Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bits from last Friday all the way up until today!!! : )


Life really is like a repeating cycle sometimes isn't it? :) And what I mean is how things keep repeating themselves (new crop of kids enter yochien and new ones to leave yochien and spread their little ichinensei wings, etc, etc). Last Friday, it really struck me. At 11:20 am. I went to pick up Noah at the yochien. Because he's a new yellow badge. And his time to stay, has been sorta growing gradually longer. Anyway as I was puling into the parking lot. The blue badges (the oldest class) were practicing getting ready to become an ichinensei in April. I was a few minutes early and so I watched this for a few minutes from inside of my little red car. The 2 police officers were helping them get their practice backpacks on. It looked so new and different to them and yet sorta hard for these wee little blue badges. I looked on and smiled. Almosty misty eyed (yes I'm sappy : ). This was EXACTLY what my Branden was doing this same time last year! Getting ready to cross from yochien to elementary school. Ready to cross that threshold, pass another milestone and no matter how nervous we felt. We prepared and he did it!!!! He really did. And here a year later, I sat in my car and watching these little blue badges...trying oh so very hard! To pull that heavy backpack onto their backs and practice in the parking lot. Some looked a bit unsure and I still sat there smiling, just taking it all in. All the while thinking..."You can do it kids" You can, you really can! Ahhh, and sure in 12 month's these kids will be pros at elementary school, like B is now, but for now....just for now. I loved getting to see them first hand. Preparing. Getting ready. I was so so proud of these kids last Friday!
I know all of these "for now" blue badges. Soon to be ichinensei's. I knew them last year when they were little pink badges and it was *my* son who was the blue badge. I recognize their faces, they recognized mine too. Yes you can do it kids, I thought, as I was walking towards the school to pick up Noah. I have every ounce of faith in you, I thought! : ) Some waved wildly at me. Asking..."how's Branden-kun, is he genki"? Yes I said....he is doing pretty good, I told them. (In Japanese of course: ) Cute cute kids! : ) Please look after Noah for me, I asked them. "Hai, okay!!!!!" They said!
And now it's my little fella's turn! In a way, it's your yochien now. No longer Branden's. Get comfortable here sweetheart, you will be here for a few years!!! I stand back because I don't want to mother hen him. I wanted him to be able to put on his own shoes, and do stuff for himself. Noah switching shoes! : )

The awesome tender fluffy heart sensei we've known since she first started here. This is Noah's sensei. She's talking to him here. : )

She packs his shoes into his shoe bag because well, it's Friday. : ) Time to bring all that stuff back home for mommy to wash. : )

Noah's already made friends/buddy's/pals! Here he gets a good pat on the back!

Noah chit chatting with the boy on the right!Yup, he's fully adjusted. Totally fine!
Hi there kiddo, looking good, looking genki! : )

Sunday morning, we had driven to the town where the fish market was. Hubby wanted to go to the fish market for his birthday and get something for the birthday dinner we were planning to make for him. So, we headed there and as soon as we entered that little fisherman's city, we saw a little coffee shop. Like 3 small round tables and that's it/that's all, type small place. : ) We like these sorta places, and the sign outside that said....waffle sets 500 each! Really caught our attention, so we parked the car and went in for some breakfast before hitting the fish market. The one lone other customer was an elderly man and he was leaving as we went inside. So we were the only customers. And the owner, she was an older granny type and she made everything by hand. She had an old style coffee maker, drop by drop, drip by slow drip, it came out and it was a pretty good cup of coffee, slow as heck but good. : ) And we waited for the waffles. She brought out the puzzles for the boy's, while she cooked. Wooden old time puzzles kept them busy. She asked what seemed like a 101 questions and she told us nearly 101 facts about herself and such as well. :D These types of places really have charm, good place to chit chat! What city did we come from. What grade are the boy's in. She mentioned they were speaking English, so asked, do they speak Japanese? Branden answered and stuff to her in Japanese and they chit chatted a bit and so that answered that one for us. Just lot's and lot's of questions. She then told us, how she had a friend whose husband came from Belgium and she learned how to make Belgium waffles homemade from scratch, she loved making them so opened this restaurant. Interesting story, so I listened some more. This granny had lot's of Xmas decorations still up. Ha ha ha. But she told us all her decorations and such for her restaurant came from New Zealand, very cool, I said. I listened and learned more. Very interesting stories she had to tell. I enjoyed her company.
See the Christmas tree in the background? January 18th. Ha ha ha, how cute! : )

My coffee with a piece of chocolate on the side with hazelnuts inside. It was a heavenly piece of chocolate. : )
I went for the strawberry waffles. She told me that the strawberry jam/topping was also homemade. I must say in all honesty those were some pretty fine waffles! Really delicious. And the salad was delicious too and the dressing homemade. I even heard how she came about tweaking her recipe. That chit chatty nice ol' granny! She was so cool! I love meeting friendly people like this. Even if they do talk my ears off, I am okay with it! : ) I really am, I really don't mind. : ) As I was eating, she asked me..."is it oishii?", Oh yes, I said, very very delicious! : )
Branden went for the maple syrup waffles. He loved them! He ate everything, the salad and even the orange. Ha ha ha. : )
Hubby was still waiting for his chocolate waffles. Meanwhile he cut up Noah's maple waffles. Noah ate his entire waffle and half the salad. : ).

