Sunday, August 25, 2013

Countryside living. Wave pool family fun and picnic yet again. Getting ready for Nagano

August 20th we headed to Costco, just to get a few things, especially since we were heading to the wave pool the next day and were going to pack a picnic lunch yet again. : ) This is the view heading from our house to Costco Inzai. Just endless amounts of rice fields (tanbo) farms, scattered towns and small cities in between. But this is pretty much the view. : )
This pic, we were in Inzai/Chiba New Town and probably 1-2 minutes from Costco in this pic. Again farmland to the left, but Costco is near that red and white tower in the background on this picture.
We hear, a giant Cainz Home/Besia is being built right next to Costco, there is a few land areas near Costco with stuff being built on it or construction going on. And again farmland or vacant land to the left.
Entrance to Costco and you can see apartments in the distance. I would best describe the area Inzai/Chiba New town as a suburb. There are a lot of housing communities, a lot of tall-ish apartment buildings. A huge shopping mall with Gap and Aeon, Starbucks, etc. There is a huge Joyful Honda store there, that I really like and have for years, there is also an outlet mall in Inzai too. On the weekends the traffic in Inzai is crazy. It's slow moving. According to Wiki, Inzai has a population as of April 2012 of 89,505 people. So coming from our town, that we live in, of just under 5,000 people where we live, for us Inzai is very populated. But it's not Tokyo or Osaka city type populated at all, by any means. So compared to the bigger cities Inzai is small, but compared to our town it's huge. And there is also a lot of farm area around Inzai also. We enjoy going to Inzai a lot, we have a lot of friends who live there, it has a lot to offer. So we will try to go to Costco every 2 weeks from now on. : )
Another picture from the Costco parking lot again farmland right next to Costco and what looks like a Porta-Potty (portable toilet), I'm assuming it's for the construction that's going on around there and will be taken down once it's finished. : )
Apartments in the distance.
I'm getting more used to having a Costco but still not completely yet. When I saw these semisweet chocolate chips, I was so happy. So happy because gee, I had lugged chocolate chips to Japan from Guam every Fall and Winter for gosh only knows how many years. And now I don't have to anymore? How weird that is going to be for me (in a good way though). And Costco also has huge boxes of oats and I bake a lot of oatmeal cookies and apple crisp in the Fall and Winter and again now I don't have to lug it back in the ol' suitcase? Again just super weird for me, but I'm trying like heck to get over it, but yeah still weird things like that happen to me still. Also, not that anybody is going to mind, but we didn't go anywhere at all the day we went to Costco, we just simply went to Costco and then home again. Noah wore this outfit for about a total of 1 hour and a half tops. And the next day, when we went to the pool he needed an outfit to go home in after he was to spend an entire day at the pool in his swimsuit and so since his clothes were sitting on the back of his chair, I had him wear this outfit the next day also just for going home in after spending the day in the pool. So technically he only wore this outfit 3 hours both days combined tops. Again, I know nobody really minds but just thought I'd say that here real quick anyway. : )
Our cart.
The ride back to the inaka (countryside) from Costco. Lots of farms, lots of trees.
There are a lot of camphor trees. The same type of tree that Totoro lived in. : ) Bamboo is plentiful. Just a whole lot of greenery and trees.
Noboru picked a cheesecake.
And this is it. Chips and rotisserie chicken for the next days picnic, we bought 2 because we wanted to think of dinner after the pool. Instead of going to a restaurant, we decided we could just buy another chicken and throw it into the oven when we got home from the pool, and the rice we put the timer on for it, the next morning before leaving to the pool. Pizza for dinner that night/Costco night. Microwave bacon, not sure if we'll like it, but I thought to try it for weekdays when the boys start school. Bagel Bites for after school snacks, for an in-between school and swim school snack. And Noboru wanted tortilla chips. : )
We bought 2 packs of water this time, because after trying these little bottles for the first time a few weeks before, we decided we love it. And we drink tons of water this way. : )
At the pool August 21st. Not sure if you can see, but not many tents in the background. It was way less crowded then the last time we went here. Which was nice. :)
Inside the cooler, 3 bottles of soda.  We're not massive soda drinkers granted, but for a pool day it's fine. And the lunch we packed to eat outside in the fresh air while watching happy people splash in the water. : )
Just a simple picnic lunch. Sandwiches and chips.
Branden coming out of the water since it was time for lunch.
Hi Noah! : )
Everyone was stuffed and we still had this many left. Which was fine because during the day if someone got hungry they just opened the cooler and ate a nice little sandwich. : )
Noboru just chillin' eating some chips and watching the boys.
I see you! : )
There are slides, they cost 200 yen to ride once. Branden wanted to go down the great big clear slide but the line was like forever. Noboru counted how many people slid down a minute, he said 2. And then he eyeballed the line, trying to guestimate how many people were in line and said it would take Branden about 2 hours to finally reach the top of the line. Yikes! So needless to say, Branden has yet to try this slide. Aww, better luck next year. : ) 
At the wave pool.
Our inner-tubes for going around the lazy river pool.
Branden and Noah walking and holding their soft serve ice-creams.
It was a pretty nice day.
Noboru holding 2 ice-creams. His and mine. : ) What a sweetie pie. Good guy, good guy. : )
Branden and Noah each had chocolate, I had a twist, half chocolate and half vanilla. And Noboru had caramel. I think I should have picked caramel, but mine was very good also. His was better though, for the record. : )
When we come to this wave pool, we stay the WHOLE day. Look many tents are gone now. Ours is still there, closest to the camera.
And only about 3 tents on the other side of the "river" pool.
Having a good old time just floating around.
Noboru smiling. It was just a great day for all of us.
Packed up and now heading to our minivan. It was a nice long relaxing day spent there. See you next year, wave pool place! : )
The view on our way home from the pool to our house. Fields of sweet potatoes.
And more fields of sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are plentiful around here. They're everywhere, sweet potatoes and rice. And trees.
Lots and lots of trees.
Sweet potatoes, trees and bamboo mixed in there. : )
By now in this pic we were awfully close to our town. Super close. And again, rice fields for as far as the eye can see, trees, bamboo and hills. Not mountains granted, but hills. It's very rural, very countryside. But my gosh it is so beautiful, so peaceful.
Trees so thick you can't see what's on the other side. But it's another rice field though, we know. : )
Farms are everywhere around here. And again trees of all shapes and sizes here in this pic.
We are now in our town and yep more sweet potatoes. In the winter time there is a roasted sweet potato truck that drives around and you can go outside and purchase a delicious roasted sweet potato, when he drives by. They are so good. : )
More rice fields and yet more trees.
And this is the final pic, but this is a sweet potato and rice field area with again trees a plenty in the background. : ) There is also, an actual place you can buy farm fresh eggs in our town, an old house with huge private farm which also has chickens, they sell eggs daily outside their house. It's on the honor system meaning you put money and pick your eggs there is no person working, the egg stand. It's on the trust system. There is also a vegetable stand in our town, which is also on the honor system, meaning they sell veggies and trust you to pay for the veggies you buy and toss your money into an old metal money box. There is also a dairy farm where you can buy milk if you'd like. I usually buy my milk from the grocery store, but it's nice to know it's there. I do however buy the farm fresh eggs about 75% of the time when we buy eggs. And the boys have rode their bikes before a handful of times to go and purchase farm fresh eggs. Anyway, we went home unpacked the car. And I preheated the oven and then I put the whole roasted chicken in the oven to warm up and crisp the skin. The rice was done. And I steamed some veggies. Meanwhile the boys were taking showers upstairs getting soapy clean and hair shampooed. They came down in some fresh house clothes. And then we ate supper. Noboru and I took turns showering after dinner. Dinner was easy and cleanup was easy also. Just threw the dishes in the dishwasher. And we then just enjoyed the rest of the night.
Other then that, we've just been hanging out at home pretty much. Enjoying our last bits of summer.  I've been cooking dinner every night as usual, a lot of the time the boys will come in and help me. August has just been really nice for us.  Oh yeah, I also colored my hair back to my normal/natural hair color. I have been coloring it an auburn or coppery brown color for a year or so (could be 2 years). But, I had been debating to go back to my natural brown color for the whole month pretty much. However, I didn't want to jump the gun on it, so I took some time to think about it. I finally decided yes just to go back. At my local drugstore, last week I must have stood there deciding which color for about 10 full minutes. It's a big decision you know and I didn't want the wrong color. I did have it narrowed down to 2, then made my choice. This color #68 says earl gray. Which basically means tea color. After I let it set for the proper time and rinsed it and whatnot. I blow dried it and it really does look like a beautiful brown color of tea on me, not too  overly dark but really pretty.... pretty much like the hair color on the box. : ) It looks really good and I'm really happy with it. : )

