Monday, October 27, 2008

Japanese Engrish Dog Names

Ok, I can't resist this one. Actually, I have been up sicne 4:00 am. I was tossing and turning alot last night: no more iced latte at dinner. Anyway, here are some funny Japanese-English dog breed names that I found on a pet store website:
See if you can guess the English name (hint: try reading it fast):
  • ingurisshukokokkasupanieru
  • amerikanpittoburuteria
  • shettoorandoshipudokku
  • sutaffodoshaburuteria
  • buritanisupanieru
  • keanteria
(Answers: English Cocker Spaniel, American Pitt Bull Terrier, Shetland Sheepdog, Staffordshire Terrier, Brittany Spaniel, Cairn Terrier

English Club...oh, and me me me

It was my first time of team-teaching the English Club, at a community center in Mutsuura, for 3-5 yo's. They just do. not. get. any. cuter. At first, I was a bit nervous. I mean, these are 3-5 year olds whose mothers have decided they need to learn some English. How can I capture their attention and interest? How is it going to be working with this more experienced teacher.
Well, at first this gal was a bit intimidating to work with. She had a loud, projecting voice and an aggressive command of the classroom. She called everyone to a circle, took command. She has been teaching the class awhile and very good at it. She planned the lesson and told me of what it was going to be; I was not a part of that process. Things will change though. Also, she took over the game I was supposed to teach, but I had never seen the game played before and wasn't sure what it was, so that was actually ok.
Still, I was feeling a bit "tagalong" at that point, and beginning to wonder both whether tag teaming is a good idea for me: I always seem to fade into the background against a more assertive or noisy person. I felt like the two of us were competing, and at the same time, could admire the other teacher who is obviously quite good at this!
Also, wondering whether I was cut out for this.
Then I relaxed and started to enjoy the kids in smaller groups and really had a blast. They are sweet and timid, but gradually transform into regular naughty cute little kids. I do have a quieter way, I admit, but also I try to read how the kids are responding and learning, and also ways to build speaking confidence. I feel like I can slow down and be thinking of the process in the moment. I want them to have fun and feel good about speaking, so that when they get into English class as older children, they'll have an edge. Not only that, to feel confident taking the risk of trying to speak up in a group. I love the shy child and the one who hasn't won a prize at our game yet. Actually, they are all lovable.
Sounds corny, huh?! I carved a pumpkin for them with Frankie's help, and with Nate wandering around aimlessly. The pumpkin carving was the most interesting part, I think. they sat around me in perfect silence, with huge eyes. I offered them a bite of the pumpkin guts, and I think that's when the ice really broke.
I think I'll be OK at this teaching thing. I hope!


Nate has gotten some pirate things from the mini-mart, too bad you cannot see the fake hoop earring from here. I also finally broke down and got him the fake tatoo arms he wanted. The thing that may trouble Daddy, is that he like to just wear these around everywhere. Don't worry honey, next time you go off "saving lives" for months at a time, I'll get him some real tats.

Kids love this place.

Cutie little munchkin, my neighbor's boy. I love to scoop him up and give him a squeeze. It almost makes me want to have another. Almost.

Somebody has a crush on Frankie! Poor thing. According to her brother who read her diary, she looooves Nate and wants to marry him. However, she proposed to him and he turned her down flat. Eew, girl germs!

The bad corner. :)

Frankie makes creeps!

We call them creeps at our house, because when Nate was little he saw the word and pronounced crepes "creeps". We went to a place in Kamakura, right on 134, called The Natural Table. It is a very good, kid-friendly place to eat, right next to another favorite, The Cantina. Anyway, it's a buffet of good food and there were plenty of good options for a certain pathetic wretch on week 1 1/2 of South Beach.
The favorite of the kids was an area where you make your own crepes, and they had lots of topping as well. They had: grilled chicken and fish, plenty of fried options for Nate, pizza, pasta, salads and soups. Lots of fruits and veggies, and soft serve for dessert. Along with creeps, of course.

Ladies Who Brag......just saying

Don't you just hate it when ladies brag brag brag about their husband's accomplishments, title, experience, blah blah blah!?! My husband is cooler than yours, and I'm cooler and more hip too, blah blah blah. Maybe it is an occupational hazard amongst wives of MD's, but I have not seen much of it until this year. Some people even put down one kind of doctor over another (ie, surgery over family practice residency etc...)!

