Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bits and pieces...

This is a bits and pieces type a post of things that have been happening around here in March and up until now (early April) Nothing all too major, but nice to be able to keep a memory/record of it. : )  Good thing all my pics are date stamped, so I can always get the date right (I'm still using my old camera btw). Wednesday, March 25th, I pulled into the cheap drink store. Grocery store that has the cheapest drinks and curry roux, and dried pasta, Cook-Dos. That type a stuff is super cheap here. Anyway, as I parked, I noticed this man, pictured here. He was brushing his teeth right in the middle of the parking lot. For what it's worth, there is a bathroom/toilet in the same parking lot, you don't even need to enter the grocery store, where there is a sink and whatnot. Yet this man was quite content to brush his teeth right here. I had never seen anyone brush their teeth in a parking lot like that before ever. First thing that pops in my mind, is where does he spit? I hope not the floor/street. @_@ Where does he rinse or gargle? I mean the questions kept popping in my head, while watching this. And it wasn't JUST me. There was a Japanese older woman in a car with her Japanese husband they both swiveled their heads and stared at the man brushing his teeth. In fact, they could have quite possibly been even more stunned than me, she kept pointing at him. Hahaha. And then a housewife pushing a cart to her car, saw the man and she was just as stunned. We sort of all watched in amazement. just comes to show..just when you think, you have seen it all in this world...and that nothing more could possibly ever shock or surprise you. You see something like this and it just makes you go hmmm. : )  Anyway, I used my phone to make it look like I was Line messaging someone but in truth I snapped this picture to share with you. : ) So you could see it for yourself too. : ) Anyway, I did run into the store, bought my weekly drinks, some curry roux, beef stew roux, pasta, cereal, cans of fruit and whatnot just where it is cheapest around where we live. 
Thursday, March 26th as soon as the Costco in Inzai was open, I was already there. The boys were on Spring break already. And I needed just a few things. However, since Spring and Summer are just around the corner. Though it has been colder than heck here lately, but since they are upon us. I need to make sure, I am well stocked in sunscreen. I like to get a good mid range price, brand one for my face and neck. I usually use Shiseido Anessa for that. But this is their rival and same price range. However this was the best deal and the amount was too good to pass up. Two bottles of Allie by Kanebo, in the big 90g size x two (bottles) for 3,378 yen. I also picked up the spray sunscreen for 1,248 yen, for my body.

Ziploc gallon size freezer bags, should last me a whole year. Laundry detergent (shouldn't last me all too long, haha, half month-a month maybe, if I'm lucky) Toilet deodorizers, these are the best. Tortillas for wraps or Mexican food and cheese for pizza. Sunscreen for face and sunscreen for body. And a gigantic size of Dove face wash (in winter this was a dot too drying for my face, but now that Spring and hotter weather is almost here, means my face gets greasier, so the Dove works for me in Spring and Summer. The kids and I had lunch, after I picked up some basics, pictured here and then we headed to the electronics store, Paseos and then back to our tiny rural town. By the way, those of you in Tohoku, are getting your very first Costco soon, huh? In Kaminoyama. It's listed on the Costco Japan website already, as coming soon (yours opens this summer, ours opened in summer too)! We got ours in Inzai, 2 years ago? Those of you, in Tohoku will LOVE it, it's a life changer, I tell ya! : )  Definitely worth the $30 or 40 is yearly membership fees. For sure! : )

And the stuff is now at home. It was a cheap/fantastic deal on this spray sunscreen. I like to use spray sunscreen or a cheap sunscreen for my body, daily in Spring and Summer. I like that it's spf50+ PA++++. American sunscreens say stuff like Neutrogena SPF 70. But if you notice they're not + and don't say PA++++ either. I find Japanese sunscreens the best in the world. Sorry, for saying that. But it's true. They're so good, so effective. 