Yup we were at the Nakaminato port. The fisherman's wharf there! It is an hours drive from where we live. This is exactly the same city where we saw the doctor fish at the aquarium all those years ago that I blogged about. We also live about 45 minutes from a totally different fish market too. But this one's bigger then the other one we usually go to. : )

Besides from a whole half block of different big shops that sold fresh fish, they also had stands that sold cooked stuff. There was this one place that sold 1 big grilled shrimp with salt on a stick/yakitori type stick. people were also lining up to eat some raw oysters. It was just a really cool experience and way to spend our Sunday! : )

Lot's and lot's of fresh fish, prices all on top.
Crabs within every price range. They went from a few smaller ones for 1500 yen to a few larger ones in the white boxes for 4500 yen all the way up. We saw some ginormous crabs here. Ha ha ha.
Oysters.

A whole bag of clams for 1000 yen.

Squidward and his cousins! : )














Hubby was looking from shop to shop for the best, freshest and biggest yet cheapest piece of tuna. Meanwhile I was looking for the biggest shrimp, as we four walked from place to place.

The Sunday we went, was bitterly cold and being right at the ocean brought that deep chill from the sea in on us. It was COLD! Although we did dress very warm, it still was cold. And the smell, was fishy, seafoody, mixed with salt air, and you could smell people cooking shrimps grilling them, and other various things. Somethings smelled so delicious and some things didn't smell so good.: ) But we did enjoy our morning at the fish market quite a bit! : )

My sweet little boy, before his haircut! : ) He was wearing, long johns, long sleeve top and sweatshirt underneath his windbreaker. Should have brought his hat and big winter coat but didn't. Shucks, next time I won't forget. He also was wearing fleece lined jeans and thick socks. Plus the long john pants.

"You spin me right round, baby right round like a record, baby right round, round, round"

Just so so much to see!

I ultimately chose to get shrimp from this place! You can see in the upper right hand corner how there were smaller more normal sized shrimps. These ones were pretty big. I was happy with the ones we picked.

And on our way out...what fun we had!!! : )
As we were driving away, we saw this big boat or small ship. Whichever way you like. : ) Hubby said, this goes to Hokkaido and they have nice rooms and stuff on here. he said we should go there sometime via this boat. I agree. : ) Hopefully in a year or two we can go and see the beauties of Hokkaido and enjoy the journey and sleep on this boat!

These shrimps were huge. I wish I could show a better example. And by the time they were breaded with panko, they were even bigger! The taste of them? Delicious ebi furai/fry! Sorry guys, we had to eat ya, gomen, gomen! :P We had the big shrimp and we had 10 normal sized large ones, we also bought at the wharf/fisherman's market for 500 yen. And hubby had a 2800 yen big hunk of tuna he sliced and made sashimi out of. He was in sashimi heaven!!!! Meanwhile kids and I were in ebi furai heaven! Hubs had some fried shrimp too. We had salad and rice. It was a great simple birthday supper. The cake,we picked up at a little cake shop along the way. And we enjoyed dinner and cake Sunday evening. Noboru showered with both boy's and bathed with them and then I went in and showered and soaked for about a good 50 minutes. He had a really nice birthday. Very low key, pretty quiet. But it was still pretty nice!

The donation box on the left, I pulled out from the stuff I saved in a clear plastic box for Branden from his yochien years. Aww. he made it, and every other Wednesday is onigiri lunch day and time to donate money. The money donated goes to other countries less fortunate, so it's for a good cause. : ) Last Friday, we were told to bring Noah with a carton on Monday. We bought this on the way home from the fish market. I rinsed the carton real good and let it dry upside down over night and on Monday Noah took it and decorated it at school for Wednesday's onigiri day and what would be his first obento at school ever! : ) Branden went with an under water theme. Noah went with something different.

