thank you!!

end of November, end of Live Journal....

ever since the cold weather has set in, it's been affecting a lot of people around me, including myself.  teachers at the elementary schools i teach seem to just snap and end up not coming back to work because of clinical depression.  a friend of mine who is on maternity leave and also teaches at one of the elementary schools i teach at told me that students end up changing their personalities around this time, and it drives some teacher bat crazy...literally.  :/

so long story short, there has been a big shuffle in teachers, classrooms, curriculum development, responsibilities, and just a general "tone" in the work place for me.  :(  stress built up to a point where i myself snapped, crap happened, and drama ensued in one particularly troublesome school.  i'll spare you the details, but in a nutshell, i got caught up in the game of teacher vs. students with power struggles and all, and i, being the hot tempered "gaijin", ended up causing trouble for a lot of people.  in the end, i blamed myself for not being more in control of my emotions, but my boss, the principal and the other teachers along with the students' parents all were on my side saying that it wasn't my fault.  sigh... talk about a life lesson.  all in all, the ordeal is over and done with, and we've all moved on to become more the wiser.  :P

that whole incident mentally knocked me out to the point where hubs was even concerned about my behavior.  i wasn't able to destress, and i was losing interest in things that i would consider stress relievers, like LJ, youtube and movies.  i was also constantly forgetting things and just not "thinking right".  then, i'd end up crying at the drop of a hat.  i'm usually like that when i'm on my period, but my period had stopped a week before this, so hubs knew something might be wrong with me.  he put his foot down and told me to drop some of my classes.  i work on Sundays, so he told me to take my Sunday's off in December.  originally, i wanted to do that since i'd only have two Sunday classes compared to my usual four, but hubs actually talked me out of that mindset since there wasn't a particular reason to stop earning that extra cash.

now that December is really here though, i'm actually glad that i have a couple of Sundays off since i totally forgot about new year's cleaning (お掃除)!  then there are Christmas parties at work, at school, at Kay's school, with friends, along with end of the year parties (忘年会), etc.  kind of overwhelming... so, hopefully those Sundays will help me get my head on straight again.

as far as no more Live Journal goes, i've decided that being on LJ for the past 12.5 years is long enough for now.  i'm gonna be moving the rest of my posts to Blogspot, so here's the new address:  i think a change is in order.  granted i am sooo used to using LJ that i'll have to learn a lot on how to use Blogger, i feel like moving forward is best. :)

i have decided not to delete this account even if i've backed up all of my posts from 2001 to now.  maybe i'll come back for nostalgia reasons. :)

so instead of "goodbye", i'll just say a simple "it's been fun" and "thanks" ^_^

burucha rap

belated rabbit rabbit; new bread maker of awesome!

it's kinda sad and says a lot about me that i was thinking about the new monthly curriculum at work on the 1st before i remembered that it was my brother's 23rd birthday!  total sister fail... although, i've never been much of a sister figure anyway to both of my brothers ^_^;;  you can tell i was the spoiled brat of the pack :P  thank gawd for facebook!  i messaged him and he replied back with a little heart emoticon and thanks ^_^

it's funny how your siblings change as they become adults, and i guess it's also how you change as you mature mentally as well.  kinda makes me wish that Kay has some siblings, too.  Lord knows that Kay is dying for a baby brother and has voiced her opinion on being an only child many times.  that's all because of the fact that there are more children and young adults here in Fukuoka than in, say, Tokyo. :P  everywhere you go here, you see families of AT LEAST two.  the average amount of kids that i see around here are three.  you know how Japan is suffering from an aging population and how no one is having any more kids? i can honestly say that you could never tell if you were living here ^_^;;

so whenever she sees her classmates' families or we go over for a playdate, she's always saying that she wants a baby brother like S-chan, or I-chan, or N-chan ^_^;;  i just kind of have to tell her, "what will be will be...and go talk to your father about this" ^_^;;

speaking of hubs, he got that bread maker i posted about last time.  it arrived last week and he's been having a FIELD DAY with it ^_^  it's funny how much he looks like a kid when the bread is baking.  the reason why we decided on getting a bread maker is because it saves us money since our household eats more bread than a usual Japanese family, so it adds up to a lot even if the 6 piece or 5 piece loaves are around 70 yen at the store.  however, since we get the ingredients in bulk, it saves us a lot in the long run.  also, we know what goes into the bread we make.  hubs has calculated the cost of making a small loaf at home each time, and he says that it averages around 85 yen for a regular loaf of white bread (5-6 pieces).  so, if the store bought bread is lower than it's production cost, what in the world are they putting in the bread?  ya know?  ^_^;;  well, that's what hubs is saying.

