Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Weekend family fun! Going to the movies to see Zootopia at Ikspiari! Kua'Aina for dinner and bringing home a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts...

Saturday, May 21st, the fam-bam and I went to Ikspiari to go and see Zootopia (in English) and to go out to dinner at Kua'Aina after the movies. We bought 4 sodas (1 for each of us, pictured) and 2 large popcorn's (1 for the kids and 1 for us to share) I also brought 3 Snickers bars (1 for each of the boys and 1 for Noboru), 1 chocolate covered raisins (for me) and 2 Dars chocolate mint boxes/packs (1 for the kids to share and 1 for Noboru and I too.) We still had chocolate unopened in my bag after the movie, we didn't need that much. Plus considering we had dinner afterwards and the popcorn's...but yeah glad to have brought more... than what was needed than to.... not to have brought enough. : ) Phew. : ) 

Zootopia. In 2D, we don't mind if it's in 2D or 3D just... as long as it's in English. : ) 

Waiting for the movie to start. This movie theater was pretty packed with folks wanting to see it in English versus the Japanese dub. We were early, but yep the movie theater was packed after about 5 minutes after I snapped this picture.

We went to Kua'Aina after the movie. The movie was *so* good by the way. Everyone picked a cheeseburger combo with fries and sodas. And I picked my favorite teriyaki chicken sandwich with onion rings and a guava juice. What an awesome delicious dinner! 

Apparently Krispy Kreme is celebrating their 10 year Japaniversary! Yep 10 years since they've been in Japan! 

We brought home a dozen donuts. We each picked 3 each. I picked 2 glazed and 1 with chocolate and rainbow sprinkles. I always think the new flavors look delicious, but nothing to me...ever beats the original regular ones. So 2 glaze for me and 1 chocolate with sprinkles. We each had 1 donut that night for dessert and we each enjoyed our others the next day! Yum! All in all, what a fabulous weekend that was. Going to the movies to see Zootopia, Kua'Aina afterwards and to come home with a box of donuts to boot! Couldn't ask for a better weekend than that! : ) 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Branden's 9th grade class trip to Kyoto...

Branden on his way to Kyoto! It was his 3 day trip. In Japan 9th graders take a 3 day trip. Most every junior high school in Chiba prefecture sends their 9th graders to Kyoto and Nara. Nara is just a day trip but they sleep in Kyoto for the 2 nights. Noboru meanwhile grew up in the big bustling city of Osaka, so his city school took their 9th graders to Nagano (countryside, very gorgeous rural parts of Japan with beautiful mountains) and they loved their trip because they were seeing something different than what they were used to seeing coming from the city of Osaka. And vice versa. Branden's class is from rural Japan, so they enjoyed spending their 3 day trip in the big city of Kyoto. And plus there is so much to see there. Many touristy areas. So in a nutshell, either country mouse goes and plays city mouse for 3 days or city mouse goes and plays country mouse for 3 days. Just depends which part of Japan you live. : ) 

Visiting the deer in Nara!

Branden said he and his classmates said this reminded them of the movie Spirited Away. 
This is a funny story! A month ago, there was a note saying how the school would be sending all the kids suitcases to Kyoto by Kuroneko...for those of you outside of Japan a better explanation would be... think along the lines of UPS or FedEx. That way the kids could be more hands-free and be able to sight-see without having to lug their suitcases all the way to Kyoto and back. Noboru jokingly said..."the kids today are so pampered, in my day we lugged all our suitcases to and from Nagano by ourselves... it would be unheard of in those days to ask anyone to ship/mail them!" Hahaha. That cracked me up! : ) And look at this pic, how Kuroneko delivered it back to us. All nicely wrapped by Kuroneko in plastic...so Branden's suitcase would not get dirty or get any rain drops on it. Hahaha. : ) Kids from today ne~ It's a different generation now days from Noboru's days.  
Some of the souvenirs Branden brought back! : ) 

Branden bought me this cosmetics bag. He brought back everyone in our family a gift. One for Noboru and also one for Noah too. : ) 

As a 9th grader, final year in middle school/ JHS.  All the kids bought these. You can read what it's for on the paper in English. One says for "passing examination" and the other says for "successful study" Awww. : ) Branden being in his final year at JHS has been studying tons and he had a big exam the other day and he told me that he kept these in his pocket during his exam for luck! : ) 

He bought this for Noah. He told Noah, "you're too young and don't need to pass any entrance exams, so I didn't buy you the charms I bought for myself. But I didn't want to leave you out either so I bought you this one, it says "victory"." I imagine this is what most tourists....foreigners purchase. Because it's a safe charm to buy (not many American tourists would need a "hope to get into high school charm" since we don't have that system") I thought it was very thoughtful..and it was cute he bought this for Noah. Because as he said....Noah being a 5th grader doesn't have a huge exam to take. So this was the "safest" charm to buy for Noah. Noah was so happy to just receive anything. And he did love the colors of it...a beautiful purple and green on this victory charm. And it's now hanging on Noah's randoseru (elementary school backpack) They are both good brothers to one another. : )

Cheesecake for us all to share. The senbei (rice crackers) up above were so hot. Hotter than jalapenos even! The hottest curry senbei we have ever eaten hands down. We ate them and they were so super tasty... but geeze louise were they hot! : )  So good... but beware... super hot. : ) 

Noboru's gift. Bran bought him green tea cookies. Noboru likes green tea. 

