Once again, it seems another month has come and gone. We've been pretty busy the last few weeks. Seems to have been a field trip every week, lots going on with scouts and then I think someone had a birthday.
First field trip: Nissan Factory. Back in April, the homeschool group took a trip to the local Nissan factory. There are three in Japan and one just happens to be down the road! Amazing how many dads took off that day, including Dale. The weather wasn't the best, but it was a fantastic trip and very informative. We saw three parts of the plant including the dock where they were loading some cars for export to the US or Europe. The best part of the trip is that we were ALL able to hear and understand the guide. We had a Japanese guide and an English translator. We were all given little headsets so everyone could hear no matter where you were. Wish more tours did this. The kids, and dads, all had a blast!
The following weekend, Dale and Nathan went to the Boy Scout Camporee out at the campgrounds. As part of his work towards Arrow of Light, he needs to start doing activities with the Boy Scouts. With two local troops, this shouldn't be too difficult. Although the Boy Scouts were there all weekend, the boys just went for Saturday and took part in all the activities: sports, cooking competitions. Nathan hated the baseball, but was thrilled to do archery again.
The troop leader here is a master chef so dinner was quite the ordeal. They cooked whole chickens, had some cobblers and something else. It was a hit with everyone!
Our next field triptook us to Chiba. The homeschool group has been busy and this time we went to plant rice. Chibais just on the other side of the bay and is very rural. This trip started early as we had to catch the 8AM ferry from Kurihama, about 30-40 minutes from here. Nathan and I rode with another Ikego family so that was nice. Nathan loved the ferry ride. It was cool and windy, but at least it didn't rain.
The drive to the farm was pretty easy and rather straight forward. It was a gorgeous ride too, although I wouldn't want to be there in traffic! We saw lots of green, more paddies and LOTS of wisteria--it went into bloom a few weeks ago, so pretty.
We had to walk a bit out to the paddy, but it wasn't too bad. I think what shocked those who hadn't been before the most, was just how deep the mud was. From looking at it, it only appears to be a few inches, but that's just the water on the surface, the ground is gooey mud for about a foot below that! The kids all had fun and really got dirty. Fortunately, we brought a change of clothes so it wasn't too bad.
After the planting, we washed up and the kids enjoyed the Onsen--foot bath--then we had lunch. Nathan was impressed that Mommy packed such a good lunch with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, BBQ chips, Gatorade and some cookies. Nathan then went to hang out with the critters and learned about salamanders and their eggs. The ride home wasn't too bad and we actually got home before Dale did! We're looking forward to all going back next year and to maybe go harvest the rice in August.
Jamie took her own field trip on the 8th. She and a friend went to Tokyo for the Hobby Show. It was pretty crowded, but lots of fun. We found some great deals on knitting needles and some fabric. It was just nice to get out and not have any kids with us. This is an annual show, so we've already made plans for next year.
Who's the birthday boy?!? May has sure been a busy month for birthdays. I think there were at least four or five in Alex's class around, several friends and some family too--Happy Birthday Mom! Since last year, Alex has had his birthday planned out. He decided he wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and Build-A-Bear to add to his panda collection. (he needs 11 pandas, just a few more to go!) It just so happened that Dale got paid Friday and ran his PRT so going out to dinner sounded like a great idea, and off to Yokohama we went! We did open a few presents first. Since this was a "panda party" we found some black and white papers, he got a big panda, and even a panda movie--thanks Grammy and Grampy! The book from Oma and Papa was a hit too and that was looked through before moving on to the next present.
New buddies. No panda this time, they were a limited edition so Alex went with a black bear instead. Maybe we'll find one in the states. Nathan got a dog with a "traveling" hat, it's a hat with flags from the World Cup.
This made for a very long day. We had spent all morning outside at the track for Field Day, then an evening on the town. Thankfully, everything closes pretty early here, so that forced us home just after 8. After all, we still had a busy Saturday to come! Crossover.
The ceremony went very well and we had a great turn-out. Unlike other years, we actually had new tigers this before the fall. The boys have been looking forward to this for some time. One of them even wore his uniform Sunday too! We're going to have our first meeting on Wednesday so that should be fun. Then we have the camp out in June. Fun, fun!
Wheew! I think that wraps it up, at least for a little while. The school year is winding down, just another month to go and then we start summer school--shhhh, don't tell the boys! Just six weeks to go before we should be heading back to the states too and what should be an amazing vacation. Our first if a few years and our longest yet.