Thursday, April 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday. Noah's elementary school entrance ceremony 2012...

This is the last entrance ceremony themed TBT for April 2016. Yes, I did manage to write posts for the 4 weeks, all this month. I hope these posts can help someone. Or shed some light. Give some food for thought or help or at least something to think about, if you have younger aged kiddos. : )  This is one of the many catalogs that I was given from our yochien when Branden was in his final year at yochien (Japanese kindergarten) These were given at the end of October. Why are these catalogs given out so early? It's actually... not too early at all. Because if you are ordering a handmade/handsewn one and a popular one at that. There could be a wait. Quality made to order randoseru start being ready.... end of January/early February. If you ordered yours in November/early December. You don't want to order your randoseru late! Especially if it's a special "made to order" randoseru. Also, there are also mass produced randoseru too. That can be bought at Aeon for say 19,800 yen (about $198 US) but considering the randoseru is used all 6 years and must last that long. So find the best quality one, of course within your budget. They go up in price all the way to 65,000 yen-70,000yen ($650-$700 US) but again considering it will have to last all 6 years. Hold tons of books and basically take a beating being used for 6 years straight. On the opposite end of the spectrum....I have even seen randoseru at Cainz/Besia for 9,800 yen (about $100US) so not to worry... you will be able to find one within your budget. This is a lot different than how we do in the US and just buy a new Jansports or Lands End backpack every year. : ) I was lucky in that and I know I mentioned it beforehand. But, I was lucky in that.... I had a really fantastic set of girl/mom friends when Branden was in yochien. And same when Noah was in yochien too. But, at the time when Bran was in yochien. I let them know. As honestly as I could. "I know nothing about randoseru, please tell me anything you can. "Should we buy a budget friendly one or splurge?" Everyone of my friends said..."invest in my child's randoseru" (backpack). It's a symbol of Japanese childhood innocence...that randoseru. So again. They helped me a ton. So we agreed and decided to invest in Branden's randoseru. Plus it's also a fantastic keepsake/memory. We flipped through catalog after catalog. And we finally liked 1 place. And had 3 randoseru we liked from that 1 place. See how in this picture they sew them all themselves. We bought Bran's from this place. 

Let me share a little story. Noboru's elementary school in Osaka had their own "school bag" so Noboru never.... not ever in his life had a randoseru. Something he wishes he had the chance to have as a child. Also, another weird fact. Noboru's elementary school in Osaka, they wore street shoes in his school. Yes, no inside shoes for Noboru either. Is this weird or what? If you live in Japan this could sound super weird. However, I do know of one foreign mama, she's a friend of mine and her child's school now days (not in Osaka) has their own school bag too. Same way as Noboru's school did. However they wear inside shoes. : ) Also, my niece J she lives in Osaka and her school requires randoseru. So, again not all schools are the same. So, Noboru not ever having a randoseru. Grew up thinking, boys only wear black randoseru and girls wear only red. We know how wrong my sweetie pie was. But again. He never went to a school with a randoseru, so not his fault. And besides...he was in elementary school in the 80's. So that was back in the day, anyway. Ykwim. : )  I should have asked my friends about this from our yochien but I didn't. I should have asked about colors. There were many backpacks in blue that I really liked for Branden. Like the one this boy is carrying in blue with stars. I really liked this one. This was my #1 choice this blue one with blue and orange stars. I LOVED this backpack. But Noboru was like...no way. Boys have to wear black randoseru! Maybe he thought they'd spontaneously combust, if boys don't pick black or I don't know what. He was not wavering on this black randoseru thing at all. Did I mention how much I loved this blue one with blue and orange stars? 

Bottom row second to the right. The blue randosru, I wanted for B. But, I compromised for the black version bottom row far left. Only because Noboru said, every boy in Branden's class would show up with black and if Branden didn't show up with black... he would be a Weirdo Mc Weirdo-pants. Which was so totally wrong but...there ya go! When 2 parents grow up... neither having a randoseru. It's like...the blind leading the blind! I tell ya. : ) 

This was the model one. But we put in the order for this. Because as Noboru said... every single boy human child in the class would be carrying black. @_@ Wrong. But anyways. 

