Friday, January 30, 2015

Last weekend.The Ami Premium Outlet, Coco Ichiban Curry, and the big Kodomo Kai handover meeting...

Last Saturday, January 24th our plan was to head to the nearest factory outlet to get a pair of pants and a pair of sneakers for Branden. He's 13 years old and just growing like crazy, you guys! Which makes us happy that he is growing, so not a problem at all. : ) Growing right out of his clothes and his shoes. : ) The factory outlet has good quality and cheap prices. So, that's where we went Saturday. First stop the Gap. We ended up getting Branden 2 pair of pants. 1 olive green/army green cargo pants and a pair of jeans because he could use them and plus they were on sale for 1900 yen and at 50% off they were like less than $10 US/1000 yen. So a very fair price for the jeans. Too good a sale to pass up. Branden's cargo pants were also 50% off, but they were about 2000 yen after the sale given the exchange rate about $18 US. : )  After leaving the Gap we went to grab a pretzel each, real quick before heading to the shoe store. 

Auntie Anne's pretzels are so good and we're lucky they are at our nearest factory outlet store. : ) 

Since Monday-Friday Branden wears plain white uniform shoes while at JHS. All Branden really needs is a nice design for the weekends or after school usage. We went into the ABC Mart first also at the outlet and didn't really find much, so we went to the Adidas store. However we all really liked these at the actual Adidas store. We liked the bright green accents on the shoes and I really liked the price since they were on sale. Not quite half off, but pretty close. So we found his size. And went and checked out and left the factory outlet. heading to the grocery store. 
Branden's current shoe size is a Japanese size 27.5 cm. In America, he is a men's 9 1/2. The 27cm, we even tried while there, his big toe was right to the edge of the shoe, bursting out like the hulk. So he needed this size. 

A nice preppy pair perfect for the weekends. It was nice to find him a pair that fit and that he liked. 



Both 50% off, these Gap pants. Both really nice. 

The cut on these jeans especially is really nice. : ) 
I ran the day before to the cheap meat store by myself and grabbed a weeks worth of meat. But on this day after the outlet shopping was done we quickly went to Besia/Cainz Home. Bought some yuzu drink. Some other drinks. 

Charcoal face wash for Bran. Hey, he's a teen now and I make sure he washes his face morning and night. : )

About once a month, the family and I will have a great big cleanup of the downstairs one month or the upstairs the next month, we alternate.  Even though I clean Monday through Friday. The fine details, could really use attention. And it usually just takes a few hours. But, the next day, January 25th, was to be the great big downstairs clean up. So we picked up some cheap store brand cleansers at Cainz. The green bottle is wallpaper or wall cleaner. The yellow bottle is a cream cleanser. The bottle without spray is kitchen bleach. I love this and like to disinfect my kitchen counter tops quite often. And the other is wood floor wipes. We did not have time to do the living room at all. I'm just saying....and that's because I also had a yakuin meeting at 3pm Sunday. So just the kitchen got the great big clean up Sunday. Oh well...better than nothing, right. : ) 

