Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!

So...even though we only decorate here in the Kuroiwa House for Halloween, it doesn't mean we don't enjoy it!! Here are a couple of pictures we took last night....Issei's wearing a hat that one of my students (Thanks Misako!!) gave the boys.....plus, it had candy in it, so we were all very happy!!! **Issei saw this picture and said "Koji looks like ET when the little sister put him in the closet."---------Maybe...sorta...kinda....
And this is just a picture that the boys and I REALLY love!!! After we carved our pumpkins last week, Issei was all like, "Oh man....we should have made one like the picture!!!"
Maybe next year.....if we remember.....


I hope that you all have a great Halloween....get lots of candy and have tons of fun......Have a Booooooo-tiful day!!!

**Oh....and Happy Birthday, to my brother, Doug!! A few years ago, I wrote a poem in his honor...can't find the original but here's the gist of what I wrote:

Ode to my brother. by Debbie
Of all the memories that I have
Here's the one I remember most
When coming back from Trick or Treating
and Grandpa said, "We got ourselves a little ghost".
**Actually, this was pretty much how it happened!! I just remember being so incredibly happy that he was finally here. A little sister would have been great, but Doug
turned out to be pretty good!!!
I'm glad that we kept him!!!
You all have a great day......

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And which part of a baby do YOU like to "num num num" on??


Okay....so let's face it...our culture is a bit strange, at times. Case in point...what's with this whole "eating babies" idea and where did it come from?!?!
I was going through some of the blogs I like to visit and came across one post: "What's up with wanting to eat cute babies? And other involuntary impulses that freak dudes out."
I don't know about you, but....I do it. Give me a cute, chubby baby (see example #1 ...Koji, at about 5 months) and I will just start "num num numming" on cheeks, arms, fingers, tummy, thighs, or my favorites..."piggies"!! Why do we do this? And....is it only us girls that do it, or do the guys do it too?!?!?!
I remember about a year ago when, with a group of Japanese friends, one of them had her daughter....who, swear to God had THE most noshable cheeks!!! After sniffing that area near the cheek and ear, I made a comment like "I just need to get a bite of this."......The looks on the ladies faces were such a "Kodak Picture Moment"......so I'm like "What? Don't you do that?" "Yes," one good friend replied, and with a slight giggle, said,"but usually not to other people's kids and especially not with other people watching."
Well.....how sad for them, I thought!!!
So.....bring on the chubby babies!!

**While I am on the topic of 'eating babies', I thought I would add something else in the lines of slightly older "babies"....over that past few weeks, I have heard (by friends and yes, even from myself!!) in conversations about men....incredibly sexy men, to be more specific:
*"Well, I could just eat him with a spoon."
*"I could take a bite outta that."
*"Spread him on a piece of hot bread." (first time for that one!! but I like it!!)
and now, my personal favorite,
*"Ooh...I could just sop him up with a biscuit."

Obviously.....we have some "Hansel and Gretel" issues that need to be dealt with!!

And on a final note....speaking of wanting to "take a bite out of" something....

I give you....Matt Holliday....of the Colorado Rockies.
Yes....yet another bit of proof, that there is a God and He (She) likes to give us nice things to look at!!
(Somebody get me a biscuit!!!)

I was very sad that the Rockies didn't do better in the World Series....not really sure what happened to them in Games 1, 2 and 3....had they played those games like they did Game 4, it all might have ended up differently. Despite the loss of the Series....the Rockies are STILL an awesome baseball club!!
And hopefully, next summer, we can catch a game....and I pray that the RockPile tickets are back to their 'regular season' price of $5....and NOT what they went for during the World Series ($65-100, depending where you looked!!).
So....as with anything else in life...when crappy stuff happens...stop. take a break. get yourself together again. and then do what you have to do to make it better.
Go Rockies!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A little catchup??


