Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Going to the movies! Taking the boys to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them...

Sunday, November 27th, I took the boys to the movies! We went to see, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! I had mentioned back when Noboru and I went to see Bridget Jones's Baby that I was planning to take Branden and Noah to see Fantastic Beasts as soon as it came out for us in Japan and on a day that we were available and Sunday was our first available day!  

We had a large caramel corn! And a drink each. And I snuck in a Snickers bar for each of the boys and a pack of chocolate covered raisins for myself. And we went and enjoyed the movie!

My thoughts on the movie? I really liked it! I felt it was pretty good. However would I buy it on DVD? No, I wouldn't. If I were on a flight to America and it were available, would I watch it again? Honestly no, I wouldn't. I think for me personally, it was more of an...I am really glad I got to see this. But, I would only watch it this once. Still, I know this movie is incredibly popular right now and I am very glad I took my boys to see this. I personally thought, Mrs. Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children was way better!

Next movie, I plan to take the boys to see, the new Star Wars movie of course and there's another movie too, that has caught my eye but I can't think of the name of it right now, gah figures...doesn't it? Hahaha. : ) Happy Tuesday everyone! : ) 

Monday, November 28, 2016

My Dad's visit to Japan last week...

Last Tuesday my dad arrived in Japan to be here in time for Thanksgiving and spend some time with us here at home. He brought a few things for us in his carry-on suitcase. 2 boxes of honey cornbread, omg! This is so delicious! I am so grateful for my dad bringing us this cornbread. 1 of these boxes we will use at Christmas for dinner. And the other we can enjoy during Christmas break! See the picture of the slice/pat of butter under the honey, on that box? Just butter that cornbread as soon as it comes out of the oven. Holy goodness, hot buttered cornbread is divine! He also brought 2 different types of extra thick, heavy duty tin foil. Japanese tin foil is so thin, granted I do not mind it one bit! But it was something my dad wanted to bring. : ) The marshmallows and 2 boxes of Rice krispies are for Rice Crispy treats. Smore's Pop Tarts both Branden and Noah love these! : ) You can see a pinch of the 2 turkey pans in the back of this pic. 

Fritos, Cheetos and Jalapeno Cheetos. : )

Magazines. My 2 favorite magazines too. People and In Touch. Reading material is just something I *always* appreciate so much. Magazines, you know just... tabloid gossip Hollywood stuff, I always enjoy reading the fluff...while picking up the kids at the plaza after school. 



Grandpa and Noah doing math homework together. The quality time spent together was just really nice. Branden and Noah love their grandpa *very* much. : ) 
My dad enjoying a hot bowl of ozoni at the town festival on Wednesday. Wednesday was a holiday for us in Japan. Labor Day or something like that for us in Japan. : ) 

Branden about to dig into his kinako mochi. He also had some fries. Noah had a chocolate banana and a few other things too. Noboru was eating and people watching. I was people watching too and talking with my dad and the rest of the family. The festival is always very nice. And it's pretty local. Just locals for the most part. Just a nice relaxing festival. : )
These are what my dad picked and took back with him. A train bowl and a little train dish and a picture of 2 owls on a cute plate. And I love that because they are handmade...they are unique and different. Even if the same kid drew the same picture, they still come out slightly different. I find that so cool. 

These are the 4 plates, small little side dish plates that I picked. They are each one of a kind. I picked a plate with owls and my plate is definitely slightly different than my dad's owl plate. The eyes are different on the owls. So again...we each got a total one of a kind plate. Even though the child drew the same picture, there are slightly differences. And we both really love that about the ones we picked. The Fall tree with different colored leaves and 2 jizo statue under the tree. The baby chick plate, I used at Thanksgiving and placed our green beans on there. : ) These plates are so innocent looking and I love these. : ) I can imagine placing karaage on here or some kobocha on here in Fall. These are very useful plates and very beautiful to me. : ) 

Smart, wise and a thinking owl. : ) And I like that this owl is not a lone owl...he has a friend. : ) 

I loved the branches and the leaves and the smiling faces on the jizo. 