This is the 2-3 times bigger than the size you'd find at a regular Matsumoto Kiyoshi or other drugstore type store. And it's like 400 yen or under 450 yen for this truly enormous size tube of face wash. I love this in Spring and Summer. It cleans without stripping my face. My face feels clean but not like you just squeezed every dot of moisture from it. It doesn't feel dry. This tube will last forever. Hahaha. : ) In the winter though, like November and December, it feels a slight dot drying. Not by huge amounts. Not painfully dry or stripped, but I prefer use an even gentler one in Winter. But this is perfect for me for Spring and Summer. And I love the price and the scent, doesn't bother me at all. Which says a lot, because I am really funny/weird about scents in products. The bottle if you see says Nutrium Moisture. So, yep good, basic face wash and perfect price for me. : ) 

This Allie by Kanebo is available at any Aeon or drugstore. But I got the huge 2 pack at Costco. It's a mid price sunscreen. This is the rival brand of Shiseido Anessa. I prefer Anessa. But this is just as good. It's just when I first moved to Japan, Anessa was the one, my MIL suggested. and so that brand just stuck with me. And it is amazing. It's just this is just as good and the deal this time around, was just better. 2 of the huge super sized tubes. I use this for my face and neck, daily in Spring and Summer. 

And it is moist but is *not* greasy at all. But won't leave your face all cracked and dry looking under make up. It's a good base for under my makeup. These 2 big tubes of sunscreen should last me a long while. : ) Also, I have never broken out or (got zits) from this and I am very sensitive to things breaking me out, but this doesn't break my face out, at all.
Bought the April edition of my favorite beauty products magazine called Biteki. I have read this twice already so far! I also... like I mentioned before like how every month, I get free products to try in each magazine. Sample sizes or cute things to try. : )

March 17th since the weather was sun shiny. I washed both Branden and Noah's duvet covers and their sheets and pillow cases. I let them hang dry outside. : )

Noah is in love with Branden's Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. And so he has been wanting some headphones or ear phones. While we were in Chiba New Town/Inzai March 26th at Costco getting sunscreen and the huge tube of Dove face wash, mozzarella cheese for pizza, etc. We zipped into a electronic shop and he still has a lot of his Christmas money from grandpa, so after walking the whole headphone and earphone aisle and trying many on. Noah decided on this extra bass pair. They sound fantastic. I luckily had my phone with music on it, I put on one of my songs by Dr. Dre and let Noah decide if he liked these headphones. And after pulling my phone into the tester pair of these headphones Noah loved the sound...I actually also really thought the sound was boomin' and so he picked this pair up. I love the cornflower blue color. Perfect pair for Noah. : ) 
Since it was Spring break. But that also means for us in Japan, the school year is over and another school year was about to begin. So, all Branden's white school socks form JHS. I piled them up and threw them all away. After 1 year, they were grody. And so, I bought 2 new packs. 6 pair total. And I will probably buy, 1 extra pack next month that should last him at least until summer vacation, if not Christmas vacation, but for now. I'd like Bran to show up to the 8th grade with nice bright white socks. Not showing up to school looking like a raggamuffin, If you know what I mean. : ) And the socks are like under 400 yen a pack. Also, his belt, school belts in Japan at stores like Paseos. Are 580 yen for a JHS/school belt. So super cheap. They last a full year. You can see some cracks or whatnot starting to appear. So while he could wear another year. I'd prefer him not. At 580 yen ($5.80 US) it was at a price we can afford to buy another. So, for an extra 580 yen, we just picked him up a new belt. It should last the whole 8th grade. We most definitely get our moneys worth out of a 580 yen belt. The fact it lasts a whole year, is pretty great in itself. So, again, I don't want Branden to enter the 8th grade with any wear and tear on his belt. So, I made sure he started 8th grade with a brand new belt. Also, bought him 4 new pair of underwear. He also got 4 new pair during Christmas break, if you recall. So he's set underwear wise and school sock and belt wise for now. 

And a 4 pair in a pack of socks. Just for going out to dinner, or movies or in regular life. Again Paseos has the cheapest prices for stuff like this. I picked ours up at the Paseos in Chiba New Town while at Costco that morning. 