My Gott people! Sooo tacky! I can't believe ladies with no jobs themselves, put so much ego into their husbands careers. I also think it is unfortunate that people like that have to act like elitist snobs, and jockey for social position instead of letting their husband's jobs speak for themselves. People should just relax, respect everyone and make some supportive friendships. Have more fun and worry less about what your husband does, and more about other people. Ah, well. You know who you are. Oh, maybe you don't!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Zushi Festival

Frankie gets ready to try his luck at the popular festival game: scoop up a fish!

Nathan with all of his treasures.

Frankie with Ashley, the little neighbor girl he babysits who has a wee crush on him.

Wow, when is the last time he smiled like this in public? (Usually too embarrassed by Mom)

Nate and his best buddy.

On Sunday, the boys and I and some of the courtyard hens and their kids went to the Zushi Festival. It was a great festival.
There was a good flea market, where I found a couple of cute small zippered purses made from yukata fabric, and a pretty scarf. There was a farmers market, and lots of booths selling the usual: chocolate covered bananas, ice cream, cotton candy, toys and games with cheap prizes, lots of grilled meats including squid, octopus balls (betcha didn't know they had any...) okonomiaki with lots of noodles, cabbage and eggy batter, and some mystery foods.
The kids were having so much fun I didn't have the heart to deny them the fish they won fair and square, by skillfully scooping them up with a paper net. But did the kind older Japanese man really have to give them a free fish as a prize for winning a fish?!? *sigh* I suppose I'll have to find them a watery home when we move.


So later we all went to a Kaiten Sushi place in Kamakura, where we sat on stools and watched the sushi go around on a little conveyor belt, grabbing what looked good. Nate managed to find french fries, fried chicken, and a glass of coke. Frankie had his hands full with the naughty little toddler! So cute. He loves kapomaki - cucumber sushi wrapped in seaweed. He likes to stack them up into towers, poke the cucumber out with a chopstick and eat it, line the hollow remains on the chopstick and wave them around, giggling. What a hoot.
Even though, God help me, I have started the South Beach Diet in extreme desperation, I found some miso soup, sashimi (raw fish), and a bowl of steamed veggies and salmon.
Later we drove to Moo Moo in Zushi, so the kids could try the world's yummiest homemade soft serve ice cream.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I found these beauties on, and now want to make them. That will be added to my list of things to make:

embroidered t-shirt with funky peace signs, or the cockatiel on a perch

fingerless gloves made form old sweater sleeves from the thrift shop

eco bags!

put Japanese fabric belt and applique on boring brown dress from ll bean

make a cute owl pillow

book covers

place mats, table runners

pillow covers


dog leash and collar

cross stitch letters that can be hung together to form a word on the wall

fabric pennant banner - fall colors

cork board wall art - with cork and old picture frame from thrift shop, or old dresser drawer

fabric covered tea box (just one more...)

small paper tea box (just one or two or three more...)
quilted coasters

None of these can be done, until somebody finished her brother's wedding present, which has been kicking my a*&!

Friday, October 17, 2008

bookish pondering

Yup, just me catching up on some reading. Ha! Last month I read the book, "The Shack" only to skip my monthly book club due to a chilly and rainy night and two boys who needed supervision in order to organize their overdue schoolwork. This month the neighbors and I have been passing around lofty works such as Nicholas Sparks "Nights in Rodanthe."
Does anybody know how two people decided they were soul mates after spending three days together, while doing nothing but making small talk and doing you know what? (I think you know what...) Perhaps I have a cynical attitude toward romance, but I must admit I did roll my eyes a bit at how the poor woman just could not move on afterward...despite years of separation...from her one true love...
How idealized her view of the fellow became when after three days of you know what, he went overseas for his medical mission, eh!?!? No arguments, no dirty socks on the floor, no car left with only a whiff of gas.
No leftovers mysteriously disappearing in the middle of the night. Just the charm of the rugged young Doc, with a shattered past. And a decent ass. Just like my life, except I have his boys and his obnoxious orange puppy to take care of lest I pine away too much...

