Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Immunization question answered here! : )

This question was very nicely asked in my comments section and I was going to respond there but #1, my reply was so long, lol, I was thinking it was overly long to put in the comments section. And #2, I thought if I put it here, maybe it could help someone else as well, who knows! So That's why I am putting it here instead! : )

Here's how the thing with the doc went down and why I do the US immunizations (it wasn't an intentional thing you'll see it just sorta happened that way : ). Branden was born in Hawaii (the US) and we lived in the US until B was about 10 month's old. We had insurance obviously when he was born and afterwards so he was immunized in America first and for 10 month's of his life. Then we moved to Japan and I was given the great big blue English Health Handbook. I had every intention of just switching Branden over to getting him immunized in Japan. No big deal, I thought. Immunizations are immunizations shouldn't matter in the least. It'll be okay I thought, piece of cake. But as I wrote/marked what he had in the health book. Branden had more then he was supposed to have in Japan and some not even listed in the Japan book at all. And I soon realized/found since B was being immunized for the first 10 month's in the US, totally made him getting immunizations in Japan a bit more complicated. I was asked by a Japanese pediatrician in Japan what type DTAP vaccination was given??? My answer, well it came out of a needle, trying hard not to come out sounding smart ass but seriously transferring what he had in the US to be understandable to Japanese docs was starting to become an absolute freakin headache for Noboru and I. Each type of immunizations has actual #'s on them as they do in the US. To be more specific, what batch did the immunizations come from? The system and how I had been doing the immunizations for the past 10 month's was totally different in Japan. I wondered what I would do to be honest with ya!

On one of my trips back home to Denver. And funny how weird things happen for a reason. But I saw a bulletin board thing and it had a paper for "low cost vaccinations" Now again...by now with living in Japan we didn't have insurance in America anymore obviously. I called them fully expected nothing, and for it to be a total dead end! And the person on the other end of the phone was very polite. She said it's at Jefferson county health center and each shot costs just $15.00. These are mostly geared for poor people living in the US but however they are indeed available for anyone to get, if you're American. I happened to have Branden's immunizations papers/records when I went to Denver anyway and I went and got my then 1 year old Branden fully immunized for under $60.00!!! I didn't know what to expect or what kind of people would be there. But would you believe a woman living in Germany (an American woman by the way) took her daughter in there to get immunized same time as me. She had the same wonderful and smart idea! Sarah, I immunized Branden, every visit I went home from that point on and I paid just $15.00 each shot! I went home 3 times a year anyway so it wasn't a big deal to get them done. He was 100% caught up with his immunization and always has been, even when I checked in July 2006 he was caught up still. Most people never think about doing this, but the service is available and its out there! It's an expats best friend, I tell ya!

Now Guam, they have a public place to do free immunizations there. I went there last year. They are a bunch of assholes, sorry to say it, but it's true! They stop giving shots at 3:30 pm and it's just once a week. Flights from Japan don't even land until 2:30 pm. I ran off the plane with 2 kids, zipping through US customs, hopped into my rental car driving down the road like a bat out of hell, I was like 5 minutes early, my god, Noboru and I even said in the parking lot..."we made it, we made it" yet, they said we were too late because the clock was a bit fast in the facility! Noboru and I were so pissed smoke was coming from our ears, mouth's and wherever else! These were free shots. And by the way...I specifically asked the woman on the phone when I called from Japan, "I am actually flying there from Japan....what if I am a minute late due to a delay in flight", she said no problem and yet when we got there, they were jerks! I went to my dad's condo and told my dad, he was so pissed. However my dad has a pediatrician's office just down the road from him and my dad actually went there himself. Told them the whole story and the next day they gave Noah all his shots. Price? Just $20.00 bucks, each shot and this is full price I am paying. It's a private pediatricians office, not a low cost thing. They're nice, polite. The chicken pox shot was $60.00 for Noah in Guam last July. The price sucked, especially considering Branden got his varicella shot for just 15 bucks in Denver. But I figured the 60 bucks was better then Noah getting scars from any possible chicken pox scabs that could fall off. So, I guess for us it was worth it.

Also, they always ask me, if I have any questions. It's my big chance to ask an American nurse or doctor in my native English language and speak normal speed and they understand me and my question. It's very reassuring for me. They also measure and weigh them and give them little physicals as well, it's great.

I do totally go to Japanese doctors if the kids get sick, I am by no means against Japanese doctors at all. I have found many good docs in Japan. But at the same token I find many Japanese docs don't wanna be asked questions. And I miss that sorta relationship sometimes with a good American pediatrician. I do mass health check ups and whatnot in Japan totally. But for me, since they are so affordable to get immunized in the US, why not. And that way I don't need my hubby to translate anything for me even though I can pudder around in my own Japanese ability well enough. I don't gotta say..."can you ask them such and such" I can ask them directly myself!

