Saturday, May 31, 2008

Matsuri Parade- a couple of videos

First, the community people playing their horns and whistles and shouting Woisho!

And secondly the Parade float with the children playing the music.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Matsuri Parade in Central Hamamatsu -May 3rd- pt 2

The sun started to set and it was about time for the real excitement to show itself in the parade.Even the children would get decked out in the hapi. I think it better to wait until the growing slows down a bit before buying them. But you never know I guess.
Ken was enjoying the noise and excitement of the events.
Finally we could see the first of the Parade floats - gotenyatai as they are called. There are many of them and they are all equally beautiful. Usually on the inside of the floats, the neighborhood's children sit playing the Matsuri song.
After we saw a number of them coming out, it was time to head on home and put Ken to sleep, but it was great to soak in the atmosphere and see the sights of the Festival's parade. Tomorrow we would watch the kites.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Matsuri parade in central Hamamatsu- May3rd-- pt1

Near the end of the spring holiday known as Golden Week in Japan, there is a city festival held in Hamamatsu. You tend to start using the odd Japanese word, even in English conversation, after having lived here for a few years-- so usually we just say matsuri- the Japanese word for festival.
We arrived and just enjoyed the buzz of the people. Soon, the people started lining the streets waiting for the parade. As the largest percentage of immigrants living in this city are Brazilian, it is natural that the beginning of the parade featured a Brazilian style mini-parade. At last, the matsuri people started to appear marching the streets and waving their flags. A very colorful assortment that represents each community.
Also you can see the group of people holding their lanterns (sorry I am forgetting the Japanese name for these), and people playing horns and blowing whistles to the tune of the local matsuri song. Finally, we see one of the first flags of the parade. The flags are a huge part of the festivities in the afternoon, I will talk more about them in another post soon! They are all huge and also colorful like the flags.
Most of the people are adorned in hapi - the festival jackets usually with one's community's name on the back. These ladies looks like it says something like mishima_something...

More next post...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Some misc. pictures of the Vancouver trip off the lens of Ritsy and Cathy

I haven't been leaving myself much time to do some typing , so today will just be a few pictures. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The End-- back to Hamamatsu Living

The trip finally drew to a close. We woke up super early on the final day to say adieu to Carrie who had to get up early for a meeting. Sadly- we couldn't spend much time with her on the day before-- so we definitely wanted to say see her and thank her for putting us up.

We packed up and were out the door before 9. We stopped by Scott's company and said goodbye, returned the car and got dropped off at the airport. Had our final meal and were airborne. Ken was pretty good this go-round. We gave up on the bassinet this time as he wouldn't settle on the way to Vancouver. We held him throughout the flight, then carried him on the train to Tokyo, the Shinkansen, the Aka Den and then took a cab home. Needless to say we were pretty tired.

Please forgive me for having dragged out the tail of my trip for so long. But the holidays are so therapeutic and it is great for me to keep a solid memory of the times we had with all our good friends. If anyone back home reads this- thanks so much for everything- everyone's hospitality and company were greatly appreciated! I look forward to the next excursion- maybe after we have the next baby...?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Alex's and farewell lunch with Grandma

The afternoon after the hike we headed off to my old friend Alex's condo in Richmond. All the guys from when we lived in our first apartment together were present- Colin(a different Colin), Brent and Al- also Mike Ko came by- it was pretty cool to see all the old gang.
Sadly the only 2 pictures I took were this one of the view from his pad and the first picture of the plant on his patio. It was a fantastic evening all the same.
The next afternoon we took the little guy and his new buddy- the bunny (courtesy of his grandma) out to have lunch with grandma one more time- as our trip was drawing to a close the next day.
We went out to one of my Vancouver favorites for a burgers (though it is also not gourmet by any means)- White Spot. I am not sure where the name came from- I always envisioned some racist beginnings- but the burgers are delicious and the prices aren't too high (though they have risen...). My mother was very happy to have had the chance to meet Ken and see us and it was a great chance to introduce Ken to her. Though he won't carry the memory- we do have photographic evidence to remind him- and of course it was important that his grandma have a chance to meet her Japanese grandson. Thanks for the great times, your hospitality and your gifts (including a set of napkins that she sewed up for us) Mom!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A hike in Lynn Canyon Park

Doogie enjoys hiking out into the creek
One of the things that I really miss about the Vancouver area is all the great little hikes you can do through the woods. Carrie has a great location for her house, just a quick walk over to Lynn Canyon Park. So the morning after the BBQ with Carrie and Carl, we had breakfast with Scott and Benita then headed out for a little hike with Benita, Carl, Carrie and Doogie.

