Monday, May 31, 2010

Meiji Shrine

So, I have been on a bit of a blog vacation. Today we went to Meiji Shrine with a friend of mine from California that I met through Japanese class. She is one of the few American girlfriends I have and she adores Miyako so it was a lot of fun. Meiji Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji who ruled from 1868-1912. It is a common shrine to have Shinto weddings at. We saw some sort of ceremony today but we were not sure what of. It kept me from taking closer pictures of the shrine. It was a nice place to go as there were lots of trees and we were able to stay in the shade quite a bit. After walking through the grounds, we headed to Harajuku and stopped at a great 100 yen (dollar shop) store where I stocked up on some "sweat towels" to keep with me during the summer in order to wipe the sweat off my face. Harajuku is known for the people who dress up in funny outfits or costumes. On a week day we only saw two girls dressed up. I imagine you see a lot more on the weekend or in the evenings, but I heard going there with a stroller can be a bit tough with all of the crowds. From there we walked to Omotesando and had lunch at a place called Maisen. I wish I had not left my camera in the buggy so I could have taken a picture of our meal. It was Miyako's first experience eating in a tatami room on the floor and she did pretty well. This restaurant is known for it's fried pork dishes and I had one of my favorite Japanese dishes - tonkatsu. It is basically a rice bowl with fried pork, egg, and onion on top in a special sauce that is spectacular. Now Miyako is sleeping peacefully after being out and about all morning, I am sipping some Dunkin Decaf and catching up on the blog...more like procrastinating my closet cleaning project, but oh well. The blog needed updated. Enjoy the pics from today along with Miyako, Dada and Ojichan (Grandpa from Kyoto).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Art Exhibit

So, back in Lexington, Kentucky you do not have too many opportunities to attend a contemporary art exhibit. However, in Tokyo, there are lots of options to explore art, music, ballet,, I took advantage today. We normally have our Friday Play group but so many people were out of town or had kiddos with coughs, there was only two of us. We decided to check out a free art exhibit in the Ginza area. It was small, but pretty cool and all of the pieces were contemporary art pieces by Japanese artists. For those of you in Tokyo, it goes on until June 13th so ask me for details if you want to check it out. My favorite exhibit was the one with about 10 shiny red high heels. I did not take any pictures as I did not think it would be appropriate. But having the chance to do these kinds of things makes living here very fun. Plus it is not often you come across something free! I feel like our family is being exposed to a whole new world living in such an international city. The art exhibit said it opened at 11:30 but we got there at 11. Instead of standing in the blazing sun, my friend and I took the kiddos to Starbucks for lunch and a frappacino. It was my first one here in Tokyo and tasted heavenly on such a hot day. They may have to become a weekly treat in the summer time if my food budget allows for it.

Well, we are headed to Kyoto this weekend to see the grandparents. We will post pictures soon with Oji-chan and Oba-chan.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tokyo Disney

Yesterday our family was blessed with two adult passes for my birthday present from a dear friend to go to Tokyo Disney. It truly was a magical day. We left our house at 8:30 and returned at 10PM. Not one time during the entire day did I think about anything but enjoying our friends and family at Tokyo Disney. I forgot about everything and it was so nice to let your mind mentally escape for the day. There are so many highlights from my day. I loved riding Small World with Miyako and seeing her eyes get big at watching all of the stimulation that surrounded her throughout the day. I loved getting my Mickey Mouse popcorn bucket that I can refill any time we go for a discounted price, and that I have the option of curry or soy sauce flavored popcorn. I will probably stick with caramel, chocolate, or honey, but to have the option of a soy sauce flavored popcorn is fun. I loved eating meals and hanging out with our dear friends here, people whom I hope to keep up with no matter where the Lord takes each of our families. I loved watching Kan sit with Miyako during the parades and enjoy her as she took in so many new faces and experiences. I loved the electrical parade at night; it was beautiful. And I even loved that our camera ran out of battery yet I still have the memories in my mind that will never disappear. I truly do not think I know how to describe from my heart how much fun I had and how special it was for me. Thank you to my friend who gave us the tickets for my birthday gift. It was a great day for our family and helped to rejuvenate us and forget about the city life for a day. And thank you to Walt Disney for creating a truly Magical magical I am considering getting a year pass to go whenever we want.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Yummy Dinner

