, and watch them get into his car, he has a little BMW sports car two seater car that James Bond drove in the last 007 movie (yes that is the same car my bil drives, lol) and then we waved until we couldn't even see the car anymore!

As soon as they left, we came into the house and checked the envelop (I'll admit it and I know other people check this right away too, hey at least I'm honest about it lol). And sure enough they left the equivalent of $1,000 US or 100,000 yen, which is juman yen. Not bad for us being polite for an hour and giving a tour of our house huh? And for what it's worth, about 6 or 7 of Noboru's coworkers wanna come see the house and bring gift money to us for shinchiku-iwai as well. Not to mention we will probably get some shinchiku-iwai when we go to Osaka as well.

Okay, I'll admit it, there are some things about Japan that are really fantastic!

Monday, February 06, 2006

This central heating stuff is wonderful!



Branden and I had leftovers for lunch. Which means we had yummy tacos for lunch! Noah had some mashed up banana and a baby senbai (rice cracker for those of you in the US, sorry). Meanwhile it started snowing this afternoon during lunch time. It started out with a light sprinkle, but it has grown into quite some snow! Nothing as far as snow on the ground as of yet. But it is really starting to come down, even as I type this! Our house is wonderfully warm with us having central heating! Each and every room of the house is piping hot and cozy warm! The house is always at a constant 70 degrees to 75 degrees. We could make it warmer, if we up the degrees but this is what we like and what's comfortable to us. I actually could wear shorts in the house it's so warm, but I'm not, I'm wearing fleece black yoga pants and a long sleeve t shirt (one of my usual house outfits ha ha ha). It's so nice to finally have a house like what I was used to growing up in America. No more freezing cold rooms and one warm room with the air con heater on type stuff! Which was what our old house was like and how most of Japan deals with things. Also, our floor heating is amazingly warm, my feet are actually warm touching the floor, as I type this. And because the house is so air tight we hardly use too much energy keeping the place warm anyways. What a blessing.

I'm enclosing pics of Branden this afternoon while we were eating our lunch. And also the weather thing that Noboru bought and loves! You can read how it's 32 degrees outside, which we all know is freezing! And the humidity outside is a whopping 86%. Besides being snow which is frozen water in the first place, it's hellishly humid outside. Which makes it feel even colder then 32 degrees outside. It's *very* cold outside, no kidding! But if you look at the temp inside our house, you'll see it's actually a nice toasty warm 71.6 degrees (it now says it's 72 degrees as I'm typing this) and it's so dry in the house. It reads it's only 20% humidity in the house. Which that's actually drier then Denver's dry air. Noboru told me, at this rate, we will probablyNEVER grow mold in this house! It'll be pretty hard to do with it *this* super dry air! And no, it's not so dry that we will suffer dryness or anything. It's a very nice comfortable dryness, that I really love.

I'm not sure what I'm going to make for dinner tonight. I got plenty of everything in the freezer, and fridge and cupboards. I'm thinking chicken teriyaki but I'm not sure yet. I just got done watching Cruel Intentions on my satellite tv. And I got my final load of laundry drying in the laundry room upstairs. Since we are new customers to satellite, we get two full weeks of every channel available for us to decide. We pretty much know the package we will get already, since I read about it at one of my online groups and plus Noboru heard the same thing at his work. But until then, we are totally enjoying all these channels! I especially love the Horror channel! Ha ha ha. We usually watch scary movies together, just Noboru and I, after both the boys go to sleep after bath time is done! Ha ha ha.

Noboru is off work today and tomorrow. But since he worked the night shift, he is upstairs sleeping under the blankies dead asleep! Ha ha ha.

