2016-10 OCT

October brings first hockey game and fall yard work...
DSC 0469  This budding tree heralds the arrival of fall. It's very fragrant. DSC 0470  Our house has our name on it now :) DSC 0471  Ben is learning Hiragana with me! DSC 0473  We're at the gym, waiting for Sam.
DSC 0474  I ran all the way down the coast to Kannonzaki the other day - visible as the far coast in this picture. DSC 0475  Bought 80 proof alcohol to tincture this... DSC 0477  sending care packages to stateside friends :) DSC 0479  What is he doing? I think we are looking at Magic cards and picking out Hiragana letters we recognize...
DSC 0480  Nissan Stadium where Sam's team runs dry land. Two laps around this entire stadium, one of them timed, then stairs, cavaletti and sprints. They're no joke about the dry land here! DSC 0483  Had to take this for you. This is the 7/11 bathroom. UNREAL. Clean, heated seat... DSC 0484  And I'm starting to be able to READ Japanese! This is the toilet paper holder. I can make out the initial 6 sounds but have no idea what it says. I asked later and it says - Thank you for keeping this area clean. Or something like that. I should post that in MY bathrooms... DSC 0485  Arriving at 0530 after driving 1 hr 45 min north of our house to a scrimmage. Yes. Insane. But it's the first hockey game, and a chance for Sam to play with his team. We got a loaner jersey last night from the team manager, so it's very exciting.
DSC 0486  Sunrise at a hockey rink. Not the first time we've done that, but the first time in Japan for sure. DSC 0487  Kind of really a monumental moment. DSC 0488  Ben has a cold, but woke up at 3:10 am like a trooper and slept on the way up. DSC 0489  Sam heading to dry land.
DSC 0490 DSC 0494  Everyone is pointing at something... DSC 0497  I stepped away from behind the trees and this rainbow began to emerge! DSC 0498  And then a DOUBLE rainbow? What does it MEAN?
DSC 0499  OMG! DSC 0500  After dry land, getting ready to gear up. DSC 0502  This rink at a sports park is huge. There is an archery venue there as well (kyodo) - thankfully Kumiko was by her phone so I could text her that question. DSC 0504  The Bremerton Warriors PeeWee C team had their first puck drop of the season literally 30 min after ours.
DSC 0505  You won't believe the name of the team we played today... DSC 0506  I'll hold you in suspense... DSC 0507  WARRIORS! DSC 0508  Yes, the Saitama Warriors.
DSC 0510  I was wearing some WSHC Warriors gear and had to cover that up QUICK! ;) MOV 0509  Here is a string of movies - every shift Sam played. MOV 0511  He held his own and was a good contributor to the team. MOV 0512
DSC 0514  They ended up winning 8-3. DSC 0515 DSC 0516 MOV 0513  Here's the end of the game...
MOV 0517  and the customary salutations. MOV 0518 DSC 0520a  Here is team manager Hayashi-san (that is her last name). It means forest. She is giving me her favorite snack from Hokkaido, the north country where hockey is big. We traded favorite snacks this weekend because she has been so helpful getting us hooked up. DSC 0522 (1)  Driving home.
DSC 0519 (1)  Then the kids were very eager to sell cookies, pretzels, and gummies to the neighbors. A yard service was born to spare potential Sunday nappers in the neighborhood from door-to-door sales ;) They leapt at the idea to scoop up leaves for 100 yen each. Money really DOES grow on trees! DSC 0519  Picture taken for Dave...Sam is coding, Ben is doing homework. DSC 0520  Snack bags. One for Ben. The other for a new friend of mine. One with two legs, crazy "hair," very long claws, and he crows. It is so nice to have a little friend to save snacks for. I can't save the volume I used to (it's just one little roo at the barn) but nice to have some accumulate on my counter. DSC 0521  My bus stop...I can catch the 0800 bus if I walk quickly after dropping Ben off at 0730.