Also and I really hate bringing this up. But I had one old western girlfriend of mine. And she had the same language problem like many of us do. She never knew when the immunization times were and her kids were very greatly under-immunized. Her kids were actually like a good year and a half behind the Japanese immunization table. Her husband worked a lot and so he often forgot to remind her when to go to the doctors for immunizations. And if a letter came in the mail, she certainly couldn't read it and same here. Now if you're a western mommy and you can read it, then obviously you wouldn't have this problem. But I understood her feeling because I can't read Japanese either, so I was in the same boat as her. Everything her kids caught, she'd tell me "Gina it's because they're not immunized", lol!!! Hey at least she had a sense of humor about it. But yes I told her many times...do it in the US girl. : )

If it was expensive or something just a handful of people could get, I wouldn't even bother mentioning it on my blog because it wouldn't be fair. But seriously it's something absolutely everyone can be getting if they want to for their kids. Now granted if you don't wanna it's fine and if you don't immunize at all that's fine too, to each their own. But the option is always there. If you're an American, whatever city you are from, when you go home for a visit ask where the free or low cost vaccinations are given and go and bring your Japanese health book though so they can see what your child has and what your child needs though. You gotta show proof! I hope this can help someone, even if it just helped one other family, then it would have been worth it, for me taking out the time and typing this information up! I do seriously hope this helps someone : )

Monday, February 26, 2007

A clear sign my kid goes to school in Japan, ha ha ha! : )

Well if this isn't a clear sign my child indeed goes to school in Japan, then I don't don't know what and I love it! Ha ha ha! Branden brought home these art projects yesterday and it immediately hit me. Gosh, he really is going to school in Japan. Point made crystal and happily clear by the art project, ha ha ha! In the US, kids would come home with art project of turkey's made from a child's hand traced onto paper cut outs in the month of November or pumpkin art shapes in October or a whole bag full of Valentines cards from all our classmates in the month of February. That is the stuff I remember when I think of school. Meanwhile my wonderful little guy brings me home sushi and various Japanese winter time things! It actually warmed my heart! I loved it more then all the gobbles gobbles and pumpkins I ever made. I've never seen stuff like this and I found it so so so cute! I told Branden, "honey, you made me sushi?" He said yes I did. I asked him the names of each one (yes I knew the names already, but he got excited telling me : ) and he answered. I said what a very nice ebi you made and the egg with nori looks exactly real!!! I got the biggest kick out of this! Even now while I am typing this I am smiling ear to ear! Yup, sushi art work! I love it! And I'm so glad my kids are going to school in Japan. The art work alone is worth it! : )

Today, no obento was required and let me explain why! The entire yochien classes (the 3-4 age class and the 4-5 age class, which is B's class and the 5-6 age class are all making Japanese style curry. Last week, everyone had to bring something. Everyone in the entire school had to bring a tiny bag of rice each. Plus the younger class had to bring 1 onion each. Branden's class had to bring 1 carrot each and the bigger class had to bring 1 potato each, ha ha ha! The teachers were bringing the beef and curry roux. This is happening as part of a good-bye lunch for the older class that will be starting elementary school when April comes and also part of a teaching thing to help the kids learn to prepare a meal by themselves of course with plenty of teacher supervision and help! So on Monday, which was yesterday, the younger class chopped up their onions. The oldest class peeled and chopped up their potatoes and Branden and the rest of his class peeled their carrots with peelers and the teachers helped them. The whole school got involved and Branden had so much fun yesterday! When my dad and I picked him up yesterday fromt he bus stop, he was talking a million miles a minute, saying how he peeled carrots and they made curry and he even got to stir the pot, lol! And today which is Tuesday, is the day the entire school will be eating the curry they all actually made themselves! So, no obento required today like I said. But the note the school sent home to us parents said. Bring a plastic plate, which I just sent one of his regular plates he uses here at the house. They also said to bring a bigger deeper spoon, so I sent him with one of the ol' Thomas ones. And I also sent him with 2 wet towelettes, just in case ha ha ha. And 1 paper napkin, and I felt badly it said happy birthday on it but that is all I had and I figured nobody really would care at the school anyway. Also, the meds are just because he had a tiny pinch of an ear ache last week. He's fine now, of course but he still has 2 days of his meds left. So anyway, Branden will be enjoying curry with the rest of his school today! : )

My dad left, and we're leaving next month too! : )

My dad left this evening, his flight left around 9:00 pm, but we dropped him off at Narita airport around 5:30 pm to avoid long lines and whatnot. So my time with my dad in Japan has come to an end. Very sad. I lost my very good hang out buddy! : (

What else have I been up to? Well, I have been getting my kids a bit ready for Spring and Summer. Just a pinch. Not too much. I placed an order from Gap and also Old Navy online a few nights ago, after the boys fell asleep and I am having them shipped to my dad's condo in Guam and he will ship them onto me when they arrive next week.

And the thing keeping us the most happily busy right now is we are indeed heading to Guam this coming month in March for my birthday. Noboru got a few days off and so we will be going there and spending my birthday there. We are still trying to decide which hotel we wanna stay at right now, we could stay with my dad since he has an extra spare big bedroom, but since the hotels are quite cheap there and being that we do a bunch of our own stuff zipping here and there, it's better for Noboru and I to stay at a hotel. Also my dad is going to go ahead and book the boys a doctors appointment with the boys pediatrician there, so they can check to see if they need anymore immunizations. I think Noah needs 2,and I don't think B needs any, he's all caught up. But I'll have them find out on that, when they compare what he has versus what he needs. So we'll see.

