Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Trying again...


Okay--here is one of the pictures I tried to post last time. This is Fox and the kids on the way down from Kompira-san. I am still having issues with photo uploading--I need my little brother!!

I am going to plow ahead without photos (sad). This week is health week at Cash's school. Every day, they are checked for something different--dental, internal, etc. Fox and I had the lovely job of doing a home check for pinworms. Good times. Cash is learning more Japanese, but unfortunately, it seems to be more along the lines of the bad stuff. Japanese children and parents here have a very specific way of vocalizing their annoyance--it is almost musical whining. We live in the country where the local dialect does have quite a tone to it. Cash has gotten this part down quickly, and we are trying to re-train him from doing it.

Yesterday, we went to our friend Nauko's groundbreaking ceremony for her new house. I had seen a ceremony online before, so it was really fun to take part in it. Basically, the designer/artichect of the house takes the new family around to each of the neighbors to introduce themselves and invite them to the ceremony. Then, new neighbors and old friends gather outside the house (at this point, just the frame) and the family enters the house, where a temporary shrine is set up. The family prays there, and then the builders pour sake from the top floor for luck.
Nauko and her little family then threw traditional mochi from the top floor and then, for the friends below, about 100 bags of chips, including Coco's favorite shrimp chips. The kids were ecstatic. Japan is definitely the land of snacks! Someone here told me that only smaller areas in Japan do these ceremonies, so that is another little note in our long list of why we love our little countryside.

In other news, there is so much wheat growing here right now. We see fields and fields of it, whereas a few years ago, we saw zero. Fox and I were so thrilled--could whole wheat be coming to Japan to stay? Alas, no--all of this wheat will be made in to white bread flour to keep the 700 udon shops in our prefecture in business. Darn.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kompira-San Revisited (and Re-Posted, C'mon Blogger!)

**I can see these pics on my computer, but I'm not sure if you, let's see if this works!**

Remember when we traveled here? No? Okay...well, anyways, we did it again!
Last Saturday, we took the train to Kotohira and plowed up the 785 steps to Kompira-san, a very famous shrine in our area. Cash did 765 steps! Wow! Coco did about 600 or so. I couldn't believe it!

Here is us at the top! Disregard my disheveled self. I wore the wrong outfit to climb all those stairs. The local college girls were walking up in their high heels and summer dresses!


Daddy and the kiddos on the way down--and again, Cash walked the almost the whole way down!

Treating ourselves afterwards! Fox and I got mikan ice cream cones, while Cash and Coco had Wasanbon cones with sugared rice puffs on top. Very sweet!

There are a ton of udon shops before you start the stairs. Here is Cash watching a man roll out the udon dough:

Chili fries! Well, I guess as chili-fried as you can get here--mashed potatoes pushed through a ricer into hot oil and then covered with tomato sauce and meat. Fox was in heaven!

We had a great day! We live close to the train station, and the kids still had enough energy to run all the way home!

This week, the rainy season has begun, which means that the air is super humid while it rains all day. It is strange to be in rain that doesn't cool you off at all!

Cash has been at preschool this week, and each day comes home with a new set of bandages and bruises from running and falling! The preschool uniform is shorts year round. Before this, Cash was a strictly-sweatpants boy year-round, and now I understand why he wanted his little legs covered. Poor guy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Things


Blogger is still giving me server errors whenever I upload pictures! So, sorry--I am posting what I can!

This week in Japan is Golden Week, a day off on Friday and then the following week has a string of national holidays on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. (Yes, that is not actually a week. We are all confused about this.) We have managed to get the whole week off, though, and we have been enjoying it and experiencing new things!

--a Gospel Choir concert in Takamatsu on Friday. Our friend Miwa sings in a gospel choir, so we went to support her. They sang "Yes, Jesus Loves Me" and other songs in English. I always get a kick out of the fact that all the music I hear here is in English! We went to dinner the other night, and they played Justin Bieber the whole time!

--A barbecue with a local friend who was displaced by the earthquake and moved to the countryside (yep, we live in the countryside). She is from Aomori prefecture and served us their local specialties, sea urchin rice and senbei soup--both very yummy!

--The Ehime Science Museum--This has the world's largest planetarium!. It also has the robotic dinosaurs shown in the picture with Cash above. It is a huge museum full of really cool hands-on displays. We had a blast!

--Our branch's day camp, which was fun. There were about 8 American missionaries there, and lots of booths of activities. I spent the whole time snacking, of course. They had kakigori--yummy!

--Another barbecue! Our student had a barbecue at her house yesterday. I finally tried fugu (blowfish). I had been hesitant, because I had read this beforehand:
"Poisonous parts vary among different kinds of fugu, and only licensed cooks are allowed to prepare them. One must have special skills and knowledge to be licensed. Because of the strict regulations, the number of deaths is decreasing but is still reported."
Peer pressure! Our student's husband has a license to prepare fugu and had caught a bunch fresh that morning. Not bad, just chewy!

We have a few more days off, but the recent earthquakes have made us kind of hesitant to travel north. Maybe I will take the other days off to figure out how to get Blogger to upload my pictures!