DSC 0522  A hair salon...looked interesting if I decided to spring for a professional cut. Out of town...somewhere different. DSC 0523  Walking along very tiny roads, wide enough for one car. More like single track bike lanes. DSC 0524  This looks like taro? These fields are not large, but every single square foot of dirt is utilized. DSC 0525  You can see this field terraced right by a tiny road. Note how dark the soil is. Really looks amended to me? But maybe not?
DSC 0530  A wise old tree accompanied by some friends who passed. DSC 0531  This produce stand...geez. I've eyed it for weeks...noting the happy chicken on the sign, making out the letters on the sign as I learn more, noting the hours, and the fields across the street that likely supply it. Each week I look forward to buying local eggs on the way home. AND finding out where the chickens who lay them reside. I got foiled again today! Lights on, but doors didn't open! I can SEE the eggs! DSC 0533  Here I am dirty, sweaty, thirsty and ready to head home. But buses are inscrutable here. I've worked on unraveling this one stop for 3 weeks now. I know at least 4 buses go back to Yokosuka. I can tell that much from studying routes on the web and making out the kanji on the sign. But WHEN? When do they go? You can look at the row for 1300 (the hour I am studying for transit back home) and you tell me when buses going to Yokosuka stop. Even if you could just tell me buses 6 and 8. When do they stop at this bus stop? I asked a professional man in a suit today and he graciously gave it his best effort, even consulting with a sweet older woman with a purple parasol and matching hair. Still a question mark. Take the next one, he said. But when I questioned the driver: "Sumimasen? Yokosuka?" and got a briskly crossed pair of arms in reply...I just stepped back and laughed literally out loud. It is hysterical. I just run to the bus stop, hope to see a line of people, and wait. Then ask, and when I don't get crossed arms I jump on and watch where it goes! Unlike trains, you can always get off a minute or two later. And I can run for miles... DSC 0535  Ben and I love mascots. This is fire prevention week on base. He says he's not interested in modeling...but look how he mugs for the camera?
DSC 0537  Dunk tank :) DSC 0539  Ben and I being hobos walking home from school with grocery bags tied off all over me. DSC 0544  A stop at shave ice was planned. This little shop right off base (Framboise) is a very very tiny shop. I happened to notice the words "shave ice" on the faded sign while running by last week. It was GOOD! DSC 0548  Ben helped with talking about the cost. He's really really picking up the language. Amazing.
DSC 0549  Happy kids! I have to go home and work now... DSC 0550  Sunlight on the trees in the morning. I have always loved sun on trees...nice to see these trees glowing. DSC 0551  I'm out on another gypsy jog down the coast. This is looking toward the Elementary school where we'll discover kendo tonight. DSC 0552  Jogging along the little harbor in Hashirimizu.
DSC 0555  Probably the most humble playground I have seen in a long time. I noticed it last week, but it didn't seem right to snap a picture of it. I did so this week because I just love it, and wonder which kids had their morning romps there. DSC 0556  Looking down the road. This is when you see Family Mart and are grateful for the sign which promises a cold drink, refilling your SUICA card, an ATM... DSC 0557  Found the Kannonzaki boardwalk. Very very nice! DSC 0558  Continuing along the coast you can see the Yokosuka Art Museum in the distance. I asked for a Post Office along here somewhere and was directed to this portion of town. When I arrived at the junction by the road, the man pointed to the "post office." It was a little snack store called "Rest Stop." Surely he must have wondered why someone (clearly from base) would have jogged 12K for the mail. I need a PO Box and all of them are taken in Yokosuka so I thought a town far afield might have one for me. And I WOULD gladly run for mail once a week. Ah well...still need to find a post office with a PO Box!
DSC 0559  Submarine leaving. Japanese. DSC 0561  And Chiba Peninsula. DSC 0562  Looking back in the direction of base. DSC 0563  What kind of statue or formation did this fall off from?
DSC 0564 DSC 0565  Following stairs...I think these lead to the lighthouse. DSC 0566  Can you see a huge spiderweb in this shot??? Top quarter of the frame, right over the path? Natural Halloween decor! DSC 0567  Found it! Now how to get home...I ended up jogging around 209 to Uraga train station. I'm sure there are multiple ways to get there but sticking to the coast sounded fun, and was a sure bet with phone on low battery. All this fun for 154 yen. :) That's about $1.50. 15K later, and a 7/11 lunch, I'm happy.