I also picked a bowl. With 3 tulips. And a cloth magnet that now hangs on my fridge. And this tulip bowl....is what held my salad last night at dinner. : ) I love these works of art made my children! And I use them daily! And appreciate them! Like I said, they sell these here at this festival every year. And this year I was surprised that they also sold professional pottery, bowls, cups, plates etc too at a different table and different part/row/area of the festival of course... from an artist and expert with 30 years of experience under their belt. And while their stuff was indeed nice and perfect. I much prefer the children's dishes! : )

This is just so beautiful to me! I love how 1 of the chicks feet are made from thicker black lines while the other chicks foot is thinner lines. So one thick foot and one thinner foot. : ) That just makes me smile every time I see this plate! The fact they tried their very best. And...I love this chick! I think it came out so gorgeous! I would appreciate a plate like this! And I do...which is why I picked it. : ) And even proudly displayed on my Thanksgiving 2016 table! My only wish is...I wish the child who made this...knew how much I appreciated their lovely plate and artwork!: )

I love this plate too, because I like kokeshi dolls. And the happy faces and cute little hair-do on these dolls are just...the best! : )

Of course as you know we had a lovely low key, relaxed Thanksgiving here at home.

Friday morning, after the boys went to school, the 3 of us went to Starbucks in the small city nearest us, to just relax and spend an hour, to an hour and a half talking! And yet another variety of the Starbucks Christmas cups! We have had 3 so far! Different ones. I think there are quite a few different variety cups and I am always excited to see which cup I get. This cup in particular was gorgeous! : ) 

It is always so wonderful to be able to spend time with you dad! I treasure the time we get to spend together! I really *really* do! I love you dad! : )

CM was for me and that's because I had the caramel machiatto. And GB was my dad's because he picked the Gingerbread latte! Yumm! They're both excellent drinks. Noboru was there too and he had a hot American coffee and a donut that he felt was really delicious! It was wonderful that we could just talk and talk and talk. After that... we went to the small mall and went to Seria, which is a 100 yen store. That small mall also has a Daiso too, and both are great. But, I personally find the quality to be much higher at Seria. So, we shopped in there and looked around. And then we looked around the supermarket. And headed to lunch. 
I am my dad's only child. And Branden and Noah are his only grandchildren. So he always has Branden and Noah on his mind. Because well...he's a fantastic grandpa and thinks of them all the time. As we were leaving Starbucks. He said, I am going to buy Branden and Noah each a giant chocolate chip cookie, since they could not be with us today...since they had school. So...that's what he did. : ) 

After we finished looking around Seria. On our way out. My dad said, I know the boys are into those Cokes with bows. They had been making a few since he had arrived and they told grandpa all the hoopla about these special Coke bottles and how all their friends are making the bows on them. And so as we were leaving the mall, my dad quickly grabbed a cart and before I knew it he had thrown 2 Coke's (special Christmas Cokes) into his cart and he also said...look...pear Fanta, they should try this! When the boys came home from school later that afternoon, my dad had placed 1 Starbucks cookie and 1 Coke and 1 Fanta pear on each of their dinner place mats on the table. Grandpa nonchalantly just said...."Oh today I picked up a few things I hoped you like them" The kids were like..."thanks grandpa!" "Grandpa you're the best!"...Sometimes it's just the little things. Like a soda because he was thoughtful...knowing the kids like making the Christmas bows on the bottles. Or just thinking...they deserved a cookie that day. He said because it was Friday. : ) And even just doing some homework. Just the thoughtfulness that he always has and quality time that my dad spent with the boys and me too. Just a wonderful week...well technically 4 nights. An excellent time well spent. : )

Step 1,2 and 3. And see the bow? That's how it should look. : )
After leaving the mall. It was time for some lunch. At our favorite Indian restaurant. I had the kobocha (Japanese pumpkin) curry. 

Our meals also come with a drink. We spent the rest of our afternoon there, enjoying our lunch and conversation on Friday, November 25th.
We watched American Housewife on Friday night. Came on Thursday for those of you in the states. It was the Thanksgiving episode. It was excellent. American Housewife is one of my favorite shows! My dad and I were cracking up so hard over this show!

She says her mom, pictured here. Was a flight attendant back in the day when it was glamorous. And her mom always steals the spotlight from everyone else. And so she showed up in a neck thing and it wasn't even bolted in and yes it was for attention. This was such an excellent funny episode. It was wonderful for all of us to be able to spend a nice relaxing Friday evening with my dad. And Saturday morning he left bright and early to catch his flight. So anyway, that was my dad's trip in a nutshell. : ) 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Gobble Gobble Gobble, Thanksgiving 2016...

