Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bits and pieces...

Hey ya'll. Noah gets out of school early today according to the school schedule, he gets out at 2:15pm today.  And I have to run to the cheap meat store and the regular grocery store, so I have definite places to motor to, before he gets out of school. So, if I am going to post today, I better do it quick! Super quick. : ) I just had 10 minutes yesterday to type that little blurb about the Broncos before I hit Inzai/Chiba New Town yesterday and went to Costco, Joyful Honda, Cainz, etc. But today I have a tad more time... but honestly not much. So what's up? How are things? Things here are great! Umm, last week...all last week and the week before, I had been thinking about moving the living room furniture around. And so last week in the evening after everyone was home, right after supper, but before showers, everyone helped me move/pick up the furniture and get things moved around. TV had to be set up, the computer spot didn't really move. But heavy things like the couch, my treadmill, the TV and TV stand etc had to be moved. This was a quick pic from that evening last week. 
The day after the furniture had been moved, I cleaned the living room. Just basic regular stuff, like dusting, cleaning the windows, again just regular stuff that gets done weekly anyway. Hi little silver mini minivan, Noboru's vehicle. : ) It's AWD/4WD, so perfect in snow, but while other parts of Japan have been in a winter wonderland, we haven't had a single flake in our town yet. Hahaha. : ) 

My dad's laptop has been slowly dying since July. But this past week, he called me and said, it was *really* for surely dying this time. It was now taking ions to let him check emails. Ions for his Skype to get up and running. He flat out told me..."Gina my computers nearly brain dead" We had talked about it over Thanksgiving and I told my dad, whenever he feels he needs a new one, since he's not very comfortable picking out a computer himself or ordering online. Which is understandable. I just said, that when the time comes, I would be happy to order him one. So when he called he said..."it's time to order it", so I went to Amazon.com and as you can see this is the #1 best seller for all laptops. It's a 15.6 inch screen, which is what he has now. And I felt for the price, plus considering the high reviews, I felt this was a good one for my dad. So, it's been ordered and should be there any day now. Noboru meanwhile...will be flying there as soon as possible, to set up my dad's new lap top for him and install Skype and stuff for my dad. Awww. : ) So we're making sure he's well taken care of. : ) So hopefully it gets there fast (I did pick expedited shipping) and Noboru can get everything set up for my dad. What else is up lately...

Noah needed new school socks. Which are just regular socks. : ) Pasceos has cheap prices for socks and stuff. The Adidas pair was 780yen and the other pair 580 yen for a 4 pack of socks.

4 new pair of underwear for Noah. 

The french sport brand we liked a lot...meanwhile the other pair/pack we were more so...meh on that 2 pack... but they were best of the slim selection.

Bran could not be left out either. : ) So 3 new underwear for B and a pack of JHS socks for him too. School socks for both the boys. And those are jean looking undies, Edwin jean looking undies, but soft. Hahaha. 

Saturday, last Saturday snow was expected for our town, but of course it didn't snow. : ) All Saturday, Bran and I studied. And in the afternoon Noah and I baked some cornbread. That is some melted butter on top. It was an absolutely freezing cold day here outside...but lucky for us with central heating and floor heating, it was toasty warm inside our house, but man...all weekend in fact... it was bone chilling cold outside. : ) But not a dot of snow for us. 

Branden needed to bring his inside shoes home on Friday, because he had the Eiken written test in Narita on Sunday. And that high school has no inside shoes to offer. His inside shoes he rarely brings home. So, I rarely get a chance to see how they look like. Meaning are they in good condition, these shoes? Bad condition? They looked trashed, big time! Like on their last legs, those shoes! So, a quick trip to the uniform shop in town and a new pair of inside shoes for Branden. Inside shoes for elementary kids in Japan, like Noah's inside school shoes are just like 200 yen to 500 yen a pair ($2-5US), near our area of Japan. So cheap. JHS inside shoes on the other hand are 3,000 yen, about $30 US, give or take a dollar depending on the exchange rate. However, I don't want my kid looking like Raggedy Ann or Raggedy Andy either! I told him, if anything starts looking bad...please bring it home and we'll replace it right away. Geeze Louise. : )  So done and done. : ) 

Our bottle...pump bottle has been the Biore body wash pump forever. However we have been using the refills of the Dove Shea and vanilla since...December or November? I forget. Doesn't matter really which month but we'll just say...for a while. : ) I was at the store yesterday. At Besia/Cainz in Inzai yesterday. And I saw this on sale and I said to myself..since we switched for sures this time. I'm gonna switch the bottle too. It's on sale, what the heck. So done and done. Ohhh, I also ordered the Dove Moisture oil shampoo and conditioner on Amazon.jp. It's 750 yen each bottle at the stores around here... but only 500 yen at Amazon and they also had a set for both bottles for 715yen or something but they're sold out, that set, so I didn't get the 2 for 715yen deal for both. But the bright side is...at least I bought the shampoo and conditioner cheaper via Amazon.jp for 500 yen each. And the free shipping was great too. : )  

