Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday, the day my MIL arrived! : )





Okay, I think I had been thinking and focusing about only the bad points of my MIL, for about the 4 days before she arrived. I think it was nerves. The actual morning of her arrival, I made up my mind, that I was going to do everything and anything in my power to get along with her.

Personally for me it is important for me to get along with my MIL, because before, I met my husband at age 21. I had, 2 long term relationship boyfriends. That lasted a few years each relationship. And my relationships with their mom's were wonderful! Actually, I adored both of my past boyfriends mom's so much! I'm not sure if it was because we were both from the same country and so had fewer cultural clashes or what, (probably not), but we had so much in common. For Christmas season, we would do Christmas shopping together and my last boyfriend before I met my husband, his mom and I would bake Christmas cookies together. It was so cool! So, for me, I've always gotten along with my boyfriends mom's.

Even in my neighborhood where I grew up. The lady across the street from us. Her son and I grew up together and he was 1 year older then, me and we used to go to the same Catholic school.She used to always say, I hope you marry my son!

I was the girl next door. The nice girl. The friendly girl of the neighborhood. Not the mean spiteful girl.

Fast forward. And I meet Mitsuko. The year before we got married. We got along famously. I was so relieved. Phew...I mean who *wants* a bad relationship with their MIL? Nobody does. Certainly not me!

It honestly has hurt me greatly. My rocky relationship with my MIL.

So today, I got up and after sending Branden to school on a Saturday. He had school on Saturday, since on Monday they'd be off.

Anyway, I went and washed all of our spare bed's blankets and pillow cases. Vacuumed the room. Dusted it. Made sure she got a nice fluffy clean towel that I folded and put at the foot of her bed.

At 9:00 pm, Noboru and Branden drove to the train station and went and picked her up. As she came into the house. I was nervous. I could feel it in my stomach. Would it be a bad trip? A good trip? Will she be nice? I'm going to be! I will try my best among bests!

She came through the door. She said...:"konbanwa", I told her konbanwa as well.

She brought a lot of food. And she even brought some take-out gyoza from the Osho, which she knew was my most favorite place. I went in the kitchen and helped her get the obento's unpacked for the next day and all the food she had brought for us.

I thanked her. And I genuinely ohh'ed and ahh'ed.

I had made a bath for her and she promptly took one and came downstairs. She said the house has changed. She noticed the table. I guess it's true that things change so much around here, that I forgot what it looked like, when she was here last time. I said...yes, yes you are right.

We all watched TV and went to sleep, well before 11:00 pm because we had to wake up at 5:30 am to get ready for undokai!

Our first night was good. I was really pleasantly surprised!

Could it last?...would it last through the entire trip? Oh my god, I hope so! Ha ha ha!....I went to bed feeling very happy actually! Yatta! : )

Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday's lunch! : )


I usually like to send Branden to school with a sandwich 2-3 times a week max. Otherwise he can have rice instead or pasta. So this morning I was going to send him off with a roasted chicken sandwich. But then I thought, why not send him to school with a chicken and cheese quesadilla-esque type thing! Ha ha ha! I browned the tortilla in a skillet a bit beforehand. Then I put the roasted chicken breast from last nights dinner on the tortilla. Put a slice of 100% mozzarella cheese on and microwaved it. The cheese got all hot, and gooey! Salted and peppered it. Folded it up and sliced into little squares. It was so fast, so easy and was made and into the obento box, within 6 minutes from the start. The potatoes, I warmed in the microwave, since they were leftover from dinner last night. Put them in the lunch box. Boiled 2 tiny frozen broccoli's. Diced up some apple, let it soak in the salt water, so the apple won't discolor or turn brown during the day! This is what my MIL taught me and she's actually right about this. Grabbed him 2 jello mini's. Packed up his lunch. I'm serious, his lunch was made within 12 minutes. Gave me time to sit and drink a cup of hot coffee while watching 5 minutes of CNN before I ran upstairs to wake Branden.


Simply just mozzarella cheese and roasted chicken breast meat, on a toasted tortilla. His lunch came back completely empty. Not even a piece of apple was left! Ha ha ha! And yes, he ate both sandwich wraps at school. He does eat a lot, yet both my kids are such skinny minnies. You'd think they never ate at all! Ha ha ha! Yet they eat all the time. Ha ha ha. : )

PS, I'm not going to get much computer time this weekend! My mother-in law is coming on Saturday, that's tomorrow isn't it? She will be spending 2 nights at our place. She is coming tomorrow evening. But is coming for Branden's undokai on Sunday! I think Branden will do great, because Rie-san has told me Branden has been coming in #1 all week long. So either way, we are happy. I hate being online when my mil is here. She leaves on Monday, evening. And I think we are going to Makuhari with my mil on Monday. But I'm not 100% sure yet. So between Saturday and Monday, I probably won't be around much, if at all. So if my blog gets a bit quiet or if I don't get to comment on other people's blogs, that's why. But I'll be back on Tuesday! : ) With lot's of pictures and stories to share, I'm sure! : )