Also and this is sorta weird but, Noboru keeps bringing up Louis Vuitton. He has brought it up twice in the past week. "Do you like Louis Vuitton bags or just Prada still?" I think that was his question. And then he asked something else about LV as well. So, I don't know but I think he is planning my birthday present and I hate to make a wild guess here, but I think it has something to do with LV. Oh yeah he also mentioned," LV has a big store in Guam doesn't it." Now either Noboru has gone completely bonkers or he is indeed planning a birthday present. Ha ha ha! And between you and me, I really very seriously don't need a new bag, I have plenty and besides, I find myself just using my (Prada) diaper bag anyway, so I seriously don't need a new bag at all. So anyhoo, we'll see. Oh well, I guess it's the thought that counts, ha ha ha! : )

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Washing up at the sento/public bath!!! : )

Tonight, after an early dinner my dad, Noboru and the boys and I headed to the public bath. I love going to the public bath here in Japan. So nice and relaxing! My dad likes them too. I've been to so many through the years from little tiny little mom and pop owned types ones. And I've been to gigantic "super sento's" like the one in Namba in Osaka Japan. So, we've been to many all over. Before we moved last year. I used to go to one about once a month. I've even gone with a few of my fellow western girlfriends before, that was a hoot! Ha ha ha! : ) We've yet to go to one near our new place. So tonight we went to a very small one and a very old one too. Noboru actually said the one we were going to was a "showa" era sento. He actually called his mom and she was pretty surprised, lol!

When we got there and parked the car. I was surprised by how short/height wise the entrance was. I actually had to bend my head down a bit to enter. My dad who is much taller then me, I wondered how my dad had to bend and squeeze into the tiny shortened doorway and the doorway inside is even tinier. This was indeed the oldest sento I've ever been. We said goodbye at the door. And Noah and I went into the ladies side. The woman assumed we were foreigners. Errr, obviously I am one. But she assumed I was on vacation in Japan from America. And not actually a resident of Japan. She asked me the best she could...."if I knew the procedure of taking a bath in the sento" , lol! I thought it was totally cute the way she tried to be helpful. Keeping in mind we just live a few short cities near here! Ha ha ha. I thanked her so much and told her in Japanese, "no explanation was necessary" and I did thank her though a few more times", then we actually did a bit of light chit chat. I told her, I lived in such and such town. And she was pretty nice. I went on my way and got undressed along with Noah.

We showered first and got squeaky clean and then we soaked in the bath tub. It was pretty nice. I think this was the hottest water, I've ever soaked in. It was actually a bit too hot for me. I had to get out and cool off a few times. The place was so small. There was just 2 tiny sized baths on the women's side. It looked about a billion years old. I sat in the sento and I thought about the rich history of this place. It's been a sento for 100 years, said one of the ladies! I thought how World War 2 came and went and yet this sento survived and now I sit in it. An American living in Japan nonetheless. Thinking about it all. Wondering how many generations of families have bathed here! How many families bathed in these types of places before people had baths in their actual houses. And how unfortunate that these days, the old places like these are becoming a thing of the past. It's makes me really sad. I know now days everyone or mostly everyone has baths and showers in their homes. So these are indeed becoming a thing of the past. I hope they never die out completely. I will continue to go to them and soak in the tub and the rich history, because I love them. Long live the sento!!! : )

I also chit chatted a bit with a few other ladies, during my bath and while I changed in`to my pajamas. And I could hear my dad as he was taking a massage from one of those old time massage chairs that some public bath places have. The man and woman who were sitting on top running the sento, were laughing as I could hear my dad get a rough massage from those old type chairs, lol! Yup, my dad got roughed up by an old time massage chair! ha ha ha, : )

PS: This is the first picture I snapped. However Noah wasn't even remotely looking towards the camera and my dad's eyes were glowing red, even though I had the red eye reduction thingie on, hmmm. So anyway I snapped a second and last picture, right? And would you believe some unknown guy at the same exact time the flash went off and the picture snapped is when the unknown guy came out. So, whoops I accidentally snapped a picture of him. Noboru was standing next to me at the time I took these pictures. So, who is that skinny little guy in a red coat and PJ's in the first top picture? We haven't the foggiest idea, ha ha ha! And since it's the one where my dad's eyes aren't glowing and Noah is actually *almost* facing the camera,lol. We'll have to use that one and save that one in the family photo album from now on! Just watch, every time someone will ask...who is the other person? We'll have to say...we don't know! Ha ha ha! : )

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A care package from Osaka!!! : )

Now, we all know my relationship with my MIL has been a bit bumpy at times. There's just no denying that. But today, I was totally pleasantly surprised! She sent a fairly large care package of all sorts of goodies to eat! She did that because she knew my dad was here and she wanted to do something nice! I thought it was a pretty thoughtful thing to do! I actually called her at her main restaurant in Osaka and thanked her myself. And put my dad and the phone and he thanked her as well! : )
Many many yummy things to eat! Yup, it was a nice surprise this morning to open the door and find a special delivery guy with this in his hand! Ha ha ha! : )

Homemade buta kimchee sauce! Yummers! LOL : )

Karaage and potato salad! I actually froze one of the bags of karaage for later. But the one pack, we had some of it for dinner this evening! She also sent, spinach with sesame oil. Just many good things! I guess, just knowing she did this warmed my heart a bunch (corny to say but true), I really appreciated it! : )

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday, the obento, the pouring rain and Noah's 18 month old mass check up! : )

Today was Friday and everyone woke up a bit early. I don't know maybe we all felt refreshed or what! I made my usual homemade pizza with those little sauce packets I blogged about last month, I think. The mozzarella cheese and some peperoni. Two chicken cutlets and some fries and 1 steamed broccoli for Branden's veggie of the afternoon, lol. And some fruit, which was mikan! It was a quick lunch to make and Noboru and my dad sat at the table and drank coffee together while chewing the fat over something or other, while I was preparing B's lunch! : )

