Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Something Bob Marley would be proud of

My good friend, Assunta, sent me a video from the award-winning documentary, "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music" (http://playingforchange.com) - and after watching that one (Stand By Me......which was great, by the way!), I clicked on some more and found this one.

Wonderful.

Just watch.....





We have a national holiday here in Japan today....Showa Day...actually a day celebrating the birthday of the late Emperor of the Showa Era, who passed away 21 years ago.

The day is warm and sunny and I have plans to finally get my room de-clutterized and whipped into shape (oh yes I do!!) or least.....that's the plan....and you know how sometimes plans "look good on paper"....we'll see how it goes.

I'll have an update later for you....you know...just in case you're wondering how things went.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another post with no title. (Are there any rules here that I'm breaking and yet, don't really care about?)

It finally arrived!!!
For many new 1st Graders, getting the randoseru, (backpack) is just part of the whole experience of this new and wonderful stage of growing up. Many also get a desk. A nice desk. An expensive desk.
Starting in February or so, furniture stores start the big push for.....the desk.
Depending on how much one is willing to spend, these can run up into the big yen. A friend of mine and her husband spent about $1,000 on the desk for their oldest daughter. Granted, some of these desks will be used for all 12 years of school and then possibly even taken to university. If you look at it that way, then, okay....I don't want to throw up thinking about the money.

We here at Kamp Kuroiwa don't think like that. We did some comparative shopping and then found a desk that was functional, fit into the space we had and was something that Koji thought was "cool"...and didn't cost us the proverbial "arm and leg"!
And today....after 2 very long weeks of waiting and asking pretty much every single day since we bought it if it was coming that day......it arrived.
It took the two very efficient delivery/put together guys about 30 minutes to get us up and running.
The youngest Kuroiwa is quite happy with his desk....
**FYI...there is a bookshelf under the desk, against the wall and a small file cabinet just behind Koji. Lot's of storage space for important stuff....you know...like Lego's and comics and pictures that he draws!

Now, Koji's desk is very clean and neat....but soon, it will probably look like this:

....let's just hope he uses it for doing actual schoolwork and holds off on the stickerage for a few months. And yes, Issei was actually doing homework at his desk tonight...he doesn't do that very often as he usually opts for the kitchen table. Ergo...the picture...to use as proof that he does actually study...sometimes!
************************
And Debbie drops back 5 yards....and punts!

A friend of mine called a couple of weeks ago and asked if I would make a birthday cake for her son. She was wanting a soccer themed cake and, thinking it would be no problem to find soccer stuff, I told her "Sure, no problem."

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

When, of when, will I ever learn? Obviously, not anytime soon.

I had an idea in my head as to what I wanted to do. Picture this: rectangle shaped cake with green frosting on the top....white frosting piped to resemble a soccer field...with small plastic soccer player figures and a couple of nets on either end.

Sounds good, right? I thought so.

~~sigh~~

Yesterday, I went to about 6 different toy stores (yes, even that BIG one that seems to flippin' carry anything a child might possibly ever want).....did any of those places have small, plastic osccer player figures? Crappity-crap-crap! NO, they did not.

So....last night...with my creative energy waning...I came up with a plan and figured that if questioned about it, I would justify my simple cake with "what it lacks in woohoo-ness, it makes up for in taste, many times over".

I hope I was right. It was a dreamy-chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and seriously...it would be very hard to complain about that delicious combo....or at least, that's what I'm hoping!!

*********************
For a good part of the afternoon, this is what the floor of my living room looked like:

For one who has confessed to not really knowing how to sew, it seems that I have spent a lot of time at the wheel of my sewing machine. There are people from my high school who may or may not remember that I worked on a dress for about one whole year my sophomore year...the struggle I went through. (I wonder if an apology to Mrs. Christie after all these years would be appropriate?) Sewing just never appealed to me and my whole theory was "why spend all that time and energy making something that I probably won't wear/use anyway....it's just better to go to the store and buy it."

