October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Hunt

We usually order a pumpkin from FBC (Foreign Buyer's Club) for our Halloween party. The pumpkins are grown by Japanese farmers and then FBC delivers them. This year I forgot! A few flower shops and food departments in department stores have one or two pumpkins for sale in October. This year I had to go on a pumpkin hunt. I found one at a flower shop several stops from our station. I had to carry it home in my shopping bag. I sat on the train with this big round bag on my lap. It was really heavy! I almost had to roll it home! I had to carry it with both hands because I was afraid the straps would break. We wouldn't want to eat pumpkin pie for Halloween! People noticed me. They looked and smiled when they saw the orange pumpkin sticking out the top of my bag. My neighbor said, "Oh, it's Halloween." Japan has changed a lot.

It's the biggest pumpkin we've ever had in Japan. I put a deck of American playing cards next to it so you could tell how big it is. The flower shop clerk decorated it with black tape. The "X" near the top means that this pumpkin was hit over the head. An "X" is used in cartoons, too.

I bought these cookies for Little Brother and Big Sister's snack. The party is tomorrow. The cookies are from Viet Nam.
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October 30, 2008

Out to Dry

That's taro on the other side of the fence. This fence and field are next to a parking lot of an apartment building.

This is the apartment building. The umbrellas are hanging from the kitchen window bars. That's the front door on the right and the gas meter on the left.

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October 28, 2008

Digging Potatoes

Children from Big Sister and Little Brother's old kindergarten were digging potatoes today. I couldn't take a picture of them because of privacy issues, so I dug out their old school shovel. The big one was Jiji's, Grandpa's. The children wore their gym clothes and rain boots when they dug potatoes. They took home a bag of potatoes. We made a curry and stew with ours.

Here are the tops of the potato plants. See the crow? He is heading toward the holes where the children dug. Maybe he'll dig around for some small potatoes.

Here is the farmer digging and preparing another field. This is not the field behind our house and he is not our vegetable man.

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October 27, 2008

Irene Smalls

Today marks the first day of Book Week here in Japan. SCBWI Tokyo had a Writers' Day on the 18th. Several writers held workshops. This week I will post about their books.

Irene Smalls is an author, teacher, and presenter. She talked to us about using all of our senses while creating and writing. Look at her website for more information about her workshops, presentations, and books.

I ordered her book Don't Say Ain't from http://www.amazon.co.jp/ before the workshop. What I really like about the book is that a young girl, Dana, lives in two worlds. One is her neighborhood and home where she's herself, and the other a school where she feels she has to speak and act differently. The author does a good job of showing us both worlds especially in the language differences. We (Little Brother, Big Sister, and I) can understand how Dana feels.

And there's jump roping! Jump roping is part of kindergarten and elementary school life here. It's part of the curriculum. You have to count and record how many times you jump.

Kids Web Japan-- Book Week

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October 24, 2008

In Tokyo until December 14th

Big Sister finished exams and had a day off today. (She's in high school.) We went to this exhibition at The National Center of Art, Tokyo. It is located in Roppongi. This is a free handbill. There was a shop at the exit of the exhibition. We bought postcards and bookmarks. We also bought a package of New Year's money envelopes. They have different Picasso paintings on them. There was also a shop downstairs. There were several coffee shops. It was an interesting building. Check the website.

It was nice to see some of his work again. Little Brother went with us when we went 10 years ago. He was only two, but he enjoyed it. He picked out several postcards to buy.

He was quite heavy as I remember. I had to hold him up so he could see the paintings and drawings. You're never too young to enjoy art!

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October 23, 2008

Sakura Leaves

Cherry tree leaves are falling now. This leaf was on the sidewalk. It was beside a door in the sidewalk. I didn't photograph the door and didn't really notice it in this picture until now. It was probably for workers to open to work on pipes.
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October 22, 2008

Grape KitKat

Another KitKat! This one tastes like Muscat of Alexandria. That's a fancy sounding grape. It tasted like plain old grape to us.

KitKat is sold in small cardboard boxes. Inside the box, there are two small packages. Little Brother tore into his package from the opposite end. Packages here sometimes tell you where to open them. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.)

