Friday, October 30, 2009

A power post of the scary flamingo kind...

It's Friday night...well,'s Saturday morning...and waaaay past the time I should have already gone to bed....but....after a long day (3 classes, one with another awesome spider web cake!) and then quick home...make dinner and then out the door again for yet another mind-numbing PTA meeting...I came back home about 9:30, had a salad and a beer...or two.
I painted my nails (du-uh...a girl needs to have her nails look good, am I right?) and as they were drying I put in a DVD and well.....fell asleep on the couch.
Fast forward 3 hours, it's now 2:17 a.m. and here I am.
Needing desperately to sleep I realized that I have been doing this whole Flamingo Friday thing for over a year now and have maybe missed one week, I needed to get this posted.
So...since tomorrow is Halloween....this is to celebrate the occasion:

...and I. am. out of here!
Good night all!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

...and in spite of having to play soccer, he had a really good day

Tuesday dawned an incredibly beautiful day....the sun was shining...a slight breeze was was a perfect day for being outside. Which was good for hundreds other parent-types, like myself and their kids..their 11-12 year-old kids, to be exact....because we were out there in it, for most of the day.

Tuesday was the annual Nagasaki City 6th Grade Sports Festival. Sixth graders, from over 100 elementary schools participated in basketball, soccer, track & field, jump rope and something that is called "tama ire" which is basically "how many bean bags can you throw into a peach basket that is on a pole about 12 feet in the air in 30 seconds?" Each 6th grader throughout the city chose one event to participate....and Issei chose soccer.

Just for the record....Issei? My manga drawing, classical musical loving, DS addicted young NOT exactly what one would call "an athlete". Oh....he plays sports with his friends, but that is all for fun. So, when he told me he signed up for soccer, I was a bit......surprised. He likes soccer okay..."better than basketball and running"....and jumping rope and throwing bean bags into a basket were just a bit too girly "silly" for him!

The kids practiced most afternoons. They got some pretty snazzy uniforms. They were ready to go. Our elementary was in the 7th Block of teams (I think there were 10 different groups), and each school was guaranteed at least 2 games...more if they won. the morning, as he was leaving for school.

Not exactly the pose I was looking for when I told him to "Act tuff!!" Goof!

Issei and some of his friends before the first game...they were a little nervous.

The boys played their hearts out...even Issei, in his own way. But...the best part of the morning?The other parents that were there and I had such a great time. I haven't laughed like that in quite awhile. One of the principals even mentioned in passing that it was nice to see parents enjoying themselves so much!! (She might have been insinuating that we were too noisy, but we didn't really care!!)

As for the matches....I had my camera was hard to take pictures, cheer, holler and laugh all at the same time. There were so many things that I missed. Things that, if I think of them now, make me smile:

When the goal keeper kicked the ball and it was debatable as to which went further: the ball or his shoe.

When one of Issei's friends just kicked the crap out of the ball only to have it wing back up and fwomp him in the head!! A great combination...kick AND header....THAT one put the mom next to me almost to the ground.

When one girl who, during the girls' game, was in perfect position to head the ball and as it was slowly coming down to her, struck a pose....not unlike that of The Karate Kid (arms out, one leg up and on the ready to attack!). Her mother just sighed and then laughed until we were all almost in tears.
And....Issei's unintentional block..yeah...he wasn't really ready for it and got his bell rung pretty good. The funny part? Right after it happened he looked up at me and gave me one of those "animation shaking it off" looks you see in cartoons when a character gets something big tossed onto his head. Yeah....we laughed big time at that...THEN one of the fathers made a sound effect that matched it perfectly.
That is when I officially lost it!! Tears, my friends, I had tears running down my cheeks!!
That said....I did actually manage to get pictures I can share....
As the first game was about to start, one of the dads pointed out to the field and asked me what Issei was doing. I looked at my young son and then to the dad I said, "Waiting. He's just waiting for the action to start and come to him."
To which, the dad replied, "He looks like a company president or something out there."
#14, by the case you were wondering!

In the first game, he did see some action...he got to throw the ball in, but..sadly, there was a penalty...something about one foot coming off the ground.....whatever!!

Another of the boys before the first game. The relaxed a bit before they actually had to get on the field.
Seriously? A peace sign? ~sigh~
His Japanese DNA shines through pretty loud and clear sometimes!!

Issei (now #15) in an action photo. This one was actually taken a few minutes before he got hit in the head with the ball had a strategic block.

One of my favorite parts of sports here in Japan? Win or lose, a team will go to the opposing team's bench and coach (and on this day, the girls' team who was cheering for the boys) and bow and say "otsukarasama deshita"...which is like saying, in this particular case, "That was a great game, thank you for playing against us."
("Thank you for playing like crap, giving us the chance to beat you.")

Issei and his team won their first match, but lost their second. Even though they lost, they played really hard and only lost by one point. The day was all in fun and no one was upset about losing...which was good to see.

When he got home later that afternoon, he informed me that our school had actually won 3rd prize. "Really? How did that happen?" asked I.
Issei's reply? "We're not sure, but we don't care...we got something!!
He was just beaming!!
After talking about how much fun he had had that day, I asked him if he might want to play soccer in junior high next year.....hahahaha....I really wish I had a picture of the look on his face after THAT question!! Let's just say that, no...he's not really interested in doing that.

But still....Tuesday? Yeah..Tuesday was a great day for Issei...and soccer!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Is it possible to be Uber Random....even without those little dots above the U??

According to the Urban Dictionary:

Something unexpected and irrelevant, but often amusing. A very over-used word now, please people, use it when something really is random.

Well are. truly. random.

Let's just hope we are also amusing!


A few days ago, I got a small package from my mom. In it were the usual county paper, Sunday crossword puzzle, Sunday comics and other various clippings and what-not and......yes....manna from heaven....4 (count 'em)....FOUR Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. you...if you are a lover of these particular little bits of wonderfulness...this may not seem like such a big deal. But....for those of us (and there are many...not just here in Japan!!) who can NOT get truly is a special treat.

Opening up the package, I realized that Mom had sent something that she had bought for the purpose of eating them herself while ignoring the costumed ones ringing her doorbell handing them out on Halloween to all the cute little trick-or-treaters that come to her house.

But...after being packed in a light cardboard envelope...and sent across the big water a gazillion miles away.....

this.... what they looked like.

Yeah...little thin.

Aaaaand....a little smooshed.

 we care?


Like I said....manna.



God bless ya, Mom.

(One down, 3 to go, by the way...just in case anyone was wondering!!)


Saw this poster hanging on a convenience store window. March, 2010.

Too far away, but still.....


The 18-year-old in me REALLY wants to go!!!


Yesterday...I was going through some stuff in the bathroom and came across a tube of lipstick that was in a box of things that my Aunt and Uncle had sent a few months ago. After my Grandmother passed away, they had gone through her things and all of us "kids" got some bits and pieces...some things that were definitely "Grandma".

My Grandmother used to wear this color. I had seen her quite often with it on.

I wasn't so sure about it was a little bright...a bit over the was pink.

After I put it on,

Issei saw me....and got a little frightened.

Koji laughed.

The K-man? Yeah....he just said, "Nice lips." (but in that sarcastic tone that said, "Holy Hell woman!! You're not going out like that, are you?")

I may have to work up to actually going outside.


Went to my favorite discount store on Saturday.

Saw this as I walked in.


***** Koji.

(He added his own bit of "style" to a Halloween invite I had written out.)

Done in black magic marker pen in about 2 minutes.

Not bad....not bad at all.

(We may commission him to do our Christmas cards this year!!)


I'm in dire need of a 'chick flick' and have been looking forward to seeing this movie:

As with a lot of movies, they don't use the actual English title here in Japan, instead, use something they think is the same (or close enough) in Japanese. I went to the movie theater site, in hopes of finding a movie poster, at least, to let me know if they were even showing it yet.
I found it. It is showing....and the title is something really kind of long in Japanese (and right off the top of my head I can't think of what it is but will come back tomorrow and tell you!). There was also an explanation of the movie...of which I couldn't read but, I've seen enough of the trailers and clips that I know what it is basically about.
Now....since the site was in Japanese, on my toolbar, there is a "Translate this into English" button. Knowing that something like this is ALWAYS good for a giggle, I clicked it.
And this is what it was translated into:

I am not you become a son-in
Margaret wield the pre-eminent publisher in New York as editor for 40 years. From the first time in the company being called a tyrant that had her secretly sucks. , And suddenly one day, to the dismay was told to leave the country. In fact her Canadian citizenship, had been inadvertently neglected to apply for a visa. If this is losing a long-awaited career built. Is in trouble, with 28 assistants, but absolute obedience at once to declare that the age to marry Andrew ....

Did you get that?
Don't you just hate things that "secretly suck"?!?!
Some days...this country just makes me laugh. And as long as I can do that...I'm okay.

**This is too funny...Issei and Koji get caught by the spellcheck every damn time....
but gazillion?
THAT is spelled correctly.
Are you telling me gazillion is a real word?!?!?
Go figure!!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Knowing full well that she had received some peanut butter cups in the mail from her mom today, the genkan (entrance way) flamingos wanted to make sure Debbie was actually asleep before they started looking to find her hiding place.

Thanks, Mom....and yes, of course I hid them in a safe place....the other stuff I will share...the peanut butter cups? HA! No. Way. Mine. and Mine alone.
Yeah...I know....see how I am!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

This week's "What the .......??"

English....on t-shirts, on signs, in Japanese commercials and laughable. No Really. Sometimes grab your side-fall over-roll on the floor laughable. In the 18 years that I have lived here, I have become almost blind to the "Engrish" that is everywhere you look. In the beginning, I noticed every misspelled word, every wrong phrase, every sentence that made absolutely no sense ("These are the day of our lives. We are dancing monkeys." of my faves!! I have the t-shirt!!)

When my sister and her husband were here, I could no longer ignore the blatant "raping of our native tongue" because they, not used to the stupidity that popped up every few feet or so, were noticing it at every turn. We took pictures. We stopped conversation in stores as we were all falling over each other almost in tears from laughing so hard, and none too quietly, either. They bought t-shirts for omiyage (souvenirs) for friends (and at really great prices so that shopping spree was a bonus!!).

After my sis and her hub got back to normal (or as normal as it can get), but....there's one thing that is slow in returning to the way it was~~~I am still noticing the bad English. The other day as I was walking down one of the main shopping arcades on my way to get a coffee, I passed a window display in a lingerie shop....on the way back, I took out my cell phone camera and snapped a picture...all the while, giggling slightly maniacally. And you know what? I didn't care. It really was funny.

No thanks....I'm pretty happy being a Fruit of the Loom girl!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A successful Friday....with my thanks to you!

First of all....I want to shout out some 'thank yous', 'arrigatos', and some 'graciases' to the readers who answered the questions about Halloween I posted the other day. I printed off your answers and took them to class today to use. You all gave me such wonderful answers....and not all were the same, so we had quite a lot of information to compare!! The ladies enjoyed the discussion and everyone had their own great comments and they also asked a lot of really good questions!
So, my friends.....thank you....oh so very much.
My eternal gratitude and undying affection are yours.

The chatting class is one where I offer my students
"something to eat...
something to drink...
and lively and entertaining conversation"
once a month.
I have, for previous classes, made a variety of things for them to eat....chips and dip, poppy seed cake and this month's treat~~~carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
Just for the record....I'm one of the belief that carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is a "never fail" matter what the cake tastes like, the cream cheese frosting is going to make it can't lose with this one!! my true fashion....I tend to procrastinate. I truly believe that I do better under pressure...under the gun, so to speak. It is an idea that was proven time and time again in high school and university. When I was teaching in South Texas, I was famous for not doing lesson plans (that needed to be turned in to principals on Monday morning) until late Sunday night. Even when I was working at the public school and then again at the private girls' school here, I would wait until the very last minute to make tests and grade papers.