I wanted the blue one with the stars picture above some place. And my 2nd choice was this 3 toned blue randoseru. This looked super cool to me too. I remember this as clear as crystal...Noboru looked at this blue striped cool randoseru and said..."If Branden shows up with this, he will get laughed out of school" @_@ Umm no he wouldn't. And he said that about that conservative blue one with stars too. 

He was insistant on the black. Yes he has since apologized profusely...though not necessary at all. Hey, it is what it is. Can't change it. The bright side is...at least Bran got a nice black one with stars and quilting stitched on his and stuff. With his name and stuff on it. Made for him. Bran's was about, 59,000 yen. We figured about a $100 a year. Oh and one more thing. Bran's 2 best friend's in elementary. Genki's randoseru was not black and the Jimbei boy's was blue. @_@  Live and learn. But yes I do like Bran's randoseru and it was made just for him. 
Flash back years later. I got a new stack of randoseru catalogs for Noah. From our yochien. But, this time around, I was pickier. I knew I could pick ANY color, this time around. I now had one thing I didn't have when it was Branden's turn. This time around, I had *experience* And that is priceless. I knew exactly what I wanted. I started looking and hunting for Noah's randoseru in September. Yes, I did. I didn't track it down until mid October. Found a place that makes them 100% hand sewn made to order. A place in Osaka. We called them once... emailed with them 2 times before placing our order. And we had our order placed by the end of October. By mid January the year Noah was set to graduate yochien, the handsewn randoseru of Noah's was already shipped out. This place emailed us... the first day they started to make Noah's randoseru, they emailed us the final week when they were near done making Noah's randoseru. They were in contact with us twice a month for the duration since we ordered Noah's randoseru. As they should for the price we paid for Noah's! The cost for Noah's randoseru? About 70,000 yen easy. But he is our last child. We will never have another. And this time around, we had the freedom of any color and...we just knew way more about randoseru the second time around. Anyway,  randoseru usually have charms placed on them. Usually something from a shrine that has good study wishes on it. Or something like that. And some have fun charms but every randoseru I have ever seen... has a charm. Noah's favorite colors are yellow and orange. You all know that. So, I made sure to get these Crocs charms in Noah's colors. : ) 

Entrance ceremony day. And boy oh boy were we ready! Zero nerves, no fear. We've got this! : )

Ready for school! Now you get to go with your big brother! That means fun! : )

Such a preppy randoseru.
Noah's outfit came from Comme Ca, socks came from there too. 
Each new first grader was assigned a 6th grade helper that day. You know how deputy Barney Fife was very gung ho about being a policeman on the Andy Griffith Show? Well Noah's helper was so nice, but he took his job as our helper... very seriously! Bless his little heart! : ) First thing he told me was, "Branden-kun's mom, you can just stand back here (back of the class) not to worry I will get your little one... all set up. He didn't know Noah's name yet. But he learned it within minutes of getting Noah all safely set up. : ) You see just parents in this pic. Yet, all these kids had 1 kid helper. But none really helped except Noah's super helper! He rocked! : ) This gave me time to take pics. : ) 

Our helper was making sure Noah brought all his required bags with tape, glue, scissors, etc. And his red and white hat. This kid rocked so much... he knocked and scratched everything right off the list and hung the bags and everything. In fact right here, he mentioned to Noboru that he could just go and stand at the back too...that he truly can get Noah all squared away on his own. @_@ I tell ya this kid was...super kid! He was amazing and so helpful! Best helper kid ever! 