Have a fab weekend everyone! : )

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday! : )


Just a very ordinary day at our house! Branden had school this morning. I however met up with my girlfriends for lunch at 11;30 am. These were the 15 ladies/mommy's who go to the same swim school and yochien as Branden does. These ladies are nice and who I consider friends. We all went for the 1000 yen steak lunch. I admit, I wasn't expecting much and unsure if I'd like it. But it was delicious! Noah behaved sorta good but sorta naughty at times as well! I wish he behaved better. He wanted to play with a chopstick. Forget I brought other toys for him to play with. As in Japan, they thought playing with hashi to be dangerous and I do agree. But he threw a fit every time I took the hashi away! Finally even one of my friends just gave him the hashi. They played with him. And I played with the 3 little girls who are between age 2 and age 3. We all left around 1:00 pm. I drove home, since they knew Branden was busing that day. Noah and I waited a while and then we walked to the bus stop to go get Branden.

We all took a nap. A 2 hour nap. We all needed one. I felt great afterwards. Refreshed and recharged. I threw in a whole chicken in the oven. And started dinner. Here is a pic of my plate. We all had seconds. Could be we were all super hungry, or what. Ha ha ha!


I diced up and cubed a small bag of potatoes. Put a dollop of margarine on top. Sprinkled salt and pepper and threw them in the oven, while the chicken cooked. It's times like this that I'm thankful for a big normal sized GE American oven, this way I cooked them both at the same time.


Crispy crunchy skin and juicy inside. First thing I did was slice a few pieces and keep them tucked away so they'd be ready for Branden's lunch for the next day.


These potatoes came out so good and a bit crispy, which I love! Noah ate all his. Noboru ate every single bite as well. And Branden wanted more. I also scooped out a small sized amount and put them in a bowl for his lunch/obento for the next day. We also had corn with dinner as well. Noboru cleaned up the table and put the dishes into the dish washer. Meanwhile the boys played a bit while waiting for the bath tub to fill.


The door bell rang, it was the delivery truck called Kuronekoyamato. They handed me the stuff I had ordered for myself. I ordered a few things for myself for fall and winter. I've *never* ordered from them before. However I've got fellow foreign girlfriends who order from them all the time. After hearing raves from them all these years, I finally bit the bullet and ordered online.They are good because they have clothes in all sizes. I bought, a long black sweater coat. I love it! It's so cute! The size I picked was right, phew! I also ordered a thin type fall coat. Again, it's black and really cute! The pockets and detailing are super. The quality is nice! I was worried about quality! I don't want cheap stuff that's gonna fall apart, you know what I mean? It's not like that at all. Quality is no different then Old Navy or Gap! So, no matter if you are a size 10 (and yes size 10, is hard to find in Japan) size 12, or even a size 14/16, clothes are not so hard to find thanks to Nissen! Get this they even make clothes past a size 10L! And I don't think, I even know anyone that big, but just knowing they offer it, is really cool! And the prices are great! My one coat was like 2100 yen and the other was about the same. Anyway, I'm happy. I also bought a pair of shoes. And shirt. However the shirt ran small and I'm sending it back for a size bigger! Which is weird because the coats and sweater fit perfectly. I'm so happy about them, that I'm looking at my paper catalog right now and I think I will order a few more things. I also bought Branden a pair of cords and jeans. They were 2 pair for 1200 or something like that.

Since the box came at night, after dinner. The boys swarmed my box. They wanted to know what was inside! They were very disappointed to find out it was just boring clothes for mommy! Ha ha ha!


Here's the boys playing and waiting for the bath to fill up and the robot lady's voice to tell them the bath is ready in Japanese.

Noah and I showered and bathed and got all clean. Then Noboru and Branden went in. We all watched TV. The boys fell asleep. And then I watched TV for about an hour before heading off to bed myself.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

So we spent the day in Utsunomiya.


I'm not quite sure if we actually had a typhoon or if it was a tropical storm or what, but it rained so much, I thought it was almost time for us to build an ark! Ha ha ha! With Branden out of school on Wednesday. We had planned to go to Costco! I've been wanting to go there for the past 6 weeks. However, Noboru managed to talk me into going to Utsunomiya. It would be a very far drive, about 3 hours each way! I was feeling really unsure about all this, but I didn't mind. As we were driving the rain got even worse. The roads were becoming mini lakes. We did finally get there, it turned out to be a really fun day! : )


Weren't the roads horrible? Branden, I might add, thought it was so cool driving through all this water! Kids!