Here is a new blog I found. Peevish, it reminds me of you. Now, don't take it personally that it is called Do not even give a thought to that title. It is a smart, sassy review of books this woman has been reading. There are links to other reading blogs as well. A person could get caught up in reading blogs until her husband comes home :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Airy Fairy Netsurfing....

Find your fairy name at:
Wendy Crescenzo Gomez is Petal Elfglitter.

She is a cheerful sprite. She lives in gardens and parks where almond trees and roses grow. She is only seen in the light of a shooting star. She wears soft pale pink and yellow petals. She has delicate green wings like a cicada.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Here you go, grandma!

Here are the boys at 6:30 in the morning as they are getting ready for school. Ok, Mom, take my picture. They are actually cheerful, but they do not want to smile for the camera. Nate is in full-on emo hair mode here. He is almost reminding me a bit of Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy.
Frank is now in Pottery and Guitar on Mondays after school, Robotics Club on Thurs after school, and Photography Club on Fridays. That is a lot of driving for Mom, but that's ok. I'm glad to see him doing well and getting involved in activities. He also had a couple of buddies on the main base. Sam and Frankie are video game champions. Frank and another friend are working on their manifesto, a video documentary of some type.
I have the camera here, but am probably thinking about my coffee and that is most likely why the first pic was a bit blurry. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Large and in Charge

Oh, one if these things is the boss of the other....

Good Fall Recipe

Pear Cake
2 cups sugar
3 beaten eggs
1 1/2 c cooking oil
3 c flour
1 tsp bkg soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
3 c peeled and chopped pears
Combine ingredients and bake at 350 for 45 mins or until done. I used the crunchy huge Asian pears that I found for sale in an alley in Zushi - so they were like apples when they cooked - soft, but a solid piece. You could try some soft ripe "regular" pears also.
Caramel Icing
5 Tbsp butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 c milk
Boil gently for 3 mins and then let cool. Add
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pwd sugar
Beat until the right consistency and then spread. Yum!!!
Unfortunately after yesterday's communal dinner we had in the courtyard, I do not have any evidence :)
Our dinner:
chicken breaded and deep fried: first coated in flour, then rolled in beaten egg, then Japanese panko crumbs. Yuri made this with the pile of chicken everyone had in freezers.
Japanese potato salad: imagine American potato salad, with mashed potatoes
corn on the cob
chicken wings: spicy and regular barbecue sauce for the kids
broccoli with butter and toasted almonds, salt and pepper
bakery bread from Zushi
After dinner one family moved a fire pit into the middle and lit some logs, and while we scrounged for mashmallows one family went to the mini-mart for hershey bars and graham crackers. Frankie sat by the fire for a couple of hours. Nate enjoyed it too, but soon after getting his share of treats, he and his best pal William began their long "Ben 10" DVD watching marathon and had a sleepover in our downstairs. They stayed up till 4 am, apparently. I am not sure, I faded away by 9:30. What a night owl. His mother and I are taking turns, and the boys are planning a sleepover at William's house next Thurs when they are off of school on Fri. Yay!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

more fall luuuurve

It has been in the low 70's and rainy the last couple of days. So, I've made another fall thing: a table runner. The front is made with two pieces of fabric from Swany's and the back is made with some linen that I found on a clearance sale and have kept in a box in the closet for a while. It is part machine- and part hand-stitched, a very easy thing to make.

The back...

The front.....

The inspiration:
I got inspired by this quilted table topper that I saw on Somebody made it out of the same amy butler fabric that I used for the quilt I made. I love her stuff, but after that quilt I really don't want to work with those scraps for a long time!
5th Graders
Conversation between Nate and the neighbor girl:
"Ew....she like likes me. Not just likes me! Ew."
She turns to me. "See how mean he is? That isn't very nice to say, Nate."
"Yeah, but like like."
"Well, you are kind of cute..." She replies.
"Awww.....yuck....totally not interested."
"Nate," I burst in, "How would you like it if you like liked a girl and got your heart broken by her and your feelings hurt?!?"
"Aww....I'd just have to grab a straw and suck it up....Then I'd just move on to the next girl."
The girl shrugs and looks at me. "Oh, well, he is a bit cute."

Luuuurve, true luuurve....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bedhead is the New Black!

Just an idea, think about it: how much time and anxiety would we all save in the morning if we all decided that bedhead was indeed the new black. The new rock and roll. The new mentos in diet coke!

