Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Summer Fun: Going to the movies to see Wonder Woman...

Tuesday, August 29th, all 4 of us went to the movies to go and watch Wonder Woman. It may have been out since July or so in the US. But it just was released for us in Japan, August 25th or so? So it's newly released for us here. We went and saw the one in English. How did we like the movie? We absolutely loved it. All 4 of us loved it!
Everyone got a soda and we shared a popcorn. And I also snuck in a snack for everyone. We went to the grocery store before the movies and I told everyone to pick out 1 snack/treat to take in the movies. : )

Did any of you reading, also wear Wonder Woman Underoos in the early 80's? I had 2 pair of Wonder Woman Underoos when I was a very little girl. And would pretend I was bouncing bullets off my golden wrist bands (my golden wrist cuffs I would make out of a thick strip of paper towel roll.) I was also Wonder Woman for Halloween one year. And my mom bought me a lot of the dress-up/play stuff for Wonder Woman too. So, I then had "real" gold cuffs, a golden lasso (that would force you to tell the truth) and the headband and stuff. LOL.  And I'd go around the house..."dundundundundun Wonder Woman...Wonder Woman!!!! All the World is waiting for you" I used to love that theme song to Wonder Woman! It only ran from 1975-1979 but they had that show on repeat all early 80's for us American girls and wow did we love that show growing up. Part of the theme song from the TV show. "All the World is waiting for you and the power you possess. In your satin tights. Fighting for your rights. And the old red, white and blue" You know they're talking about...the American flag. Such a lovely song for little American girls growing up. Especially since little American boys had a bazillion heroes to choose from. Like Spiderman. Batman. Superman. Captain America, etc etc. And us girls *finally* had someone who could be *our* hero. And wasn't Lynda Carter just so gorgeous and such a classy act. I also really love the new actress playing Wonder Woman too. She's gorgeous. And I was iffy about her when I first saw a glimpse of her in the movie Batman vs Superman. But after seeing this movie. I am 100% completely on board. I also loved that Lynda Carter showed up for the release of the new Wonder Woman movie. Some older/original actors can get jealous and throw shade at the new people remaking their roles. But Lynda Carter is *so* cool that she went and fully supported Gal Gadot. Which just made me respect Lynda Carter even more!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Branden’s 10th grade class trip to British Hills in Fukushima, Japan...

This summer Branden had his class trip to a place called British Hills. This trip was only for the "English Course kids" not for the regular course (general studies kids) 10th graders or even the genius/smart course kids either.The English course kids are kids who prefer take their curriculum in English at our high school. Meaning gym is in English and all other normal regular classes are also in English versus being in Japanese. There are other hafu. There are kids who attended international elementary schools and international JHS too or returnees (kids who came back to Japan after living in an English speaking country). But these 'English course" kids are in this course because they are serious about English. And it just so happens to be best suited for my kids, because while my kids are 100% bilingual, they both have *strong* preferences for English over speaking Japanese. They can of course speak Japanese duh... but prefer English. It's their comfort language. Next Summer the English course kids, will be going to spend a week in California. Doing a couple nights in a home stay experience. Doing half their trip in a hotel. Visiting their sister school in California and also going to Universal Studios. I have seen the pictures from last year. It looks amazing. This year however it was a 3 day/ 2 night trip to British Hills. This school really wants to create an environment where the kids are surrounded in a little English speaking cocoon. Which is why Bran's teachers are either westerners/American or Canadian primarily. Or Japanese teachers who speak in English. So yes...they headed off to a 3 day English cocoon in British Hills. Look how gorgeous the place is. 
Going over some rules. Again it's all 100% completely in English. British Hills was made aware that one of the kids coming was a native speaker. Because throughout his entire trip. The staff/teachers, people at the buffet etc etc would ask, which one of you is the one who was born in America or which one of you is the native speaker. And Branden would raise his hand. Poor Bran for being called out like that. @_@ I wish our school would have not said. But on a positive note. Perhaps the school asked. "Anyone a native?" So not sure how the staff was made aware. But seems the whole of British Hills knew...that one of them was a fluent native speaker of English. Poor Branden. He just wanted to quietly enjoy his trip. Hahaha. 

The eating area was *very* cool. Very Harry Potter!!! Branden ate 3 square meals here a day. He said it was very cool eating here. : ) He also said, he loved the food. It was western food. So he loved it. Not sure about some of his classmates though. Hahaha. 