for those living outside of Japan, there has been a HUGE scandal going around with high end hotels lying to their customers about what they put in the food that they serve.  that plus all the stuff that's leaking from Fukushima into the ocean around Japan is starting to make us question if the food here is really safe to eat...   so, that's prompted hubs to up his game and be more careful of what we put in our bodies :P  although, he still won't go organic, because he can't look past the price tag ^_^;;  can you tell that i've totally given up the kitchen to him?  ^_~

anyway, he's made about four different types of bread so far, pulling recipes from and the recipe book that came with the bread maker. :) Kay's helping too since it's just measuring and dumping the ingredients into the machine.  today they made my favorite mochi rice bread, which was exactly like the buns i used to buy from the bakery that cost around 200 yen!  hubs made a whole loaf for half that price!  so yay for being thrifty, and yay for making awesome yummy bread!! ^_^

tomorrow, i've got a day off!  gonna have a mommy day with Kay in search of getting her a wallet to hold her allowance...also to do some window shopping, wear my new cute shoes, and relieve some stress ^_^  
tee hee Kay

Halloween 2013! ; hub's recent purchases; meeting a youtube star!

i think that Halloween is probably gonna be my favorite holiday in the year.  granted i don't get any time off and end up working harder than usual to entertain my students, i love dressing up and just having fun!  it's good to know that my inner cosplayer never really died as i got older ^_^

this is also one of the holidays that i know will always be fun for Kay, because there will always be some sort of party for Kay to attend, even if i'll be working the whole time ^_^;;  she also loves dressing up and just having fun with her friends or other kids at the party as well. :)

here are some pics of this year's Halloween party at my Saturday school:

Kay was a princess this year.  i originally wanted for her to be a cat (i bought the ears at Daiso and everything!) since i was a cat as well, but she opted to wear her gown.  all for the better since this will probably be the last time she'll be able to wear this dress (my mom bought it for her two Christmases ago).

i was working the whole time during the party, mostly taking pictures, helping with games, and collecting costume contest votes.  so, Kay was actually lost in the crowd, but she mostly stayed with the kids she knew and a couple of my colleagues played and took care of her the whole time ^_^  so i wasn't worried.  in the end, she got a ton of treats and balloons, so she was happy all the way back home ^_^  i on the other hand was spent since i had worked two jobs that day from 9:00 AM to when the party ended at 8:00 PM! x_x  at least i didn't have to plan a whole party this year like i did at my last job :)  so, i got to enjoy things a bit more.  ^_^

Halloween week at ACB started on the 23rd and ended on the 29th yesterday, so no more cat ears and tail for me anymore.  i had found a pair of pumpkin orange jeggings at Uniqlo in September, and i wore them with my 2006 Tokyo Disneyland Halloween T-shirt for that whole week!  i should probably get a new Halloween T-shirt. that T-shirt is starting to get a little old ^_^;;  unfortunately, i was so preoccupied the whole week, that i didn't get any pictures of myself in the cat ears and tail of which the kids all got a kick out of :D

i still have one more Halloween lesson tomorrow to teach for my morning ALT job, and then Halloween will be officially over for me this year. :)

moving on, hubs has recently made a few big purchases from his favorite ^_^;;  so now, we actually have a Casio keyboard in our home! i actually was against getting one, because it is quite big, and i'm just thinking that it's one more piece of furniture that we have to move when we eventually move house, ykwim?  that's the down side of always renting a place instead of having your own house/apt.  hubs explained that in Japan, elementary kids start music classes really early, and it really benefits them if they have some sort of music "sense" by learning some sort of instrument.  i don't doubt that at all since i grew up in an Asian family, and i had learned piano and harp when i was a kid.  however, look at me now!  i have utterly no use for either of those talents, and even hated it when i was a kid.  plus, i was never good at either instrument and i've pretty much forgotten how to play the harp... :P  i actually want Kay to learn guitar, because it's more practical, but i guess everything has to start with the piano... :P  in other words, i don't think learning the piano will benefit her much in life, but who knows *shrug*.  for now, Kay is just using the keyboard (it's portable and has no stand) more or less like a toy or a music player.  however, her hoikuen does have a biiiiig music recital that she will participate in at the end of November.  she's going to play a rendition of Verdi's "Aida" a.k.a. the "Triumphal March" with her class and the Himawari-kumi on their pianicas, xylophones, and drums in front of hundreds of parents.  according to one of my mamatomo, this is the next big thing after their Sport's Day.

