September 21, 2010

Hello from Tokyo!

This is a game called "Dee Dah, Dee Dah, DAH!" that Miss Thing has been playing with her Daddy and her Tokyo Souvenir, which she named Patches.

Enjoy and I'll hopefully post soon from the states!

September 6, 2010

These Are a Few...

...of My New Favorite Things.

We've been in Sapporo, Japan (Hokkaido) this past week/weekend for a 2.5-day mini-vacation.  I have photos and more regarding the time we spent there.  For now I would like to show you some of the fabulous (to us, anyway) things we were able to purchase on our trip.

Let's begin with Day One's purchases, all made in Otaru, a coastal town northwest-ish of Sapporo.  They are very well known for their glass work and a little less well known for their music boxes.  Of course we had to check them both out.

Here is my new music box (jewelry box):

They had boxes of all shapes, sizes, colors, and intricacies.  Anyone could find something they like.  There were tiny little boxes, some that only played music, some that looked bedazzled, gold, silver, and every color under the sun.  They also had lacquer-ware ones like mine of all shapes and sizes.

 The inside of all of them is quite nice, usually featuring a mirror and the red velvet-like material.  It was very difficult to choose one as there were literally hundreds (thousands?) of boxes in one shop and everywhere you looked you would see something that caught your eye.  I chose this type because I kept coming back to them.  I figured that was a good a sign as any that I liked it more than the others.

The inlaid floral patterns (and pagoda scenes, etc.) are really beautiful.  There were many with the cherry-blossoms as one might expect.  I chose this one because the flowers are small and there are even a few petals being blown away on the front edge of the box (you can see them in the second photo).

Once the music box purchasing had been finished, we meandered back towards the center of town and checked out a few glass shops along the way.  Otaru is known for the glass artisans; they once made the gas lamps in town and glass buoys for the fishing boats.  Since neither of those items are much in use any more (well, buoys are, but they are made of different material these days methinks), the artists took to creating all sorts of glassware.

As with the music boxes, anyone could find something they like in the way of glassware in Otaru.  The color range encompassed all hues and the styles ranged from very simple to more modern and then the more typical Japanese (at least to us) looking items.

We purchased a drinking set that includes the pitcher and five of these little cups.  The photos do not do the colors justice.  The pitcher is made so that your pour the liquid into the top for serving and to keep it cold, you place ice in the side pocket which is sectioned off completely from the interior.  It would not be Japanese if not functional.

On Day Two, we managed to take a taxi out to a tiny hole-in-the-wall (under the house/in the carpark) kimono shop.  Here they work on kimonos and all of their accessories.  There were obi, kimono, shoes, bags, pins, and even stripped down kimono fabrics for sale.

We were looking for an Obi, and this is the first that caught my eye.  It is difficult to choose which one you like because once again, they come in every color imaginable.  Your house from the 60s or 70s that you've never upgraded and therefore has the original color palette?  You could absolutely find multiple options for an obi to match your decor.

The second obi we chose is covered with fans and scenes from the countryside.  I really like that it has some larger light-colored sections to really stand out.  It is a different color-scheme, but has some of the same tones as the first and we hope they can be in the same house if nothing else without clashing terribly.  Surely this is possible.

 I think we'll find places for them both regardless.  Now to find out where everyone purchased the nifty obi-hangers I've seen here in their homes...

I am very happy with these new items.  When living in Spain, I usually took tons of photos as our reminder of our travels.  It wasn't until just before we left that we finally made some decisions about what we'd like to take home.  Now that there are kids involved, I only manage to take a few photos of any quality, so having other items is very nice.  Plus, we'll have these things forever...if we can prevent the aforementioned children from ruining them all.

Only time will tell!

September 2, 2010


There is a phenomenon known as Crazy-Pants. CP, as she is known, does all sorts of random things that are most certainly loca.  For example, she likes to place a trash can on her head and walk around the house singing.  Usually the song is Row, Row, Row Your Boat with all of the words except merrily replaced by someone's name.  A favorite is Daddy; merrily comes out as mer.

If while walking around CP happens to bump into something, she'll lift her helmet and peek out at whomever or whatever it is, talk to him/her/it a bit and then replace the helmet and continue as before.

Alternatively, CP will bump into a person, check to see if it is indeed a human, and then commence playing a form of Peek-a-Boo...whether the person participates or not does not seem to matter.

Above is CP wearing her one and only Japanese outfit.  It was on for about three minutes, top.  Apparently all of the tying and strange fabric did not suit her.  While in it, she was a cheese-monster.  Feet shoulder width apart, face scrunched, and "Cheeeeeeeeeeeeese!"

Another CP production involves singing with hand motions.  As you can see here, she is showing everyone the wide part of Deep and Wide.  It is quite the performance, as noted by her Daddy in the background.

Cooking is a new thing.  Mama cooks all of the time now and CP watches from the kitchen table with commentary.  "Mama's cooooooking.  Mama's cutting.  It's not ready yet.  It's not cooked.  It makes you sick."  This has led to some pretend cooking in the playroom here at Casa CP.  We don the chef hat and jacket, oven mit and wooden spoon and go to town.  It is "just pretend" though, in case you were wondering.

CP does not just pretend to wear her hat and sunglasses.  The hat is hit or miss, but the glasses are a favorite.  They are worn when going to the restaurant, the community store, the playground, to see Buster Doggie and Bailey Doggie, in the car and would be in the house if allowed.

There are some other crazy things that occur here, the likes of which I cannot explain.  One I can describe for you however.  CP places her left hand up to her face with her pointer finger across her lips and the rest of her hand in a fist.  She then says: "Hmmmm....I know!  I've got an idea!"  I reply: "You do?  What is it?"  And she will respond with one of the following:

"I know!  Mama do it!"

or the ever popular

"I don't know!"

September 1, 2010

Birthday Party!

At the very end of July, we attended a birthday party here at Olympia.  The birthday girl, who turned three, is pictured above with one of the fabulous party favors received by all of the guests under four feet tall.

Miss Thing was a complete mess that entire day due to the non-sleep chronicles going on at our house.  We were a bit late to the party because we let her sleep longer than usual for her nap.  When we arrived, everyone was busy finishing their meal.  The kids' table was full of Hello Kitty dinner-ware.

Luckily for her, hot dogs were on the menu.  She may have been a tad hungry since she scarfed down two of them right away.  Also, note the hat.  They don't usually stay on her head for that long, so the hunger most definitely overcame the uncomfortable-ness.

It was a really lovely afternoon; we didn't have many of them in July, so it was nice for the adults to be able to sit and talk outside while the kids played everywhere.

This photo is funny on so many levels.  The kids are playing Pin the bow on the Kitty and it was interesting.  Take note of the concentration on the Mom assisting the little boy.  In the background the birthday girl is obviously unsure about the blind-folding process.  If only you could see the line of children behind them all waiting for their turn.  It was excellent.

Later the kids got to hit the pinata.  Most were gentle with it, but there were definitely a few who knew what they were doing.  Regardless we had to enlist a parent to finally break the thing open.  Miss Thing had no idea what we were doing, but she "hit" the pinanta about as forcefully as a fly and then when it finally broke open I think she collected about five pieces of candy.

The kids went into the house to watch a movie while the adults hung out in the yard.  After a while I went inside to check on them and was met with the view above.  I love how they all have balloons and they're all gaping at the television.  I think there's a reason they call it the boob-tube...because watching it turns you into one after awhile.

This is quite possibly my favorite photo of the day. Miss Thing finally ate her first piece of hard candy. It was "Mmmm, yummy." Not so yummy was the way she kept taking it out of her mouth to look at it.