DSC 0569  The usual after-school scene for Ben - he and his buddies playing soccer or chase or wrestling around. He's in the blue shirt and shorts inthe middle of the frame. DSC 0570  Neighborhood workers showed up to work for yen, and for making cupcakes! Look at them hustle leaves! DSC 0571  Now they're all decorating these strange garlic-looking cloves (which are not garlic). DSC 0573  Very happy with their creations!
DSC 0574  Closeup... DSC 0575  And closeup of the kids, too! DSC 0576 DSC 0577  Look at THIS! Morgan came right in and got to know my kitchen better than I do! She found all the baking tools and made cupcakes for the neighborhood with the supplies on our baking shelf plus some from her home. (The boys invariably want to buy baking things at the commissary, so I have a shelf stocked with random cake, cupcake and cookie making supplies - with all the chefs in the neighborhood and kids old enough to find their way around the kitchen, it's a great reward for raking up leaves from the rockways in our yard. Is that a word? Rockways? Walkways made of rock?)
DSC 0578  These are designed after the cute bulb-things the kids decorated. The red dots are for the leaves they raked. Stars are for the night sky now above our home as we wrap up... DSC 0579  Some very messy cupcakes...but very tasty! DSC 0580  On the way to school on the day of Gail Krug's memorial service. I thought the sky was particularly beautiful with rays streaming from Heaven. Dave is in New York for the week with his family. DSC 0581  I've got a fire going and Ben is putting up some Halloween decorations for us.
DSC 0582  Doesn't this look spooky with the lights on the web? DSC 0583  I think he did a great job. The wind is blowing the web for us... DSC 0584 DSC 0585  Great graveyard, Ben! (And my phone camera is doing shockingly well in the low light!)
DSC 0586 World Girl's Ice Hockey Weekend event 2016 049  This is a great picture from Liz, Tyler's mom (in red 11 jersey). They are from Bremerton. This is the boys on the ice practicing. Sam is in the USA Jersey. DSC 0587  Making pancakes before hockey practice which is at noon this time, so an early departure. These looked like Pokemon characters. DSC 0588  Trying to find the team - it's raining out, and we couldn't find them at the rink so we ran to the Nissan Stadium where they usually are. Still couldn't find them. Communication challenges happen...I will mention, and this is not a complaint at all but just a realization, that despite everyone's best efforts, ensuring we are in the right place at the right time takes twice as much time, easily, due to translating then confirming understanding. It's quite interesting! I am spending more time just showing up than I was managing an entire team. Anyway - you can see Sam has a bad cold and is wearing a mask on his arm because he refuses to wear it on his face as the Japanese do. Thought that was funny...
DSC 0589  Funny hair styles possible with the rain...sent these to the team saying...uh...hey? We can't find you? Missed you! DSC 0592  Sam and I having some quality time while Ben is in an all-afternoon World Women's Ice Hockey Federation clinic. We're eating some lunch from 7/11. DSC 0593  Vending machine craziness ensued. We wanted a HOT chocolate. Georgia in the middle. See that? Creamy and smooth? 100 yen. Should be easy enough. DSC 0594  Feeding Ben between dry land and skating. Here honey, eat this?
DSC 0595  He's got a cold, too, poor guy. Brought these because they have some juice in them for thirsty boys. DSC 0596  He's out on the ice with an ice hockey player who was in the Nagano Olympics. Pretty cool! DSC 0598  Meeting with all the other skaters. DSC 0599  The next day, Sunday, he spiked a fever of 101 in the morning after 10 days of illness. He was very fatigued and a horrible raspy cough. I decided to take him in to see a doctor. New country. New bugs. Decided to be safe. Only place open is the ER. So...looks very dramatic here in a hospital bed...but it was fine. Most likely a sinus infection.