Yes...it's that time again....time for me to come up with a good excuse for not posting and then hope that I am forgiven....I think that this time I am going to blame the "instant messaging" program and my favorite high school volleyball coach (whose girls are about to do some major damage at the District Tourney...GO T!!!)
I have recently started this IMing.....and, don't get me wrong, it's GREAT, but....I'm getting crap done here on the computer that needs to be done for my classes!! I have "spoken" with the beforementioned Coach T almost every night (along with a few others who won't leave me alone!!! she said smiling!!!).....as I am here at my computer in my PJs in the very late evening, she is at school, getting ready to start her day...or even having already started and sends a message when there is a lull in class!!!
As she and I have a hard time getting our schedules to fit for a phone call, this is super!!! We have talked more in the last week than we have in a very long time!!
When the time changes, it may be a bit more difficult....but, since I usually don't get to sleep before 1:00 in the morning very often, maybe it will work out okay!!
If you want to get in touch with friends....send an instant message...I can't speak for anyone else, but when I see that someone is "on" and I can send a message or that I have a message from one of my friends, it just makes me smile....what a great way to either end...or start a day!!!
I hope you all are doing fine...living healthy and happy....
I have posted some new stuff, so read on, if you wish!!
Much love and hugs to you all....
d.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just a message to my Rockies


Game 1 is over....shake it off...no problem...you can do it...People all over the world (well, a lot of us in Japan, anyway!!) are cheering for you and know that you will get it together again and kick some major Red Sox butt!!!
(by the way....I cancelled my morning class on Monday so I could watch Game 3 from Denver with Nancy who has spent the last 4 games sending me updates on my keitai (cell phone). I will pick up Starbucks coffee and then run by Mr. Donuts....don't think it would be wise to drink beer and eat hotdogs at 9:00 in the morning!!!
And....to make things interesting....I think she's a Red Sox fan...I hope I don't have to hurt her!!! *smile*

The mad "cake baker" strikes again.....


Some friends had a baby shower for our friends Beth and Vitor who are expecting their third baby very soon. They have 2 little girls and this one is a boy!!!
I was asked by the hostesses to make a cake for the day and here is one of the ones I took.
I'm still getting the hang of this....one of the ladies gave me some of those tubes of frosting you can buy in the States to use in decorating....yes, they may be incredibly convenient, but...I prefer to use my own frosting and do it myself....hard to control a tube of stuff.
That said....I think that it turned out pretty good...plus it was delicious!! This one was a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting....can't go wrong with that combination!!!
(and the cake is a baby's "onesie", for anyone who can't see what it is!!!)
*The other cake's photo I need to find...it was, shall we say...interesting. The hostesses requested something and I just did what they asked. Let's just say, for those of you who are curious, that it could also double as a Biology project...with an egg and swimmy things with only one attached to said egg with the "male" symbol on it!!! One of the ladies said later..."So...you can pretty much do anything, theme-wise, with a cake then?" I just smiled....I can sure try!!! :-D

Getting ready for Halloween....sort of...

So...thanks to my friend Nancy and her husband who have base privileges over in Sasebo....we have REAL pumpkins this year. And by REAL, I mean, one that has to be held with both hands!!! Almost didn't know what to do with ones this size....the boys were really excited!!!
The first pumpkin was "Mommy's"....I went for more of a 'traditional' look, while Issei....

welllll.....
I gave him a piece of paper and told him draw the design he wanted for his pumpkin.
He sat right down and in about 10 minutes handed me the final product. He poked out the pattern with a thumbtack and then connected the dots with a pen so I could follow the lines correctly.
This is the finished product!! He is a fan of DragonBallZ and supposedly, this is one of the characters....I say "supposedly" because I really have no clue....but the kids in the neighborhood knew immediately what it was so a) Issei does know his "manga" (cartoons), b) he's a pretty good artist and c) not bad cutting job either, Mom!!!
We have hung up the Halloween windsox in the trees outside and displayed the other various items we have collected over the years!! We don't really do more than that...Issei does remember going "trick or treating" one year with our friend Jan and her kids...he thinks that was really fun...may have to work on doing something next year.....maybe!!!

A few photos from a very big festival!!!


So despite pouring rain at 6:00 in the morning, the show, as they say, went on! The day was great!! The weather cooperated pretty well, with just a bit of rain at one point, but not enough to damper any of the "spirit" of this incredible festival!!

Here we are, sitting all scrunched up around the performance area in front of the temple. This particular area is quite small, but the show is good. I was sitting with my friends Kyoko (behind me....she's the one with the "temple connection" for the great seats!), Miwa (next to me) and her husband (behind her) and then Travis (in the front) and his wife Leigh (behind the camera!!) and her brother and his wife!!




This festival consists of "floats" that are carried/pulled around the town to different performance areas and to local businesses who pay big yen for each group to come and perform in front of their buildings. Some, like this one, is made to resemble a boat and can weigh up to 4 tons!!! CanNOT imagine pulling that up the stairs at the big temple!!! Each group enters the area and after making offerings to the Gods, they do their thing!! Usually, they move their particular boat or whatnot up and back and then spinning it around and around all the while chanting. It really is hard to explain and as I told Rochelle in Australia..."you really need to see it for yourself, to appreciate it"!!! **If you can, click on the picture and see in the enlarged on the expressions on the faces of the men. During the next week of classes, the "word of the day was INTENSE....the men, the dancers and so many involved were so very intense...it was quite impressive!!!