Today the rain was so bad, his raincoat alone wouldn't do, so we had to pull out Branden's umbrella! I was debating if he should wear his rain boots or not, I let him wear his school mandatory yochien shoes. But in the afternoon when it actually poured rain nonstop, I regretted not insisting him to wear his rain boots, ha ha ha! Mistake # 5 billion, I'm sure, oh well! : )

Grandpa walks Branden to the bus stop every morning and picks him up at the same bus stop every afternoon, unless we pick him up at the school instead though. This was B, this morning before grandpa walked Branden down this morning! We also told the school, we have to pick up B from school early today because his brother Noah has his 18 moth old check up today and it's at the same time Branden gets out of school, so it's better if we pick him up early. So we picked up Branden this afternoon at 12:15 pm. And then we rushed home and unpacked his yochien stuff and headed out in the pouring rain to the "cattle call" type heath check, you know where they throw you in a room with about 30 other, 18 month old's all at the same time? LOL! My god, those things are nuts, aren't they?

Since it was just my dad and I, they used easy Japanese for me, to easily understand and also used bits of English thrown in as well. But I tried my best and that is what counts! They measured Noah's weight, head, chest, height etc. Then we went to a different area and they checked his teeth by some dentist lady or whatever. She was checking for any tooth decay or cavities. Since Noah isn't allowed much sweets or anything stronger then a 20% diluted apple juice or diluted oolong tea, I wasn't worried a bit. B has perfect teeth too, so again, I wasn't worried. She said...shiroi, meaning white, and she said that for each tooth. And she he has perfect teeth and then we went to the next booth, lol. And there they listened to his heart and looked up his nose and peeked at his private parts down there and Noah was *not* crazy about them peeking inside his diaper at all and seeing the "family jewels!" Ha ha ha, but he didn't fuss or anything which was pretty amazing. Next we all sat in 1 big gigantic tatami room with all the other mom's and kids. This cute little girl....do you see her in the picture? She was wearing the brown overalls with piggy tails? Noah was wearing the pale yellow cheap 340 yen, nishimatsuya shirt closest the camera. Anyway, this girl had somehow fixated on Noah and she followed him everywhere, she even tried to kiss him, which her mom had to pull the little girl away and the mom gomen nasai-ed me. Noah didn't quite know what to do. I told the mom, it was okay, I wasn't upset in the least, I mean it's just a teeny tiny little kid kissing another teeny tiny little kid and they're both just 18 month's old. It wasn't like she was a maniac or anything, so yeah I really didn't see the big deal about it. She really liked Noah no big deal, ha ha ha. But, Noah was more interested in playing with the book,and with his brother B. It was sorta funny though, poor Noah got an unexpected smooch-a roo, a chu chu! : )

Then they called us for some talk about immunizations. And she tested him some more with block and tested his speech ability as well. First came the talk about the immunizations. Now we all know, I immunize in the states, but the BCG we did get in Japan. However since many of the shots he does have, aren't marked in the Japanese healthbook thing, I guessed she assumed we didn't get those shots. So she said, I see you don't have a measles and rubella immunization and also a DTP immunization as well. I pulled out my American records and I showed her and again my Japanese isn't great. So, I said, "we immunize in America"....."ippai ippai shots" meaning he actually has been vaccinated more then they do in Japan. So not to worry, is what I meant. And I'm not saying the Japanese way is wrong and there isn't anything wrong with it at all. But for me personally, I prefer immunize in America for my kids and it's a personal choice. I showed her, we actually have DTAP and he has 3, mitsu, Polio, again mitsu, MMR futatsu meaning 2. I went down the whole list showing her what Noah had. HepB, mitsu and more. Honestly? She was pretty impressed, so much so, that she asked if she could make a photo copy of Noah's American immunization record, I said, sure and she did. Next the lady who just discussed immunizations with me tested his language and stuff. She pulled out some blocks and stacked them one on top of each other showing him. Next she put them down and asked him to do it himself. Noah did it exactly! I wasn't worried so much, only because he plays that game with his brother at home all the time but in their game at home they like to crash and knock the blocks down, lol, boys! Next she pulled out the cards and she asked him if he could tell her what it was. She pulled out a card with a nice shiny ball on it. Knowing full well, we just bought him that Anpanman ball last month remember? He knows exactly what it is. Noah looked at it and I told Noah, go ahead tell her what it is, Noah said "ball", next she showed a picture of a baby yellow chicken. She asked Noah what is this, Noah said, "chickie peep peep", a bunch of the mom's and a grandmother in particular looked on (this is the hard part, because only 3 mom's and kids go up at a time, meanwhile the other 30 sets of mom's and kids all stare and watch the 3 unfortunate souls who go up first or when it's their turn, yikes! Megumi and I watched and stared at all the ones who went before us too) And the lady told me personally and she also wrote it down in the healthbook, which Noboru read when he got home, she said "Noah is very smart and his language skill is fantastic!" She wrote this in Japanese of course, Noboru was really happy about that. She also told me, we were now free to move to the final test and gave me my health hand book back at this point. I thanked her and we went to the next area. The final stage after all that, was they showed us how to brush our child's teeth. Mother's who have had a second child really should be exempt from this part, because like I said, we've already been there going on an hour and a half already sheesh. It was taking forever. So we went in there and she told me to brush Noah's teeth, she watched me brush his teeth, she said I did it fine, nothing really to say. Oh yes, she suggested I use shorter strokes?, ha ha ha! I said okay. Meanwhile she liked Noah's toothbrush because it has ducks on it. And she loved his cup, which I thought was sorta funny. She said his teeth were kirei (sp?) meaning beautiful (which was pretty nice of her to say I guess) and then we left, finally finishing all the little examinations, boy was it a long day and we were thrilled to be out of there!!! It was still raining buckets after all that, can you believe it? My dad and I were a bit hungry so we went to the karaoke place we went to the other night, not for singing. They do pizza take-out as well. And we loved their pizza. So we ordered a medium pizza to go. The owner guy, was so nice while we waited for the pizza to be done, he gave us a free drink bar while we waited. I had a Hi-C slushy. My dad had iced coffee, and Branden had Hi-C slushy as well. Noah munched on plain ice, lol. We paid and took our hot pizza to the car in the pouring rain and I drove home and we ate our pizza in our comfy clothes. When Noboru came home from work around 7:00 pm, I warmed up the sukiyaki leftovers we had from last night and we all ate the left over sukiyaki! So that was our Friday in a nut shell, you guys! : )
Side notes of the whole mass check up thing. One of my girlfriends (Megumi) was there as well. Her child is Noah's age and is a little girl. So Megumi and my dad and I, were chatting while Noah and her daughter and B played together. So it was actually a pinch sociable, ha ha ha! It wasn't so bad! But man so many parents and so many kids all thrown in 1 room together, it can get a bit nuts!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Karaoke! : )

