Thursday, September 23, 2010

Noah's keiro no hi recital

The day after Branden's undokai/sports day, was Noah's recital. Sunday morning we woke up early. And got ourselves down to where it was supposed to take place. Noboru orginally told me when reading the notes home. That it would indeed be at a senior care facility. So, I was surprised it was at the city (that Noah goes to school in) their civic center. The front half of the auditorium was reserved for the elderly/seniors. And us parents sat towards the back. It was stadium seating so not so bad. So many seniors. And they even bused a whole bus load from a senior facility (the genki ones that is) The performers that order would be our yochien first singing 5 songs. Then an elementary school, followed by a different yochien. We were given instruction beforehand that as soon as our kids finished their performance, to meet them at the back of the center to pick them up. So we did not get to see the other schools perform, but they got to see our yochien perform since they went on first. It started with a speech from a few seniors. They gave some very nice speeches. And then they cleared the stage and announced our yochien. I would have enjoyed seeing the other schools perform. But I understood the limited seating they had too.
They walked onto stage with flowers in hand and began their first song. You could see so many flashes of cameras going off, so many of us parents were taking pictures. And video taping this. The kids, all of them did super duper! : )

This performance and song was my favorite during the whole 5 songs they did.

This performance was good too.

This song was actually the first song they did. : ) After they left the stage. We all left our seats and went in the back to pick up our kids. And plus there was a seat shortage and many mothers from the other yochien did need seats since they were standing along the walls, so they gladly took all of our seats. So in a way, it was a good idea we left and they got a chance to sit down and tape and take pictures of their little ones too.
Each child of our school, came out with a bag and it had this stuff inside. A drink, a wrapped package and another wrapped package.
A blank sketch/coloring pad and some crayons and kohaku manju and a drink. As a thank you from our school for attending, I thought that was pretty nice.
Noah also got some senbei.
Heart shaped senbei. : )
And because it was a basically a sort of "respect for the elders" day. The kids at our yochien made things for their own grandparents this week and brought them home last Friday. Noah made 2 presents, one for my dad and one for grandma Mitsuko. Noah said this bunny box goes to grandpa. When asked why...Noah said, so he can put his glasses in there. Ha ha ha. Not quite sure his glasses would fit, but there you go. That's his kid logic for you. : ) And never mind grandma also wears glasses. Ha ha ha. I think my dad will love it.
Basically this says..."be genki for a long time, Noah"
And a hand written picture colored by Noah, it is a picture of grandmas face. Looks a little Picaso-ish. I hope she won't mind. ; ) I think she'll love it!
So it was Sunday and we were home by 11:30am from Noah's recital. The kids in the neighborhood saw us coming and came over to play with Branden right away. He barely had enough time to change clothes. Branden and also Noah went out there at 11:30am, played until the lunch bell at noon and then went right back out at 1pm. In this pic, is Branden, yellow shirt, smallest/youngest is Noah and Genki-kun in the aqua shirt, and the boy next door in orange. You gotta love a little boy who is still young enough that he makes airplane wings out of his arms and runs ne. ; ) These kids are all such good friends and good kids. They had a beyblade battle. And then after that, they played kori-oni sort of like tag. I brought out some popsicles and snacks for them all. And kept a watchful eye on the boys. Even though they were just right in front of our house. ; )
The boy in white is boy next doors little brother, but by gosh he's nearly as big or is as tall as the boy next door. ; ) By the way, the boys next door, his mom bought the house across the street. And so she lives across the street with the 2 boys now. Grandma and grandpa still live next door. And it's awesome, they still live close to their grandparents and plus the boys and Branden are such good friends. And good thing they didn't have to move too far. But for the blog, I'll still call him the boy next door, since he started that way. And boy across the street doesn't have that same ring to it. ; ) Anyway....
The dvd's this week were "The Vampire's Assitant" and Shutter Island. Hubby and I liked Shutter Island but we didn't care for the ending so much. Anyway that was our weekend in a nutshell. Sports day for Branden Saturday and Noah's recital Sunday. : ) Monday was a holiday here in Japan, so Branden still gets a day off for undokai, I think that's next Monday. And the boys have off today which is Thursday, it's the first day of Fall, I think. Shunbun No Hi, is what it's called in Japanese. Today it's been raining. Tonight I'm making gratin for dinner. Hope everyone's been having a great week so far. : )

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Branden's undokai 2010! : )

