Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer festival fun

Our housing community's Summer festival/natsumatsuri was last Saturday. It would start at 4pm and according to the kairanban would run until 9pm. Noboru couldn't make it this year to the summer festival because he had to work. However the boys and I went and we stayed the entire time, until 9pm! We had a fantastic time. Noah walking to the festival we could hear drums at this point.
Noah ready for some summer festival fun!
Branden ready for some summer festival fun too! : )
There was yakisoba, steamed butter potatoes (yum!) beer, cotton candy, kakigori/shave ice, hot dogs, oden. They also had a snack stand selling candy and toys. Quite a few toy stalls. Not sure if you can see her or not, but the woman working the beer stall way at the back wearing a purple shirt with a white chisai towel around her neck talking to a customer/neighbor. That is the grandma next door. She's the leader this year for our block/street. We think we will be the leaders next year? Either us or the boy next door's mom. But we think it will be us. Which means Noboru or I will have to work this event next year. But also one of us has to keep an eye on the kids. So we will have to decide who works it next year when the time comes. This summer festival is open for everyone. You don't have to live here to enjoy it. All are welcome. People who live in our town who don't live in our housing area come and it's great fun!
We all enjoyed a butter potato, these were delicious!
We had Chiba-kun here for the entire festival. He waved to kids and gave hugs when he first arrived. But at night when they had summer dancing and said everyone please join in. Chiba-kun started doing traditional summer dancing! Chiba-kun rocked the summer dancing! : )
Branden, Noah and I had shave ice each twice. One when we all first got there and one right before we left. Branden was off playing with his friends and classmates so it was hard to get a pic. But I was happy he was off having a great time with friends. Noah and I hung out the whole night though.
We had the dancing groups dance this year again, they were great as always.
We all had a blast, the weather cooled down in the evening and we had nice cool breezes, it was just a really good time, I wish Noboru could have been there and enjoyed it with us, but I know he couldn't. : ) Anyway there you have it, that's what we did last Saturday evening, just enjoying our second Summer festival of 2012. (the first one being at Noah's former yochien.)

Monday, July 30, 2012

One of the most amazing Olympic opening ceremonies I’ve ever seen!

Saturday morning before the dashi pull our family of 4 all sat down in front of the TV and watched the olympics opening ceremony! Watching it in English for the first time in many many years with having American TV was really nice. The way they explained everything, it was just really nice.  Danny Boyle did an amazing job with the opening ceremony. I mean truly amazing! I had goosebumps quite a few times while watching. It started off all green and grassy. They explained on TV it was real grass/sod.
The singing fantastic!
It showed more and more progress being made in London. On TV they said it was the industrialization of London, that was their term.
The music for the show was fantastic. It was captivating, we couldn't keep our eyes off the TV. What would happen next...what would happen next? Sorry if that sounds corny but it's honestly true. This just drew you in.  See 1 circle ring in the center of the chimney and "buildings" well the ring started getting higher and I screamed..."OMG it's going to be one of the olympic rings"
Sure enough it was one of the olympic rings. The way...he tied everything in together...again it was just awesome!
This was amazing. we missed the Beckham and  brilliant Mr Bean  (Rowan Atkinson) and the Queen jumping out of the airplane parts *but* we luckily caught it on repeat that evening so we caught that part also and were happy to see that. The Queen was a terrific sport for doing what she did and they said on TV she had more people tweeting about her that day then anyone else!: )  And OMG is Becks a hunk or what! We were hoping to not miss watching Japan and the USA coming in the "Parade of Nations" we even thought of not going to the dashi pull. @_@ But we said...what the heck let's go and hopefully we can come back in enough time. Lucky for us the dashi pull took about 30 minutes at most and we left immediately after. : ) When we came into the house the parade of nations had already started and it was on the letter E...Egypt was walking on. We said phew we didn't miss Japan and sat down on the couch.
I appreciated how they say on the bottom who is next and next and next. haha. Ykwim. It shows the next 3 countries. That way we could sort of time it to make bathroom breaks and stuff or to get a cold drink from the fridge. Noboru saw the screen up above and then said..."I'm next" meaning his country. : )  I then said, yay honey....yay kids! : )

