Monday, December 22, 2008

Japan 101- the slideshow

Thanks to my sweet hubby who put this all together- it is the pics from Japan- and we took a LOT, so just know it is long. We were also experimenting a little with our camera, and to be honest the colors and sights of Japan surprised me.

I hope you enjoy it!
I also hope you are enjoying the snow, the music, and the countdown to Christmas as much as I am!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Surprises in Japan

I know that nobody wants an entire recap of my recent vacation, so I have whittled my 300 photos down to just a few of the best for you to enjoy or hate. After that I may need to blog about Christmas, because I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED!!!!!!
Yes. This is a public toilet. I dreaded these squatters so badly.....I have no idea how those little Japanese women in there high heels and tights and miniskirts even handle these things. If you were lucky, there was a bar to hang on to as you squatted....but that makes wiping...well, nevermind.
Funny thing, though, the regular toilets were DECKED out with heated seat, bidet squirters of nice warm water, and even musical flushing sounds so no one can hear you tinkle. I loved those toilets, man, Just loved them!

Mr. Sammy took this picture at a quiet park just across the street from the Olympic Arena. The colors were so great, I was amazed! We packed heavy coats, but really didn't need them. This was such a nice place, I wanted to share it. The parks are all so serene- a big contrast to the squished buildings and neon signs.
This is the Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Japan, where the hotel is located. Turns out my husband had been working around this area on his mission, but didn't know it because the area had changed so much in the past 20 years. The metal art was in the courtyard outside the mall, which linked to the hotel you see behind it. Yep-it is 70 stories high, and sitting in the window was enough to make you dizzy and your hands sweaty, but it was gorgeous.
Not an uncommon thing, my kid in a picture with complete strangers....but the kids were especially fascinated with his looks and hair. I love this picture because of the kids in uniform and all the peace signs. You better throw a peace sign if your in a photo in Japan!
This little barber shop behind me is very special....above it is the apartment my hubby lived in for 7 months while serving his mission in Hachioji. The town was amazing- with a great street of sidewalk sales and quaint shops (well, some not so quaint, as the vendors yell out strange things to try to get you to come shop)and we toured the small LDS meeting house and visited with missionaries who happened to be there, and met up with a local member who was a friend during the mission. I have never seen my hubby giddy over anything....but he was giddy this day. I also call this my "take a picture it will last longer" day, because I left my hair curly, and I was stared at, double takes, and watched all day. Weird. I felt like Angelina or something.
This was taken at a shrine that had a flame burning (in the metal wing) that has been linked to the flames of Hiroshima. Around it were strings of various origami, and a history board was posted nearby. It was kind of a somber feeling here, but my son was fascinated with the story and ended up really loving this site.

I realized I have barely made a dent in my favorite of favorite, oh well, more later to come..... I hope there is something here of interest or beauty.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Vacation?

SO don't go around thinking I am so lucky and spoiled.....real life awaits us all and is ready to greet you whether you are ready or not.


This is little Masty G on the table at the clinic waiting for stitches......if you look close enough, you will see a few pink-ish areas on the right side of the gash in the middle of the wound. That would be his SKULL with a bloody film over it.....Let's just say he took a snowboard to the head (fluke of a story, total accident, just a plastic cheap snowboard, so GO FIGURE!)and it gashed open his forehead. Hubby gets queasy over this stuff and had to wait in the waiting room...I was sick and shaky, but come on, can you really show how nervous you are when your child's skull is visible? I think not.

Here he is after the 3 layers of stitches. It is still weeping a bit of blood. Ouchy.

Man. I think I need another vacation!
Thank heavens for Insurance and Health Savings Accounts. This little boy is proof that plans like this can save a family's budget!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Notes from my Vacay

Wow.... you know December is busy anyway, but add an over sea trip to the mix and I am really just a bit behind. I will be posting about this surprise vacay over the next few days.... enjoy!

This is my honey and Masty G enjoying their Bento Boxes for little guy was so cute working with the chopsticks (I sucked, and my hubby was embarrassed to ask for a fork and knife for me). I took this picture because they looked so happy and cute. I, on the other hand, was recovering from a small breakdown of sobbing and starving. Apparently in Japan you don't just eat find a proper bench or table to eat at respectfully. It took us a LONG time to find this little sitting area, and I was tired and hungry, and well, I am kind of like a toddler like that. Sorry honey...I promise I will do better next time.

At the Giant Buddah, in Kamakura, this was one of my favorite stops. The courtyard was empty so we had lots of time to roam and take pictures and sniff the giant pots of incense that were burning. Yummy. (seriously, I loved it). Surprisingly, my son said this was one of his favorite stops as well. You can go inside it, and it looks like the Statue of Liberty from inside (just smaller, but same material). The overall feeling of this shrine was just beauty and peace......I was so glad I got to see it.