Picked these up at Joyful Honda yesterday...I have been quite disappointed in the selection of stuff at Joyful Honda in Inzai lately. They had no Dove Moisture +Oxygen or oil shampoos at all. And they didn't have the Dove shea butter body wash either. A lot of the products they didn't have...that I was looking for. Hmm. Still like Joyful Honda... but they don't always have the newest items. recently released type products. This picture is, 2 air fresheners for our restroom, the scent is soap and it's light and we have one always in the downstairs toilet and one in the upstairs toilet. Biore hand soap, you can refill it 4 times. Dish soap. And kitchen cleaner, this is in an 800ml bottle and it goes into a spray bottle and I use the spray bottle. Anyway...it is always interesting to see what other products us mom's are using, I think. : )
Sunday, 9:30am was the check in time. 10am was the starting time for the test. We were there at 8am. We were second in line. And a ton of people were after us. This school has no parking lot. So you must find your own parking. And since Narita City is way more city-ish then our teeny tiny town of 5000 people. Finding parking is hard. Granted not like..Tokyo hard. But hard still. So getting there early is best. You must have an ID with a face on it. Since my son is only 14 and obviously has no drivers license or state ID like we'd have in the US (state ID). We take his USA passport. You must also have the little post card type thing they mailed to your house and have glued a tiny picture onto that. We did all that. For the 9:30am check in. There were kids taking the Eiken level 4, pre2 and pre1. This test was 2 hours. I said a few posts back...that it was a 3 hour test, I was wrong and I'm sorry. I'm human and it was 2 hours not 3 hours. It's quiet in the school. Everyone has an Eiken study book they bought at Tsutaya or something. : ) A bookstore. So you can see, where it says Eiken 4. The mom and daughter in front of us had a booklet that said pre2. : ) And the 2 people behind us had books that said pre1, same as Bran. Everyone brought their own inside shoes. And at precisely 9:30am check in started. Bran handed him his passport and little postcard sized paper with his pic on it. He stamped the postcard. After checking in.... the semi grouchy ladies at the end of the hall. Told everyone if you're taking the pre2 stand here!!! If you're taking the pre1 stand here!!! If you're taking the 4 stand here!!!" And then they later shouted to everyone stand in sets of 3's. @_@ Maybe they don't care for the Eiken folks testing at their school or I don't know what. But you can just sorta sense the whole vibe. I saw how they talked to everyone. They were nice to me. But, I did sorta not care for how they talked to everyone as a whole. They're the ones who don't want....any of the Eiken people to use their inside shoes. Fair enough. None of us go to that school. But eh. We were the first to stand in the Eiken pre1 line. An extremely nervous girl was next to Branden. And I do mean...an *extremely* nervous high school girl. Like taking huge deep breaths type nervous. And the 3rd person lined up in Branden's row was an older lady, mid 50's. She was taking the test too. Many adults were in line taking the pre1. This surprised me! I thought...you go lady! Good luck! Rock that test! So there were 3 people per line all near each other. I'd say 98-99% of everyone was 100% Japanese. I did see one...Indian looking high school boy (just trying to give you a visual) get in the line of the Eiken 4 though. He was very thin but tall, wearing a high school uniform. And I did see a white papa with a hafu child. A son. About 6th grade maybe. : ) He didn't dress like an American papa would. So, maybe he was British or something. : ) He saw me later and smiled at me and I smiled at him.  
Branden did say though, that he went to the restroom before the test started while he was in the line, he left his shoe bag there to save his spot, smart kid! : ) Anyway while in the bathroom, some western kid. I asked him hafu kid? He said nope a totally western one. Was in the bathroom and he had walked leaving something behind. Branden called to him.."hey you left this here" he went back and got it. And he said...thank you! and the kid was happy and said what's your name and he said my name is Branden. He said, where are you from? Branden apparently told him, My mom's American and my dad's Japanese, I'm hafu but I was born in Hawaii and I live here in Japan. The boy was like, I'm Irish! Branden said he ended up going in line with Branden and they chatted for the entire time until they went upstairs to take their tests. So very cool Bran met a nice kid to talk to. We did leave after making sure Bran was signed in and in the right lane/line. We walked to McDonald's near the Narita train station. Because sitting in the holding area/waiting area for 2 long hours. Meh. Oh we did go to the closer McD before arriving near the eiken testing spot and Bran ate a sausage McMuffin along the way in the car. And he did have a donut and milk at home before we left. So Bran ate, but we didn't. And Noboru had never went to the Eiken test before, like we did last year. After he saw how difficult it was....about the parking situation. he said...yeah we can't leave and risk not having a parking space. So that's why we walked to McD's. Sunday about 9:40am.
It was literally -1C, like 31 degrees F. It was a very cold walk. And the wind just cuts right through your clothes. Your cheeks are like frozen solid. We ordered our food and went upstairs. 

