Thursday, January 07, 2010

How our family spent New Year's eve and the first day of the New Year! : ) : )

Two days before New years eve. Our family had a big clean up of the entire upstairs and the day before New years eve, on the 30th is when we cleaned the heck out of the downstairs. If you don't live in Japan, you may not know. But in Japan it's pretty much custom for a family to do a great big family clean up right before New Years. You got to have a clean house to ring in the new year. This is a tradition that I really love. As odd as it sounds, I like ringing in the new year in a spic and span house. I pulled the mattress right off Noah's bed and vacuumed underneath. Do this a lot of the time anyway, so it was pretty clean under there, hmm. But felt good to get it done though. Cleaned every inch of Noah's room, windows, blinds, vacuumed, dusted. Washed his bedding then moved onto Branden's room, then our room, then the upstairs toilet, then the shower/bathroom. And laundry room. We all jumped in and helped with music semi loudly playing. It was fun and we kicked butt on the upstairs. We stopped at 2pm and started around 9:30am, so we got a major cleaning done upstairs. Next day would be the downstairs.
It was 11am in this pic, but we started that morning around 9:30am again, I first started with the toilet downstairs. Noboru cleaned out his paperwork. The boys fixed the books in the bookshelves. Then Noboru cleaned the fan above the stove, he took this puppy apart and cleaned it spotless. We were all busy cleaning on the 30th and so was our whole neighborhood. We counted 3 neighbors washing cars. All ladies were wiping windows etc.
The boys Windexed the big patio windows. They were a great help!
I spot cleaned the walls downstairs.
I cleaned the blinds downstairs. As I was cleaning the blinds, "boy next doors" grandpa was washing their vehicles. I semi watched him wash the vehicles while I washed up the blinds. He noticed me too and gave me a wave! :P
Vacuumed under the couch cushions.
Vacuumed under the couch. With the kids cleaning, the hubster cleaning, me cleaning, the neighbors cleaning. We had music, we sang, we jammed to the Black Eyed Peas.
Now it's 1:24pm and we knew we'd stop at 2pm. We got a whole day of good cleaning and we were ready to ring in the new year in a clean house indeed. Last but not least I cleaned out the fridge. And this right here is the ice holder where our automatic ice maker drops the ice for our fridge. I washed it out good and thorough. And then we were done. We felt really proud, like we really accomplished something. We did diddly squat from 2pm until dinner time. Just rested and lazed around in our nice clean house. We went to the grocery store the day before and bought a weeks worth of groceries, so we were all set.
In Japan, it's pretty common for people to eat soba (noodles) on New years eve, in hopes for a long life, much like that long noodle. And my husband eats a bowl before midnight strikes, usually around 11;30pm. I like that whole long noodle and long life connection, so just like last year. I made spaghetti and meatballs, because spaghetti is long too. ; ) So pasta, salads and garlic bread was our New years eve meal. Yumm.
These meatballs came out so good so much flavor. Some fresh mushrooms and bell peppers.
Making the garlic bread and about to whack it in the oven. Hubby was making the salads.
The garlic bread was now done and about to put it on a plate for all of us to share.
Not a fancy dinner. But a simple basic meal we enjoyed for sures. Spaghetti and meatballs, salad and the bread was for us all.
We watch Japanese programs every New years eve. Noboru enjoys the Japanese programs they have at New years. Susan Boyle was here in Japan and she performed.
She sang, "I Dreamed A Dream".
She did a really great job and she is looking so good these days. I really like her a lot. Good for her! Well done, well done.
We also got into this other program on another channel about this family. They call him "big daddy" because he has so many kids. They show this family every New years according to the hubby. This year I watched and I really fell in love with this family. They don't have a whole lot of money. So they may not be rich in monetary types of ways but they are indeed rich because of the strength and love in their family. The father lives someplace else for work. And they live in a smaller island near Okinawa meanwhile the dad is living on the mainland of Japan. So tanshin funin. The father didn't get pay for the first month because it was a trial so he would get paid for 2 month's after the first 2 month's. Meanwhile the family back on the island near Okinawa where scraping by with close to no money. The mom and the daughter went to the store and were deciding to get hakusai or eggs and put the hakusai back and got the eggs that's how tight their money was. And it wasn't a downer of a show. This family had the best outlook on life that I ever saw. So positive.
At one point they didn't even have rice. And they couldn't afford to buy it either, so they bought flour and made udon. And again the laughter coming from this house was real and true. I love families like this. To persevere in a way like this was amazing. To be strong even when the chips are down and still be smiling. I respect that so much. They made Christmas cakes in their rice cookers. And the only gifts they got were handmade clay ones the father sent yet they were so lovely and the kids appreciated them so much. This family was amazing. A real feel good type show.
Their littlest child a girl in this pic. The father was not able to be there for Christmas or for New years (he was there beforehand though). Instead he sent the small amount of money he got for a bonus back to his family instead. This story was so good for the soul. We enjoyed watching this on New years eve.
And then we rang in the New year. : ) A very quiet way to spend New year's eve.
31 degrees at night. Actual freezing temps outside in our area of Chiba. Not a spot or dot of snow but shoot it's cold enough it might as well. ; )
We had cinnamon rolls first thing for the New year. Noboru and I had coffee and the kids had milk with the cinnamon rolls.
We went to visit the shrine for the first time of the New year. We walked up some pretty high steep steps.
Some very old steep steps. I imagined how many people walked up before, 50 years prior, 100 years prior and so on. And now us for 2010.
The going down was pretty easy, ha ha ha.
Dragons guarding the entrance. Warding off any evil or bad.
The washing of the hands, this is pretty important and Noboru always makes sure the boys do it right. I did mine after and boy that water was freezing cold.
Hi Noah, my little sweetie pie! : )
Random ladies buying some stuff.
Each of boys, both Branden and Noah tossed coins in. Noboru had to help Noah since he's a bit too little to get a good toss. And then they prayed and then I went and did mine as well.
Noboru doing his.
Then we drove home and then we went for a walk. First family walk of the year. ; )
Walking in the fields behind our house.
Hmm, if I zoom in, I can see my house. We sure like the privacy our house brings us. And with the great big rice fields, we have that protective barrier. Like a rice field buffer zone, lol. We never have to worry someone will peek in our yard, it's just not an issue for us in the country. perhaps if we lived in a great big city. But not where we live. It's very rare a car even drives up our street, and if one does it's a neighbor, lol.
A very very big buffer, with the zoom off, yup that's quite a big buffer. We can play in the backyard and not worry someone will see. Besides we pretty much don't care if someone would see anyways. We're not movie stars. Nothing wrong with someone seeing a family in their yard.
And now we were walking on and farther and farther away.
And farther away even. : P