Monday night, I made a really big oven baked gratin! With chicken, pasta and mushrooms, cheese got all golden brown, it came out pretty good. Hubby and the boy's gobbled this up quite happily! : )

Tuesday night we had a huge pot of kimchi nabe. So good and there's so much leftover that we will have it on Wednesday night, and that's great because we know how crazy my Wednesday's are. : )
Oh and this might be small potatoes compared to most news. But, I moved my table slightly to the left. LOL!!! Oh geeze, sorry for even blogging that, ha ha! But, since the high chair we got rid of this past summer...it's been like a big open dead space. Driving me nuts. I thought of buying another piece of furniture to go there. I still might end up doing that in the end, but nothing really has caught my eye enough yet. So, hubby suggested we move it a bit to the left and so far...it's helping! Looks better. Anyway sorry for it not being major or important or earth shattering or anything but I found it interesting, ha ha ha. Sorry. : )
Tuesday in our neck of the woods was nuts!!!! Crazy crazy nuts! Dropped off B at elementary. Raced home, got dressed, did my face, hair do, slipped on dress and a black cardigan. Then got Noah fed and dressed as well and then quickly dropped off Noah, waved and kissed him good bye. Then I went directly back to Branden's elementary yet again, because Tuesday was "observation day", not only was it observation day but....the guest speakers were the seniors citizens in our town who volunteered to come to the elementary school and show how they used to play in the olden days in Japan! PS, that's Branden's ichinensei teacher in the pink zip up top and black pants, the same one I spent those 5 days with at the compressed xmas swim course. She's VERY nice!!!!

They had these make shift propellars, the old grandpa's brought and showed all the kids outside and they played and played with them! I wondered if they were made out of wooden chopsticks. But didn't get a close enough look at one.

They also brought big sized cans of tomatoes or curry etc. And had rope tied to the large sized tins! They were sorta like stilts but not really. Here is a pic of Branden giving them a try, he had all the grandpa's helping and telling him in Japanese, "that's right, you got it" Branden got a chance to learn how they played in the olden days in Japan. The sort of homemade things they created to have fun with back in the day! "Talk about kickin' it old school style" "old school Japanese style, that is!!!" Ha ha ha!

So what did the modern day kids of Japan think of the toys of yesterday? They LOVED them! It was so much fun for all these kids and it made the elderly who volunteered for this so happy and gave them great joy, you could see it in their faces, really!!!! These older people were really jazzed about watching a new crop of kids enjoying the simple ways to have fun the way they used to!!!! A respect for our older folks in our community....that's what the kids learned on Tuesday. They know how to have fun too! They know many things! If we take the time to listen! Yup life really is like a repeating cycle sometimes, seeing the seniors and the ichinensei out there on Tuesday made me think of it again, same as last Friday.

Old and young but still just boys at heart, right?
And I am not kidding, I promise you....one old grandpa got on those cans and started walking around. He was looking quite chipper!

Walking on cans! How cool! : ) This is the true meaning of....it takes a village to raise a child! That is what's so cool about living in the country side of Japan. Everyone takes an interest in the schools in this town. Including the grandma's and grandpas of this town!

And inside the grandma's were sharing how in the olden days the little girls in Japan had fun! We just learned outside how little boy's in the olden days had fun with the cans and stuff. Now it's the ladies turn! : ) They got string and did all sorts of cool tricks with their fingers and the string. In America we play this game too, it's called..."cat's cradle" so I was wanting to play with string and so I joined them! Yes, I admit, I had to...I couldn't help myself! I took like 2 pics and then I started playing too. I played with 2 fellow mom's from our class. We had a good laugh. I showed them my string trick we played in the US, that I remembered. And they had never saw that one before! Ha ha ha! And then they showed me their trick of the string and so I followed along with my own string and went in and out between my fingers and in an instant I learned their cool new trick, I'd never seen before either!

Learning a few tricks of the string from the older granny types! And again the fact they volunteered to come down to the elementary I thought was so cool! Then at 10:45 am, I kissed Branden, told the other fellow mom's good bye and said good bye to the granny's and also the sensei! With not a second to spare did I hop into my car and drove myself back yet again to Noah's yochien! Pick up time was 11:20 am! Don't be late, which I wasn't. Heard all about Noah's day. And then I thanked Noah's sensei. Man that was a lot of sensei thankin' on Tuesday! Ha ha ha! After all that...and PHEW by the way, what a day! I met up with hubby at the country mall to get Noah's hair cut. Did I mention how badly I need a vacation??? Ha ha ha! : )

I said, please give him a hair cut, but please don't make it too short. Not too short. Not too short. Not too short. LOL. Okay, phew I think he got it. : P And I said bangs must not go above his nearly nonexistent eyebrows. Phew. I get so much accomplished in a day, huh. No wonder the hubby says, since B started yochien I have been snoring every night since! I believe it! :D I must be doubly snoring now that Noah's started school too. : ) After this we went to the food court and had gyoza, some rice and 2 ramens, we shared with Noah. Before we left, I picked up 2 donuts for Branden because I don't want him to feel left out. And then we headed home. I started in on dinner. And Noboru went to go and pick up Branden from ichinensei. And btw the day before...Monday? I sent B to ichinensei, and Kumon, and Noah to yochien and swimming. Plus made the gratin, again my days have been SO long and busy lately. I think things will mellow out as soon as Noah's starts staying at the yochien until 1pm or 1:30 would be great too.