The buffet is on the left. And like it says on the tables  "welcome group 4" and "welcome group 2" All signs in English. 
Fried chicken (yum) spicy fries (double yum) Branden said these spicy fries were delicious! They had fish (fried and baked) everything even mini pizzas. Western people. Hafu kids would love coming here and food will be no problem at all. You will enjoy the food. 
Inside one of the libraries.

This picture made me smile because in my house growing up. One of our bathrooms had an old style tub with claw feet. The other bathroom we had growing up... had a regular American modern shower and tub. But yep, it made me remember seeing this tub. : ) 

Living room. One girl in Branden's class, said that the couch was taller in height and the coffee table was so tall too. Branden said he just stood quiet, but told me later at home, our couch at home and coffee table at home is this tall too. I said, I know. And our kitchen table at home is tall/standard sized height too. It was eye opening for my son to hear what his classmates thought. Or things they thought were unusual. Because for my son they were normal and not unusual. So yes a little eye opening for Bran. : )

Beautiful staircase.

Beautiful stained glass window and chandelier.

One of their teachers talking about the intricate carvings and fine details.

So beautiful.

Branden is so lucky to be able to go and spend 3 days here. And be in such a fun environment. And be around other people from around the world. 

His class went for a night stroll. Keep in mind most of Branden's classmates come from the super crowded packed cities. From bustling cities with tons of people. Branden comes from rural Japan. A quiet town of under 5,000 people. So even though Branden loved going for this stroll and taking in...just how gorgeous British Hills was. The city kids were even more surprised because it was quiet. No huge bustling cities with city noise. 

So quiet. Sun is going to be setting soon. 

So gorgeous. What a beautiful place for a walk.

It was so hard to find pics that didn't contain a classmate of Branden's or Branden. I did black out the color of her skirt and blacked out her bow and pinked out her face. His classmates identity is kept safe, lol. Anyway, there were a few British women waiting the next day for the kids to learn how to bake some scones homemade from scratch. Yes they also asked. Which one of you is the the native speaker. Seriously, poor Branden. Branden again raised his hand. And one of the lady's said which one of your parents is the American one. He said, "my mom"...they asked "have you ever baked with her?" He said, "oh yes, many many times since I was in kindergarten. They said, "perfect, get over here!" Hahaha. And so Branden and 2 British women and his class all baked away. And they chatted the morning away. Cracking jokes. And talking a mile a minute. Branden said the ladies were absolutely lovely! And they liked him a lot. And they just got on so well. And talked each other ears off. Branden and the entire staff got along so well. By the end of the morning everyone knew it was Branden. And the whole mood was fun and light. Sincerely, thank you... kind ladies for being absolutely amazing with my son!!! As a fellow western woman living in Japan. I appreciate it *very* much. 
Each of the kids came back to their rooms with their own hot fresh baked scones that they made!!! 
Sleeping quarters for the kids. Each set of 2 girls shared a room. So 2 girls per room. However there are only 3 boys in the English speaking course. So they lumped the 3 boys together and pulled out a bed in the middle. Branden slept in the bed far right. J slept in the middle bed. And S slept in the bed nearest the window. 

Branden brought home 3 scones. 


More souvenirs. All in all Branden had a total blast. So many of Bran's former JHS/elementary school classmates mom's run into me at the one and only grocery store in town and will ask me in Japanese, "how's Branden-kun liking his school?" Honestly he freaking loves it! I mean he *loves* it *so* much. That I have to tone it down, as to... not sound like I am showing off. But I mean. He's so happy every single day, going to his high school. An English speaking high school, was the best possible choice we have ever made. If...if we are still in Japan when Noah is at the high school age...he will most certainly be attending this same high school. It's super expensive to attend this high school. But it's so worth it for Branden. I have heard from the grapevine of a few from our town JHS of a few kids who are very sad with their high school choice. Branden's bestie since yochien days... hates his high school choice for example. And for that, I'm so sorry. So yeah when people ask me about "how does Branden like his school? I want to start twirling like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music on the top of that mountain. Instead...I have to stop myself. Take it down a few notches. And say..."oh, umm, he likes it" And stop it right there. But between you and me. What a fun high school. They learn so much. Best high school ever. Anyway...Branden really enjoyed his time at British Hills. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Flower update...