I thrive on that feeling that I'm just not going to get done and all hell is going to break loose...and the end....I finish. It almost always turns out way better than I expect and probably, if I had taken a lot of time and planned and organized...nah....pretty sure that things would not have turned out as well.

I give you yet another example of this.

I have known for weeks my schedule for this class. I have 3 (uh-huh....three!!) schedule books and all of them have "Circle of Friends" written on October 16th AND 30th.
And yet....I waited until the very last possible moment to plan what I was going to serve.
So....last night...after the boys went to bed...after I had taken a shower...after I had watched an episode of CSI that I hadn't seen before...after I dug into the supply of Halloween decorations and found some things to use...well after midnight...I began to make the cake. I got it finished and then let it cool for the rest of the night. In the morning I would worry about frosting and decorating.

The boys got on their way about 7:45 this morning...and it was time to get busy.
Make the frosting.
Try to figure out the little tubes of chocolate "writing" frosting.
Go through the boys' toy boxes and and find spiders for decoration.
And this is what I finished with:
I took the cake and the decorations I had found to the classroom.....
....I ran to the convenience store to buy some small candies to fill the little-bitty Jack O'Lanterns for each student and we were ready to roll.

Oh....and if you are wondering where my flamingo is for today...well.....there is one just can't see it.....
This was the only plate I could find that was the right size for the cake!!!

And so...with that, my friends, I bid you a good-night. It's late...I'm's time.
Have a wonderful Friday!
If your day is not going as you would like, I wish you a "cream cheese frosting sort of thing" to happen that will make it all just a little bit better.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I need a little help from my friends.....

A few months ago I started a chatting class that I have twice a month, but the students only choose one of those days to come and enjoy something to eat, something to drink and "lively and entertaining discussions on various topics".

I have a great idea for this month's topic....talking about Halloween and all that is involved. (I can't tell you what I'm making to eat as some of my students read my blog, but we'll be safe in saying that it's going to be a delicious afternoon!!! Guaranteeeeeeeed!)
Here in Japan, especially in Nagasaki, the basic concept of this fun celebration is' There are decorations and candy and the language schools have parties and trick or treating. No soaping of windows or toilet papering of yards. No candy corn. No popcorn balls. No miniature-sized chocolate bars.
The last Halloween I celebrated in the States was in 1990. I was teaching 6th grade at that time down in the Rio Grande Valley in Pretty-damn-close-to-Mexico Texas. Teachers wore costumes (I was a hippie protesting the low wages for teachers...yeah, my principal loved that one!) and the kids changed into their costumes in the afternoon for a parade through the school and a party in our rooms. I'm sure that later that night, a bunch of us teachers were probably at the Holiday Inn (or some other equally cheezy place) for a party and waaay too much alcohol (of that I'm almost positive!) costume, of course!

As my memories of Halloween and all that we did are a bit outdated, here is where I am asking for your input.
I have a few questions and if you have the time, could you answer them (short answer is fine...long answer much appreciated!) so I can give my students a taste of what is actually going on today, not just 20 years ago? If you want, you can answer some or all of them in comments or....copy and paste into a message and send if off to me at: .
That would be just peachy!

*For People with Kids*
1. How old are your kids?
2. Will they go 'trick or treating' this year?
3. What will their costumes be? If you haven't decided, what were they last year?
4. At your kids' they do anything to celebrate Halloween?
5. Is there anything special that your kids like to do to celebrate Halloween?
**For Big Kids and Everyone Else**
1. Do you decorate your house/apartment/condo for Halloween? If yes, what do you do?
2. Are there many 'trick or treaters' where you live?
3. Do you buy candy for the kids? What kind will you buy? What's YOUR favorite?
4. At your place of employment, what is done (if anything) to celebrate Halloween?
5. Do you go out to a bar or party on Halloween? In costume? What was your costume last year? Have you decided what you'll be this year?
6. Does the town where you live have a Halloween parade? Or do they do something else? of nothing at all?

If you answer the questions and help me out, you know I'll love ya forever!!
(Oh, I'll be pretty fond of you whether you answer the questions or not, but....doing this will definitely tip the scales more in your favor. I'm just saying!!!)
Thanks so much.....and you~~yes you...
have a great day!