DSC 0600  He's practicing Hiragana while we wait. DSC 0601  And practicing how to draw the characters... DSC 0602  Open skate - completely dominated by figure skaters. There is a little huddle of hockey players trying to learn to hockey stop down at the end. Ben is in the yellow shirt on the right. He spotted someone in a red helmet and said "Hey! That guy looks SUSPICIOUSLY like Julian!" and ran off to find out. Julian is Ben's good friend from home. DSC 0604  This is still Sunday - the day we went to the ER. Ben is not skating in his practice so he brought his kindle and a sketch pad. He's been doing these incredible sketches of Pokemon characters entirely freehand. He gets the proportions just right. This is Mewtwo.
DSC 0605  Ben checking on his graveyard and putting it back together after a wind storm. DSC 0606  Ben and I are reading this on the train. This seat says "Bounce you" at the top right according to Google translate. We both laughed at that. I think that means it folds out? Pretty cool we can read that!  (Ha ne a ga ri ma su) DSC 0607  And I can read that Kanji! This is where we change trains. It's a Monday holiday and we're going to Shibuya to chase Pokemon. I also have on my list of things to see the Meiji Jingu shrine and Takeshita street. I mentioned to Ben that maybe we can find a stuffed Pikachu for him. He liked that idea a lot! DSC 0608  On the train to Shibuya. Sam looks like a real local now.
DSC 0609  Looking down on the crazy crossing known for hundreds of people crossing at once in all directions. DSC 0610  Ben is funny here. We've been watching the debates over dinner. Turns out this is a night club. DSC 0611  Going to the Meiji Jingu shrine. This is a Japanese holiday as well - health and sports day. We might be nuts to go sightseeing on a Japanese holiday, but so be it. That was the time we had. Boys were well enough to get out. DSC 0612
DSC 0613  A bride maybe? DSC 0614  Her wedding? DSC 0615  Waited in line 30 min for this ramen place to have a seat for us. You order with these vending machine style buttons and pay in advance. DSC 0616  We're HUNGRY!
DSC 0617 DSC 0618  Yes! DSC 0619  And finally to Takeshit St! DSC 0620  This is madness. It's where there is a lot of cosplay and vendors hawking things and just a bit looser sort of crowd and ambiance than usually found (the Japanese people are in general a very quiet and sedate culture, very polite).
DSC 0621  Doug, this is for you! DSC 0622  We survived! I found a stuffed Pikachu for Ben, and the most expensive Pikachu t shirt EVER. I got that before we found the little stuffed guy, darn it. I let Sam loose a couple times to go find some Pokemon, and reconnecting with him was interesting in that crowd (where it's impossible to hear on the phone, and texting takes too long when you've got a train to catch!) but we did it! DSC 0623  Going home! Very busy at the train stations. In order to not hold people up while I fiddled with the fare, I asked a local for help. I am not sure we ended up on the fastest route home, but we did get there! 1 hr 45 min later we were on familiar ground. DSC 0624  In the meantime I was listening to announcements about certain train cars not going on - staying in Zushi. I had heard about this potential for you to end up on a car that gets disconnected and you just stay put while the rest of the train goes on to your stop. I really didn't want that to happen at 6:30pm when boys needed food and rest before school the next day. So...up and down the train I went asking for clarification. I've got asking for direction down, and can read maps and signs. But my very very limited Japanese is not so good for "Is this one of the cars that is going to be stuck at the station?" Finally I just went down to the end of the train while it was moving (because clearly you can't disconnect cars while the train is in motion) and found people who weren't looking worried or about to move. The train stopped and they stayed put. Logic said it would move again, otherwise why would they just hang out on it? I felt like we were good...and we were. 10 min stop and we were off again. Whew!
DSC 0625  Walking to the barn the next day, Tuesday the 11th. Many crops growing well. DSC 0626  This is the back side of a tree I photographed a week or two ago. DSC 0627  Tractors preparing the soil. They must truck it in? Looks very good to me. DSC 0628
DSC 0629  Treats from Tomoe. Isn't she so very nice to send home treats for the boys? DSC 0631  Sam says they are very good, dense little cakes. DSC 0632  I finally got eggs from the little produce stand! I had to run to catch the bus with a dozen eggs in hand! Oops...not a dozen but 10. Metric dozen? DSC 0634  Sam bribing Ben to leave the playground with a snack.
