Sunday, October 26, 2008


He loves that clock above the Dining room table. First thing he started saying basically was ball. We ask- where is the ball- he starts repeating over and over again. Also when he plays with a ball he keeps saying. Now I always point out the clock to him and he has started trying to say it... Check it out. The Japanese word for clock is Tokei- he seems to understand the correlation.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Non Hoi Park

A couple of weekends ago, Ken was showing some interest in animals on a popular animal TV program (Shimura Farm), so we thought to try out another zoo. This time we hit Toyohashi and Non Hoi Park.
He was a good boy and slept through the drive to the zoo, allowing me to still look fresh for this photo op.
Ritsy didn't sleep in the car, but she also looked fresh. Introducing one monkey to real monkeys.
Don't be fooled- he still isn't really walking, but he can stand with some help, and is getting better at walking practice.
Finally after screaming at us while waiting to eat lunch, then enjoying his lunch, he was worn out and fell asleep while we took in the Australian and Japanese animals. I had never seen a Civet before.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A sort of anniversay

Yes October 14th marked the one year anniversary of breaking my leg. So much has happened since then and the burden of getting around and remembering all the things that we take for granted seem such a distant memory.

One of they by-products of the injury was me putting on a few pounds. I remember even at that time I wanted to shed a few more pounds, but I gained about 4 kilograms in the ensuing year for a wide range of reasons/excuses.

Well in June I tipped the scales at 81 kg, and it was time to put my foot down. Or more accurately my feet down. I researched on the net for a good running program, one that was easy to get into and I found this site and it's Couch Potato to 5K plan. It was perfect for me. I decided not to talk about it because of a tendency to abandon projects at times.

In the first few weeks I was only continuously running for 3-5 minutes with lots of walking breaks in between. It had me wheezing more than a few times! But slowly it climbed and worked it's way up to 30 minutes straight running time. There was a week or two I had to take off due to an ankle that got increasingly soar. After the week, it was fine and I carried on.

Now 4 and a half months later I have managed to bring my weight down to 75 kilograms with more loss in my targets. I run 30 minutes 3 times a week and it doesn't tire me out at all.

On top of the weight results, I think I also went a long way to strengthening my leg after my injury. So it is all in all a good thing.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phone camera video- Inai ba!

In Japan, their version of Peek-a-boo is called Inai-Inai-Ba! ( translates roughly to Not there, Not there- Bah!). Ken always gets a good chuckle out of it and sometimes tries to instigate. I tried to catch the moment, but he is too aware of the camera to catch it raw...

Rose Sarah Finlay

So sorry about the lag in blog posts! While Ritsy being back to work has freed up a lot of time in the afternoons, I find I seem to have less just free time to sit down and blog. But I don't want this post to be about me.

My good friend Carrie and her husband-to-be Carl welcomed to the light of day their daughter- Rose on October 11th- hours after starting her maternity leave.
Sorry Carrie, I stole a few pictures off of Facebook here. Carrie and Carl are due to be married this coming March in Hawaii. The family will be heading out to attend!
The happy parents had to have Rose a little earlier because of complications in Carl's health. He has fully recovered and they will be a great, active happy family. Congratulations yet again Carrie and Carl!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Around this time of year, especially in the countryside, these lovely flowers start to sprout up. Actually they blossom twice a year, but this time in particular they caught my attention. They are called Ohiganbana- in English they are the Cluster Amaryliss or Red Spider Lilly- meaning Ohigan flower. Ohigan is a Buddhist tradition for remembering the dead.
The flower is associated with death possibly because of it`s poison. As one website (sorry URL lost in the ether) mentioned that farmers planted them around crops to protect them from mice and other field predators, but the flowers soon spread widely.

A very beautiful but dangerous flower.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Begining Another Phase of Life

With October 1st in Japan comes something called Koromogai. It means it`s the time of the year that it gets colder, so people change to warmer clothing. Yep. There is a name for it, cool, eh? Ritsy said she didn`t know there was a set day, but since the companies observe 'cool biz' in the summer, they need to designate a certain day to change to warmer uniforms.

This Year October 1st also marked the end of Ritsy`s maternity leave. I must admit, in the beginning it was tough to adjust to always having her home-- but I really grew to appreciate it quickly (and not just because I broke my leg 2 weeks after the mat leave started) and was sad to lose that.

On top of that Ken will start to use the Daycare at her hospital as I often work late and early, so even though there is some time when I am home, I can`t be here long enough to see Ritsy off or wait for her to return. I think it is good for him to learn to be away from his mommy, he has some days where if she leaves the room he starts to cry (and some days where he doesn`t). This separation will make it easier on him in the long run, we have some kids we teach at ESL College that are 5 years old that start crying as soon as their mom leaves the room!

It`s a very exciting time, we have entered into phase 2 of parenthood after just a fantastic year of having a lot of time together. But it`s also a bit of a hollow feeling, on Wednesday in the afternoon the house was so quiet- but I will grow to try and make the best of that quiet time.

Anyway on Thursday I had no classes so I could spend a day with just me and Ken. It was very busy but nice.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Wake of Sorts

Last Sunday Santa could feel the anticipation as something was afoot. He stared out the door awaiting the unknown that awaited...
And Ritsy`s nurse buddies made it to our house for one last hurrah before Ritsy headed back to work October 1st.. Pictured above we have.. Kiuchi with Chi-Chan (the child) and Yamada (though that is her maiden name), Hidemi, Ken and Kazumi.
Busy in the kitchen were Ritsy, Tomoko and Kazumi again. Ritsy sported her new bright orange shirt.
We also had Yuka and her son Yuto . Her son is just one month younger than Ken, but he is terribly shy. Because of the flash created by taking this picture, he would cry every time he saw me for the rest of the night. I went on to be known as `the guy with the flash`.
We had a great time chatting and I really had fun with Chi-chan(seen here pulling up Ritsy`s hood), who is a very energetic and great young lady. I might have mentioned this in another post, but her parent`s wedding I attended in my first trip up here to Hamamatsu. Now Chi-Chan is 5 years old. That was 7 years ago I came here! Unbelievable- so much life that I`ve lived in that time, and before that time! But all good things must come to end, and they did around 10 o`clock as everyone headed home.

Edited: I couldn't remember the names...