My breakfast! We all stopped at a conbini. and got something. Branden got donuts and milk. Noah had donuts and his sippy cup! Ha. I had this steamed curry bun. And Noboru had an onigiri. We had no time to eat a real breakfast since the drive was going to be so long and so far away! I love curry buns and I also like the pizza ones too! : )

Seeing, Wendy's in the US, is no big deal. In fact you'd barely notice them or pay attention to them. But living in Japan, they are rare. So, we were in the car for about 2 hours at this point. We are all getting a bit hungry. And as we were driving past. I saw this free standing Wendy's with drive-thru nonetheless! I was thinking, is this a mirage? Nope, this was a real Wendy's! We turned the car around and got in line at the drive thru. Noah had the 100 yen chicken nuggets. Branden had a kids cheeseburger combo/set and shared his fries with Noah. And I had a single with cheese combo and Noboru had the same.


This town was the most unsual town, I've ever seen in Japan. They had 2 drive-thru Starbuck's! And a free standing Subway sandwich. And this Wendy's all with 10 minutes from eachother! It was really weird! Like a little American town. But in Japan! And I've been to drive-thru Starbucks in the US. And I've been to regular Starbucks in Japan but to see *2* drive-thru Starbucks in Japan? Shocking actually! Wow, seems Japan is getting more like the US all the time! Not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing! But, it was definitely funny too see all of it and in such a close proximity from one another! : )


And, sorry, when we finally got to Utsunomiya, we were so happy to finally get out of the car after sitting in there all that time. That we left the car in such a big hurry that I forget my camera in the car! And we had walked quite far to where we parked! So no pics of our gyoza or dinner at all! The town was nice. A little rusty looking! Ha ha ha! But nice. And the gyoza was delicious by the way! : )

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Some lady at the yochien really hurt my feelings today! : (

Today at 1:30 pm, all the mom's at the yochien had to go down to the school and practice folk dancing! I know...I know, what's up with that, right? I think our school is big on folk dancing. Ha ha ha. Which I honestly don't dig, too well, but I wouldn't say anything about it. It's not too big of a deal! Anyway.....for undokai we will be dancing with our kids at some part during the day. Again not sure how well, folk dancing blends in with sports day, but whatever. : )

So, I'm there and in Japan yochiens are broken in 3 different grades by age. Age3, age 4, and age 5. Then you head off to elementary school after that. Branden is in the middle grade, he's in age 4. So there are 20 mom's since there's 20 kids. I also want to add 15 of these mom's, go to the same swim club as I do. So the 15 of them and I chat on a very regular basis. In fact, I'm going to lunch with some of them this Thursday actually. Again, I digress...

So in a nut shell, most of them know me and I know them. 5 of them, I don't really know at all. Have no clue who they are really. The teachers wanted us all broken off into pairs of 2. Problem is, 15 of my friends have little kids, like age 2 and 3 and so they were with their younger kids and were their partners. Or they already buddy'ed up already. Since although I was on time and not late. The other mom's were there way before I was.

So, basically 2 of us had no partner. And the lady, who didn't have a partner, was someone I didn't know. Here's where the story gets a bit funky.

She basically made this huge fuss about me being a foreigner! The teacher saw both of us and paired us. The lady, said really loudly so every one could hear her! "ohhhh I can't be *her* partner, she's America-jin and I don't speak English"!!!! Then she wined and went, ahhhhh, I can't be her partner! In Japanese of course. Then, to make matters even worse and to cause a bigger scene she turned around to the lady behind her and said...."will you trade partners with me", "because you speak English", then the lady behind her said...."oh no, I can't speak English well"

To be honest with you, it really hurt my feelings! Actually a lot! All I want is to be treated like every other mom, you know what I mean? She went on and on about it, for about 5 minutes! I was embarrassed. I felt really bad! Humiliated to the max!

I was not expecting anyone to speak English to me!!! Why did she automatically assume that? Is that her hang up? It's not mine! I was happy to speak Japanese! I admit my Japanese is not great....but I do speak Japanese for crying out loud!

Basically she made a total ass out of me! The other 15 girls were watching and were not too happy about her carrying on like that. I looked at Rie and she didn't look to pleased with that lady at al!

I know, I'm different. In my daily life, where I walk through nothing but Asian faces, and I rarely see faces that look like mine. I understand I am different, especially living off in the country-side. But having some other lady point blank, point it out to me *and* the entire class like that? Oh my god! I felt so totally weird! And I hated that she made me feel like that!

