Thursday, March 31, 2011

Onwards with last year- Vancouver trip 2

 Scotty and Benita were generous enough to open their homes and to provide for us the tickets to come out to Vancouver a second time last year. A very selfless and fantastic time we were all able to enjoy thanks to them. I can't say enough how much we appreciated their generosity. This time around it was around the time of my birthday in August. So great to escape the heat of Japan for a week!
 Doogie stood guard over the room that Ken and I would be staying in.
 And Benita and Ken continued their bond from the first moment.
 Mona was working her charm and trying to steel the camera.
 The neighbours were kind enough to lend us their Thomas toys which kept Ken occupied a lot of the time.
The first night Steve and Keiko came over and we enjoyed a nice meal and some wine together. A good start!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Of course, most people know there was a quake on March 11th in Japan. The epicenter was just off the North East coast of Japan, but it was strong enough that we had a bit of a shake here. I was pretty clueless as to how major the quake was until the next day when we all started seeing the results of the tidal waves that swept through the northern towns. While there was a tsunami warning here in Hamamatsu the waves did not reach destructive sizes here.

The story that took over and has been at the back of my mind since it all went down has been the situation in Fukushima. The cooling systems initially shutdown in one reactor causing anxiety about the rods overheating. An aftershock took out another one, and it seems like dominoes 4 reactors have had mini explosions (we've been reassured these are hydrogen explosions not meltdowns) and the buildings are a mess, exposing radiation to the air. They have been working for 2 weeks now to get the situation under control. They haven't totally lost the battle, they are fighting hard, but there is some huge damage, that they will only really fathom the magnitude of only years down the road. The great story is the Fukushima 50. 50 workers who have basically put their lives on the line to get the situation under control. Just yesterday I saw that 2 members had severe levels of poisoning as a result of stepping in some contaminated water. Food from the North has gone questionable- farmers had to dump their milk and destroy their crops as the food is inedible. In Tokyo they advised not to feed the tap water to small babies. I would say that is a sign no one should be drinking it. I want to say we are far away from it all to not feel the effect. But with contaminated food, there is potential that something gets through unchecked. And water. I read in the Canadian newspaper they detected some elevated levels of radiation (not dangerous though) off Canadian shores- we are much closer to it all than Canada is. Well, we are staying put- until I hear some news that the levels are becoming dangerous- which I hope they would report if it happens.

The picture at the header tells of the biggest real impact we have felt so far- the panic shopping, or hoarding factor. For about a week, you couldn't find toilet paper on the shelves. Same goes for water, rice, diapers and other such goods as people stocked up their home supply. Crazy panic- I almost had to fight with a lady over the last bag of rice at the Supermarket (we were legitimately out...), but she changed her mind and I got it in the end. To be fair, I think a lot of people have been shipping some stuff to friends in Tokyo as the supplies are much thinner up there.

Wow, that was a mouthful- but needed to document what has been going on.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The goods- Kanzanji Zoo 2011

 This was our second trip to the zoo in Kanzanji for Ken, though he probably doesn't remember trip number 1. He was ready to see some animals (until mid-point when his mind focused on Ice Cream- "Can we have Ice Cream Now?" repeated 100 times).
 The family minus daddy, but plus the toy story bag.
 Mona was serious about having a good time.
 Nice timing on the picture Ritsy...
 The Meerkats were popular amongst the family.
 Mother and Daughter. (now that is how to take a picture, Ritsy!)
 Ken taking after daddy with a comical expression (being coached of course)
 Weeeeeee! Fun has been had.
 A final pose, before climbing on the statue that says; "Please Do not Climb!".
And finally a Walk and a "Ba-Bai!" from Mona.

Becoming the Animals

 There were a few more animal themed pictures around the zoo. Each time we saw one, Ken insisted we take pictures. The lion and the rabbit- very appropriate.
 Here Ken really captures the emotions of the cow.
And the reindeer and the ... what the heck is it? A horse?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Before the zoo- the kids

 Just before we headed off to the zoo- I snapped a few great pictures of the kids. Starting with the picture of Mona enjoying checking herself out in the mirror.
 Ken with his charming eyes.
 Checking himself out.
 Mona, becoming a charmer herself.
My lovely children. Alright sappy moment over...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Monkey boy then and now-- and monkey girl

Ken in 2008

I will blog a little deeper about our trip out to the Kanzanji zoo the weekend before last in the near future. First up offering some contrast of Ken posing in the monkey picture. Above is him in 2008, and below would be 2011.
 And now Mona...
 And finally our 2 little monkeys...