Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to NOT get run over, in pictures.

There is traffic everywhere you look here.  In Spokane, I could sort of daydream while I walked and still not collide with anything.  Today, I walked to get some groceries and some videos and took some pictures of my trek.  We live on a bit of a ridge which means to get to any of the three train stations that are near us, you need to go downhill.  So, this all the things I see on my walk and why I have to pay attention because I almost got hit by an old guy on a bicycle today.  Thank goodness I was alone, and did not have Nanae in the carrier and was not holding Miyo's hand, and I did NOT get hit.  I also had a car honk at me to get me to move out of the center of the road while I was taking this first picture.  I moved, of course, but then I began to wonder if flipping the bird is a universal signal.
Pretty sewer cover.

Road construction.

Miyo has decided this sign says, "Do not let your dog $hit here!".

Two signs, to really drive the point home!

Tiny and narrow street.  This is the base of what we call the damn hill.  We live at the top of this hill.  To get anywhere, you pretty much have to go down...then up to get home.

Bikes are everywhere you look.  Usually moving fast and not using the bell to warn you that you are in the way.

These taxi drivers are fast and aggressive, and everywhere.
Miyo is eating a pizzamon.  It is a little steamed bun with pizza like ingredients inside.  They are at every convenience store and they are, well, convenient.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lots of meat to meet.

Happy Birthday, Patrick!
Patrick spent most of his birthday sitting at school and interviewing possible students.  So, we took him out to a late night dinner of yaki niku.  This is basically tons of meat that you cook on your own little HOT grill. It was dark and sort of spooky in there, and totally dirty.  Just look at those red cheeks and that wall behind the kids.  The food was great.  But, the ¥100 self service drink bar was probably our favorite.  We have not been drinking soda so we drank lots of soda.  So much, that we needed two straws and Miyo got lots of exercise going back and forth from our table to the soda fountain.  We got home pretty late and the kids both passed out while I finished a book and Patrick watched a movie.  Most days are like this.  Pretty awesome.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

She actually has teeth! I was beginning to wonder.

The good news is that Nanae is finally getting more teeth.  The better news is that she looks like she has the Pennebaker gap in her front top teeth.  I often wish I had never had orthodontics to fix my gap.  I am not sure you can really explain to a fourteen year old the commitment that it is.  I am thirty years old and I still have to wear a retainer in order to keep my teeth nice.  What sort of punishment is that?  Of course, I do wear it to keep them nice and straight.  I would not want to waste all the money my parent's spent on my braces.  But, I am sure that someday we will talk about this with Nanae.  Maybe she will not have the gap when her adult teeth show up.  I think it is pretty darn cute either way.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Declaration of dependance.

I must admit, I am totally dependent on Patrick.  He knows what the hell people are saying and can get stuff done.  This is sort of a tough pill to swallow for me.  I was so used to filling out all the checks to pay the bills, and making sure the insurance was done and paid for, I guess, just managing the home.  Sometimes, I get a little ahead of myself and try to do something without Patrick.  I still really do need his help with most everything.  Today I am reminded of this.  Although, I did get my own video rental card which is a big deal.  Patrick had to fill the whole form out for me.  And I have, more than once now, ordered food and ended up with twice as much food as I intended or accidentally ordered something I did not want.  I guess I know how to say YES in Japanese too well...I really need to learn how to say NO politely.  On a high note, I did manage to politely tell the lady at the ramen place in the food court that I did not want egg in my soup.  I win!  Sort of.

This is a big deal!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It does snow in Japan.

I had no idea it snowed here.  I guess, I really do not know much about this new place that I live.  We have been here since the end of September.  I wish I had used my reading skills for doing some research instead of reading so much Jonathan Kellerman.  Well, now you also know, that it snows in Kawasaki.  Right now it is icy as hell on the areas that are shady and do not get sun.  I still see everyone going about their business riding bikes and walking everywhere.  As if driving here is not terrifying enough!  Ah, driving.  That brings me to my next thought.  I am  going to get my license.  I have been studying the street signs.  I swear, the stop sign here reminds me too much of the yield sign in the US.  I totally blew through it.  So, lots do to.   And I must keep Nanae from falling on the ice, jumping off the couch, putting toothpicks into her ear, touching the hot grill, and chipping her teeth.  That kid....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This was a great meal.  I do not remember the name of the place.  But it is in Dogwood Plaza.  Here I go with the food again.  But, come on.  Look at those cute little dishes with cute little foodies in them!  

