Thursday, May 26, 2005

Last Minute Preparation


Amy is doing...mmm...okay. She started with a bang but the noveltly appears to have worn off a bit. The big class does not do much for her need to be the leader. She is used to being the boss, the strongest personality in the class. She is eating up her lunches very well, hopefully because she is hungry, not because she feels she has to, though I think there is a bit of that in there, as she complained to me about giving her too much rice, and sometimes moans about the vegetables.

She HATES the afternoon nap, and I can only sympathize with her. Even if I have a rest after lunch, it's only for half an hour. And she has to be there for at least an hour, or more. And they won't let her talk, or read. She sometimes feels a bit lost with all the kids, she hasn't quite made her friends yet, still swapping around, and says that the kids won't play with her. I suspect she is trying to dictate the terms of the game like she does with Lena and her other friends, but the kids at kindy don't see any reason to stay and get nagged when they could be off doing other things! Poor Amy, she'll adjust, I suppose.

Meanwhile Lena is in kindy heaven. She volunteered the other day, not even in response to a question, that she had a lovely day at kindy today. When I drop her off, she runs inside with barely a backward glance, maybe calling out 'see ya' to me as she goes. When I ask her what she did, she almost always answers by telling me the songs she sang, so guess what she likes best? She is also doing well with her lunches, and I am getting into the swing of preparing them. She has sandwiches twice, a Japanese O-bento twice (rice, meat, veges, egg, fruit) and on Thursday I order her a fried chicken and rice-balls O-bento from a shop.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sudden English Lesson

I must be getting a bit ahead of myself, as I totally forgot about a lesson I had scheduled today! Or rather, the English playgroup for Amy and her friends from Keio Academy. There I was, settling in for a relaxed afternoon, just checking the email before going out to pick up Amy, and the doorbell rang. I still didn't click, and Lena raced ahead to answer the door as she always does (she considers it her job, and gets extremely annoyed if anyone else tries to open it!) and there stood Mayumi and Maika. I still didn't click, and thought they had just come to drop something off, but they started to come in, and I realized my mistake - because I had had the Friday group scheduled (but cancelled) only a few days ago, I kind of thought that that must be it for a week, but now that I think about it, I do recall realizing that alternating Tuesdays and Fridays does mean that a Tuesday group follows on very quickly from a Friday.

Oh well, I recovered - I do have a lot of resources so it was not too challenging. We played Fish using the Dr Seuss 'one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish' cards the Greenwoods got for one of my kids a few years ago, and followed it with the Living Books CDrom version of The Cat in The Hat.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Amy's swimming lesson

My legs feel like I climbed ten mountains yesterday instead of just two. Must have been all that walking backwards to help them down, and careful stepping to help them keep their balance. Kanji is fine, but reckons he will feel it tomorrow. Nevertheless I went swimming, just a gentle 600, including 100 breaststroke, which I haven't done for ages.

Amy had her last 5:30 swimming lesson today, as of next month we are switching to 4:20. We only joined the 5:30 group so she could be with her kindy friends, who have now both left. It will be sad for Lena - who has made friends with a boy her age, another younger sibling forced to watch boring swimming for an hour. They both bring toys and play together.

But I will be glad to see the back of the annoying kid in Amy's class who teases us for speaking English! It was okay at the beginning, and I was patient, friendly and talked to her in Japanese, explained where I was from, and taught her a few English words. This method usually works to get bamboozled kids used to me. But this girl just wouldn't let up, mockingly repeating what we said, or going on about how she can't understand, and why do we speak English, and where do I live, and where am I from etc, etc, etc, so that last week, Amy finally whispered conspiratorially in my ear 'Don't speak English!'. She knew what would come if she did. And I don't want Amy to be ashamed of speaking English

The main reason we are changing is because the time is too late, I prefer the earlier time, then I can drive straight from kindy to swimming, then go home for tea, but I must admit an added extra is to say sayonara to that little pest.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Family Day Out

Kanji had Sunday off so we decided to do something. He mentioned a restaurant in Yamakuni that he had heard of that apparently had really great chicken - half a bird on a stick or something. So we drove the half hour to Yamakuni to try it out. (Well, it was an hour after we suddenly decided to go in and buy my train tickets for Friday, then go home to get the cameras!).

First of all check out Lena's nice clean teeth!