I need shampoo, I usually get it from Guam for about $2-3 bucks (like Suave Professionals). However with me being a yakuin member...my weekend free time is so unbelievably limited. I just honestly can't find a free weekend where I can zip there and back like I could back in 2013. @_@ Oh well, so I did pick up this shampoo. Some lovely shampoo. Just that the price was a lot more than I am used to spending. : )  600 yen for a bottle of shampoo. Note to add, saw the same thing plus conditioner in a sale pack/set at Cainz, for the same price as the shampoo. But had no time to zip this bottle back to Trial (another store). Again time has not been on my side since I have been a yakuin-san this year. But almost...my time will be up. So for that I am grateful. Usually I would go and exchange the item, to save money that's just the way I am. But considering we were an hour away from home, it was by now dinner time, everyone was starving. And the thought of driving all the way back to Trial to exchange it. Just seemed like more trouble then it was worth. Usually sure I'd do that. But given the time, it being dinner, we had been gone all day and sorta wanting to go home. Plus I have conditioner at home still. Am only out of the shampoo, but I will try to remember Cainz for my area at least has better prices on shampoo/conditioner sets. : ) Live and learn. : )
On the way home Saturday evening, we stopped and had curry for dinner. I love Cocoichi Curry. We all do in our family. So it was nice to go out to dinner. I had the basic pork curry with vegetables. Both Branden and Noah both had the chicken cutlet curry, and Noboru had a pork cutlet curry. We all happily ate, while the drinks and Gap and Adidas sneakers sit in the trunk. And we went home Saturday evening after supper.  We all took turns showering. And  we all sorta just enjoyed TV and rested for the rest of our night. Sunday/the next day would be hella busy for me. : ) Big huge clean up at home and then onto a meeting. And then dinner making after that. So a pretty full Sunday for me. I did try to go to bed around 10pm Saturday night, so I could get a decent sleep. : ) 
Sunday, January 25th, we all knew in advance it would be huge big downstairs cleaning day. So no real surprises there. Start time was at 8am. End time would be 12:30pm. Because again, I need time to prepare for my meeting. I need to do dinner prep (cut veggies and stuff for sara udon/chicken chow mein) Time management stuff I am good at, so I knew to be able to be done by then, I'd have enough time to do dinner prep and get myself ready. I woke up at 7am, had a coffee and read emails and online news. Everyone else came down soon after. Here is Noah scrubbing the rolling table that usually holds the microwave. 

Chairs and plant outside. Runner rugs do need replacing. The hard part with that is we need 4 different runner rugs in 3 different sizes and finding runner rugs in various sizes with the same pattern is hard to find. Usually I see them in 2 different sizes yes, but not bunches of different sizes in the same pattern. I did wash the runner rugs that day though. 

Branden vacuuming. Noah wiping down walls. 

We both wiped every nook and cranny of the kitchen table. We also both lugged and carried the table out to the back patio. 

Noboru vacuuming the kitchen ceiling fan.

Both of the boys gym uniforms and Bran's dress shirts for JHS, I also washed and hung outside. And the kitchen table chilling outside for the day.
Noah scrubbing the blinds. He tries so hard! He did excellent. : ) We had music playing in the kitchen. We were jamming to tunes and cleaning our butts off. : )

Vacuumed the pics. 

2nd load of the day, the kitchen table cloth plus every one's bath towel. And again I had that meeting at 3pm. Plus I had to make time to get ready for it beforehand. No wonder we had no time to clean the living room that day. It is clean...but we wanted huge overhaul...every nook and cranny type clean, if that makes sense. See the door on the left leaning against the house?  We had the sliding patio doors off. It was a massive kitchen clean up. : ) 

Trash cans with Mr Clean Gain. I also antibacterial wiped the lids a ton of times. 

About to be dumped out and rinsed.

Trash cans drying in the sun in the backyard. While keeping an eye on the clock. 

End result of the kitchen blinds. Perfect! Super clean, not a dot of dust. 

Everyone scrubbed the daylights out of the walls. Baseboards. We're talking major clean up. We haven't hit it this hard in the kitchen since right before New Year's. 

Last but not least, I filled the kitchen sink with Mr. Clean Gain scent and hot water. And I scrubbed the kitchen floors. Scrubbed them over twice. And rinsed them twice. The floors dried pretty fast with the windows and patio door open. Before we knew it, it was time to start putting things back together. 

Fresh clean table cloth. Maybe a tad wrinkly but who cares, the important thing is it's clean. : )

We need a clear plastic cover over the table cloth. Because with kids in the house, it protects the table cloth and table runner and mats. : )  Oops times almost up for me...I better quickly put the picture frames back where they belong. 

Spare water, spare cassette bombs (fuel for the burner) that we cook nabe and 1 pot stuff with. : ) 

Drinks in their spot. Rugs in their spot. Man, I better motor, I still have veggies and chicken to chop and to jump in the shower!
Looks clean.

Picture frames back. 