See all the parents trying to get their kids area all set up. See Noah's bags hanging and seat cover on. Right in this picture Noah and our amazing wonderful helper was getting the clips for the cleaning rags all set up under his seat. See there's another 6th grader standing behind my mom friend but that kid wasn't really helpful like our helper was. Our helper...did so much. We weren't even needed. Hahaha. : ) I salute you... best most helpful 6th grader who helped Noah! : ) You see that blue Ikea bag on someone's table? You need to bring a huge bag with you on the entrance day and bring everything. Branden's time of entrance ceremony, I didn't forget a single thing but I was so nervous, I mentioned I was like... near heart attack type stress. This time around. I was so calm, so chill. So zen. The parents in Noah's class who had older siblings, like the 4 classmates of Noah's who have siblings in Bran's grade, for example. Those mom's were so ahead of the game. They were experts by now. See little K yawning in the row behind Noah? That's because his mom did this once before...when Bran and her oldest son... big K started the first grade. So with her experience, she went in there set up little K's desk and was finished in no time flat. The new...first grade mom's experiencing it...for the first time...were the ones still at the desks. I chalk it up to nerves and just trying to get things right. : ) Firs times always the hardest. Second time...hey it ain't no biggie. : ) This time around...I totally got to enjoy it...100% for all it was. Versus worry and give myself a stress heart attack. : ) 

Remember Noah's first grade seat cover? Green happy elephants with a bright yellow head cover for a disaster. Head protection basically. 

See the seat far left farthest this camera? See how it's missing a seat cover. Yep, seat cover was forgotten. Again...most parents remember everything but some forgot stuff. And you know what. That's A-okay. Nobody's perfect. It happens. Live and learn. 

Noah walking with his 2 helpers. The best helper was that little boy though, He was fantastic!

If you're thinking...you have seen that teacher before. That's because she was Branden's first and 2nd grade teacher. And was Noah's first grade teacher too. 

As soon as the teacher took roll call and announced your name, you were officially a student there. 

All grades except the first grade helped dismantle and get the gym back to looking like a gym. That is Bran in his orange Ralph Lauren big pony top.

I am so glad Noah wore gray!

All mother's in this class are 100% Japanese. Except me and 1 other mom. Me being American and her being from the Philippines. She is so awesome, so wonderful and I am so glad to call her my friend. Anyways, she only has 1 child. Same grade as Noah. She looked as nervous... during Noah's entrance day, as I know I looked during Branden's entrance ceremony. I could understand her feelings 100%. I could understand. Because like me...she was not raised in Japan, she hopes to get things right. She's never experienced entrance ceremony at the elementary school before. So, I totally get that. Don't we all, try to do our best. She brought her daughter's seat cover and randoseru. But she forgot her daughters inside tray that goes inside her desk and I think her little bags and red and white hat. She forgot a lot. And by the stress on her face. Remember, I was just cool calm and collected sitting at the back of the class....as our "wonder helper" did it all for us. She meanwhile looked stressed out...like near stress heart attack levels. I had never met her before. But...again. It is times like these... that determines the type of person you are. What sort of character do you have. Will you sit and watch someone struggle and say nothing. Or will you try and comfort? You already know the type of nerd, that I am. I'm a comforter. I hate to see people in stress. Believe me...I know what it's like. And I know how it feels to live in a culture not your own and feel like all eyes are staring and judging. So anyways back to the story. She's looking super nervous. And I smile first. She smiles in return. She says in English to me, "I forgot my daughter's tray"...I tell her...in the most soothing kind voice I can muster. And I say to her. "It's okay" She lets out a huge sigh of relief. She can see...no judgement here. There's none from me. And again I try to comfort and I say. "I have 1 older son, he goes to this same school, and when he had his entrance ceremony a few years ago. I was so nervous. So doki doki", I told her. She smiled so big. Oh really? I said, "it's okay. It's different for us since we've never been to school in Japan. Harder for us, in a way. Besides, everyone looks so nervous too... see", I add and we both look around. I added..."not to worry, nobody even notices." : ) Just tomorrow come early and bring it, I said. We both shook our heads. She heard kindness. On a very stressful day. We became fast friends that day. And we are friends even til this day. And yeah that's how we met.  You don't have to be perfect in this world...but you should always try to be kind.  

Hi Yuka-sensei. We meet again. : ) Hahaha. : ) 

These were my most easy years! When both boys went to the same school. 

And down the hill we go. 

Walking to our car!