luckily, the keyboard actually has this song in it's song banks, so Kay can get some extra practice with her fingers :)  she recently drew a picture of herself playing the pianica.  oh and if you've never heard of a pianica, this is what it looks like and every kid here is required to purchase one apprently ^_^;;

other than the keyboard, hubs has just gotten his own speed bike.  it's a racer, so it's nice and light with uber thin wheels.  he's a real bike nut, and he spent a good deal of his youth just biking around places in Japan and Australia.  he never biked around Taiwan, but then again i wouldn't blame him since conditions weren't nearly as bike friendly as they are now in Taiwan.  funnily enough, both of our bikes and other bike equipment are made in Taiwan ^_^  ah, Taiwan... built up by manufacturing Christmas lights to become the land famous for its bananas, bicycles, and umbrellas.  :)

hubs is also thinking about getting a bread maker, but he's holding off on that until he can really make sure that it's not going to be one of those appliances that we use once or twice and just store away to collect dust like our blender and hot plate ^_^;;

in other news, i was coming home last night after work and ran into a youtube celebrity!!  if you watch youtube as much as i do, you know your youtubers.  last night, i got the pleasure to meet and talk with Micaela Braithwaite.  she's an expat living in Fukuoka and i'd say pretty well known. :)  i think i've been following her on youtube for 2-3 years now, and i really like her vlogs ^_^  she's really nice and we took a photo together on her iPad.  she's living in the city now, which means that i might bump into her again (yea right, with my work schedule ._. )...maybe? ^_^;;  anyway, i was pretty happy and that really made my day.  i told hubs about the meeting and he was really impressed too ^_^  if you don't know who she is and live in Fukuoka, definitely check out her channel :)
burucha rap

Osaka; first birthday party; Kay's Bazaar; Randoseru is here!!!

whelp!  it's that time again: Halloween!  i don't have much time to post since anyone who has taught English knows that Halloween is one of the busiest times in the year at your job.  i remember last year, i was arranging for a Halloween party at my old school all by myself, and i was totally frazzled by the end of the month!  fortunately, i don't have to do any planning this year, and leave that up to the Japanese staff at ACB.  however, implementing what they want me to do is a whole nother story :P

anyway, i'll post about Halloween after everything is all said and done. right now, i'll just make a brief post about what's been happening lately. :)

15th: Day trip to Osaka with hubs
hubs scored some super cheap plane tickets, so he decided to take Kay to Osaka for a day trip.  she took that day off from school and left the house really early and came back really late, but had a blast with her daddy despite the rainy weather that day :)

we've been giving Kay an allowance of 50 yen each week starting this month, and she bought this little cell phone strap with her allowance.  it cost her almost all of it (450 yen), but she was soo happy to buy something with her own money! ^_^  that was the highlight of that trip, i think.

19th: Kay's Hoikuen's Bazaar and Arts and Crafts Gallery
her school held a big Bazaar that day where they showcased all the arts and craft projects they'd been doing for the past few months.  they had a big Totoro theme going, so everything they made was from the movie.  i, again, had to miss out on this because of work, but there are some pics hubs took :)

20th: attended first birthday party
now, Kay's never had a birthday party before sadly (mostly due to my laziness and wanting just to celebrate by ourselves :P ), but she's been invited to some before and it's always been a scheduling issue for me since i work so much.  finally, hubs and i thought that Kay was responsible enough to be on her own in someone else's house without burning it down or breaking anything, so we said yes to an invite this past Sunday :)  my coworker and friend's daughter was having her 6th birthday party, and she really wanted Kay to come, because I-chan really likes Kay and vise versa.  i had to work that day, but i dropped Kay off early, had some lunch with my friend and then left for my lesson.  Kay was totally cool about it since she loves going to other people's houses ^_^;;  i came back to the party just in time to see the festivities begin and stayed til around 6:00-ish :)  the rest of the party ended at a karaoke place, but unfortunately i had so many things to do to prep for my Monday classes that night that i had to take Kay and head on home. :(  sigh, maybe next time. ^_^

my friend's party was really awesome.  the theme was of the Disney Fairies, so all the girls dressed up in fairy costumes!  it was so cute!!! my friend made all the decorations by hand and the cake was also her handiwork too!  totally awesome!! ^_^  we had a really great time!

