Friday, September 09, 2011

Noah's last sweet potato dig and grape picking with the yochien

Last Saturday, the day the typhoon was supposed to hit us here in Kanto. And also the same day was the "last" : ( sweet potato dig and grape picking for Noah and his fellow blue badges, at the yochien. And as you can tell by the pictures. The day was absolutely beautiful! Seriously not quite sure how we managed to luck out so much. But I won't question it. : )
Big clusters and bunches of grapes. ;P These hang nicely overhead, when we sit at the tables and chairs and munch grapes or sweet potatoes.. : )
It was quite sunny and it did rain twice for about 1 minute the first time and about 5 minutes the last time, but we were luckily not outside when it happened either time. Right before we started to go and start with the morning warm up and prayer and the speech/talk the principal/enchosensei gives and the owner of the farm gives. Just as we were to leave the safety of our seats and clear plexi glass roof and grape overhang. It started raining. It lasted only a minute or two tops. And then poof, it just stopped. The sun started shining it was the weirdest thing.
So we went out, the encho sensei here in the blue shirt giving her speech and starting the prayer. You can see the ground is still wet. Then the man came out and he said, because of the unusual Summer we've had (cooler then usual). The sweet potatoes are smaller this year but sweeter! He then told us which grapes were seedless and which ones were not. Then the principal/encho sensei came back out and said, the oldest class first, as usual. But hmm, first time (for Noah) it's us! Cool!
Kids listening to either the encho sensei or the older owner gentleman giving his talk to the kids. He's a very nice man.
Blue badges up first. Class photo. Some kids looking at their mom's and not at the other sensei holding the school camera for the class portrait. Some scrunching up their faces and some kids in lalaland. It really is hard to get a bunch of kids all looking the same direction and all smiling. I think the sensei's did their best.
A few kids forgot their hats. Noah was one of them. A fact I didn't learn about until Saturday morning at the grape orchid (had a spare at home btw). I had gone through his stuff on Friday at home. Where is your hat I asked. The sensei has it. I chalked it up to....well they must be handing them out to everyone tomorrow during the dig then (they do that at undokai so not unusual). Okay I said. Saturday morning every kid shows up wearing a hat! OMG! Inside feeling mild panic. Trying best to be calm, so I walk over to the Yayoi sensei, "hi ummm are you passing out hats or were the kids supposed to take them home yesterday?" She, being just as equally nice said, I'm so sorry I should have checked to see if Noah brought his home yesterday. But not to worry she said, he's not the only one. I said, nothing to be sorry about.*I'm sorry*, I should have asked Noah a bit more about it yesterday. So while we're both sorry-ing each other to death. : ) I go and sit down. Things happen, I thought to myself, nobodies perfect. And I sort of chuckled at myself, because.... a fitting way to end the sweet potato dig and grape picking years. So fitting. : ) See the little girl in the front row with denim floppy hat? Yep, her too, and a few others. I think with school starting back on a Friday....and us sending our kids back with everything. No wonder there was confusion. : ) Oh well. And yep, I have 1 spare hat at home...their older faded ones for emergencies like this! But again, I had no idea. : (
Can't believe these kids will be ichinenseis next April. And I know it sounds corny, but seriously time just went by so quickly...too quickly.
Noah picked 2 packs of grapes. Since this was afterall, his field trip.

Noboru lending a very helpful hand. : )
Branden scoping out a big bag in the background... to cut next! : )
Using a crate just like the other yochien kids because they're too little to reach without it. : )
Branden, getting his turn and cutting his pack of grapes and not using a crate because he's grown so much! But he used to use a crate when he was in yochien. : )
Still sunny. Nice weather again and us blue badges went first. The blue badge white hats went to cut grapes first (which is us... errr minus the hat). The blue badge red hats went to dig for potatoes first. And then we switched. Meanwhile the younger classes were waiting, standing by and also taking class photos. This is why they ended up getting soaked and we didn't.
Branden digging. Each student and their family are given 5 plants to dig and keep the potatoes.
Dig Noah dig! : )
And so now we were done and walking back to our seats/tables and then it started to pour rain. Like buckets of rain. Raining cats and dogs type rain... but only for about 5 minutes. The blue badges sat nicely and dry inside. Meanwhile the younger classes got soaking wet. The mothers came in, with hair so soaked it looked like they just came out of the shower. Like slicked back type soaking wet hair. @_@ Good thing it stopped raining and they started to dry off some. Branden eating a free steamed sweet potato.
Noah also enjoying a steamed sweet potato. They keep bringing by huge trays of potatoes for us to eat.
And cups of grapes. Noah 's Pokemon thermos right there.
My Starbucks mug with iced straight tea with lots of ice in it. And Branden's Mario thermos. The camcorder we had in the plastic bag on the table, which is on my right of the pic. I also video taped this too. So Noah can come back and see his videos when he's older.
Then it was sunny again and it stayed sunny the rest of the day. Go figure.
See the mother in the back of this photo on the far left running her fingers through her hair? She was one caught in the rain. : ( So many were, that was unfortunate.

And the final prayer before saying good bye at the sweet potato dig and grape picking 2011.
It ended at 11:30am and by the time we started getting closer to home. We were hungry and ready for lunch. So we stopped in the small city Noah goes to school in and went to Cocoichi curry for some lunch.
The chicken tenderloin cutlet was advertised, so Branden and I also had that, he had a half size and I had the normal/standard size one. Noboru picked tonkatsu curry or something, I forget and Noah had a kids curry lunch. The boys shared a naan and Noboru and I shared a naan also.
From September to Novemer they will sell the chicken tenderloin cutlet curry, this is so freakin' good! So, good in fact Noboru and I went there on a date this week during the afternoon while the boys were at school. : )
A very nice lunch we all enjoyed after the sweet potato dig. As you can tell by the pic outside of the restaurant rain in our area. However we did hear on the news that other parts of Japan got it pretty bad. : ( Hope everyone reading is okay.
We took the big pile of sweet potaoes and rinsed them outside first. And then brought them inside and gave them another rinsing. And let them dry. A very good sweet potato haul.
And 3 packs of grapes.
We rinsed them, soaked them and kept them in the fridge until dessert/after dinner. All four of us ate these grapes the first night. The grapes were so sweet and no seeds. : ) Noah's last sweet potato dig and grape picking with the yochien. I think though that we'll have to look into going on sweet potato digs and grape picking on our own from now on as a family, since we enjoy these so much, hmm we will have to research that a bit for next year. : )