September 30, 2007


Yesterday we went to a Matsuri (festival) in Ogikubo. Outside of the shrine , vendors were selling festival food and fun toys. Our kids were pretty bummed since we didn't get them anything.Dipped chocolate bananas with sprinkles
Some sort of game where you scoop out bouncy balls from a trough filled with water.
Ginger and little eggs.
fish on a stick anyone? In the middle is a bed of coals that slowly cooks the fish. Yum. (really, it's quite good)


We went for a walk the other day and found a used/recycled kimono shop close to our house. This is what we got for M. When little girls are 3 and 7, parents take them to a shrine to be blessed. They get dressed in a fancy kimono and get all sorts of treats. I'm not sure if we'll take M, but she has the kimono now. She still needs shoes, socks, and a tie. I don't know if we're up for that part.

Here's a closeup of the fabric. It's not silk, just a synthetic blend, but it's still so much fun. The colors are green, red, pink, silver, black, and white. I love that it's a bit funky, a bit retro, and super fun. I also love chrysanthemums and zinnias.

September 27, 2007

Come by at 1 if you've missed these guys

The A-Team

About 1 o'clock, when my energy level is at rock bottom, the kids are whiny and already asking for a snack. That's when I turn on the tv (yeah, we have one, and our kids are so deprived they eagerly watch it). And this is what's on, dubbed into Japanese, of course. So if you have missed B. A. Baracus, come on by and you can watch while I take a nap.

September 26, 2007


Here's all the Tano cousins together. They are a very sweet bunch.

The whole family, minus Jesse

We went to Stewart Park with Ben and K and played on the train. Grandpa Hardy would have been pleased.

These last two are at Wildlife Safari. Mom got the year pass, so anyone visiting the burg should get her to take you. It's a lot of fun.

First Day

We tried to get Miriam all set up for school last night. Here's everything that she needed (minus the room shoes which I can't find and her winter hat which hasn't been given out yet. Oh right, and we mustn't forget her emergency hood that's stored at the school.)

It was a major pain in the neck to find everything, though we did end up finding almost all of it at the dollar store. Everything, and I mean everything, had to have her name on it. Including the individual cray-pas.
And here is her first bento. Man is it ugly, but I did my best. J used the last of the eggs for breakfast, which kind of messed up the look I was going for. And, the raisins got in the rice which grossed her out, but we thought it tasted pretty good. I have furikake to put in the onigiri, but she doesn't like it. Oh well. We ended up leaving before lunch, but this is good practice for next week when she starts full time

September 25, 2007

My first Engrish

J thought it's never to early to get my first Engrish shirt. Just so you know, we're on the lookout for Christmas presents for everyone.

The front.

The Back.

September 22, 2007

If I'd only packed the cord...

I could show you all the pictures I've taken since summer began. And especially, I'd like to share my bathroom with you. It's so gross we brush our teeth at the kitchen sink. I use the mirror in my room to put my contacts in and brush my hair. I don't even get dressed in there. Our bathroom is only fit for toilet use and showering. Nothing else.

At first glance, it looks decent enough, but if perchance you sit in the tub (like I did the first day we got here) you'd see black slime covering the underside of the sink, the bottom of the toilet. First you wonder "it must be hardened nasties that would never come off." No, no. It's mold.

I spent an hour cleaning the nether regions of my bathroom. The design (or lack there of) creates all sorts of nooks and crannies and terrible circulation so that mold thrives. It's impossible to eliminate since the tub is not flush with the floor or the wall but creates a space where only small animals and molds can reach.

So far my remedies include scouring powder, keeping the door open at almost all times, and praying we don't get any airborne diseases caused by molds. My future plans include spraying down the whole bathroom with a bleach solution kind of like the way some people use shower cleaning spray.

I know this is not something most people obsess about, but since my mission, I've been a bit of a bathroom freak. I really don't care how messy the sink is, as long as there's no mold in the shower. This may be what breaks me here in Japan.

ps, for those familiar with Japan, we have a western style bathroom with toilet, sink, and tub all in one room (yuck!)

September 21, 2007

I Heart Sumo

We took the long way to the sumo arena, but we finally got there. I absolutely heart sumo. Especially when these huge diaper clad men go flying onto the first couple rows of spectators.

I love the show the higher ranked wrestlers make. They have personal cushions to sit on while they wait their turn. They climb into the ring, slap their chests, legs, and faces, then throw salt around to purify the ring. The wrestlers get into place, give each other the "you're going down" look, then get up again and throw some more salt, slap their chests, and basically go through the whole show again. This happens at least one more time before the match actually starts. They usually last about 20 seconds with a spectacular match going barely over a minute.

We went early and watched some of the amateur matches. They didn't get the three minutes of show, but got into the ring, did the leg lift/thigh slap thing and went to it. Since we were so early, we sat just 20 feet away.

Tokyo will host tournaments again in January and May. Guess who's going for her birthday.

September 17, 2007


We made it! We've been at the ka-na-ru's (cannell's) house for the last week. The boys are so big! The girls are having so much fun playing with them. We caught them on a three day weekend, so we've been pretty lucky. Hachioji is on the very edge of Tokyo, right next to the mountains. It's beautiful here.

We were able to go to our new apartment and check things out there. It's pretty small (no surprise there). Our neighborhood is one of the poshest ones in town, but our apartment is the ugly duckling of the neighborhood. It feels good to stick close to our roots that way.

We went to the kindergarten Miriam will attend. She spent the whole time glued to my leg with her face in my shirt. When we left, she said "that's the school I'm going to, right! I want to go to that school. I really like it! That's my school!!!" I'm guessing she was just overwhelmed by the 50 4, 5, and 6 year olds yelling "KONNICHIWA!"

The kids were so friendly, especially the girls. They were so excited to have a new gaijing (foreigner) coming to their school. It's a public school, so all the kids that go there live in our neighborhood. The school also allows the parents to bring younger siblings for 2 hours twice a week for a playgroup, so I'm sure Gwyn and I will be making an appearance shortly.

Our neighborhood is very centrally located. There is no way we could have afforded to live here if it weren't super subsidized. We are a 7 minute walk from one subway line line and 15 minutes from another. I've decided to truly enjoy living in the city for this year. We are about 20 minutes away from various museums, zoos, and other attractions.

We're going to go watch sumo on Friday. I'm super excited.

September 16, 2007


At the playground with Mina and Shaw. This is pretty classic footage of the kids. An oldie but goodie.

Backyard Baseball

What's better than a potluck and baseball on a Sunday afternoon. Finally, we're posting the video. It's pretty long, but so fun to see you all again.

September 8, 2007

Palmer Blog

Have you seen the Palmer family blog? The extended family is doing its best to stay connected. Tons of cute pictures. Awesome updates. Now if only the Springs would publish! eg how's the addition coming along? Pictures please!

Big Backyard

The Backyardigans

I love these guys. Thanks to Amy for introducing me to my new favorite singing sensation. I love the songs, love the lyrics, love that kids are singing all styles of music. Hearing Miriam sing these songs makes my heart happy.

I also love that everything happens in the backyard. Do you remember your backyard when you were growing up? I remember the one in Arlington being forever huge. And even the backyard in Provo had areas that we didn't go because it was just too far away! Whenever I ran away, it would be to the side yard, under the lilac bush. What are your memories of your backyard?


Plumerias by Adam make me miss Hawaii. I'm a little sad since it will be quite some time until we come back.

On other notes, the girls are excited to see Daddy. They're especially excited to get their new toys, games, and coloring books. Miriam counts down the days until we go on the airplane. Did I mention that Miriam cut her bangs off? Yep, right before we go to the most image conscious city in the world.

Speaking of which. Is there any way to trick our neighbors into believing we're not trailer trash?
I could:
a) only wear tye dyes in the house,
b)brush (maybe even style?) the girls' hair before they leave the house (note: buy headbands to cover M's non-existent bangs for next 3 months),
c) make sure said children's shoes, socks, pants/skirt, and shirt all match,
d) wear nylons (note to self. purchase nylons.)
e) lose about 35 pounds
f) never mind. At least we bathe regularly.

September 5, 2007

Dark Brown #30

I knew that one day this would happen. Even six months ago, I thought it was far off. But Sienna's wedding was coming up, and I didn't feel like being the salt and pepper in law. I did it again yesterday. That makes twice. I anticipate that three months from now, I'll have to do it again. (do they have dark brown #30 in Japan? I'm going to say yes.)

How does it feel? Great, actually. Just about everyone if my family is mostly gray by 40, and I'm just not ready for that. I have no qualms about fighting it. Or at least delaying the inevitable. I might as well take advantage of this window where I can use the cheap dye and don't need highlights. (Which I can't really afford.)

Neither my mom or my brother noticed anything different. Same thing happened last time. It's just momentous for me.

ps I'm whitening my teeth, too. Such vanity. Or maybe it's taking pride in my work. Just because stay at home moms don't get a lot of respect doesn't mean I have to look less than my best. Right?
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