11.53kg was how big our turkey was this year. That's 25 pounds for us Americans. The turkey slowly defrosted in our fridge since Sunday. And he went into the oven Thursday morning. : )

Preparation is key. I write the menu down on paper every year (yes I'm old school: ) And what ingredient goes into each dish and just cross off each thing until I have everything at home. I also write down, turkey sandwich and every ingredient that goes into one. And write things like, bakery bread, lettuce, tomato, etc. So, I make sure I go and get the bakery bread and lettuce and tomato. That sort of thing the day of Thanksgiving, so the bread is freshly baked and whatnot. And fwiw, if I lived in the US, I'd just buy Wonder Bread or something because it's affordable and soft and delicious. But in Japan, cheap bread is as hard as styrofoam, or cardboard, so that's why I buy bakery bread because it's soft and like regular normal bread. It's not because I'm fancy shmancy because I'm not...it's just I need soft bread for a sandwich. : )

Lay's chips. There's 1 place near me that sells them and it's in the small city nearest my town. : ) So we made sure to get those a few days beforehand. And by the time the boys came home from school Thursday. Thanksgiving dinner was ready. Noboru always takes Thanksgiving off from work. And that's so nice. Thanksgiving is a holiday in our home. But it's not in Japan obviously... so it's a typical school day for the kids, so they do go to school on Thanksgiving day. Which is fine. : )

Everything hot and fresh. A huge delicious turkey. Our family always has zero problems eating the leftovers. : ) We had a Costco salad, which Noboru went and picked up Thanksgiving morning as well as the dinner rolls too, so they were made that morning, Noboru rocks, he always helps and that helped me because I was able to get the bird in the oven while he ran to Costco. Back to what's on the table...Olive Garden Italian salad dressing, croutons. Gravy, black olives, green beans, cranberries. Mashed potatoes and stuffing. It's very traditional and pretty simple. : ) And of course a turkey and pilgrim boy and girl in the background of this picture. : ) 

Hello mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberries.

Black olives, green beans and you can see our dinner rolls are slightly toasted & warm and most definitely buttered. I love hot butter yeasty dinner rolls. Yum! : )

Family Thanksgiving photo 2016! My dad just said grace. And we just went around the table and said what each of us is thankful for this year, which is an American tradition for us. And so this picture was when we were just about to dig in and enjoy! : ) 

2 homemade from scratch pumpkin pies with a butter crust. So good! : ) And whipped cream on top of our pie for dessert!
Turkey sandwich. Provolone cheese, crisp lettuce, sliced tomato a little salt and pepper on the turkey and a spoon of Italian dressing on top of the turkey for extra flavor. And omg, is this an amazingly good sandwich! The boys took turkey sandwiches to school Friday for their packed school lunch. With sides of mashed potatoes gravy and stuffing and black olives and green beans. : ) 

Oh heavens...are you a beautiful sandwich. : ) We will more than likely be eating turkey until Sunday night for sure. Monday we will be done and be eating something different. With Thanksgiving and Christmas only like 30 short days apart, that's usually why Americans eat something different on Christmas. Like a homemade lasagna or a classic spiral honey ham or something. I think 2 turkeys, only 30 days apart would kind of make us... turkey-ed out by the time we finished a Christmas turkey. Hahaha. : ) So our family never has turkey for Christmas, since we have it at Thanksgiving.  We will be having a honey baked spiral ham for Christmas. : )

Anyway all of you! I sure hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving wherever you may be. And if you're not American... that is totally okay, I hope you had a lovely Thursday. And I hope you have a lovely weekend with your family too, all of you. : )

My dad caught his flight back this morning. His plane took off at 10:30am in Japan. So he's still in the air as I write this. We had the best time with my dad. We had some really good quality family time. Which is why my blog went quiet for a few days. I'm sorry about that, you guys. : ) But, I knew you all knew I was enjoying my time with my dad and my family.

