July 31, 2008

Here's to police chief William Bratton for the best celeb quote I've ever heard.



"If you notice, since Britney started wearing clothes and behaving, Paris is out of town not bothering anybody anymore, thank God, and evidently, Lindsay Lohan has gone gay, we don't seem to have much of an issue," Bratton told KNBC-TV


from cnn.com


jyu, ni jyu, san jyu, yon jyu, go jyu...Hyaku!


Here's the Mermaid. We thought she was being difficult, not trying very hard to count by 10's. She can't count to 20, let alone 100. Could be a problem, seeing as she's going to be in first grade. Turns out, she can do all of it. Count to 20, count by tens, probably count to 100. All in Japanese. She adds and subtracts in Japanese as well.

Hanabi

Some Hanabi footage . We could only see a corner of the display. A view of everything must have been spectacular.
video

July 30, 2008

More Reasons to Heart Japan

I've been getting sick of Japan. It's sooooooo HOT. And HUMID. I sweat and sweat and take cold showers twice a day and still I'm sweaty and stinky. It's enough to get a girl homesick for socal.

But then, Japan does it again. It makes my heart pitter patter. How? Haircut and dentist. That's right. That's all it took. For $42 US, I got a totally awesome haircut, head and neck massage, and they put Dumbo on for G in a chair right next to me (with a complimentary glass of Calpis for her). No tip. I heart no tips. Sigh.

And who hearts the dentist? Well, I do love Rosie my hygienist in the burg, but I haven't seen her in ages. I haven't been to the dentist in ages, because who can afford to pay when you don't have insurance? With Japanese national health insurance, I finally got my choppers in to be cleaned and repaired. I knew I had at least one little cavity. Dr. Mountain House (Yamauchi) got me in Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I had a cleaning, 4 ancient mercury amalgam fillings changed for pretty white tooth-colored ones and two cavities filled. And the price tag? 100 smackeroos. I should see how much a boob job costs, it's gotta be a bargain. (that's a joke, btw.)

As much as I love the US, the only times I've had good health care since getting married were when I was Taiwan and now here in Japan. We pay $150 a month for all four of us here in Japan and get 70% of doctor, dentist, and eye exams covered.

July 27, 2008

Hike to Tsumago




8 fun kilometers. Plenty of shade, water, even the Monkey hiked a bit.

Magome





I'm not that great at narratives, so here's our vacation in pictures. We took the train to Hachioji for Ian's baptism (yup, he's 8), a bus to Magome, walked to Tsumago, took a train to Matsumoto and a bus home. Even if it's home for just another 10 days, it's still nice to be back.

July 20, 2008

Vacation

We're going on vacation! With hotels and onsen, and castles! And two matsuri. See you on Friday.

July 18, 2008

I have often walked

Here's some views on our street.


The view from Tokyu Store

Happy Happy Melon Bread. Who can resist?
One of the many modern buildings on our street. I can never get a good photograph of this one.
$126 for a melon plant. Interested?
These machines are close to our house, so I've never bought anything from these particular ones. It's always reassuring to know there's mountain dew in case of emergencies.

ps, Who knows the name of the song that the blog title comes from?

School Matsuri



Today was the last day of school for Mermaid. The PTA had a matsuri to celebrate the end of the semester. There was the traditional watermelon whack, kiddie pool for younger siblings, fishing for balloons, water gun fight, and the fire hose. That's right, the fire department comes and hoses the kids down for a good twenty minutes. What a way to end the semester. Since school started in April, this is only the first semester. I wish I could be here to see what they do in March. It's got to be AMAZING!Mermaid with her teacher and asagao (morning glory plant).

The Mermaid is pretty sad to be leaving. She thinks we should go back to the states, pack up, and move back here permanently. Dad's not interested, but I could be persuaded.

Check out the video from the Matsuri below. FUN!

Fire Hose

video

Watermelon Whack

video

July 14, 2008

Sticky Summer

Summer is here. It's hot, sticky, and even J ran the AC during M's reading lessons. He's asking for popsicles.

And school is out on Friday. I know in the states everyone has been out for ages. But what do I do? I have to find a new pool for starters. And I have to pack, lest we forget move day is 3 weeks away.

So here's the plan:
*We have a 3-4 day trip planned for next week. Mountains. Hiking. Not camping. Should be good.
*Free AC at the Jidokan (children's center)-I can send M when she's bored. And G and I can play there, too.
*Trip to Costco for tortillas and Hokkaido softcreme. Seriously. That's all we're going to buy. AC on the train, bus and in the store. Softcreme is only 250 yen. Bargain. Jesse has bean burritos every day in August.
*G wants to go to the zoo again, to see if Ling Ling has been resurrected. She's "heard" that he's not dead anymore. Downside is that zoo does not have a/c, will be totally crowded, and seems miserable to me. Upside is that it's close to Nippori where I can get kirakira crocs for M and see if there's any new summer material.
*Invite ourselves over to other ex-pats homes where their company pays the electricity. Playdate anyone?

Proper Hiking Attire

Sunglasses?
Check.
Knee socks?
Check.
Pareo/Cape?
Check.
Swimsuit?
Check.
Ready to go hiking?
Check.

July 11, 2008

Sisters

As much as they drive me crazy with their individual issues (chewing on hair, whining, 20 minutes to put on shoes, etc), I'm very happy to have my girls. I'm grateful that they have each other now and for the future.