DSC 0636  It worked! DSC 0637  The neighborhood is alive with skaters! Roller derby is big here on base. I'm hoping to get roller hockey going, too. DSC 0639  I got my skates out and skated - felt great to be on them! I still had my breeches on from riding... DSC 0641  An evening jog to get some things at the commissary before Dave arrives back home.
DSC 0644  Checking Pokemon Go for our distance. DSC 0645  Pikachu along for the ride. He goes everywhere he can ;) DSC 0647  Some lights are up now, too. DSC 0648  I'm starting a new sourdough starter. Some bubbles starting to appear!
DSC 0649  Out on a jog to get my hair cut in the inaka - at a place I pass every day on my way to the barn. This looked interesting. DSC 0650  Dave would like this bike shop. DSC 0651  And this place seems to be a metal reclamation yard? DSC 0654  This will be interesting for kids I think!
DSC 0655  Now I'm at MaSa getting my hair cut! Normally I'd do this at home, myself, but I decided to humor Dave with a professional cut and get an adventure in as well. I jogged 9K out to the place where I normally get off the bus and as luck would have it, she had time to take me! DSC 0658  We're trying Kendo at a small coastal town - in their elementary school gym. DSC 0659  Let me tell you, it's intense. I had NO idea what we were getting into. DSC 0660  The people are lovely and welcoming. And the kids were enchanted seeing Americans. Foreigners.
DSC 0661  And they quickly roped me in, providing excellent instruction. MOV 0662  But, one thing you must know...the Japanese people are very meticulous in their craft, in everything they do. This is not your average backyard swordplay. This is a form of martial arts, with all the discipline you might imagine. But it's also LOUD. MOV 0663  We were off to the side trying to focus and you can imagine how much we wanted to watch! DSC 0665  Sam is getting very good at managing his work. He writes down what is due every day, including Fridays, so that we stay on top of things. I have on the bottom right the hockey schedule, which is different every week. This is part of why it's challenging to manage the calendar and I feel so busy just GOING to hockey practice. It's a moving target. Plus two tournaments back to back this month.
DSC 0666  The neighbors like to come over - this is Megan burning flashcards from a recent HUGE test. DSC 0669  So...Fridays are for fires. I am using our Weber grill for now... DSC 0670  There they go! DSC 0673
DSC 0674  Burning leaves, twigs...great for yard work. Kids pick up leaves, then enjoy burning them. DSC 0676  It's a little smoky at first. But no smoke detectors went off, thankfully. Dave was uneasy, poor guy. DSC 0678  Then some artwork with poker sticks. This is always fun. DSC 0679
DSC 0681 DSC 0683  Night, guys! Roasted pumpkin spice marshmallows followed... DSC 0684  Boys really enjoy sword fighting - these are broom handles. DSC 0685
MOV 0652  A guy is riding around on top of a huge magnet to grab things I think? Those of you back home who enjoy frequenting such places - well, you were on my mind. What the heck is going on here? DSC 0686  Out on a family walk to find a local park, but we got distracted by the thought of having fish now that we don't have chickens! DSC 0687  Look at these cuties!!! DSC 0688
DSC 0689  How could you not want one? DSC 0690  That's a cute fish. Not the one in the tank. DSC 0691  THIS ONE! DSC 0692  This is the same guy in the morning.
DSC 0694  Now we're at hockey practice. This is a park around Nissan Stadium nearby. Very nice wildflower garden along a biking/running route. DSC 0697 DSC 0698  The Mikoshi Parade on base. Big event. Lots of mini shrines to see. DSC 0699
DSC 0700 DSC 0702  Huge...we were so busy this weekend, though, that I really wanted to be away from people and it just wasn't to be ;) DSC 0711  on a jog up to Kinugasa park to find an approach up a mountain that i want to do. I saw Halloween decor and an ice cream cone and thought of Ben :) DSC 0712  Found the park, and this shrine. Nearly 100 years old. Built in 1916.
DSC 0713  Mini tori gate to a little shrine. DSC 0714  Maybe a Ziggy shrine? (The neighborhood cat.) DSC 0715  How could you not explore up this little path? DSC 0716  What's up these worn steps?