So how's everyone been doing? If you're in Japan and have kids, I bet you are like me and enjoying the final week with the kids at home. I know, I sure am. If you're in the U.S. I am sure your kids have already returned to school a week or two ago. As for me and my family. We have 7 days exactly, until the boys start school. They don't start school until next Friday, September 1st. Why kids start school on a Friday, versus a Monday is beyond me. But that's the way it is here. : )

Here is a quick pic of my front yard. And all our gorgeous flowers. The grass is as green and vibrant in the front yard, as the backyard. And we have the 4 hanging baskets with flowers hanging on our front porch. And the beautiful bright red "Million Bell" are standing right out front too. As always, I always have seasonal wreaths from America, that hang on my front door. My front yard is very cheerful.: )

Anything new to add? I am going to be taking the boys to the movies soon. Before school starts.

Anything else to add? We bought a brand new washing machine a few days ago. This is rather huge news. Because I have been using my last one for 15 years. It's not broken. It's just getting super old. It has slowly begun breaking down. Nothing major. But things like a screw inside the washing machine actually unscrews itself in the rougher wash cycle. And it needs to be screwed back in about twice a week. Doable. But just slightly annoying. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Recent Costco cart pics...

Sometimes we go to Costco once a week and sometimes we go every other week. Most of the time though, we go every week.  We do go there pretty regularly. The day after we got back from America. We had to restock the house, because we made sure when we left the house to the U.S. There would be no perishables in the house. So it only makes sense, after we got back. We would have to fill the house back up with food. This pic is of the day after we got back. We went to Costco. Picked up a pack of 4 cheese pizzas for a quick lunch for the kids. A huge pack of flour tortillas. A rotisserie chicken for an easy supper that night. And a case of fresh mangoes. We hit Besia after Costco and then Japan Meat, which is a huge meat store with good quality and cheap prices. After we stocked up with plenty of fruits, veggies and meats and bread and stuff we went home. And a nice roasted chicken dinner was later that evening. Perfect for all our jet lag. A nice quick meal was very appreciated. The day after this, we had a BBQ at home. 
Another trip to Costco. They now have Kirkland brand makeup remover wipes. Granted I just bought a huge case of Neutrogena ones from Costco in Arvada, Colorado. However, sometimes things in Japan are a 1 time thing. And never to be seen again.  Plus,sometimes they "change" and alter the formula. these are the American version and were on sale. I figured, it would be a nice thing to get anyway. That way, if they do discontinue these here... or change the formula for Japan. I, at least have picked up 1 box of the original ones. 

About $9 for a case. Which is a pretty good deal. 
Cart pic from this day. A case of mugicha was under the top part of the cart. Ground beef for BBQ-ing some burgers out in the backyard and the other half of ground beef was for a fun taco night we had at home. A bunch of eggs. Some grated cheese. A big salad. Potatoes. Milk and those makeup remover wipes.  
These smell really nice. A nice light clean scent. I haven't used my Neutrogena ones yet. I am using a pack of these Kirkland ones first and then will try the Neutrogena ones next, they're all in sealed packs so I can flip flop between the 2 brands I have. And I really like these. 
And this final Costco cart pic was for some beach picnic items. Just some chips. Some fresh dinner rolls and a rotisserie chicken for some delicious rotisserie sandwiches to take to the beach the following day. Anyway...that's just some of the stuff we have picked up from Costco this month so far, I am going to Costco this week too. I'm thinking about picking up one of those huge tiramisu's. And a case of frozen waffles and a couple other things.

Anything else to add? Both Branden and Noah both go back to school September 1st. Branden finished all his high school summer homework, before we even left to Denver. Noah finished his main summer booklet they give out at our school in our town with Japanese and math before we left to Denver too. He has those daily "tweets" elementary school kids in Japan have to do daily. He does those everyday. He did his shuji already, as soon as we got back to Japan. Which is calligraphy. And he did his drawing/poster as soon as we got back to Japan too. Same for his science experiment. So both my kids are done homework-wise. Except for Noah's daily "tweets" that's... just say 1 or 2 sentences of what you did each day. For example. "Today I went to the beach" Done. Or. "Today I went to the movies" Super simple daily things, you must log everyday. I have been calling them tweets since Bran was in elementary school. I love that I call them that. And I have never heard *anyone* call them that, before me. Super cute way to call his daily update..."tweets" lol. So homework is done. Minus the daily tweets, but then...they have to be done on the daily anyway.