Fast forward 30-some (**gag**) years and here I am....with a sewing machine that I use more often than I have ever thought I would.

When it comes to hobbies, I'm a "hobby hopper".....I keep trying out different things until I find one (or three) that I like. Knitting, quilting, embroidery, cross stitch, crotchet and such-like activities, take too much patience and time....of which I have very little of either. I bow down in the direction of any person who can do these.

In he blogosphere, I visit quite a few blogs that focus on art and crafty-type things. I am now dabbling in making greeting cards and doing some sewing. (My candle-making energy is still alive...just ran out of wax!) I have also been intrigued lately by glass bead making....THAT just seems so cool!

A few weeks ago, I was over at 3rdEyeMuse seeing what fun and creative things she was doing (she always has a few projects going) and I found something that I thought,

"How incredibly cool!"
and
"I think can do that!"

She had requested a pattern for Goddess dolls from another incredibly talented artist, Ronda Kivett, and started making these really fun ladies. When I saw what she had made, I was hooked. And...since I do have that extra time in the mornings.......I got a pattern and got busy.

I love these so much.

The ones on the far left were my first attempts. I was having a hard time getting the "hips" even and then decided that, you know what? Those were the Dancing Goddesses. Michelle, (over at 3rdEyeMuse) kindly offered me some advice and the little problems I was experiencing seem to be worked out...at least, for the most part. (Thanks so much, Michelle!)
I have added some accessories to a couple and have made one or two into Rattle Goddesses to give as presents to friends who have just had little Goddesses of their own.
Personally, I'm liking the Hula Goddess the best....she's my favorite.

Like yarn for knitters (or so my Mom told me yesterday), not just any material is for everyone. A doll has to fit the receiver....or how I perceive that person.
As in the case of my friend, Karen....the Goddess I gave her IS her. Both are English Rose Garden types....and they are the perfect pair.
I have a list now of people to give Goddesses to....and when the perfect material comes into my possession, a Goddess will be made for each.

Have a great Sunday....I hope you find something to do that makes you incredibly happy!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm sorry...I can't hear you over these sox SCREAMING my name!


So there I was...doing some power shopping at my favorite discount store...headset on (3 Doors Down, today), shakin' it like Shakira (in my head!!) meandering through the aisles looking for the good deals I know are there.
All of a sudden....
I heard....
"debbie, DEBBIE, DEBBEEEEEEEE!!".

I turned slowly towards the underwear and T-shirts section
('cause that's where the sounds were coming from)......
there they were....

I knew that even though I'll never wear them because they sort of freak me out and make my toes itch and if I even know someone else is wearing them it bothers me almost as much... I KNEW I had to have a pair.....or three.


I hate it when that happens.

This picture?

Sometimes you have to suffer to get the shot....

It makes my feet itch just looking at this.
~~shiver~~
How I ever survived 6th grade and the whole "toe sock revolution, I have no clue!!!
Happy Friday everyone!! I hope that something you really, really, really like yells at you today....and you buy that something even though you really don't need it.
C'mon....join me....it's Impulsive Shopping Friday!!
Have fun!!

And the zori winners are........

The names were printed out.
Then carefully cut out, folded and placed in a really nice bowl (that I actually never use but thought this was the perfect time to get it out).


At about 7:15 this morning, over scrambled eggs and toast we had the drawing.
Yes....there are three hands in that bowl....GUESS WHAT?!?!
In one very short-lived 'decluttering' mode I was in the other day....
I found another pair of zori....so....
we have three winners.
YEAH!!!!!


And the winners are..............