Undokai for Branden was Saturday, the weather was lovely. It really was so much better then the undokai Branden had last year. A totally rainy and cold undokai he had last year. : ) The undokai's are so much different then the sports day/field days I had growing up in the US. Lots of practice goes into it. A huge marching band and dance number, sorta like a half time is the best description I can think of, for you Americans. Obento/packed lunches are brought by all of us. No first and second place type ribbons are given out at our elementary. But medals are given out at our yochien go figure. But the sports and fun the kids have is the same. Here was the start of undokai. The red (hat) team versus the white (hat) team. In Japan, the kids have these hats, they are white on 1 side and red on the other (reversible) half the school ends up a red hat or a white hat. For Branden, the 3rd grade #1 class are red and the 3rd grade #2 are white (hats). The camaraderie, they feel towards their team is pretty big. They started out like the picture above...the red waves their huge red flag and shouts and says...basically. "Go red, you can do it" Gambatte gambatte. The reds all clap hands in unison. Then they stop and the white hats do the same. Shouting and cheering for the white team. And they all clap and shout in unison. So this riles up the red and they go back and forth. It's all in good fun! But it gets the teams going. Doesn't matter if you're an ichinensei or a 6th grader, the most popular kid in class or not, you're team will root for you! They will shout for you and cheer you on the whole day long! Go red...go red!!!
Branden is the 5th to the right red hat, they start with warm up exercises.

Stretching out the ol' back!
Here's a pic of the red team clapping. There's also a drum beating for the red team and white team.
Branden came in 2nd on this race but on another race he came in first place. However I had video taped it instead of taking a picture. It's crazy for sports days. Noboru and I each have a camera so we're both snapping/clicking like crazy. Then I am also taping the mini videos for the blog. And also I have my mini camcorder I am trying to make a full length dvd for B for when he grows up. @_@ Yep, it's nuts. ; ) So we were definitely all over the place with taking pics, taking videos. Chatting with my friends. Noboru chatting with his friends. Keeping an eye on Noah. But it was fun.
Branden about to run a relay, I was so glad I had the front spot, I was sitting right where the kids were running. With our leisure sheet right there, we didn't have to move for many of our pictures, ha ha ha. Thank goodness for our spot.
Branden getting ready for the half time type performance. He was playing Ponyo on the pianica. Everyone had to wear the berets and bandanas.
About to begin.
Now here were the father's tug-o-war! White won twice and reds won once. You'r color is whatever your kids hat color is. Branden was a red, so Noboru was a red. Sorry honey, you guys didn't win the tug-o-war! ; )
Then the "father's club" had a competition with the 6th graders. The father's club were given instructions before undokai. They said..."try hard, don't let them win" It was 120 kids versus 20 or so father's. 4 father's per bunch/cluster of the kids! The "father's club" won! Yay! Noboru was happy! Ha ha ha. By the know how some events some people don't watch, they might be chit chatting with friends or something. But...this event...the father's club versus the 6th graders. Everyone in the whole field watched this event. It was loud and you could hear lots of grunting back and forth for that log...who would win and pull that log. But....the father's club did. Branden was cheering for Noboru. "Yay daddy!!!!" It was very cute.
A pic of the father's club running for that log! The way they all charged that would swear you were watching Braveheart or something along those lines! Two opposing teams running screaming for that log! Sorry no camera movie for this one, I video taped this one with the camcorder too.
Another race the 3rd graders did.
Watching the ending runners run, they already ran so were sitting along the sidelines.
The red (hat) 3rd graders and white (hat) 3rd graders were having a ball rolling contest. Talk about having a ball...I mean literally!!! ; ) All the other red hats and the white hats in the whole place were screaming...basicaly....go!!!! You can do it!!!! It was a real nail biter! ; )
And they're off! Rolling an enormous red ball across the field. Crowd goes wild, who will win..who will win. Noah's jumping up and down...go Branden!!!
Rolling rolling rolling...keeps those doggy's rolling!
See the thermoses? Everyone brings a thermos and when you're thristy you drink. You see the girls laughing in the background. Yep, Noboru was teasing the girls a little beforehand. Just something silly and they were laughing about it. Even still a bit smily in the picture. ; )
Are you just about ready for your lunch Noah? : )
Karaage, salad (tomatoes courtesy of the garden) potato salad, tamagoyaki, meatballs, more karaage. Rice balls, croutons and salad dressing.
Fruit, can't forget the fruit. Different colored apples and grapes. Since they're in season.
My serving. From 12 noon-1pm was lunch.
A very nice lunch.
The score midway. The red hats were winning! Yay!
And the final final score! The red hats indeed won! Branden was so happy!
The kids went to their classroom and would come out 20 minutes later. We know that already. And so we packed up quickly, loaded the MPV. And then waited for B to come out. Then he did. Noah had a cherry shave ice just before we were about to leave. First time I've ever seen cherry flavor since I've been in Japan. I mean, melon sure...lemon of course, strawberry yep very common. But yeah first time for me to see cherry. It's common in the US. But happily surprised to see it for sures. Noah had cherry kakigori. And had red stained lips after eating it afterwards. : ) But with the completely hit the spot.
Branden didn't want a kakigori, he chose a choco banana instead, so that's what he got! It was his day afterall. ; )
And I picked my trusty ol' lemon flavor. Though I have been thinking, you know, I should have gotten cherry. ; ) Hubby luckily picked cherry so he shared with me though. We came home exhausted. Mc D's for dinner Saturday night. We were just too pooped to cook (geeze we were up since 5am that morning and I was cooking that morning and then all day spent at undokai we were rightly tired). And then at 6pm, Noboru went to the "Father's club" dinner and drinking party also with all the teachers and principal. This is very good for our relationship with the school. Noboru being in this club since Branden was an ichinensei. Means he has had many long and lengthy chats with the teachers of this school. Has developed a friendship with the principal. This close sorta relationship is very good for Branden and someday for Noah. Makes our ties to this community even stronger and our relationships even closer and bond a bit tighter. So it's good. It's very beneficial for our boys. And we know that. Plus they're all really nice at this school anyway. And so Noboru actually enjoys his time with them during these father's party's. Noboru isn't really a drinker at all, he said he had 2 regular beers for the "cheers" toast part. And then switched to non-alcoholic beer. He came home around 8pm. Anyway, that's Branden's undokai/field day/sport's day 2010 in a nut shell. : )

