Thursday, March 21, 2013
Miss M "graduated" today from music class. We enrolled her in this music class shortly after we moved to Tokyo. It is a 3 year program and since everything here starts in April for the "new" year, her graduation was today. Once they complete the 3 years, the children can pursue piano lessons with the same program and they teach piano based on the foundation they built in the music classes. The K Man will start the music program in just a few short weeks. I admit, when I saw her walk up and get her little diploma with the class picture on it, I was a bit taken aback. I was happy for her. She has grown so much in these music classes and it has been fun to do them with her. But then I thought of how this is just the first of many steps and graduations. And I got a bit sad. She is growing up. She is supposed to grow up. And, I know I still have a lot of years left with her in the house, 14 to be exact, but they go so quickly. I can already see that. The K Man will be 2 in May...2...and he looks like a 60 year old man with his big tummy and all. Everyone always says "Enjoy this. They grow so fast." And I see how this is true. But I also read a blog post recently about how when people say this, they forget what it is like to have demanding little ones at your feet night and day, day and night. And the blog post encouraged moms to give themselves some slack if they do not always "enjoy this." And today, I lived both of these moments. My morning was awful. I would have given anything for a house with a back yard to throw my kids in while I get laundry folded and lunch fixed. Instead the kids were spilling bubble soap on the tiny balcony and bringing it inside the apartment; I had cardboard boxes everywhere from a few packages we had delivered (one of which was my new pottery which is another blog post, but my friend took me to a pottery street and let's just say, I plan to go back there quarterly and stock up on cool, fun, weird shaped Japanese bowls and dishes to take back with us when we move back to America), and the walls in our tiny apartment were caving in. So, you see, this was the moment of the day when I was not really "enjoying the moment." But then I went to sports class and the mamas got to watch. All of the other moms had their cameras out, but I just sat back, held the K Man in my lap, and enjoyed the moment...soaked it in. I did the same thing at music class and the graduation. I did get a picture, but I soaked in the last class, watching her run around the room acting out the animals that represented the different notes played. I was "enjoying the moment." So I see why people tell you to enjoy the moment. I also see why that author wrote the post I read about cutting yourself some slack when you do not enjoy the moment. I think each day if I enjoy just a little bit of the moment, that would be good! Because I can see, they will go by fast. Who am I kidding, they already are! Enjoy the pictures of our day and one from a birthday party we attended over the weekend...Miss M got to wear her Minnie dress to the princess party and the two sets of siblings posed for a quick picture.
The 13th of this month fell on a Wednesdays. Wednesdays are very full days for us. We have to leave the house by 8:20 for Mama to get to BSF on time and set up her room. We have BSF from 10-12, enjoy lunch afterwards with a few friends, and then head to Roppongi Midtown on our way home. Once we get to Midtown, Miss M gets a special juice at Starbuck's and has Japanese lesson. The K Man and I stroll around and Mama hopes he takes a nap in the stroller while I sip a coffee. Once Japanese is over, we head back on the train and do a quick run in the grocery before heading home. Usually, by the time we get home, it is close to 4. The kids and Mama are exhausted. We watch NHK, fix an easy dinner, eat, baths, and then bed! This Wednesday was no different. I am thankful for BSF, and I will also be thankful for the summer break when our Wednesdays are a bit more relaxed. Attached are two pictures I took today walking home from music class, enjoying the cherry blossoms which are in bloom. I love Tokyo in spring. The bloom of the cherry blossoms makes the city come alive in a new way.
Ever since I visited Tokyo for four weeks back in October of 2009, I have wanted to visit Sunshine City in Ikebukuro. I finally went on Monday, March 11th. I wanted to keep myself busy on the anniversary day of the earthquake. We switched Miss M's Japanese class to the morning so we could spend the rest of the day at Sunshine City. We met some friends at a restaurant that is kid friendly...meaning they served nice pizzas for lunch and had toys in the middle of the room for kids to play. From there we ventured to the aquarium at Sunshine City. We arrived just in time for the seal show. It was small but a lot of fun with beautiful colored fish. I wish we had spent more time there as it is a HUGE mall, but the kids were pretty tired and I still had to prepare dinner. I hope to get back there some time. It was easy to get to, only 20 minutes on the train, and we did not have to change trains to get to it so it was a direct shot. I am sure we will have more pictures from Sunshine City.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
On Saturday we had a full day adventure to a very cool indoor play area/family onsen called Pierette. If you are in the Tokyo area and have kids, I HIGHLY recommend this place. We will definitely be going back in the future. It was like an escape to a hotel, only for the day, so the escape did not include managing two children and a suitcase and stroller through Tokyo station and on a shinkansen. It is at Futako-Tamagawa station. From Omotasando it took us about 20 minutes on the express train on the Hanzoman line. We arrived at 11:30 to the station and had a nice pasta lunch at the mall just near the station. You cannot take food in so I suggest loading up before you go in. Once you get in, the kids will not want to eat. There are so many cool things to do. It has Bornelund toys, an indoor sand pit, a play kitchen area, and a place where kids could ride little bikes. Miss M LOVED this huge cylinder type thing where she got inside and was pushed in circles and bounced around. It is hard to explain. Hopefully the pictures will do some justice. She literally did not want to leave this area. Her cheeks were so red from going nonstop on it. After a large play, we took the kids to the onsen. They had a family onsen outside where you could wear bathing suits and go as a family. The K Man was not a huge fan of the hot water so I took him back inside. Next time we go it will be warmer so he can just stay outside and play while the rest of us enjoy the onsen. Miss M LOVED the onsen. She and her little buddy played hard in their "pool" while the adults relaxed. We ate dinner at the onsen, and across the hall from the restaurant was a play room for kids, so the kids went back and forth from dinner to the toy room and the adults again could relax and enjoy our meal. I found a "siesta tatami" room for adults where you can go and take a nap. We definitely will work that into our schedule next time and swap watching the kids so we can have a siesta. It was such a fun day. We all came home exhausted! The kids went straight to bed, and we were not shortly behind them.
On March 3rd we celebrated Hinamatsuri/Girls Day here in Tokyo (in addition to wishing Grandma a Happy Birthday on this day). The weekend before I took Miss M and the K Man to a Hinamatsuri Workshop. It was fun. They made traditional sweet treats served on this day, origami of the Emperor and Empress dolls, and learned about the origin of the day. On actual girls day, I let Miss M pick breakfast. She asked for chocolate chip pancakes. Other than that we relaxed and had our typical Sunday. It is fun to have a day to celebrate girls and boys (boys day is in May during Golden Week). I do not necessarily believe that if we wait too long to take down her Girls Day dolls that she will never get married, but I like celebrating Miss M nonetheless. Happy Girls Day, Japan!