Congratulations to
SmallTownMom,
Moxy Jane and
(Marie Millard's) Nancy!!!
I'll get the packages ready and to you in the next few days...I've got some backlog of mailing that needs to be done...you're in line!!!
Thank you everyone for visiting and commenting and just for the record....if I had enough zori, I'd send you all a pair...oh yes, I would...but for now....I'm just sending hugs and thank you's....did you get them? :-D
Actually...my students assured me that the zori sandals were "really easy to make" and one pair "could be made in about a day". SooooOOooo....I mentioned possibly having a zori making day...you know....IN ENGLISH!! I'll keep you posted on what develops from this!!
Hmmmmm....there might be a culture exchange chance here, me thinks!! :-D
Now, it's time to get this teacher-type person ready to "seize the damn day"!!
(But first....more coffee!!!!!)
You all have a great day......more later on yet another Flamingo Friday!!!





Wednesday, April 22, 2009

oh yeah...that's exactly what I ALMOST did

So...there I was today...
walking along on a warm spring day....
enjoying the sunshine and soaking up some of its "magic"....
listening to some tunes shuffling on my little "i-pod wannabe" and just being...me.
Then....one particular song began....
and at that moment in time, the strongest urge to morph myself and the whole situation into my own personal MTV Video was almost...almost...too much for me to control.
**oh yeah...that would have been me, by the way!!**

But, then....I looked around...at the people on the street...the little kids playing in the park, at the high school kids and grandmas waiting at the bus stop and no, I didn't dance.
I reached into my pocket and turned up the volume, just enough....I smiled....pretty sure I chuckled....and kept on walking, but my steps were a little lighter and I was humming...maybe even singing...just a little.
Just in case you are wondering...this is the song that came up....

**I did dance....when I got home....the boys and I had a very good time cooking dinner!!**

And just for the record....if someone asked me to join one of those "let's go to the station and start dancing and capture the reactions of the other people" kind of videos?

Oh, honey...in a heartbeat, you know I'd be saying "YES!! Count me in!!".

*****************

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do I need to remind you that this is the last post that you can comment to enter into the drawing for the sandals I'm giving away?!?! Details are here in case you've missed the last couple of days!!

I wish you all a day full of moments where you just wanna dance!! May you be somewhere you can!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Well...since it IS all about ME today

This is what 47 looks like.
*and 11 and 6, by the way

Thanks to those funny, silly, energizer-bunny boys, I forget that most of my friends I graduated high school with have children that are almost grown...some graduating university...some even having their own babies. My boys, though they make me crazy sometimes....they keep me young.

****************

Right now, I am a few months older than my own mother was when I came to Japan, 18 years ago. I still find it amazing that I have 2 little boys who call me "Mom"....I can't imagine having a 29 year old doing that at this age!!

********************

My students are helping me keep this whole "aging process" into perspective....a couple weeks ago I learned a valuable lesson when I was feeling a bit blue about getting older. I tried to explain how I was feeling and well......If you're going to have a pity party about getting older, don't invite older people, they have no sympathy, whatsoever.

I love my students.....they offer reality bitch slaps and they don't even know it...or maybe they do and that's just part of their charm.

******************

Yes, Lila....as for my choices for cake for my birthday....I'll take beefcake over chocolate or vanilla anytime!!!

*Can I just wrap him up "to go"?!?!*
(You KNEW something like that was coming, didn't you??!)

***************************

The birthday greetings from everyone have been great and I thank you all.
Other than that beefcake one today and the flamingo one on Friday, another favorite is from my Uncle Bob and Aunt Marcia....they wrote:

"Like a tree planted by streams of water...and whose leaf does not wither."

--Psalms 1:3

That one? That one touched my heart.



!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Don't forget the slipper giveaway!!!
Go here for details, just in case you were sleeping yesterday and missed the post!!
Comments, my fellow babies, will get your name in the game!!!
You have until Thursday (mine!)....so just click on "comments" and get typing!!
Thanks so much.






Sunday, April 19, 2009

And so, when I said on Friday to "come back tomorrow for a contest", I really meant to come back on Sunday...(that's just the way I roll sometimes)


to celebrate.......



