Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ten Years

Today is ten years since my Mom passed away.
I'm really having a hard time with that!  How can it be ten years?  Feels like just yesterday that my Dad called and told me.  Mom had cancer and knew she didn't have long.  When the doctor finally found what was wrong she was given 2 years to live. She lived exactly 2 years!
I've missed my Mom the most these past 18 months.  She was the one who could have helped me, comforted me after Hisao passed away.  She would of known what to say to keep me going. 

My Mom could be a real nut case. I remember one Christmas the ladies that we worked with went out for a Christmas dinner.   Afterward we were waiting for the taxi to come I decided  to start a snowball fight.  I thought that I could get away from Mom but she could run!  She didn't throw snow at me but dumped a load down my back!  Then thought it very funny as I stood screaming!
She loved my kids so much.  She would look forward to our visits.  The week before we arrived I would get a phone call almost everyday asking if the kids would like this, that or the other.  The one Christmas that we visited she took Mikey shopping.  He came back with a load of goodies!  Mom knew how to spoil her grandkids!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Takeo Library

Last Sunday we decided to have a little adventure.  We got on the train and went to Takeo Library.  This library was featured on the TV a few months back and has become rather famous!  What makes this library special is the fact that it  has a Starbucks cafe inside and  another book store.  So you can borrow books, have a coffee or buy books!  Also you can join regardless of where you live in Japan and they have a system to have books sent back by one of the parcel carriers.
So Sunday morning we set off nice and early.  Got on the local train, which  was took us a station where we had to change trains!  That was an adventure in itself.  The next local train was an hours wait, in the rain! So we decided to pay a bit extra and get on the express train, the took only 10 minutes!
From the station to the library was good 15 minutes walk. I don't mind walking but Mikey walks too fast!  He was marching off in front of us, but he was the only one who knew where we were going.  I kept asking him to slow down but he just rolled his eyes at me!
The library wasn't as large as we thought it was but it did have a good selection of books.  The biggest problem for me was the heat.  It was just too hot for me, either the air conditioner was set high or turned off.  The place was packed which didn't help!  We spent a couple of hours there then went over the road to the mall for some lunch and look round.
We had to get the express train back, we would had to wait oveer an hour for the local train.
Everybody had a good time and it was nice to get out of the house for a day!

I took a few photos but I think my camera has had it. the recent photos are all blury.

One of the stations we stopped at

Outside of the library

The library sign
Friday and Monday I had to take Hannah to the eye hospital.  She has an infection in her eye. It's not a big problem but looks awful.  We got eye drops that have to put in four times a day.  Today it looks a lot better. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fathers Day

Today is Fathers Day.  Thinking of this day has bought up many memories of my Dad and my husband.
My Dad worked, growing up it seemed that all my Dad did was go to work and go swimming.  He worked in a factory, his basic shift was 8 hours but he would always take on any overtime he could.  When he got home he would be exhausted, dinner and TV was all he had energy for.  In the days before remote controls I was my Dad's remote, he would nudge me with his foot and say"Change the channel", just as I got comfortable sitting on the floor next to his chair I would get another nudge and told to turn the volume up.  This would go on all night.  One thing I remember watching with him was the original Star Trek.  Every week Captain Kirk would intone "To boldly go where no man had gone before" my Dad would always add  "To the lady's toilet".  He thought it was funny!
Swimming and diving were his two passions.  One year he entered a local diving competition.  He came home with a little trophy, he was so proud of coming third.  Until Mom asked him how many had entered the competition. With a sheepish smile he answered "Three".  That gave us a good laugh for a while.   He isn't the most demonstrative of men, he didn't speak much, never showed his deepest emotions but when my Mom got really sick with cancer, he took care of her.  Got her to the doctors appointments, cooked, what little she could eat, took care of the house and helped Mom out.

Dad with Hannah, about 11 years ago.

My husband was not a typical Japanese Dad, he was a real hands on Dad, he really doted on his kids. I remember when Mikey was first born.  I'm lying in bed recovering from the most painful experience of my life ( at that point I had decided that Mikey was going to be an only child. I wasn't going through that again!), I was looking for some sympathy. But Hisao just sat by Mikey's crib, saying over and over that Mikey was super cute, talk about love at first sight.  As the others came along it was the same,  When the kids were babies Hisao did all the baths, changed nappies,  fed them, talked with them.  The only thing he didn't do was wake up at night, there again he could sleep through typhoons, thunderstorms and even an earthquake once! 
As the kids got older he would take them to parks and play with them, he protected them at school when the bullying started, he helped with homework and encouraged them to follow their dreams.  The only thing that he was strict about was study, he felt that a good education was the ticket to a better life.
Every Christmas we would have the same conversation.  He would tell me that in Japan Christmas is not a big thing, that we didn't have to buy loads of gifts for the kids.  Then every year he would go out and spend more money on the kids than me!  Especially as the kids got older and wanted games or other gadgets, Hisao always managed to get exactly what the kids wanted. I think Hisao really got into the Christmas spirit, he loved teasing the kids, saying that Santa wasn't bringing much, then watching them as they opened their presents.
The most amazing thing about my husband is that he grew up without a Dad.  His father died young, Hisao was only a year old.  But somehow Hisao became a great Dad.  Some days I feel so sorry for my kids not having this great man in their lives, especially Christopher and Hannah.  They were so young when passed away, Christopher just 14 and Hannah only 10.  I spend a lot of time telling them about their Dad, I don't want his memory to fade!