After church and grocery shopping we hit the local karaoke place as planned. We ate dinner there while singing. We ordered, 2 pizzas, karaage, a large basket of fries, my dad ordered the ginger pork bowl. We also had an all you can drink, type drink bar. We sang for 3 long hours! And Noboru suggested we do the rating our voices type setting on the karaoke box. Which made it all the more fun! Here's my dad singing a song! : )

This song was one my dad sang. It was that..."sugar bum bum da bum bum bum, honey honey! You are my candy girl and you got me watching you" LOL! : )

We had to ask them to come and pick up all the plates. With all those empty dishes and with kids in the room, we needed things to be cleared when we were done. It helped. Phew! : )
Noboru looking for a song. My dad got scores of mid seventies to low 80's. I think his highest score was an 82. Noboru got mostly scores in the 80 points range. I got scores from the high 70's to mostly scores in the 80's. But I actually got a gulp...I got a score of 92 on one of the songs I sang! Shocking because I usually get pretty low scores! Ha ha ha! : )

My dad sang a duet with Noah. He sang one with Branden too. And my dad and I sang a duet together as well. We sang, Elton John and Kiki Dee, "don't go breaking my heart" Ha ha ha, how embarrassing! : )
We had a fun time! Although my dad and Noboru are requesting a rematch with me! Ha ha ha! : )

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Onigiri Wednesday's!!!

Today was onigiri Wednesday. My dad watched as I made these. I made the usual little face on the left that I like to make, and on the right, I made a kitty cat with whiskers, ha ha ha. Karaage was hiding inside Branden's onigiri as usual. My dad was not surprised that Branden has this "donation milk carton" that we must donate money to every time onigiri Wednesday's roll's around.
He reminded me of how my Catholic school in the US used to have us students sell chocolate bars! Ha ha ha! Plus all the other hundreds of things the parents used to have to do as well! : )

Ash Wednesday, yay!!!! : )

Today is Ash Wednesday and so it begins! My dad and the kids and I will be attending services in about 20 minutes, so I better make this quick! : ) Good thing it's at the same place Branden attends school so it's fairly close! Phew! : )

Anyway, I'm rushing to the grocery store after church. Noboru is coming with us, since he's off today and tomorrow. And I think we will be going to karaoke later tonight! We've really not been up to a whole lot though : )

Monday afternoon and Tuesday update! : )

Monday afternoon, my dad and Noah and I (Branden was at school and Noboru was at work) we decided to hit the smallish countryside shopping mall. Nothing much to see but they have a few shops and a Daiso. I figure anytime I get company from outside of Japan, a trip to the 100 yen shop is always in order! If you've ever gone to the 99 cent store in the US, they are absolutely wretched. They have cheap, gross stuff probably not even worth 99 cents. Sorry, to say that 99 cents shops! But in Japan the 100 yen shop is to die for! They have excellent stuff! Really awesome stuff actually! Some stuff even I can't believe it is just 100 yen. My dad looked at everything and walked down every aisle. I was a bit surprised, he didn't buy 1 single thing from there though. Hmmm, maybe he's been here too many times and doesn't need anything from there or what? How could someone not buy something from the 100 yen store? Ha ha ha!I just bought a few things. Under 500 yen that's for sure! : )

Tuesday afternoon, after yochien let out. My friend Rieko/Rie-san came over my house for a visit and brought her 2 kids over to play. I bought the Gusto party platters. They're a good deal, I've bought them before for get together's before. They're 1400 yen each and very filling and easy for get together's/parties and that way I know people can pick whatever they want! Her kids, Aoi-kun is one of B's closest friends at school. They also go to swimming school together as well. And his younger sister Itsuki-chan is 3 years old and just started the same yochien as Aoi-kun and Branden as well. All 4 kids, Noah included, played out in the backyard, then they played upstairs in the boys 2 rooms. And then they settled in the living room. They also ate food from the platters between play time and running around. Rie-san brought a bunch of cakes. Gorgeous strawberry cakes, we ate them with coffee afterwards. I should have taken pictures of when they were here, but I forgot completely, darn it! : )

