Friday, July 26, 2013

The goodbye parties are starting...

I have mentioned on the blog that we have a lot of friends who are moving between now and the next four months or so. This comes with the territory of being in such a transient city. People come and people go. Not many people settle for years and years. I have a tendency to be a debbie downer so right now I am wallowing in my pity of people leaving. If I am honest, I will tell you, it is hard. You feel like you are a bit left behind when you stay. :) But I am trying to focus on the positive - to see how rich my life is by having met these fabulous people. My world is so much bigger now after having lived here for 3.5 years now and being exposed to so many interesting people that God has brought into my life. I am so grateful. So blessed. But I will not lie, the goodbyes are hard. In the US, if someone moved, you knew you would see them again when everyone came home for holidays or summer breaks. Or, I could just fly to Arizona and visit my friend out there. This is different - we have friends moving to Hong Kong, Melbourne, Geneva, Amsterdam, and Sapporo. Maybe we will see our friends in Sapporo for a ski vacation in the winter, but everyone else - well, I am not sure the next time I will be in Amsterdam. So it is hard. But we sure our having some fun parties in the midst of it all. Check out the party pics...more will come after this weekend.

Swim Lessons

We have done about 8 weeks of swim lessons this summer. The problem with a big city is that there are not lots of opportunities to swim. We have several splash parks but my kids cannot swim near like my friends' kids at home who live at the country club pools in the summer. I do not want Miss M to be an Olympic Swimmer, unless she wants to, but I do think it is important that she know how to swim and not be afraid of the water. She is on a wait list for some Japanese group lessons that are indoors and year round. We have a trial lesson in August as she is moving up the list! But for the summer, we have been doing something outdoors short term. She likes it when she is in the little pool. She does not like it when the teacher moves her to the big pool. Oh well. I probably would not like it either if I could not touch and did not know how to swim! Here are a few pics of swim lessons.


A few weeks back we went to Legoland in Odaiba. We have only been here one other time, when it first opened and on a Saturday. Not a good combination. I thought this visit would be better but realized after the fact that we reserved tickets on a national holiday. In Tokyo, when you do things on a weekend or on a national holiday such as Legoland or Disneyland, it is always jammed pack full of people, which is why I try to avoid those situations. But since we already reserved and bought the tickets, I took the kids. We had a good time, but I promised Miss M we will go back mid-week when school is back in session and enjoy legoland with about 20 other people rather than 100. In spite of the crowd, the kids had a great time. If you ever get the chance to visit a legoland, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Scrapbook Day July 13, 2013

For Scrapbook Day on this month it was a Saturday! We love Saturdays because it means Daddy is home to hang out. We hosted Community Group for our church that morning and then went with another family to our first movie as a family. We took the kids to see Anpanman, a Japanese cartoon show that they love, that was on the big screen. This was the first big movie for both of our kids and we were not sure how they would do. They had a blast! The K Man loved the big chair and his oversized juice. Miss M loved the gourmet pink popcorn that was strawberry flavored. Every time Anpanman came on the screen, the K Man would scream "Anpanman!" I am not sure what it is about this character, but Japanese kids LOVE it! Anpanman comes on every Friday afternoon at 4:20 for 30 minutes and we try not to miss it. Even before Miss M watched the show, she knew about the character. You can see him everywhere in Tokyo and somehow the kids learn who he is. Pan means bread in Japanese so he is this super hero made from bread. All of the characters are named after bread...Shokupanman is super bread man, Mellonpanna is a sweet bread which you can buy at most local bakeries, and Currypanman is a character based from curry and they make a curry filled bread at bakeries as well. A few days later we found an Anpanman mask and a girl Power Ranger mask at the grocery store. We bought one for each kid and you can see the K Man sporting Anpanman's face. We also had fun the next day taking Daddy to the splash pool that we go to at least once a week and showing him some of our daily life while he is at work. It was a fun scrapbook day/weekend...our first movie as a family. As Kan said, it was like the Visa card keep swiping the card for tickets, popcorn, and drinks, but the look on your kids faces enjoying the movie is priceless. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Weekend with the K Man

