Monday, November 21, 2016

Bits and pieces...

A pic of the boys that I snapped during one of our evening walks. We walk our housing community 5 nights a week, Bran, Noah and I. We do 2 laps. 2 laps gets you about 5,500 steps. And I will usually walk it once in the morning with Noboru too, 5 days a week unless it rains. Noboru likes to get his blood a moving and his lungs a pumping. : ) I feel the same, I look forward to our morning walks as soon as the kids go to school. Plus I will do my treadmill for 30-45 minutes about 4 times a week though I do aim for 5 times a week. I get between 10,000 steps to 13,500 steps a day. Which is great. And it means I will feel no guilt once Thanksgiving gets here! The boys love going for an after dinner walk, they really look forward to it. And my pedometer, I use a free ap on my cell. : )

Japanese menu on the left, English menu on the right. Being an American. A westerner. An obvious foreigner, you know what I mean, I hope. I do get menus in English given to me... as soon as I walk into a place. : ) I do not mind. I actually take it very positively. I think how considerate Japanese people and establishments are to make menus for us in English. : ) So, I never take it badly at all. The four of us just finished shopping in Narita City. We went to GU and to Uniqlo. Peacoat for Branden. At our Japanese elementary school you can wear regular clothes and wear any winter coat you like. Now at our local Japanese JHS, you may only wear a peacoat or duffle coat. And it must be navy, black or gray. And be plain. Or it is not allowed. @_@ Same as their JHS shoes must be plain white with not 1 dot of color. Yes their JHS shoes look like ugly all white nurse shoes (sorry nurses, and to be fair I know now days you guys wear cute Crocs styles and stuff too and cute clogs too). @_@ But again...rules are rules. And so...we went to get Bran a navy blue peacoat. Some gloves. And then we went to dinner afterwards. We went to Coco Ichi Curry. When we parked our car. And were exiting the vehicle, I could see the wait staff standing watching us about to enter. She saw my face and pulled 2 different menus. She gave our family of 4, 2 English menus and 2 Japanese menus. I think she was just covering her bases. : ) She was very nice and very kind. We sat down. She passed me the English menu right away. : ) I spoke to the waitress in Japanese the entire time. But, I did use the English menu, because there is no reason not to. She gave it to me to be kind. : ) So, I did use it. And fwiw, our closest Coco Curry in the city nearest us, "know us"...so they always just give me a Japanese menu after living around this area for 10 years. Hahaha. It's just in Narita City, I am not often in Narita City, maybe 2-3 times a month at most. And if i do it's just to run to Uniqlo and back home or to an Eiken interview and back home or to Pizza Hut and back home, ykwim. Or to the mall and back home. So, I don't often eat in Narita City. So they didn't know me at that particular Coco Curry place.: )

We 4 shared 2 salads, they're big enough to share between 2 people. They have such excellent salad dressings at Coco Curry! We each had curry. : ) I had the vegetable curry. The kids had a chicken cutlet curry each and Noboru had a seafood curry. 

We went to charge my car at the Aeon mall in Narita after eating our curry. We had been driving all over that day. But no worries, it only takes 10 minutes and it gave us just a bit of time to run into Starbucks and get something. Noboru got a hot caramel machiatto. Branden and I each picked a hot gingerbread latte. And Noah picked a hot chocolate. : ) After our Starbucks run. Which the electric car charger is right in front of Starbucks btw. So super convenient for us. We drove home with our Starbucks. : ) I look forward to their Winter holiday theme cups every year. 
This is a neck warmer for Branden. And that super soft fleece material.

In plain navy. See the color says navy. B's school uniform is navy anyways, so this matches super well.

Uniqlo makes the coolest/smartest materials. They make super warm things in winter to keep you warm. They have Heat teach stuff. And this right here is wind proof. They also have clothes that keep you cooler in summer. : )

Block Tech. Keeps Bran warm. : )

New school shoes for Bran had to happen. In pure white. 

Adidas JHS shoes. And yes...the blinding white shoes...even blind us! : )

The day we went to curry. This is what we brought back. 

Gloves. In navy. Soft fleece gloves.