The clear blue sky on a warm afternoon

Saying "hello" to a pair of old friends I haven't seen for a few months

(the sandals AND the unsocked feet!)


Sitting in the garden, drinking juice with my favorite little boys
Being barefooted on a warm afternoon

Flowers that are blooming in the garden right now

Debbie's birthday week

(We thought a "birthday MONTH" might be a bit too much!!)
Clean clothes hanging on the line that dry in just a few hours

And just for the fact that.....
We are having a contest.



Last year, a friend gave me a pair of handmade zori (slippers). They are made of cotton scraps, some from old kimonos. At first, when I saw them, I thought, "No way are my large,
size 9 1/2, foreign feet going to fit into those."
But, my friend assured me that if I wore them every day, in 3 weeks, they would fit.
So I did....for 3 weeks...I wore those slippers around the house. Oh...they were not the most comfortable things I have ever worn, but.....3 weeks I could do.
Funny thing about these slippers....they get really soft....and they sort of smoosh out to fit the feet that wear them. If you put them in the washing machine, they will not only get clean (because I have been known to use them to wipe up spilled water or tea!!), but they also get softer!!! They are wonderful....and I wear them around the house...
all...
the...
time.

And so, I have.....2 pairs of these lovely handmade slippers to give away.... to 2 very lucky people!!
This is the easy part....All you have to do is leave a comment on this post....or any other post I may write.....until Thursday morning (Japan time, yo...maybe your Wednesday!!). So, today is Sunday....and I'm sure I'll post a couple more times....You'll have a post or two more that you can write comments!!


And because I'm going to be a total "comment ho" about this....
you leave one comment...you get one chance.
You leave 3 comments....you get 3 chances.


We will have the drawing on Thursday morning and post the winners soon after.
Who knows....there might be a few "extras" along with the sandals (small and light extras!)....I might be feeling really generous by the time Thursday rolls around!! :-D
So...there you go....
Leave a comment (or two...it's your call!).

Then go have a really great day.

Friday, April 17, 2009

There's nothing like Gloria Estefan to get the weekend started right!

Flamingo Friday Fantastikness!!!

Today....the weather was beautiful...warm sunshine all OVER the place. I had no classes this afternoon, so came home and just chilled for a bit before walking to the school to accompany my littlest man home from a busy day in 1st grade.

But before I could get into all that "chilling" I had thought about all morning.....the mail came and nestled amongst a couple of bills and a flier for a pizza delivery service....I got a card from one of my BFFs, Dena.

I was standing outside when I opened it and I'm sure the neighbor-lady (who was hanging out some laundry) was wondering what on earth I had gotten in that envelope because there I was...all by my little lonesome....just LOLing, right there on the sidewalk in front of the house.

On the front of the card, is a very hip Flamingirl....with a bag and a whole lotta bling going on. I opened up the card and listen.............

video

**Sorry, the quality is not too good....it's hard to capture that on film, but I think you can get the idea. I also think I was doing a tiny bit of Dr. Seuss channeling!! :-D And the heavy breather holding the camera? Yes, that would be the 11-year-old with allergies....but he's a damn good camera man!!

Here's wishing you all a surprise (or two) today that makes you laugh out loud!!

**************************

Oh!! and come back tomorrow...if you want, you don't have to, but....there's a contest brewing to help celebrate some stuff happening here at Kamp Kuroiwa....Dude! We got some prizes (that were found when we were going strong in that whole "decluttering" phase a few weeks ago!!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Can I be random with you? It's been so long...I hope I haven't forgotten how it's done

Since I completely subconsciously ignored all the signs on the Internet telling me that Easter was coming....I spaced it out. No Easter Egg tree. No chocolate bunnies. No chocolate eggs. No eggs at all, for that matter. But....no one really noticed and I thought that all was safe.
Then.....
Someone posted a picture of the basket of goodies she had given her daughter and asked us to count the ducks in the picture for a prize. I felt really bad because Issei was standing here, looking over my shoulder, when I was reading that post.....I asked him to help me count the freakin' ducks and it dawned on him that Easter had passed us by. When he asked me what happened, I could not even tap dance my way out of that one...I just apologized and "oh, look...I think I found another one!"