Trash cans back in their spot. I was honestly a little tired and understandably so, we kicked major butt...by cleaning the kitchen all day long. However, I know I have to just power through until after my meeting. The rest of the family was free. And good for them. : )  I meanwhile put my hair in a clip. Put on some Taylor Swift Blank Space and a few other misc tunes. And I started chopping Chinese cabbage right away. Mushrooms, put the bean sprouts to the side since they don't need cleaning or chopping. Carrot peeled and chopped. After all my veggies were done. I chopped 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts. Wrapped the chicken breast in plastic wrap put it on a ceramic plate, put it in the fridge. Asked Branden to make the rice. He said no problem. And I ran upstairs, slapped a shower cap on my head (my hair was washed the night before), washed my body and face, rinsed quickly and dried off. Deodorant. Popped on a pair of jeans, black turtle neck. Put my makeup on. Primer, concealer, powder foundation. I did my eyebrows (brow powder) and some Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker. Not tons of makeup... just clean slate/canvas. Tinted lip gloss and my eyebrows. Put on my coat and walked to the building near the tennis courts with my zippered folder, pencils and whatnot. By now...physically I am pretty exhausted. Mentally I am ready and raring to go for the meeting. Does a nice hot soak in the tub sound better? Sure of course...but you know...sometimes you gotta do, what you gotta do. And for right now..I have to finish this year of my duty. So, if I have to power through it...I just have to. : ) 

The prez and 2 vps show first. Yep, us 3 were there first. The prez opened the building, we turned the lights on, cranked on the heater. Changed our shoes to inside slippers. This is my orange clear zipper file. My old 2014 calendar (which I did replace this week already, I am so late replacing my calendar) In comes our 4 other members. Cool... very cool. Now we wait for the future/as of April 2015, 6th grade moms. Meanwhile, us 2014-2015 season yakuin-san are at the front of the room. We are watching as the future 6th grade moms start filing in. I try to make sure to warmly greet them or smile or head bow them as they come inside. They all grab a seat towards the back. We wait a few more minutes until everyone gets there. : ) This meeting is the official handover meeting. Meaning on this day we need to replace our jobs with new people to fill said jobs. We need to find a new prez, 2 new fuku kaichos (vice presidents) etc. Last year, in December I was invited and asked by my 2 close friends, the prez and the Jinbei Boy's mom if I'd like to run with them. Because in our housing community you have to run 1 year doesn't matter if you have 1 kid or 20 kids. As long as you run once. We get along very well. So, we 3 sorta agreed to do it last year, Even though I had no 6th grade child last year. We spoke to the yakuin the year before us and sorta had it all set up beforehand. Besides most people would like to never have to do the job. So, if someone was actually willing to do it. They were happy. However we hoped people would be willing to take the job this year. 