24th: Kay's Randoseru came!!!!
so after shopping around with my mamatomo, we finally settled on a style that Kay liked.  then we searched the Internet for something similar that was not so expensive as the ones being sold in the stores.  the ones that were being sold on shelves were of 2013 or 2014 models, which usually ranged from 30,000 yen to over 50,000 yen.  since we're paying for it out of our own pockets (traditionally, the grandparents are suppose to pay for them, but hubs didn't want to burden his parents with an expense like that), that price range was just ridiculous. :P

it took about a week of us looking online before we finally settled on one that all of us could agree on.  hubs put in the order and 3-4 days later:

it's here!!!  this is a model from 2011, so it was half the price as all the current models.  originally, we wanted to get a more popular brand, but we stuck with this one instead because it was 10,000 yen cheaper and had all the same features as the other brands.  plus, Kay really liked the color of the bag :)

so with all the shipping and handling included, we got this Randoseru for around 15,000 yen :)  my only gripe about it is that it's just a wee bit smaller than i'd imagined, but it's all good :)  i really like how the color looks on her.  originally, we thought that she'd look nice with a lighter pink, but on that Monday when we were trying on different Randoseru, i realized that it didn't suit her as well as the bolder pinks.  :)  just goes to show you that when buying one of these, you HAVE GOT to go and look at them yourself.  it's almost like buying a pair of shoes or a sofa or whatnot.

btw, did you know that most, if not all, of the Randoseru are made by furniture companies?  i always thought that was weird too, but after looking at one up close and owning one, you can see how sturdy it is and understand why they're made by furniture companies ^_^;;

this Randoseru is actually the first for all three of us, so we're all totally STOKED!  hubs never had one when he was in elementary school, because he was born and raised in Hokkaido for the first half of his elementary school, and apparently, they didn't require them back then up there.  so, when he moved to Yokohama, he was the only kid without one in his entire school :P  his parents couldn't get him a new one because times were hard for their family then, so he spent the remainder of his elementary school years without one.

i'm so excited that i can't believe we have to wait until April 2014 for her to use it!  ^_^;;

so, now you're all up to date :)  i'll post about Kay's Halloween party experience this Saturday when we go to my Saturday school's party :D
burucha rap

getting sick; randoseru shopping + playdate

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anyhoo, i'm glad that's pretty much over and my prayers were answered in that i was totally back to my healthy self for this Monday's get together with some of my mamatomo!

like i said last time, we need to look for a randoseru for Kay.  since other moms here are also shopping around, i decided to ask if they wanted to make it an outing for the kids.  they thought it was a great idea, so we ended up having 5 moms and their kids shopping at Aeon and this other furniture store for randoserus.  ^_^;;  we were pretty rowdy, but fortunately, it was early in the morning, so there weren't that many people around.  i figured out what Kay liked, and jotted some brands, prices and product numbers down to go home and research about later.

after a quick lunch at McD's, we all went to one of the moms' house and all played there for the rest of the afternoon.  the kids were playing quite nicely on the first floor, while us moms just chilled and talked on the second floor where they had their kitchen and dining area.  i was very surprised and relieved to know that everyone there understood English and could communicate more or less with English, so i did a lot of the talking mostly.  things kind of simmered down and the kids got a bit tired after 3:30.  we were starting to run out of topics to talk about, so i thought that it might be good for Kay and i to leave at around 4:00.  the other moms thought it was probably time for them to get home too, so everyone thanked the host for her hospitality and left at around 4:15.

Kay had a lot of fun today, but it didn't overtire her, so i was grateful for that.  :)

oh, and forgot to mention that on Saturday, Kay and hubs climbed the Fukuoka Tower!  it's an event that happens every few months, where they open the stairwell on the side of the Tower, and let you climb all the way to the top :)  it's kind of like a marathon, and you can clock how fast you get up there :)  here are some pics from that day:

thinking is hard

belated rabbit rabbit *hackhackcoughcough*; playdate

sigh, yet another rabbit rabbit post late all because i've been sick as a dog this past week.  i haven't been to the doctors because my busy schedule has picked up again, and also because i'm just generally lazy and just hate getting out of the apartment, so i just rely on the med i brought back from Taipei last year (Panadol).  i mean, that's the reason why we stocked up on so much of them.  i've already gone through one of the 4 packs that we have, and i would try the Robitussin that we also bought, but the Panadol seems to work better than the Robitussin cold.  although, Robitussin is still best when it comes to coughing.  i just don't like taking it during the day because it makes me drowsy.