We didn't have the famous chicken. After coming in and sitting down, we realized we were supposed to buy tickets for a dish instead of waiting for service. So Kanji went back to get the tickets. We decided on a noodle and chicken set for the girls, and Kanji chose mushroom noodles, because, as he said, he was afraid that we would have 'eyes bigger than stomach' (he's never forgotten that picturesque English idiom). I decided someone had to order the special skewered chicken, which came in a set with soup, a big rice ball, pickles and raw jellyfish. But we were told it would take half an hour, and I just knew the kids would not be able to handle that and my meal would be punctuated by yelling at them to sit down and shut up. So I went back to the ticket machine and this time bought a fried fish set - only to find that too, would take 30 minutes. I was getting very annoyed by now - it seemed stupid to drive half an hour to go to a restaurant and then not get what you went there for. But I would not enjoy it, so I chose 'fox noodles' which is noodles topped with fried tofu skins. As it was, the girls didn't eat much chicken, so I had theirs, which was delicious. Posted by Hello

Kanji had mentioned the temple Rakanji as we were driving, and during lunch we decided to visit it. It is set on a small mountain and is famous for having 500 stone buddhas. We drove, following signs, and got to a small car park, with a track nearby so we parked and started climbing. It was a rough climb - the path was somewhat overgrown and strewn with leaves, and there were some very steep steps. I held Amy's hand while Kanji alternately carried Lena and held her hand. We arrived at a broken, tumble down building set into the cliff, and almost falling out of it. We continued along the path, and ended up on top of the hill, where another temple was set into the cliff wall. Posted by Hello

Here are Kanji and Amy standing at the edge of the shelf the temple was set upon. The path was no wider than this all along (photo is taken from the vantage point in the next photo). We had to squeeze under the support poles to get to where we are in this photo Posted by Hello

Me and Lena on top of the steps above Kanji and Amy, from where I took the previous photo. The ridge was very narrow, so just behind me is a steep valley. The path actually continued around the edge - with a chain to hold on to! Not with the kids, thank you! Posted by Hello

And then, after we gingerly picked our way down again, we decided to take a look through a tunnel going under the hill - and found the real Rakanji. We had just climbed an out-building, which is why the whole thing was in such a bad state of repair. There was a ski-lift on the real mountain, but we took the stairs. It took about 20 minutes, and we found two snails, and a big red spider on the way. There were lots of interesting statues and memorials on the way up.

The temple consisted of several buildings built under overhangs and in caves, with steps carved out of the rock, or in some places, built with stone. The gateway above the girls leads to the main areas. Posted by Hello

The main temple building is about 80 years old, the one before it having been destroyed in a fire. It's set right into the cliff and has a large terrace with an overhanging balcony. There is even a house next door where the priest lives. It also has a carp pond, which used to have a waterfull but which has now dried up. Amy and Lena are disrupting a guided tour here. Posted by Hello

Some of the 500 stone buddhas in the grotto. All of them are different - with some really original and individual ones. They are modelled on real people, who donated the statue. Posted by Hello


We came back down much more quickly, of course, much to the suprise of some of the people who had been at the top with us, and who came down the lift, but who only beat us down by a few seconds. We were given tea by the ladies in the souvenir shop, and interesting iriko and yuzu blend - iriko is dried fish and yuzu is a type of citrus. It tasted like soup and was very refreshing after the climb. We bought ice creams then moved on.

We went through Aonodomon, a local 'sight'. It's a cliff hard by a river with a tunnel carved out of the cliff to enable travellers to pass by without having to climb the mountain. In the past, many people were killed in accidents passing over the mountain with pack horses and the like. Then a man who had once been a soldier and had killed a lot of people, suddenly had a change of heart and became a priest. In penance for his many sins, he carved the tunnel by hand to save the lives of the travellers.

Carp feeding frenzy. The river by the cliff is teeming with carp. They have built a special area where you can feed them. Just our luck, a friend came along with some fish food and bread she had bought, and we all fed them. They thrashed about, climbed on each others' backs, and when they saw us approaching the water, then lifted their heads out and opened their mouths. Yes, I tried to throw food in, No, I didn't suceed Posted by Hello


We were very tired by now and more than ready for the hot springs. I wanted to go to Kanairo onsen, which is on Mt Hachimen in Sanko village. It's very popular in Nakatsu, but I haven't been there yet. I felt like I was missing out. It's quite new. We decided to get a family bath, so we could all go in together. We got a tiny room with a toilet and changing area, and what was basically a garden with a tub in one corner. It was just fabulous having a long soak with a view of the mountain. The water was just hot enough to satisfy us, but not too hot for the kids, like many onsens are.

