Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Foreigner fun for Easter

  Back in April a number of us families of Japanese/outside country people mix variety got together to have a bit of fun. The event was organized by Warwick, another teacher who works the same times as us in the mornings named Matt and I. Hopefully the first of many for the kids to get together and communicate in English and get to know some other kids like them. It was easy for the 3 of us to put together as we are all on the same schedule, though we'd like to extend that to more participants in the future.
 All the young'uns like Mona in the foreground, and Oto and Ume in the back seemed to be on their own missions.
 Ken was hamming it up as usual with Matt and his son Oto.
 Marty and his daughter came out too and enjoyed the Egg coloring activity.
 Marty enjoyed a beer too.
 Tyler was eating something, hopefully not a rock.
 Next we scattered a bunch of candies about and the Easter hunt was on.
 The kids searched earnestly and it quickly turned into a cut throat competition. 
Ken managed only a few items, though he proclaimed himself the winner- I think Tyler actually was...

It was a good time, even after the crazy ANZAC'S took out the Cricket bat and lobbed a ball into the mat where all the mothers and kids were sitting. Looking forward to more such outings.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mastery of the tricycle- Ken

We bought a tricycle for the little guy last birthday, and he often enjoyed going out and taking the trike for a spin. But he couldn't fingure out how to use the pedals- finally around April 16, 2011 he managed to do it. 'jouzu'- means great btw....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mona is developing her personality

 Really in the absence of my blog posting, Mona's character has really been filling in. While she is much more stubborn than Ken was at such a young age- she also has a golden heart and often has us laughing or smiling happily.
 She loves to make different poses and from early on enjoyed looking out between her legs (after making a mess of our living room as you can see)
 She also loves drawing- she is often found lying on the floor or sitting on the couch with her magnetic drawing board- drawing Arfie, Mommy or her favorite, Anpanman.
She seems to have a more artistic side indeed- she also loves songs and is starting to fill out her repertoire.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ken's a big boy now- Kindergarten

 In Japan Kindergarten is a separate school from elementary school and goes for three years. So from this April- Ken's journey into schooling began. We had chosen Akasa Youchien, which was a little further from our house- but as both of us work (and apparently they want to discourage this in Japan) the pickings of schools with early daycare and late daycare programs was very sparse (azukarihoiku they call it). It is a pretty quaint school, and he enjoys it so far, so there are no regrets.
 The first day, on April 8th, 2011 there was a entry ceremony that all parents and kids could enjoy together. You notice mothers are all standing with their little bundles of joy, but Ken demanded I do it.
 We had to take turns calming Mona as she was a bit on the fussy side- probably she was nervous because of all the strange people and noise.
 Ken wearing a Flava Flav kinda medallion and Ritsy looking all lady-like.
 And finally the next day the real Kindergarten began with his red cap for the first year (Tulip gumi) and the regular shirt. In the 2nd and 3rd years he will have to get a uniform shirt too. Wow, time goes fast. Just another year and a half until Mona gets into Kindergarten too.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thomasland trip 2 part 2

As the 11th of September marks the 10th anniversary of... well Sept 11th, I scheduled this post to run on the 12th. I hope we don't find any maniacal nonesense on the reunion of that horrible date.

 While Ken was pretty excited to be there and especially enjoyed playing in the gift shops, we saw the first signs of a trend that carried forward, a fear of the unknown. He refused to take any new rides, hence why I was on the new Bullstrode ride providing an example of how safe it was. He didn't bite.
 Instead one of the favorites was the one where they ride around in circles while they play one of those creepy songs from the show and everyone shakes a tamborine.
 It was good for Mona too.
 Mona enjoyed having a sit down in the snow, one of her first real encounters.
I gave Ken the digital camera and one of the good ones he took was of me and his mom.All in all it was a good trip and the hotel had a connected Hot Spring so we could relax as well as enjoy a delicious dinner. Good times.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Second Trip to Thomasland- March

 With Kindergarten starting up in April, we decided we wanted to get out with Ken to celebrate his big milestone with a surprise trip to Thomasland. Indeed he had no idea where he was until well after we checked into the hotel. Incidentally this trip ended 2 days before the big quake which we definitely would have felt in this area...
 Thomas was happy as always to see us.
 And we could sneak into Ken's inside the control room picture. Why do they even have a driver though? They seem pretty useless in Thomas' stories...
 Hiro, the most famous Japanese character was happy to escape from the slavery of the Fat Controller's railway.
 Mama and Mona candid shot.
Ken could enjoy the snow. Indeed it was cold.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Begining of last day- puttering around

 We had the liberty to relax a bit before the final day's pool party. So Ken made himself at home.
 Mona enjoyed watching people go up and down the stairs.
 And a little bowling.
 We walked down to the mall- Ken showed his Canadian side.
 But was a bit puzzled by it all.
 Actually I think he was bored of taking pictures, but I wanted to get him and the totem pole at the same time.
 We headed back up to Scottoi's palace.
Where Steve and Keiko arrived bearing the gifts of clothing, all great selections that have made it into their regular attire!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Quiet night of Greek

 As a thank you, Ritsy and I sprang for an evening of Greek food.
 Sorry Doogie, none for you.
 The ladies got comfortable as the sun set.
And finally the dark set in.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Visiting Mikey at Pane Formaggio

  What feels like a lifetime ago I was a cook. And one of the greatest people I worked with at Yaletown was Mike. Always positive and good for a laugh, we always seemed to connect well. Our paths crossed a few times after that- later we worked at Dix and after I finally got it together to get out of the restaurant industry (don't get me started)- we both worked for the same company- Pane e Formaggio- he in Point Grey and I in Whistler. One more time when I lived back in Vancouver after Tokyo I worked for him on 10th for a short while.
 As things go, you fall out of touch- but we finally managed to reconnect and we met up at the shop after I we finished at the Aquarium. He really loved Ken and Mona.
  Ken started to get fussy so Ritsy took him for a little walk around while I caught up with him, and later Alberto my financial advisor (and former co-worker at the now departed Fiasco).
Finally it was time to say goodbye sadly, but we all had a great time, and got to take this great picture together.
And ended with some serious discussion. Looking forward to seeing Mikey again, next time we come out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A trip to the Vancouver Aquarium

 Benita had actually suggested going to the Vancouver Aquarium together, but I was thinking that they were too busy- so saw it as a great chance to catch my family one more time before heading home. Here mom is feeding the sharks.
 Mona was nice and comfortable in the stroller that we had borrowed.
 At this time we were starting to realize that Ken feels uneasy in dark lit spaces. While he didn't say it at that time- he started to act up again. Mom tried to cheer him up.
 Ahhhh pretty butterfly.
 Mona was having a great time.
Aunt Tracey also did a great job of sitting down and trying to cheer him up too. He was a bit better when we got outside and had lunch. It was time, though, to rush to our next destination...