i don't remember if i posted it or not, but for the past couple of weeks, it was hubs and Kay that were down with a little bug.  hubs ended up getting a majorly sore throat and fever last weekend, while Kay's eczema flared up.  i was so busy taking care of both of them that i guess my body just went into overdrive, which in turn kept me from getting sick.  once they got better, the weather started to change and i think i caught a chill while riding on my bike home from work or something.  either that or hubs gave me what he had. :P  i came down with a sore throat and fever Tuesday night, went to work Wednesday with said symptoms with a good dosage of Panadol to keep them down, and by the end of the week, i was coughing and relying on constantly sucking on cough drops to keep my voice going.  i'm still coughing, achy, sore, tired, and just generally sick... :(

i think it's also because i'm almost due a visit by Aunt Flo, and the week before that during PMS, my immune system is super weak... so...maybe just all these factors coming to a head and then resulting in one. unhappy. sick. me. x_x


anyway, i'll post about my last playdate with some of my foreign mommy friends here to lighten the mood and temporarily forget that i'm sick. :P

so, the 23rd of September (Monday) was a national holiday in Japan meaning that i got another day off that week.  one of the teachers (A) at my Saturday job also has a daughter the same age as Kay, and they really like playing with each other.  that same teacher also has a friend (M) who i met for the first time way back in the Spring, and she also has a daughter the same age as Kay.  i thought we hit it off really well and friended her on FB :)  i'd been meaning to get all those three little girls together and play again, but my schedule was so booked, that i normally have to wait for national holidays to even have an opening. :P  so, the stars aligned and we were all able to meet up that day :D

we had a really nice picnic at Ohori Park.  the weather was gorgeous that day despite being a bit sunny. it wasn't too hot so that was a major plus, too :)  the kids all played together while we adults kind of just sat under the shade of a tree nearby and chatted away.  :)  we spent a good 2-3 hours in the afternoon there, and when it was around 4:30, M invited us over to her house to bake some cookies (i'd given them some cookie mix i'd bought but couldn't use because the label said not to use a toaster oven for the cookie mix :P  ) or just chill or have dinner.  we all accepted and went over to M's place, which was a really nice house, imo ^_^  while all the kids watched My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (all the girls love MLP...including myself ^_^ ), us moms got time to chill and have a small coffee break.  my friend A makes awesome coffee, and i bow down to both of their homemaking/cooking skillz ~_~;;  i am soooo not worthy!! ^_^;;;

before we had the sliders/mini-hamburgers in the pic, the kids got to bake some cookies and decorate them.  those in the pic are oatmeal cookies that A made from scratch! :)  they were sooo gooooood *_*  M was such a good host and the impromptu dinner she made was awesomely delicious :D  again, i am not worthy...! m(_ _)m

anyway, it was around 7:00 when we all decided to break up the happy gathering since the kids and adults all had to go back to school or work the next morning respectively, so we really had to call it a night and get the kids in bed :P  since Kay and i lived the furthest away from A and M, i didn't get home until like 8:00 and Kay zonked out at about 9:00-ish.  overall a great time :)

however the next day, M messaged me on FB saying that she found lice (!!!!) in her daughter's hair, and that just to make sure, i should check Kay.  she thinks it might have come from the park that day.  i was really thankful that she told me right away, because the sooner you catch those buggers, the sooner you can get rid of them!  i told hubs right away, and he was surprised and actually didn't know too much about lice since he'd never experienced anything like hair checks and stuff when he was in school.  so armed with all my memories of getting annual lice checks in elementary school, along with stuff i learned in health class in high school, i didn't panic and went to Daiso to get a fine toothed come and other hair clips/ties that would be needed in search of the nits.  that night after coming home, we sat Kay down and both hubs and i combed through every millimeter of hair with hubs holding a flashlight and me doing the combing.  during that time, i was really grateful that Kay inherited my fine hair.  ^_^;;  it took about 10 min to comb through every part of her head and we didn't find any.  since the nits hatch after a week or so, we decided to wait and see what happens.  so far so good :)  so, praises go up to the Big Guy for letting us dodge that bullet ^_^;;

the next time i have off will be the 14th this month.  i've already asked the two mamatomo i hung out with last month to go "randoseru" shopping with me.  a randoseru is the Japanese pronunciation of a "ransel", which is Norwegian for "backpack", and it is the designated backpack for all elementary schoolers here in Japan.  it's very important that you buy a good one, because your child will be using the same one for the entire 6 years he/she is in elementary school ^_^;;  so, it's a reeeeaaaaaallly big deal here, and they sure don't come cheap... :P  hubs put me in charge of taking Kay to go find one that she liked and then we'll probably search online for the same kind at a cheaper price.