So.....Thank goodness for wonderful friends (**mwah** to you, Fumiko!!) who travel abroad during the Easter holiday and pick up goodies for me and my boys!!
Cadbury goodies, no less!!
And all was right with the world.
I got some new glasses last week....any thoughts?
(And by my asking for "thoughts", I'm only really asking for just nice comments, okay? okay!)
**BTW...I got a haircut yesterday and that mess on my head, has been taken care of!!**


Elvis has left the building....and he took some homemade bags with him.
Here are the last of the bags needed for school....small ones for the boys to carry their masks for when they have lunch duty (more on the whole "duty" thing another time). These were made from a pair of my "fat jeans"~~I got sooo much stuff out those babies...they were HUGE, I'm tellin' ya!!


This is what happens to our favorite 6-year-old almost every night about 6:00 since he started this whole "school thang"....dude, first grade is hard, yo!

A friend (Hi, Trenda!!) has offered up a temptation that just makes me cry thinking that I'm going to have to say "no".....there is a Jimmy Buffett concert in Las Vegas in May...."Why don't you come?", she types to me.
Like that would be a fun one to explain to the K-Man....."Yeah, so honey....I'm going to spend 100,000 yen ($1000....that one shouldn't spend if one is planning a trip to the States in July!!) to fly to Las Vegas for the weekend to see Trenda and go to a concert...I'll be back Sunday night....casseroles are in the freezer....**mwah**...see ya later."
~~sigh~~


Since I have never been to one of his concerts (even though I am the one person that truly NEEDS to go since I have been a fan since waaaaaaaay before it was cool....can you say since I was about 12 years old?!?!), you don't know how tempting this was!!
In my sadness, I visited some of the Buffett sites I like to cruise and live vicariously through and Lo, and behold....a sight that made me wanna sing (among other things!!).

One of the reasons I do so love being a member of the phlock......
may I introduce to you "Urban Cowboy", from the Tropic Nation site......
Lordy, Lordy....there is a Goddess up there who wants us to be happy!!
****************


Something that just made me giggle.....

The parents at the boys' school all take turns doing "morning road safety patrol"....it's kind of a mandatory volunteering situation. I don't really mind doing it. The place for our area is near the house and doing it takes about 30 minutes out of my morning about once every 2 months.
Usually, a few days before, a bag with the necessary items that are to be used are delivered to the house by the person before me on the list. In the past, there has been a yellow flag to hold (I do love stopping traffic with that!!) and a banner that is worn much like the Miss America banners.
But this year.....there was a new item added.....
Yeah. Sure. Okay. And just in case you are wondering....the tulip hat?
No. It stayed in the bag....and only worn for the purpose of this post.
But....it is quite a fetching getup, don't you think?


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Having lived in Japan for so long, I no longer know what "6 inches" looks like

6 inches or

15.2 centimeters





I wonder if other foreigners have been faced with this problem:


Someone tells you that an object is "6 inches long" and for a few moments....you really have to think....to remember....holy hell! 6 inches?!?!



**Okay....so at this point of the post...go ahead...get the jokes over with...you KNOW you just can't stand it...go ahead.....I'll wait............And really!! Do you think I'm going to post about that ?!?!?! Sure....I've been tempted....and I've tapped danced around it, but....no....get your minds out of the gutter and join me....up here....where the porn and trash just float by with only slight glimpses by us...like a parade!!**




The other day, Michelle, one of my incredibly talented and inspiring friends posted something on her blog that I just fell in love with. (stop it!!)

The kind of artwork she does, I do so admire. Many days I go to her place to read and I expect to see a new project or changes in an ongoing one...and believe me, she has many wonderful things she is working on...all at the same time, it seems....it's a magical place.