Various other things, inside the tiny brown paper bag is a necklace he had engraved with something written on it. All of his classmates had bought engraved necklaces this trip.

Noboru enjoyed these green tea cookies so much. All in all... Branden had a fantastic time. He said the kids all barely slept. They just talked and talked and had such fun. He took so many pictures. He took so many videos. He had just the best *best* time. : ) 
Noah and I picked up Branden the day he arrived. He arrived around 4:45pm that Tuesday. He was happy...happy he went... but also happy to be home too... he told us all his stories. And I also knew he would be missing "mom's home cooking!" So I made sure to make one of his favorite meals Tuesday. I made a huge pot roast and it was fall apart tender and so juicy and flavorful. I made a bunch of mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans. The 4 of us ate supper. Branden had 2nds! He was definitely hungry. : ) Which made me happy.

He ate right away and then took a very long hot shower. Though they did shower obviously during their trip nightly at their hotel. But after his shower... he put on his pajamas and he went to sleep. He crashed right away... he was so exhausted. The kid... went to sleep by 6:50pm. And he didn't have school the next day. The 9th graders had the next day off. And he slept until 9:30am! Noah meanwhile had school. But Bran woke up, he came down. he ate breakfast. He brushed his teeth. I offered him McD's or a pot roast sandwich for lunch, we didn't eat it at that time we just barely finished breakfast... but I wanted to plan....if we were gonna stay home or if I should get ready to go out. He picked a pot roast sandwich. I picked that too. 

I packed Noah to school that day with a delicious tender pot roast sandwich on bakery bread, lettuce, tomato and provolone cheese too and some fresh fruit. So while Noah had a pot roast sandwich at school. With some delicious fresh fruit for lunch. Branden and I did have lunch around noon. And we had pot roast sandwiches and some chips. After lunch his friends Line messaged him and Bran went over to Genki's house. Where he and 2 other friends just hung out (4 in total). He came back home around 3pm and he and I went and picked up Noah from school. : )  Anyway that is Branden's 9th grade trip in a nutshell. : ) 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Mother's Day...

If you are a mom, mommy or mama, I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day! If you are not, hope you either got to spend it with your mom or at least enjoyed the day anyway! : )  How was my Mother's Day 2016?  As always it was low key (story of my life, haha) Restful, relaxful. Quiet and nice. Branden as you know had left that morning on his final 9th grade school/class trip on his 3 day trip to Kyoto. Noboru left home after breakfast to head to work. And it would just be Noah and I. We watched excellent TV. We lazed around on the couch and relaxed. Knowing how busy I am during the weekday and Noah too. It was good for us to just get 1 day to rest and relax. Did I get anything for Mother's Day? Yes, but honestly I don't really "need" anything. But Noboru did give the boys 2500 yen to buy me something. While we were at Sanki and I was looking for a towel for Branden for his school trip. This towel did catch my eye. It's brown and pink. It's so thick and big and fluffy and wonderful. Granted I wasn't looking for anything for myself at all. But this was just there. It was gorgeous. And... given the fact that I have been using my same blue and white striped towel for 12 years. @_@ Should I be admitting that? Hahaha. Holy goodness you guys! And yes, I bought that too at Sanki. @_@ Anyways...I think I definitely got my money's worth regarding my well loved well used... blue and white stripe towel. So it was definitely time? Hahaha. I'd say yes. This new brown and pink one was 1,790 yen. I don't think I have ever had a towel that pricey before? Yep...I told you I'm not fancy schmancy! See? Hahaha. The kids saw I liked it. And I was like no....it's 1790 yen. US$16.50. Granted I won't hesitate to buy my kids something 1790yen but for myself. Ehhhh, I hesitate. Anyways...the kids were like. "We have this Mother's Day money" Let us buy this towel for you. And so I was like...ehhh okay. : ) And so they went and paid and were all super happy! And they handed me the Sanki bag and were like...should we wrap it for you? And I was like...no that's quite alright. The towel as is...is plenty fine for me. : ) And no...I have not thrown out my blue and white stripey towel. I am still keeping it. Why? I don't know! LOL! 
Definitely the thickest softest towel I have ever used. My last towel was so nice and a little scratchy and I was just used to it. With this one...I'm thinking...wow this is so nice... too nice? Too thick? Too fluffy? I'm trying to get adjusted to the new towel. It may take me some time. But I do love it. : ) However...I'm still not ready to throw out my stripe towel...because what if...for some odd reason I should need a 2nd towel? You never know...right? So, I think I better keep it for safe keeping. But I am loving my new bath towel. : ) 

