6.29.2006

Cultural Vertigo

You may have realized, if you have been following our blog at all, that there are times where you simply have to roll with the punches when living in a foreign culture.

A good example was when Mixon and I wanted to go down to the spa (onsen/hotsprings) in the hotel in Tokyo. We had free tickets and a little map of how to get there. Off we went. The instructions told us that we could go there in a yutaka (light kimono) and slippers. After tromping through the hotel in nothing but a bathrobe with a fancy name and slippers, we got to the door that led to the spa.

Mixon balked. He said, 'That sounds like a restaurant.'

I peeked. It looked like a restaurant.

Neither of us were too keen on parading through this restaurant in our bathrobes that felt conspicuously thin.

We went back up to the room, got changed into some real clothes and tried again. We felt much safer going through the restaurant fully clothed.

The spa was very nice. It was essentially a whole bunch of hot tubs. No, I don't have photos.

We spent a good while there. It was very relaxing. They had some pools outside, so it was nice to go out and sit in the hot tub with a nice refreshing rain coming down. None of this was terribly revolutionary.

I was rather surprised when it came time to head back upstairs. We were just finishing towelling off, so obviously lacking in any sort of clothing.

It was at that point that the cleaning lady came in. Yes the cleaning LADY. She went about her business, sweeping the floor in and around all the naked men...you know the things that cleaning ladies do.

Fortunately, Mixon didn't notice her. And I didn't mention it until we got back to the room.

Chalk that one up to the list of things that you don't see everyday in Canada.

My Brother's Beautiful Babies





Meadow - Daddy (my brother, Ben) - Eryan
Don't they look beautiful!
(the girls, I mean...;-)

6.28.2006

More on TDL

As Kelly mentioned, we spent the weekend at Tokyo Disneyland. That was two weeks ago now. From my persepective, a wonderful time was had by all. Saturday was nuts, there was a huge amount of people there and the lineups were ridiculous. We tired out quite early and headed back to the hotel in time for supper and some World Cup action.

We discovered that Pizza Hut pizza is pretty much the same over here as it is back home, its GREASY! And the Hawaiian pizza has corn on it. Most pizza over here has corn, and mayonaisse. Whenever I say that I like ham and pineapple pizza, I am given a look that makes me think that I just said that I like to beat little kids and steal their candy. Apparently pineapple is not to be eaten cooked.

One of the highlights for me was taking Selah on Space Mountain. As Kelly mentioned, Mixon has come to the conclusion that he does not like roller coasters. So, Selah and I waited in line while Mixon and Kelly waited for us at the exit. Selah was very quiet during the ride. Quiet enough that I was concerned that she was not enjoying it. We got to the end of the ride and I asked her how she liked it.

Her lip started to quiver.

I thought 'Oh great, we've wrecked her'.

She took some deep breaths.

She balled up her fists, wiped the tears from her eyes and said,

'That was fun.'

She rode again with Kelly.

Another highlight was riding the Buzz Lightyear ride with Mixon. It was an experience that gave new meaning to the term "Kid in a candy store." There were Buzzes and Zurgs all over the place that needed to be either helped or mercilessly destroyed and Mixon was a champion at both.

The kids and I had to leave Tokyo a couple days before Kelly so there was a very emotional farewell at the train
station. You would think that we were leaving Kelly for good. We were all a little tired. The kids were pretty weepy until we met this guy...how can a kid not smile when they see a grown man carrying around a dog in a bag. Turns out the guy was boarding the same train as us. He spoke pretty decent English and when he found out we are from Canada he mentioned that he lives in a log house, built by a company from Salmon Arm. Pretty cool.



Twas a good weekend. Thanks Ralph!

6.26.2006

Gramma Softball

I don't have a picture for this entry but I had to tell you about my Saturday night! I was invited to play softball with the neighbourhood Obaasan ("Obahsan" = Grandma) league! There was some young blood but most of the team members are over 50! some even retired. And they are SERIOUS about their softball. There were 3 umps officiating! And the captain, this nice little gramma, kept arguing with the ref, and yelling at me on 2nd as to where to stand. It was a riot! The pitcher was arthritic, but that didn't stop her (although we lost). And the back-catcher was just as flexible as any I've seen in the major leagues. (But they get lots of practice "squatting" here...if you know what I mean). Next time I will have to get some pics.

Sunday night I got to take the whole family to an event put on by a local chapter of homestay moms. They welcome a group of high school students every year from Oregon. One of those moms is a teacher at my school, so she invited us to come to this welcome party. We were able to enjoy an exhibition of Taiko drumming! Then we got to try it ourselves. We had a hoot.

So, that was our weekend in a nutshell...a riot and a hoot. :-)
Hope yours was as good.

6.24.2006

Tokyo Disneyland

We had a blast in TDL last weekend. (Colin and I have wanted to go there since our honeymoon 11 years ago at Disneyland in LA.) TDL was huge, hot and crowded on Saturday, but Sunday it rained so we didn't have to wait in line for more than 30 minutes at a time. It was just like the one in LA except with wider spaces (for more people) and fewer rides (to accomodate wide spaces). Everything was in Japanese, except for the "English Atmosphere" announcements. (Canadians are used to this being English first and the repeat in French) All the "cast members" were Japanese except for the princes and princesses in the parades. They were caucasian. We met one on the train on our way back to the hotel after day 1. (She still had some make-up on...that was our clue) We asked her what character she played but she is not allowed to tell! Who knew Disneyland characters were top-secret! Actually, it is because they often get stalked!!! Especially in Tokyo. People figure out their real names and learn everything about them. Then they show up everyday at the park to see their favourite character! (kinda creepy eh?) She said she used to work at the Orlando DL but likes it much better here...she is literally treated like a princess! (including the stalkers apparently...)


The theme was "Find Stitch". Stitch was so excited to be an attraction at TDL that he helped to decorate...but he got a little carried away and the decorations didn't turn out so great. So, now he feels really bad and is hiding. Your job is to follow the "clues" throughout the park to find him.









Stitch planted flowers of himself and replaced Mickey!...ooops!









Here is Cinderella's Castle. We didn't get to go in because it was under renovation.




















We found stitch at several places. Here we found him disguised as one of the seven dwarves at Snow White's wishing well.






Mixon liked the Tiki Tiki Room...

























Yes, this is a life-size Buzz Lightyear..... And yes, this is his life-size Etch-a-sketch



Selah and I tried to help Buzz defeat the evil Emporer Zorg! ;-)











We enjoyed many other rides. Mixon discovered that he absolutely does not like roller coasters or haunted houses. Selah discovered that she loves Space Mountain...and she likes to ride it quietly. (I was told NOT to scream) Colin and I dicovered you don't have to wait in line twice if you both want to ride a roller coaster and our child doesn't! :-) I think half the adventure was riding the shinkansen (bullet train). (Apparently they are nothing like roller coasters...)

We had a great time! One we will never forget.
Maybe next time we see you Mickey,
it will be in a different part of the world
on a different adventure!