Pizza for dinner - third time lucky! First we tried the onsen restaurant. We arrived at 4:40, and it opened at 5:00. The kids were happy in the garden, so initially we decided to wait, despite my being a bit concerned about it getting cold. We were hot from the bath and couldn't really tell the temperature. Then Kanji looked in the brochure and realized that the dinner fee was 5000, so we scrapped that idea and decided to go to Kisha Poppo, the train restaurant. But that too was closed for repairs! So we decided on the pizza place in Youme Town near home, where the kids had a spaghetti kids' set and me and Kanji shared a set menu consisting of salad, a drink, pasta, pizza and dessert. Here I am with my three-mushroom and bacon pizza Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Takita Family

We finally got to see the Takita family again! Shoko had her fourth baby in January, and it seems he was a bit of a handfull (not to mention 4.2kg at birth!) as they were 'too busy' for us to come since then.

Machiko is now in second grade and was busy reading a Japanese book when I arrived. Yuto is six, and has calmed down a bit, and grown taller. Rikako (one month older than Lena) is a real little girl now, not the least shy and happy to join in the games. And the baby is a rolly-polly four-month old. He started to cry just about as soon as we entered the living room, where he was taking a nap in the cot. Mother seemed busy running around so I picked him up and was pleasantly surprised to find he stopped immediately and settled in for a nap on my shoulder! I dared not talk in case he heard the wrong voice! I gave him back to his mother for a feed when she was ready, and settled down with the other three, while my two went into their bedroom and played with their toys. Remember how another kid's toys were like a fantasy land of treasures when you were a kid??

Of course they had forgotten most of their English, so we are pretty much starting again, - again. But they have a lot of fun.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Docs and Dentists again

Amy had her scheduled asthma check-up at the hospital today. This week, she has been coughing a little, with a rather nasty attack early this morning. I think it's a follow-on from the mild cold we all have. BUT it means another month of preventive meds. I also made sure the dark circles under her eyes are not from the medication, to satisfy Baachan who is getting concerned about how long Amy has been taking medication and was staring to worry that it was a permanenet side-effect. But he agreed with me that it was just tiredness - all that coughing keeps us all awake, every cough jars me.

Then it was Lena's turn. The practice session was a brilliant idea! Because of it she RAN into the surgery, and was only momentarily upset when she had to sit in a different chair. There are three chairs in a row, and the dental nurses prepare patients and do basic stuff while the dentist goes from one patient to the next. Japan's version of patient confidentiality is for everyone to pretend they can't actually hear what's going on one metre away.

She leapt into the chair, and immediately started to play with the water cup. Then she had a go with the vacuum. Then it was time to begin, and she was a bit surprised but it did not appear to hurt, and she calmed down. He drilled, cleaned, then put in the putty, then cleaned again. The second cleaning appeared to be the most uncomfortable for her. But her patience was wearing out by the time of the second cleaning, and it was then that she screamed. She had a brief cuddle with me (I was holding her hands) and sat down for 'just a little more'. The dentist sang to her 'Lena's such a good girl, a good girl, a good girl'. Then when it was all over he let her play again with the equipment so her last memory would be a fun one. We are due to go back the week after next to do a small cavity in her next tooth along.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


We finally me Joanne and Emily and Masaki today! I cancelled Lena's denist appointment and Amy's ballet class for them!

Emily seemed a little shy of me, didn't quite know what to say to me. But the kids were straight into it, and me and Joanne talked non-stop. The usual - work, home, kids, kindy, flights, Joanne's sister's wedding, (we somehow left out the medical system, but that's enough to keep us going for hours).

We have to have a going-away party for Birgit and Paul and Peter and Rosa. After years of them saying they're leaving soon, then Paul renewing his contract again. But this time it's final, the movers are arranged, the flights booked! What are we going to do without them???

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Double Day Off

Since Lena still had a fever at bedtime and Amy woke up with a bad cough, I decided to keep them both at home today. Okay, and maybe a little bit of it was the fact that not having to do the double-kindy round...

