Monday, June 28, 2010


Wouldn't mind commenting about commenting, and making a lunch date in Osaka this Sunday, but can't comment, I click the comment button and nothing happens.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

The girls stayed at a friend's house the night before, and I thought it would be a nice idea to pick them up in time for lunch, then go and find a nice restaurant to eat at.

First, we lost Erica - she insisted on staying with Baachan, and well, knowing how she behaves in restaurants, being a terrible two, I wasn't inclined to argue with her! I figured she wouldn't remember anyway and I hope she isn't too annoyed when she reads this in six years' time - if this is you reading this in the future, Erica, you WANTED to stay with Baachan, who you fell totally head-over-heels in love with about two weeks ago, because she spoils you and gives you ice cream.

Anyway, after driving through Usa and being too afraid to actually go in to any restaurants in case they weren't up to scratch, we ended up at Kisha-Poppo in Nakatsu. Kanji wanted to go there anyway.

We bought him a present - comfy top and shorts set to wear at home, he seemed genuinely happy with it!

With our big girls. Lena the comedienne! And she took the photo on the right.

Lena with her curry that was bigger than her! And yes, she ate it! Amy chose chicken nan-ban, fried chicken in a sweet sauce.

I had, on the left, the special Kisha-Poppo set, with tempura, miso soup, chawan mushi, pickles, and the special rice, steamed with seasonal vegetables and flavors. Kanji had sashimi and grilled fish set, and some beer!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Favorites Survey

I was taking notes to write about my daughters when I decided I should really let them speak for themselves instead. So I interviewed them last night before bedtime. The cutest thing was that Erica started answering too, sometimes she picked up on a word in the question and answered appropriately, sometimes it was just random!

So here it is, the Three Daughters Favorites Survey:

What is your favourite:
A: Waterloo by Abba, Grace Kelly by Mika, and the Black Eyed Peas' Boom Boom Song
L: Telephone by Lady Gaga, You Spin me Right Round by Flo Rida and the Boom Boom Song
E: We answered for her, Lady Gaga's Bad Romance

A: Japanese curry, Spaghetti Bolognese and Niku Jaga (Japanese beef and potato stew)
L: Spaghetti Bolognese, Lasagne, curry
E: "weetbix!"

A: Purple
L: Pink
E: "rice" (stuck on Q.2 it seems)

A: Art and maths
L: Sport (but not in winter because changing is too cold)
E: "orange!" (still stuck one question behind!)

A: Doraemon, Wizards of Waverly Place.
L: Doraemon, Shin-chan, Puri-kyua (all Japanese anime)
E: "yayij!" (still stuck on q.2!" Then she twigged and answered "Okaasan" (Okaasan to Issho, Japanese kids' show)

A: Drawing and riding my bike
L: Playing with the water pistols (new this week!)
E: "baby!" (fairly accurate - she loves her baby dolls, she even breastfeeds them!)

A: Cinderella, true stories
L: Real stories, history, biography (!? wow, never knew that!)
E: "elephant!"

A: Historical manga and Mum's glossy fashion and gossip magazines
L: Disney Princess magazine
E: Anpanman - our answer) "Jaw (draw)! Egg!" (?)

A: Go for a bike ride, go on a drawing tour
L: Sleep in! Chasing play and running outside
E: "car!"

A: Water, milk
L: Calpis water, white soda
E: "water!"

A: jeans, plain t-shirt
L: Jeans, black or sheer pretty top
E: "pants!"

A: Chess
L: Life
E: "Mum" (awwww....)

A: New Zealand and Takachiho
L: New Zealand and Maia's house
E: "slide!"

A: Gusto
L: Gusto
E: "Cookie, Cookie!"

A: Momoka, Maia
L: Yamanaka Ryo
E: (our answer - Yuuki)

A: Pony, cats
L: Pony, dogs
E: Doraemon (yeah, well, he is a cat!)

A: Plane and train
L: Plane

A: Abba, Hannah Montana
L: Jonas Bros
E: (our answer - Lady Gaga)

They then asked me what this was all for, and I replied that it's to show them in a year or two, whereupon they will shriek and say "UGh! I said the Jonas Bros/Hannah Montana!"

Life with a 2-year old

Warning:Gush zone!

Okay, I find my little side-kick adorable. She does, and says the cutest things. I think we're so lucky to have this little ray of sunshine in our lives everyday.

I was putting away blankets upstairs today. Erica was 'helping' of course, by climbing on for a piggy-back while I laboured with the seal on the vacuum bag, and bedding her teddy bear down on the pile of blankets I had piled up to put in a bag. Mostly though she just went up and down the stairs, hovering by the TV every now and then, looking hopeful, as if Okaasan to Issho would come on just by sheer will alone. Then up again to check on me.