He watched them come out and was smiling but quiet. He was thrilled though I know it.
Below is the video when the United States of America came out! I then told Noboru...my country's next, yay!!!! : ) : ) Kids said yay all over again. : )  I tried to be quiet but during the parade of nations you can't help but feel so proud of your own country. The Americans outfits were made by Ralph Lauren same as last time. He's a wonderful American designer and their outfits were cool! So cool. Yes there was a tiny bit of controversy about the teams outfits being made in China that made news and Ralph Lauren has promised to have them made in the USA next time around. Either way team USA's outfits were amazing!
Loved Team USA's outfits!
Another pic of Team USA outfits!
Okay one more pic of Team USA's outfits!
Paul McCartney came out at the end and sang. You could hear in his voice he had a lot of emotion and feeling because of the wonderful job his country had did for the opening ceremony for the olympics and it really was amazing. Everyone loves him and the American team were singing right along in this picture. I think the entire stadium was probably singing right along.
If you are British you should be so very proud! : ) Danny Boyle showed the world a glimpse of who England is through his opening ceremony. On American TV the broadcaster said...first time ever during an opening ceremony did someone tell their country's story!!! Like a mini movie. The broadcaster was so totally impressed. Telling of the... hard work. The perseverance! The strength and determination. I'm really not kidding when I say.... we in our house, were dazzled and impressed a million percent! Great and awesome olympic opening ceremony.  Did any of you watch it? What did you think?  Anyway 2 thumbs way up from our family on the opening olympic ceremony and parade of nations.: )

