Friday, August 22, 2008

There were some animals too

As this blog is supposed to be about Hamamatsu life, thought I might throw up some of the animals that we could see at the zoo. Kangaroos... hiding in the shade..
Spider Monkey- unfortunately he was also hiding from the sun in the shade from the perch here. He started climbing around a bit more after we moved on.
The gang at the petting zoo. I wasn't sure if the goat was being friendly to the sheep or bullying them.
This guy looked like he had drunk a few six packs too many. The reflection of the glass takes away (it was close to closing time so they had moved them all into the cages inside) from this guy. He looked so solemn. Chin up big guy!
And the Elephant, being taken for his walk. Of course there were more animals but I didn't snap too many other pictures, partly because our time was running out... It was a nice little zoo and a beautiful day!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hamamatsu Zoo

A couple of days before the little guy got sick, we took him to the Hamamatsu Zoo. While it was tough to teach him what the animals were just yet, it was a great chance to expose him to the many different animals that we share this world with.

Kanzanji is quite a nice area, they boast the only amusement park of the Hamamatsu area, Pal Pal (Pronounced Paru Paru) and a hot spring and music box museum.
Ken and him mom looked mischievous from the outset.
At first Ken was non-responsive to the animals, but by around the mid-point when we saw the Polar Bear, he started the point. This is his new communication which has a few a different meanings. From 'I want that' to 'look' to 'come here and pick me up'.

I think this one was 'look at the Polar Bear'.It was hot so we mad sure we had lots of refreshments. Even while drinking, he kept an eye on where the camera was pointing at all times. And we had to get in at least one cheesy picture, this one turned out to be my favorite one. I love his smile in this!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sean loves Chachi and some rambling

Okay, not Chachi- he loves Lindsey (oh crap sorry if I am spelling that one wrong!). Ooops, maybe I used that joke already. Oh well repetition is great anyway! Last week, I think on the 9th of August, Lindsey and Sean got married. 2 days after Ritsy and my anniversary! (Yes, and one day after my birthday) Scotty forwarded me a link to a bunch of pics and it looks like it was a great wedding! Congrats to the 2 little love birds if they ever stop by this blog!
Ken is suffering through his second major fever now. Looks like now it is the Spotted Fever. My mother suggested that it was roseola, but it translated differently so the best I can find for a name is spotted fever. If it is indeed that, after 3 days of fever it will disappear and he will be covered in spots. His fever got up to 39.5 today, but we'd got some medicine to bring down the fever and he is acting like a normal baby for the time being. Hang in there little guy!

Recently, I seldom remember my dreams, but one stuck out last week. For some reason the musician Beck was hanging out in Hamamatsu and he needed a lift... somewhere... I quickly volunteered and we were chatting away when I realized that I had some songs that I had acquired off the internet on my car's stereo hard drive. I was worried that if he found out I had downloaded it he would be pissed. Interesting dream... I guess I was experiencing a bit of Modern Guilt...

Friday, August 15, 2008

I had a birthday

Last Friday was my 36th birthday. Woohoo! Happy birthday to me! We had a pretty relaxed day. I was happy to get Mario Kart for our Wii as a gift along with some clothes. Ken was a bit fussy through the day, but we had a nice day all the same. On that day we noticed that the house that is now finally getting built across the way from us was erecting it's roof and it looked like there may be a tatemae (rice cake throwing function). So we all went on over and got about 40 rice cakes- score!
By the end of the day's building the house had a shell. That very morning, there was only a cement foundation.
That night we had plans to have dinner with Trevor and Miyuki from Vancouver who were here to have a wedding party - along with Chris and Aki. We went to one of the nice Italian restaurants in Hamakita, Capelini. It was a great meal and a great time talking.
Before, I actually had actualy met Trevor a few times only, and we were able to have a great chat that night. Good guy. In the end we got this nice family shot. Ken was pretty good in the restaurant but needed to be held most of the time there. It was a nice birthday...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Some pics surface from the April trip to Vancouver