Life is good. We are all so super really happy. Happy living here and the pace of life is nice and no more horrible traffic. The air is so unbelievably clean and fresh! No more seeing drunken Japanese business men urinating down along the sidewalks, like how it was in the busier city, where we lived before this. The big back yard is good for the kids. Every day since we moved here, first thing Branden does is gets his coat on and his shoes on and mittens and he runs out to his own backyard and plays to his hearts content! He's all fenced in, so I feel comfortable about that. And it's really a hell of a lot safer raising our kids here, then in a bigger city. He rides his own bike and slides down his own slide. He runs and runs and rides around. We all know, kids need lot's of room to run and be free and play and be silly, they need big open spaces to grow and learn and scream and shout and sing and dance. He gets to do all that now and in our own back yard none the less! There's nothing behind our house but grass and farm fields and it's not zoned for anything else. It'll probably always be like this, which is why we wanted to live here. Life is just super! Noboru is so happy! And so are the kids especially, and so am I!

The quality of life is just something that can't be beat for living in Japan. Our house is 115 or 120 square meters, I think. I realized I was under sizing it by mistake last time and if you wanna get technical about it and total our front porch and back terrace, since yes, it's technically part of our house too, then it's 162.9 square meters total for just our house from front to back!!! (basically *163* square meters, come on, you all know that's huge, especially for us living in Japan!). And our total land size is 356 square meters total. So It's actually a wonderful quality of life we are having. With lot's of nature.

Anyway, I'm starting to blab away too much, so I'm ending this now and going to watch something on TV.

Love to you all,
Gina

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Neighborhood greetings and gift giving! : )




We have just been really and truly busy here at the house! With trying to get everything unpacked and put in it's rightful place. You wouldn't believe how busy we have been! It's insane, ha ha ha!

On the bright side I managed to get the entire kitchen about 99% all sorted out and it is running pretty normal. I also bought a new plastic table cloth. I honestly wish to buy a new kitchen table, but until finances get back to normal it'll have to wait. Also, I've been looking and can't find a purely white table yet anyway. So until then, the new table cloth will have to be good enough.

The cement and drive-way is getting done right now. And the other day the driveway guy came that was hired from United Homes. We told him and showed him the design we wanted. And on one day they dug and got all the machines out to dig deep enough. Then they laid down the rocks and put some metal mesh down and then this morning is when they laid the cement. They are actually flattening it out right now. We can see the shape of it and it looks quite cool.

The fence is totally done and things are beginning to fall into place and take shape. Honestly I think it will probably be May or June until everything looks the way we want. Meaning the grass gets planted and the kitchen table get bought and etc etc. So, we are just trying to take things slowly and easily.

We bought twelve gifts for our neighbors. Noboru suggested we buy the neighbors some small towels or a box of Shiseido mild bar soaps. I vetoed that right quick. Only because I reminded him how our neighbor in Yachiyo gave us and the rest of our neighbors some generic box of soap bars as a gift for when she painted the house and we ended up just chucking them into the trash can, I'm sorry to say. And same with the other neighbor who gave us, 1 tiny cheapo hand towel! Again we threw that in the trash can, right quick too! I said to Noboru, "do you really wanna be *that* neighbor who gives the yucky gift that just gets thrown away? He said "oh yeah that's right, huh?"

We didn't spend gobs of money. We only spent 542 yen, for each gift, but it was a nice one and a cute one and one I'm sure won't certainly get thrown into the trash! We bought them little tins of a chocolate assortment! The chocolate assortment was good. And I liked that it came in a tin that they can keep or throw away, either way. And some Japanese like saving these type of tins to put extra unused tea bags in or sugar sticks in or whatever (I think I might do this with the extra tin of chocolate I bought for our family lol). So, the tin they could keep. And it also came in a tiny gift bag! All for only 542 yen was a super good deal, because we have spent so much trying to get ourselves set up. That we didn't have much extra cash for something frivelous, such as gifts for our neighbors, yet we knew we had to buy them something (you just gotta do this in Japan or else you become a social outcast okay maybe not to that extreme, lol but yes, Japanese will think you're rude or mannerless if you don't do it, and heck, good grief we wouldn't want them to think that! ha ha ha). So, anyway this is what we bought. A small chocolate assortment. Good gift, especially since mostly everyone unless you're diabetic loves chocolate, kwim? Definitely a good choice, I think! And certainly a hell of a lot better, then some stupid dumb hand towel, give me a break! LOL.