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Summer time dashi pull

Saturday, the day after the "haunted school" and fireworks. We had our housing community's dashi pull in the morning. And that evening we had the Summer festival for our housing community.  This was also the Olympic opening ceremony day, it was broadcast for folks in Guam at 9:30am Saturday so a time when people were awake and not the dead of night. So delayed from being live by a few hours.....but much appreciated, so we could catch it here in Japan at our house. That means for us at our house it aired at 8:30am. Since the dashi pull started at 9:45am, means we could watch a good hour of the Olympic ceremony before this dashi pull...do the dashi pull and then rush back home and finish enjoying the opening ceremony. So, my olympic post is still coming and so is the Summer festival post. But for now...this is just the dashi pull post. : )  Noah at the main park in the center of our housing community although we have about 3-4 other different parks besides this big center one... with equipment throughout the housing community and benches and places to sit down throughout the housing community also. You can hear water trickling at the main park because of the teeny tiny water fall thing in this pic and it runs along the whole park. Noah is holding a pet bottle of ice, each child needed to bring one.
The dashi pull is only open for kids who live here. And if you live here they give you a cloth to wear around your neck and some bells. The chisai towels, I had the boys bring to wipe sweat from home.
And who is that smiling happy daddy fanning the kids in our housing community.  : )
Folks look forward to this, this woman and her 2 dogs watched as the kids walked by. Some elderly came out smiling and waving at the kids at different houses along the path of the dashi pull.
Someones futon drying and getting fluffy in the Summer heat.
4th, 5th and 6th graders were at the back. Branden was lucky to be able to hold it at the front. He enjoyed this with his friends.
One of the walkways throughout our housing community. When we were picking a place to build our home we wanted a "housing community" type place to build. And we worried about kids walking down normal streets, cars and traffic. The one thing we fell in love with about this place is there really is no reason for any kids to be on normal roads since there are ped paths throughout the entire community. You can get everywhere via a ped path and ride your bike on the ped paths also. So it's not so common to see kids on the main roads in our housing community. However the main roads in this housing community don't get much traffic either, haha. It's like in a circle rings with the main park at the center and then houses circling the park. With our street on the farthest street. There are also only 2 ways to get into our housing community. 1 main entrance and 1 country back road. So through traffic is just something we rarely get but the ped paths were one of the main reasons we fell in love with this place.  Also our housing community has underground gas like how it's done in the US more or less, so none of those twin gas tanks attached to the houses in this housing area which is pretty rare for Japan if you have a house. Anyway just interesting weird fact/ thing people often will notice when coming here "where are the gas tanks" we just say our housing community has underground gas lines, which they do. Not unsuaul for those of you in the US but pretty unusual here. But we also have an outside off valve, we use when we go on vacation or are going to be gone for a whole day type stuff we'll turn it off then as a safety measure.: )
They had a few stops along the way for the kids to get drinks.
Noah and his classmate Kaito-kun. Both ichinensei and both with big brothers who are 5th graders. : )
Hi kiddo!
Some of the ichinensei who live in our housing community. Kids Noah plays with after school or during Summer break etc.
Another pit stop for drinks.  We pay home owner association fees monthly so the drinks are paid for by us basically, which is why it's understandable why it's only open for the kiddos who live here.
Another ped path this one has stairs. : )
We also have our own private clinic/doctor in our housing community. This is his office. I can take the ped path from my house and be here in about 60 seconds maybe 95 seconds if I walk slow. getting a flu shot is very close and the wait is nil. It's peace of mind and he lives in our housing community so again peace of mind knowing he lives about 60 seconds away. He's always been super awesome to our family. We are rarely sick so we rarely go there but he's super nice.
Another ped path walking towards the tennis courts and main park. The center of the housing community.
There are also benches all over the ped paths and circular places for the kids to hang out. Alrighty, I guess...that concludes the tiny tour of our housing community. Anyway I just wanted to give you all a glimpse or tiny peek of where our family lives.... the area we call home. It's a pretty good place to raise kids, the schools are real good, the people are real nice and friendly... the housing community is really well thought out and pretty safe for kids with all the ped paths. Lots of greenery and trees and shade with benches to sit and chat with their friends or play all Summer long. : )
If you turn in your bells and your cloth you will in return get a snack bag and frozen Icee. lemon flavor so good during this hot summer morning. They gave Noboru and I one too. And any other parents who wanted one. Totally appreciated. Noah always looks at Branden's face, typical little brother. : ) The Jinbei boy in the Puma shirt. Branden told the Jinbei boy about his sister Ako-chan winning the trophy the night before...you could hear him tell his sister....you shoulda stayed! @_@ You would have won the trophy. : ) Typical brother and sister stuff. : )Poor Ako-chan. : )
Keita...Kei-chan to us in the housing community. Branden and Noah. : )  Chit chatting the morning away after the dashi pull.
Noboru and I wanted to catch more of the olympics so we waved the boys good bye and they stayed at the park with Kei-chan in our housing community and we meanwhile walked the ped paths to home about a 2 minute walk for us and Branden and Noah came home no longer then 5 minutes after us. So they didn't stay too long, it was just too hot. : ) Oh in the background is our housing community's "community center" you can do yoga, gather for meetings whatever you want they have cool things going on in there. I once taught an English lesson for my good friend in that building for a good group of 6th grade girls around Christmas time last year and then just ped pathed it home after the lesson. : )  Anyway there you have it....the dashi pull for 2012. : )