Japan technology. I swear the Japanese have the best technology when it comes to fabric or clothes. And there is anti slip finger tips on these gloves, which make Branden riding his bike easier. He doesn't ride every day. Because some days are rainy etc. But on the days he rides. These come in handy. He uses these even on days, he gets a ride because he still has to walk from the Plaza. In our town. Kids may not be dropped off at the actual JHS. Why? I don't know, it's just their rule. They may only be dropped off at the plaza and walk the 1 minute to the school. And same for the elementary. You may *not* drive up to the actual school. @_@ You may drop off your kid at the Plaza only. Again...I don't mind. My kids don't mind. But...both kids do have a 1-2 minutes walk from the plaza to their school. : )

Looking online, both Uniqlo and GU sells a peacoat. However, we went to Uniqlo first and we could not find it anywhere! We wanted the Uniqlo peacoat. We asked the lady...after walking around the mens department like 3 times looking for it. She told us, it's available online, but not at this store. @_@ Why...do they do that? Weird! So we went to GU and they had it in the actual store! Yes, smart store! Even though they are owned by the same company, GU and Uniqlo. So...we bought it at GU. I mean...we wanted to buy it that day. And we also wanted Branden to try it on and see if it fit...in person!!! GU had it. It fit with room to grow (but not baggy and weird either though). And so...this was best! And it's in navy if you can see it is in navy on this tag. And it was only 4,990 yen. So like US $48!!! That's a bargain! And they had all sorts of different styles in the mens department for 4,990 yen and the sizes run all the way up to a mens XL. Really cute ones. So...if anyone is looking for a cute coat. Either for themselves, their kid or husband. Maybe give GU a look. Oh and fwiw, the peacoat from Uniqlo was double the price, 9,990 yen online. : ) 

Bran has been wearing this navy blue peacoat from GU, his Uniqlo gloves and neck warmer from Uniqlo ever since. So....keeping the teenager warm over here. : ) 

And of course can't forget my little one either! And fwiw, I always check online first! So, I can see what's available. And then check in store. I liked this coat for Noah, in navy in size 160cm. His green coat from Uniqlo last year was a 150cm size one. His clothes this year are 150cm but his coat is 160cm. Because the bulk of long sleeves and sweatshirts underneath their coat means I always buy my kids a slightly bigger coat, to accommodate a long sleeve top and sweatshirt underneath (all the layers basically) I also always try to pick a coat with a hood. I picked this coat exactly with the hood. They also sell one with no hood. But, I prefer the hood. Better to have the hood and not use it ever day...then need one... on an especially cold day and not have it. I went to my nearest Uniqlo which is in Narita City. And I only saw up to 150cm. Like even the sizes up to picture...in store only went up to 150cm. Yet...I saw that morning they had up to 160 online. So, I asked the lady at the Narita store. Hi...there is no size 160 in store yet it's online. Are you guys just out of the coats in that size? Or? She knew immediately what I was talking about. She shook her head and said...yeah in our store we only carry up to size 150cm. The 160cm is for online only. @_@ So you need to buy it online. I smiled and thanked her and left (not her fault). This was a different day then the peacoat day. Noah's coat day was when I ran there in the day while the kids were in school. The only thing about this was that...in America...if you go to Old Navy online for example...if it is a limited color not available in the stores...or limited item not carried in stores it says in black and white. ONLINE ONLY. I just wish they would have put that on their site. Because if I would have seen that..it wasn't available in store... I would have ordered it online and saved myself the drive. In the past 30 days I have been to Uniqlo 3 times! Hahaha. : ) 

So just a FYI..or if you need the info. If you have an 11 year old child and need a 160cm size. Don't waste your time looking in the store. Just order it online. : ) Hope this helps someone. : ) 

I buy these coats every year. I love them because there is a spot to write your child's name on the inside of the coat, this coat also has hidden big pockets inside the coat too. I wrote Noah's name really pretty in cursive. And he really likes how it looks this year on the inside of his coat. And this way...if someone in your class has the same exact coat. You can check the name area and it will be written on there. : ) I used to buy their coats from Gap and Old Navy and they were very thick. Super fluffy and stuffed. My kids didn't like those. They said they made their randoseru feel very tight and uncomfortable with their big fat coats and yes I did obviously make their randoseru on a bigger longer notch too, but it didn't help, they just hated that stuffed feeling with their randoseru. These Uniqlo ones are famous for being thin, but being just as warm...thanks to their materials. Heat teach Wind teach. Ultra Down. All that stuff. So they are just as warm...just without all the bulk. So I have been buying their coats at Uniqlo since Bran was a 3rd grader and all Noah's elementary years. : ) 