Oh jungle gym! Enjoy your elementary school years Noah! : ) 

When you know this is your last child EVER and you go outside and go nuts with taking about a bazillion pictures. Hahaha. : )

And that was that. And then we went to go and eat! A celebration lunch. Just us 4. : ) 

Any final thoughts on the subject. Hmm. I blogged in great detail all about Branden starting yochien. Noah starting yochien. And course, all the mistakes I made along the way. And I blogged all about Branden and Noah starting elementary school and also blogged about Branden starting JHS. And why? In hopes this information will come in handy to someone in the future. I blogged it all, as it happened all those years ago, but all the very detailed information is all there/here. The one thing I want to say. And the one thing I want to stress to you, if you are a fellow foreign parent living in Japan is...be kind to yourself. There will be times, when you have things down to a science. And times when you feel so nervous and maybe you might feel so out of your element, I have had times like that too, oh yes I have. Or you may even feel like you bombed out, super hardcore. But seriously. Don't beat yourself up over it! Know that...this too will pass. You will eventually get the hang of things. And sure hindsight is 20/20. But if you forget something you needed to bring. Just be kind to yourself, be forgiving. And in a few years it might just turn out to be your most funniest memory. And if you see another fellow foreign parent and they look like they could use a kind word...please give it. That's all. : )

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spring cleaning. Plenty of good eat pics. Branden’s JHS observation day. Noah’s elementary school observation day. And the passing of Prince...

Remember how somewhere... 2 posts down, I said on a Saturday (was this 2 Saturdays ago?) Noah and I finished up his deep cleaning... Spring clean up of his room. Anyway this pic is from then. His closet is super duper clean (I know I already said that 2 posts below). His entire room is so clean like seriously wowsa type clean. Smaller clothes have been given away. His old homework and art that he wanted to save and I wanted to save... we kept in his keep sake box and the stuff he didn't want we tossed. We did a major Spring clean in his room and it's nice to get one room scratched off the list. : )  Hard work should be highlighted, so that's why I am most definitely mentioning it. : )

One random dinner. American style fried pork chops, these are nice and thick, but not too thick. With some noodles on the side about to happen when I snapped this pic.

Fettuccini noodles are a total favorite around here. : )

We had this with a salad and garlic breadsticks on the side. 

Monday, and the boys took leftovers for their packed school lunch that day. Three American fried pork chops sliced for easy eating and Bran took 2 of those, since he's bigger/older. Garlic breadsticks. Yum. What I do is, I buy Japanese hot dog buns and pull apart and spread down some Lawry's garlic butter spread and it's super easy and so good and the buns are so soft so they're perfect! : ) A perfect short cut if you live in Japan. : ) Little Halos. Some broccoli. 

Just a simple but very filling packed lunch the boys took to school. 

I baked some peanut butter cookies from scratch. I only baked half of them and froze the rest of the dough for later in the week. I baked the rest the day the guy came down to dismantle our playground. I gave him some cookies and a drink while he and Noboru were both outside. Of course Noboru had some too. But I baked the other half that day specifically, so Noah could take a fresh cookie in his packed lunch on Saturday (the observation day) Noah needed a packed lunch that day.

Another pic of a random dinner night. Baked ravioli and a fresh sliced and buttered baguette from the bakery. We had some yummy salad on the side too.
Last Monday, exactly 1 week ago from yesterday, I decided to spend 2 hours in my living room. Cleaning. Organizing. Dusting.Vacuuming. In winter, we have the central heating on 24/7. In summer we have the central air conditioning on 24/7. However in Spring and Fall, I really love to keep the windows open and feel like fresh country air blowing in and out of our home. So, I like to clean the windowsills. And that area near the screen. I don't like dirt and debris from there blowing into my house and it seems to collect there once a month. So, in Spring and Fall, with having the windows open, I am like a windowsill nazi. I wipe mine down... once a week. Honestly sometimes twice a week in Spring and Fall. 

Dusting everything wood with Pledge. And Windex-ing everything else like windows or TV screen, computer screen. Dusting the ceiling fans. Dusted books. Last Monday was totally living room day at our house. : )

Latest Fanta flavor. Italian Lime!