While Miss M and Papa enjoyed the beach, the K Man and I stayed in Tokyo so he could recover from Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. I was pretty sad but my husband reminded me to enjoy the peace and quiet with just one kid and do things I cannot do with Miss M. So, on Saturday we strolled through The National Art Museum as there was an exhibit I had been wanting to see. Saturday night I read books to the K Man all by himself. I realized this was one of the first times he got such individual treatment at bedtime. Usually I am reading to Miss M and he is just playing or reading by himself. :) He had a lot of fun reading Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton. On Sunday I took him to a subway museum. He LOVED it. It was like a small version of the train museum out in Omiya. It was close, inexpensive and a fun activity for the morning. From the pictures you can see he loved it. I enjoyed being with just the K Man and even got a closet cleaned out while he napped, but we were all happy to be reunited on Sunday evening.

It is HOT!

On Monday we went to one of our favorite parks with some friends, the 100 yen park, or Niko Niko park. And we decided this was one of our last ventures for a big day at the park for awhile unless it involves water. It is HOT in Tokyo. When I went running on Monday morning around the Imperial palace it felt as if hot air was blowing in my face due to the humidity and I had trouble breathing. I told my husband that I do not understand why I struggle with the heat here when it gets just as hot in Kentucky in the summer. We remembered that in Kentucky we only got out in the heat when we chose to, and that was usually to enjoy a pool or BBQ. In order to get to said pool or BBQ we drove in our nice AC cars. However, here in Tokyo, we have to get out in the heat just to go to the grocery store. You have no choice but to walk in the heat to get to wherever you need to go. Miss M even said at the park, "You picked the wrong day to come here, mama." You can tell the kids are a bit grumpier and more agitated due to the heat. It really is pretty miserable. But, it is only July. We still have a few more months of it. I just cannot figure out how the Japanese women still wear pants and long sleeves in this heat to protect their skin from the sun. It amazes me. In spite of the heat, we still had fun at the 100 yen park. However, Thursday, our play date is at the splash pool which opened over the weekend! The K Man and his buddy did stay somewhat cool playing in the water used for washing hands and sand toys. Enjoy the pics.

First BBQ in Tokyo

Last weekend, on the 5th of July, we went to our first BBQ in Tokyo. There is a place nearby called Wild Magic that is like a campground that allows you to BBQ. You rent the tent and they provide some meat along with the grill. Most Americans with a backyard and grill would fall over upon hearing that we paid 5,000 yen (roughly $50) for us to BBQ just for our family. And we were lucky since they did not see Kan come in late after work. He would have been another 5,000 yen but he slipped in unnoticed. On top of this cost, you have to bring food for your kids and more meat and food for yourselves because it does not really provide that much for one adult. But, our friends were doing it, and we thought it would be fun to try before they move to Hokkaido. We experienced many firsts at this BBQ besides the $50 a person cost. The kids tried their first roasted marshmellow and LOVED it. Our friends from Hokkaido brought fresh crab to eat along with grilling fresh squid and scallops...definitely a first. And from our BBQ we could enjoy the views of Rainbow Bridge, the Tokyo Bay, Tokyo Tower and Skytree. We may have paid a lot of money for this BBQ, but you sure do not get that kind of view in many places. We will miss our friends when they move back to Hokkaido in a month.

Shimoda 2013, Without Mama and the K Man

So, a few weeks ago we were scheduled to go to our annual trip to the beach in Shimoda. Sadly the K Man came down with hand, foot and mouth disease and Mama had to stay back with him in Tokyo. However, Miss M and daddy got to ride the shinkansen together for a weekend of fun with our Aussie friends. I was not too jealous until I saw the pictures. They had a fabulous time.