Sunday, March 23, 2008
Megan was terrified of this baby chick. She refused to bring it any closer to her face, afraid it would peck her eyes out. What a chicken! LOL
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Today was Gabi's first track meet. She really loves to run and seems to have a pretty decent talent for it; her father was a big time runner and ran track in Jr. high and high school so maybe that's where she gets it from, 'cause it sure didn't come from my side of the family! She ran in 4 events, she was only supposed to do 2, but 2 girls didn't show up so Gabi ran in their place; we won't have the results until Tues/Wed but I think she did pretty well. Her best friend Kelekah's mom is the sprinting coach and she's done a great job with Gabi. The meets are sooooooo long! Today was 9:30a - 3:00p!! And of course Gabi was in the 2nd and the last events so we stayed ALL DAY.
Here's a shot of her strong finish! She was totally exhausted and fell asleep in her floor at 7:00p, right in the middle of playing a game with Meg.
Friday, March 21, 2008
For those who don't know, Ethan has been attending Kunitachi Kids International School. KK is a Japanese preschool off base, but it's an Enlish immersion school for Japanese kids, which means only English is spoken. We really like it and Ethan was happy there, but I'm determined that he (and the rest of us as well) will become fluent in Japanese while we're here! One of my biggest regrets is that I grew up in Japan, but never learned to speak Japanese!
The Japanese school year runs April - March, with about a 2 week break in between, so school got out this week, including Kunitachi. Ethan will start at Kodomo at the beginning of the new school year, April 7. Like KK, Kodomo has a bus that picks up from our gate at 8:30am, they get home around 3:00p. I think there are 4 other American kids enrolled. One awesome thing that I couldn't believe is that Kodomo offers an extended day program, with bus service! If I need Ethan to stay later, they'll keep him until 5:30, then bring him home on the bus!
There are 3 English speaking teachers on staff, so they'll help with his transition, but both of his teachers are Japanese, and with only 4 American kids out of 240, he'll get plenty of Japanese practice! I'm so excited!! I can't wait to hear him sprechen some Nihongo!!
A few months ago I went to a karaoke restuarant with a culture class I was in and they had the yummiest pineapple wine, which I had never tasted before. I've been searching every where for it with no luck. I was in a Happy Foods grocery store today looking for a juicebox for Ethan and stumbled across this bit o' liquid gold! It didn't occur to me at the time (not being a beer drinker and all) to see if they sold it by the case, so I'll definitely need to go back and check. The store isn't very close to the base, so I'll have to check the ones around here to see if they stock it. It's only 7:30 Friday morning in Hotlanta, but I'll drink a couple for you Piece-a-pear-head.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
My name got picked for musical chairs, I lost. But to my credit I got down to 4 people out of 10 after I had already had 3 margaritas and was walking round and round a small circle in high heels. My consolaton prize was $5 in "Club Bucks" which will get me 2 margaritas, and my name went back in the pot. Towards the end of the night they pulled Otis' name for a digital camera, called another name for an umbrella, then pulled my name for a micro stereo system!! Woo hoo! I've been begging Otis to go to member's night ever since we got here but it's always in the middle of the week and he hates going out on a school night, but now he's ready to go back again :)
Monday, March 17, 2008
I'll let you take a guess at what this thing is supposed to be. No, it's not a giant penis in overalls, which is the obvious first guess. I have absolutely no idea what the band aid is for.
We had a good time, we took the elevator up to the first observatory, but the girls took the stairs back down (about 600 steps). Afterwards we had lunch at Wendy's (the first one we've seen in Japan) and wandered through Roppongi and Roppongi Hills. After a nap and some TV Otis and I drove over to the New Sanno hotel, about 10 minutes away, to get some dinner and check out the hotel (Otis had never been there). We headed home on Sunday around 12:00 because we were sure we'd hit a 3 hour traffic snarl, but it only took 45 minutes! Again we couldn't believe how lucky we got! It's exactly 46 km (28.5 mi) from our house to Hardy Barracks.
Here's Ethan amidst a gaggle of adoring fans. Everytime we stop we get a swarm of women and girls, he's just so kawaii...even when we pull up next to a Japanese woman or girl at a stop light they're smiling and waving at him. Sometimes he hams it up and waves and blows kisses, which sends them into hysterics, but a lot of the time he's his usual stinky self and turns his head away, refusing to acknowledge them at all.
We didn't know before, but Hardy Barracks is the headquarters for the Pacific Stars & Stripes, the military newspaper for all of the Pacific area. HB consists of just 2 buildings: the hotel, pictured above, and the S&S building. Our room was great: no frills but it had a queen size bed in the bdrm and a sleeper sofa in the living room with a full bathroom (complete with cadillac potty) in between. We had a fridge, microwave and dvd players, dvd's are available to check out for free in the office. Not too shabby for only $50/night ($35 for the 1st person, $5 for each additional person over 3 years old). The only down side is that there's no food nearby. They offer a free continental b'fast and there's a small convinience store on-site, other than it's a good 20-minute walk to the nearest grub.