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gearing up for a busy, but fun weekend. : )

How's everyone been? We've been pretty good over here. It's been a quiet week. It rained twice this week. Once like crazy and once just drizzle. But other then that, just hanging around. : ) On Wednesday, Noboru made us dinner. It's a nice change since I am usually the main cook around here. ; ) So, I enjoyed that. He made us Indian curry. It was nice to see him, throw the garlic in the food processor and onion and piece of an apple, fry up the chicken, add all those spices and make dinner. He also did all the dinner clean up too. What a guy. : )
Dinner from Wednesday that the hubby made.
It misted/lightly rained one day. But the other day this week it also rained like crazy. It seriously did.
The water from the rain started covering parts of the lawn completely. When I drove the kids to school and when I picked them up, I had my windshield wiper blades on the fastest setting and it still wasn't fast enough for the rain. It was crazy. That one day...the day of the lots of rain rained during the night, when we woke up, all morning, all afternoon all the way until that evening. And then it finally fizzled out. That was a full day of nonstop rain.
See the water crashing on the table? Crazy stuff. But the positive is...the grass really needed it. ; ) So that is the bright side.
Today I snapped this picture...the time on the clock says....1:18pm It was this afternoon and I already had Noah with me at that time today, so he was on weekend already...and I already chopped up the chicken for tomorrows karaage obento. I also had ran to the store with Noah today too. To pick up the last minute things for tomorrow's undokai/field day/sports day. All the mother's in our area are in full blown busy preparation mode today. So much to prepare and think about.
This picture was taken of Branden at the elementary school field at 5pm this evening. They said nobody could get a spot until 5:30pm today. I showed up at 4:45pm. Knowing they'd open it early. Good thing I did, the parking lot was nearly full 2 spaces left and I took one. And the other mom parking her car took the last one. Branden is a red hat this year and so we went to that part of the field. When the teacher said in Japanese basically..."go ahead" the mother's and I am kidding you not. Ran. Not walked....flat out ran. To grab a spot. So, I ran too. So there me and my flip flops went running across the field. Feeling like a nerd. But...I must say, I did get a fantastic spot and front row. So, I didn't feel too nerdy after all. ; ) We put the stakes into our corners of our leisure sheet. Put our table (unfolded) on top of it and umbrellas (unfolded on there too) Our last name's on everything (sheet, umbrella, etc). Same with everyone...their names are all on theirs too. And we left headed home. The time on my car as I was driving out of the school? 5:35pm. Good thing I went when I did, I thought.
So many of the first rows gone (this is the red hat side and that sheet and stuff is ours in this pic, closest to the camera). And the white hat side.....the whole front row was already gone by the time we left (those white hats were really on the ball ; ). I'm not kidding. And so many mother's with kids in tow, were walking *towards* the areas as we were walking out. Tomorrow is going to be no stress. Our obento is wisely prepped already. Our spot has been saved already (phew) and so tomorrow we can just sorta relax and enjoy it all. I'll wake up around 5:30am and get the obento made. Noboru just has to make the rice balls/onigiri, that's his only task. : ) I'll make a few omlettes for breakfast. Throw a little concealer on, some Mac studio fix. And we'll be sitting on that field from probably 8:00am until I think they said it ends at 3:45pm. So until about 4pm or so. Sunday, Noah is going to a senior facility/nursing home. His yochien is going to be singing there in hopes to brighten the seniors day, so that's Sunday. So, we'll be up at the crack of dawn Saturday *and* Sunday. Weekend? What weekend? Ha ha ha. It's true...I will have no (sleeping in late type) weekend this weekend but that's okay. Getting to sit and enjoy sports day is actually pretty fun. And watching my youngest singing to some seniors sounds like fun too. And ahhh, I can always sneak in a nap this coming Monday or Tuesday. : ) : ) Have a wonderful weekend all of you. I'll catch up with you all after this weekend is over.