Music in the Morning

A visit to EJ's yochien was near the top of my to do list while Avia and PopPop were visiting. With PopPop's long tenure as a teacher and vast experience in education, I wanted him to see what the schools in Japan were like.

My friend and translator set up a morning to visit and it just so happened to coincide with their monthly birthday celebration.

We started off in the classroom where we got to listen to EJ's class sing their morning songs. I learned that all yochien teachers are must be able to play the piano to receiving their teaching certification. What a treat for the students to have a teacher playing along.

Then we headed up to the auditorium to celebrate all the children born in August. The kids marched into the auditorium with crowns on their heads and to their classmate's clapping and sat up on the stage.

Their parents sat in the back to celebrate with them. Each gave a special message to their child as the program progressed. 

After the classes sang "Happy Happy Birthday" the teachers gave a special program for the students. This one entailed the students guessing the sounds of everyday household items; a great lesson in listening, recognizing, and guessing. We were impressed by the length of time the they held the student's attention.

The kids sat on their evacuation hats not making a peep. So impressed!

"Adorable" Dance Recital

After months of dancing at class and at home, her recital day finally arrived. Avia and PopPop landed just in time to sit in the audience.

Getting ready for the recital can almost be as much fun as the recital itself.

Avia watched a quick tutorial on bun making and set up her own salon for EJ.

A dab here and sparkle there.

Our ballerina was ready.

She looked so sweet in her yellow tutu.

It was finally time to go to the theater.

The girls compared their dances as they waited for the show to start.

DaddyO and CJ were ready to applaud.

Her class tapped on to the stage and began their "Adorable" dance. They matched the lyrics!

One thing I have learned as a dance mom is to have flowers ready for afterwards. EJ loves a bouquet of flowers.

EJ is very blessed to have such a wonderful dancing school on base.

Her teacher instructs a perfect mixture of self expression and technique. Thank you Ms. K!

Staying Cool at Kodomonokuni

After sending various family and friends to Kodomonokuni Park, I finally got to explore it myself with the kiddos. It was a hot summer day in the middle of the hot summer.

We opted to skip the crowded pool but the strollers outside and people in were evidence of how truly hot the day was.

Instead the kids played in the stream and fountain with Avia.

There was even a waterfall to climb.

A couple former students who lived close by joined us and we tried to stay cool together.

Even with the heat, green was all around!

Shabu Shabu

The kiddos new answer to the "where do you want to go to dinner" question is a resounding "shabu shabu." Funny enough Syabuyo is directly across from our favorite Korean BBQ restaurant, their previous favorite answer.

〒242-0021 Kanagawa-ken, Yamato-shi, Chūō, 1 Chome−4−14

This has been our first time going out for this style of dinner so it has been fun learning how it's done. Mostly just watching the tables around us.

First we choose the set of meat we would like.

 Then we head to the salad bar to load up on the veggies and noodles we would like to cook.

Of course there is also rice with and assortment of pickled toppings to choose from.

We discovered that the dips are what really make the meat pop. There are five different types.

 This is the first of three courses. We have yet to have all the meat delivered. We are usually full after the second course.

Then the cooking begins.

The meal is called "shabu shabu" after the sound of the meat being swished in the broth. The Japanese love labor intensive food and the kiddos couldn't agree more. It's dinner and entertainment combined.

Autumn Hakone

When we get the urge to go on a quick day trip, Hakone is one of our favorite spots to visits. This time we wanted to enjoy the mountain's changing colors. We drove the Hakone Skyline toll road, which was worth every 700 yen to cross.

We stopped at a cafe/scenic overlook where the kiddos got to pet a wandering goat.


Then we started the climb up a mountain ridge to view Lake Ahino.

It was the perfect climb for little legs.

Just enough difficulty to keep it interesting.

Lots of places to stop and enjoy the view.


 And a beautiful view at the top.

Lake Ashino on one side.

The ocean on the other.

While I know this is not wheat, this picture brought a verse from Psalms to mind and captured an autumn afternoon.

 We headed past some beautiful colors as we headed to Owakudani (Great Boiling Valley) to have kuro-tomago or black eggs.

 It is a volcanic valley with active sulfur vents everywhere.

 The kiddos watched the eggs being boiled.

 Then we enjoyed a few ourselves.

Eating one is said to add seven years to your life. Our life expectancey should be up there with the Japanese now.

The kids tested the warm spring water. 


It is definitely a tourist spot, but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.

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