Sunday, January 15, 2012




I guess, being photogenic just runs in the family.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A picture of Patrick, a Pature or a Pictrick?

It is not often that the photographer is in a picture.  I need to remember to steal the camera and take more pictures of this guy.  Look at him!  He has a birthday coming up soon...What a handsome dude!

How to wear a bike helmet, or not.

I am pretty sure this is how NOT to wear a helmet.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New news.

It's official. They can stay. So says the Japanese gov.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Courtesy my mom. Twas yummy. ごちそうさま。

Hair cut and a future Gap model

Miyo got her first hair cut today. She was frowning thru out the whole ordeal but I think she liked the end result. We then went on to do some shopping at the local Gap store where Nanae decided to do a little modeling. Then there was a cat too.

Tis a good day so far, only to get better tomorrow, hopefully, with some awesome news from the immigration office.

Little bit of everything

Twas a day of a little bit of happiness and a little bit of frustration. 

My morning started with a bit of bike riding on the Tama Cycling Road. It was another awesome crisp, clear day. Was out there about 3 hours. Felt really good. 
Stopped by the Keirin track and also found the hot spring spot today. 
The clear skies also gave us a nice view of Mt. Fuji too. 

In the afternoon we went to my family cemetery for some tombstone scrubbing and praying. I like visiting the cemetery. It makes my mom very happy and I love seeing Miyo getting into scrubbing the tombstone. 

The frustrating bit happened in the noonish hours. It was true road rage. I hate it and want to stop it. I really don't have road rage but some people bring it out of me. It's bad and I want to stop it. That's all. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Clear sky

New Years in Japan is very special. It's kinda like Thanksgiving or Christmas in the states. People spend time with family, eat a ton of food, watch TV and just be lazy. Commerce isn't back in full swing until sometime next week.

A wonderful side effect of the economic shut down is the beautiful clear skies we've been getting. My dad told me that back when he first came to Japan 40 years ago, pollution was so bad that the only time he could see the moon was during New Years.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mapo Tofu

This is my first attempt at making mapo tofu in Japan.  Success.  It is very good.  All the ingredients were easy to find with help from Patrick.  We did have this at the Chinese restaurant last time, but because they make it so spicy, my Mother in law cannot eat it.  This batch is not very spicy so I will be sharing with the in laws.

Cuz we're walkin, walkin in the mornin

Elissa took us on a walk this morning. She isn't pictured cuz she was always ahead of us. Meaning if I'd taken pictures of her, it would've been of her rear end. And she don't like that.

We see wild cats all over the place. This guy had a collar. Chillin in the sun. Had the first frosty morning since we've been here. Winter in Tokyo is a breeze compared to winter in Spokane.

Here Miyo is pictured in a vacant lot down the street from my parents home. This tiny plot is probably worth at least $400,000. Someone can build 2 houses on it and sell it for $500,000 each. Crazy shit.

A monster figure from Ultraman. Popular show from my youth.

Miyo taking a break. Many steep hills around here. It's good exercise walking up and down these hills.

Strange to see flowers in the winter. We're used to everything dying in the winter in Spokane. There are daffodils blooming everywhere too.

This person really wanted a big car. I get it. The mans been keeping him down, making him drive small cars all his life. Be free my big car driving Japanese man, be free.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What just happened?

Jellyfish is delish.

I had every intention of taking pictures of the awesome Chinese food we ate this night.  However, we ate it all.  This is what is left.  On the left is steamed chicken with negi, on the right is jellyfish with cucumber.     I never thought you could eat jellyfish.  Even Miyo likes it.  It is amazing.  I promise to get better documentation of our meal, before it is in a doggie bag.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Night train

Mega cemetery

I frequently visit this mega cemetery. I enjoy coming up here because there are numerous short steep hills that get me up here and I can get some awesome views. I get to ride my bike in peace too. Today I found this spot overlooking some cemetery plots. The headstones in this pic maybe account for a tenth of the total. A lot of dead people here.

Christmas card from home.

Look what came in the mail!  A Spongebob Christmas card!  Thanks Grandma Vicki.  Getting mail is the best gift ever.