Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tokyo Dance Trooper

Do you wanna know what Aaron does in Tokyo for a entertainment?? Check this out...this is just down the street from our house. The Japanese are so funny...they just don't know what to do when something is a bit unexpected...

Taiko Drumming

This is a traditional Japanese drumming. In October, you saw i a picture of me giving the pig skin a pounding. This is a different group that came to Tara Grace's school. She got a chance to pound away for a minute or two. Can you see her looking at the camera from the corner of her eye? She is a bit conservative when it comes to getting up in front of a group. Initially you may think listening to a bunch of drums would get old, it is really a great show!


Jacob had a few fun things over the last couple of weeks. The third grade did a body percussion musical. They used snaping, rubbing their hands together, clicking their tounges, to produce the various stages of a rainstorm. In the school theater it was really cool. The did a good job flowing from one sound to the next. It started out as a little drizzle and slowly progressed to a full thunderstorm. It sounded great. Hopefully you can get the idea and don't get too motion sickness from my expert filming skills.

Jacob also participated in the Cub scout's Pinewood Derby. If you don't really know what it is or even if you do... check out My uncle Rob's editorial in the Gwinett Daily Post. He is a great writer and has an extreamly entertaining sence of humor! Here is the link. Read the one about "Fathering Skills Barely on track" Feb 03

Jacob participated this year and his car got 6th place out of 33! He did pretty well. Like Nathan (Rob's son)...Jacob had more fun in the game than in glory of victory or agonony of defeat....maybe we will have to send him to Rob's house for some character molding...

Jacob's car is the red one....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Don't you just love Valentines Day? It is a not very stressful, very few expectations. It really is one of my favorite holidays. We make heart shaped chocolate ice cream sandwiches (which after the annual sugar free month--I am really on a sugar high eatting those!!), leave things on our friends's door steps, make valentines for 80 plus kids in four plus classrooms....but it is all fun!!! For me Valenines feels like I am tossing a welcome mat for spring!! I hope spring is near in Tokyo too! One of the traditions that we do for Valentines is Heart Attacking. We do a few variations but this is one I like. The kids wake up on Valentines to complimentary hearts all over their door.

It is nice to really think of multiple positive characteristic of each of my childern individually. Some years some childern require more time thinking of ways to fill up that door than others....but it always makes me really think about the things I really enjoy about them!!

Another Valentine traditions that is .....well...mostly annually.... is this valentine party. We invite a few couples to our house and I make what I hope will be a nice dinner. The wonderful words for the invitation are my sister Tara's. I always say that she is an artist with words. I can just tell her my ideas and the "feeling" I would like to portray and she nails it everytime with her poetry.
It says :
Cupid has struck at our house, You are invited and so is your spouse
We're having a movie party and dinner for you, We'll celebrate Valentines Day two by two
Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, always brought love to the picture show,
Bring the movie that has your favorite scene, Have it "cued" (yea, we have used this for a few years....) and we will play it on our screen
We'll all go home with cupid's love dust in the air
Hope you and your Valentine will be there...

See isn't she good!!??
Everyone is invited to bring a favorite romantic movie with a favorite scene picked out. After everyone has arrived and has had a few appetizers and we sit down at the table.

I usually have little hearts next to the gift box at each place on the table. The hearts each have silly characteristics on them. Everyone has to "act" them out without telling others what their "thing" is. Some of the things we have done are :
*you have a different laugh everytime you laugh
* you think you are Elvis
*you are obsessed with Pink and want to talk about PINK,
* each time you hear anyone mention PINK you break out in song
You could do ANYTHING!!! It really does end up being funny.

After dinner, we eat dessert on the couch and watch a few love scences. This year we watched clips from Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Pride and Predjudice, Walk the Line and The Jerk. It is really a fun party.

This year our menu was:
Ginger Glazed Chicken Bites
Baked Camembre in Phyllo dough

Velvety Asparagas Soup
Goat Cheese Salad
Scallops in a creamy chive sauce
Mini heart shaped chocolate cheese cakes for dessert.

I will try to be better and take more pictures next time!!!

As for our family valentines....we do the cuting and pasting and folding just like you. I am still working on the documenting part of being an official"blogger" In my furry to make it a cute, fun and memorable activity I forget to take the pictures!!! Then I think AWW MANNNN that would have been good on the blog...BUT Tammie, Cindy, Amie, Brandi and Kelli are inspiring me with their take on life and how to share it!!! I aspire to be more like YOU!!!

Here is One thing you may not do is decorate your toilet paper!!! In Japan I found decorative toilet paper. So we even have happy v-day hineys at our house!! tee hee!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

She thinks my tractor's sexy!!

The kids had the day off on Friday. It was fun to hang out and have fun. Git yer foot tap'n and turn the volume up high, so you can hear!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Omochi Pounding

Tara Grace's class did Omochi pounding today. It is sticky rice that is soaked in water over night. The they put it in these big wooden "bowls" and literally pound it. It is a tradition early in the new year. When it is done it is like a dough--kind of....It is really thick and sticky.
The kids traditionally dressed for some omochi pounding.
In between poudning they soak the mallets in water.
Then when it is done, they eat it. It may be wrapped in seaweed like sushi or rolled in something that looks like corn meal, but tastes more like peanutbutter. One had some kind of tiny rasin-looking beans and was a bit sweet tasting (Tara, I am sure it had NO sugar in it!!! so don' worry about me!!!)
It does not really look tastey, but it is pretty good. The kids really like it!!
The tradition is to welcome good luck and happiness into the new year. Everyone is yelling something like "Yusho" over and over again. I asked one of the Japanese moms what it means. She said something like "cheer up". So have a look at Tara Grace giving it a try....