I must also add Noboru was there. He was off sitting in the corner watching our twirling tornado Noah. So he just caught bits and pieces.

I wanted to say and yes, I know my Japanese sucks, but to my best ability I wanted to say....America-jins kowai ne!!!....gomen ne!!!! I'm sorry us American are so scary! And just walk away from her and get myself another partner! However, there was no other partner! Sigh!

It only lasted about 10 minutes. But it was the most awkward and uncomfortable 10 minutes ever!

I won't forget this mom's face...she wore tinted eyeglasses. You know the kinds that turn colors when you go outside? With brownish lenses! I will never forget this lady!

Anyway, I just wanted to share, some lady really completely hurt my feelings today!

Monday, September 25, 2006

How our day turned out...: )

So, I got my hair done and as expected it was so absolutely boring! From 9:30 am until 2:15 pm! Noboru had to go to the school and pick up Branden. And since he starts swimming class at 2:30 pm...we had only 15 minutes to drive there from the salon and change his clothes from his yochien uniform to his swimming stuff. Phew, we made it, but just barely! All my fellow yochien moms who also attend swim class with us, commented about my hair and really liked it, which made me absolutely red faced/blush. I was happy, but I get embarrassed quite easily!

Afterwards. We went home and dropped off the school bags and swimming gear. And we were thinking about dinner. We were going to hit the Hard Rock Care in Narita that just opened last week. But Noboru wanted something else. He wanted Capricciosa. So we went there. We got our usual, the 2 garlic, chili and tomato spaghetti's and pizza and salad, plus dessert set.We also added the rice croquette that Midori had mentioned before. Wow, was she right, it was so good! I'm so glad she mentioned it! Branden absolutely loved it! The thing is as big as a grapefruit! It's huge! It has mozzarella cheese inside and rice and yummm! Thanks for mentioning it Midori, you got us all hooked now! Ha ha ha! : )

Afterwards we drove home but traffic was really busy near the Narita mall. Hmmm, must be because of the new Hard Rock cafe we thought about it in the car ride as we drove by. We passed it and drove back home to way out in the boonies where we live. It was a good day. : )



Hard Rock Cafe in Narita! : )

Just wanted to tell the ladies in Japan that the Hard Rock Cafe opened at the Narita Mall, the Aeon mall. I knew since Sept 17th. And it opened up on the 20th, last week! The Narita Mall used to suck! It had horrible shops. And not worth going and the food shops also sucked! However they totally revamped the mall. And they have the Starbucks still, but they got the Body Shop now and the Hard Rock cafe and Tommy Hillfiger and more!

So.....if any of you traveling in or out of Narita ever should happen to get stuck near Narita. There is at least something to eat! : )

And although I prefer the Aeon in Chiba Newtown...I will now definitely come to this one as well.

Heading to the salon...

I've got an appointment at 9:30 am this morning. I'm getting one of those Japanese ionic hair thermal recontruction things done. In a nut shell? I'm getting my hair straightened today. Like pin straight. I've got naturally, a very light bit of wave to my hair which I love. But in Japan, it turns to utter frizz. A lot of western girlfriends of mine, have had them done here. I've been getting mine done since before Branden was born. So for about 5 years now.

Getting it done is torture. It's like 3 hours long. My butt sits there so long that it falls asleep. Meanwhile I've read every mag in the shop by the time I'm done. Really boring actually. But in the end it's worth it. I get mine done twice a year.

So in anycase, that's where I'm off to right now. Branden is on the school bus as I type this and Noboru is in charge of keeping care of Noah while I'm away. : )

Have a good day everyone, meanwhile I will have a good day, but a *very* boring one, ha ha ha! : )

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Trick or Treat!!! Getting ready for Halloween at our house today! : )

Okay I admit it, I love the holidays! I completely love 'em!!!
I was going to put up my Halloween decorations on October 1st, like I had already mentioned, but then I realized that is also the same exact day as Branden's undokai. And since my MIL will be here next week and all. I won't have the time. So today was the perfect day for me to do it!

I hung them this afternoon. And could barely wait until it got dark. I know the boys were excited, but I think I was even more excited then them actually. Even Noboru was into it and helped me hang them! Ha ha ha! I know it must sound so nerdy and all, but I truly get the biggest kick out of decorating for the holidays!

This is our first holiday season we will be in this house, so we don't have much holiday stuff yet (although we do have a nice Christmas tree, I brought from the US, that my mom bought for us 2 years ago, a really nice one actually) But as far as the other decorations are concerned, I figure I can buy a little bit each year and after enough years, I'll have a good sized collection, but as of now, we are just starting out in the decorations department, ha ha ha. I think it still looks great and is simple, but definitely shows tons of Halloween spirit here at our house!