She interrupted my podcast to listen to Honey, Honey. While I went next door to clean away some things there, she stayed in there dancing. First time I checked on her, she was jumping on the bed, dancing (quite well, actually) to Mamma Mia. Next time I checked, Take a Chance on Me had come on, and she was under the covers, snuggling. I couldn't resist and got on with her. At first she rolled away from me, because I was rude enough to check her bottom (no pants at all). Then she rolled back and tucked the sheet around me.

This morning she walked up the corridor towards me, and I said Hello baby. She muttered something about 'baby' in what sounded like a rather indignant voice, so I thought she might be annoyed that I called her a baby. So I leaned over and patted her on the head and called her a 'little girl' And she lifted up her hand and patted my head right back, calling me something-or-other 'girl'!

Just now she did a wee-wee outside, and came and told me about it. Now she running around outside COMPLETELY naked!

Does she have tantrums? Of course, but they are fairly mild. Or maybe I'm just used to it! They don't last longer than five minutes, and usually end with a much-needed hug. Yesterday she was so mad she stormed out of the room and slammed the door! Or she tried to. If anyone has ever seen a two-year-old trying to slam shut a sliding wooden door, it's quite an effort! After huffing and heaving and pushing, she finally got it shut. She missed the sight of me and her sisters rolling around the floor laughing at her! She came back in one minute with the solution to her problem - ask Amy to get whatever it was that Mummy said No to!

She's talking really well. Her favorite things to say inlcude "Wachu DOOing?" and "Can I ____ peezh Mummy", with whatever she wants inserted. Then she says Thank You ("kankyu").

Mystery word of the month:


Not to be confused with yogige, which is yogurt.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Stuff two-year olds do!

She was so proud, thought she looked SO hot in her Anpanman pants, cookie-monster jacket and favorite pink hat!

I came home from a sketching expedition with Amy to find Lena watching YouTube, Kanji asleep on the sofa and this:

Erica helping herself to a treat, copying Amy's chocolate-milk/potion-making. She got the scissor out of the drawer and opened the new packet of brown sugar herself - here's the evidence:

And she was, again, SO proud of her cooking efforts, and kept on eating as we all glared in shock and horror and I tried to figure out just how and where to being the clean-up!

Lady Gaga. Again.

Today she came up to me with the knee and elbow pads and asked me to put them, and the helmet on. Then I followed her outside to where she had a go on the skateboard. Note the missing pants...

Busy Wednesday

Back to the grind! On the agenda today, de-clutter computer areas, DVD case and the crap that has accumulated around the TV again. A bunch of errands to run, and prepare for the girls' cooking tonight - they've chosen corn fritters, yay, nice and easy, plus rice and miso soup. I love that simple Japanese way of rounding out a meal.

Yesterday was surprisingly not a write-off. I did NOT sleep Monday night, so I was tired, and decided to retire from all de-cluttering work. However, it was not a total write-off because I tidied things on the computer instead, like the documents folders, pictures folders, favorites and started putting titles on the videos, which go back a year now, still un-edited, un-sorted, still no idea how to save them. When I buy my new digital camera, I am going back to tape.

I'm blaming the termites for my lack of sleep. Every year they come out as soon as the rains begin, and try to find a nest, often picking on my old wooden house in their search. It's been treated, so they haven't nested, but I still have to deal with the yearly influx. They creep in through the gaps in the construction and fall onto the bedding and pillows with a creepy little thwack.

I've finally got on top of it though, and as soon as I saw one, I went upstairs and sprayed the room corner to corner, every little gap. Although we waited a while before going up to sleep, I still think I had some kind of a mild reaction to the spray, and my throat felt a bit swollen. I could breathe, and sleep, but kept suddenly waking up, like sleep apnea. So I felt ragged in the morning, I do so pity people with sleep apnea - like my poor husband, I must get him a mouth guard thingy, this happens to him a lot!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


This meal has a bit of a back story. It all started here, with Jo's neighbor hearing that New Zealanders eat shark, so they gave her some... anyway in the comments, Heather offered to send gaijinwife some shark she'd seen in the supermarket, and I just happened to turn up at her house for a birthday party the day the shark arrived! So, we ate it. It wasn't flake, it was gray and a bit mushy, but yummy. Almost like a fish cake. The batter turned out really well; after a brief internet search for beer batter, I gave up and used the Edmonds. Figured I couldn't go wrong with that, and I was wright! The kids, starving from their swimming lesson, really loved the newspaper-wrapped parcels and ate everything!

Picnic table in the park. It was warmish, windy and threatening rain. Just like a NZ summer!!! In fact, it really needed a little MORE wind to be really like a NZ fish'n'chips evening picnic, and we had to wrap it in a Japanese newspaper,but you can't have it all.

Erica plucks out a chip. On the right, Amy gets into the tartare sauce.