I will be posting about my dad's trip. Very soon. Not today, but hopefully tomorrow or Monday for sure. : ) My dad and Noah did some math homework together. My dad and the kids and Noboru and I went to a festival on Wednesday and we had a blast there! My dad and Noboru ate ozoni. Branden had some kinako mochi. My dad then had some karaage. Noboru also had some inari sushi and some takikomi gohan. Noah had some caramel popcorn and some fries. We also bought some handmade plates and bowls and stuff from the school. I really love to buy handmade pottery from kids. They sell kid made pottery here every single year and every single year my dad buys some and I get some too. They also had another stand that sold professional pottery. And the prices were the same almost as the kids stuff. Like a professionally made bowl was for 500 yen. The kids one was 300 or 200 yen. So not too different in price. However, I don't need a perfect 100% perfection bowl. By a professional craftsman. My personality is so...in that I prefer the pottery made by kids. I prefer a picture on a plate by an innocent child who may have drawn both eyes, 1 bigger than the other, or given a person 5 fingers on one hand and 4 fingers on the other hand, by mistake and that I find...fantastic, I love art by kids. I like the innocence in the kids creations best! Those are my favorite. So, I did walk right by the professional pottery stand. I did glance at it and it is beautiful. And believe me...they had more customers than the kids stand. : ) But...I prefer the innocent/child like creations the kids come up with. And so, we get our stuff there. My dad also loves the stuff the kids draw and turn into pottery too. : ) So we're fans of the school who sells the kids artwork. It's very cool. And the money goes straight back to the school. Which is nice. I hope they get a pizza party out of it or something! : ) What else did we do, while my dad was here? We went to Starbucks. And my dad enjoyed a Gingerbread latte and I had a caramel machiatto and Noboru came to hang and discuss politics and chit chat about all sorts of stuff that morning. Noboru had an American coffee. And we all had something to eat. Noboru, had a donut. My dad has a raspberry chocolate slice of pie and I had a slice of NY cheesecake. We talked for a solid hour and could be more. We then left to browse Seria  (100 yen store, my dad loves this shop, I do too) and he shopped the regular mall too. The 3 of us had an awesome Friday. And we went out to lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant afterwards and sat there for again...a solid hour could be longer. : ) He talked to the kids a whole bunch during his visit/stay. My dad and I watched good TV shows together too. Little Women Dallas. American Housewife (we were cracking up over this show!) and we also watched a lot of murder mystery shows. Like the Forensic Files and Detective Kenda. And Grave Secrets (we both love murder mystery shows). Dad and I also went on a 2.4 mile walk. It was just an amazing time that my dad was here. : ) I took plenty of pics. And will make a post about his stay soon. Anyway...today is Saturday. Dinner will be leftovers, hahaha. : )  And that's about it.

Oh about the snow, did it snow? It snowed in Tokyo and Chiba New Town/Inzai Thursday as expected... but it did not snow in our town that day at all. However Thursday was freezing cold that day. However we were toasty warm in our house. Every time my dad went outside and then went inside the house. He kept saying...you're house must be superly insulated. Because it's so warm in here! Hahaha. : ) I said...yep, double the insulation. They packed our insulation in like crazy! Plus, central heating and the floor heating...means we melt in our house every winter (which we're lucky we're so toasty warm actually). And with solar panels, we have no bill. We're self sufficient. So that's the good part. : ) Anyway, please have an excellent Saturday. We're just going to be here at home today, we're not going anywhere. Just staying indoors. And staying warm.

PS...did any of you get any Black Friday deals? I did. I placed an order on Amazon.com (US site) that day! And I also placed an order on Amazon.com a week earlier too.

PPS, Have any of you in Japan tried those 500ml Coke bottles that the labels turn into bows? The kids have tried 2 each so far! Hahaha. : ) And what else. We have also tried the new Fanta pear flavor (La France)  Anyway, that's enough for now. Just wanted to get the Thanksgiving post up.  And touch bases with you all real quick. : )

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Getting ready for Thanksgiving...

Friday, November 11th, Noboru and I had planned to go to our nearest Costco in Chiba New Town and pick up our turkey for Thanksgiving. So that's what we did. So this is the November 11th cart pic. What else is in there. 2 packs of chicken breast to throw in our freezer. We buy our pork and beef and shrimp at Japan Meat at Joyful Honda also in Inzai/Chiba New Town. A case of waffles we tossed in our freezer, also tossed the 22-23 pound turkey in the freezer too. Umm, what else. That fresh pasta on top of the waffles. A case of eggs. Pasta sauce, we were having baked chicken parmesan. The sliced provolone is for the many turkey sandwiches we will be eating after Thanksgiving. I like provolone on my turkey sandwiches, so does BrannyMcB. a case of Swiss Miss hot cocoa for the kids for Fall and Winter time. I grew up with Swiss Miss too. And my kids are growing up with it too. And if you see that 2 pack of whipped cream in front of the case of waffles. 1 whipped cream is for the kids hot cocoa, but the other can of whipped cream belongs to our 2 pumpkin pies that I will be baking from scratch for Thanksgiving. A 3kg box of potatoes from Hokkaido, they're so cheap at Costco. And a rotisserie for that night. For a quick supper. : ) 

Hello you...Butterball! : ) Hahaha. He is currently like I said defrosting in my fridge now. But when I get ready for Thanksgiving...I get ready! : ) 