I'm possibly going to Costco this week and I will take a look at their Halloween stuff and see if anything looks good and is a good price. I also wanna buy some icicle lights for the outside of our house for Christmas season as well, that is the main thing I will be looking for. : )



Different size and shaped lighted jack-o-lantern hanging lights. : )

I also want to buy a real pumpkin and carve it out, with the boys and bake some salted pumpkin seeds in the oven as well. : )

Good night/Oyasumi nasai~!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday! : )

Well making lunch, was a total breeze today compared with yesterday! Ha ha ha! We had hamburg last night for dinner. So this morning I got the seasoned ground beef mixture and fried him up 2 hamburgs in a pan and even topped them with some cheese. White rice with a little butter and soy sauce, some steamed broccoli with some butter and salt and pepper. And the day before I had bought 5 gorgeous looking and yummy croissants from the bakery. Don't Japanese bakeries make the yummiest stuff? These were really flaky and so buttery. I bought 1 for each of us for dinner last night, but I bought the extra one for Branden's lunch today. So he took a croissant and some raisins and 2 of those jelly things. Branden ate his entire lunch! It came back completely empty! Croissant and all, were completely eaten. He did however mention to me, that his teacher today said, his lunch looked really good! That made me laugh! : ) Because at his last yochien, there was an English teacher at that yochien named Michael. And he was from Canada. Anyway, he would go into Branden's class everyday and see what he was having for lunch! How do I know? Because my son tells me absolutely everything, ha ha ha! He told me, mommy, Michael came in and asked me what was for lunch again today! Ha ha ha! I didn't mind at all because Michael was very nice and I'd speak with him every day when I would pick up Branden. And although he was teaching English to the grade older then Branden was in. He would often come and speak with Branden. Of course with the other teachers always around. But I think he got lonely in the day and had no one to speak English with. And Branden speaks English no different then I do. English is actually Branden's first language, he prefers English. So they would chat. And of course on holidays last year, I would pack a sorta foreigners survival kit for Michael and have Branden give it to Michael. Ha ha ha! Just stuff like Mac and cheese, premade pudding cups, popcorn, and more. But now we go to a new school.


Noah and I got to the yochien a little early today. With 15 minutes to kill, we went into the church part of the school. When I enter, I feel immediately relaxed. I feel relaxed because I see familiar things. I see the same types of figures and statues that I saw my entire life and it's quite comforting to me actually. I see the virgin Mary and various saints and I suddenly feel like, phew! Ahhhh! Very tranquil for me being in here! Noah and I look around and feel right at home. I grab some literature in English. They have mass here in English once a month. And they have pamphlets for the Catholic English speaking community and I grab one and take it with me and read it.


Here's the tiny Catholic church. In the US we have enormous churches, but here we have smaller ones and on a much less grand scale. But still lovely and really beautiful to me. The doors were locked and I couldn't enter. Thus the reflection of my head on the glass. : )


Here's the pic of the new pope of course. It's still weird for me to *not* see Pope John Paul ll's face up there anymore. It's still just really weird for me. I loved Pope John Paul, so much! I attended his world youth day, when it was held in Denver, Colorado. I saw the man from the big monitor/screen and from afar and I actually admit, I wept with great happiness! Hearing his voice through the speakers, while he was actually there, man it was awesome! Pope John Paul was a people person. He loved everyone and had this rare ability to connect to all people and from his heart, you could tell he really meant it! He was so personal and loving to all. This new pope. I'm not particularly crazy about him. He's definitely no Pope John Paul. Not by a long shot! But I will follow him. And the whole thing last week, about what he said and then they said he didn't say it. It was translated wrong. Just really made me wonder.

After picking up Branden from Catholic school, we headed down to swimming school. I've taken him to swimming school all week long except for on Monday, since it was closed with it being a holiday. And I'm proud to say, he has now moved on to another level! See, the new patch? He's not a yellow sunflower patch anymore. he's now got some purple flower badge. I erased our last name from the pic for safety reasons. I haven't shown pics of his swimming for a while, but he's really getting good! I can't believe it really! The coach said she thought he was ready to move on but had to test him and 2 other kids. The task was swim with your white board for the entire length of the pool. The pool is huge by the way! And the kids had to swim both ways! Branden and the little boy passed! The cutest little girl didn't pass! I was so sad for her because she is such a sweetie pie! Anyway that was our day in a nutshell! : )

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Onigiri Wednesday's, oh my! : )