Typical Hisao!

Recently Hannah has been driving everybody crazy with her obsession with CATS the musical.  But she has become very good at playing Memory on the piano and drawing the CATS. So I guess something good has come form it!

Hannah's picture, she copied it from another drawing!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


My MIL came yesterday with a massive bag of potatoes.
I like potatoes, more than rice.   But this to many potatoes, what to do with them!
Today I'll make potatoe salad, tomorrow niku jaga, Japanese stew!  After that I have no idea what to do.  They aren't the kind that bake up nicely!  Plus it's hot so frying is going to be hard!  What to do?
MIL does this every few weeks, she stops by with some vegetables that she has been growing.  It helps because vegetables are getting expensive but she over does it.  I give away as many as possible but I still end up throwing out loads!

Christopher is struggling with music at school.  He had to take an art elective so he chose music.  He didn't like any of the choices but music seemed the easiest.  For his end of term test he has to play "Silent Night" on the piano, he has never had piano lessons so it is kind of hard!  Mikey has been helping him out. It's so nice to see them play together, Mikey is a very natural teacher!

Mikey and Christopher playing Silent Night
But Silent Night in June, just doesn't sound right!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What a Weekend

Growing up weekends were always a chance to relax and recharge. School and work were Monday to Friday.  Saturday and Sunday were free!  Of course Saturday morning we had chores (at least I did, i don't remember my brothers doing anything, selective memory?), but after that I was free.  One clear memory I do have is rushing to do homework Sunday evening, I put it off until the last moment!
In Japan it seems that everyday is a work day.  Saturday is busy teaching but I try to keep Sunday free!
But this past weekend was just non stop busy!
Saturday morning I was out in the garden before 8am, pulling weeds and trying to tidy round.  I asked the kids to help out but they were more interested in sitting on the sofa watching daft TV, soon put a stop to that.  Saturday I had a few extra lessons to help for the Eiken test the next day.  I taught, shopped, cleaned out a draw in the kitchen, folded laundry, cleaned the teaching room and of course cooked.  Sunday was the Eiken test, shopping, more gardening, cleaned the kitchen floor and the bathroom, made a big dinner.  Now I am exhausted and the week is just begining! HELP!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Happy Birthday Hisao

Today would of been Hsiao's 53rd birthday.  I still can't believe he died so young, I am the age he was when he died!  Far too young!
I miss him everyday, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't want to go and have a chat, ask him a question or just go get a hug from him.  I make my days busy otherwise I would go crazy just wanting to be with him!

This photo is from 10 years ago!
When I look at that photo I remember how hard things were for me, kids were having an awful time in school, bullying was non stop!  It was a year since my Mom died, I was so stressed about our financial situation.  But Hisao help me hold things together.  On the days that I felt I couldn't go on he would be there so I could cry on his shoulder, he wouldn't say anything but his strength and determination gave me strength and determination!

Today is going to be busy.  have to get in the garden.  It's a disaster.  Soon the rainy season will start then it will be too hot to do anything out there!
Plus the dog has to go to the vets!
Plus extra classes for people taking the Eiken test tomorrow.
Better get started!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hot Days and Rainy Days

I can't believe the weather we have been having here the past few days!
Saturday and Sunday were hot.  Up to 34C near here.  That is unheard of for this time of year.  From Saturday afternoon I started to feel awful, sick, dizzy and throbbing headache!  When I checked my temperature it was 37.5C, heat stroke!!  Every year this happens, first hot day I get sick.  My body really doesn't cope with the heat!
Yesterday the temperature dropped and the rain started.  Rain is good, cooler temperatures are really good.  I felt so much better yesterday!!
On Saturday Mikey had his first magic show.  He said that it went well, he didn't get any photos.  I'm glad that it went well and that he managed okay.  The audience was elementary school kids, not the easiest to impress! Plus he got paid, $100.  For half an hour, now that is what I call work!
Good news on the weight front, half kilo down!  Good start but my eating has been all over the place!  Some days good, some days so so and some days awful!  But it's a start!  On July 28th Mikey and I are working with another English teacher to put together a one day summer program for kids in this area.  So I need to loose some by then otherwise it is going to be hell for me!!  So now I have a date to shoot for!!   Wish me luck!