We really like this! It's not too overly sweet. Great flavor.  

BrannyB's Crocs came in the mail. Thanks Crocs.jp. 

In the retro style. 


This poster hangs outside Branden's 9th grade classroom, because his grade will be going on a 3 day trip to Kyoto soon-ish. Can't say when... but the kids are so excited! : )

Pic of Ru outside Bran's classroom. Noboru and I went to Bran's observation day, last Wednesday, April 20th, 2016. 

Observing the English class. Branden's teacher holding up the cards. Branden's teacher is such an excellent teacher! I know I always say this, but it's true she was our same teacher last year too. I can totally understand why all the kids love being in her class! She's smart, she's has a lot to teach. But she's so funny. She's so down to earth, that no wonder the kids love her so much! The other 9th grade teacher? Meh! Honestly though. He's mean. He screams. The kids are absolutely terrified of him. I'm sure he's a nice guy. But geeze, the kids just can't thrive in an environment like that. Poor kids in the other class. : ( So glad Branden has the teacher he has! She's truly a fantastic teacher! We love her! She's just the best! : )  The gossip, I hear is.... that the "good kids"  you know...the kids who want to learn... were chosen to be with the awesome lady teacher. Bran's teacher. And the kids who are more rowdy or wild... were chosen to go in the mean guys class. For the discipline. @_@ Is this true? I don't know, all I know is what I heard from some mom's. It sort of makes me think that's true though. There are no rowdy kids in Bran's class. And we all know Bran's not rowdy at all. He gets fantastic grades and loves school and loves learning. Every report card he has ever received has said...how respectful Branden is and how polite he is. Noah's the same way.  Anyway the class we got to watch was really fun. 
Thursday, a day after Bran's observation day, we took Bran to get some new glasses. Bran has been telling me since the end of January, he wants new glasses. He says now days everyone one is wearing black plastic frames. Blah blah blah yada yada yada. Oh and he has been telling me, non shiny ones. Flat colored frames. For me, I need a visual. I hadn't seen them. And January was super busy with us trying to prepare for Noboru leaving to Atlanta. And then Feb and March Noboru was totally gone in the US.  But, yes I did make a mental note of it...Bran wants new glasses. Check and check. But again, I had no idea what style...I just need the visual However when I went to his observation day. I saw two 9th grade boys with what he was talking about. His girlfriend also has a pair too. Okay...seeing them. I totally know exactly what he's talking about now. So, now that I saw for myself. I knew exactly what he meant. Now I could get the ball rolling. So, while he was at school Thursday I cruised myself to 3 different eye glass shops in Narita since our town obviously has no eye glass shops hahaha. : ) Seeing them with my own eyes. I saw 2 of the eyeglass shops didn't really have tons and tons of the new style of frames but maybe more for older folks. But, one eyeglass shop in particular... I saw had all sorts of new fashionable glasses and tons of cool new style frames. So, I asked the staff some questions. They said they can be made that same day in about 30 minutes if they have the frame in stock. Super cool, I said and I told them after my sons both come home, we'd be back. Because they were to be for my older son. Awesome staff. She said okay. And sure enough as soon as the boys got home, right to the eyeglass shop we went. Branden tried on about 7 pairs...I insist on that...because you need to be sure... but he found the perfect pair for him. What he wanted. Flat black frames. They tested his eyes. They checked to see if they had his frame, which yes they did. And they said come back in 30 minutes. Amazing and truly best staff ever, or maybe I just get along with people super well..I am not sure which one it is, lol. I know I mentioned it many times but seriously.... they were so nice to us. So we left, we went to eat some ramen for dinner. We rarely eat out...I just prefer cooking at home (cheaper and healthier) so it was a nice treat. Afterwards we swung back and picked up Bran's glasses. They fit and molded the ear piece with that hot machine that bends the glasses arm, quite a bit to make sure Bran's glasses were super perfect. They cared so much. They almost...over cared! Hahaha. : ) This is a chain eye glass shop and we will most definitely come back. 

