Sunday, 30 May 2010

Hook, Line and Scooter

We spent the weekend in K-city. I had to get the shakken (2 year checkup) for my car. It was very expensive but actually less than I expected.

We did some shopping: I got presents for some family members' birthdays. As the sun went down, we met up with Mika's sister-in-law for sushi -- Ten Ten Maru, our favourite kaitenzushi place.

That was yesterday. We stayed overnight at Mai-san's. Mika's brother was down here to do some go-karting and he stayed with their parents. It was like we did a swap between Kochi and Shimanto.

This morning, we attended the K-city Pentecostal Church before grabbing ramen for lunch. On our way back to Mika's brother's place to get Eddi, we spied this fellow riding gaily along as if he didn't have ten fishing rods, a net and goodness knows what tackle and bits and bobs hanging off his scooter:

Between a Rod and a Hard Place

And thus I captured a taste of rural Japan. People around here love fishing. Mika's uncle and her younger brother went fishing a couple of weeks ago and netted us a good feed. Cuz it's all about the sashimi, baby. ;)

Here's to continued warmth and a good week over all. :)



Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Birthday Party and Chopsticks

A couple of weekends ago, we celebrated Eddi's 7th birthday. I baked and decorated her birthday cake and Mika made a piñata for the party we gave her on the Saturday.

I also made cupcakes

Happy 7th Birthday!

Smash that bee piñata

Axt weekend, we made chopsticks. The father of one of the girls that went to Eddi's kindergarten, Mr. Kawashita, was kind enough to invite us and a couple of other families over to learn to make chopsticks. He does it as part of a cultural / tourism activity, usually charging people for his time. He has a blog and an advertisement in the local tourism brochures.

So the kids were all able to play together, and we all had a big barbecue for lunch.

We made hashi

The finished product

Mika's skills

We didn't do anything this past weekend, really. Just relaxed on Saturday and had the usual church service on Sunday. During the last few weeks school has been pretty standard, too, although I did teach at a primary school a couple of Fridays ago instead of at K-town JHS, and last week I didn't have classes at Shouwa JHS because they had a sports event.

My shakken (2-year car inspection) is due this month, as is the tax for both our cars. Huge expense right there, but we should manage. Planning to go into K-city this weekend to do some shopping and hopefully get my shakken done. :)



Sunday, 2 May 2010

Springtime Tabi

We have been having wonderful weather. God has really blessed us with cloudless skies and warmth. And even though the mornings are still a bit chilly, we can be thankful that for most of the day, when life permits, we can revel in the sunlight. Summer is coming!

But it is still spring, and for that we are all thankful. Once the humidity and insect-ridden weather hits, the clamminess is unbearable. So praise God for spring!

Last week, Eddi's school had a sports day -- just the morning, actually. As my job allows it, and I had no school that Wednesday, I went; along with Mika and baby Maya. The kids all had fun, but here in Japan it seems less competitive and more about balance between the red team and the white team -- akagumi and shirogumi. That, and they play old fashioned music and all do warm-up exercises in unison, reminiscent of some Chinese military regimen. [Photos]

Eddi in the relay race

Thursday proved to be yet another sunny day, and one that we were especially pleased to have fine weather on. It was a statutory holiday, so we took the day to go out to Uwajima. On the way, however, we stopped to take photos of the koinobori strung out across the river at the entrance to Tokawa. Koinobori are streamers of carp, much like wind-socks, that everyone puts out around this time of the year. You can see them on a lot of houses and all around Japanese towns, in different colours and sizes. [Photos]

Koinobori strung out across shimantogawa

After lunch at McDonald's in Uwajima, we got a good deal on some end of season fruit and then tracked down a garden in the middle of the city.

Built by feudal lord Date near the end of the 19th century, Tensha garden has 22 different types of bamboo and a lake in the middle. During the month of April, the irises and wisteria -- fuji, in Japanese -- come out in full bloom and light up the garden with floral elegance. I'd say we went at the right time. [Photos]

A trellis bridge over the Tenshaen pond

We left the city and headed out to a park where Eddi could play and we could relax. It was quite tricky to find, but worth the trek. Eddi had a good time playing. She has no problem finding other little girls to run around with. [Photos]

Maya likes to sliiide

Late in the afternoon, we headed off. I had promised everyone ice creams, and took up my own offer. Because who doesn't enjoy a nice cold treat at the end of a family outing in spring? Well, my wife and daughter, that's who. They ate an onigiri each -- a Japanese rice ball -- rather than have ice-creams. I told Mika I was going to mention it in my blog because it was just such a Japanese thing to do. :p

Now it's the weekend and also the start of Golden Week. Too bad I had school on Friday, otherwise I could potentially have had a whole week off! As it is, Golden Week goes from Saturday until Wednesday, and so I will be back at work on Thursday. Mika's brother and his family have come down from Osaka to stay with his and Mika's parents, so we should be seeing them a bit in the next few days.

Yesterday, we went to K-city without Eddi. She stayed with her grandparents and uncle, etc. We met up with Mikey at Aeon to have lunch together. He is finishing up on JET in summer, so we're not sure how many opportunities we will get to see him before he goes back to the US.

Our main reason for going into the city was to get Eddi a present for her birthday. We also got something on behalf of her grandparents, who wanted to get her something special. More about that after next weekend, when Eddi has had her birthday. The party is next Saturday.

I don't think I ever put up photos from Eddi's youchien graduation, so here they are.

Eddi, having received her graduation certificate

That's all from me for now. I look forward to having three days off work and enjoying this fine weather!