Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Japanese Summer Fashions

This past week, we've been able to embrace some traditional Japanese summer fashions!

Japan has a ton of summer festivals (matsuris). Since it is so hot and humid, the ladies can't dress up in their usual heavy kimonos, so they wear yukatas, kimonos made of light cotton fabric.
Here is Fox with his student Sachie, who is on her way to a yukata beauty pageant. Isn't she gorgeous?

After the pageant, Sachie gave Cash this cute jinbei. Jinbeis are kind of like pajamas and are more popular with children, but we did see several teenage girls wearing theirs at a nearby festival.

Cash and Miyuu looking super kawaii! Well, at least Miyuu--Cash looks kind of weird with his mouth full of popsicle.

Fox's student, Seiko, presented me with this beautiful yukata when we had lunch at her home the other day. Seiko and her mother dressed me in it. I was so excited! Unfortunately, having a tight obi around a pregnant belly isn't the most comfortable thing in the world.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Looking Forward To...

A ton of people have asked us what we're looking forward to when we get back. So, without further adieu, here's our list:

-- Whole wheat bread that has more than five slices a loaf. Heck, any whole grains! One can only eat so much white rice.
-- Two-way streets that are actually wide enough for two cars with no risk of driving into a rice paddy.
-- Clothes that fit! Fox is a 4 XL here and has to shop at a King size store. I am barely squeezing into a large and am out of luck when it comes to shoes.
-- Libraries with books in English!
-- Ice cream in a flavor other than vanilla and chocolate.
-- Boca burgers. Pickles. American cheese. Chocolate soymilk. Watermelon. Basically all of the foods we haven't been able to eat in quite a while.
-- Little conversations. I am excited to actually know what a store clerk is saying to me, rather than just having to nod my head and hope that she asked a yes or no question.
-- Our kitties!
-- Our piano (okay, it's an electric keyboard, but it's still cool).
-- Fox is looking forward to watching Dark Knight. The last time we went to a movie was "Stardust" last August, which was actually our last date, I think.
-- Fox is also looking forward to high ceilings. He has head trauma and a stooped back from our low doorways.
-- A full size stove, refrigerator, bed, washer...basically we're looking forward to gargantuan American portion sizing!
-- And of course, our family and friends! Four of my friends and one of my sisters have had babies, and I'm so excited to meet them all. I'm also excited to have everyone see Cash. He really thrives around being with a lot of people, and he's been stuck at home with his mom most of the time.

Despite the length of this list, there is a ton of stuff we will miss, but that's for another post. Maybe when we start missing it!

Getting Ready to Leave

We have two days left in Japan...and we aren't packed. Yikes! We're getting there, though. This week has been so busy. We've been working extra during summer special classes, as well as training the new teachers. On top of that, we are trying to keep the house clean and keep the bags packed, which is hard to do with curious Cash getting into everything. We've been able to visit with a lot of our students, which is fun but also very time-consuming!
We will leave Marugame at 6:30 am on Friday, take a 4 hour bus ride to the Kansai airport, and fly to Beijing for a 5 hour layover! We leave Beijing at 10 pm and arrive in LA at 6 pm! Crazy! Fox and I are both really anxious about traveling with a crazy toddler and hope that all of the new sights and sounds of travel will keep him occupied for a little while.
So, family, we will see you soon! Thank you for all of the love and support (and the care packages--without which, we would have died!) you've given us while we've been away. It's been an amazing year!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Our Trip to Matsuyama

Today was Marine Day in Japan, a day to give thanks for the blessings of the sea. Since we had the day off, we decided to go to Matsuyama, the largest city in Shikoku, with our friends, the Bests.
We first went to the Tobe Zoo, which was so nice. There were so many baby animals. Here's Cash checking out the hot and tired creatures...

such as this one:

Look at the size of those teeth. Yikes!

A mama monkey just hanging out with her baby, who is very latched on:

After the zoo, we ate at a department store and then headed over to Dogo Onsen, Japan's oldest and most famous bathhouse.

Yep, that's nude public baths we're talking about, people. This particular onsen was the inspiration for the famous anime Spirited Away. Fox frequents onsens, but I had never been to one. It was definitely an interesting experience--not so much the nudity as sitting in a hot tub in the middle of summer! After your bath, you change into a cotton robe and go to a huge tatami room, where you are served tea and cookies. It's a time to rest and relax...but beware of the toddler toppling over teacups and stealing snacks!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Boy or Girl? Part II

Myspace Comments from

Get more at

Yay! Fox called it (again), and I had dreams about boys (again--with Cash, I had dreams of girls). We are very excited to be able to finally use our girl name, and she'll have a Japanese middle name, although we're not sure which name yet. There are some very beautiful names in Japan. Today was our last doctor's visit in a foreign country for now. It has been a very interesting experience. As we got our ultrasound today, our doctor said, "Hmm...penis nai. Onanoko!" (Hmm..No penis. Girl!) I will definitely miss racking my brain's limited Japanese to figure out what my doctor just told me.

Here I am at 5 months along and sweating uncontrollably in this humidity. Do you see the length of my hair?! You won't see this length on me again, unless we move to Alaska. I am waiting for Fox to go to Texas for a week, and then I'm getting it cut. Don't tell!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Coloring Time

My two "children" got into the markers and seemed to enjoy themselves.

Oh, Daddy, I love coloring with you....

except when you color on me!

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Today is Tanabata in Japan. It is the Star Festival held on the seventh day of the seventh month every year. It is believed that on this day each year, the stars Altair and Vega, lovers separated by the Milky Way, come into alignment and are finally allowed to be together for one night. It is also believed that any wish you make on this day will come true. You write your wish on a strip of paper, called tanzaku, and hang it from a bamboo tree. All around our city, their are wishes hanging up in local businesses. It's so neat!
So, today, Cash and I went to a Tanabata party at WaHaHa, the local playgroup. We learned the lovers' story, sang the Tanabata song, and ate cucumbers, the official vegetable of summer and Tanabata! It was really fun.
A wishing tree:

Cash helps to sing the Tanabata song:

Kids traveling through the "river of stars" (aka a streamer Milky Way):

And finally, here's a short video of singing time. The woman next to me is Kumiko, holding her son Kaichi. Kumiko is my translator at baby group--her English is excellent! She is due with her second baby a few weeks before me. Cash was wandering around by this point: