Thursday, June 25, 2015

Finals are done! We can all relax now! And an interesting thing happened, while at Costco...

The hills are alive...with the sound of music...tralalala! : ) Okay so the finals for the semester are now officially done and over with! Oh thank the lord! We survived to tell the tale, ya'll. : ) So the finals were Wednesday. I picked up Noah from the plaza first and then we sat in the car while waiting for Bran to get out of school. While waiting for Bran to come out...all the JHS kids we saw walking or riding away from the school looked so happy. Like they were on cloud 9! I think all the kids were feeling RELIEF. Relief the tests were done and now all their brains could take a rest. I sat in the car and then I saw a group of 8th grade boys walking and sure enough that was Bran and friends. Bran was smiling *so* widely with his friends and laughing. Then he waved them good bye and came to my car. He jumped in the car and was like this picture! "I am so happy, to be done", he said. "Oh honey...I'm so happy you're done too." Now we can all take a rest now. "No tests until August", he said. So...huge feelings of relief. Noah in the back seat asking..."how did you do Branden, how did you do?"...Bran said...we all had to write that certain part of the "Tale of the Heike"...but I totally knew it, he said! Oh thank god, I said! : ) How was the English?! I asked. He said..."I know I didn't miss even 1...it was so easy", he said. I told him, "yeah for you. it's easy!" Hahaha. We chuckled. When we got home, Noboru was waiting. We were all really brain fried as a family and physically exhausted...so that day/morning Noboru and I decided to go to Costco Wednesday night. That way we could eat a cheap dinner. I would not have to cook, because honestly I stayed up so late with Bran the night before...I felt zombie-ish all day. All of us did, well except Noah. He was bright eyed and bushy tailed! : ) Besides we were out of popcorn and we needed cheese for our Friday nights pizza dinner too. Noboru asked Bran...how was the math? He said he felt really good about it all. So....we all sorta just stopped talking about the finals after about 7 minutes and we didn't talk about them anymore for the rest of the night. I think because we're all fried. Branden the most... since he did mostly all the work, though we did help and stuff too. At this point...you just say to yourself, it's now out of our hands and so, like I always say..."it is what it is." He'll get the tests back soon. But...knowing how his past scores were...and how much work went into it...I know he did amazing. So to Costco, Chiba New Town we went. Wednesday evening. 

We ate first and then shopped. We did this because... sometimes if you wait to the last minute...towards closing... the pizzas sorta suck and could be old. So, we thought it best, since it was an hour and a half before closing, for us to eat first. So we did that. Boy oh boy, does Bran look happy here! Like a huge cloud, has been lifted. He can now be a kid again and be free...no stress or hour upon hour...to study his brains out... until right before the next test, of course. : ( He needs this rest, from now until August. : ) Noah meanwhile was getting a refill, so he's in the back of Bran in this pic. : ) 

Popcorn, needed for movie nights. Black pepper (finely milled) was almost out, only had about 2 pinches left, glad we have a new one now. : ) Chocolate milk straws, my boys love these! Lovelovelove these! Mozzarella cheese for Fridays pizza night. Nutella. And one of my American/western friends in Japan kindly emailed me a week ago and told me..."Gina please try those cinnamon rolls at Costco, they're new and they're the bomb dot com!" Of course she was totally right! So, we bought them yesterday evening. They were Noboru's, Bran and Noah's and my breakfast this morning. And I have to say....thank you for recommending them to me. They're so good! Thank you! : )  In fact, I may go and get another piece in the kitchen right now. : ) I love when people rec me stuff from Costco Japan. Love it! : ) Or even from regular stores in Japan. Love food recommendations, especially if it's good yummy stuff. : )  If I could rec'd stuff from Costco Japan, to a person who has never went to one before? I'd suggest..well... they're oldie but goodies (not new products)...I'd have to say buy their rotisserie chickens. The flavor is seriously so good. I have not even bothered making roasted chicken myself again after buying theirs. Also the tiramisu at Costco Japan is the best! It just is. I love it, so much. Also the big hunks of Colby Jack cheese, Kirkland brand, it's about 300 yen cheaper than buying Tillamook here. And so for me..I'm cheap, but I still want a lot of cheese, so I just prefer save the 300 yen and buy the Kirkland store brand one. : )  

You know he's a good kid, when he holds his mama's Prada bag...so she can snap a "cart pic" that's a really sweet boy, right there! Both boys are real sweethearts. : ) I spotted choco covered marshmallows at Costco Japan. And I must say...I love chocolate covered marshmallows. I love them so much! They were only like 1000 yen, maybe 1090. Like $9US, but a huge box. I resisted and did not buy them. But...I really debated with myself over them. Maybe when I go back in 2 weeks, I'll buy them. I also wanted to buy Reese's peanut butter cups, but...hell to the NO.... am I paying 2000-2100 yen for a bag. I'll wait until I am in the states in July. That's just too much money....$20 for chocolate. I'll hold off on that. : )  So anyway we are just really happy now. No stress. No study cram sessions or finals test stress. Sorta feel like, we can all breath right now. : ) *happy sigh*
See this shocked kitty picture? Well something funny...or weird, happened at Costco last night. So we were walking to go and stand in the Costco food line right, to order our dinner. 2 slices of pizza for Bran, etc etc. So, there was a Japanese family in line...followed by a large family, about 5 kids (all daughters) and a mom and dad, the parents were speaking Spanish. And a Japanese lady behind them and then us. The family with Spanish speaking parents...all their daughters only spoke Japanese (most likely their daughters were all Japan born and schooled here). Anyway as we walk up...and fwiw (for what it's worth) you could just tell they had never been to Costco before...and you can hear the kids saying...what should we order...I don't know what to pick, they were just ...."very deer in the headlights"...being there, you could tell it was their first time. They were speaking in Japanese. Anyway, I was happy seeing them...I'm happy seeing anyone no big deal though, you know...they were foreigners and I am a foreigner too. I go to Costco a lot so, I'm used to it. But...they turned around and looked at me and gave me the cat face expression. Shock! Utter shock. Which their expression, surprised me a bit. Fellow foreigners, being shocked by my foreignness? Is that a thing now?  @_@ Hmm. Okay. : ) So they ordered...the kids ordered for their parents. And then the lady in front of us went and then it was our turn. I also must point out...the seating area was 100% full. As in..we could either stand and eat...go and eat outside with the mosquitoes or sit at the table behind the Spanish speaking parents and girls. So we sat behind them. Ages. Yes...the parents looked to be...early 50's in age. The oldest kid looked around 16 years old The 16-year old daughter sat directly behind me. And her sister next to her. And the parents were facing the girls. I speak English...I speak English with my kids and my husband. And...that's just the way we roll.We just don't change our dynamic no matter where we are, or  who we are around. You know every family is different. Their family went...the kids speak Japanese. And quite loudly, I might add, you'll understand why I say that in a minute. And the parents spoke in a quiet hush...Spanish (not sure why, I personally think Spanish sounds so super cool!!!) When I was speaking to the kids. My kids. Their table went dead silent. I also must point out...I smiled at them a few times...because well, I am friendly. But they were just gobsmacked, shocked. : ( But you know...we were eating and like Noboru asked Noah...do you want me to go and get you some ketchup on your hot dog, while you fill my cup. Noah would answer..."sure, which drink do you want?" So...we are alive...right... so we have to speak, communicate somehow. Bran meanwhile was eating his pizzas and saying we should get some ice cream, which yes we did. This is all happening in English. So anyway all our 4 are sitting and all their family is there now too...one of their daughters around Noah's age. She was a real spitfire by the way. : ) She said very loudly in Japanese to her family..."mama are they gaikokujin too???" It's a much politer term than saying gaijin, though I don't personally mind either term. : ) Keep in mind because their kids speak in Japanese...we can understand EXACTLY what they're saying. So not even a second after she said that....Noah who is sitting right next to me and right behind the girl who just said that...he turns his head...so fast it's amazing Noah didn't get whiplash. Branden immediately heard it as well and looked at their table. The parents were...mortified. Those poor embarrassed parents, you guys...you could just feel their pain.  They were so mortified they didn't even answer her or reply! Shocked to silence, they were. I was hoping Noboru wouldn't reply because he's just not as tactful, as I am. Hahaha. : ) You could hear a pin drop though between our 2 tables.

Thoughts? I love kids! They're so refreshingly honest. And they're so refreshingly curious! That's exactly why I went to university to become an elementary school teacher. My love for little kids. They're amazing! And I hope that little girl *never* looses that. Was I offended by the question? Absolutely not! Yes, little girl, I would have gladly answered her, with a great big smile...*I* am a gaikokujin, same as you... and how wonderful we both are, right...ne~ However...no, my 2 sons are *not*...they are hafu. Half Japanese and half American and so that's a little bit different. But we are all beautiful, am I right? And that's how I was going to answer the wonderfully curious little girl. I was sorta waiting for her parents to answer and I thought...as long as she was curious...and I was not offended... it would be a valuable and sorta cool thing to have a 1 minute talk about it, with her. And I'd want her to know..it's *good* that she's curious and she should *never* lose that! That spark...she should keep forever and ever! However...her parents...were terribly embarrassed...mortified beyond belief, you guys....and they looked still superly upset with her... when they were leaving the Costco. : ( Her parents didn't even want to make eye contact with us after that : ( Poor little girl. So because her parents chose not to answer...I didn't answer her either.