Got a package in the mail from a friend in Japan. It was such a long day. I opened it, after supper and bath time. Kids were nodding off, and I started with a cup of coffee. Then I opened my package.

After the long long day I had. It was such a wonderful thing to get a package from a dear friend! A few presents and a few cards from Girl Japan. After knowing her for so many years. Talking on the phone for literally hours. Keitei-ing each other about 5 times a day back and forth from morning to night. Even if it's for something like to turn on a good TV show. Or to tell her my day is long and I am tired and I NEED a vaction. :P Ha ha ha. It's always good to have someone to share the good and bad with. So thank you...I guess just thank you for being such a good friend! I mean that. : )

Three presents. And a few cards. The funniest card to me, was the girl doing exercise with a martini on her butt! It had a private little mesage to me her "work out partner". We both are silly and so this girl with a drink balancing on her butt.... cracked me up to no end! And it just made my whole night. It is an important thing to have a few true blue friends that you can count on no matter what. And I am glad I have a few like that. Thanks Girl Japan!!! : )

Noboru wanted to watch the inauguration of President Obama! The man that I voted for, woohoo!!!! I said no, that with my busy schedule, I needed some sleep more important then to watch that at 1am in the morning or whatever. However Noboru insisted, he said it was so historical and blah blah blah and sure enough he set his keitei alarm and we indeed woke up. A bit blurry eyed but we watched it until around 2:30-2:45 am. And then I zonked out asleep. Alarm woke me up at 5:30 am for real and I was like...oh no this can't be! I didn't get enough sleep! Ha ha ha. But all in all, I am glad I saw it. And even while B was eating his breakfast we watched the parade where they walked he and Michelle. We saw it all. Well most of it, I didn't see the CNN covereage on the ball/parties afterwards, ha ha ha.

Wednesday was onigiri day and his first obento. So, I made onigiri. And that's the donation box Noah decorated, he made a flower one, it's very cute! : ) How his schedule went with getting adjusted to school. Noah went from getting out of yochien for about 3 days at 11am. Then they switched him to 11:20 am, for more days and then today was his first day to stay to 1pm. He will stay at 1pm for a while and when he's finally adjusted he will then get out as the other kids do.

Got everything packed away and then put everything into his yochien backpack. And dropped him off. From 9:30 am, to 12:45 pm, I was free. That is SO much better then picking him up at 11:20 am because I couldn't really get much done or accomplished always having to run right back to the yochien at 11:20am.... because before I got home at 9:30 am (from dropping him off), and yet had to leave at 10:45 am to go get him, that meant I couldn't really get a whole lot accomplished with that little time frame, but now it's WAY better. I can actually get my daily cleaning out of the way and prep for dinner, do our laundry all in the time he's at school and when he stays until 1:30 or 1:45pm, I can probably even get some rest and a nice lunch in there too. Yay things are much better now that he's staying until 1pm. I am digging this new 1pm time stuff! And Noah was totally fine with it too. He actually was doing something in his class when I came and got him today at 1pm. He was not even worried or fretting about when I was going to get there at all. Things are going back to normal and I think I'm starting to find my groove. But man that early 11am-11:20 am pick up was for the birds! Ha ha ha. : )
Wednesday night: Took B to swim club. He's really practicing hard for the butterfly right now. Had leftover nabe Wednesday night for supper. Made sure B got his homework done and Kumon done. He got it all done. After our showers and bath. I managed to pack for Branden completely. So he's all packed up now for the Guam trip. Thursday I will pack for Noah and I will also pack the carry-on. I also will pack for myself half on Thursday and half on Friday morning. And then Friday after driving Noah to school, I will stop at the drug store and get some last minute snacks for the airplane (already have a few already). I already pickd up the sunscreen/block the other day. Today is Thursday and it's past 9:30am so I know Jun and my sil and my niece are on the airplane to Guam right now, they must have just took off because it takes off at 9:45 am. We will see them on Saturday. Today it's raining where we live and for dinner tonight, I am making a good sized pot of chili con carne perfect for this cold rainy weather we're having today!!! Have a wonderful day you guys!