I got an e-mail the other day from Alex with some pictures from when we visited them back in April. They turned out to be a good crop, so I wanted to put them up here. I probably mentioned it was a bit of a shame I didn't take any pictures at his home and still nothing with my old pals Mike, Colin and Brent- but these were nice to get.
Alex's relatively new wife- Lilly, Alex, Ritsy and Ken.
The boys. Alex and I have been pals since we both were paperboys together back in the high school days. We had a blast selling subscriptions to the Vancouver Sun together. And then countless other misadventures since then..
Lilly, me, Ken and Alex. Thanks for those pictures Alex!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tiny Todd

A couple of pictures out of Chris' camera that he took at the fireworks.
Chris performed a little dity at the fireworks party for us and I tried to add some accompanying Ahhing (unsuccesfully)

video

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nishikajima Fireworks

Last week on Saturday we were invited out to the local big fireworks display at Nishkjima in Hamamatsu. We actually watched from across the river at excellent spot and enjoyed some great BBQ food and great company!
Ken had a new friend who is actually the daughter of one of Ritsy's old High School buddies. She Actually ended up enjoying Ken's food and had Ritsy carrying her around for a while.
At the party is Aya who went to High School with Ritsy and is good friends with Chris' wife. Small world. Here she was enjoying a sausage.
And my Japanese teacher Tae was decked in her sun hat. Tae is Aya's business partner. Next to Tae is Chris' wife, Aki.
Chris and Aki enjoyed a romantic moment.

In the end it was a great time. However Ritsy had a couple dozen mosquito bites on her legs and arms that turned to giant red welts. I had nothing! Not sure how that happened...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Who are the people in your neighborhood part 2

A map of Hamamatsu- print screened off Google Maps

So, who are the people that live in Hamamatsu? Naturally there is a large number of Japanese people that live here. They work for companies that cater largely to the automobile and music industries. With Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, Honda(motorcycle division) and suzuki having their bases out here. Also neighbouring prefecture Aichi is where Toyota is based.

How about the foreign population? English speakers here are a visible minority in foreign presence. According to the Monthly newsletter from the International cultural exchange center (HICE) this is the top ten nationalities of Non-Japanese Residents:

10. Canada-- 63 people
9. Nepal -- 145 people
8. USA -- 176 people
7. Vietnam -- 979 people
6. Indonesia -- 1079 people
5. Korea (north and south) -- 1659 people
4. Peru -- 2404
3. China -- 3197
2. Phillipines -- 3155
1. Brazil -- 19,321

These figures are as of May 2008.

The surprise number would probably be the number of Brazilian residents and the lack of English speaking countries. Australia and New Zealand have about 30 a piece and the UK is about 50. This is what constitiutes the culture and personality of Hamamatsu city.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Who are the people in your neighbourhood?

Hamamatsu is full lots of amazing wildlife. The rare Ken beast is just one of the critters you can find out here. Ones that I don't have pictures of include the Wild Boar (actually we spotted one a bit North of here, not sure if it is still Hamamatsu...), the Japanese Raccoon dog (Tanuki) and I have heard that the deadly Japanese Pit Viper can be found.
One insect that is synonymous with summer is the Cicada. I like the Japanese name better- Semi, it's easier to say. They are a little ugly to look at but I kind of like the machine like drone they make that fills our ears throughout the summer.

One of the worst things about summer here is the Cockroaches come out. I actually found a big one in one of our drawers the other day. I hate them but I sprayed around and cleaned the stuff in the drawer and moved on. Ritsy was freaking out for the next day or so though. We got an insect bomb and hopefully got the little bugger.

This next pictured spider is ugly but apparently eats the Cockroaches...
They get pretty big too. Probably about the size of a baseball the one I saw sitting outside my door the other day. I have decided to live peacefully with them because they eat the very gross Cockroaches...

I have seen more odd beast around, but sadly not when I had my camera handy. I saw some lizards that live in the ditches. A Praying Mantis which looks scary, but is pretty harmless I guess. And Centipedes and Millipedes Which I strongly dislike too.

These are just some of the people in our neighbourhood....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Recent Camera Phone pictures of Kaptain Ken

Ken is starting to love looking out the window while standing on the couch. He likes to come over and say goodbye when I go out for work or whatnot...
The view of the world when upside down is equally interesting to a baby.
After we took him to the doctors when he was sick
Both Pictures were so cute- wasn't sure which one to use...
Now that he is back to full health- he can get back into his modeling career..........