Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fellowship meeting, a little trip to the mountains, etc.

We were planning to take a two night trip to the mountains with Koshin, a boy from Shioda Sunday school, but we got to take two other munchkins along--Elizabeth and Charity! We left after church and drove about 1.5 hours to stay at a family camp-like place. The cabin reminded me of many a cabin we stayed at when I was vacationing as a child with my family. It was very clean, though, and only a few bugs--no mice! Here's the back seat on the way home--sorry these are out of order!We picked the best day for weather in the mountains for our hiking day, but it was still cloudy. We took a 30 minute bus ride up a very curvy mountain road (only traveled by these special buses or taxis) and then we took a ropeway up to this area where the below picture was taken.
This picture doesn't do it justice, but the alpine wildflowers were beautiful--again, reminded me of Colorado. I went crazy with my camera, but will only post a few.

The children all said that our short little hike was their favorite part of the vacation. Here's Tomoki hamming it up in his backpack.

Our cabin had a loft where the children slept and we were in the living room. It went better than I thought it might all being in basically one room.
The first day we were there, the children caught three kabutomushi--not sure what they are in English, but they are quite the bug! We now have them in a box by the side of our house and are feeding them bug jelly. Akihiro is hoping to do the whole process where they lay eggs and have babies. I'm glad to leave this hobby to him (and Tomoki)!
We fixed two meals outside on our little bucket charcoal grill--Japanese style. Note to self: bring a table when serving children like this! We did fireworks after supper one night.
I don't know why, but Tomoki likes to lay down like this in interesting places. In the background you can see the barn where they had goats--not a frequently spotted thing in Japan! They were cute!

Feeding the fish!
This is the same grill, but it was actually a few weeks before our trip. We gave it a trial run. Here is mochi--compressed rice cakes which are dipped in soy sauce and wrapped in toasted seaweed--and enjoyed (yes, I have grown to like them too). Akihiro was so happy to be able to do "real" Japanese barbecue in our backyard for the first time.
Tomoki helped, using his little fan to get the fire going.
We enjoyed our fall fellowship meeting--I like this picture of a few people eating their obento (lunch box) before it started. From the left: Suzuki-san (a new man), Akito, Marie, Onoda, Hiroko.
Tomoki grabbed my bandana that I wear when I ride my bike (keeps my hair from going crazy) and put it on. Here he is trying to do "peace" for the camera. What a cutie! As you'll see in the below 3 new videos, he is really "talking" a lot these days--mainly just the first syllable of most things, but is usually able to get his point across--at least to me!
Akihiro took me out to Ukai Chikutei, a very nice kaiseki ryori restaurant for my birthday. It was very very good--even though we had to share our food with the littlest Ito (we are learning to appreciate the kids menus!) He was good though, and we enjoyed it very much. Hard to believe I'm already (gulp) 35! Oh well, one year closer to heaven. On my birthday I found myself thinking back on past birthdays and missed my dear mom and pops. Indeed heaven is closer with them there.

Here's a picture of my garden. The cucumbers along the back fence are pretty much done, but the mini tomatoes, okra, Japanese eggplant, shishito peppers, shiso (a Japanese herb), and green peppers are flourishing. I planted some zucchini from seed, and have tons of leaves and flowers, but no zucchini--such a bummer! I guess I don't have enough bees or something. I guess it is a good thing I ate so much zucchini growing up! I can buy it here, but it is puny and expensive. I have enjoyed my garden very much this year, despite weeding and watering. Just planted some broccoli, cabbage, and beans for fall--we'll see how that does.

Loving his slinky toy

He knows his name--well, sorta...

Tomoki in his glory driving the front loader