This order from Koreadepart was only like US$20, it's just all I needed. Noboru gifted these to me for Mother's Day. I usually pick gifts...that are basic. Like gifts I'll actually use. Take this 450 yen face wash on the left for example. It smells good,  and ya'll know how weird and picky I am with scents. Also it doesn't dry out my face or make it oily. It's just a basic face cleanser and I finally have 1 that I really like, and the price is fair/cheap at 450 yen a tube. And it's practical and I picked 2 of those. Plus 1 jar of makeup remover. This takes off all my makeup. And that is a good thing. I wear makeup 3 days a week if I'm going out...but I can't stand wearing makeup. @_@ I hate the feel of it on my face. I mean...I am a girl so I do have to wear it. But...as soon as I come home...first thing I do is grab a steaming hot wash cloth and take my makeup off and then I was my face with a tube cleanser afterwards. And also in this box is... I picked up a foot peeling mask thing. You soak your feet for like an hour,,,and 5 days later your feet peel and shed like crazy and then they are baby soft. They all work the same and I don't care which brand and this one was like 300 yen for this one. So that's it. 2 tubes of face wash, 1 mini pot of makeup remover and 1 foot peeling mask. Super duper practical. Again not fancy. But just very practical things. And for them all, they totaled to about $20.  

Manufactured 4/13 2015, expires 9, 2017. This is the coconut makeup remover. 

Face washes (2), expire 12 (December), 21 2017. A good long while on those 2 tubes of wash face. That I am sure... will be long gone by that expiration date. : ) 

Some might say...that's pretty boring stuff. I say, I don't care. I love a practical gifts that I will totally use. : ) 

In that little circle dot it says firming. It has fermented products in it. Just like the SK-2 has fermented products inside, this is just tons cheaper... but still so good. 

This smells so good. Not like fake coconuts like suntan lotion type scent... this smells more like coconut cream pie. Or coconut pudding. I love this one. I prefer this way more than my Clean It Zero by Banila Co. The Clean It Zero regular one smells like...Kool-Aid powder exactly. That's what it smells like to me,,,cherry Kool-Aid to be exact. And that isn't my most fave scent to rub on my face. Granted the Clean it Zero scent doesn't suck but...I won't repurchase the Clean it Zero because of that scent. This one smells so good. I love the way this Coconut makeup remover smells like. So, I was happy to get the coconut one again.

I do enjoy the free samples. 

And the kids bought me a value size bag of the Mint Choco Kit Kats the day before Mother's Day. These are so good! Anyway those were my Mother's Day gifts this year 2016. Very nice useful things. A nice plush bath towel, some essential toiletries like face wash that I'll actually be using and some choco mint Kit Kats. I'm a lucky mom. : )

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Throwback Thursday...

A visit from grandma Mitsuko for this weeks TBT! She went to watch the kids at swimming school. She is a very proud grandma! : )  
Having her special time with Branden and Noah in our backyard. We don't get to see her very often but that's just because she lives far away in Osaka city. We live on the opposite end of mainland Japan. We did see her this New Year's though. However she has her chain of restaurants to look after. Plus, lots and I do mean lots of real estate-y things too, like collecting rent etc (she's very good at real life Monopoly, let's put it that way hahaha). She's quite the busy grandma, so we totally understand. But we're very proud of her and understand how busy she is. She's very genki though. Very healthy and full of energy.  

Grandma chasing after the boys. Run boys! Run! : ) 

Grandma was so fast...that Bran thoughtfully picked up his brother so she wouldn't "catch" him. Hahaha. : ) It was all in fun. My MIL (mother in law) really enjoys getting the chance to come to our rural countryside and relax and spend time with the boys.

You can see our fence and yep that sure is rice fields as far as the eye can see to the right...right behind our house. We live in a VERY rural area. And we love it. It's so quiet and peaceful here. 

Grandma M squatting down to be at Noah's height and they played so many games and talked so much that day. I am so glad when she comes to visit. 

We had a BBQ the night she was with us. Yakiniku. 

It was such a nice dinner that night. Much too short of a visit. 

The next morning, her flight back to Osaka was at 9am. I woke up first right away, washed my face. Put a little makeup on and got dressed. And came downstairs to make my MIL some breakfast because I want to show her....my appreciation for her coming. And the least thing I can do is send her off... with a full tummy. : )  I made her 2 slices of crispy bacon and some eggs and some toast. I had her coffee waiting for her... when she came down the stairs. Everyone else got yogurts and juice and I did make everyone breakfast...bacon and eggs... after we dropped off my MIL at the airport. But...I just wanted to send her off...on the right foot. : ) 

Have a safe trip, I gave her a tight hug and kiss on the cheek. I had the kids jump out of the car and hug grandma at the drop off area at the airport.... And I even asked Noboru to walk his mother inside and make sure she got checked in and stuff. : ) I just worry! Good bye! Thanks for visiting us. I know how busy you are, but sincerely thank you for coming! Anyway...that was this weeks throwback. A visit from grandma M. : )