*** Now with photos! ***
Last week I had no classes at all and there was a public holiday but despite that (because of that?), it was A Very Busy Week. Everything of note was photographically documented of course, and I had great intentions of writing in detail about each event. But a whole week has now passed and my complete failure to write about our summer in the UK is haunting me, so here's the brief version.
Last Sunday was the annual festival at the kominkan, our local parish hall equivalent. There were displays of bonsai and matched vegetables, handicrafts and photography, children's calligraphy and paintings. We watched the children's paper aeroplane contest, had some free food and tea and biscuits, won a mini Christmas tree and a box of tissues and had our photos printed onto comical postcards by the Computing for Seniors club. Truly something for everyone! K had a sit in a fire engine and then we came home again, in time for a visit from Yukari and her daughter Yurara, featuring more tea and biscuits and a couple of rounds of Greedy Gorilla.
On Monday K went to school and, for once, I had nothing scheduled while he was out. Somehow though, just looking after T took up most of the day and before I knew it it was time to collect him again. The token non-busy day.
Tuesday started with a walk to the (regular, Japanese) kindergarten to enroll K for next year. Can you believe a year has passed since I was last wondering whether to enroll him or not? The international preschool has been just what we needed this past year but I think that K is ready for kindergarten now; he's keen to go to school for more than two days a week and he's interested in speaking Japanese now too. So we wandered over, signed him up and then played in the playground for a while. In the afternoon H came home early and we all bid a fond farewell to our old car.
After more than 12 years of loyal service, the Pajero Io has gone... And after all that, Vivian came to visit!
Wednesday was another school day since it was their Sports Day. We all met at the park and the children enjoyed various races and games while we Mums photographed madly ;-) It was pretty laid back, not like the Japanese-style Sports Days which are rehearsed to within an inch of their lives and unfold with military precision. K took part in an obstacle race, a running race and a sack race. Oh, and I did that last one too... Then it was time for packed lunches followed by playing in the playground until the Mums had had enough.
We got back in time for Visit From Vivian Part 2 (this time with Noboru too), since K complained that she didn't stay long enough to play with him the day before. In other words, more Greedy Gorilla.
Thursday was Culture Day, a public holiday. We didn't do anything particularly cultural, but we did take K to the local shrine for his 7-5-3 ceremony. It's traditional to take children to be blessed at the ages 3, 5 and 7, usually around the middle of November. We looked into renting a kimono for K for the day but were quoted 30,000 yen! Photographers will let you use one for free if you're having portraits taken afterwards but that can get very expensive too, so in the end we went to Jusco and went the 'modern' (ie practical and cheap) route, buying a suit set for 7,000 yen. As well as a jacket and short trousers it also included a shirt and tie and even braces!
So after our visit to the shrine we went out for lunch (conveyor-belt sushi, K's choice) with H's parents and then it was time to go and pick up the new car! It was the first time I've had a *new* new car and it was all very exciting. We took it for a little spin up to Sakaiminato and had dinner out too.
On Friday I took the boys into town for a 'mini-concert' for preschoolers, which K enjoyed a lot. We joined some other Mums and kids for lunch afterwards and then hit the supermarket.
Saturday brought the end of the lovely weather we'd been having; it's been rainy ever since. In the morning we all went to the library for the annual giving-away-of-old-books free-for-all. We came home with bags and bags of books: picture books, travel guides, craft and sewing books, a few English language novels, some history books and more. There was also story-telling and colouring for the children and bag-making from old book covers. After that it was lunch out and a bit of shopping before coming home to a visit from Hide.
Which brings us round to Sunday. There aren't many places around here to take children to play when the weather's bad. In fact, we could only think of one, so we went there - the Children's Culture Centre. They have a little planetarium so H and K went there first, and then we all watched a little puppet show for a while before heading off for all-you-can-eat pizza. Later in the day I helped out at a Hallowe'en party for a few hours while H had the unenviable task of staying at home with The Boys Who Want Mummy. Still, no-one was screaming when I came home...
Wow, did you really read all that? To think, this was the abridged version!