DSC 0717  Another TINY shrine. DSC 0718  Cute little animals around. DSC 0719 DSC 0720  I'm getting soaked, though. And I can't see the lovely views...
DSC 0721  But this is a sakura forest - cherry blossoms in the spring. DSC 0722  more trails...thinking this goes to Mt. Ogusu (Ogusuyama). DSC 0723  Many many stairs. DSC 0724  And more stairs. Slippery. But impossible to not explore.
DSC 0726 DSC 0727  This little guy is super cute! DSC 0728  I got to this sign and translated it. I'm still in Kinugasa Park but foiled in my attempt to find castle ruins and the trailhead to Ogusu due to a detour for construction. Oh well...there are three other approaches to check into. THis was the longest so possibly not the best anyway. DSC 0729  This is one entrance to Kinugasa Park from within a neighborhood. Tiny walkway between homes. It feels very European that way - streets give way to walkways that are ever narrower and windy.
DSC 0730  This seems like a store I might like. DSC 0731  Things in bloom - Morning Glory? DSC 0733  And lantana? DSC 0734  Lumber yard on the way to the farm.
DSC 0735  The tiny road I turn down to walk to the barn. DSC 0736  Cabbage ready for planting. I was curious if humans did this or a machine. DSC 0737  I got my answer later in the day. DSC 0738  And the little rooster I bring snacks for! So nice to have a chicken snack container on the counter for him!
DSC 0739  Hi little buddy! DSC 0741  The barn at rest, on my way back to the bus, another day of adventure and connections with humans and animals. Such a treat, and hard work. I always enjoy the time to absorb and process it on the walk/bus home. DSC 0742  Mata raishu, guys! DSC 0745  Ben pointing out our neighbor's brilliant idea to post PTO meeting dates in chalk on all the entrances to school.
DSC 0751  My yeast is SUPER active here. The bread dough rises very fast. DSC 0753  On a field trip with the Curtis Wilbur team at Sam's school. DSC 0754  We're at Miraikan Museum of Engineering and Innovation. Somehow I had 10 boys in my group. Thankfully I really enjoy boys of any age. It was VERY LOUD, though, on the bus. DSC 0760  Particle accelerator activity drew them in!
DSC 0764  An android. Very creepy in its realism! DSC 0765  Morning sky from our culdesac. Sam wanted to get up early to see it. DSC 0766  And the light bouncing off the houses and trees. I always love morning light. DSC 0768  On a quick jog - this is the highest point on base.
DSC 0770  To see it I had to get past some guards. DSC 0771  Bread coming out pretty well! DSC 0772  It's a Friday off of school for teacher development. The boys and I checked out Kannonzaki park with friends. Such an incredible array of activities for kids, and open space. It was very very nice. DSC 0774  Open space and gardens throughout the park.
DSC 0773  This is Ben's good friend, Jackson. While we were there we were able to Skype with friends back in WA, so everyone was able to meet. We even took our Skype friends down this insane roller slide! DSC 0775  This is the SMALL slide. DSC 0776  We're enroute to the BIG one. DSC 0780  Here is a side view of maybe 1/3 of it.
DSC 0782  Better to go down on a plastic "sled" but if you go down without one, on just your rump, you get a good glute massage! DSC 0783 DSC 0784 DSC 0785  Ben at the bottom of it. You hike back to the top for another go.
DSC 0786  Sam noticed the signage included chickens. Cute :) DSC 0787  Sword fighting with found sticks. DSC 0791  And an ice cream vending machine! WHAT?! DSC 0792  We stopped on the way home at HOMES to find a stove for me. I was told by my barn friends that I can find one at a hardware store. This one is a traditional rice cooker, too.
DSC 0793  You can put a bowl of rice on the top and it fits down into the furnace part. DSC 0794  I just loved making a fire and decompressing after a wild week. DSC 0795  The stove heated up fast, and the bread cooked well. Some neighbor friends dropped by for a glass of wine and a taste of the flat bread with babaganoush. The kids are all fascinated by "YEAST BREAD!" as if that is somehow different than regular bread ;) DSC 0796  Sam waiting for his game. It's early Sat morning and we're up at a different rink in Yokohama for a tournament.