This boat was the 'Ja Bune'...or Dragon Boat. My friend, Richard took part in this and he said in an interview on TV after it was all over that he didn't even have the words in English to describe how he felt!!! It was fun watching the boats, but actually knowing one of the guys taking part was just that much better!!!
All the people involved start practicing on June 1....some of them work pretty much every evening and on the weekends to make sure the performances are without mistakes!!



The Ja O Dori, or "Dragon Dance" has become one of the performances that is repeated every year. The tourists who come to watch...and they come from all over Japan and possibly Korea and China, too....love this dance. I have to say that this year's Dragon Dance really wasn't the best I have seen, but one of the little old guys sitting near me told me that "next year would be better because that town has done it many times'.



These girls were incredible and again, intense. Their performance was a dance using swords and then later fans. The youngest girl was about 6 years old and she was the funnest to watch. She took her part very serious and you could tell that she, as well as everyone else, had worked very hard for this festival!!!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A true "belly flop"....by Koji

video

So after repeated attempts to send a video from YouTube to my blog and having each try fail, I realized that I can put videos directly onto my blog.....so here is my first try....turn up the volume when you watch this so you can get the full effect of the "belly flop"!!! Too funny!!!

Koji and my nephew Luke were trying to be like the "big boys" and do 'some really cool stuff' (as Koji told me!!). It was so much fun watching them....sometimes a bit painful, but still fun!!! ("Aunt Leslie's" comment prompted the title of this post!!!)

Yeah...Yeah...yeah...I know...it's been a while....



So...as my friend Jan pointed out to me, the last time I posted, we were waiting for typhoon #11....now #15 is blowing around (not coming too near yet, but, the week is still young!). "It's time for a new post!!" :-D



And......how have you been? Things have been good here...busy, but good. Mother Nature FINALLY decided to cool things down a bit....still pretty damn warm in the afternoons, but the evenings.....aaahhhh....the evenings are wonderful!!! So cool....so comfortable...I can actually get a good night's sleep!!! It's not so humid now, which helps to make the fall, probably, my favorite time of the year!!!



With the coming of fall, we have in Nagasaki, a very important festival that started today and will go for the next 2 days...weather permitting. Of all the festivals we have (and we do have a bunch!!), this one really defines Nagasaki. The festival is called "kunchi" and is said to be one of the top 3 festivals in Japan!!! (Of course, one of my students said that all big festivals, all over Japan say the same thing!!!)
Anyway....the picture I put up above is one of the "Ja Odori"...or "dragon dance" that is only one of the highlights of the festival. I was trying to explain the festival to my friend Rochelle in Australia, and....nope...really can't very well so that she could understand. Finally just told her she had 2 choices: 1) go to the Internet and search for "Nagasaki Kunchi" or 2) (and my personal favorite!!) come to Nagasaki next year and experience it for herself!!! I think that she penciled us in!!! :-D
If you want to check out this over-350-year-old-tradition , there are quite a few sites on the net you can find...or go to http://www.ltcm.net/~telkamp/japan/kunchi/kunchi.html and read what somebody, who visited here 7 years ago wrote about....his pictures are also pretty good, which you can click on at the bottom of his page!!
The different towns ("machi") in Nagasaki, all do performances every 7 years....so the pictures from his site are the same things we can see this year!!
Tickets to see the performances are really hard to come by and pretty expensive if you do happen to get them. I happen to be very lucky to have a "connection" at one of the venues for the performances on the second day of the festival. SOOOOooo, tomorrow, I will get up around 4:30 to get my self downtown to the shrine for the start of the performances which is at 7:00. But....due to the beforementioned typhoon, the weather channel is calling for rain....which will really tick me off!!! They will postpone to the next day, but I have classes....hmmm...IF that happens, I will just cancel classes for the morning....my students will all understand!!!
I will say a quick prayer for cool weather, and no rain for tomorrow!!!!
Okay.....I will try to post some more....might even do a bit after my bath and before I "hit the futon".....I am sorry about not posting, but as most of you know my schedule, I'm thinking I am forgiven!!!
I hope that you are all having a good one..."talk" to you later...
Ciao my lovelies!!
d.