At the mall, it was the 15 year anniversary and Christmas all rolled into one. I kind of got a kick out of the Christmas "I Love You" theme of the reminded me of Valentine's Day, but hey....who's going to say anything? Another thing I saw was "Happy Merry Christmas" which struck me as funny. (But more on the English signs later). This was on the last night, as we were heading out to dinner (the best Katsu and Tempura ever!) a bittersweet night. I was anxious to get home and see my 2 boys, but so sad to see my Japanese adventures end.

At the train station- please note the CROWD of people pushing their way onto the train. It was not unusual to see a few small school children running to and fro on and off the trains alone- that freaked me out. I was so worried for them. Then we stepped into the middle of this mess to ride a train to Tokyo, and I was worried for US! It was JAM PACKED, and I tend to get a bit anxious and claustraphobic, so this took some effort to remain calm, but it was so funny, being squished in this train, where not a person spoke or whispered (well, except for me, the LOUD AMERICAN). They were so polite they even wore a doctors mask if they were feeling under the weather- which looked weird and took some getting used to also, like being surrounded by a bunch of Asain Michael Jacksons or something. It was all a bit of an adventure- and I would never had made it from one place to the next without my hubby and his Japanese skills....
Well, enough for now. I am off to an Activity Days field trip. Be PATIENT as I try to catch up on blogs. I swear, I will be a nice bloggy friend once again very soon!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ko nee chi wa

Little blog, and all big blog friends.... guess what. I am sitting in a hotel in Yokohama and it is 4:30 on the morning here (about 12:30 in afternoon at home)and it is so cool!

I am overlooking the bay out of the window (67 stories high) and this hotel is connected to a mall with an amusement park under it, and it is bustling and happening. I am snapping photos like mad , of course, but oopsy- forgot my bridge cables to connect to the huuby's lap top. I will tell you all about it when I get home. For now thanks to sis for holding down the fort and babysitting (we brought the youngest son with us....I think we are wearing him out, though!) and I really should try to sleep more....I can't believe the strange state of jet lag that is taking over with this time difference!

But I can say this....Japan is amazing, bustling, well lit and twinkling, and everyone's movements are small and voices are pleasantly soft. I feel large and loud! Even my son is matching the height of little old ladies and adults and children alike are staring at his bleached tips and following him around in stores. be a strange foreigner! What a great feeling!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The day is really here.....

It happened. My phone beeped with a text...."Have U read the Ensign?" is an article on caffeine sodas and energy drinks, both of which I am currently consuming at an alarming rate.

I tell myself.."I will just read it, then ponder it for a few days (while finishing off my fridge packs of Diet Coke and Dr Pepper)". Then as I am reading it, I think....well, why not? Why just stop this insanity? What if....just WHAT IF my poor meager soul is missing something in the process of chugging down caffeinated beverages, and what if....just what if, this is part of my heart racing when I get angry and my shortness with my kids.....and my sluggishness in the morning? JUST WHAT IF?

So I have officially begun my souls decaffeinated experiment. Aren't we to "experiment on the word"? Can I do it for six months and just see if I feel better...maybe my spirit will be stronger or my kindness will be kinder or my heart will be softer.

That is not a bad thing. Can't I just follow the little feeling in my heart as I read could do this it and it could help you feel better......

can't I do that?

Monday, December 1, 2008

I did NOT.......

I am copying this post idea just because it is the best one I have seen in a while....and because..

I was not the crazy lady who jumped amazingly high to grab the free king size candy bar they were tossing out at the midnight showing of Twilight. I did not get so excited about Hershey's with almonds that I fell on the arm rest and my leg got squished in the cupholder as someone else did not land on top of me. It did not hurt like a mother and make me blink back tears and so it looked like I was weeping for Edward.

I most certainly did not burn my hand because I grabbed a candle that was burning for hours, to blow it out. I have been lighting/blowing out candles for like, 30 years or so, and I am sure I would never do that. I also would not swear and drop the hot wax when my thumb didn't sizzle against the glass.

I swear I didn't skip breakfast and then count down the minutes until McDonald's serves lunch to go get a Big Mac. I would not eat something so huge, gross, and unhealthy, and I really wouldn't eat it and think it tasted great and wolf it down in a matter of of minutes. And that would never make me skip down the aisles of the grocery store because my belly is happy and full.

I also did not spend $12.00 on two ornaments that I had to have. I would never get suckered in to walking down the Christmas aisle and actually falling for the most expensive ornaments on the shelf. Never. Even if they would look great on my tree I am sure I would save that money for canned corn and butter.

I also did not decide to just SIT after Thanksgiving dinner and let all the other valiant volunteers wash all the dishes. I know I would never feel relieved that someone else started cleaning up first and I would NEVER tell myself that too many people in the kitchen is chaotic.

And I also should make it clear that I did not just get stuck on the neighbors roof while trying to knock my son's ball out of the big tree in our back yard. I did not have a gathering of neighbor kids cheering me on, and then realizing when it was time to climb down that I was scared to death. I did not make such a spectacle of myself and would never do such a silly thing.

That goes for all of the above.