DSC 0797  Ben in his jersey and socks! DSC 0798  Look who we found? Jesse from our Bremerton hockey rink! He's back from sea. So nice to see him. DSC 0803 DSC 0804  Scoreboard :)
DSC 0806  Playing cross ice. DSC 0807  And bowing when done. DSC 0006  This rink is VERY cold, and I got to stay for Ben's games, then Sam's game, then goal judge for a game at 2pm, then race to our home rink 30 min across "town", throw down some pasta (which was very good) and then watch Ben's scrimmage against a team from Tokyo. They played for 90 min! After two games in the morning! DSC 0010  After the game or practice, the coaches always have a meeting.
DSC 0011  They are delightful people, very positive yet also very serious about the game and developing skills. Here one of the coaches who speaks excellent English is talking to our two English speakers about what he said in the meeting. DSC 0012  "In Japan it is not polite to stand with your hands in your pockets during a meeting. I hope you understand. It is just our culture." He explained that he knows in America people often stand with their hands in their pockets (and he imitated the casual athlete stance back on his heels). Such nice people. DSC 0016  Now it's Sunday, and the tournament continues. Sam and his buddies are warming up with kids from two other teams. They scrambled three teams to make an entry for the tournament. DSC 0018  Sam competing in a relay race as part of the dry land warmup.
DSC 0020  Looking for nature anywhere I can find it! DSC 0029  My rice cooker being employed to cook up some rice during the 4 hours I was home before heading up to ...guess? Yokohama again for Sam's practice. DSC 0030  Ben and Jackson. Note similar shirts. They're playing Legos and generally messing around. They also volunteered to do a number of chores - raking, cleaning windows and even laundry - in exchange for a "tip" of yen ;) DSC 0031  Dave checking out the bowl and wooden top to steam the rice.
DSC 0032  From start to finish it was 20 min, including starting the fire. DSC 0033  Pretty amazing! I love it! DSC 0034  Some fall plants... DSC 0035  And the kids' little garden by the car port.
DSC 0036  During Sam's Sunday practice, I tried to regain a sense of balance by skating around Nissan Stadium on my inline skates. The day had been a little nutty with respect to driving. I realized after paying one of the three tolls that I was out of cash. Had to find non-toll roads fast, orient using the sun to find the rink, and make no further mistakes to get to the rink on time. We still got there early, but it was not relaxed. And it was supposed to be, darn it! I had even spent time Sat night ensuring my route for the next morning wouldn't take me through the train station again! Only to be foiled by a wallet empty of cash. Then my parking ticket wouldn't validate, and a kind hockey mom had to call from the little phone at the pay machine. We ended up getting out free so that was nice! Then back home, chores, then up to Yokohama. I left Dave and Ben home both trips so they could chill. Back to the skating...I really needed to move after so much driving and stress. All went well...even found some paper towels lying about (we were out) so I counted myself very lucky! Until... DSC 0037  I realized that my parking ticket had flown out of my zippered pocked when I took my phone out at the end. OMG!!! I knew that would happen, I just knew it. So...back on the phone! This is one of those occasions where you just had to be there, but suffice to say another hockey dad hung out to see how this whole thing resolved (would it be $50? how would I handle explaining it in Japanese?). I started by saying good evening in Japanese then "Uh...I think we should try a little English for this!" My Google translate sessions lately have been VERY crazy. Lots of laughter, but hard to do that over the phone. Turns out there is an English speaking operator who conference-called in to help us. This process took some time, enough time for me to relax and enjoy the calm, courteous nature of the people on the other end of the line and loosen up a little. I explained I was standing there with no car because I wanted to get the process of escaping the lot started before 9pm when I would have a hungry boy with me. Later at the rink a couple of us were in absolute hysterics laughing about cultural differences and appreciating them with a sense of humor. The kids came off the ice, flopped on the benches, took their helmets off, and as if on cue hollered up to us "WHERE'S THE FOOD!!"