It's best to follow instructions, but this package easily ripped along the opposite edge so he was able to get the candy out without trouble. By the way, the candy coating was a light green. We ate it up before I could get a picture of it.
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October 21, 2008

Fish Heads & Cages

We rescued four stray kittens from our neighbor's garden last fall. We caught their mother. We took her to the vet to be spayed so she won't have more kittens. This fall, a young cat is coming to our garden. We're trying to catch it to take it to the vet. There are many stray cats in our area. Feeding a stray cat without having it spayed or neutered is prohibited. There is a volunteer group that is trying to catch all the cats. They want to spay and neuter them and then release them. They lent us this cage.

The young cat is very clever. We've been trying to catch it for more than a week. The vet suggested tying a fish head in the cage. I tried that, but I caught the big Papa cat instead. We took him to the vet. I had to buy another fish head but couldn't find one. I bought this piece of fish instead. I hope we catch the young cat!

P.S. I caught another cat instead! A big tomcat. Then after a big effort I caught the young cat. Yikes, this is expensive!

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October 20, 2008

Halloween at Disneyland


Aunt went to Disneyland for an office trip. She brought back souvenirs for us. This is the seasonal shopping bag. We went at Halloween many years ago. Young children dressed up in costumes. The park and the rides were decorated. There were many Halloween souvenirs. Click here to find out about Halloween at Disneyland.

Click here to find out about seasonal events at Disney Resort.

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October 17, 2008

Lunch Apron & Bandanna

Little Brother is in junior high school. This is his school's lunch apron and bandanna. Each week a different group of students serve lunch to the rest of the class in their classroom. They wear aprons over their school uniforms.

Little Brother didn't wear a uniform in elementary school. He wore a white coat and hat when he served lunch. Click on the label below to see more about Japanese school lunch.
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October 16, 2008


Our vegetable man uses this tape to bind his vegetables into bunches. Grocery stores in the area use the same kind of tape.

Here are leeks and spinach from his vegetable stand. The picture was taken on our garden table. I bought and carried them home just like this. No shopping bag. He or his wife offers a bag, but most of their customers don't use them. You can see neighbors going home with their vegetables in hand or in bicycle baskets or in their own bags.

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October 13, 2008

Open House

This young man was sitting on the street near the fields behind our house all day. He was pointing the way to these:

the new houses that were built across the field from our house. Over the weekend there were several men standing outside to talk to people.

Click on the label below to see more posts about building these houses. Scroll down and start from the post on June 2nd.

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October 12, 2008


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Dahlia is another late summer and early fall flower. Dahlias have been available at our local garden centers for the past two summers. Or so I have noticed.

Dahlias are originally from Mexico. This one is called "Arabian Night". It is dark red almost black. The sun is shining through from behind. There is a sunspot on the photo. Through the fence you can see that the farmer has plowed his field.

October 11, 2008

Sports Day

October 11th is usually the nation's offcial Sports Day. Both Little Brother and Big Sister have already had their Sports Day for this school year. They had them last spring. Some schools hold Sports Day in May. Their junior high and high schools do not make a big deal out of it like their elementary school did. Click on the label below to see past posts.

October 10, 2008

Tea Sweet

Big Sister's high school tea ceremony club will hold a tea for American students. She is sampling tea sweets from different shops. Tea sweets are seasonal in taste and decoration. This one is decorated with a Chinese bell flower. It is a summer and early fall flower.

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October 07, 2008

A Bride

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Today was our 18th wedding anniversary. Here I am in a wedding kimono. We rented it at the shrine. There were cranes, branches of ume (plum blossom), take (bamboo) and matsu (pine) embroidered on the fabric. The kimono was mostly purple with a lot of gold threads. Purple and gold were my high school colors. I didn't choose the kimono because of that. Most of the other kimonos were red. I didn't want to get married in a red kimono.

It's hard to sit in a kimono. There were many layers tightly tied together by a thick wide belt called an obi. By the way, that's a wig and I'm wearing very white make-up.

P.S. The computer has been down for a while. I may go back and post some things for the beginning of the month.