It started raining as soon as we got to HB, but I was not about to spend our first night in the hotel! So we grabbed our umbrellas and headed to TGI Friday's. The food was delicious, but not something we'll be doing again any time soon!!! :( The girls both had appetizers as their meals: Gabi had a 3-piece chicken tender plate (just chicken, no fries or anything) and Meg had an order of chili-cheese fries. Otis and I both had bacon cheeseburgers with fries (Ethan just ate off our plates). Add in 3 sodas and 1 pina colada for a grand total of.......$81.00!!!!!!! I knew it'd be pricey, but DAMN!!! When I say we won't be doing it again anytime soon, of course I mean "us" as a family, it won't be nearly as expensive when I go by myself!!! LOL!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
But Japanese people NEVER talk on their cells in public, it's considered extremely rude; if it's absolutely necessary to take a call you'll see the person remove themselves as far as possible from other people, turn their back and speak quietly into the phone while shielding their mouth with their hand. On the trains and buses there are signs and frequent announcements reminding everyone to put their phones on vibrate.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
We are staying 2 nights at Hardy Barracks, a tiny Army (or maybe Navy?) post right in the heart of Tokyo, Roppongi to be exact. We've decided to drive so we'd have a bit more flexibility with our schedule. Not sure if that's going to turn out to be a very good idea or not; it's supposed to be a very simple drive, a straight shot down the expressway, but it's not unusual for the 30 mile drive to Tokyo to take 3 + hours! The plan is to go to Akihabara, Tokyo Tower and Odaiba, we'll see how well we stick to the plan. I just have to keep telling myself that I have years to see everything, on most of our outings I'm usually running around in a panic trying to cram in every possible site and activity as if we're leaving next week. I just so don't want to waste a single minute of our time here!!
Looks like Singapore is on the back burner for now. Otis is really swamped at work and they're really short-staffed so he can't get enough time off for an extended trip, we're moving to Plan B with lots of short 2 - 3 day trips instead, easier on the wallet for sure.
Friday, March 7, 2008
I walk ALOT already, both for excercise (at a minimum I drag my butt around the block after putting Ethan on the bus) and I walk on errands too, parking at a central location on base and hoofing it to the post office, bank, library, etc. So I was sure that 10,000 steps wouldn't be a big deal. WRONG! Even with extra effort I'm barely making 6,000 steps! One day this week I made it to 9,868, but that included walking in place while I was folding laundry and pacing back and forth on the sidewalk for 10 minutes while waiting for E's bus. 10,000 steps equals about 5 miles, which I thought I could easily do. I'm going to stick with it though, it will just require a bit more effort (which I was really hoping to avoid) than I thought.
Now, every Friday at YEES (now renamed Mendel Elementary School, in honor of Joan Mendel, a teacher at the school for over 30 years, who recently passed away) is Spirit Day and the kids wear their school T-shirts; today Megan wore MY 30 year old YEES school T-shirt. It was pretty cool. I'm so thankful that my kids are getting the same great opportunity that I had to grow up here!
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
Monday - fish croquette w/ curry, spinach saute, fruits jerry (no idea what this is)
Tuesday - egg & shrimp spaghetti, green bean salad (green beans, tomatoes, mayonnaise), onion and seaweed soup, apple
Wednesday - rice, teriyaki chicken, fish paste & onion soup, yakult (kind of like yogurt)
Thursday - parsley spaghetti, vinegar carrots, fish paste & potatoe soup, banana
Friday - rice, steamed fish dumplings, cabbage saute, tomatoe shrimp chowder, strawberries
I probably don't need to tell you that Ethan does not eat lunch at school! I just make sure he eats a big breakfast, he usually does okay with snack and he eats as soon as he gets off the bus at 4:00p. I've tried not feeding him b'fast in the hopes that he'd be so hungry he would eat at lunch...not a chance. They give him buttered bread, which he does eat. I thought about letting him take a lunch, but he'd be the only one eating something different and I don't know how much havoc that would wreak at lunchtime. For now he seems to be doing okay with what he gets.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
This is the Top Man from the party today. In this first video he is spinning a top on the EDGE of a sword! Really cool!
In this clip he's spinning a top on the edge of a fan. It doesn't look like the top is spinning, but it is.
We got to learn a traditional Japanese dance about Hinamatsuri, you can't tell in this video, but both girls picked it up really quickly (in case you can't tell, Gabi and Megan are right behind the dancer)
Saturday, March 1, 2008
This Coco's is tiny, only 3 small booths and maybe 7-8 seats at the counter. At Coco's you choose what type of curry you want, they have several different plates with things like chicken, pork, beef, crab cakes, eggplant, fried quail eggs...then you choose your toppings, everything from garlic chips and cheese to fried oysters and natto (fermented soy beans)...then you choose your level of spicyness from 1 - 10. Each level had it's own description/warning, level 1 says something like: For those who enjoy spicy food but also enjoy tasting the flavor of their curry. The menu tells you that only people who have eaten a full plate of 5 spicy are allowed to order 10 spicy! I got level 2, it was spicier than I like but not too bad, O had level 3. It was good, everyone talks about Coco's all the time so I really wanted to try it.
Curry really isn't my thing, but it was good and I'm glad we went. The very best part was topping off the meal with a Choco Bite from McD's!!! So f****** yummy!!