Anyway, I also went through the boys pants and jean drawer. Branden had outgrown length wise all his 150cm jeans from last year. So, I ordered Branden 4 new pair of jeans, in size 160cm they should be here this week. Meanwhile I went through Noah's closet and while he had outgrown all of his 120cm jeans from last year, so much so, they looked like capris on Noah. I found 2 new pair of jeans I had ordered Noah in March or April 2013, in size 130cm. They are still like brand new and they are long on him and even folded over a bit on the length. So Noah has 2 pair of jeans here, like brand new, so I ordered him 1 pair online that should be here when Branden's gets here. So again, 4 new jeans for Branden on their way and Noah will have a total of 3 in size 130cm. Noah will get another pair somewhere, maybe the Gap outlet or someplace. But this way at least I know, I have started to make a dent for Fall/Winter clothes for the boys. : )

We leave in a few days on our last trip of summer. Our family will be driving to Nagano. It's about a 4 hour drive to 4 and a 1/2 drive from our house. So it's pretty far away from where we live. However it's breath taking. It's truly a gorgeous part of Japan. So many mountains. Reminded me just a bit of Colorado actually. When we drove through Nagano this past January, Noboru and I were just dazzled. We said, we definitely need to come back here! And well....now we are. : ) It's just for a short 1 over night trip, plus our hotel has an onsen/hot spring for soaking and relaxing also. But 1 leisurely day getting there and 1 day of sight seeing while heading back will be great. Car trips in general are pretty fun! Also something I've been keeping in mind is, weather wise, clearly the mountains have slightly cooler temps... so I'll be packing a sweatshirt for each of us and maybe a pair of pants for the boys just in case. Better to be safe then sorry. Anyway that's all for now. : )