These are the pics of the party platters before everyone got here though! : )

Sunday, February 18, 2007


My dad was pretty excited to see the blush pink apples in Japan. I guess because I live in Japan, I see them all the time, so I must be used to seeing them? Seeing his excitement made me realize, "yeah I guess they are beautiful apples aren't they" lol. He said they were being sold for around $5.00 US each apple like this in Guam for a blush pink apple. So, I bought a 4 pack of them for 350 yen at the store the other day for my dad. With one left over, I am using it for Branden's fruit for today's lunch. You can see my dad in the background of the pic reading the bible. My dad is very Catholic. I mean...very very! In fact my entire family is that way! I believe I told you all already in older posts. My grandma's house before she passed used to look like a mini Vatican city with ceramic saints in her yard. Giant cross at the front door. Pics of the pope everywhere and various crucifixes, lol. My grandma had 10 kids. And I have about a bazillion cousins. Sounds so Catholic doesn't it? LOL. When I went to Catholic school growing up, I swear the entire school was either a cousin or a neighbor! LOL! I respect what I am, a whole lot and probably why I am sending my kids to Catholic school here in Japan. But I am a more open minded Catholic. But my dad and my entire family prefer tease me and call me a "cafeteria catholic" err I hate that word! Ha ha ha! In case you don't know...cafeteria Catholics are called that, because they pick and choose what they believe and follow versus the harder core catholics, like the rest of my family is, who follow everything to a T! But I hate the word cafeteria catholic and prefer to call myself...a more open minded catholic? Ha ha ha. Okay I can just imagine my family bonking me for saying that! LOL. Anyway I better change the subject now.

But yeah my dad reads the bible every day for at least 1 hour! It's highlighted with different colored highlighter pens, lol. He also brought me a rosary. Which is nice. This one is antique and made of vibrant blue and antique metal..like a silver color. It's nice. I think I have enough rosary beads to even rival Madonna now, lol! (Shakes head and laughs at herself) but wait a minute, Madonna converted to Judaism, right? Okay never mind! : )

Today's lunch. Mini chicken cutlets, rice with butter and soy sauce, like 3 fries. And 1 big steamed broccoli and for dessert, he has some apple and one of those funky jellie (I think because it's not like peanut butter and jelly, type jelly is why I always spell it differently). : )

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A lazy weekend at home! : )

Saturday night was pretty good. We've pretty much stayed at home all weekend. Not doing a whole heck of a lot! Noboru worked Saturday evening. I was going to make dinner here as usual, but my dad suggested Mc Donald's, lol so we all hopped in the car and we went and got some stuff to take home. We watched the new episode of American Idol on Saturday night. I am enjoying the company of my dad being here! It's nice to just hang out, stay home and eat Mc Donald's with my dad and the kids and watch TV.
Today with it being Sunday, and with Noboru at work again. My dad and I cleaned the house from head to toe (yup it never ends, sigh). I mopped the kitchen floors and he cleaned the stove. I vacuumed the wood floors in the living room and then my dad vacuumed the stairs. He's been helping me quite a bit. The house is now spic and span.....but with kids in the house we all know that doesn't last long, ha ha ha! : )

I had to move all the chairs out to get a good deep cleaning of the floors. Thank goodness this is done, phew! : )

Used the trash cans to block Noah from coming into the kitchen, lol.
Sunday was just spent at home, doing a bit of cleaning but mostly being lazy and hanging home. Hmmm, I guess that sums up our whole weekend....we just spent it at home : )

Friday, February 16, 2007

Grandpa and the boy's have fun and play in the backyard!

So this afternoon my dad and I went and picked up Branden from school today. As all the kids stood in a line at the school and waiting for their parents to come pick them up, my dad and I were walking into the school grounds and getting closer so we could greet the teachers and bring Branden home. Branden spotted my dad right off and was saying "grandpa grandpa" meanwhile the other kids were saying something about "Branden's ojichan" Picture bunches of little classmates of B's saying, or almost chanting rather "Branden's ojichan, Branden's ojiiiiichan" LOL. Errr, the kids see me all the time. So they were unimpressed by my presence completely. I'm chopped liver, you guys! But it's okay, I think I'll get over it! LOL.
Branden changed his clothes from his uniform to his play clothes. And we all went in the backyard for about an hour. Branden thinks grandpa will live forever and is beyond genki. However I worry. Meanwhile Branden said, "chase me grandpa" and my dad being a total sucker for his only grandchildren, he obliged him and chased him like a maniac in the back yard. The lady next door, peeked through her window quite a few times. It was funny! My dad chased Branden all over the backyard until near exhaustion, lol!

Grandpa taking a much and well deserved breather! Meanwhile B asked grandpa to chase him down with the lawn mower! Gasp, typical boy behavior! Yes, chase me and run me down with a toy lawn mower, right-o! Check! And grandpa obliged!

Look at that expression on Branden! He has the time of his life when grandpa comes to visit!