Nothing else going on, besides the fact we handed out the chocolate gift bags and rang all the doorbells of all our neighbors and greeted them today and now we're just hanging home and watching Skyperfect TV and I'm making tacos tonight (chicken and also ground beef ones too, yumm!)

BTW, the chocolate gift bags, were *very* well received by all the neighbors too! At first the neighbors were like "oh boy another gift towel," but then they looked more closely and could see by the bag, it was actually chocolate instead! Every single neighbor perked right up after that! In fact some neighbor even came by our house with his wife and chatted our ears off and told us how he just went to Houston Texas and also Canada and how now that they are retired they love to travel blah blah blah and they have also been to Europe many times etc etc. Ha ha ha. So, it's safe to say the chocolate was a big hit around our neighborhood! : )

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Costco and Joyful Honda in Chiba new town!







So today was pretty great. Busy but really good, because we got so much accomplished and out of the way. First stop was at the Joyful Honda in Chiba New town. This place is like 4 stories high, so for a DIY/homecenter, this place is huge! They even have a grocery store here. So basically this place is like Walmart Superstore or Target superstore with a grocery store in the same place! We only live 15-20 minutes tops from here, so it's cool. And the fact there is zero traffic congestion, which makes it even more awesome! They also have a Dotour coffee and KFC and Yoshinoya and a whole bunch of other eating places in there too as well as Mc Donald's and Hobson's ice-cream. We bought only 1 thing from here. We bought a humongous garbage can for outside. This is a 220 liter one and so when the inside trash gets full and it's a holiday and the trash won't be collected which is pretty typical for Japan, we won't have grody trash stuck in the house, we'll just chuck it outside and put it in the big trash can.

The actual closest grocery store nearest my house is pretty typically priced for Japan which means expensive, so I won't be shopping there. But I was surprised that Joyful Honda grocery store is as cheap as my old favorite grocery store, the maruei! They also have a huge American section and had a very large selection of Tyson chicken, and Tyson buffalo wings and Tyson fajitas. Their cheese selection was great and we all know I love cheese. They had sliced cheddar, mozzarella etc. And they even had flour tortillas and a huge selection of naans. Also and this was interesting, they had a huge selection of meats that were considered safe to eat by hallil (sp?) standards. This was pretty interesting to me. Frozen turkey's safe for or by hallil and a whole section of stuff. Many of those had markings that read: this meat slaughtered by a very sharp knife as according to Islam, etc. As, I'm pretty interested in other religions anyways, I found that this store had such a very diverse selection of food absolutely fascinating! I really like this store and it's huge! And as I've said they have a huge assortment of foreign or imported foods. Enormous American food section. I was just stunned! And yup, I checked the price of the big pork chops and they were the same price for 10 big sized ones! Yahoo! We also bought a welcome mat here too, sorry I just remembered.

So after we checked Joyful Honda in Chiba new town and got the giganto trash can for outside, we drove to Yachiyo and went to the local DIY there. We picked up our drawers for our walk- in closet for the master bedroom. They have had these super nice ones, that I have been coveting for quite some time. And we also got a brand new laundry basket. And a trash can. The trash can was tricky, because we needed a trash can with 3 sections because we need one for aluminum cans, the other for regular trash and the other one for plastic bottles. So since we didn't like the colors for the inside trash cans at Joyful Honda, we liked the one here and bought it. Also bought a small broom and dust pan.

We then went to Costco in Makuhari, I got laundry detergent (I have a whole new one, but I got one more to stock up), dish washing detergent for the dishwasher (I got a brand new liquid one but I wanted a new powder to compare and stock up too), we got a computer chair, and a 15 piece Italian pots and pans set (this was sorta expensive being about 14,000 yen but we really needed a nice set)

We also got a big pack of lean ground beef. And 2 cases of Kirkland cokes, a nice pack of kitchen towels, taco seasonings and taco shells. And crushed red hot pepper for using on pizza. I'm sure I left stuff out but that's the jist of it.