Twice a month, or every other Wednesday rather, all the Catholic school's throughout Japan have a thing called onigiri Wednesday's. They do this so the kids will have an extremely simple meal and this will give them time to reflect and realize that many kids in the world do not have enough to eat. The school and church hopes the kids will appreciate what they have. Yada yada yada! I can understand the school's thinking. And I totally can understand this. However as an American mom, I'd wish I could just send Branden to school with a bologna sandwich and nothing else or even just a cheese sandwich would be great and much easier for me. Sigh, but this onigiri making stuff, has been a thorn in my side since he first started this school. I've written about this onigiri stuff before. And even now, I've still not gotten it down yet!I'm not a bad cook. In fact on a whole, I'd say I'm a pretty good cook! And on any given day, I pack Branden's lunch with some American/Japanese type fusion lunch, ha ha ha! And it usually works out pretty darned good! But making straight Japanese stuff, like onigiri and I'm horrible....completely horrible! Branden doesn't eat fish, he doesn't really like seafood too much. and in fact he's not crazy about seaweed too much either. Branden may look more like my husband, but he definitely inherited western tastebuds. Noah on the other hand, may look like me, but he eats and prefers Japanese food and loves anything fishy or seafoody. And he loves onigiri... simple triangle shaped and wrapped in seaweed onigiri. So, knowing each of my sons. I try to make a onigiri that Branden will actually eat! Versus not eat at all. I have been making these onigiri's and he's been eating them since April.I got the plastic wrap laid down on the bottom of the obento/lunch box. I know you need that when making onigiri. So the onigiri can come out easier and won't stick to the bottom. And see the little decorated milk carton? Well, we are supposed to donate money to the school on onigiri Wednesday's. Why? Because they say, by us being lucky enough to send our kids with a simple (ha!) onigiri, the school has just saved us tons of money by not having to send a real/proper lunch. Hmmm! Again, I can understand this. But as a western mom. Actually me having to go through the trouble of making onigiri's to begin with. Buying the onigiri molds to begin with. Having to buy seaweed and whatnot when we usually don't have it in the house to begin with. Actually in my case, I have to spend *more* money just to send him to school with the darned tootin' onigiri. So, they should be giving me money actually, ha ha ha! I told my husband about this and while he totally agrees and laughs about it being true. He knows that would not fly. I agree. And our regular obento's are usually what we had from the night before, so it's easy for me. Like if we had roasted chicken for example, I'll send him to school with a roasted chicken sandwich with swiss cheese, some mayo and whatnot. Easy. Ohhh darn this onigiri Wednesday stuff! : )



Since the donations are being given to the poor as the school says. I wondered if the donations were being sent to a different country? And if so, could I give some of my US coins instead? The reason I even thought this, was because I didn't have much Japanese change. I figured I better not though because I wouldn't want any of the sisters angry at us. So, I dug out 170 yen from my coin purse and put it in the donation milk carton. (1) 100 yen coin and (7) 10 yen coins. His milk carton jingled all the way to the bus stop this morning! Ha ha ha!

Rice on the front side. And I hid 2 small pieces of karaage inside and covered the other side with rice as well. When it was done, you couldn't even see the little chicken pieces inside. Most mom's fill theirs with tuna and whatnot. I'll probably give Noah the tuna and whatnot when he starts this school many years from now. But this is perfect for Branden.

The fish and elephant shaped ones came out gorgeous! Granted, very simple no doubt, but still great! Now the bear is a totally different story! I thought I had measured the size of his whiskers properly. I cut them with my kitchen scissors in the kitchen. But the left whiskers were longer then the right ones. I'm in this kitchen at this point, still feeling pretty good. I managed to trim them down without disturbing the delicate onigiri. Phew! Now this is really were everything turns to hell. So, I'm putting on the teddy's eyes. The damned left eye. I placed it and I don't know if I breathed too hard? But I blew the eyeball to the teddy's forehead! BAM! The eyeball got stuck on his forehead for sure! At this point, I glance at the clock. I don't have much time left! I have to motor or we will certainly be late! I tried removing it with my finger and it didn't budge! Okay, a mild panic set in! A few deep breaths over this eyeball on the forehead thing! And I think, grab out my chopsticks. I grab them and say not to worry, it's going to be a piece of cake! I try gently picking up the eyeball from the forehead and not sure why or how it happened, but I managed to rip the teddy-bears whole frontal lobe completely off! Okay, now I am really in a panic! Teddy is now missing half his freakin' forehead! I place my hands over my head and my eyes. And I sit there for a minute. I think, if I send Branden to school with half the bears head missing, the sensei's will surely shake their heads. And say, "poor kid, he has an American mommy and she can't even make him a proper onigiri" It's times like these when I think, "if I was Japanese, I woulda known how to do this stuff". If only I were a Japanese mom.....sigh, but I'm not and no matter how many years, I live in Japan, I'll NEVER be one! I accept that, totally no doubt, but it's just days like today! I compose myself and I get a bit of rice from the rice cooker and pick up the teddy and put him back in the mold. I sorta Frankensteined teddy's head back on! All the while, I worried if the sensei's and nun's would notice! Oh god, I hope nobody notices his head, I worried! Now teddy has only one eye. I very carefully put a left eye on teddy.