They gave Bran this cute little bag to hold his eye glass case. Noboru actually suggested we go to Costco to get Bran's glasses. But, I said, Costco I am sure has okay glasses. Name brand and stuff. Same type of glasses you'd see at Lens Crafters type glasses. And they're nice and all. But honestly...one thing that Japan does best? Japan has the hippest most on trend..... coolest newest styles of frames. if you're into fashion frames at all. Japan is the place to go for glasses. With so many people in Japan wearing glasses, nobody can compare to the styles Japanese eye glass shops have. And the prices are fair too. Bran's glasses were just 7,000 yen. And with a 500 yen off coupon they were only 6500 yen about $65 US. Super fair. And hey, if in a year he wants another newer fashionable trendy pair,....with that price no problem! And they are quality glasses, not flimsy at all... super high quality. Japan just does glasses so right!


T.G.C. Tokyo Glass Company.

A nice simple case but loved that the zipper pull says T.G.C.


Bran loves these. I personally prefer dark brown frames on Brannny McB. But you know what...if it's the new style now in Japan for JHS aged kids. And if he likes it. Go for it. : ) I remember how it felt to be a teenager. So, I understand. And hey...if you want flat black frames kiddo, more power to you! : ) 
Saturday, April 23rd was Noah's observation day. Since the lunch ladies had the day off, everyone needed to bring a packed lunch to school Saturday. Also the kids at elementary school would have the day off school this Monday/yesterday since they went to school Saturday. First thing the day before is... I bought some sliced bakery bread for Noah's sandwich. Noah took a Hillshire Farm thin sliced honey ham sandwich, with sliced cheddar cheese and lettuce, some Miracle Whip. That sandwich was amazeballs. And that bread truly dazzles...seriously it does... this bakery makes the best sliced sandwich bread. Noah also took a small handful of french fries (potatoes wedges) yep chips aren't allowed, but fries are? Both potatoes and yep both fried in oil? Don't ask me. : ) I'm just the rule follower... not the rule maker. : ) And 1 Little Halo and one from scratch peanut butter cookie. Noah also took a thermos filled with ice and tea without sugar. I let Noah know in advance...that Bran and I would be there before it started. He let me know in advance we'd be watching gym class. They'd be jumping over the hurdles. : ) And he knew daddy couldn't be there, but he wanted to be. However he knew daddy (Noboru) would be there in time for his class meeting. Not the 3 super overly long...total waste of time meetings before that. School wide meeting. Area you live meeting. @_@ Etc etc. Yes first observation day of the school year is meetings galore. However the last/final meeting of the day...the specific class meeting, Noboru would be there. I meanwhile would be at home with both kids and I would be getting dinner ready so that as soon as Noboru walked through the door after the meeting, we could eat dinner immediately.

Hi beautiful rural/countryside newly-ish built elementary school. This is such a great elementary school.

The kids are lucky to have such nice school grounds to play on! With no big bustling city surrounding our school... with smog and skyscrapers around. We luckily have none of that. Just a nice big country school with nice fresh clean air.

Going down the hill from the school entrance. Though we always walk up the back entrance. 

The school is slightly elevated. And in such a great spot. There are a few houses down the hill scattered. But none that can view the school...since the school is higher up on a hill from the handful of houses. I should totally show you my town one day. You would flip when you see how truly teeny tiny it is. It's so cute! : ) 

It never rained this day but the clouds were low and heavy. The weather was warm but windy. You wouldn't need a winter coat or a sweatshirt, but maybe a thin long sleeve top and a pair of pants. So warm yes... but not hot.  

Ru and the other father's club dad's painted these tires years ago. : ) 

Such an amazing small town to live.

Yes, finally the observation day was underway! The one and only 5th grade class went outside. Hi kids! : ) Seriously though...look at all those trees....all that nature! Lucky kids!

Hello you.... happy peppy awesome country kids!