Anyway....in the post about this particular wonderfulness that she has made, she gave directions and in those directions she said that she had made hers "about 6 inches tall". Okay. No problem. So...I get the pattern and adjust the size a bit, I get it all put together and even though they are a bit not-perfect (but still really cute), they are incredibly small. Issei got out his handy-dandy ruler and sure enough....7.6 centimeters....which is 3 inches.




And at this point.....I started to laugh...possibly even snorted a time or two.



By the way....the things I made? I need to make a few more before I feel comfortable enough to share them....yeah, I know...color my butt insecure, but, hey, that's me. Give me a day or two...they really are cute.




And speaking of butts being colored.....



Have a wonderful Easter everyone!! I wish you eggs you can find easily...jelly beans for breakfast...and...Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs~~'cause you know they are so good!!

May the feeling of faith, hope and love be in all our hearts today and everyday...but especially today.

Friday, April 10, 2009

and then...there might have actually been some thumb twiddling going on

Thursday was Koji's first "real" day at school. He was up before me....sitting on the sofa...just waiting for me to crawl out of my futon. While my coffee was brewing, we had a nice talk about school and what all we thought was going to happen. He was a little nervous but he was nervous in a good way. When it finally got to be 7:00, we woke Issei up (that took a bit of time and a lot of effort...he is NOT a morning person..especially on a school day!!), had a good breakfast, brushed some teeth, got dressed (Koji changed twice!!) and then finally, they were ready.

I followed them to the top of the stairs, and after a quick "See you later...have a great day!", I sat down and watched them walk off together. Issei was telling him about what all they have to do when they got to school....I watched them until they disappeared and then realized I was looking a bit 'stalker-like' sitting there in my old sweats and flip-flops with my cell-phone camera in hand, ready for a great shot, so I finally just gave it up and went in the house.

From this moment I realized that things had changed. My "babies" weren't so little anymore and, though I wasn't sad or anything, there was still a little fwip in my heart...things had changed.
And boy howdy have they changed!! For one thing.....I have free time in the morning. Oh, don't get me wrong, I've always had a little free time, but now? Now, I have more than I have ever had~~~and I'm not sure that I am actually comfortable with it. Yes, I know...it's only the second day...it will get easier...it'll start to feel not so weird soon....but for now...yeah, I'm twiddlin' my thumbs!

For 10 years (5 at a public school, 5 at a private girls' school) I was a full-time teacher and incredibly busy....the last 3 years were a bad busy and I was miserable. After that last job was finished, I found myself working, basically, as a freelance English teacher. The last 5 years of working like that haven't been easy and I have worked my butt off to get the classes to fill my days....but, this, my friends, this is a good busy...a fun busy! I love it!!
Plus....I have an extra 45 minutes in the morning and almost an hour and a half in the afternoon...time that used to be spent taking Koji to and from the daycare.

Sure I have things to do...things I should be doing but would rather be doing something~~anything~~ else...things that have to be done. For example, yesterday, I did 3 loads of laundry, folded 2 that were on the line from Wednesday and spent about 20 minutes chatting with my neighbor next door over the wall between our houses. She asked me if I felt like I was "too free". I tried to convey in Japanese how I was feeling...."Yeah! And it's kind of making me crazy!!" (smiling the whole while were were talking about this.) She convinced me that everyone goes through this and I should enjoy it while I can because before I know it, I will have become accustomed to it and it will be just like any other day. I'm hoping that I can get my room clean before that happens.....the "path" from the door to the computer is getting smaller by the day and I really need to make it walk-able!!

So....if you had some extra time in the morning or afternoon...what would you do?

********************

What do you get when you search for "Easter...flamingos" on Google Images, Yahoo Images and Flickr???


You get these beauties...that's what you get!
(Except that one of me and one of my flamingos....that one was from my own cell phone!)

Have a good Friday everyone!! (get it, Good Friday! I crack myself up sometimes!)