The kids coats are only 2,990 yen. So under US $30! Again a super bargain. The adult coats are like 5,990 yen so near US$ 60. So...I am glad I could get Noah a kids size, one last year/time. The price difference is fantastic if you can get the kids 160cm size. : )  Noah is now a toasty warm boy in his new navy Uniqlo winter coat for winter 2016/2017! : )
The day we went and saw Bridget Jones's Baby. We went into Old Navy to look around. Sadly Old Navy will leave Japan in December. We picked this long sleeve top up for Noah. Anyways...so yes still slowly getting the kids Fall and Winter ready clothes-wise. We're nearly done though. : ) Next topic. Moving along...
All 5th grade parents had their final recycle day on November 12th. Our meet up time was at 8:30am. Saturday morning. You can see the trees changing colors. Here I am walking along the pedestrian path from my house to the park. 
We all met there. Our housing community picked up for our housing community. And basically...wherever you live...you pick up the recycling there. We broke into teams. The 2 senpai mom's (me and big & little K's mom, she has 2 sons named K, one Bran's age and one Noah's age) So me and K's mom and Noah and little K were in 1 team. And the rest of the cars split in groups of 2 and 3 per car. Right before we were about to drive off came the youngest mom of the group. She was 16 when she gave birth to her son. Noah's classmate. She was late getting to the meet up spot. I really dig this mom! I have always been so nice to this mom. I noticed when I was kodomokai yakuin (kids club vice president) that one year some of the mom's snubbed her. Not any of my fellow yakuin...they are all nice... but the helper mom's did the snubbing. When they were passing out drinks during the summer dashi pull all kids and all mom's were given a drink but her and I could tell by her face she felt left out and she was just going to have no drink. But...I could feel her feeling and it bothered me so much, I felt so bad and I don't like when folks try to show someone..."hey you are not a part of our group"...type of bullying....freezing someone out or giving them an ignore job... that ain't cool. That's mean, rotten mean! And yes you should treat folks how you'd want to be treated or how you'd want your kids to be treated. And that is just plain old wrong. I hate when folks are like that. So I grabbed a cup...since I was yakuin... filled her a cup of Calpis with ice and filled it as high as I could fill it and I walked it right over to her!!! Her whole face lit right up! She bowed and told me thank you so much! I told her..."my pleasure, please enjoy, it is very hot today!" And well she has always liked me... ever since. : ) Anyway... That was a couple years ago. : ) So anyway back to the recycling day, she came running to me and K's mom. "Sorry I'm late." She said in Japanese. I said..."no worries..we are still here": ) Little K's mom said get in my car. I said, in Japanese... "yeah get in!" : ) So she was all happy! We 3 mom's chit chatted our brains out the entire time. Meanwhile little K and Noah ran all over our area we had to collect trash and they piled it into K's mom's car. We of course got out and packed it in. It was gross sorta. Yucky beer cans. With ooze leaking out. @_@ Crusty old newspapers that looked so weathered. Clothes were not so bad to pack in there. Lots of cardboard. Like tons of cardboard! We 3 mom's and our 2 sons. It was a fun crazy morning for us! Then we were about to go to the school to drop it all off. But K's mom turned to the other mom and said. There's no room for you in my car when the kids get in. I felt so bad, this took me by surprise. : ( I felt the guilt. I felt it hard. But she was so cool. She was like...no problem. I can just go home. I trying to think of some comforting words said "that's right, you're lucky, I can trade you places... if you want" and we all laughed. And I smiled and waved her a good bye. And then our 2 sons got in the car. FWIW, our sons didn't get in the car the whole time they literally ran through the neighborhood area collecting trash, they were so hot and sweating by this time. : ) Good loyal kids. And fwiw, I would not have minded going home instead of the super young mom. But, I think because we're the senpai mom's and this is our last time doing this for the school... the teachers needed to see us there. Or I don't know why. But either way would have been fine with me, or it could have been...me and K's mom have known each other since Bran and Big K were ichinensei and so she feels more comfortable going with me? We have put our tents right next to each other for about 9 years every undokai...so we do have a connection and both our husbands are in the Father's Club together. I really don't know. And again...nobody minded or fretted about it. I did feel bad. But then again... I am a worry wart and worry about people too much. Are they okay? Are their feelings hurt? You know...that sort of stuff. But she was fine and we went on our way. : )  Also...this recycle thing...is town wide!!! So we saw so many white flat bed farmer trucks...with mom's in the back sitting in the flatbeds...wearing aprons, mom's also driving. 5th grade mom's all over our town. Loading up trash. So many of us all about that day. You could see recycled stuff laid out all along the streets of our town all over. Little K and Noah were in the back seat together like...hey there's A's mom! And waving. And Little K's mom and I waved at the other mom's as we drove and sat in the front seat together to the school. Once we got there. I jumped out. I unloaded first the cardboard. The teachers met us and helped us unload it. Then we went to the next area and next area. We unloaded. And there were so many mom's at the actual school waiting to help us unload. I saw my good friend there and chatted. And then we were done. Little K's mom drove Noah and I home. And we otsukaresama-ed each other. And I went into the house. I had Noah jump in the shower right away! After he soaped up, showered. And dried off. I went in when he was out and soaped up shampooed up and put on an old comfy (my fave) pair of yoga pants and a tee shirt and sweatshirt. : ) Now I am officially done. No more recycling for me. 

When does my dad get here? Tomorrow! I can barely wait! By this time tomorrow, he'll already be here. And the boys are so excited! They have already told their class and teachers that their American grandpa is coming for Thanksgiving! : ) The turkey is already in the fridge defrosting. 22-23 pounds! He's huge! : )