here's a clip of a mall that i want to go and check some randoseru out:

i've still got to get through this week, so we'll see if i survive work or this cold or whatnot... ^_^;;  wish me luck!
thinking is hard

back to the grind; latest gripes

last Sunday and Monday were days off for me!  it was the Japanese equivalent to Taiwan's Mid-Autumn Festival, so it's a national holiday.  i was so happy to have two days off in a row because if you know me, i only get national holidays off.  i would have only gotten Monday off, but i got last Sunday off too, because the family that i have private lessons with had an event that day. :)

anyhoo, i spent both days with Kay and other than sleeping in, i didn't waste a min of our time ^_^  i wanted to go shopping on Sunday with Kay and get her and myself some nice shoes, maybe some clothes and a toy as well, but i also wanted to check out the sales they'd been having that weekend too.  so, we went to the outlet mall at Marinoa City.  :)  of course, we have our own little traditions whenever we get there.  for example, we always have Krispy Kreme and she gets to ride the toy train they have at the mall as the last thing to do before we leave.  :)  we did both of those and in the middle, we popped into a couple of shoe stores, Babies R Us and a restaurant for dinner. ^_^  since we were walking around so much, i didn't really take that many pics, but the ones i did take are down below:

other than complaining about walking all around the mall, she was generally very happy that day.  her new shoes are in the second picture.  i forgot to take a pic of my shoes, which are a pair of 6 in. platform wedges ^_^  they're black, white and gray tweed shoes with a black suede platform heel.  i'll admit that they were an impulse buy.  i actually wanted a pair of nude wedges or heels, but the pair i found at the store was an L (yes, if you're gonna buy cheap shoes in Japan, they only come in S, M and L sizes... :P), which is half a size too big for me, so i need them to have a strap of some kind to keep the shoes on my feet, and those nude wedges i saw didn't have one :(  however, i was determined to get a pair of shoes that day, and i saw the black platforms just "calling" to me ^_^;;  i put them on and they were soo comfortable!!  who'd of thought that a pair of 6 in. platforms would be so comfortable?  they were under 3000 yen, so i got them :P  i was so happy with them that i wore them immediately after i got out of the store ^_^

it's funny how a pair of really nice shoes can change how you feel while you're walking ^_^;;  despite the clunky wedge, they weren't heavy so they were easy to walk in, but after i walked over to some uneven tiles on the floor of the mall, i was in for a rude awakening. :(

did i fall?  thankfully, no but i continuously would lose my balance on cobblestones or uneven tiles on the floor.  :P  if one were to see me walk, they'd probably think i was a noob at wearing heels ~_~;;  and I'M NOT!  .....or at least i don't think i am. :P

Kay was really sweet the whole time and would hang onto my hand really tightly every time i would "wobble" or trip.  she's say things like "i gotcha mommy!" -^_^-  i was just trying to keep myself from falling onto her, which i succeeded at in the end.  i ignored the embarrassment of tripping here and there sometimes just to test myself, and i ended up wearing the heels all the way home, wobbling most of the way since the pavement on the sidewalks aren't all that great either ^_^;;

after getting home, i kept looking at my shoes to see what was wrong with them.  it definitely was NOT my sense of balance or even my ability to wear heels, because just last Thursday, i ran from one block to the next in 4 in. heels trying to get from the station to the movie theater in time to watch Man of Steel (which i thought was pretty good btw ^_^)!!  flipping the shoes over, i realized that the bottom of the shoe was actually smaller than the sole!  so, it gave the platform a rounded shape instead of a rectangular one, ykwim?  sigh... pleasing to the eye, but not so great for walking :P  the heels that i ran in before were by Nine West and i paid almost US$100 for them, while these black platforms were around US$30...  guess you pay for what you get... ~_~;;

i'm still happy about my shoes, though, since i'm fine if i take baby steps and just walk on absolutely flat surfaces, but i do wish that i could have thought things through a bit more ^_^;; curse my impulse buying!  >_<

anyway, other gripes that i've been having are actually about Kay doing her homework.  she gets homework from Kumon and she takes foreeeeeeeeeeeever to finish it!  the only way she can actually get it done in a decent amount of time is if hubs or me is sitting next to her breathing down her neck!  :(  we've tried rewarding her, but she just ends up ignoring the "reward" and choosing not to do her homework.  so far, the teacher at Kumon hasn't told her off yet, like the rumors say she will (the moms i know who go to the same Kumon classroom says that the teacher there is really strict), so i'm kind of at a loss.  i'm just worried that she'll be like this in elementary school next year, and i'll have to breathe down her neck the whole time as well :(  in the meme words of Sweet Brown:

work has been bearable.  it's always harder after a longer break to get into the swing of things again.  it's a bit more harder this time around because of parent observation days all this week and a bad habit in the form of going to bed late.  hopefully, i'll be able to get my groove back, so i can get out of the mindset of just counting down the days until my next day off... that's never a good sign when you're working... :(  wish me luck!