And you know...I have to be fair to both boys. Bran needed all those new JHS things, so Noah got some new undies. He needed them anyways. He got cool bigger boy type. Adidas and T&C Surf Designs. Noah really loves his bigger boy type undies. : )  They have so many good brands and for super cheap prices at Paseos. 
Branden started JHS in the 7th grade with Nike white shoes. And he started JHS 8th grade with Adidas. Again, I don't want Branden to show up, to the start of a new school year in old ratty tatty shoes, when everyone else shows up with new ones (hey, I am a mom and I know that stuff matters to kids, I used to be a kid, I know). So, I made sure Branden showed up with a new pair.  These super ugly pure white JHS shoes are like 2,300 yen. So they are cheaper than normal colored sneakers. But they last him a whole year. And so, I know these will last a long while too. And I do wash them every weekend. To try and keep them as clean as possible. But they do always look beat to heck by the end of the school year. : ) 

Branden's other regular street sneakers/shoes are 27.5cm but these we bought in 27cm. maybe because they are extra wide or whatnot, I don't know, but they fit and he likes them. : ) 
Saturday, April 4th I cleaned out, my hall closet upstairs. Not the towel shelf, that was fine. Not the toilet paper shelf, that was fine too. The shelves that hold all the main toiletry type items for our household, needed it. This is a finished pic. I like to keep things in here super organized. And that's only because, it makes finding these super easy. You can easily see, all my tampons are on the top right of the shelf pictured. The blue basket nearest those, is my feminine hygiene or girly meds basket. I have my douche, Vagisil feminine powder, urinary tract meds, yeast infection meds. Since I'm a girl and if I need anything for down there, med wise or cleaning wise, that's the basket. Nobody else touches that basket, but me. And it's all lumped together, so easy for me to find. Next to that far top, is all face washes, facial makeup remover wipes, zit cream, you need something face related, that's the basket you need to be looking in. : ) Extra misc. bottles of shampoos or conditioners, that I keep on hand, to the left there and the yellow jar/tub is a Loreal hair treatment. 

Lotion basket. Deodorant basket for me. And in the same deodorant basket, I keep hair, heat protector sprays and sleek hair stuff. Noboru keeps his deodorants in the actual real medicine cabinet and Bran keeps his deodorants in his room. We'd all be horrified, if anyone accidentally rubbed their underarms on anyone elses deodorant in our house. LOL. Sorry. We just don't want any mix-ups, so we all keep our deodorants in different places entirely. Sorry we are a sharing family, but some stuff you simply don't don't share a toothbrush, you don't share underwear and you don't share deodorant. Spray deodorants would be okay though. Just not the stick kind you rub, on your actual pits, iykwim, blech. Hahaha. At least we don't. Other stuff we gladly share. But not those things. : ) 

A medicine basket. Which has stuff like anti-mosquito wipes, cold meds, Rolaids or Tums, Advil, kids fever reducer, kids cold meds, Mederma, Bengay, Vicks Vapo-rub, Sinus meds, allergy meds, Pepto bismol, Anything you can think of, we keep in there. we keep meds in a dry dark place, versus the actual real medicine cabinet. And we also have a toothpaste and toothbrush basket, to the left.  If you feel, you'd like a new toothbrush, well go ahead and find that basket and take one. : ) House guest forgot a toothbrush, no worries, we have plenty. : ) Again, it is just tons easier for me to keep things superly organized this way. Because if someone needs something in a hurry. They don't need to go through a pile of mess. It's all very easy to see and find. And besides doesn't it feel better having your house in order anyway. : ) It does for me.

My perfumes and nailpolish in a smaller basket. But all together in 1 nice tidy area. Again makes looking for a nail polish, a snap! I have a flat iron in my sink area. I use a GVP brand from Sally Beauty Supply. However, because.... me flat ironing my hair is so important and something I do daily, if mine ever broke, I'd be screwed. So, I do have an extra GVP, brand new in the box and it is sitting in the hall closet. Because who knows. maybe someday, mine will break...or maybe I'll misplace it at a hotel somewhere and it's gone for life. And of course zipping to America won't be easy. So, for emergencies like that, I am glad and it is peace of mind for me, having a back up in my hall closet. The Chi flat irons in America are like $100 US. This was like $20 US and basically a knock-off of the Chi. I love my flat iron. And peace of mind to have extras. And I actually have 2 extras. I also have a Jilbere one, but they're both professional/commercial grade ceramic flat irons, which is what I am using now too and they're in Fahrenheit. So, it's just way easier for me, since I'm American, and I was raised with Fahrenheit, so it just comes way easier for me. : )  The Q-tips and cotton rounds again, if anyone needs to clean their ears or grab a toner and find a cotton-round and wipe their face, everything is pretty easy to find. For me, it's very relaxing having all our stuff in order, and all organized. I last did this closet for New Years pre-cleaning and I did it just now for Spring break/spring cleaning.

