Sunday, September 15, 2013

First Time Visitors

I am lucky to have many New Zealand family members who seem to love Japan as much as I do (or perhaps it is just the great company.....). Most of my family have been here at least once and there are a few who make the pilgrimage annually.  However our current visitors (my sister, brother-in-law and 2 year old niece) are making their first trip here so it is interesting to see their reaction, rather than the reactions of the regular visitors.
I always forget where I have taken different people so as a record for me for when they come next time (because we all know once you have been here once you just can't resist coming again...) I'll briefly record each day here.....

Day 1 - arrived at Fukuoka at about 4pm so a quick ride home on the highway in time for some tea, quick conversation and some sleep!

Day 2 - a slow day while recovering from sinus problems and general tiredness. A visit to Usa Shrine... and that was about it.

Day 3 - A far more active day with a visit up the mountain on a ski lift to visit Rakanji.  Shopping at the mall on the way home.

Day 4 - A day at the big park with Emily.  Lots of slides, running and a huge walk around the lake.  Home for icecream and leg resting!

Day 5 - Today - A HUGE day... Started out by going to watch some of a kindergarten sports day.  Abigail even got to run and get a balloon attached to some snacks.  Next a trip into the mountains to visit my favorite temple, Futagoji.  Peaceful as ever and kind Japanese people as ever, with random Japanese people giving Abigail icecream.  She is slowly learning that a smiling face is more effective than a grumpy one if you want to get treats from total strangers!  A short stop at the park on the way home then a quiet evening for Abigail and I, but a much louder evening for Fiona, Jeremy and Tom at a drumming concert in Nakatsu.  Haven't heard how they enjoyed it yet, but I'm sure it will have been a highlight of their trip.

And that is an update for now - I'm sure there were a few other bits in there, but I'm glad I wrote it as I'd already almost forgotten what we had done!  Here are a few photos in random order...

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Change in routine..... for this week!

It is 7pm on Wednesday and I am at home... it is a very strange feeling!  Wednesday is usually my "Wonder Woman" day, but today my husband took the day off so he has taken on some of the transporting of children and I get to actually relax in the evening and tell you about my normal Wednesdays - aren't you lucky!

8:00am Head to elementary school to do a voluntary 15 minute "Read an English book" session with the 3rd and 4th graders.

8:40am Arrive home and make dinner for my father-in-law, daughter and husband ... usually curry, stew or something that can withhold sitting all day.

9:40am Head to kindy to teach a relatively nice, but very energetic 5 year old class for an hour.

11:40am Arrive home after a quick shop on the way home.  Check that the world hasn't fallen apart on the Internet and have a quick coffee.  Finish making dinner and make two dinner boxes for my son and I (completely different contents from the dinner for the rest of the family....) 

2:10pm Go and collect my son from school and drop him home to do his homework.  Race back out the door to be at my daughter's school by 3pm to pick her up.  Race her to piano and sit and wait, watching the clock anxiously....

4:20pm (if the piano teacher hasn't talked for too long) leave piano, drive home and drop my daughter off, pick up my son, making sure the dinner boxes are in the cooler box.  Need to be in and out the door in literally 5 minutes. 

Drive to Oita - this takes between 1 hour 10 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes depending on the traffic....  Sit and watch my son at athletics for 2 hours (not by choice, it is just too far to drive home in between!).

8pm - leave Oita and drive home again... eating a dinner box on the way - sometimes a little tricky to drive while using chopsticks!  

9:10pm finally arrive home and try to get my son in the shower and ready for school the next day. 
In total it amounts to approximately 180km of driving.

And that is my normal Wednesday!  I think I need to encourage my husband to take more Wednesdays off work......

When this routine first started I didn't bother making the dinner boxes for my son and I and we just bought bento boxes at the convenience store on the way home.  Then the evening trips to Oita increased to twice a week and I was giving my son some maths practice in the car on the way there.... Approximately 500 yen per bento per person (I am not good at not getting a drink or something to go with it).  That makes 1,000 yen per night - times that by two nights a week and then times that by 50 weeks a year and you get..... 100,000 yen!  After we did those sums I decided that perhaps making a dinner box wasn't so much trouble.......

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Sprint final

Sorry, I promise this is the last child based entry for a while... I put this video up on Facebook, but forgot to post it here.  This is the final from the All Japan Elementary School Championships... look for the tall boy in red!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Piano concert... again

Lately I have found myself completely unmotivated to write this blog...... but with the school holidays finishing tomorrow I'm hoping that I will be much more motivated to write about some of the things that have been happening around here.  I will be back to the strange things that happen here in rural Japan soon.  I promise that the next time you visit it won't be a brag post about my children, but for now.... 

Update on my son's athletics - he did a fantastic job at the All Japan Elementary School championships and came in 7th overall.  Not bad for only about 3 months practice!  I will hopefully get a video up soon...

Here are the videos for my family of Emily's latest piano concert - she challenged herself to sing this time too... and did a great job!  Enough bragging for today.  Here is some music to get you through your morning coffee.