oh, forgot to mention that i had a playdate with some of my foreign mommy friends on Monday, and that was an awesome time.  i'll have to post about that some other day, because i should be sleeping now ^_^;;

thank you!!

first experience with "mamatomo"

so, i mentioned last week that i had a good Sunday.  :)  i still had to work that day, but since my class is in the afternoon, i normally use the time in the morning to run errands, prep for my classes, do chores, etc.  that Sunday, i had a dentist appointment and since hubs went on his little trek to Kitakyushu by himself, i had to take Kay along with me.  i'd booked the earliest 9:30 appointment, so Kay went with me and stayed in the lobby while i got one of my fillings changed.  i had my old filling taken out the week before and just had a temporary wax covering over the gaping whole in my tooth, so i couldn't chew or even brush that side of my mouth for seven days!!  man oh man, was i happy to have everything filled in and done afterward!

so in my good mood, i decided on a whim to go to the 100 yen bakery that's near my dentist.  Kay and i used to go there every Thursday when i worked at my old job, but nowadays, we hardly ever go since i work all the time and she's got school.  i also had to run a few errands before then, so on the way back, we stopped for an early lunch at the bakery which has a little cafe in it to sit and eat the bread that you choose from their shelves.  :)

halfway through our meal, Kay sees one of her classmates and her family come in.  we all say hi to each other, and they end up having an early lunch with us.  in the process, i found out that the mom's English is quite good, which was a total relief for me since i was nervous about speaking any Japanese at all. ^_^;;  we chatted about work, our backgrounds, our husbands and other things :)  i found out that her daughter would be going to the same elementary school as Kay, so i was so elated to know that Kay would at least have one friend in her class when she starts school next year ^_^ in the end, it was just so nice to talk to someone other than my co-workers in English and just "chat", you know?  before we left, we exchanged numbers and emails to keep in touch.  :)

oh before i go on, i have to rewind to that Saturday when i found out that one of the students at my eikaiwa is also in Kay's class!  it was the mom that recognized me first since her daughter was going to be in my class as a makeup student.  i felt so embarrassed, because it's been six months since school started, and i JUST found out on that day that her daughter and Kay are in the same class at school ^_^;;  we also exchanged info after class, because she wanted to set up a playdate at her house ^_^

which brings me back to today!

since i work seven days a week, i only have time off when there's a national holiday that closes any of my eikaiwas or elementary schools.  it so happens that today is Respect the Elderly Day, so i get the day off.  the two moms that i met before set up a playdate at one of their houses and that's what we did today! :D  i brought over some banana cake and pumpkin cake that hubs and i made with our rice cooker (Japanese recipe for banana cake here), and the moms also prepared a lot of snacks for everyone as well.  i think my favorite was the cream puffs and cookies that both the moms bought.  ^_^  they were so super nice and they're English was great, so communicating wasn't a problem :)  the kids had so much fun that they ended up making a whole bunch of noise running around chasing each other and really broke a sweat ^_^;;  us three mommies sat around chatting about things from the hoikuen, to what our children were learning extra, and even talked about elementary school prep for next year.  time just flew by and in a blink of an eye, it was around 4:30!  one of the moms took us home in her car since she also lives in our area, which was super nice and super fast for us :D  we were back home within five min!

all in all, Kay and i had a great time and i'm really glad that my first experience with "mamatomo" came out so well! :)  kinda makes me wish that our home was suitable to entertain guests :P  oh well, when we can afford a bigger place, maybe then i'll be able to repay the hospitality they showed me today ^_^  
made by wan wan comics

Kay's Sport's Day

Saturday was Kay's Sport's Day (a.k.a. undoukai)!  this is officially her second undoukai in Japan, but it was her last undoukai as a nursery school student, which meant big performances!  i unfortunately couldn't go because i work on Saturdays, and you know how i am about work.  hubs was able to go with camcorder on his right and our camera on his left...literally ^_^;;  so, he was able to get some decent pics and some pretty good footage of Kay's performances and other stuff :)

first of all, the yochien undoukai Kay had two years ago (the 14th was also our 2 year anniversary living in Japan!) wasn't nearly as big as the one held by her current hoikuen.  according to hubs, they went all out and EEEVERYBODY came: grandparents, aunts, uncles, moms and dads, etc..!  so, that kind of made me feel bad to have missed it, but i've already made up my mind that i'm definitely attending next year when she's a first grader :)  hubs also mentioned that he was really impressed at how grand everything was and that if we were living in Yokohama, there was no way a hoikuen's undoukai would be that big! :)

anyway, since i wasn't there, i'll let the pics and videos speak for themselves ^_^

breaking tradition and being unconventional....just another way of saying that mommy was too lazy to make bentos for everyone ^_^;;

now for the videos!!