Friday, October 09, 2009

....and then there were four again.

Let's the past 8 days
we have seen
a really HUGE temple bell (the world's largest, even),
an over- 400 year old castle,
a volcano,
a lot of really funny stupid English on t-shirts.

We have eaten
famous Nagasaki food,
steamed potatoes on a stick--dipped in batter and deep-fried,
really garlicky ramen and gyoza (pot-stickers),
delicious Nagasaki sweets,
more food and goodies than what 10 people should have eaten.

We have been to
Hell. (oh the link...we were there!),
an onsen (hot springs...yes, nothing says "Welcome to Japan" more than getting
naked with a bunch of people you don't know!!),
a traditional tea ceremony,
a crazy Japanese woman's house for dinner with students
(no she's not really crazy, she just likes to have fun!)
an incredible festival (that is ONLY in Nagasaki and was first held 375 years ago!!)
that started very early in the morning
which meant
we had to leave the house at 4:30 to get in line for seats,
to the beach,
a lantern festival in China Town,
the Nagasaki History Museum,
and many other places that I can't think of right now because it's really late and my mind is about to turn to mush.

We also...
rang that "really HUGE temple bell",
took a ferry to another part of the island,
drove all over the place,
walked even more,
saw many old buildings and interesting places, especially that island
that looks like an old war ship,
visited with quite a few students,
took hundreds of pictures,
danced a little,
and laughed some more.

Oh...and talked...
we talked a lot!!

We crammed so much into the 8 days that my sister and her husband were here, I'm thinking it will take them awhile to recover.
By golly, you wanna come and experience Japan and our way of life?
We will make it worth your while.
But a good friend used to say...
"Stick a fork in me, I'm done."
Will blog more, post pictures and read *possibly just delete* the 357 posts in my Google Reader
another time......for now....
I sleep...or I soon as I hit Publish and turn off the computer!
Happy Friday, everyone!!!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go away......

...while our guests are here we wanna go outside and play!!! sister, Sara and her hub, Jarrett made it last night. I had class and was thinking that I would be a little late in getting to the airport, so had already warned them of my tardy arrival and to just hang and wait and people watch until I got there.
I let my class and the Gods and Goddesses of the Highway were with me....I got there just as their suitcases were coming in on the conveyor belt!
a previous student of mine came out of the baggage claim....she had been on the same plane from Tokyo!! So....she loaded up with us and drove back to Nagasaki in my car....I hadn't seen her for a long time, lucky for us---we could catch up a bit and she saved some money and time on the bus ride!!!
It was a great night!!
Then......after some time here at the house.....
Jarrett and I had some bonding time with our was a special moment!!
(He fixed a little quirk that was bothering my new sweetjustformecomputer
and it was a wonderful thing.)

After the excitement of Aunt and Uncle coming for a visit, the boys had a really hard time getting to sleep last night.....
they had an even harder time getting up for school this morning.

I finally got them out of the futons and while I stepped outside to get the newspaper, they made their way to the sofa.....and they were out again!!!
(and really...that sofa? yeah...not so big.)

Today, because of the rain and getting a lazy start.....we drove around for a bit then went to the Nagasaki History Museum. It opened up a couple of years ago and I had never been. It's quite interesting and a pretty nice thing to do in a torrential downpour that lasts most of the day!
We introduced Sara and Jarrett to some local specialities (for those who are familiar, we had champon and saraudon--at Ringer Hut!!).
We walked around China Town tonight, saw some interesting lanterns, ate some wonderfuly delicious sweets and had just a really nice time!

Tomorrow, we are heading over to the eastern part of the island to see a castle that is over 400 years old...a beautiful Japanese garden and pond/small lake that is listed as one the "top 3 in Japan"....and then, I'm thinking we might let them experience an onsen (hot spring) on our way back....we'll see!!!

Let's just pray that the weather is nice...I'm sure we'll enjoy the day, rain or shine, it's just that a little less rain would make it oh so very much better!!