So the president stands/stood. She said, thank you for joining us today. We need 7 volunteers. 1 prez, 2 vp's. 2 accountants (dealing with money expenses, etc) and the other one is more along the lines of secretary and that job is hard also you have to take notes.) We need 2 for that job also. She wrote on the white board. Prez with a blank. VP, with 2 blank spaces. And so on and turned to the moms. They all huddled amongst themselves, towards the back of the room. And 1 said, I work and I am rather busy, I'd rather not do this. Another chimed in and said, I am also quite busy. And it went down the line. No judgements at all whatsoever. But in a nutshell, basically it was just a whole bunch of people not wanting to take the job starting April 2015. Believe you me. I *get* it. It takes up basically a whole year of your life. Granted not every single day. But kiss most of your weekends good bye! So, yes I totally understand, I get why nobody wants this job. I lived it all last year and even now. I couldn't even leisurely enjoy the summer festival last year.... since we had to work it. And trying to go on summer vacation also sucked because I had to be here nearly every weekend before the summer festival for prep! So yes....I am not just saying..."I understand." I actually do totally and completely understand. So yes I get it. But to be fair too. I didn't invent the kodomo kai. It was here long before I ever moved here. : ) Once again, I didn't invent this and I am sorry ladies to even ask you to sacrifice a year of your weekends. I really really am. Believe me, if I could have gotten away with not ever having to do it...I would have too. So, I do see their point of view. And yes to be frank, I think in 5-10 years time, I see this kids club totally stopping eventually (where we personally live). People just aren't into it these days as far as our housing community goes. And the weekend commitments, the weekends you give up and sacrifice, it's just way hard. Super hard. 
Anyway so the excuses or reasons weren't really working on the prez though. Our current secretaries (both) and both accountants all work full time. So the prez said pointing, she works at a delivery company (6 days a week) half the time she comes to our meetings still in her uniform, pointing at one of our awesome ladies. She then pointed at the other one, she's a lunch lady works 5 days a week cooking for hundreds. This one works at 7-11 and this one works at the town ward office. The Jinbei Boys family run their own business. And pointing at me, she is managing all the meetings and whatnot in a foreign language. She added....we all still attend. @_@ Clearly she wanted them to know...we all have lives here and places we'd all rather be too. @_@ However as she is also a very kind prez too. We now thought and between ourselves we thought we could entice new members. So the prez stood and said..please one of you decide to be this years prez. The job description is this. You will be expected to do xy and z. But it is also fun. Then we stood and explained our job. Hi we are the vp's...we are mostly a support for the prez. We help her and also make sure things are getting done. But our #1 job is to assist the prez. : ) Hoping..we were enticing someone sitting in their seat to raise their little hand and say...oh what the heck, sign me up. : ) Next were the accountants and so on explaining their job. They opened binders, showed their job in detail....the secretaries shared pictures from each of our events this year. We really gave it the old college try. Please be enticed we thought. hahaha. : ) They huddled once again. We stood at the front of the room. Do you think we inspired someone,we wondered. They all turned around and....
Hi umm yeah..none of us are willing to be the president or vice presidents at all. Umm, we really rather have none of these jobs. Okie dokie...hmm. Well my mind is just totally blown. LOL. You should have seen our facial expressions. Us 7 at the front of the room really didn't quite know what to do at this point. But all 7 of our facial expressions were like the 2 pics down below. Utter and complete shock! Poof minds blown. : )