By the way, and let me remind you guys. The school actually wants me to donate money on onigiri Wednesdays because it saves me so much *time* and money. Errrr ugh huh! Yeah, like today?
Here's Branden at the bus stop waiting for the school bus. I sit and wait until I see him get on the bus and they drive away. What a crazy morning today! Ha ha ha!

He has a summer uniform and a winter one. And this outfit he's wearing isn't either. They have to go to school wearing their gym outfit everyday until undokai/sport's day/field day. And our field day isn't until October 1st. Undokai's in Japan are usually held in September and go all the way until the second week of October, I have one friend whose kid has theirs the second week of October this year.

Just another typical day of what it's really like being an American/western mommy in Japan! Most days it's easy. And sometimes, it's not! But as long as I keep my sense of humor about things, I figure I'll be okay! : )

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This afternoon at swim school! : )


Today was a day spent at home since Branden was at school anyway. Noboru did the yard work, while I cleaned the house. Since Noboru doesn't get a chance to go to swimming class often and see how Branden is doing, he went today. Here the boys sat upstairs, until the bell rang and Branden had to run downstairs and head to swim class.



Noboru put Branden's swim cap on Noah. Noboru loves to put things on Noah's head! I'm not sure why! : ) He also puts smaller/chisai towels and ties them on his head sorta scarf styled. He does this, but he tells me, that Noah looks like a girl when wearing towels or whatever on his head! And he also insists that Noah looks like a little Russian granny when he wears a towel draped on his head like a scarf! Where on earth, does Noboru get this Russian thing? You got me! Especially since neither of us are obviously Russian! LOL! In either case...here is Noah looking at daddy. Noboru had just stuck it on Noah's head! Grrr! And you betcha, Noboru said....he looks like a girl! Grrrr at Noboru! : )


Oh my poor baby, how could daddy stick that cap on your head?

Tuesday's obento : )

Last night, I made a simple ground beef and pasta dish. And garlic bread and salad. So this morning when it was time for his obento to be made. I got some pasta and ground beef from the fridge from, last nights dinner and microwaved it in a bowl. When it got hot, I transferred it to his obento box. And I made him some fresh garlic bread this morning and sliced him up some apple. Good thing his obento making was so easy this morning. Sometimes the mornings come so quickly don't they? I seriously felt like, I just fell asleep when the alarm woke me this morning. Ha ha ha! : )

Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday : )


On Sunday Noboru had to work. He's off today and tomorrow so that will be so nice! He's off 2 days a week, except his days off are not always on Saturday and Sunday. Oh well, as long as he's off 2 days a week, I pretty much don't mind which days he's off! : )The boys and I didn't do much on Sunday. It rained all day long and looked quite ugly outside. So we stayed indooors and were couch potatoes on Sunday pretty much! We watched Labyrinth and the new version of the Shaggy Dog again for the billionth time! This movie is starting to make me nuts, but I watch it because the kids like it! Labyrinth is an old 80's movie that I just love watching! I don't even own it on DVD, I still have the VHS that I had, when I was younger! Ha ha ha!

Anyway here's is a pic of Noboru and Noah, as he's putting him into the stroller. Today's things to do. Go to the Aeon shopping center and look for a hat for Branden. Noah has one, but Branden needs one! Poor Branden! And also go grocery shopping at the Joyful Honda!

We wanted to eat some really fab lunch at some great Italian restaurant or perhaps some Indian! That would have been cool! But we are in saving up for Christmas mode. And also Branden's birthday is coming on October 26th as well. So, we opted for the more affordable and cheaper route! We had coupons for KFC, plus they had a special. 6 pieces of chicken for 1000 yen and that included 2 mushroom pasta gratin things that they sell in Japan in the fall. Damn these mushroom pastas are delicious! Ha ha ha! One good thing about living in Japan! We were going to get 1 large fry from KFC, but since Mc D's was next to KFC, Branden decided to inform us that KFC fries aren't as tasty as Mc Donald's fries? Oh my!.....Kids! Seems as a mother, when they're little we "ohhh and ahhh" our kids first words so much and I know because I did that as well! But then by the time they get to the age like Branden. When they do nothing but talk and talk, non stop 24/7, all we wish for is for a little quiet time. Ha ha ha, motherhood, it's so funny sometimes! : )

Here's Branden eating his lunch!

