Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summer Surprises and Sunshine

The week started with Mike trying to recover from jet lag (much worse returning home than going out) and with the kids starting new gymnastics and dance classes. Diamond surprised us with a visit home from college, and we traveled around enjoying the sights and tastes of the Southland. 

Eliza is taking both hip hop and ballet. 

The dwarf orange tree we inherited from Grandma and Grandpa B. has borne sweet fruit, and Hallie has helped the hanging plants recover and even bloom some.

While Landon was excited to have his new bokken, he wanted nunchuks to go with it. So, with a little help from Dad, he made some.
The inscription reads "Asakusa Thunder Gate." 

It's amazing what you can do with a cardboard tube and some carabiners. 

Diamond flew in for a surprise visit on Wednesday night. We were thrilled to have her back home, even if it is only for a few days.

We all went down to Little Tokyo on the way to the dentist on Thursday, indulging in some Hello Kitty and Daikokuya Ramen. Little Tokyo is not big Tokyo, but it does offer a small flavor of the larger place.

Made in Japangeles. Clever! 日本 LA

On Friday, we went to Westward beach with Grandma M. and cousins Cru and Sawyer. We spent quite a bit of time in the water and basking in the sun. Too much for some of us, apparently, as Mike and Hallie got more than they bargained for.

Great day to fly a kite! Some kids besides our own even got to join in on the fun.  

In return, their mom offered us a treat. Cupcakes? Yes, please! 
No, his leg is not red. The book is red. His leg is merely pink. Very pink.

While Diamond and Hallie shopped, Mike and the kids attended their friend Jack’s birthday party.

After the party, we went to the movies. Inside Out dealt with some pretty intense subject matter relating to the complex world of emotions. Lots of food for thought.  

We had a random dinner of macaroni and cheese, pita and tzatziki sauce, and fruit. Yum!  

After church on Sunday, we had family over for dinner of barbecue ribs and corn on the cob. Yum again! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Week Spent An Ocean Apart

Mike spent a busy week in Japan while Hallie and the kids enjoyed the first week of summer vacation.

Mike continued his Japan field study with his doctoral student. They learned about aspects of the Japanese educational system and toured around several areas of Tokyo and Kyoto. They had and intense and sometimes overwhelming experience. The trip was a feast for the senses, and they brought home many insights from this land of contrasts between the ancient and the modern. Here are some highlights. Sorry they're kind of random. Mike's jet lagged and not thinking too clearly. 
Meeting at CIEE

Japanese lunch trucks

Formal lunch at Kissho

Gardens outside the New Otani Hotel

Learning about Japanese education policy at the Japanese Ministry of Education

Views of the Capital 

Teaching an English lesson in Fujimi Elementary School

Quick (cold) ramen lunch on the road

Hama-rikyu Gardens 

Views of Tokyo from the river

At the Asakusa Thunder Gate

Asakusa shopping district

Restaurant with plastic displays of items for purchase

Don Quijote store, home to just about everything under the sun

Meiji Jingu Shrine

At the National Theatre of Japan . . . 

. . . to watch a kabuki show (cameras not allowed. Oops!)

At the Japan-US Educational Commission

Toyko suburbs by shinkansen (bullet train) on the way to Kyoto

Lunch at the Wired Café at Kyoto Station

Tenryu-ji Temple

Arashiyama bamboo grove 

Togetsukyo bridge

Soaking in the hot spring at the train station

Ice cream! Care for some green tea and marshmallow? 

Travel does begin to wear on a body.

Ritsumeikan Moriyama Junior and Senior High School

Views of rice fields from the train

Lunch on the road

Seniors learning English at Murasakino High School

With the English club

View along the stream in one of Kyoto's historic districts

Ryōan-ji zen rock garden 

Rokuon-ji or Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion

Teramachi shopping district

Let's just say fresh fruit and veggies are expensive.

Farewell dinner

Restaurants on the water

Kyoto's kabuki theater

Kyoto's geishas and geishas-in-training on the town

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Sweet red bean flavored ice cream. Yum! It was that or the green tea flavor, another favorite.
The Japanese love advertisements with cats, so kawaii!

At home, Hallie entertained the kids as they made the most of their time off from school. 

They went to the Aquarium of the Pacific, . . .

tooled around at home, . . .

and attended Aunt Emily's baby shower.

Mike flew home Sunday night at around midnight and got home late Sunday afternoon. He told Landon it was like he went into a time machine that brought him four hours into the past. Once he got home from the airport, it was souvenir time!
Katana for the boy and yukata for the girl. Both gifts were a hit!

Tokyo Bananas! Mike brought home lots of unusual treats.
While the goodies were fun, the biggest treat of all was having Dad home for Father's Day!