Below, a tableau of children. They had a big play in the park after dinner.

Sho's Birthday Party

Birthday boy Sho, licking the railway crossing!

The amazing shinkansen train - Sho did the candles one by one, extending the joy! Right, I thought GW would like this photo as her thighs look super-skinny!

Amy and Lena playing magnet dolls with two of the other little girls, while the toddler boy looks on, probably wondering how he can best sabotage this peaceful scene. Right, the kids gathered around the cake.

Two two-year old girls. Marina is a month younger, and about 3 inches taller!

The construction company chicks hard at work, under Satcho's watchful eye

The two two-year old girls again. Even without her long legs, you can see how much taller Marina is! On the right, Erica in THAT walker, and yes, the gate was shut this time!

Super cute photo of my favorite little baby boy. He's such a smiley baby, it's quite rare to catch him NOT smiling!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Host and Hostess Mr and Mrs Kawano in full barbecue mode

Guests help out, skewering the vegetables for the barbecue. Tomomi and Mari. On the right, Izumi with Daichan, Akiko's baby. Akiko, and Kiki LOVING the edamame

Zain takes care of important business. Jukcho again, with the very yummy coconut curry.

Cute kids again! Kiara loved Erica's fluffy travel bag, and they both loved Mio's old kitchen toys. On the right, peace signs and unmistakable signs of chocolate brownie all over their faces.

Barbecue with the Hakims

Hana and Erica bonding over the mic at karaoke after the party

Erica, Hana and Kiki having fun posing

Pretty babies! I didn't get any photos of the grown-up guests, or even the older girls! Here is 2-month old Daiki and Kiara looking super in my big floppy hat

Erica posing again, and in the garden with Kate and Kiara

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Blank Page

Blank Page staring at me all day, asking me to fill it.

I'm beginning to hate Tuesday, for some reason it doesn't gel the being around home all day, then suddenly being in a stupid huge rush for the last four-five hours.

And I have a headache, so I'm going to take Erica for a nap, and will probably succumb to the temptations of the pillow myself!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Busy Weekend

Two barbecues this week, one at my house, one at Manager's, both to welcome back and chat with Mari and Zain and Kiara. Erica had loads of fun with her old friend, who she called 'nee-chan' (big sister). She calls everyone that, if they are too big to be called 'baby'. Adults get called Mummy and Daddy. After hearing all the people call out to me, she called me Mummy Rachel (waichow).

Mari is a beautiful pregnant lady and Zain caught me up on all their plans and dreams. Things are going really well for them in the US, I think they are both very pleased to have left Nakatsu!

We went to karaoke in the evening, and once again I forgot all the songs I wanted to sing as soon as I got through Lady Gaga and Abba. I really must write a list! After that we went to Tropicoco for dinner, but I think I should have gone home instead, I had a few too many, and wobbled all the way home on too-high heels! We had to walk as Amy had insisted on bringing her bike.

Monday at Manager's was a bit more sedate. I don't mind the Asahi non-alcohol beer, it's not bad, makes you feel sufficiently barbecue-ish. I think I'll bring some along to the party on Sunday to sip in the hot afternoon sun.

Photos on facebook too!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Lazy Day

Not counting the three hours of work, but I spend the rest of day being pretty damn lazy.

Why does this happen after such a busy, productive day yesterday? I'm not really that tired. I woke up bright and early at 6:15. Then after a bit of dishes, tidying and laundry I spend most of the morning on the computer!

Worked, came home, spent more time on the computer, DH cooked dinner, all eaten now and back on the computer!

Okay, enough! I'm going to bed. To sleep. Or maybe read all night long - I'm reading The Historian at the moment, more vampires!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Shed

I did it!

I always put off big jobs like this, afraid it's going to take too long, and I'll have to leave it half-done, then it always seems to accumulate more mess on top of the half-done-ness and the whole thing ends up worse than it started!

So I tend to leave it to days like today, when I have the whole day, and can start nice and early, and have plenty of time to get it done.

And then it took 90 minutes. Sigh. Could have been done any day for months. Oh well, at least I can walk in there and USE it again, and since the shed is the lynch-pin, the fulcrum of all neatness, the storage location of last resort, I can now start on the spare room, removing things from there as needed to the shed.

And I have the rest of the day to take all the trash to the dump, move the auction items upstairs, mark tests, chop up bits of paper for a game, fold dry laundry and hang wet, launder at least two more blankets and vacuum-pack the clean ones, write monthly reports for six lessons for May, cook curry, buy a bike for Amy, toilet train my toddler, get my license, eat curry, play Uno with kids and husband, give Erica her nebulizer treatment, eat chocolate fondue, and maybe if I have some spare time inbetween, I can sort the Photo and Document folders on my computer and clear the photos off the camera. Maybe.