Spooky fun at the "haunted" elementary school and the fireworks afterwards

So last Friday, July 27th Noboru got home from work at 2pm. I had known he needed to be at the school at 4:30pm with the other "Father's Club" guys to prep. Noboru had spent the whole week getting the music online. He needed 50 minutes of it. Since the Father's Club did their walk through and determined you need around 50 minutes to get to each room. Noboru had music from the Ring, the American version the creepy music that plays when the credits roll at the end. He also had the Halloween music when Michael Myers is walking around after Jamie Lee Curtis's character in the hospital and the neighborhood when she was baby sitting. That sound alone scares me to death. Gives me heart palpitations. Anyway Noboru had tons of scary music around an hours worth. He also had a tin can attached to his clear fishing string and when someone goes into the room the can drops and makes this creepy tin can sound. Also Noboru tossed a child's ball down the stairs and that alone scared folks and you could hear the mother's gasp and kids scream in terror. The rest I had zero idea and Noboru wasn't telling me. Branden and Noah knew nothing because he wanted everything to be new and fresh and scary. : ) I baked a homemade pizza last Friday and made sure it was ready to come out of the oven by 2:30pm. So Noboru could eat and then get ready to leave. Us mom's and kids were to be there at 6:30 and it would start around 7pm. This pic above is of the boys going up the country hill to the school. Rice fields and farm land surround our school.
Branden and Noah went and stood in their grade line. First graders stand there and so on. Noah was the first 1st grader there and Branden was the first 5th grader there. Many 6th graders were there.
And then more kids came.....
And then even more....originally the "Father's club" was expecting around 30 kids to come/be interested.  Over 100 showed, 105 or something to be more specific but I'll just say 100! And our school total population is like 220 somewhere around there. A few of our grades only have 1 class per the grade, like Noah's class. I think you can see the sunsetting out the windows in this pic.  It did get pitch black though when they walked through the school. Dundundun! : ) Oh yeah and Sera showed up also, he was in the yellow shirt in the pic with the black bag diagonal across his body in the pic sitting near that mother in the pic but that wans't his mom.... his dad brought him that night. : )
The line way at the back there were still more entering the gymnasium.  The "Father's Club" guys always wear the yellow shirts that say "Father's Club" at the back. : )
This pic shows you just how completely dark it was walking through the school. The only light was from the kids flash lights. It was a stamp rally and the kids needed to go room to room looking for about 8 different stamps. Some questions needed to be answered. There was 1 question...."is our principal over age 50?" And the other question was..."does our town have a population of MORE then 5000 people?" Answer no to question 2. : ) Yep we are a rinky dinky town. Which I love. But yeah answer no to that one. : )  Below is a video taken from the "haunted science room" and you can hear the kids, listen to their sounds, they enjoyed this 100%!!! This sound alone shows how much of a success this was! The parents were totally into it, so were the kids!
This was also Noboru's idea and this really freaked everyone out, me included. Remember that scary movie and you see nothing but the static afterwards? Yep...they set this up in the schools library and you can hear the sounds of static from the TV....and everyone shrieked as they went in! I was on my guard being in this room. And yes Father's were scaring kids on ever floor. One father was dressed all in black and had his face all whited out with makeup. And when you entered that room you just see this figure with a purely creepy face. They had more fishing wire and moved chairs when you entered the room. The chairs would just move by themselves. It was a regular house of horrors...well school of horrors! : )
All kids were to bring a flash light, 1 pencil and 1 thermos. This was after they had all finished. Noah drinking and chatting with his classmates.
A bit blurry but Branden playing around with his 5th grade friends!
Yellow t shirts against the wall, "Father's Club" members. They also had trophy's.
These are the kids who won! Rin-kun who lives 2 doors down won one! The kids were so happy! I definitely think they'll do this again next year! After the trophy's were given out the "Father's Club" announced they would have fireworks for all kids outside. I knew. But everyone else was thinking that was it. Everyone was so happy again after the fireworks announcement. Oh yes, The Jimbei boys sister won a trophy and they kept calling her name but she went home early so she didn't get her trophy, so they gave it to someone else, next in line. : (
Noah enjoying some fireworks with fellow kids from his school.
Branden smiling with some of his classmates and Noah standing near also. This was really fun you guys! : ) It really was!
Father and son! : ) Also the man whose idea started this all! Right on! Noboru was so happy seeing everyone enjoy themselves. He felt really good about it.
It ended and then the boys and I drove home. Noboru stayed with the Father's Club and it was known only by us wives of Father's Club guys..... that the Father's club men and the male teachers were going to have a drinking and snacking... male bonding... party at the school (they got permission for this from the school board weeks beforehand) and so after everyone left...Noboru said they went to 7-11 and went and bought a ton of alcohol and snacks. and they were there and didn't come home until 2:30am. Noboru asked me if I minded about the drinking party afterwards.... last week, I said not at all. It's few and far between that he gets to do that. He works for an American company so they don't do that at his regular work. So his only time to get to do this... is with the "Father's Club" And I don't mind at all honestly. So he could enjoy himself 100% and I'm so glad. I meanwhile made sure the boys took showers they smelled all smokey from the fireworks. And then they went to sleep. I showered then I stayed up for an hour watching TV before heading to bed. They always walk home from the "Father's Club" gatherings so no drunk driving which is nice.  Anyway that was the haunted school night we had last Friday. Lots of fun for the kids in our town! : )