Noah puttered behind Branden and grandpa and the toy lawn mower. But Noah almost became mulch a few times lol, so he sat off to the side with me! Hence my big ol' feet in the picture! : )

You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man! LOL! Noah looked on and he did try his best to keep up! Branden slept like a baby that night!!! Ha ha ha! They both got a great work out! : )
I wonder what my neighbors thought. American man chases little boy in back yard. With huge nose the size of a small country! News at 10:00!!! Ha ha ha! What a site!!! : )

And being completely fair and equal, he also took the time to play a game, better suited for a 19 month old! And Noah being a big fan of grandpa, he loved the attention from him! : )

A good day that everyone enjoyed! I'm so happy my dad is here, so relaxed, so at peace! So anyhoo, this is my reason for slow blogging a bit lately. My dad is here visiting! : )

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Friday's obento

Thank heavens for leftovers! We had a bunch of pork fried rice and karaage leftover from the Chinese restaurant the night before. So I warmed it up, in the microwave. Fried up a few fries from the freezer, steamed 1 broccoli and good thing I had a bit of the fruit cocktail leftover from the day before, because I could get a good usage from it! : )
The obento came back totally empty, he loved it! So I was happy about that! And the fact it was beyond easy this morning is what I love, shhhh! Ha ha ha : )

My dad's arrival and all the ambulances on the runway and the news crew all watched!

So my dad's plane is right there! I was beyond relieved, I tell ya! Phew! : )

You see a close up of the ambulances on the actual runway/tarmac? Ummmm talk about a total freak out! I was a total nervous wreck here!

Okay, so we got to the airport about an hour early. We bought the boy's a large french fry from Mc D's to share while we waited and killed some time at Narita airport. We did this because we knew we were all planning to go to a Chinese restaurant after we picked up my dad. That was the plan. So just 1 large fry for snacking for the boys. Noboru and I each had a hot caramel machiatto from Starbucks. I also browsed Lush a bit at Narita airport as well. Finally Noboru said, let's go outside to watch my dad's airplane land. I thought, "okie dokie"....I was happy about going to be seeing my dad, so what the heck, you know what I mean? So we went to the upper level and brr it was freezing cold. I worried if the kids would be freezing out there. But then we looked off in the distance and saw flashing ambulances on the actual runway! We then turned around and noticed above where we were, there were so many reporters both filming and clicking pictures of the commotion on the runway. Okay, around here is when a mild panic sets in! I didn't want to scare the kids. But I told Noboru, "it wouldn't be my dad's airplane would it?" At that point, Brandens said, "mommy is grandpa going to crash?" Ahhhh talk about getting total goosebumps! I said, let's go inside and find out what's going on! The look on my face, you guys! What are the odds? Nah, it couldn't be my dad's plane, could it? Shit!

We go inside and these little silver poles around inside the airport, errrr that's funny, I've never seemed to notice them before are blinking red!!! My sweet subtle husband said, "wow whatever it is it's a very bad sign, that means it's an emergency" Wahhhh! Now complete panic sets in! I told Noboru to phone someone, one of his coworkers or friends and ask what is going on. Is it a NWA airplane? Was it my dad's plane? It must have been my nervousness because it seemed he moved about the speed of the slowest turtle around!!! Grrrr! I was getting a bit grouchy. Stressed. Meanwhile he played email tango with a coworker! OM lord! At a time like this nonetheless! After a few minutes (seemed like hours!!!), he said, no it's not your dad's airplane. I went like, "phew"! Let out a loud sigh of relief. And am currently saving my stress heart attack for another time! Turns out, it was Singapore airlines and one of the tires busted or whatever and so they would be landing minus 1 tire. Yikes! I felt badly for them. And we found out later they were fine. We did go back outside to be able to see my dad's actual airplane land and actually pull into the gate. My dad mentioned they circled Narita airport for about a good 25 minutes and I told him about the trouble with the other airplane.

2 very blurry pictures. And I usually take good pics. But this was my dad after he just exited the airplane and was walking through the corridor before he hit the immigration line and got his luggage and stuff. There is a restaurant area where we can see the passengers get off the airplanes, that's how I got this shot.

He was walking with a "30 something" lady who apparently was originally from Guam but now lives in Honolulu and she was transferring airplanes. She was chatting with my dad and he said she was very friendly and nice. He told her his daughter lives in Japan with her husband and 2 grand kids. And he said he showed her a few pics of B and N, his grand kids, that he just happened to have in his wallet, lol! Typical grandpa!

Sorry about the blurriness. My dad is the guy in the vanilla colored fleece jacket chatting with the friendly gal in the black fleece! Man, I watched them from afar and they were in a deep chitter chatter the whole walk down to immigration, meanwhile she transferred planes. Ah well, my dad has a daughter that age, me! So he feels like he's just chatting with a daughter type. : )

Man, one thing I love about my dad visiting, well besides the actual company of my dad is the goodies he brings with him! Woohooo! He brought the boys 2 DVD's, another Spongebob and some movie about a zeebra? Who knows, lol! And he brought me, Parents magazine, and he knows I am a popcorn maniac, so he brings large amounts of that. And some raisin and butter bread! Oh man! I can only tell you the bread was gone by the next day by noon...it was totally gone by then! : )

We did hit the Chinese restaurant after we left the airport. My dad loved it! We all ate, and went home. My dad showered and then the boys and I showered and bathed after that. My dad sat on the couch in his sweatpants and t shirt, Noboru did the same. The kids fell asleep. And I sat in my jammies on the couch as well. Munching popcorn and watching American Idol repeats. We were laughing so hard. And it's not that we're cruel. But Simon is just so honest and my dad and I agree with Simon so much! We're not too crazy about Paula, she's sorta a phony baloney! And some of the singers who actually think they sing great but end up singing badly or they wear weird costumes. It's just hilarious. My dad thinks some of the people aren't really "all there". But anyway...we watched American Idol and then we all hit the hay!