Noah running nearest my camera. He had just completed a hurdle. And seriously though...Noah's legs are so ghostly white...they're almost greenish. Like a pasty white with a green undertone to them! Awww! And yes he does go to Hawaii every summer and wave pools here in Japan...so the kid does get sun. But....pale is his fate. And you know what... that's okay! We love you for being you Noah...just as we love your brother... for being who he is! : )  We sure do love you kiddo! : )

Okay right here their sensei/teacher was talking about the importance of formation. I was listening. And then at other times... I wasn't listening because Branden was taking videos and talking to me too. Plus some mom's came later and I greeted them and they me. So, was trying my best to listen to the formation peptalk.... but did miss some of the chatter. But the kids heard it and that was the most important.

Yes that is Noah jumping! Wow, amazing! Look at the height of his jump! I am so glad while I took pics, Bran took video! Noah's such a jock! Definitely naturally sporty. : )

Noah watching his bestie complete his jumps! Yay go Noah's bestie! We became his cheering section too! : )

Now it was about to be over. Kids were to listen and get the final talk from the teacher! Hi gorgeous, I see you! Love you my little Noah Noah! : )

And the kids put everything away. And then the teacher had all the kids stand in a line and bow to us parents (and 1 Branden/brother) and thank us for showing up and being there! I thought that was so nice that the teacher did that! : ) Then the 3 of us went home. I had skillet fried some lean beef and then boiled it until we left to the school, then turned it off (the beef was boiling from 8am to 12:30pm, so it boiled forever before we left). But by then, the meat was fall apart tender. We had beef stew that night. It was just simplest for that night (considering we were at observation that day...didn't want to come home and make an elaborate meal, so stew was nice plus it's hearty). When we got home, I turned the big pan back on and sliced up an onion and diced some potatoes and added mushrooms and the rice had beeped which I set that morning. And I dissolved the roux and then turned the stove off. As soon as Noboru got home, I turned the pan back on and we ate within 5 minutes...didn't take much to reheat the pan. We all ate. Talked about observation day, told Noboru what he missed and some stories from the gym class we watched earlier. He told me anything I might need to know from the meeting. And that was Saturday April 23rd. : ) 
By now, I am sure every single one of you knows that Prince has died. He died Minnsesota time Thursday morning. But for me at my house, since I go to bed by 10:30pm during the week since I have kids and need to wake up early in the weekday. I didn't find out until Friday morning, around 5:30am Japan time. I was absolutely stunned that he died! This completely and utterly took me by surprise. My first reaction was total and utter shock. I went and told Noboru who was dead asleep upstairs. And when  I woke the boys for school, I told them too. I made lunch and sent them to school. But I think I still felt disbelief. For those of you in Denver, my family, my friends. My dad in Guam. Everyone knows how much I loved Prince! The first time I ever saw Purple Rain, I was hooked! I love that the movie was semi-autobiographical. I loved that he was a real character. Flawed. Imperfect. Dealing with problems at home. His abusive father towards his mother. Granted, I didn't grow up in a house of abusive parents like that, But, I felt he was just really relatable. His music was my jam! He was just everything! He was a fantastic song writer. He wrote about the world as he saw it. He cared so deeply about issues dear to his heart. He was a strict vegan and animal rights activist, even wrote a song about how he feels on the issue. And PETA loved that song so much he gave that song to them. He was a trail blazer. He was such a sincere person. He also had such sexual charisma. At the same time he was such a humble person. He most totally loved his hometown. He was born and raised in Minneapolis Minnesota and I saw on an interview with Oprah last night...Oprah asked...why Minnesota? He said, I will *always* live here. She said...Why? He said..because it's so cold it keeps the bad people out!" Hahaha. I love that he had such love from where he came from. I loved seeing pictures of his home and music studio Paisley Park. And people said he was often seen riding his bike. Last week people saw him at Walgreens. He was just a down to earth type of person. An approachable person.  : )  This world today....is so less magical without Prince in it. I was happy to hear that there is a music vault with so many unreleased Prince songs in there. I do hope they release some. And I am happy we all are left with the songs he already released.  
Since his death so many new stories have come out. Just proving even how cooler, kinder and sweeter he was then... we originally thought! His manager here said how when rap first came out. He wondered if he should learn how to rap. And he told him, you really don't need to learn that. : ) He also said Prince had a basketball court inside Paisely Park and that Prince loved basketball and was actually an excellent player despite his height. He always made the baskets! How he would often have these impromptu concerts at his home. And his manager explained a bit more in detail about when Prince wrote slave on his face. And how he went to court. He said, what was so wrong was, you know all the songs in Purple Rain. Even though Prince wrote them. He didn't own them! He now owns them...or owned them. But that's what the fight was about. The record label did. So even if he wanted to play his own song which he wrote. He back then... had to pay the record label! Prince knew that was wrong. And so he went to court and got into this huge fight over it. And Prince was of course 100% right. He should be able to own the songs he wrote! The manager went further...he said...Beyonce...owns the right to her songs...owns her rights to her image thanks to Prince.  He added...Jay-Z owns his rights to his songs and his image...thanks to Prince. He added all the musicians who have creative control over their images and ownership of their songs owe it entirely to what Prince did. Hearing his manager say it that way...it sort of makes everyone take pause and think...OMG...he's exactly right! Wow...Prince was amazing.  