We are just trying to get the basics for our house. And get ourselves all set up!






Pictures are of the new laundry basket, that we will use in the washroom. And the cool trash can we bought. It snaps together, so it becomes 1 piece but it can also break into 3 different cans too. And the coloring matches the kitchen perfectly!












Pictures are of the kitchen towels we bought at Costco, and some stuff we thought we might be needing. Nothing too interesting, lol. Just wanted to keep you all updated is all. : )

The moving company

Okay so we go to the old house yesterday to meet with the company we rented the place from. They needed to walk through the place and make sure everything was up to check and then we give them the key back and we sign the final papers etc and we'd be on our way right? By the way we were planning to head to Costco, and the grocery store and a DIY center too. We have a bunch of stuff to buy for this new place. However you will see everything went to hell in a hand basket and the plan was totally messed up. Why? You'll see.

So the rental company is at our old house walking through with Noboru. Meanwhile I am in the car with both the boys. Because the house is freezing cold, so we were staying in the car to keep the kids warm and also out of the way. However when they got to the second floor, they opened a closet and everything was still in there! What the heck? Noboru came to the car and told me about it! He was so shocked! I was shocked too! He said the entire closet is full of our stuff! Like 6 plastic boxes full of boys clothes. Such as one box of all clothes marked 2T or 12-18 month's etc, ykwim. Stuff we would certainly never leave on purpose! Also part of our futon! Just the entire flipping closet was never touched at all! I was mad at Noboru because the day before he was in charge of the walk through. Because as usual I got stuck with both kids watching and handling all of that. Meanwhile only thing Noboru had to do was watch the movers and walk through the house, right? Wrong apparently he didn't cut the mustard because the movers forgot the closet and Noboru forgot it too! Hmmm! How could both forget the closet? I'll never know! Figures to leave this important stuff to men and they muck it all up!

So, yesterday the rental people, they didn't want the stuff in the house anymore. Which was totally understandable! Because it's not our place anymore! So, all our plans were canceled yesterday! We spent the entire day loading all the closet full of stuff in *our* own minivan!

This was not thrilling because, we have no pots and pans in the new house. We have no trash can! We have nothing! Because all our old pots and pans were so old they actually came from Hawaii, and they were generic to begin with! Plus the one cheap pan I bought here in Japan and that was thrown away too. So basically we need to start fresh and we couldn't buy anything yesterday at all. Even now we have no milk, no juice, nothing! We just couldn't do anything or get anything done because of the entire closet being filled with stuff!

Noboru called Saikai and told them. And they said he should have walked through better! Which is true. Noboru said he admits he was partially at fault because he should have checked better but he also said, being that big of professional moving company they should have caught that mistake too though. So, they did offer to bring it today! But, we had no time for that! Which is why we lugged all the stuff ourselves.

Also wanted to point out the packing ladies that came in the morning, they also left an entire drawer of clothes upstairs completely full! Lucky for me, I caught that myself!

So, would I recommend Saikai? Honestly, I don't know. I would just say, be careful and make sure they got and packed everything! Don't make the mistake we made! But then do this with any moving company. They did move quite fast though. Sorta like watching a video and then pressing the fast forward button on it. But the whole leaving the entire closet full of stuff just got me though.

So today our satellite TV was coming to be installed. But we changed that for tomorrow instead. Why? Because right now, we have to head out and go to Costco and the DIY store and the Maruei grocery store. Sigh, moving is not easy! But then I am sure all of you reading this know that already!

Anyway, please enjoy the story. It's true. It's terrible but it's true! Sigh! I don't want my blog to be all peaches and roses 24/7. And I don't want it to always be bad either. I just want my blog to be honest and if something crazy like the moving company left all our stuff, I will honestly admit it and if something wonderful happens I will post that too. I just want my blog to be real. And be honest! You are all my family and friends reading this and I'd think you wouldn't expect anything less, right? Ha ha ha.

Anyway I better hurry and go throw on some clothes so we can get as much as we can get done today.