The ladies- Benita, Carrie then Ritsy. The idea was I would take over carrying Ken midway through the hike, though when I offered Ritsy said she was fine.
There was a nice thin waterfall on the side of the hiking trail.
The suspension bridge was a little smaller than the other one in North Vancouver (Capilano)- but it is also a lot cheaper (means free). The bridge had a nasty swinging going on around the midpoint. But everyone braved it including Doogie!
Finally when we hit this mountain of stairs, Ritsy passed Ken over to me-man it was exhausting. The hike in itself embodies the beauty of Vancouver-- access to nature, clean well maintained trails and could activity to do with your friends that doesn't cost a lot of money. It was a nice start to the day!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A nice evening at Carrie and Carls

The next day, we gathered up our stuff from my mother's place and grabbed Ken and headed over to Carrie and Carl's place. They just bought the place last year in November- and this was our first chance to see it. It is a beautiful house in a great neighborhood- I am jealous of them. They also had their extra room tastefully decorated- it was a very comfortable stay!
Ken was quite happy to roll around on the floor- quickly becoming one of his favorite hobbies!
That night we had a nice little BBQ. Carl, incidentally just finished receiving a round of Chemotherapy (and was tested to be free of the cancer) just about a week before we arrived- but he looked completely healthy and was in high spirits.
Colin made it by and was quite animated this evening, telling stories that even I hadn't heard in the 20 years I have known him!
Late comers were Scotty and Benita who had attended a Chinese wedding reception. They were quite unnerved by the experience of eating Geoduck and Shark's fins. Sadly, I didn't take any pics of Carrie this evening, but we had a great night- and it was a great chance to catch up with Carrie and get to know Carl!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Coffee and Sushi- a winning combination

It was a nice quiet evening spent with mom- we went to a restaurant called Anducci's which prides itself in huge portions. It was an incredible exposure for me to the unbelievable size of the portions that they have in Canada compared to here. I believe my mom was still eating the leftovers 5 days later. The next day was pretty busy. I met with my tax guy in the morning and then we met up with Carrie for a coffee in the late afternoon.
Carrie was just aglow with lots of news. Of course I knew she'll be getting married next year in the spring in Hawaii- a trip we plan to make! But we also learned that she is bearing child- it is still early in the pregnancy- so we wish her all the best luck with the little passenger! I know she'll make a great mom! More Carrie in a couple of posts!
We hopped in our car and the cloud cover had finally lifted, the neighboring mountains were looking beautiful!
We hopped over to Steve's place to have everyone gather. Here, Ritsy is finding some good pictures on her phone to show off and Steve and Ingrid are having some fun with Ken.
Finally, with all present, including Yurika (who comes from Miyazaki) headed over to the Eatery. A sushi restaurant with some of the most creative and delicious sushi creations- we had too good of a time- it was midnight by the time we hopped out, so I called my mom and she had to get up early the next day, so we just slept at Steve's place (cashing in the standing invite)!

Moving to Bby for an evening

The next day, we had to move on to another location for sleeping- this time we would stay with my mother for a couple of nights (originally intended- but it ended up being but a single night). So we hopped in the car and made the drive from North Vancouver to Burnaby- we took the long route and Ritsy took some pictures. Above is driving through downtown.
The Vancouver Art Gallery- which used to be the courthouses.
The library- which was imported brick by brick from Rome( of course I am lying- they selected a Colosseum theme when they built it).
It was good to see that they had repaired BC Place stadium after the roof was damaged last year in a storm.
Finally we arrived at my mom's place and she promptly got to teaching Ken the concerto that she had composed for him. He picked it up pretty quickly...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Doogie, driving, more Doogie

The next day was pretty mellow-- I awoke early again and Ritsy had another tough night of sleep, so I ventured out of the room. Benita was running behind schedule this morning so Doogie wasn't going to get a walk. I volunteered to take Doogie for a walk and take care of him until the afternoon. We walked up to princess park from their pad- it was quite nice. I got back home and found the little guy and lady were awake. He was decked out in his new jeans that he got as a present from Steve. Looks a bit like a jeans ad in this picture.
Afterwards, we got in the car and did a bit of shopping at Old Navy and the grocery store.
The little guy was quite excited about driving around.
That evening we presented Doogie with a gift which he made a point of completely destroying. He did seem to really enjoy it though...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Lunch at Metrotown

My sister wanted to do a bit of shopping before making the drive up to Lillooet and we wanted to hit Metrotown shopping center, so we met up with her for some burgers at the mall the afternoon after the family dinner.
Ken and Mac were interacting a little more in this second meeting, and here I was stopping Ken from grabbing onto Mac's long locks. (of course I may have been the one that held Ken within arms reach of temptation in the first place...)
And my sister showed that she could rival me in the making goofy faces at babies department. She was great and Ken had a good laugh.
He grew tired of sitting in the stroller, so Ritsy and I took turns holding him.
And with our bellies full we split ways with Tracey and enjoyed a little bit of shopping in the remodeled mall. It's tough to keep up the energy walking through the big Canadian shopping malls now, but great to catch up on some Canadian shopping!