Monday, January 31, 2011

Monas 1st birthday video

Ya I love the birthday videos. They are a great chance to look back on the year's events and create a simple documented photo album. I made this one a bit late, so couldn't check Ken's video for redundancy but should be enjoyable all the same.

As before the music is posted without permission really, so they may come down later-- but if you like the songs please go to iTunes or your favorite solution and buy the songs.

Gorillaz with Bobby Womack from their fan flub exclusive CD The Fall- Bobby in Phoenix.
Under the Sea- from the Little Mermaid (sorry for the dampened volume level) that would be Mona's music choice.
-and- The Black Keys- The Only One  from their CD- Brothers.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

RIP Sue Nagura

Last week on Tuesday afternoon Ritsy's grandma- Ken and Mona's Great grandmother- passed away. I believe she was into her '90's so here in Japan they say 'oiwai' or celebration because she had a long life. I think the loss of anyone is unfortunate. I missed the wake as it was held very soon after I heard that she passed and I couldn't get out of my work. But I did attend a ceremony before they cremated her- if you watched the Japanese movie 'Departures' or okuribito- it reminded me of the movie. I had to clean her skin- it was my first time to touch a dead person. Then after they cremated her people pass some bones around using chopsticks. I also attended a funeral on Thursday where a monk chanted for about an hour and finally we said goodbye. That was a bit of challenge for Ken's patience, but he did as good a job as a 3 year old can do.

I never really knew her true character, though she was more lucid in my first visit and time spent in Tokyo. The last few years the medication really interfered with her memories it seemed(I say so as they took her off the meds for a bit and she remembered things a bit more clearly). I remember at one time she thought I was her son Kenji. The strongest memory of her was when we lived in Tokyo and visited, when Ritsy was saying goodbye to her, she started to cry as though she knew it may be the last time she lucidly saw her grandchild. I hope that where she is now, she is resting in peace.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mona's 1st birthday

Last Thursday, January 13, marked Mona's first birthday. As I was working away, we waited until that weekend to celebrate her big day. So in her honor, I will break my 3 picture target limit this time.

Ken chose to wear his button up Hawaiian shirt we bought for him about 2 years ago. It still fit...
 Mona was her usual cute self with a bunny clip in her hair.
 We started with lunch at the revolving sushi place nearby- Kappa Sushi.
 Then we hit Kids Fantasy Resort in Miyatake for a wide variety of play things, including getting eaten by a crocodile.
 Pretending to eat.
 And having a ball in general. Get it?
 Because her birthday was in the same month, she got some free Ice Cream and Orange Juice. The place was a bit pricey, but the selection of things to do was rich and for a special occasion it was good.
Finally we returned home for dinner and some more birthday cake. The little lady thoroughly enjoyed!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Some wrapup on outstanding posts- End of Steve's visit in Jan 2010

 The last day of Steve's stay a year ago, we managed to get Ritsy to come along with us- one week away from having Mona and all. We took Steve out to Ryotanji in Inasa to see the lovely Japanese style garden there.
 A big tradition in Japan is to ring the Bell at the beginning of the year, so Ken was able to get a few 'gongs' in.
And of course Thomas was along for the trip and he got to go for a run on the stone steps. It was a nice day and a nice visit from the Man- Steve-O.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Around the home- video and movies

Arfie trying to get Lanma to play with him.
 Ken being charming and cool, takes after his dad.
Mona developing her 'picture face'.
Mona showing her 'drunken sailer dance'. I am not sure who the silken voiced singer is.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Years Score

I was already pining about the expensiveness of Christmas season when my old mouse died. I very reluctantly went ahead and bought a new mouse made by a company that makes operating systems based in Washington state thinking it would easily integrate into the system. One of the charming features was that the mouse came with a free rechargeable battery.  To my dismay the mouse absolutely did not work at all. I troubleshot for a couple of days and even the help file said it must be hardware. So we returned it to a local electronics store called K's Denki and they tested and confirmed the issue, then I was able to exchange and they even let me pick a little more expensive wireless keyboard/mouse combo. They included a little hand towel as an apology. Oops, I forgot to return the rechargeable battery (which go for about $7). Score!

Incidentally the new keyboard and mouse set integrated and worked in seconds flat. Happy endings abound.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

3rd birthday video

I should have mentioned about the music in the 2nd birthday video. There may be some copyright claim down the road forcing me to remove the songs or videos, but I like to coincide the pictures to musical memory from the year. So last year I was listening to Moby's album 'Wait For Me' - very mellow and probably his best since the aclaimed Play- the instrumental is unfortunately called 'Shot in the Back of the Head'. Ouch. The other song is Radiohead's 'These are My Twisted Words' which was made available as a free download. Not sure if it is still free though. If you like these songs, hop over to iTunes and buy them. ;-)

So on to this year's birthday picture video:

This time I featured a little bit of Feist and Ben Gibbard's 'Train Song', from Dark was the Night; Band of Horse's song 'First Song', the Disney anthemic 'It's a Small World' and The Gorillaz song '19-2000'. Please go and buy the songs if you like them and sorry if I have to take the video down one day...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ken's room

Sleep tight

Ken has been co-sleeping since birth, something that is quite common in Japanese families. Since Mona came along, I have had duties sharing my bed with him. He is actually a pretty good guy to sleep with, no feet in my southern orifices or whatnot. But now he is 3 years old and Ritsy is back to working graveyard shifts at the hospital from this coming weekend. So yesterday we went live with the 'Ken's bedroom project'. Actually we started working on it a few months ago. Ritsy bought some bed sheets that would agree with his sensibilities and we will convert an old sofa of ours into a Thomas sofa later on. I have also been doing 'practice falling asleep by himself runs'. We started with 5 minutes solo and around the 17 minutes solo trials he was often falling asleep.

So last night was the first run with the room changed out and it was a success. I read a book, kissed goodnight and turned the light off. We never heard a peep from him. I was able to help put Mona to sleep (now located in my room) and in the future this will be really helpful for when it is just I or Ritsy putting him to bed. Even though the first day was a success I am sceptical, I am sure there will be some bumps on the road, but it's a start!
Good Job!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2nd birthday's cheesey picture video for Ken

Title says it all. I like to make a photo retrospective video each year for his birthday. So before I throw up this years, here is the one from the year previous.

Happy 2011

We are still here. A lot has happened since my last post- and yet not much really.

I am trying a reboot of the blog to start the year. Maybe shorter posts- 3 picture max instead of the 5-6 I used before and shorter stories. May be easier for me to stay on top of posting.

This year I have a lot of ideas for resolutions-- of course I need to be more focused and I will try to embrace change deeper. And of course try to be a better father every day.

Happy New Year everyone!