Archive for March, 2009

Health check

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

A few weeks ago we did our mandatory health checks at a clinic here in Yokohama. It was a very interesting experience. We managed to find babysitters for the kids, so Nicole and I went to the health clinic to get it done. It’s a mandatory check for all employees in Japan and is very thorough. They have a dedicated centre just for the healthcheck, so the usual checks are done there.

They did all sorts of tests on us, from hearing and sight, to hear, bloodpressure, breath strength, and then some internals. The internal scan was very interesting – they asked us to drink some drink which had barium (varium?) in it and then they put us on this machine that moved us around in various positions, almost so that we were standing on our hands/head! It was very neat. In the end, we saw the shots our insides and they could see so much. The 3d pictures of our insides were so cool! I wish I could have had a copy of it!

I found out that I have a kidney stone, but in general, Nicole’s and my diagnostics were all normal. They also gave us all the stats on our body like blood pressure, iron level, different nutrients in blood and stool etc. It was so interesting. I took copies of all the info from the web, but it’s in Japanese, so it’s a bit difficult to read (for us). Nevertheless, a very cool experience!

Mito trip

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

We had an awesome Mito trip this past weekend.

We made it up to Mito in around 1.5 hours, which seemed to go by really quickly. I really like the landscape around Ibaraki prefecture, so it was a fun trip and the kids were well behaved.

When we got to Mito we went to Kairakuen koen right away. It was beautiful weather out, so we had a small picnic. The grounds around Kairakuen are beautiful and we had a nice time.

Here are some pictures of the kids and the grounds.

At the end of our lunch, we went around the lake, took a swan ride, bought some food and headed up the hill where it seemed most of the people were or were going.

On the way up, we wondered whether we’d see Mr. Okada-san, who was volunteering at the park and would be busy. Sure enough, as soon as we got into the park, we saw him in one of the stands, handing out papers and other information. It was great to see him again, since we hadn’t seen him in almost 2 years. The kids were really happy to see him.

It turns out there was a tour guide who could speak english, so they took us on a 1/2 hour tour. We found out that Kairakuen koen is the 2nd largest city park in the world – after Central Park! Who’d’ve thunk?

After checking out the park for a bit, we checked into the hotel and met up with Mrs Okada-san and Momoka, who treated us to dinner (thank-you!) in the hotel. It was really great! We had Ibaraki beef and pork, which was delicious.

Then we headed out to the park again to see the fireworks. They were great and it was terrific seeing the blossoms all lit up at night.

The next day we headed out to Kasama to check out the pottery shops. On the way we stopped off at a park/science centre where they had fun rides for the kids to play on as well as sheep, goats, rabbits etc. The kids had a good time there. Then we went to Kasama, which was Nicole’s target for the trip. She bought some nice pottery and we treated the girls to some pottery making, which was a lot of fun. We met Momoka’s friend Tomoko who also happens to be a math teacher for the same grade kids. Seems like the two of them are twins!

While the girls were doing pottery, I was out in the grounds playing with the kids – we played hide-and-seek and various other games and the kids came up with a game called “tentacle” or something, where they “grew” two extra arms and they would have to tag each other with a “hand”. Very funny.

We headed home around 4:30 or so and got home around 6, just in time to get some last-minute groceries and get dinner ready for everybody. It was a whirlwind trip, but it was great to see the Okada-sans and Mito again!