Turns out they are both quite happy and healthy. So they spent the morning playing then we went to Baachan's for lunch, after which I went to my Higashi college class. They were in a fine mood today, I was a bit tougher with getting them to shut-up while I was talking which they responded to very well. We had pair and whole-class activities today so I did not put them in groups. I don't know how much that helped cos the rowdiest two groups sit near each other anway, and tended to turn around and lean over their chairs to gossip anyway!

Today at Wakachan's we cooked a tofu dish. Simmered in a 10/1/1 mix of dashi (fish stock) mirin and sake, with a dash of soy sauce. Also in it were shimeji mushrooms and spring onion. It was nice, but I think if I cook it again I will add the ginger slices and dried red chilli that Wakachan left out because of the kids. It needed a bit of a kick. She also told me to cook it longer because the tofu didn't take up as much flavour as it should have.

The girls watched Princess Mononoke, a very famous Japanese cartoon, but couldn't make head or tail of it. And it was a bit scary, so each time Wakachan came out to cook, Amy would be in within about five minutes to drag her back to watch it together (and answer her endless questions)


Again. Lena. Seems very mild so far, runny nose, hacking awful cough, but she's not coughing very often so that's okay. 38 temperature, but she always measures high, so I'm not worried abotu that. The usual genki Lena, acting like she's not even ill at all, just every now and then needs a cuddle or tells me she has a headache.

I am feeling a bit under the weather myself too, so I might see if we can get a nap after lunch. I was debating whether to swim today - with my cloudy head and slightly achey body. I had actually decided to, when I cuddled Lena and felt how hot she was. So now it's another day at home, and a chance to catch up on my Blog!

Amy came home and we watched Drew Barrymore's lovely 'Ever After'. What a spunky Cinderella (and a pretty dishy prince too!). After the movie Amy went around calling me 'Your Majesty' in a posh accent, but the thing she copied from the movie was from a very brief scene of honey-collecting. Amy has been interested in the whole bee deal lately, so when the hives came on, I excitedly said 'Oooh look, that's a hive, that's where they get the honey!' After the movie she 'made' a hive out of a plastic lid and a pile of books, using a bee block from the Duplo and Winne the Pooh's Duplo honey pot. She used my old hat and a table cover (Uncle John's wedding present) to construct her protective hat, and collected some honey for me to eat

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


We took Lena to the dentist today. For a while now, we have been worried about her front teeth. The dentist in January put on some stuff that went black on contact with the air, which I agreed to because I wanted to get the bacteria killed. He said it would fade in time, but it didn't.

Then I found out that there is such a thing as pediatric dentists, so Kanji found one, coincidentally just around the corner, opposite Youme Town. I hadn't known because although I had seen a dentist there, and the name, the 'pediatric' bit is not written large or obviously.

He was very nice, and explained that he would remove the cavity by drilling (eek!) and place a cap over the tooth, although it will not be like an adult's cap, basically just gum, which may fall out, and we'll have to keep getting it replaced, but only until her baby teeth fall out of course.

He also cleaned off some of the black from the medicine, and then gave her a practice session so she would not be so frightened by the drilling. They used a water spray that made the same noise as the drill, and also put in the vacuum, with a pink cap just for her, and let her play with it. Another thing they did was, before they did anything in her mouth, they first did it on her hand, so she could SEE what was happening and understand before it was put in her mouth. I remember thinking, I wish my dentist would do that! Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the wierdest instruments heading towards my mouth and the oddest sensations inside.

Wish us good luck for Thursday when the real drilling begins!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Oops I was supposed to... working out how to write a website today, but I got distracted doing BLOGS and catching up on emails. At least I got the room tidied (Naoyo is coming tonight instead of last night). Promise I will do better next time

Picnic and Concert

Today was Amy's kindy picnic. At first I thought I was going to have a lesson right in the middle of it at 10am, so I arranged for Baachan to go and she called Mie to help her. But then my student cancelled so I got to go after all.

It was held in Osada Park, a big park with a huge field, lots of play equipment, lakes on either side and a stream running through it. We all gathered together for the official start, consisting of an introduction, welcome message, prayer, two songs, introduction to this year's PTA, introduction to all the teachers, oreintation and 'taiso' or exercises - almost like a dance, to some old fuddy-duddy folk song.