Below is the professional demonstration...I keep waiting for that man on the side to get wacked with that big o' mallet...

Snow in Tokyo!!!

The Georgia Snow arrived in Tokyo today!! Yeah!! It has snowed for the entire day, but there is hardly any on the ground. These pictures are all on my way to Tara Grace's school....
A corner in an area called Harajuku (yeah, like the Gwen Stefani song). The billboard is a GAP ad on the GAP store.

This is the edge of Yoyogi Park, close to our house.
There is a Cemetary in the background


The Grocery Store

So Aaron and I decided we did not want to make the hour trip to Costco this morning so we would just get what we needed at the local grocery store. Here were are just a couple of blocks from our house SITTING in traffic. UGH!! This is unfortunatly so very common. It was cold and I did not wear my hat and gloves since we were driving or I would have jumped out of the car and walked to the store and met him there. CRAZY!! Isn't the view lovely?!! HA! We ended up spending most of our day runnig from one store to the next to get the list..Oh well you got some pictures to see now....

These pictures below were taken at "the cheep grocery store". I have to go to three or four different places to get all of the things on the list. But I will describe the process at OK discount grocery. I can actually park there. This is a novelty, but we like to go there for several reasons. One is that I can park there ~which when I am "stocking up" for our family of 6 is a nice thing. We also like to go ther because the prices are better than a lot of other places. As I pull up to the grocery store. There is usually a man standing there on the street. He very often is holding a sign. You see, there are only about 10 parking places at OK. If you don't have one, there are not many other places to park. I assume the sign says "full" or something like that?? But rememeber I am just guessing. It all looks like chicken scratch to me... If I really lucky, he me pull into the "lot" and wait, but even then there is only room for one car to wait. If it is full I have to do a few laps around the area in hopes that someone is finishing up at the ol' OK. If it is full and I am luck, my friend in uniform will direct me into the waiting spot. When someone leaves, another man in uniform working in the lot and not on the street will wave his arms and white gloved hands to usher me into my coveted parking spot. He will then push a button on the parking machine, walk over to me and with his white gloved hands very politey greet me with a slight bow (it sounds polite anyway) and wave his arms as if I were a queen of sheba and direct me to the entrance of the store. Once inside, I immediately go to the escalator downstairs. The only thing on the floor I have just walked onto is the four or five cash registers. So down I go to get myself a shopping cart. And you must not really think of the shopping carts at the super Walmart or at Publix, no no no!!! These carts have baskets that I first pick up and then put on the my cart. There are all kinds of things you will observe about this grocery experience. Above is our shopping cart. The baskets are picked up separately from the cart. So you could just carry the basket around like you do at Target when you do have alot of stuff to buy. The bottom "basket" is ours we brought from home. It collapses down and so is nice to use in the car or anywhere. We ar just making use of every spot on the tiny cart. NO ONE buys this much stuff...even at Costco they walk out with three or four items in their cart. We are quite a sight and turn many heads with our load. Especially as I take pictures as I am walking through the store...
Octopus and Squid---pretty average stuff, egh??
Can somebody tell me what aisle the Cheerios are on PLEASE?!!

I have not idea what this is or what most of the stuff is in the store ...

This I see stuff is some kind of dried fish...there are hundereds of the ENTIRE fish is in this bag.

Below is one of the many interesting vegetables we see at the Japanese grocery stores. I dont really know what this is, but I have tasted it. It is pretty good...

Below are pickled plums...wanna bite?

Above is a cooler of fish staring at the shoppers as they just lay there on the ice. I did not take any of them home...I guess we could have gotten a new pet??'

You know how the Japanese are big on handbags. Well I think they are so in to any kind of bag...they are just BAG people...NO they are package people. They are so garabage concious but you get packages inside of packages. Every thing is packaged....Apples each individually wrapped (see the price at the "cheep" grocery store about 186 yen per apple that is about $1.86 for one apple AT THE CHEEPEST store around!!??)

Below is another example...this is mayonaise. Two different kinds on the shelves. The bottle of mayonaise is then put in a package.

I just took a picture of my groceries on my kitchen counter so you could see EVERYTHING is in a package...asparagus, bellpeppers, green onions, bananas, cilantro, lettuce---everything

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Years at Meji Shrine

Praying at the foot of the alter of the shrine on January 2nd for the New Year. It does not usually have the white barrier you see or the orange cones. That is just because of the emmense number of people that come to visit. They even have a GIGANTIC tv screen to watch as you stand in line to get to the foot of the nice of them. Again this is a time when I was closer to people I don't know than I could ever imagine being before I moved to Tokyo.....but when in Rome.....
Here you are suppose to wash your hands and rinse your mouth. I think it has too do with making your self clean for the Gods??
Crowds of people go to the shrine for New Years. It is the Japanese tradition to go to the Shrine and pray to the Gods for a properous new year. This is one of the most visited shrines in Tokyo and we can just walk there. We had to go....Aaron said it would be like living in New York City and never going to see the big apple drop...something you just have to do see at least once...We were just standing in the middle of the crowds of people and Aaron held up the camera and took a picture of the people behind us.
SOOO many people

Here they buy these boards and write their wishes for the New Year and leave them for the Gods to make happen
If the get a 'bad' fortune, they will fold it properly and tie it on one of these are many fortunes that people do not want to come true...