Monday, November 15, 2010


Arriving at Nakatsu Jinja. Baachan is directing the girls over to the water to wash their hands, and thereby ritually purify, before entering the shrine.

At the shrine attached to Nakatsu castle, right next to the main shrine. You have GOT to watch this to the very end and catch the "You are crazy, Mum" look Amy gives me at the very end

Portraits of my precious three-year old. We went to the shrine to get a blessing for her on her third year. 7-5-3 is for three-year old girls and boys, five-year old boys and seven-year old girls.
Above, at the shrine, below at Baachan's house, in the zashiki formal sitting room, showing her kimono from the back without the jacket. It's just tied up like a dressing gown, a bit heavy, but not tight or uncomfortable. They wear an obi for the first time at seven. However, she refused for two hours to even try it on, we sized it up against her body for sewing (it's loosely sewn at the shoulders and waist to fit, the thread will be removed before it's stored again.) Eventually we convinced her to wear it by promising her ice cream AND chocolate. One was not enough!

I forgot to tell Kanji we were going to do the 7-5-3 this day! So he didn't schedule the afternoon off...

Amy and Lena are neither five nor seven, but having them put on a kimono was one method we thought of to convince Erica to wear hers! We almost gave up to try another day, but suddenly she changed her mind, and we were all in a rush after that to get everyone's hair and accessories fixed up and in the car in case she changed her mind!

Me and the girls outside the castle shrine.

With Baachan and Aunty Mie, champion kimono dressers. Amy said her belt was firm but not uncomfortable, just perfect! Lena's was a bit loose, and they had to keep adjusting it, but Mie will not tie them tightly after her daughter Mami fainted once because her obi was too tight!

The promised ice cream! A rabbit-shaped sundae. On the right, with her precious, her iphone...

Yes, okay, it's pretty mad giving kids in expensive silk kimonos ice cream, but...

One very tired little girl at the end of the day! Part of her problem was of course, that she was just tired. It was our second event of the day - in the morning we'd been to the Culture Festival at the technical college where I teach, and they had jumped on a bouncy castle, and played ball games. And there we were, trying to shove a heavy kimono on her instead of settling her down for her nap!

Two video extras:

Little toes!!! Tabi are funny-looking things, and most intriguing for a three-year old kid the first time she put them on....

... as are long kimono sleeves!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Feeling very UP today, don't know why, after all that angst the other day. Nice lunch out with a friend yesterday helped, it always helps! Sweet-smelling baby to cuddle (despite his mother's insistence that his farts smell and his big sister's opinion that he has 'boy smell', all I could smell was sweet newborn head!). The buffet restaurant had an American cuisine special, and no that did NOT mean hamburgers and fries, it meant Buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing, gumbo, three types of spaghetti (so Erica was in spaghetti heaven), mashed potato and gravy and wild rice salad, among other things.

Less angst, more 'eeeee' as I remember what's coming up and start getting excited about it.

Perhaps today feels good because it's a good balance, with lessons in the morning, Journal in the afternoon, time to fit in some tidying, laundry and cooking, and an evening planned watching videos with the kids. Maybe it's just a case of TGIF, although I have to work tomorrow.

Yesterday we took Erica to see her plastic surgeon again. He said her scar has softened up enough (meaning it's finished forming) and we can go ahead with the surgery 'anytime'. Well. Now *I* have to decide her fate? Somehow I wish I could just be TOLD when to do it. Wish I could be back in NZ moaning about waiting lists and rushing up to Starship as soon as a slot comes up... Nah, scrap that. No, it's GOOD that I can CHOOSE when is the best time for us. Summer vacation probably. In the Spring break, it's too likely that her asthma will flare up. Summer will also be easier to dress her, as she will have some elaborate bandaging on, I forget the name he called it, but her hand will be held open to try to stop the scar from contracting.

She will also have a bandage on her foot, as the skin graft will come from the sole of her foot, as it's the only other part of the body apart from the palm with no pigment. He will take a thick graft from a spot on her foot, then take a thin graft from the skin right next to it, and graft that onto the place he took the thick graft from. The hand will heal better with a thick piece of skin, but the donor site won't heal well with a thick piece taken out and may contract, so skin is grafted onto there too. It's called a domino graft.

Now we just have to commit to DOING it. eeeee!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ups and Downs

Including take-offs and landings.

I've had a confused day with emotions all over the place, worries and joys in equal measure. I couldn't figure out what the source was for some of my concerns at times!

I'm getting really excited about out trip, but the thought of the logistics involved in packing for and organizing myself and three kids is daunting! I shouldn't read GW's blog. Okay, my kids are bigger and won't be having tantrums, but Erica is still small, and while the train trip on the weekend was only four hours, it was enough for her, it seems! Plus I have a stop-over in Hong Kong, another in Auckland then a road trip to Rotorua to plan for. Usually my suitcase would be out upstairs in the bedroom slowly gathering souvenirs and other necessities by now, but I'm so horrified by the thought of how to organize the packing that I am stalling.

But then there was the UP of getting the family beach trip sussed, or should I say, my superiorly organized older sister stepped in and made some quick decisions that I had been dithering about for oh, about a month now. Yay Maria.

But then of course I got worried about money again, compulsively checking my visa account in case some money miraculously appears there. I won't be happy until all hotels are booked and paid for and all my pay packets are in and safely deposited into my visa account.

Then came the let-down of hearing that my Hong Kong friend won't be able to meet up with us in the city after all. This is really disappointing, as part of the reason we chose Cathay airlines was the chance of meeting them in Hong Kong. To be fair to her, she never promised she could be there, as she travels at the last minute, and I was prepared all along to make other arrangements if they were not there.

But I was still saddened by this, although at exactly the same time, really excited, because it meant I could go online and book lovely hotels again, and organize a trip. And that is ALWAYS fun.

Meanwhile I was concerned about work, as the classes today were for an area with rather strict overseers, who DON'T like games, and DO like drills, and while I tend to agree with them, I still don't feel comfortable with higher-ups coming in to observe my lessons, I feel if people are looking for bad stuff, they will find it!

On the other hand, this clutch of extra lessons I picked up will certainly help me pay for the above hotels!

On top of all of this, it's Journal week, and I should be photo-shopping right now, but I think I'm ready to call it a day. In between the two lessons, two essays, and dropping off and picking up Erica, I had to squeeze in some work on the Journal. It was the housework that got neglected. Time to put on the blinkers and just ignore the chaos! And there's no end to this in the foreseeable future, with a day trip out of town to see Erica's plastic surgeon tomorrow, more classes on Friday morning, a full day on Saturday, an event at the college where I teach on Sunday morning, 7-5-3 on Sunday afternoon, dinner at the Turkish restaurant on Sunday night and a kindy class Monday morning. THEN I might get around to doing the laundry.