Archive for February, 2009

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Thursday, February 26th, 2009

We went to visit Fumiko in Nakano in Tokyo on the weekend to see the new baby. Baby Nanami was born about 3 weeks ago and is so tiny! She’s beautiful! Here’s a picture of the baby:

Evan and Lauren loved to hold the baby. Lauren loves to play with dolls, so having a real baby this time was out of this world for her!
And here are the proud parents:

Toki also showed us the bokudo he used when he was a child. Our kids loved to use it. Lauren would do these jump things in the air while hitting on the small sword – it was very cool!

Fujiten ski trip

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

I took Friday off work and we made a small trip to Yamaguchiko to do some skiing. It was 14 degrees and raining cats and dogs on Friday morning when we took off for Yamaguchiko for our ski trip. We were wondering whether there would be any snow left on the mountain, since it was so warm and raining. However when we got there around 1pm on Friday, it turned out to be beautiful sun! The place we went to was called Fujiten and we knew quite a few friends who have been there before. We rented clothes and Evan rented skis and we went into the kiddie area, which had a moving sidewalk and a gentle slope. Lauren and Mummy went on the sleds and Evan and I worked on Evan’s skiing ability. The place was very empty, particularly for a Friday!

Evan learned so quickly and by the end of the day, he was able to do a slalom of a sort. His slowing down wasn’t so good, but his turning ability was pretty good! By the end of the day, he was pretty tired, but I felt he made great progress towards skiing!

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We made our way to the ryokan that I arranged and were really impressed with the ryokan. Very new and very tidy. We went for an onsen before dinner and were nice and relaxed for the dinner.

The onsen had an open-air part where one could look over the entire Yamaguchi-ko. It was so beautiful!
The dinner was as expected, huge! Very big dinner. The kids didn’t eat much of their dinner, so Nicole and I had dinner for 2. The kids knocked off very quickly, but were up in the night and in general, quite restless.

The next morning we were up not so early and we checked out and made our way to the ski resort again. This time the ski resort was packed with people! The queues were huge and we had to wait a long time for things like the ski wear, ski equipment and tickets. On the way there we saw Akiyo waiting in line! We also met up with Marta and Olivier and then Margareth as well. All the kids were really keen to ski. This time we also got skis for Lauren and myself, and Evan got skis as usual. Evan was keen to try the harder hills and he fell quite a bit at the beginning, but by the end of the day he was doing so well. He rarely fell, and was able to actively slow-down and stop using snow-plow and sometimes by falling down. He’s so amazing. We skied with Lucas and Agetha. Agetha was really very good and was very co-ordinated.

Evan’s skiing improved so much just in the 1.5 days we went. He really enjoyed it and I took Lauren for a ski once, which she really enjoyed. She’s very good at balancing on the skiis, as well as going straight, but she can’t slow down and doesn’t know how to turn. But Evan did an excellent job! We also met Akiya and Makoto on the hills and once were able to ski with them. Akira and Mamoru were both very good skiiers!

In all, it was an excellent day. The kids did so well and they’re asking when they can go skiing again!

Japanese Language Proficiency Test #3

Monday, February 16th, 2009

I got my results back from my JLPT #3 and I passed! Yah!

I got 78% which was much better than I expected! I was expecting to fail, but I’m glad I passed.

This is the breakdown of my markes:

88% on the Kanji/Vocabulary
74% on the listening (I was expecting 0% for that one!)
75% on the Reading/Grammar

I’m very chuffed!

The JLPT#2 is far harder than the first 2, and my former teacher told me it would be around a 2 year process for getting JLPT#2, so I don’t think it’s too realistic to try for it. Anyways, we’ll keep going and see how far I can get!

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Monday, February 16th, 2009

I went to Korea for a business trip the other day just for the day. It was an interesting experience. The flight out there was very quick – only 2 hours on the way there, 1.5 on the way back. It’s almost as if one could go there just for the day. I had planned on being there just 1 day, but the flights etc were cheaper if I stayed 2, so I was there for 2. It was a busy time, meeting up with the customer and planning the next steps once finished.

I didn’t get to see anything of the city (apart from the taxi rides between customer visits) but that’s ok. It reminded me a bit of Japan. One thing that struck me as interesting was that on the way from the airport at midnight, there were lots of neon Christian crosses lighting up the night. I didn’t associate Korea with a strong Christian religion. Either that or the Korean Christians are more outspoken than the others (which could also be the case).
The day of the meetings was torrential downpour of rain and it was massively windy (more than Wellington even!) and I even saw the flags from the tops of the masts go flying away!

I did manage to get out to the stores before they closed at 9pm to get some souvenirs for the family. But the trip was a functional one, rather than a relaxing one!

Nicole’s calligraphy exhibition (書道展覧会)

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Nicole had her calligraphy exhibition this week and we finally got to go see it today. It looked really good! Nicole was very proud of it and so are we – and we are looking forward to finding a place to put it in our house.

I met Nicole’s teacher, Sajiki-sensei and also his father who’s a well-known calligrapher in this part of Japan.
Here’s a shot of Nicole and the work.

Here’s a picture from today with the kids.

The word is 優美 and is pronounced ゆうび (yuu-bi) and means “graceful”.