All leisure sheets can be found in this basket. Together with all chisai towels the kids have gotten as prizes at every town undokai for the past bazillion years, also in this basket (they also have character and pattern chisai towels in their bedroom, but these are just the plain white ones). : ) That way if anyone we have any chisai towels? Yep, check the hall closet upstairs! Or if anyone says, "mom I have a field trip tomorrow and I need a leisure sheet", I'll say go and pick the leisure sheet, you'd like out of the hall closet upstairs." Easy peasy! And I have thrown away all Thomas or little kid leisure sheets years ago. We now have leisure sheets, like Mario Bros. Ultraman, Nemo, Mickey, and a Chiba leisure sheet, Branden won as a prize for art, one year. 
All in their own little area. : )

Faces wash basket to the left.

And I have about 2 shelves higher than these, towels and sheets. And 1 lower shelf, toilet paper. : )  But yep, everything has it's own spot and place to be. And if you pull something out, please put it back, to where it came from.  I also keep my 2 vacuums in there and my rug washer/carpet washer in there too. Good sized/useful hall closet. 
I have been enjoying watching Teen Mom OG, every week since it started.
Maci is such a good mom. I don't know how she puts up with Ryan (her ex) She wants to co-parent with her ex. She emails him, asking if they can get together and talk about their son and how they can co-parent better. And he turns her down. Says he can't be bothered! @_@ She asks and keeps asking him. And finally he gives in and she tried so hard. Was so diplomatic with him. Asking him..."how *she* can better communicate with him, so they get along better?" and he's like..meh...blah blah blah. She tries *so* hard. And he could frankly not care less. 

I am so glad the original girls are back! So, yep have been enjoying Teen Mom OG a lot lately! 
I also went and spent a day in Noah's room cleaning the heck out of his room with him and spent another day cleaning Branden's room with him. For the most part, they are responsible cleaning their own rooms weekly, however, every few months we need to go through things *together* so I can make sure things are REALLY getting done. And sometimes they are and sometimes they're not, hahaha. Went through every drawer. Went through all his school supplies, to see what needs replacing. Went through half of Branden's clothing drawers and threw out a ton of out grown clothes. Still going through Bran's clothes, but both their rooms are spic and span clean. Both their closets need going through (clothes-wise) However...they both needed lots of school supply things replaced. Noah needed a new renrakucho (communication notebook) and new glue, a few misc paints (yellow and orange, since those are his favorite colors) shuji ink, cleaning rags and pencils. That was the stuff Noah needed. 

I also liked that this Daiso glue didn't have the sponge type applicator. Because those burst off sometimes if kids squeeze too hard which is why I picked this glue instead, for Noah and Bran can have 1 if he wants. I made sure to put name stickers on all of Noah's new school supplies. 

I loved these happy colored pencils at Daiso for Noah. Perfect colors for Noah. : )

Branden needed school supplies too. He needed new paints this year. New Coupy, they still do art projects. Tape, art pencils. Art pencils he needs 4B or 6B @_@ Last year when he asked for that specific type a lead, I was like, ...say what? But now, I know, what he needs for art class (drawing). : ) Cleaning rags. I just had to make sure both the boys were ready to start the new school year back, with a clean slate. That's all. : ) Both the boys started school, this Monday, April 6th.  Anyway, so these are all the misc. things that we have been doing lately.

Also, more TV talk stuff. I have been watching the various other movies after Flowers in the Attic on the Lifetime channel/network. The one I saw last week was, "If There be Thorns" And the one coming up this Sunday but for me it is coming on Monday, since we are a day ahead in Japan, is the final movie from the same books, but it's called, "Seeds of Yesterday."

Anyway, now you are almost, all caught up with what we have been doing in our little neck of the woods lately. : )

PS, it has been so cold this week. It actually snowed in Tokyo and in many parts of Chiba, this week. However since we live on the Chiba/Ibaraki border, it did not snow where we live. However it has been bitterly cold here all week. Have a great weekend everyone. : )