Archive for October, 2006

Chinese Dinner

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

We went over to Yoshie’s place for dinner tonight, since she wanted to celebrate the “1st year anniversary of meeting Nicole and the kids”. She decided to make a Chinese dinner, and we drank some of the Australian wine we gave them a while ago. Yoshie prepared so much food and the kids were rather hungry, so they ate right away.

After the food, we watched some of the old slides from Fumio’s youth. We saw lots of pictures of a young Yoshie and a baby Fumio. We also saw some pictures of Yoshie’s husband who died a number of years ago.

As usual, it was a terrific meal!


Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

We went over to Annie’s and Hideo’s place on Saturday to have a barbeque. We all had a great time. I brought a mini-keg of beer (3 litres?) which was ever so yummy and this kids had a great time running around the backyard. Here’s a funny picture of Lauren that we got her to pose for. She’s started doing “scary faces” so this is one of her newest…

Rambo girl!!!

Rambo girl!!!

Crayfish hunting

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

The family went out to Honmoku-shimin park this weekend to partake in the crayfish catching. Apparently it’s a once-a-year event, where you can try to catch crayfish with fishing rods and octopus as bait. The kids were quite excited about the prospect of fishing and maybe catching something, but probably all that was possible to be caught was done so before we arrived. Anyways, we met up with Rebecca and the kids (Caleb and Jolie) and Akiyo and kids (Mamoru and Akira) as well as some of Rebecca’s friends. It was a beautiful day out and they had some events, like omochi pounding, which was good fun for Evan and I who got to pound the rice with a big wooden mallet thing. Good fun.

Evan was given a straw origami in the shape of a dragon fly that was very neat!

The purpose of the event was supposed to be to catch all the crayfish. The crays eat dragonfly larvae and dragonflies are revered for a number of reasons. There is rice grown in the pond and the rice was harvested and I think they’re going to put dragonfly larvae into the water so that there is an abundance of dragonflies (どんぼ) for the next season. We also sang どんぼ songs in order to raise many dragonflies for next season.

Here’s a site with a bit of information on the event

Pounding the omochi



Monday, October 16th, 2006

I had quite an interesting conversation tonight with Usami-san, the guy who works at the bicycle parking place that I use every day. His english is about as good as my Japanese, so we spoke a bit about things. It turns out, he worked at NTT for 40 years! We were talking about the crossbar switches that he used to manage – similar to the ones my Dad installed a long time ago. He also spoke about the switches before the crossbar switches, which I can’t remember the name of any more. It was really interesting speaking to someone in Japanese, even if my Japanese is still really poor. We managed to understand each other. We spoke about my background, my parents background, languages etc. Usami-san speaks Chinese as well, and we spoke about my brother who also speaks Chinese. Interesting and very invigorating for my mind!


Sunday, October 15th, 2006

We’ve been doing lots of swimming with the kids and usually go swimming at least once during the week. We met a nice man the other day when we were swimming – Sakuma-san. He’s 88 and his english was pretty good! He says he can also speak Chinese, which is impressive. He told us that he earned more than 100 million yen in the stock market back in the boom days, so now he just cruises around the world visiting different countries. Nice lifestyle if you can get it! He said he’s very happy because he’s healthy, has a great family and has money.

Yokohama Festa

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

Today we went to the Yokohama festa, which is a yearly festival celebrating different cultures and is usually accompanied by dancing, music and food. We met up with a bunch of people downtown including Karen (Nicole’s friend from Malaysia/Australia), Brian and Vanessa, Jannie and Ann, and Ayako and kids. It was very nice with such beautiful weather – not too hot and a bit windy – just how I like it!

In the afternoon I went on the bike with Evan around and bought some things for the new computer downtown. We then met up with Nicole and Lauren in Isezaki mall. Evan was allowed to buy 2 things from the 100 yen shop, so he got a laser gun that has sparks inside, and a nerf rocket-launcher thing, that was pretty fun. Lauren loved to watch Evan play with the launcher and he couldn’t wait to get out of the store before using it. I let him shoot the rockets if he wanted to, but as long as there was nobody around. He had a great time. We’ve since lost the rocket part (I’m sure Nicole hid it purposely) but he did have a good time with it!


Saturday, October 7th, 2006

We took the trains to Kamakura today to see the big buddha (Daibutsu) and he really was big! Bigger in person than in pictures I suppose! The day was lovely out, with lots of sun, a bit of wind and not too hot. Lauren fell asleep in the pram at the Daibutsu but we had lunch there after she woke up. Nicole and Evan went into the buddha to see what it looks like from the inside, but it wasn’t that interesting. Ironically near the smoking area were two massive getta made out of straw or something. I would have thought they would be a fire hazard, but anyways, there you are.

After the daibutsu we went to another temple just around the corner called Hasedera which was beautiful. They had some amazing gardens with Koi swimming in them. There was also a little waterfall, with big bamboo pipes sourcing the water. A short walk up the stairs were the temples and a section called Kyozo, which has a rotating rinzo (bookrack) of all the buddhist sutras, or recorded teachings of buddha. Apparently by turning the rinzo, you could get the same benefit as reading all the sutras!

Here’s a brilliant site on the Kamakura Hasedera (looks like there’s one of the same name in Nara)

(you can click on the map for different parts of the temple!)

The kids were pretty tired from all the adventure today and slept so soundly!

Otsukaresama deshita

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

We finished our project a few weeks ago and have been cleaning up the last of the faults. Today we had our Final Acceptance, where the customer agrees to close the project and remaining issues are handled by the support agreement. I said a little thank-you at the end thanking everybody for their hard work and then I also said a bit in Japanese at the end. I think the customer was happy with my attempt to speak Japanese to them, even if I forgot a few words “gokatsuyaku, gokatsuyaku, gokatsuyaku, gokatsuyaku, gokatsuyaku…”. I didn’t include the part that Will said I should say (“Watashi no oshiri sawate kudasai” (please fondle my bottom) ) nor did I say what Sahara-san taught me (“Watashi wa debeso desu” (I am a sticky-outtie bellybutton)). We have drinks with the customer next week, so perhaps it will come out then (particularly if we have lots of sake or shochu).