Also important to note...a Japanese family (young man and wife and young child) started talking about that family a split second after the Spanish speaking family left. The Japanese family was saying..."their kids were speaking Japanese." Oh Japan!!! @_@ They went on. What language were the parents speaking? The mom guessed Portuguese and said she thinks they were from Brazil, the dad guessed South America. Good grief this couple. : ( I whispered to Noboru..."I bet you 500 yen as soon as we leave...this Japanese couple with little kid will start talking about us too." Hahaha. : ) Noboru said in their defense (because you know, he does have to protect team Japan, hahaha)...they can't help it...where we live... "foreigners are still pretty rare." That word just floated above my head for a few minutes.  I thought...rare...hmm. Are we rare? I meant me and the family who just left. Maybe....I don't know. I see me....on a daily basis, while brushing my teeth, I don't feel so rare to me, I see me all the time. Hmm. : )

Also during my dinner at Costco as if that wasn't enough excitement, for 1 evening, hahaha. A little 3 year old-ish age Japanese girl...saw me...while her dad was getting a refill of soda. And she waved at me and said..."hello" and I happily waved at her and said..."hello" right back. The young couple who likes to do commentary on foreigners, then smiled at me. @_@ Hahaha. : ) Being American that happens to me *a lot*....even once more while shopping last night. After we ate we got a cart and started shopping in Costco. A Japanese little girl around Noah's age... saw me and got this HUGE smile on her face. I swear...this stems from the NHK English kids programs, Japanese kids watch daily... in Japan...the westerners on those shows are so happy and bright and cheerful and so they instinctually/naturally think we're all nice and so they...love westerners. So in their defense... Japanese kids can't really help it... when they see one of us, in the flesh. It's like their 1 big chance, you know! : ) So she waves at me. And I wave at her. And she hops 2 steps. Think almost like hop scotch. And while I am with my cart...I oblige her... so I copy her and I hop 2 steps with my cart and she laughs. Her mother is pushing their cart and is oblivious that her daughter is playing with me. : ) She tilted her head left to see if I'd copy her and so I too tilted my head left too. And she laughed. Her mother still talking to herself... not realizing. Then her mom turned down an aisle...and I followed Noboru and he turned in the next aisle from the little girl. And she bent down to see me through the aisle...and I bent down and she hopped twice again and I hopped twice again and then I gave her a good bye wave...because Noboru was...going to a different aisle. Noah told me..."stop playing with her mommy!"...I told the kids..."I'm sorry, you know mommy can't help it"...kids in Japan see mommy and they immediately get happy and want to play with mommy. So they do understand and yes it did bother Branden too, when he was younger too. : ) It does drive my kids nuts sometimes! This happened at the Aeon about...2 months ago too when I was with B and Noah. 2 kids a brother and sister duo saw me in the drink aisle...and they squealed with delight and no I am not kidding...they ran to me and left their mother. She was in eye view. They said to me...hello hello!!! I stopped my shopping for a sec and stopped talking with my kids for a sec too. And asked those kids..."how are you...are you kids genki?" Yes, yes we are very very genki"...they said! Their mother comes running apologizing to me (In Japanese she is apologizing profusely...I am sorry they have bothered you, she said, I am so sorry, she keeps bowing)...I said..no problem. Totally fine..and what smart kids you have, I told her! She realizes...I'm nice. She sort of breaths huge sigh of relief. And we go our separate ways. Took only a second. My kids were irritated that happened... that day. And I do understand that...they want me just for themselves. They want it clear...I'm their mom and no one elses. I get that. But also from my end...for my defense..I can't just be a complete jerk to innocent kids either. That's just not who I am. That's not the type of person, I am. And I do like kids. And it's just for a sec. My boys though in their defense too... they want us to be able to shop in peace without kids...running to me and wanting to say...."hello"...to me all the time! If you are a westerner in Japan, you will no doubt have had that happen before. Not sure if that happens in the big cities where foreigners are more common... but here in the countryside/inaka, foreigners are...as Noboru said rare, so the chit chat does happen for me a lot more often... since there just aren't many of us around this area. Anyway so that's that. I think we're all caught up now right. You and me? : ) Have a fantastic day ya'll. : )

 It's Thursday here. I can barely wait for the weekend to be here. Noah gets out of school today at 3pm. Noah swam yesterday at his elementary school and he loved it. : ) Bran, gets out today at 4pm. We're having chicken teriyaki for supper tonight, salad, corn on the cob, it's so sweet and in season right now...and some rice. Friday/tomorrow night will be pizza from scratch. And Sunday...Sunday is celebration time! Time to celebrate the finals are done and dusted! We will be going to have yakiniku at our favorite yakiniku restaurant, this Sunday. We will also be doing some shopping for summer clothes for Bran, Sunday, in the day. Boy oh boy...is it nice that we don't have to think about tests or finals until August. I think it's going to rain today. Hmm, looks like rain, the way the clouds look in the sky right now.