Friday, November 09, 2018

Cooking with Dad over Fire

Happy Birthday to my Dad! 
Here is a photo, not great or flattering but important as it accurately represents me and Dad doing stuff. Whenever Dad and I try to do stuff, we do it! But we usually have to change our approach several times and we often end up laughing and/or frustrated along the way. 
This year, it was amazing to have Dad and Mom in Japan with us for three months. Last year when they came for one month, I thought, "That was really great but it will never happen again". Oh me of little faith! Instead, they were able to take an opportunity to be at Yamanaka Chalet near Mount Fuji as caretakers. Since they were 106 km away (66 miles) and this is Japan, we were two or three hours of travel apart, but for us that was "ONLY 2-3 hours of travel, and we can be together!".
While they were here, I was out of the country for a month of study in Bangkok, and prior to that, my school schedule kept us from spending as much time as I would have liked. But all was redeemed when we had a solid week together just before they left on July 30th. 
Returning to this photo, Dad and I discovered that barbequeing with charcoal is not our thing. We tried numerous times and with various methods, but in the end, we had to admit defeat. A plain old fire with a grill over it was more our speed. And I am glad, "get a barbeque and become a person who grills meat outdoors" is off my bucket list. I don't want to cook stuff outside unless it's over a good old fashioned fire, with Dad. 
Come back to the Land of the Rising Sun soon, we are waiting for you! 

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Annual Blog Kicking Time is Here!

Though I have likely forgotten how to write, here I am to have another go! 

I found this link on Twitter; it's a list of all the big news stories in Japan from the last month. 

We went to a Halloween party last night. No big deal; we used to go to three or four Halloween gatherings every year. But, Halloween is not celebrated here in Japan, at least not the same way as in the US. So since we've been here, for the last four Halloweens, I've quite missed the way we used to celebrate it. 

Sunday, April 03, 2016

What I Learned March 2016

*Just as cars need gas to carry passengers onward, so I need podcasts to accomplish housework. It's been a year since I started listening to podcasts regularly, but my consumption has increased lately. The place should be much cleaner than it is, actually....these are my favorites:
Sorta Awesome
I love this show, hosted by fellow ENFP Megan Tietz, because I've been a fan of Megan's for years and years from back when she had a blog called Sorta Crunchy. I still miss her blog but I'm thankful she's found a new venue for creative expression in podcasting. Most of the below podcasts I've learned to love, I found through SortaAwesome!
A Slob Comes Clean
So meta of me to love listening to this while I attempt to clean, and so right. My only complaint with this podcast is that its host, Dana White, won't come right out and confess her Myers Briggs type. Very clever. But I can tell by her tagline, "As I figure out how to keep my own home under control, I share the truth about cleaning and organizing strategies that actually work in real life for real people (who don't like cleaning and organizing)!" she is not an SJ (no offense, SJ friends, the world needs you and so do I).
The Popcast
This is a show about American pop culture. Though I'm American, I live in Tokyo so I don't even know what's going on in American pop culture. Wait. Now I do, because I listen to this show. I feel like Knox and Jamie (OK, the real reason I love this show is because the host has a great name....) have the kind of hilarious conversation I want to have with friends. That statement suggests I don't have friends. I do. But life is happening, and not everyone is as enamored of humorous conversation as I. Someday I hope to have more friends who love to yak at length about all kinds of things, but until then, I have this podcast.

*Endings are hard and weird. This past month, Misaki graduated from Nadeshiko Yochien (3 year Japanese preschool/kindergarten) and Koji graduated from his club basketball team, Tokyo Kashiwaba. Being involved with these two things has been enormous for our family over the last three years, and seeing them come to an end is strange and somewhat sad. From a logistical and practical standpoint, I won't miss rushing Misaki to school on the back of my bike every morning. That was chaotic. And all of us will always treasure Kashiwaba for teaching Koji to love basketball, but honestly, we might also enjoy doing other things on Saturdays. In other words, these two big endings we marked with Koji's graduation ceremony on the 12th and Misaki's on the 17th, are just like life: bitter and sweet.

*Blue Bottle Coffee is delicious. A friend and I dragged her two and my three kids to this location while we were on our way to the Pixar Exhibition. We waited forty minutes to get our latte and cappucino, respectively, and it was worth it. (see photo evidence below) Bonus: while we were there, we saw the founder of Blue Bottle!? He just happened to be in town? Dear James Freeman, please let your next Tokyo location be Higashi Kurume. Our city bird is the Azure Winged Magpie, and you know that's a fancy way of saying "Blue Bird." We are destined to be together with your amazing coffee! I know I should have presented this plea in person when I saw you at the Kiyosumi location last week, but I saw you before I drank your delectable coffee and realized who you were. So please, forgive me. I will help you look for locations! Your new fan, JM

*I can do hard things. Since I started working at Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ) 21 months ago, I've needed to fulfill some professional development requirements. The first one, which was to read five books, write up a six page paper and watch a couple of hours of video, felt very daunting. It took months longer than I thought it should have, but this past month, I finished it!! Patting myself on the back...and giving myself a push, now I have to get on with the next one.

Truthfully, I learned a lot of other things in March and I even remembered some things I used to know. But I don't want to push it so I will save those insights for another time. Happy April!

Kid Compliments

Out of the blue tonight, I received a flurry of compliments from Misaki. We had come home from a wrestling match at CAJ. Though it was 8 pm and most everyone had some semblance of dinner, they needed another. I started producing some burritos, and then I heard, 
"Mama, you have a good brain". 
"Thank you!" I said. "Why do you say that?" 
"Because" she said. "You know where we are even if you can't see us". 

As if that weren't enough, she went on to wax effusive about the burritos. A note: it's not as though they were gourmet by restaurant standard . In fact, they were pretty hodgepodge. Taco meat, white beans, cheese.... But also rice and cauliflower.....
"These burritos are way better than store burritos, Mama, " She said. 

Feeling some extra love tonight!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Shoe Magic

(Note that there are no game photos here because I only took video during the game....)
Or more like practice magic. Koji's been playing basketball on a local club team for two and a half years. Furthermore, he got some fancy Stephen Curry Under Armour shoes for Christmas. 
Well, today he had his third game as a sixth grade member of the CAJ B team. Thanks to his years of practice (and his new shoes?!) when his team was down by one with 15 seconds in the fourth quarter, he had the skills to put in a jump shot and win the game. It was exciting! I'm a proud basketball mom. 

Tanya and I played middle school basketball together at CAJ, and now ours sons are! I never would have imagined. But I love it! 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Nose to the Grindstone

First full week of school in a month! Two weeks completely off for break but the week before and the week after were also not ordinary with Christmas events, parties, and half days. 
So I salute you, exhausted kindergarteners! You did it. You went to school all day every day for five days straight. The strain was quite noticeable today but strain makes us grow, doesn't it? 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Marshmallow Snowman

As I may have mentioned yesterday, I made an enormous error in putting my contacts in and going to church. This morning I hated to go to work for fear of scaring my students. 
My eyes were this completely blood red: when I went into the teacher's lounge to take a break, one of my colleagues looked at me and said, "So you've turned to the Dark Side?". Ha! Why yes, watch out for my light saber! 

Koji and his club basketball team had their last big tournament today. As has been the trend for the last two or three tournaments, they were the victims of unfortunate match ups. They really (not just saying this as a proud parent) should have been able to advance to the semifinals. But alas, the third team they played today was just a little stronger than them and they are out. 

We have a winter theme going in Kindergarten right now. Do you want to build a snowman?