We huddled amongst ourselves. How should we handle this (should we rock paper scissor this, should we draw straws.. which is the way we should end this and come to some resolution. The prez turned to them and said, we'll draw names randomly then, since you ladies can't decide amongst yourselves then. So, we gathered their names and in less than 5 minutes it was done. The other VP started writing names down on the white board. The new prez is Mrs So and So.  The room went so dead quiet you could hear a pin drop. Next up the new 2 VP's for the year 2015-2016 term are such and such and so on. The back of the room was not too thrilled. : ( And believe me, I do understand.  Important to add here. Before the meeting started, The Jinbei Boy's mom mentioned, she *needed* to run and get the Jinbei Boy's JHS pants from the tiny little mall in the small city nearest our town. Because he is growing taller and he needed his pants let out...lengthened. I laughed and told her...I go to that same place for Branden's JHS pants! And as a matter of fact I go there for anytime we need some sewing done. Me too! She said. Clearly neither of us are tailors. : )  So she mentioned at the start of our meeting...she needs to get his pants right away, because he needs them for school the next day/Monday. I totally understand, I told her. So she NEEDED to go and pick up his pants ASAP and given it was a Sunday...before the mall closes!!!! The prez also had stuff needing to be done. And me too...I had a family waiting for me to get back to start dinner. I had that chicken chow mein/sara udon waiting to be made. Plus I was physically exhausted, you guys! So during this whole...I don't want to do the job....us trying to entice them to take said job. Then they still didn't want to take the job. And back and forth and back and forth. All the while time is ticking. Poor Jinbei Boy's mom needs his pants back, like seriously pronto! : ) So...that's kinda why they just wanted to quickly decide this thing. Nip it in the bud, so it doesn't go on forever and ever and ever! So flash back to now. new people have been decided. Hallelujah. Somehow though the new yakuin-san 2015-2016, weren't moving. Weren't standing. Or walking towards the exit. The current prez said basically..meetings over, thanks everyone. And while all us current ladies all stood. They the new members all remained sitting. @_@ She said again...alright meeting is adjourned. You know what I mean....meaning over, done, finito...time to go home. Sayonara. Farewell. And still they sat. I see the Jinbei Boy's mom glancing the clock (she needs those JHS pants back before they close, eek times a ticking here. We all glanced the clock. Now what? Do we just sit here for infinity. And beyond? lol. Should we reassure them everything will be okay? What do we do? We all really have things to do. The current prez said....okay ladies new yakuin-san. We all have to leave now. So...newest prez, here are the keys to the building please return them this evening to my house, after you ladies finish with your own private meeting. I am sure you ladies would like to speak amongst yourselves so we'll let you have your privacy. Bravo, I thought. That was *very* tactful. We will leave to give you all your privacy. Wink, wink. : ) Perfectly well said, prez!!! : )  So we all head bowed. And we left. I do have a meting Feb 6th. I have a last party Feb 22nd. And I believe my last official thing is we must go and talk to somebody about our spending for the kodomo kai for the year that we handled it. However according to the Jinbei Boy's mom we will just have to sit there, while the 2 accountants take over, do the talking and handle that. But we must stand there as a team....us yakuin 2014/2015. That all spending for that year is indeed correct. Etc. That's the end of March for that. Our term is so superly winding down. And I can barely wait for it to end. : )  The prez and my fellow vp and I have a lunch date at an Indian restaurant in the small city nearest our town Feb 10th. I mean...we 3 all started off as friends. And we'll end our term just as close. : )  I went home. I was so happy. I tell you...I couldn't walk home fast enough! : ) It was around 4:30pm. Lucky for me Bran made the rice and I already prepped supper. I heated the pan for a minute, added the oil, waited another minute, then added the chicken. Ran upstairs and switched to my comfy clothes, while Noboru kept an eye on the pan. Put my hair up and outta my face. Finished cooking supper. We ate. Noboru asked about my meeting. I told him...nobody wanted the job! He said, can you blame them? I said, no I can't! It's a hard job, no wonder. We chit chatted during our meal...in our spic and span clean kitchen. After supper. Noboru said he'd handle the dishes, putting them into the dishwasher. Wiping down the stove, putting food away. Etc, he'd handle it all. I needed him to and was thankful though too. Because I was exhausted. Flat out exhaustion to the max. I took a shower first, that day. I set the bath. I then showered washed my face, my hair, body, then put some shea bath powder in the tub and I soaked in the tub for quite a long time. My muscles were so sore. My whole body was sore. You get quite the workout while scrubbing and cleaning the kitchen plus lifting half of a heavy kitchen table back and forth etc. Briskly walking back and forth to my meeting and whatnot. The hot bath helped. I felt clean and I dried off and put my night gown on. Blow dried my hair. And I read one of my magazines, I had purchased. I bought it as a little treat for myself, the day before. Just something small. I knew after Sundays big huge clean up and the meeting, that I would be exhausted and I also know how important it is to also take care of myself, mind body and soul and make my own self happy in life too, so I bought this magazine as a tiny little reward to myself for getting through a busy Sunday. : ) Just a couple hundred yen magazine, but I thoroughly enjoy reading it and learning new stuff. : ) 
Biteki one of my most favorite magazines in Japan. :) What's the top 5 body washes in Japan? Top 5 shampoos in Japan? Top 5 face washes in Japan? Top powder foundations in Japan? This helps me...because I am not Japanese. I don't know which one is a tried and true trusted product. When over 160 women all vote and say such and such is their favorite powder foundation it has the most coverage, doesn't break them out, etc. I do pay attention. I like being able to go to the drugstore and know...oh this one is the one people like and that they say is good. It does help a person like me...who is more familiar with whats up at say....Target for example... then say what's up at my nearest Matsumoto Kiyoshi. : ) But not anymore. Now I know...what's what. What's up. What's new. What's coming out in Feb or March. I'm for once...really in the loop here. : ) So yeah it helps a bit. 

I also like their free samples in each issue. : ) Anyway I have been enjoying the February and March 2015 issues of Biteki. And just have been trying to..do stuff around the house. Hang out with my family and when I am free, I have been enjoying good TV shows and have also been enjoying flipping through a magazine or two. : ) Anyway, that's what we were up to in our neck of the woods last weekend. : )