Land O Lakes Whipped cream. How many of us Americans in Japan grew up with Land O Lakes, in the states growing up? I know, I did. We used their butter too, when I was growing up! Hahaha. : ) But seriously...if you live in Japan and you're American and you haven't been to Costco here yet. Seriously you might want to go. It's so worth it to go. There is so much from back "home" there. I love it there! And I'm really happy I have one, not too far away. It just makes living here...in a foreign country... so super comfortable. I really like living in Japan. There are so many wonderful things about it. And with Costco around...I don't feel like...I'm missing out on anything from back "home" either! : )  

Another cart pic. This one was from last week. Let me go check the date stamp. November 18th. And yes we went through an entire box of potatoes from the week before. : ) Plus this box of potatoes is for Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. 2 packs of chicken and you don't even want to know how much chicken is in my freezer. Good thing I have a large freezer. Noah likes Colby Jack sliced cheese for his turkey sammy. : ) And so I make sure to buy it for him before Thanksgiving. So, Noah has the orange side of the Tillamook cheese slices and Noboru likes the Monterrey Jack on his sandwich so it works. And Bran loves provolone for his turkey sandwiches and so do I. So...I think turkey sandwich wise...I have everyone covered! Regarding the cheese. LOL. : ) And yes that is 4 packs of bacon you see. You see...the day we went to buy our turkey, I wanted 1 pack of bacon for Noboru and the kids, I like to make them a very big breakfast on the weekends. Costco the week before was out completely. So as we were rolling the cart out of Costco. Noboru went to Customer service and asked them. Where is the bacon that was here 2 weeks ago. And they told us. They sold out of it COMPLETELY! And had ordered only 36 packs and it would take a week to get here. So we went home and were like...for the whole areas surrounding Inzai...in that part of Chiba there is only 36 packs of bacon? Like truly? Only 36? The city of Inzai is huge! Surely they will sell out of those 36 packs immediately. No wonder they sold out before! So we went back to Costco the next week and there were the 3 small boxes of bacon with them inside. Noboru told me...buy 4 packs! I was like what? @_@ He's like...seriously. If they run out...at least you'll have 4 packs to tide us all over with until they get some more. I have all 4 packs in my freezer. I'm squirreling it away until I get a decent little amount in the freezer. : ) It's this Jones brand of bacon pictured here. They also sell sausage patties for us in Japan too at Costco. And like Canadian Bacon slices in bulk...the kind you could make a homemade egg muffin sandwich at home.All these Jones bacon, sausage patties and the Canadian bacon we get at Costco is from America. It is an American company from Wisconsin. : ) I'm so glad they're selling these products in Costco for us in Japan. : ) Oh and another case of eggs. We go through a lot of eggs in Fall and Winter. 

With a trunk filled with some bacon and misc other things. We stopped at Starbucks. A Starbucks with drive thru is right next to Costco in Inzai. We each got a hot drink for the drive back to our tiny town. I picked up yet another gingerbread latte. And Noboru picked up another hot caramel machiatto. There's like what...5 or 6 different designs of the Starbucks Christmas cups. We got a different style this day from the night we in Narita City. It's fun to see which cup we'll get each time. : ) 

Anyway, guess who is here? Yep, my dad is here! : ) He arrived at 9am-ish this morning. The boys will be very excited to see him as soon as they get out of school.

Earthquake this morning. Japan had another big earthquake this morning. Complete with Tsunami warning. It was in Fukushima. So quite far away from where we live. However we still felt it at 6am this morning, even in my tiny country town. It was super mild here... since my town/area is not near anywhere near that prefecture or city of where it hit. I do hope, everyone in Fukushima is safe. There are so many good people in Fukushima and I always worry. So, I hope you all, are okay over there.: )  

This Wednesday is a holiday for us in Japan. So, the kids do not have school tomorrow! They get a day off school. We're all feeling pretty happy about that. 

Didn't the East Coast in the US get hit with a bunch of snow? Please stay safe and stay warm over there! The weather forecast said our area of Japan might or could possibly get some snow on Thursday/Thanksgiving. @_@ But that was a few days ago, Noboru mentioned that. And we all know how weather changes daily. So...will it snow here this Thursday or not? I honestly...don't know. I sort of doubt it. I always doubt it, don't I? Hahaha. : ) But we'll see. Has sure been dropping quite low though...temperature wise at night. So, we will see. The day time is still sunny, cold but sunny. Like a crisp chilly Fall day. Anyway, I'd like to spend the afternoon with my dad and talk and chat and gab for a while! : ) Have an awesome Tuesday everyone. : )

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! : )