Sunday, June 26, 2011


A Japanese friend told us about another fun park to visit.

We love all the ropes course type climbing structures at the parks in Japan.  So fun, but we doubt the US could ever get away with building such things because of liability concerns.  So, we're taking notes so that we can build them at our house when we return.

This park had a fun cycling park where you could try out all sorts of crazy cycling vehicles!

My surrey with the fringe on top.  Okay, no fringe, but still fun.

Maybe we'll trade in our MPV...

It was HOT on Saturday.  Muy atsui.  Take a look at Bear's face to see how hot it was.  Also, does anyone else think he looks like Jay in this picture?

Here's a strange observation on my attempts at learning Japanese.  The only other language I have studied is Spanish - two years in high school.  I'm sure we all know how much one gets out of two years of Spanish in high school. Not much.  But now, as I study Japanese, my mind keeps  reverting to Spanish.  It's like my subconscious mind can't help going back to the one other language it has ever attempted to learn.  So, instead of "doko desu ka?", I want to say "donde esta?".  Instead of "hai", I want to say "si".  And, since I don't know the word for "very" in Japanese, I say "muy atsui!" 

Thursday, June 23, 2011


A friend gave me these Japanese kid's summer clothes for Beaver.  I was touched, but I must admit that when I saw them I thought, "I am never going to have him wear those!"  I decided to at least try them on him, though, and once they were on, I thought they were adorable!  Bear even says he wishes he had some.  Beaver, however, doesn't ever want to wear them.  He is an interesting mix of incredible adaptability and tremendous resistance to change.  Pick up and leave him with the grandparents for a week, and he hardly even misses you.  Move him from his birthplace to the other side of the world - he barely blinks.  But try putting a new pair of shoes or clothes on because he's outgrown his, and you will be met with shrieks, protests, and often tears.  I'm hoping he warms up to this little outfit.  My Japanese friend told me it is nice and cool for the hot, humid summer that is rapidly descending upon us.
As for Bear, he is just practicing his ninja skills.  Oh, and we cut off his hair!  He wanted to keep the pile of hair and put it in his bed because it was soft.

On Saturday we went to a bird park.  It wasn't as great as I was hoping, but the boys did get to each hold a toucan on their arm.

I scraped the side of our van already.  That didn't take long.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


We had a great day today!  I took the kids to an aquarium - all by myself!  I was very brave.  It is the first excursion I have attempted on my own.  I wanted to take the train, because I thought it would be easier, but it's a bit of a walk from the station and it was pouring rain.  I thought I had better just buck up and take the car.  So, I did.  And I was able to find the parking lot and back into the parking space and pay afterwards without any mishap.  Not only that, I bought a year-long pass for myself using the small bit of Japanese I have learned.  You have no idea how proud I feel.  I told the cashier the kids ages in Japanese, and I was able to understand enough of what she said to fill out the paperwork for the pass.  Then I went to information to ask what time the dolphin show was, but apparently I just asked "What time is it?" instead.  I was still happy, though, because when the girl responded, "ju-ichi", I knew that meant eleven!  I decided not to pursue the dolphin question.

Lion fish and Bear

It is not terribly unusual to see other foreigners in crowds such as this, but today I think we may have been the only ones.  I took this picture of Beaver's blondish head against a sea of black heads.  It is interesting being a minority.  This is at the pavilion for the dolphin show.
 Any aquarium with a decent dolphin show is totally worth the money.  I love dolphin shows.  This is how crazy I am, though.  From the first graceful leap into the air and thrilling splash into the water, I totally started crying.  For the first ten minutes of the show I was sitting there with tears running down my face.  I was glad we were at the back of the pavilion, and glad that Bear was enthralled enough that he didn't notice.  What in the world?  Why do dolphin shows make me cry?

After leaving the aquarium, we were returning to the car, but Bear wanted to go to a playground he had seen behind the parking lot.  As we headed that way, we realized that just beyond the park was the beach.  We had seen it before from the train station, but didn't know how to get there.  What a delightful discovery!  I got all excited and headed down to the water.  Bear protested.  He wanted to go to the playground, not the beach.  He hasn't been to a beach in a long time.  He had forgotten.  As for Beaver, I do believe this was his very first visit to an ocean shore.  They stood for a moment, looking at the water uncertainly.  

I waited for the ocean to work it's magic.  It didn't take long.  Shoes came off, and in they went.  We stayed for the next hour - jumping in waves, running from waves, and collecting seaweed and shells.  They loved it. 

I loved it, too.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Pet

This seemed like a good pet for Japan.  It will only live a few months.

Apparently these giant scarab beetles are all the rage for kids in Japan during the summer.  They are in all the pet stores, home stores, and even Toys R Us, which is where we got ours.  Bear named it Bighorn.  We weren't sure what it was, so we did a little research.  Bighorn is a rhinoceros beetle.  They are the strongest animals on the planet - able to lift 850 times their own weight.  

It's not exactly cute and cuddly, but the boys like it!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Not a Blogger

I have been keeping a blog for going on 6 years now.  I've loved doing it all along the way.  I love it as a life-journal, a photo organizer, and a way of keeping up with family and friends that are spread all across the nation (and now the world, in our case).  My best blogging year was 2006.  Perhaps that can be attributed to my then 3 year old Bear, who provided great blogging fodder.  I'm not sure.  But I've never quite reached that pinnacle again.  Still, for several years now I've dreamed of being a SERIOUS blogger.  Food blogs are my favorite, and I wrote awhile ago about wanting to be a food blogger.  As we prepared to move to Japan, I was thinking the time to get serious had come.  When I began my original blog, I couldn't think of a good name for it.  Sometime later my mom reminded me of the book, Mrs. Mike, that I loved as a teenager, and I always thought that if I wanted to get serious about blogging, I would call my blog Mrs. Mike.  So, I started this blog.  And I changed my kid's names, because that is what conscientious blogger parents do.  I didn't have any expectations of becoming a famous blogger, by any stretch of the imagination.  I just thought I would start putting myself out there and trying to make some blog contacts - maybe make some connections with other people in situations like mine.  So, we arrived in Japan.  And......
something happened.  I've lost the spark.  I'm hardly even blogging for my family anymore.  My desire to be a blogger has completely fizzled.  Strange.  But true.

Maybe it will come back.  Maybe the fact that I'm blogging about not wanting to blog says something about my subconsciousness.  We will see.  I'm keeping this blog.  In the meantime, here's a picture of Beaver playing Pokemon.  Don't worry, G&G.  I'll keep up the pictures for the relatives, at least.

This is Bear last Halloween
 And this is Beaver, yesterday.