Sunday, November 27, 2011

A fun festival on Japanese Labor Day

My dad arrived Tuesday evening as planned, and all of us end up going to have dinner together. We went to have Chinese food at the Ohsho, it was delicious as always. This pic was from the following day, Wednesday morning, it was a holiday for us here in Japan, Labor Day. And Branden and Noah did not have school that day. However they had their English study, so grandpa (my dad) jumped in and helped them with that, while I got cracking on the homemade pumpkin pies. : ) There are so many books and cards etc, that say things like 356 words you should know how to read/write by the first grade, etc etc. And Noah is knee deep in learning all those as well as on a good path of his reading. So, my dad went through the words with Noah. My dad flipping through some flashcards with Noah in this picture. He's actually such an amazing reader. Branden is too. Anyway this was from Wednesday morning.
My dad brought us a lot of stuff! I thought we were so totally stocked up for the Winter before. But now...wow even more so! Totally appreciated, thanks dad! These are the Christmas edition M&M's. Mint chocolate and the other Christmasy bag was peanut butter. And all colored for Christmas to boot! These will go great in my snowman candy dish!
Chips galore! I had brought back 2 big bags of chips a week before this. And now wow....we have even more chips. I see plenty of guacamole and salsa dipping with chips in our Winter break future. And nachos, yumm. And the Ruffles were for those turkey sandwiches. The tortilla chips were from Cost u less so they're a huge bag. Good thing we have a huge food pantry so it all fit in nicely.
When grandpa skyped before he came, he spoke to the boys, Branden had asked for Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
2 packs of bean and cheese burritos. Great for lazy weekend afternoon snacking. Ranch dip for those buffalo chicken strips in the freezer. Tortillas for wraps. And provolone for those delicious turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving. And another 3 pound pack of bacon. We now have 9 pounds of American bacon total. Definitely enough for Winter... for sures.
German cookies. We cracked these suckers open while my dad was here, they were so good, we still have half left. And fresh raisin bread from American bakery, perfect toasted and sliced with butter.
And 7 cans of meatless chili beans. Perfect for nachos or just a bowl of warmed chili beans on a cold Winter's day. Plus we also brought 6 or so cans the week beforehand.
Noboru wanted to put the turkey on this rack. However he was testing the weight limit of said rack that's why he put the case of jasmine tea on it. It worked beautifully and we placed the turkey on this rack when roasting our Thanksgiving turkey the next day. So no greasy bottom of the turkey.
After the pie baking and English study were done. The 5 of us headed to the plaza in our tiny town for the festival that takes place here every year.
Shaved ice/kakigori with about 10 different flavors to choose from, seriously so many choices of flavors (peach, cherry, green apple, cola, grape, lemon, blue Hawaii, etc etc. Choco bananas. Yakisoba, curry. The curry looked delicious and was made in huge pots.
Grilled fish.
Flowers. Everything locally grown from our tiny town of less then 5,000 people. You could buy fresh rice grown from right in our town/locally. Which is peace of mind so we know where it's from. You can buy this though readily around here though anytime anyway though. Farm fresh veg again grown in our town. Again if you're worried about it...it's at least peace of mind, if you are worried about food safety at all, since we know it's grown in a safe area. Around here has never had a spike at all after the March 11th aftermath. Our tiny town for being as small as it is. Was so completely quick to react after the March 11th and the reactor problems. They sent notes home from the local elementary school immediately saying in case you're worried, school lunches are all locally produced and grown..... all vegetables and things made for the school lunch are local. The milk from the local dairy. Eggs from the local dairy. And veg. Very honest and upfront our elementary was. The meat came and still comes from a safe place far away not even remotely near the reactor problems a totally different part of Japan altogether, again it all came on a school "take home" note immediately afterwards and ran in the town paper for months afterwards even....just in case anyone missed the notice the first few times. The monthly bulletin, was sent out almost immediately too... after it all happened.... saying our water in our town is well water from deep down in the earth never even is shown the light of day blah blah blah our water does not come from the bigger cities #1 and it is well water #2, that was huge peace of mind for us in the town. And saying furthermore if you still are worried you can come to the water facility and see. Again very upfront and honest. And why we had a lot less cause for panic and worry here, then say the bigger cities where they had water issues which we saw on the news afterwards. But we did leave Japan for a while and went to Guam, the kids and I for a while afterwards that is true and that was just for extra safety precaution and we are glad we did that. But our town is fine and the fresh veggies and rice, eggs, milk, etc fine. Noboru knows a lot about the wind directions, and has always felt the area our town is in, is very safe, so we feel lucky with that. And we feel safe living in the location we are. Anyway I went a little off topic, so getting back on track.
Noboru and Branden enjoying some real locally made mochi. Grown and made. Branden's friend from his class, his dad was the one who made this.
Branden, Noah and the ever popular Chiba-kun.
Sweet potato fries. These were delicious and local.
These are the things we bought from the festival. The school made homemade things to sell. Buying homemade things kids make are very cool! And the money goes to a good cause, our local school so why not! : ) My dad bought the fish plate because he has an older Japanese couple that are his neighbor's in his condo complex and she/they bring him omiyagi when she and her husband get back from Japan. She just got back recently and brought my dad omiyage. So my dad bought her that homemade fish plate, I think she'll love it. The Fall homemade plate with leaves meanwhile are what, I picked, I love this and knowing some child made this and poured all that work and love into making this plate. 200 yen to buy it, was a steal! I am very happy with this plate. Besides making dishes the kids also learn to sew and the school was selling homemade school bags, handmade sewn scrunchies (this always makes me think of Sex and the City when Carrie and Burgar (?) had that argument over the usage of scrunchy in his book, lol) and they also sold homemade coasters. Easter is not so common in Japan, Halloween is very common, but not Easter. I was surprised to see a kid, had not only had the fabric of Easter eggs and Eastery things but the child also sewed the set of 3 coasters very nicely for 100yen. I had to buy them...I will 100% appreciate these Easter coasters and will use them every Easter and think of whoever made them and smile. We also bought some local eggs. Local farm fresh eggs are very common in our town and readily available all over. They are so good and so affordable.
Senbei I put it face down, because it said, the name of our town on the other side. My dad wanted to also give this pack of senbei to his neighbor as well. He liked the fact the name is on the front that way he can say...my daughter is from this town. My dad very carefully packed these in his carry-on when he went back to Guam. : )
Wednesday after we got home from the town festival. My doorbell rang. It was my lovely friend Rumi-san from down the street. She had brought me many farm fresh carrots and sweet potatoes. My dad was so happily surprised she brought these, he said wow you really do have wonderful friends in this town. And the whole while we walked around the festival, my dad kept saying you're town is so self sufficient. I nodded my head and agreed. he saw me chatting and talking with friends while there. Branden too. My dad really likes our town. Kept commenting living in the country is so good for the boys. And when my dear friend rang the bell and brought these to us, he was just really blown away, very impressed with the kindness and hospitality.
The homemade pumpkin pies. The from scratch butter crust, so delicious. They cooled at home while we went to the festival and when we got home they were then ready to be put into the fridge for the following day.
Wednesday nights dinner. Cocoichi curry nabe. This was *so* freaking good! This is now my most favorite nabe now! My dad loved this too! We all gathered around the table and ate, then added more fresh veg as we ate, fresh cabbage, mushrooms, carrots my friend just gave us so they were superly farm fresh, we had so many veggies in there. It was so good. We had chicken, chicken balls, udon. It was totally yumm! Anyway this is what our family in our neck of the woods did last Wednesday. : )