FYI.....Many, many moons ago, I was born on a Good Friday so, as my mom says, this is my "real" birthday. I say, "That's why I'm so good." Oh yes, I do, too, say that! :-D




Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A "Pika Pika Ichi Nen Sei" kind of day

**Thursday night....I started this last night and about half way through, I was so tired, I was nodding off...sure sign that it's time to just go to bed!!!
It's official.

Koji is a "shiny, new 1st Grader".

Yep. He's stylin'!

In the garden (azaleas blooming! yeah!!). His randoseru ("backpack") is empty, so it's not too hard for him to carry. (Tomorrow will probably be another story!! Students here don't keep their books at school....all textbooks and notebooks are kept at home and taken to school, when needed!!)


Such a nice family...the only thing missing is Issei...he was already at school, getting ready for the ceremony.




When we first got to school, a 6th grader met us at the entrance (they were waiting for the kids and it was just by chance who was paired with whom)...and we walked to Koji's homeroom. He is in class 1-A. There are 19 kids in his class....20 in the other. The classes here seem to be getting smaller each year....though I like the small class sizes, I'm worried about what will happen to our school in the future if this continues!

On each desk, there were many things waiting for the kids. Each 1st grader must wear a special yellow hat and put a yellow cover on their randoseru. No matter where you go in Japan, you'll know it when you see a 1st grader!


There was also a box with a "congratulations" sweet inside (sweet bean paste inside a steamed rice flour roll...tastes much better than what it sounds!!)....textbooks and notebooks and tiles to use in math.

"Nyugaku omedetou"


Congratulations on Entering School!!!


Koji's homeroom teacher, Mrs. Sakai (she was also Issei's 3rd grade teacher....he said she was really nice, but......"don't make her mad!!!")




While we were in the classroom, the rest of the school was in the gym...waiting for us.





All the other students were sitting on the floor of the gym, parents in chairs behind them and the VIPs were in chairs on either side of the students. There were special chairs for the 1st graders, up near the stage for them.





As the 1st Graders entered the gym, some very lively music began to play and everyone was clapping. The 6th graders had made arches of paper flowers for the 1st Graders to walk through. (Issei was one of the "holders", but you can't see him because some 6th grade Amazon Woman was in the way!! :-D (If you click on the picture, you can see his arm and his
green striped t-shirt.)
After the ceremony, it was back to the classroom for some directions and what-not from the sensei (teacher). They put their hats on...attached the buzzers and whistles (not a good move on the sensei's part, but....that's just me! Yeah...we did have some moments of "Turn it off!" and "Only whistle if you are in trouble.") and we put the special cover on their bags.

Watch out world....here we come! "Pika Pika Ichi Nen Sei, Kuroiwa Koji kun"
and his mommy and daddy.
(Damn. We look good! And no, my skirt was not a long skirt originally~~since I've lost weight, a lot of my things sort of sliiiiiiiiide down. It's a pain, but one I will gladly deal with!!!)
At the front gate of Menoto Elementary School


On the grounds of the school...the sakura (cherry blossoms) held out just for us so we could take a really pretty picture!
(Since Koji's bag is now full of books and stuff, it's much heavier and making his jacket look almost too little! :-D Funny...now that I really look at that picture, it looks like someone else has a backpack on~~that video camera bag must have been really heavy!!!))
After we got home, we changed into some comfy clothes and then headed to our favorite Belgian cafe....Koji and Daddy had a Pepsi and Mommy? You betcha! She had a reeeeallly good Belgian beer!!!
Luc (our favorite Belgian man evah!) made a special dessert for Koji....a piece of 'to-die-for' chocolate cake, fresh strawberries and a small cookie....oh, yeah...and lots and lots of chocolate syrup all around the plate!
Oh, yes. he did! And I let him! Can you believe that?!?!
Oh well....it's not everyday you enter 1st Grade....you gotta live large!!