Here's Noah looking at the bunch of Japanese girls that were sitting next to us. They got a kick out of both the kids. And were playing peek-a boo and whatnot with Noah. Making googly eyes at him and so on. Ha ha ha. : )


Here they are after lunch. Feeling fine and full! Noboru is meanwhile smoking himself into oblivion. Which is why we all went outside. He smokes far away from us though. He was sitting on the opposite bench way far on the other side. If you see the ladies behind the boys. Well, Noboru was sitting that far but on the bench to the right




These two statues, Batman and Superman, Noah didn't give Superman a second look but for some reason he got the biggest kick out of Batman! He loved Batman! He was clearly smitten with Batman. He laughed so hard and pointed! He actually would not leave this Batman statue, we had to grab him and carry him away. He was upset, because he really liked this statue! LOL!


Meanwhile Branden didn't give a second thought about Batman. he was big on Superman! Could be because Branden has watched practically every episode of Seinfeld with me. And he knows Jerry Seinfeld has a thing for Superman as well. And in every episode, Branden and I would always look for the superman. Sometimes a superman on the fridge when Kramer would open Jerry's fridge or whatever. But Superman is who Branden really likes! : )


I walked into the Gap, looking for a winter hat for Branden! That's all and nothing else! This yellow puff vest caught my eye. It was for the bigger kids, like Branden's age and way older. I said to myself, no, I will not buy it! Although Noboru didn't mind at all. I walked the whole store and did not find a hat! Man, this sucks! What am I going to do? Maybe I should go Branden hat shopping next week! I hope to find something and get it over with for crying out loud! : ) I glanced at the puff vest again. And it was actually a lot cheaper then I thought! Really affordable actually considering it's a puff vest. But then I thought, no! Then the lady who works there that likes to talk to me in English. I've written about her before! She loves and insists speaking to me in English. Funny because I would answer her in Japanese. She would speak to me in English! Yup, a white woman who is insisting on speaking Japanese and a Japanese woman insisting on speaking English and in Japan nonetheless. Not like Japanese-American, if you know what I mean and it's not like I was born in Japan either, yet we both spoke in our non-native tongues all summer long with one another, that was the funny part about it all. I finally gave up! And so I speak to her in English now! Geeze, no wonder I never get to speak Japanese here in Japan! So she comes out of the back of the store and walks directly to me. And hands me 2 coupons! 1 to use for today and 1 for next week! They are called "friends and family" cards??? And I get 25% off anything and I mean sale or non sale items...all of it. 25% off! She passed it to me and said, here! Use this today if you want to buy something! And use this next week if you come in and if you don't, it's okay. I was like, "wow, thanks." So considering the vest was affordable anyway. And considering she just gave me a coupon for 25% off on top of that? I went for it! How could I not!
And the lady is about my mil's age. But she dresses really nice. I thanked her for the coupon though! : )
When you have 2 kids, you always waver and feel guilty if you buy 1 kid something and not the other one. Even if they don't need anything. It's a tough one. Because you always wanna be exactly fair. And I want to be fair. So I figured since I was getting Branden the vest. I walked in the back at the Baby gap. They had good stuff. The problem is, I didn't really need anything! Cute sweatshirts (didn't need them), cute overall's (didn't need them either).....I knew I'd feel like crap if I bought something for 1 kid and not the other. So I thought I'd get Noah a pair of sweat pants. They were cheap/affordable and they had the cute little emblem on the bottom pant leg. Errr, the Baby Gap logo used to be a bear, bear on all the clothes and everything. But lately, the logo sorta looks like a dog! See, the logo on the pant leg? So did they change it to a dog? Noboru says that's still a bear. That they must have changed the bears look. Hmm, it still looks like a dog to me though! LOL. And it's not just Japan either! Because the thermal top I got Noah from the US Gap, also had that weird dog looking logo on it too! Hmmm, dog or bear? Ha ha ha! Yup, I'm really knee deep in motherhood, when I am pondering the baby logo of Gap! To me, it looks like a dog with a red scarf around his neck! However if they just changed the look of the bear, they outta change it back, because the logo looks sorta dog-like. Ha ha ha! : )

After this, it was barely 1:00 pm by this time, so we headed to the grocery store and bought a weeks worth of groceries. And a 3-pack of Kao white, bar soap for Noboru and I. And some Dove facial wash for myself. And some new Dove shampoo and conditoner in the navy blue bottles for Noboru and I. I'm not sure if I'll like it, it's new, so I wanted to try it.

Anyway that was our typical, ordinary, quite boring day actually! For dinner,I made pasta and salad and garlic bread. Although I was craving sausages and peppers like my grandma used to make.