My thoughts on 2009:

Is it my imagination or did it seem like a whole lot of people died in 2009? Luckily for us, no one in our immediate family has passed this past year. But I have some friends who lost loved ones and for that I am so sorry. Who did we all lose in 2009, after a search of the internet, I found some of these names on About.com.

Jett Travolta, Jan 2,2009

Ricardo Montalban Jan14, 2009

Natasha Richardson March 18th

Bea Arthur April 25th

David Carradine June 4th

Ed McMahon June 23rd

Farrah Fawcett June 25th

Michael Jackson June 25th

Walter Cronkite July 17th

DJ AM, August 28th

Patrick Swayze September 14th

Thought we were done for 2009, that was certainly enough loss and then...

December 20th Brittany Murphy died. That was shocking, loved her in Clueless, Uptown Girls and as the voice of Luanne in King of the Hill. That was very sad. I'm sure there was more loss, but the ones I listed, are more then enough.

So, what are my thoughts on 2009? Well it seems we all lost a lot of wonderful people in 2009. So that's sad. However the good parts of 2009. The positive parts of 2009.

Noah started yochien January 2009. And that's a positive and for that we are so proud of our little Noah!!! Well done Noah. We enjoyed Guam and Hawaii and also Saipan this year so that was a postive of 2009, lots of good travel. Also, I met the Jogo-san in 2009 and that is totally a positive because she's one of my closest friends. So, we had a whole lot of positves for 2009.

What are my hopes for 2010? Just the same ones I always have basically.; ) Just hope we all remain healthy. We all continue to make each other laugh as a family and continue to have an amazing family life. That's more then I could ever ask for. I hope you all have a Happy New Year! : )