Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween!

Halloween in Japan isn't nearly what it is in the US, though it is recognized. Many stores sell a few decorations and some small costume items like hats, masks and capes. Children do not trick-or-treat in Japan, so there are not many costumes. However, on a US base, the Halloween traditions continue...
Our kids in our home-made costumes and wagon boat
Many Japanese families that befriend Americans get the privilege of an invite to trick-or-treat. We invited one of our son's old classmates from Yochien. He had never trick-or-treated before, so was very excited about the opportunity. Apparently many other people had the same idea, and we had a 45 minute wait at the gate to get permission for them to enter. (For anyone bringing guests next year I recommend meeting them at the gate by 3:30 PM). For us this meant slightly delayed dinner and trick-or-treating, plus less lighting for trick-or-treat photos. Here is our Japanese friend joining in...
Our son "scuba-diving"
The kids all had a great time trick-or-treating, though didn't come back with too much candy. There were so many kids out, many houses ran out of candy before we got to them. We were one of them. We were told to buy 10 bags. We bought 13 bags of our favorites (incase there were leftovers;), though it was gone in a little over an hour! Apparently we needed closer to 20 bags.




After trick-or-treating we all had fun entertaining families with our boat and costumes in our front yard. Many Japanese kids walked over to get a picture with our kids and the "boat" and some actually got in it. My husband and I both came out for a bit as a giant squid. Here he is. Notice everyone ran away but our son when he stepped out.






Finally, here's a clearer photo of all our family costumes at the beach to properly fit the theme. It's me as the squid this time. My husband wouldn't let me make him another costume. That's okay because it saved me hours of work, and he took the photo.


So, yes, Halloween can still be fun in Japan. We hope you all had fun too.




Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekday Photo Fun...

Last Friday our school had an inservice day, so our son got to stay home. I jumped at the opportunity to take both kids to the Kintai Bridge early in the morning before the crowd (which would surely be heavier on the weekends.) We completely lucked out and got almost the entire bridge to ourselves and some fun photos...



And I'll confess before you wonder, yes, our daughter is wearing a Chinese dress. She has a Japanese Kimono, which we have photographed her in before, but she wanted to wear this pink dress this time. Nobody complained, but Japanese women kept stopping saying "Kawaii, kawaii!" (cute) the entire AM. Our son is in Japanese "Jinbei," 2 piece Kimono for young boys.



Here's the kids with Iwakuni Castle in the background...


And down to play by the river after crossing the bridge...



The kids cooperated so well I let them pick out something from the food tents by the bridge. Our son picked a teriyaki squid (which he ate entirely at his own will) and our daughter picked teriyaki marumochi (pounded rice balls).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun day for the kids and mommy. A little brighter sun than I'd like for photos, but hopefully still enjoyable to see. Perhaps we'll try again sometime.

 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Now Everybody has Surfed!

This last weekend we couldn't resist heading over to the West coast again for some waves.  What were predicted to be decent size turned out to be quite small, though perfect for our little ones.  Our son got in a few short rides, then our daughter begged for a turn.  Daddy decided he'd ride with her on the paddleboard...


She decided one wave was enough.  
Our son had a blast building forts on the beach...
 Here's another beach we just stopped by to check out the waves...
 And on to our favorite beach from our first beach trip in Japan.  We didn't even bring down our wetsuits because the waves were pretty small to surf, but we did have fun taking turns with our stand-up paddleboard, and the kids had fun exploring the tidepools...


And up the stairs back to the parking lot...

Beautiful weather for a fun family weekend in Japan!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Three Falls

Since we moved here we kept hearing about 3 falls and 7 falls.  Three falls is a set of smaller waterfalls only about 45 minutes away, while 7 falls has larger falls, but is a couple hours away.  We finally got to 3 falls, in two separate trips.  First my husband took our son one day while I stayed with our daughter at naptime.  Then I got to take our daughter with some of my wonderful, adventurous friends while our son was at Kindergarten.  Here's some photos from both our trips...
One of the upper falls, taken by my husband
Our son "fishing"
The beautiful forest along the trail
And my trip with friends...
Thanks to my wonderful friend Sarah for setting up her camera on a timer for this one 

My friends in front of the largest waterfall
Crossing the stream to find a nice picnic area
All of us taken with my self-timer
And another thank you to my friend Sarah for catching my daughter and I during our lunch
One of the falls on our return
Our daughter running along the path back to the car

A beautiful day with wonderful friends.  I am so thankful to have them here with me in Japan.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Coolest Park Ever!

One thing's for certain, Japanese know how to make incredible playgrounds.  And fortunately, unlike the US they don't have to worry much about sue-happy people like the US.  Not that their parks are more unsafe, they just don't go overboard on limiting what's fun for the risk of lawsuits.  For example, how often can you find an unsupervised zipline?  We found one...

Here's our new favorite park and zipline, right up from our favorite beach (hence the swim suits.)












And finally, the most exciting part, the zipline...

video
Wonderful park, wonderful day for the kids.  Especially since nobody got hurt.