I had the pancakes and a hot coffee. Noah had a sausage Mcmuffin with egg, sides you have a choice now... so he picked chicken nuggets instead of has browns. Noboru sat next to Noah and my bag sat next to me. : ) And Noboru's coat sat next to me too. : )

This says you are a parent of someone taking the Eiken. Clearly Noah's not a parent, lol. But he's a brother. We all had to wear these, nobody is allowed in the building without a registered family member tetsing. The sticky power on the Eiken stickers like on Noah's coat in this pic... is not so great. So Noah and I just left ours on during our walk to breakfast and at breakfast. Noah's fell off last year so we already knew. Noboru took his off and it never stuck back onto his coat again. Hahaha. : )  We walked back to the high school. And went into the waiting room. It's a classroom and they have an old gas heater set up for us parents. Oh...the people at the Eiken said. "today 100 people will be taking the Eiken pre1." So lots of people today... so go into rows of 3. That's why I remember they said 100 people were taking the pre1. Hahaha. The test ended at 12 sharp. Bran knows to go to the waiting area after.... and he went in and gave us all a smile and we left. He was a real chatter box afterwards. He said how he met that nice English speaking kid. While everything was still fresh in his mind...I asked him...what was the email? He said it was a lady emailing saying she was thinking about having her son take a cooking class and what were his thoughts on that? Hahaha. Okay, I said. And he said one of the big paragraphs was about Bonnie and Clyde. As we were exiting the building. The next set of kids were in line to check in for their test. Eiken 5 and Eiken something else, I forget and Eiken 1. The actual Eiken 1. It said that only 24 people were taking the Eiken 1 that day. Wow only 24 is quite a low number. As we were leaving the building Branden and Noah whispered quickly... that kid up ahead is from our town. Bran said fastly... he's a 7th grader Noah chimed in...a very short 7th grader... Branden said I know right (to be fair he was like a 5th grader type tall so he was very short, didn't look like a JHS kid at all). I had zero idea who that kid or mom was. But they made eye contact with us. I didn't *really* know them... type know them. So, I didn't wanna wave and be all too smiley, ykwim. But I did give her eye contact and gave ...like an itty bitty head nod type a thing. More like a...I acknowledge you and I am not totally blowing you off... type of a nod. Not a...we're best friends in the whole universe type greeting because duh...we're not. But...an acknowledgement, at least. And she did the same as we passed. That way...at least she knows I'm not a jerk... who blew her off. Thank god the kids mentioned them... otherwise I would have walked right passed. When people wear face masks or scarves covering half their faces...and you barely know them... to begin with. I mean...geeze. But yeah..I am glad I at very least...I basically gave a conservative Japanese version of a...hey or howdy. Just a tiny head nod at least. We went to ramen afterwards. Our favorite ramen shop. I was really in the mood for ramen and we seldom have it and Bran mentioned wanting to eat some on Friday. So, since he just finished the Eiken, we asked him what he'd like for lunch...and he said ramen. I was relaly thinking ramen too We all wanted ramen for lunch that day. : ) So anyways...long story short., The Eiken pre 1 is over. When will we find out how he did? 2-3 weeks. as soon as I know...I'll let you all know. 

This is what I brought back form Costco yesterday. Pancakes for breakfast this morning. Minestrone soup, 12 cans of that. A rotisserie chicken for last nights dinner. Finely milled black pepper. Laundry soap and tortillas. We had rotisserie type fajitas or soft tacos last night. Type a meal. We had it with salsa, sour cream, grated cheese pictured here. Spanish rice. It was very filling last night. And quick and easy. Anyway, I have to run... to do some shopping before Noah gets out at 2:15pm today. 

Edited to add: I didn't post this earlier this morning as planned. I instead kept is as a draft and ran to the store. I am home now. And since I will be leaving to the plaza at 1:45pm to get Noah, I better just real quick...post this now. I picked up so much meat. 2 small lean beef loins for beef stew. Nice medium/thick sliced pork for ginger pork for tonight and for their lunch tomorrow for school. Tons of chicken breast (karaage happening and tandoori chicken happening too). Curry seasoned chicken, cheese and herb seasoned chicken already with spices on it. And some sliced beef for yakiniku for their lunch box for lunch Friday. Tonight we'll have ginger pork. And I'm thinking tomorrow a nice hearty beef stew.