ETA, mostly all of you know. But in case a few don't. My dad and my mom divorced when I was little. I love my mom but I am a daddy's girl. I actually asked to live with my dad versus my mom. And without going to much into it, I don't get along with my step dad too well. But I love my mom too bits and she loves me. But I was pretty lucky being raised by my dad and with my huge extended both sides of family in Denver, so I lucked out. My dad helped me, pick out my very first bra, no mater how embarrassing that was for him. Yes I am an only child. Helped me pick my prom dress, took me to the salon. Taught me how to drive. And gave me away at my wedding. He's my best friend. I love my dad. My dad has had heart bypass surgery around 10 years ago. However, the year Noah was born, my dad who was living alone in my childhood home I grew up in. My dad ended up having a heart attack at work. He was in hospital. I was about 8 month's pregnant with Noah at the time and my dad didn't want anyone to tell me to cause me to worry. And then about a month later he suffered a heart attack at home for the memorial day weekend. And he actually phoned me in Japan and told me of his chest pain. I couldn't fly because by this time I was just about to have Noah in about 3 weeks and they won't let pregnant women that far along fly! So after I had Noah, and he got his passport about 2 weeks later, I took off to Denver to be with my dad. He lived in Denver alone for about 9 month's after that, until last February, we both decided my dad who had since retired from work due to the heart attacks. He would sell his home for a good amount of money I might add and instead buy himself a gorgeous condo in Guam. This way I being the only real care taker of my dad, could be closer to him. So that is the short version of how and why my dad now lives in Guam. This coming April will be exactly 1 year that he's lived there! It's a real nice thing knowing that if anything happens to my dad, I can fly to Guam in 3 short hours. It's best for everyone, my dad was able to retire and now spends the rest of his days swimming laps in his swimming pool everyday! And looking at coconut trees. Meanwhile, he can see Branden and Noah anytime he wants. He can fly here or we can fly there. Okay so now that you know this....now you can understand the panic I had when I saw ambulances on the runway! I was beyond relieved to find out my dad was okay and the other plane landed safely as well. I just think I'd be absolutely lost without my dad! : )

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My dad's coming today, so it's a super fast obento type day!

My dad's coming today, I have a few last minute things to do before he comes this evening, so I was a bit lazy with my obento this morning.
My mom sent me a box of food goodies last week from California. And these were a few of the things inside. I figure something quick like this and still pretty yummy were exactly what I needed for my full and busy day. I also have to take Branden to swimming school after he finishes with his regular Catholic school this afternoon. Ahhh boy what a busy day!

Some garlic cheesy bread nicely toasted in the toaster oven.

And voila! A lazy lunch today! Ravioli, fruit cocktail, garlic cheese bread and 1 steamed broccoli and 1 jellie. Not bad, I whipped it up in under 10 minutes and got on with my day and ran Branden to the bus stop with about 2 minutes to spare!

How we spent our Valentine's day! : )

Okay nobody please bonk us for being overly mushy or anything, lol! It's just, I truly adore my husband. Yes, even after 14 years of being together and of 10 years of marriage this year, I still love the man to bits and I know the feeling is mutual! I guess we just lucked out! So no question was in mind that for Valentine's day, I would try to put a smile on my hubby's face throughout the day today! : )
This morning, I made a bunch of crispy American bacon for my 3 guys! And I fried up a bunch of over easy eggs for them as well as toast. Again, we woulda had eggs anyway, so I didn't spend oodles of money or anything, I just tried to do things inexpensive this Valentine's day! Some say it's the thought is what counts, so I just did my best! : )
Noboru had the day off today. And since today was just a stay at home type day, I was going to just throw in a cheap little premade pizza ,I bought from the store anyway. But with one tiny little addition! : )

I made a heart out of peperoni! LOL! Please nobody think it's dumb. I just wanted to make him smile that's al! : )

Not sure why, but Noboru got the biggest kick out of it! Again, it didn't cost any extra cash, we woulda had the pizza for lunch today anyway. But he really loved it!!! : )

Today the rain was terrible! But we had to go out in the rain anyway, because today was Branden's parent teacher conference. The teachers said he always finishes his work first! And they also said, his Japanese is so good now, that he won't be having any problem when he enters elementary school in 2 years. We were happy to hear it! : )

We came home and now it was time for me to get spoiled by my husband. He asked me earlier in the day what I wanted for dinner. And I told him. He made me that! He made us ebi chili for dinner!

The crunchy noodles on the bottom, I prefer when he uses real instant noodles and fries them up versus using premade chow mein noodles. They taste better, in my opinion. : )

Dinner was gorgeous and delicious. Sometimes it's the little things that count the most, you know what I mean? True, no diamonds or pearls. No fancy shmancy restaurant or dom perignon for us. Just a home cooked meal by my husband! And to me this counted more then anything else! Just a couple loving each other, after all these years and appreciating each other as well! Oh I'm sorry if this post is too mushy you guys! I even wondered maybe I shouldn't post this at all, but then I thought it's real and how we spent our day and so I should post it after all. : )

Noboru also had ordered me an ice cream cake. He said, he knew I liked them, since we had one last month. We started some coffee and enjoyed our valentine's desserts! Then we all quickly showered and bathed and headed downstairs and watched American Idol, lol.
It was a very sweet and simple Valentine's day just spent at home! : )