Listening to what his first wife had to say. Mayte Garcia.  He wrote "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" for her by the way.  I watched her on the TV show Hollywood Exes, I have mentioned that before on here. 

Prince and Mayte. What a hot looking couple!

Of course they talked about all his past lady loves. Like Carmen Electra (pictured) Kim Basinger,Susanna Hoffs (from the Bangles) Sherilyn Fenn (unbelievably gorgeous in her younger days btw, haven't seen her lately so am not sure what she looks like now) Sheena Easton, Sheila E. Apollonia Kotero, Vanity, Manuela Testolini. And there's loads more. He also wrote tons of songs you probably already know....how about.... Nothing Compares to You (Sinead O'Connor) He wrote Manic Monday (The Bangles) He cowrote Jungle Love (The Time) under the pseudonym Jamie Starr. He wrote I Feel for You (Chaka Khan) He also wrote The Glamorous Life (Sheila E.) He also wrote The Bird (The Time) and so many others. He was such a talented song writer.

Prince and Apollonia in Purple Rain.

His hairdresser spoke (pictured). She said, when I first met him, I didn't realize he was a vegan. She brought in some Wendy's. Maybe she wanted to share and bring some lunch to him. But apparently he politely told her..."I don't eat anything with eyes or that has parents." Hahaha, isn't that so funny how he worded that for her? : )   She also talked about them having a no jeans policy. She said, I was the hair dresser to Prince, so I understood, I should dress classy. Again...wow I never knew that before. 

This was LIVE, it was at the place in Minnesota where they played music at, in the movie Purple Rain. Cities all over the United States have been paying tributes to Prince. The loss of him was major! It crushed so many people. He was so well loved! So beloved. Please enjoy the pics, I have gathered below to share with you all, who might have missed these! Loving tributes for Prince. 
Denver, Colorado USA. Where I am from....they lit up their Union Station in purple to pay respects to Prince! Right on Denver!
I got these pics from CNN. I was so proud to see this picture in the Prince tribute pics. Delta flight from Los Angeles to Minneapolis Minnesota... huge respect for Prince and his hometown... this flight was on it's way to Minneapolis. They switched their usual blue lights to purple. Right on Delta!
The Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans! Gorgeous!

San Francisco's City Hall.

Los Angles City Hall in memory of Prince.

The Apollo Theater. 

The Lowry Avenue Bridge in actual Minnesota lit up for Prince. Again all of these pics except the Denver one came via CNN. Under the "world remembers Prince" So, I do not own these pics, I am only showing how deeply loved Prince was. Everyone is mourning the loss. 
Outside Paisley Park, Prince's compound. So many left flowers and messages. And look a rainbow appeared. Anyway, he has since been cremated. But, I will wait along with everyone for the autopsy results and drug testing they did after he died. Such a loss of such a great great man!