The children praying: Amy is on the left, fourth from the front Posted by Hello

Amy's teachers are the three in the green caps Posted by Hello
Then came the main event, I guess you could call it an obstacle course. There were six stations set up around the park, each with an activity, and a table with stamps to mark the squares corresponding to the stations on the map each child received upon arrival (Lena got one too).

First up was running around the climbing frame in a hoop attached to another hoop with someone else in it. It was designed as a parent/child activity, but seeing as I had two kids I got away with it and Amy and Lena went round together

Hoop race Posted by Hello

The next activity was a bit odd. Listening to trees. We used real stethoscopes, and had a bit of fun listening to our hearts as well. The trees made some noise - the chest part scratching against the bark amplified in our ears. So THAT'S what a tree sounds like! Posted by Hello

Amy coming through the tunnel at the second stationPosted by Hello

Lena follows. The next activity was just getting our photo taken. I don't have that photo yet Posted by Hello

Then we crossed to the other side of the park and made dragonflies out of plastic umbrella bags and bits of paper. Then even flew a little Posted by Hello

With Peter and Rosa and another friend exploring and digging worms Posted by Hello
The final activity was a camoflage game - they roped off areas of the garden, and hid several toys in them. The funniest part was the teachers constantly running around replacing items that over-enthusiastic kids had rushed in and retrieved for the silly teacher who had lost them, while all the time yelled 'Don't point! Don't point!'.

We then sat down for our lunch, which was a feast fit for a week's worth of picnics. Both Baachan and I had prepared things, both throwing in this and that to make sure we had enough. In the end we had (for three adults and two children): My picnic box with salad, tomatoes, and a few pieces of grilled fish on the bottom; 9 pieces of fried chicken, and a dozen each of tiny cheese sausages and tiny Kitty-chan sausages in the middle; and potato salad, sweet omelet and soy beans on the top. I also brought 2 litres of barley tea, and a huge container of water-melon. We also had a plastic bag full of boxes of snacks and chocolates that someone had given Baachan, a 2 litre bottle of sports drink, and then Baachan's picnic box, with about seven inari-zushi (sushi in a fried tofu skin) and about five nori-maki (sushi wrapped in dried sea-weed) on the bottom, and five more pieces of fried chicken, mixed simmered vegetables (burdock, bamboo, shiitake mushrooms, taro). And a containter of mini-tomatoes and strawberries. Needless to say, we took most of it home. The kids were too interested in playing to eat anyway.

Then we had another event to go to that night - Nakatsu's annual rock festival. Well, it's only in it's second year, but it was bigger than last year, so we can only hope. It's a two-day event, with camping, and a whole lot of local and nearby amateur bands. We stopped by MacDonalds and bought our dinner, then drove up Mt Hachiman to the outdoor natural arena where it was held. We stayed for about three hours, til Amy started to go to sleep on my legs. After than long day, they were both asleep before we got off the mountain.

Amy practices her rock postures while Lena practices being a groupie Posted by Hello

Nanbanjin playing. To the left is Rich, a guy who works at Keio Academy (and who organized the whole thing) Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday the 13th.

Exhausted. I just seem to have been on the go all day today. I was up a 7am, but I seemed to run behind myself and only just got everything done before we took off out the door. I had my first cup of tea off the dashboard of the car as the girls did up their seatbelts. I was still drinking when we started down the road.

Two lessons at OIT, at least they went well and were a pleasure not a brain drain. Straight to the supermarket after work to buy food for my lunch, our dinner and the lunches for tomorrow's picnic. I was home long enought to put the meat in the fridge, then out again to pick up the photocopying for the AFWJ meeting agendas. Back home again to eat lunch then start stuffing envelopes. (Had second cup of tea, skulled, half cold just before getting on my bike.)

I stopped at 1:45 to get on the bike to go get Lena. I was back with her at 2:20 and finished the envelopes. I took her to Kanji's work and he watched her while I went swimming. 3o minutes 1200m. I came back, picked up Lena and went to Amy's kindy to pick her up. Back home to wrap the boxes for trademe, then out to the PO to deliver 14 AFWJ agenda envelopes, 4 boxes for Maria and one surprise for Grandma. Maybe once it arrives one of your children can play you the Police song that inspired it...