This week there was not too much to write about other than my domestic angst: a doggy back and forth to the vet for nebulizer treatments every day, and a car which failed the Japanese inspection and needed to have a couple of new parts put in, by an overworked and overwhelmed autoport.

I can not tell you the manner of depraved acts I had to perform to get the fellows at the autoport to work on my car first. Because my car is very very important to me. Because I apparently was overdue for the Japanese inspection and the base inspection that is apparently due every two years and has not been done as of Set 10 of this year. Then having done it, needed said part and needed to go to City Hall for permission for a temporary license so one could drive said car for 5 more days, with expired inspection. For 750 yen only.
Then after such humiliations, one could pay a "runner" the sum of $50, plus around $150 US in annual fees tax and such, to drive the now perfect car to Yokohama for the Japanese inspection, fill out the Japanese papers and return it to its rightful spot in Ikego. There does not exist enough money for make this young lass go to Yokohama and subject herself to this trial....
... and after which one could then return to the VRO office and present hopeful papers to surly VRO employee and after certain verbal abuse, return temporary plates and red-stamped form to Yokosuka City Hall, by the end of the business day...
...and hopefully back home in time before undue and unwarranted puddles and piles form on the white linoleum, brought forth by one wheezing young Akita pup and one diva Pekingese male prince...
...and in time to thrust one package of Cool Ranch Doritos in front of one pre-teen boy freshly alight from the schoolbus, whilst awaiting his latest tales of adventure...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall is here!

Fall has finally come to Japan! Its been in the 60's and low 70's, finally, this week. It's time to make soups and stews, take long walks and enjoy the changing leaves. Although here, one has to watch out for snakes sunning themselves in the trails. Some of the best things about fall in my mind, are:

drinking hot apple cider
going to the apple orchard *
pumpkin patch! *cooking with everything squash, sweet potato and pumpkin * hot sweet potato drink at Ducky Ducky, topped with whipped cream! * chestnuts! piles of leaves, and the smell of burning leaves * warm sweaters * changing the blankets and bringing out the warm quilts * putting rugs on the floors * bringing out some orange, rust and brown colored pillows and throw blankets * using the oven more * kids sitting at the kitchen table with their homework * lighting candles more time outside in Ikego, due to the milder weather :) * bonfires and roasting marshmallows for smores * lazy fall beetles and bees * good sleeping weather!

What are your favorite things???

Anyway, we had communal dinner this weekend here in the courtyard, and I made some soup. My soup was potato, a very easy recipe:

Potato Soup:

6 pieces of bacon

1 cup celery

one onion

a bunch of potatoes

3 cloves garlic

6 cups chicken broth

hot sauce

Cook the bacon and remove it, save it for sprinkling on top of the soup. Drain out most of the fat. Sautee the celery, onion and garlic in the bottom of the bacon pan. When soft, add the potatoes and broth. Cook until soft. Use a hand blender or potato masher to mix. Now, I used 6 potatoes and thought the soup was a little thin, so I cheated a bit and added some instant mashed potatoes. No one will know the difference!!

Add hot sauce to taste.

Serve with bowls of shredded cheddar, bacon, and green onions.

Friday, October 3, 2008

one sick puppy part 2

Natsumi-chan gave me this sad, frowny face today :(

That's when I realized that she was not feeling well, and she really was starting to cough again. Poor baby!
Back to the Hayama vet, and it turns out she has bad pneumonia in one lung, and the other lung almost totally clear. How weird is that?!
I have to bring her back twice a day again for nebulizer treatments, and its just killing me how expensive it is.
The vet thinks possibly she has a gastric reflux problem and is aspirating her own, you know, puppy food and water...after she eats. She does have lots of gross burbs and hiccups. I just figured she fit in perfectly around here.
She has finished two sets of puppy shots, but needs to be healthy before she can get the next set. I am starting to stress out about my brothers wedding, which I've been planning to take the kids to in early November! My two favorite neighbors are moving, and the rest of them have no interest in taking in a semi-trained semi-destructive cute little puppy and the two year old diva who pees on the floor in the house if it is rainy outside. The kennels will not take a sick dog who hasn't had all of her shots, and the Hayama vet doesn't board.
So, Miss N has to get better soon, has to!!