When Miriam came early in our marriage (nothing like celebrating your first anniversary and running home to nurse your 2 month old baby), I was a little sad that I missed out on having those honeymoon years. Hindsight being 20/20, we were incredibly lucky. Who knew that all babies don't come as easily? Not me.

We got our G three years later. And they are a pair. Their personalities are night and day, literally. G wakes up with a smile and M with a scowl. But they couldn't be better friends. M, being one of the nicest people I know, has patience, empathy, and kindness to make her the best big sister anyone could have. Even when G was little, M took great care of her. She never showed jealousy.

Little G adores her older sister. She may never realize how kind her sister is to her. But I hope she does.

And since it looks like these two might only have each other for awhile, I feel intense gratitude. Grateful that they are friends. Grateful that big sister takes her role so seriously. Grateful for my two girls.

Nippori

I've been feeling a little down over here. Most of my friends have left for the summer, I look at the apartment and all I want to do is pack it all up, but we're not leaving that soon. It's hot. I've been to tons of museums, temples, parks, even done a fair amount of shopping. But when I looked at my calendar, I realized I hadn't made it to Nippori, the fabric district.

So, with little G in hand yesterday, I made a trip over to Tomato. I've done a bit of fabric shopping, but not at a store so large. It was actually a problem for me because I was so overwhelmed by the selection. But for all the hype, Okadaya has more kawaii fabrics in my opinion. But Tomato had more oil cloth. Yum. So here's what I gotClose up of the mushrooms and squirrel fabric.

I also found a cool store called Lemon. It's on the same street as Tomato. It has all sorts of kids clothes and youchien supplies like seat cushions, room shoes, etc. I wanted to look at their clothes, but G wasn't in the mood. I did find these awesome jelly crocs for G. I wasn't sure if the large size would fit M, so I didn't buy them for her. Big mistake. She's been whining ever since. I have to figure out a way to get back there, though it's a bit of a trek. There were some other stores that appeared to have a large selection of Engrish shirts. Cheap, too. Unfortunately, I've noticed that they don't carry American sizes. So if you're bigger than Jesse, you're out of luck.

Aah. Retail therapy. It's good to remember your purpose (bring a little Japan home with you).

Friday Fun

How did I forget to post this picture? Giant beetle near Kappobashi. I wish this was on my balcony.

July 10, 2008

Pooltime



Yesterday was observation day at M's school. G and I biked over to her school to watch her in swimming class. We're lucky that the school has a pool. The teachers keep the kids on a tight leash, not much actual swimming going on. Mostly kicking and gliding, with a little kicking thrown in. But the kids love it, so it's all good.

Her school is quite small, so the first three grades combine for swimming. They're very cute with their goggles and swim caps. video

Poo in the Pool

It's about poo, so if you're feeling a bit sensitive, I'd move on to another blog.

Is it just my kid? She's 3, loves to swim. Been potty trained forever. Has pooped in the pool COUNTLESS times. Seriously, it's at least 4 times. I think she drinks the water a lot when she's swimming and the chlorine must be a laxative. That's all I can figure.

Today we were almost ready to leave when, oops! I dash her out, race to the locker room. She's so grossed out she kicks her swimsuit off, spraying poo everywhere. AAAAAAAGH!!! I'm so embarrassed, I don't know if I can ever go back there. I'm so glad we're moving. Can we ever go to the pool again?

July 8, 2008

Konbini

Saw this at the convenience store where I was 1-getting money out of the atm, 2-making copies, and 3-paying bills (gas, electric, health insurance). Now that's convenient.

I loved the design. Had to buy it, even though cherry soda=cough syrup. It wasn't horrible, but like a lot of things in Japan, it looks much better than it tastes.

July 6, 2008

Saturday Fun

Saturday was kid's day. We went to the community pool for two hours and the kids swam their little hearts out. Lots of families, kids, and weirdos with their booties hanging out of their speedos. Nasty. Thank goodness for oblivious kids.

While we were eating our onigiri, a nice old lady told us that the museum had a toy exhibit the kids could play with. We ate lunch then checked it out for another 2 hours. I took tons of pictures, but they've disappeared from the camera. The kids played with toys like these:
The manufacturer is Spielform. They're gorgeous, but spendy!

giveaway winners

Yay to rachel who said...

I have got to have one of these bags! How wonderful. I hope I win! yay! Cheers!

And to Lenna who thinks she doesn't know me well enough to sleep on my floor. She's wrong. But she does win a bag.

You can contact me through my profile. So exciting!!!

What should I give away this week????

July 4, 2008

From my clock, you have one day and 2 hours to comment. Good luck!!

July 1, 2008

Giveaway

I found these fun little canvas bags at the 100 yen store today. I went in for salt, but they didn't have any. So I got four Engrish bags, a file folder for primary, and some caramels. And since I have no need for four bags, I'm giving one away!

This fun apple bag is for the winner. Just leave a comment on this post by Saturday 11:59 pm Japan time and I'll randomly choose the winners. Good luck! (and I ship internationally, of course!)
Jesse just mentioned that I have no need for three bags, so I'll be giving away another bag as well. And of course I'll fill them with wondrous 100 yen treats (guarana gum, morinaga caramels, obento erasers...)
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