We've just been enjoying the rest of our summer break. Lots of family time. I made karaage last night, we had macaroni salad, a delicious garden/green salad. Rice. And we had mikan shave ice for dessert. Tonight's dinner will be ginger pork, salad, fresh corn on the cob and rice.

We've been watching good TV. The kids and I watched on American cable. Kingsman: The Secret Service. My kids love this movie and so do I. We watched Terminator 2, that was on cable the other night too. Branden and I also watched Superbad it was on later in the evening one night, Noah zonked out. Noboru was at work and it just started and we popped some popcorn and watched it. It's about high school boys. A coming of age film and super funny. We laughed *so* hard watching this. As for TV shows, 90 Day Fiance. Holy goodness. It ended for this season yesterday. Granted next week is the reunion special that I will be watching. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Summer Fun: Spending the day at the beach and also enjoying a nice packed picnic lunch...

August 9th, our family went to our closest beach to our house. Our closest beach is located in Ibaraki prefecture. 

We brought our UV beach/pool tent that we usually that we can sit under it... when we're not in the water. Which we spent 99% of our time in the water. : ) We brought the Costco bag which had cookies, chips, paper cups, napkins and a trash bag (spare grocery bag) and extra sunscreen.
2 bottles of pink lemonade, plenty of ice for our cups and rotisserie chicken sandwiches were in the cooler.

Our picnic lunch. We also had a big bag of Country Ma'am cookies too. : ) It's you know...swimming always makes people hungry. : )

Each of our boys got new floaties/ innertubes. Cool chocolate donut ones with sprinkles. These came from 

Quenching that thirst. 
There was a place to fill up their donuts for free with air. Noah just filled his up and Branden was about to go and fill his up too. Which he did. : )

Hey! I recognize those 2 choco donuts with sprinkles! Hi Branden, hi Noah!

Hello Noboru. And a smiling Noah. 

We spent the entire day there from 8:30am until 3:50pm-ish. While our area/part of Japan where we live... has been relatively cooler than normal, weather-wise most of the summer. On this day it was a super hot and scorching 36 degrees C. Which is 97 degrees F for us Americans.

I always want to make sure my kids have a very nice summer. Whether we just do a free activity like going to the beach. Or having a backyard BBQ. Or having a movie night at home or even going to the movies. I just want them to enjoy their summer. Because...they're my kids and I love them. : )

Summer is so awesome!

Ibaraki is way less populated than Chiba. Although we live on the edge of Chiba and in a very rural area. So when we go to the beach...there's people. But only "Ibaraki" amounts of people. Meaning just a few. 

For about 3 minutes Branden was a double donut. LOL. That's only because Noah was boogie boarding and asked B to hold his donut. : ) Bran ended up boogie boarding too and Noah had to be a double donut for a bit too. : )

An extremely happy Noah! Just enjoying a "chill" day at the beach! I love this picture so much!

After a few hours, the kids just went in the ocean without any donuts or anything. They just jumped around. Talked each others ears off. And enjoyed the rest of the day. 

That's Bran, just splashing around enjoying the rest of his day, with his family. Noboru and I enjoyed most of our time in the ocean splashing around and talking too. Watching the kids. And talking and splashing some more. An excellent way to spend the day, if you ask me. : ) 

We drove home. I jumped in the shower first. Only so that I could blow dry my hair. Everyone took turns showering after me. I didn't wear a stitch of makeup. But, I was clean and had freshly blow dried hair. We all put on some fresh clothes and went out for dinner at Saizeriya that night. We were all super hungry. After spending an entire day splashing around and swimming all day long. Saizeriya is a very affordable Italian food chain restaurant. I had a salad and rigatoni/stove pipe pasta. And a drink bar. The kids each picked 2 Italian dishes. They each picked meat sauce spaghetti, but I think Noah picked pizza and Branden picked a doria. Noboru picked a different type of pizza and a different type of pasta. We all had the drink bar. It was a fun day! And a nice way to end the day. I definitely didn't feel like cooking, so it was nice to take a break. We all went home and had some shave ice. And ended our night watching good TV.