So in Japan, the meal is all about presentation. And if I do say so myself, I did a pretty good job tonight with our presentation and meal. I bought some fish and used the itty bitty fish grill/oven, made a salad with avocado and almonds, steamed some green beans, and had the traditional rice and miso soup as well. The fish is always an experiment because I typically do not know what I am buying. I always buy salmon because I know we like it. Then I pick something we have not had yet. Last week Kan was not crazy about my second fish selection. This week he liked it. We also had some wonderful strawberries for dessert. Miyako's meal looked a little bit different. She had rice with ham and peas. She will not eat green beans and the only way she eats the fish is when I hide it in the rice. So, she had a little bit of fish. Oh, and she ate nearly half the container of strawberries it seems like. She LOVES strawberries. So, enjoy the picture of our tasty meal. I cannot do the whole presentation thing every night as my house was a mess. While I was working on this tasty meal it seems like every toy made it onto the floor somehow. But it is worth it every couple of nights. I was so proud of myself, I even took a picture.

On a fun Miyako note, we went to her 18 month check up today. It was quite an adventure. I took the JR line by myself and my total trip time to the doctor and back, including the visit, was almost 4 hours. Much different than the ten minute drive to A Caring Touch Pediatrics I had back in Lexington. But, I was very proud of myself for finding it without Kan, asking people to help me, and lifting the stroller up by myself on more than one occasion. Miyako is happy and healthy, well happy most of the time. She weighs 25.8 pounds and is 30.5 inches long. I asked the doctor to convert for me as he gave me her measurements in kilograms and centimeters. How I wish my kilogram scale was my actual pound weight. :)

Tonight she did the cutest thing. When Kan came home she wanted him to take her to our front yard. We call the hallway on our floor the front yard and our balcony the back yard. She LOVES to push her play stroller with a dog in it (not a baby as she is half Japanese and they do push their dogs in strollers here) around the hallway. We told her it was too late to go outside, as it was nearing 8PM and bed time, but she still walked to the entry way of the apartment. She wanted to play with DaDa since he had just gotten home from work. He sat down in the entry way and she came and took his UT slippers off his feet, put them at the front of the door where we keep them so we can easily put them on when we enter, and then took him his dress shoes from the day. Basically she was telling him, "Put your shoes on and take me outside." After doing that, how could he resist? What a smart little girl. She even lined the slippers up the correct way at the entry way. Amazing. So, I told her she could go and play for 15 minutes while I cleaned the bathroom (it only takes me 15 minutes - I really do clean it, but it is just not that big - makes a difference with only one sink verses the his and her sinks back home). By 8:30, our little girl crashed! And now, I am ready to as well, but not before I watch American Idol. Don't tell me! I am guessing it is Casey James to take the boot. I was pulling for Crystal but I am now becoming a Lee fan. I know, I am crazy. I am more into AI here in Tokyo than I ever was in America.

Good night all.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

So, everyone wants to know "what did you do for Mother's Day?". They do celebrate Mother's Day in Japan, but to be honest, I feel like a lot of days are "Mother's Day" for me. My husband does a great job of spending time with us as a family, of bathing Miyako and building our furniture, of letting me spend an obscene amount of money on a babysitter in Tokyo so I can have a morning to myself for Japanese class and grocery shopping...I could go on and on but to put it very simply, he really takes great care of our family. So today was not anything "special" but I feel like our philosophy about "Mother's Day" is the same as "Valentine's Day." We do not need a "holiday" to celebrate each other and our roles; we can do it randomly all year long. I only hope I do the same for him in regards of "Father's Day" as he has done for me all year long.