Back from the PO I did all the dishes, and cooked dinner. We had parmesan potatoes, weiner schnitzel I used the cheap Australian block beef and cut it myself, so I had fat little ones. Kids loved them!, frozen broccoli/cauli/carrot mix microwaved with basil, and fresh peas in the pod. (Had third cup of tea, heated up from pot leftovers, skulled half-cold while cooking. I can just hear Nana going "You're tea's getting cold!) If you ever wanted to know how people eat peas with chopsticks - it's easy, you leave them in the pod. Take off the strings, boil them for a few minutes, refresh, and dip them before eating in mayonnaise and soy sauce.

Dinner, bath, kids in bed and here I am. Just sat down to blob in front of TV, only to find that Kanij has booked something to tape so there goes that idea. Okay, blog instead. Oh, and a NICE HOT cup of tea!


Hiro-chan came over again today, to give me a free copy of FrontPage, a web-building tool, and a tutorial on how to use it. Now I can get started. I have put aside Sunday as the day to begin, and start to search sites and peek at their html so I can learn how they are put together. I had better actually do it this time and not just waffle on on email and my blog so much!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Higashi College

Another challenging lesson at Higashi Junior College.

Although they are still declaring English 'fun' and the novelty has not yet worn off, the noise level has increased somewhat. Several times they continued conversations while I tried to explain what to do. I am re-thinking my setting up of groups - maybe they will work better if I keep them separate. At least then they would all be facing me. Several boys in one corner consistently miss my explanations of what to do, and have to be told again personally. How annoying. A group of girls on the other side are getting too chatty. Since they are college students and supposedly adults, I can't really punish them. I just have to try to stay in control...

Just imagine this...

You are in the kitchen, tending your pot of spaghetti sauce, when you hear your husband come in the door. Now that's a nice surprise, but then he says to the kids, who you have been hearing (but not actively listening to) messing around playing together just outside and inside the living room door, "What are you doing!!!" and you turn around to find about 30 slaters crawling in every direction across the tatami mats, while your two intrepid daughters chase them and try to catch them.

Of course I said "AAAAggghhh!!!!!!!!" and went to help Kanji, who tried to pick one up then chickened out. I got the broom and gathered them while Amy and Lena worked on collecting them. When I told her to change the soil in the slater nest today, this is not what I had in mind!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


If I squeeze it into my schedule I can fit in four swimming sessions a week - a mere twenty minutes on Monday, then sessions on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

So I have added cycling! I decided last week to pick Lena up from kindy on the bike, and found to my surprise that it took about the same time as driving! Perhaps five minutes longer (fifteen as opposed to ten). I suppose getting into the car, fiddling with the carseat, parking and pulling out, as well as lights takes up quite a bit of time.

So, I will be taking her to kindy or picking her up on the bike five times a week (again, strictly scheduled due to work and swimming). Every second Monday morning, Tuesday morning and every second Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday morning maybe Thursday afternoon and Friday afternoon. It's fun and convenient but I just can't fit any more!

Me and Lena on the bike Posted by Hello

Monday, May 09, 2005

Hiraodai Park

Maika's mum Mayumi called this morning and asked to go to the park. That saved us from a potentially boring Sunday so off we went.

We arrived at her house in Yukuhashi at about 12pm. It's a 40min drive there - but Mayumi drove it every morning for two years to take Maika to the English kindergarten. The park was even further away - another 20mins. It was on top of a mountain - surrounded by soft grassy hills dotted with rocks. It was much cooler than here at sea-level, so I plan to go there again in summer when it's too hot and humid down here.

We had to pay 300 yen parking, and I thought for a minute that I would have to pay to get in too, but it was just a counter. Behind the gate was a large concourse with shops and restaurants, then beyond that fields and hills and playgrouds.

The first thing we did was buy tickets for the 'train' ride - the train being a truck shaped like a train with an electronic 'toot toot'. We got into open cars pulled behind and went on a 15 min tour of the park.

The 'train' Posted by Hello

On board Posted by Hello
When we got back from the train ride, we were all very hungry so we went to the Biking restaurant, which has nothing to do with cycling. Biking is Japanese for smorgasbord. Smorgasbord is swedish, so are Vikings, which become biking in Japanese pronunciation. So it was a buffet, or all-you-can-eat place. $13 for adults, $5 for pre-schoolers and Lena was free!

With the 'train' Posted by Hello

At the 'Biking' Posted by Hello

Ready to go... Posted by Hello