i didn't see them until i came home at around 6:00 and you should have seen how tan they had gotten just from being out all day that day ^_^;;  Kay is now a couple shades darker :P  she had a lot of fun and while we were watching the videos together that night, she was dancing along to the whole thing.  those teachers that helped all these kids learn these routines are totally awesome!!  ^_^  i'm soo proud of my little girl!!

busted bicycles

technically, Friday the 13th didn't really get to us on that particular day, but man oh man, the 12th sure was horrible! :(

it all started that Thursday morning when i went to my ALT job.  normally, i love all my elementary schools since i'm one of the few lucky ALTs who got some pretty decent schools and staff at said schools.  at this particular school, i get to work with a teacher who teaches and translates beside me.  she and i got along right from the start, and we both have similar ideas when it comes to teaching, so we were a great team.  however, she's now seven months pregnant, which means that starting from this month, she won't be able to teach/translate/manage the kids with me anymore, meaning that her responsibilities have now been passed on to the home room teacher.  most of the time for me, the home room teachers have been really great and try to be as helpful as they can, but on that particular day, i got stuck with the "rowdy/troubled" kids class all by myself for the first time.  :(

was i nervous?  not at all since i had known before the school term started that this would happen, and i tend to just go with the flow since things always change at the last minute so i'm used to that (living in Taipei for over 10 years will do that to you...).  i wasn't surprised when the home room teacher didn't show up along with the students when they filed in either. :P

anyway, i started the class as usual and then 5 min in, a couple of the boys (forgot to mention these are 6th graders) in the class started rough housing and arguing.  i stopped what i was doing, pulled them apart, and proceeded to take down their names.  the moment i turned my back, they started punching and kicking each other! D:  some of the other bigger more responsible boys in the class broke it up, and that's when the original Japanese teacher came in and dealt with the two boys.  there was a third kid in class that didn't want to be in English class at all, so he ran in and out of the classroom until i locked him out, which he then made a ruckus outside the classroom windows and door.  ~_~;;;

after having about 1/3 of my class time wasted trying to deal with all these trouble making kids, we finally got an English activity going wherein i asked the boy who was outside if he wanted to join.  he said "no", but i knew he wanted to play the game we were doing, so i led him in and he behaved for the rest of the class.  the other two boys came back at the end of my lesson though since the Japanese teacher had a talk with them to get to the root of the fight.

where was the home room teacher this whole time, you ask?

well apparently, one of his students (also in the rowdy class but was missing at that time) had something happen to him that morning, came to school late, but then ran off on school grounds.  he hid somewhere and it took the principal, vice principal, head teacher and the home room teacher to find him.  a parent/teacher meeting was held with that student's mom, and so the home room teacher didn't join his students in my English class until the last activity. :P

the rest of that morning was pretty mild after that whole incident ^_^;; it wasn't until another bunch of rowdy elementary schoolers i had in my eikaiwa class that the second bad thing happened that day.  it wasn't as bad as the morning, but my eikaiwa bunch just grated on my patience and nerves.  in the end, it kind of made me question my teaching methodology, which is always discouraging as a teacher.  when you try your best, but nothing gets through, ykwim?  :P

then that night, i came home before hubs and Kay, which is quite rare.  hubs took Kay to sign up for Kumon that night, so i enjoyed a little bit of me time to relax after a stressful day.  :P  didn't last long though 'cause right when hubs comes in the door a few min after i got back, he asks me if i'd been in an accident.  i was like, "what?"  and we both go out to look at our bicycle that's parked outside of our apartment.  the back wheel has been totally deformed and the bike is now useless.  0_0

right at that time, one of our neighbors came down from the second floor and apologized profusely for running over the back wheel of our bike with her car.  she was super nice about it and offered to get it fixed.  hubs and her talked outside while i went back to our apartment.  i needed that bike by Saturday, because i'd have to commute from one school to my second eikaiwa school, and without the bike, i'd have to walk, which would give me no time in between to prep or do anything :(

to make a long story short, she took our bike to get fixed, got a rental bicycle for us to use and we're now waiting until next week for our bike to get back to us.  :P

sigh... bad things always come in threes...

so anyway, that was my Thursday before Friday the 13th :P