So Golden Week has come to an end and tomorrow is back to reality. Blah. We have really had a wonderful time of Kan being off and getting things done around the apartment. I am sad he has to go back to work. Our apartment is now starting to look like a home. We are so close. We probably have one more trip to Ikea and we will be finished. Kan could now get a second job from Ikea in putting furniture together. I know you probably are just dying to see pictures. You will, when the product is finished. I got my red couch! I really wanted a red chair, so on this last trip Kan bought a red cover for our two seat couch. We also bought a very large TV. Or I should say "he" bought a very large TV as I was not with him when he bought it. If I had been, we would have had a serious fight. I still do not know how much we paid for it, nor do I want to know as it could cause me to lose lots of sleep I need. However, he told me I would "luuuuuv" it. And I must admit, when we hooked up the computer sling box to it, turned on ESPN and found an old Arkansas/LSU football game on, we both got really excited about opening weekend of college football. American Idol was soooo much better this week watching it on the big screen. I just hope on our next move, wherever and whenever that may be, we can carry it on the airplane!

Yesterday we did a tourist outing. We took a water boat/taxi to an area called Odaiba. There is a man made beach there so we let Miyako walk along the shoreline. She would have jumped in if we would have let her. She loved the water (maybe she will be my little beach girl) and I was thankful for the spare outfit in the diaper bag. We also splurged on dinner and tried a place called Kua' Aina, a burger joint originally from Hawaii. It was fabulous. The onion rings were to die for! Miyako loved it because they did not have high chairs so she got to stand up and dance to the American radio station coming from Honolulu. Did I mention this place was fabulous? As we were leaving, the sun had set and the view of Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower was beautiful. We took the Monorail back and enjoyed the city view at night. Enjoy the pics.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A First for Me

Today I had a "first." Miyako and I rode the bus without Kan to church this afternoon. I was a bit hesitant with the stroller and all, picking it up, and getting on the bus, but WE DID IT! Thankfully the bus that came was the handicap bus so it only had one step to get up. I was very proud of myself, so much so I decided to post it on the blog. Problem was due to the holidays this week, there was lots of traffic. The bus was late (a major problem when public transportation is late in Japan) and due to the bad traffic, it took forever to get to our stop, which is only 4 or 5 stops from our apartment. So, we were a bit late to church and we opted to walk home instead of sitting in the bus and traffic. Turns out as we were walking home, we saw bus 10 come along - we got there about the same time as the bus we would have taken home did. It was beautiful out and we enjoyed the walk.

I also am super proud of Miyako. She is signing!! I started signing to Miyako at an early age, but to be honest, I was not consistent and stopped. I figured she would start talking soon enough. About 2 weeks ago I decided to try it again. She picked it up very quickly. She can sign "please," "more," "thank you," and "all done." This is about the extent of what I plan to teach her. I really wanted her to learn "please" and "thank you" so she could learn some manners. The problem is she thinks every time she says "please" she can get what she wants. She has a hard time understanding she cannot eat 100 raisins in one sitting! She would if I would let her. :) She also uses "please" while we are playing and I sometimes do not know what she is asking for. But nonetheless, I am thrilled she is signing a little bit.

Golden Week starts tomorrow. May 3rd is Constitution Day and it recognizes the most recent Constitution for Japan established in 1947. We are thrilled about having Kan off work for a few days. And to all you Kentucky readers, Kan and I watched the Derby today. I teared up listening to the National Anthem and My Old Kentucky Home. And I was really disappointed in my bet. I normally always bet my birthday exact, which is 4-2, but this year I decided to use my child's birthday and bet 11-3. Who won this year? 4-2! And how much did it pay - $150 for a two dollar bet.

Well, Miyako is on the balcony so I better run!! AGH! No worries. Kan is with her. But he wants to eat so I need to go.