Saturday, April 21, 2012

Living in Japan: Spring Time

A rainy walk home from school

I keep writing these "Living in Japan" posts in my head of all the cool, different, sometimes strange things that happen in our every day life.  I will try to write at least once a month, as I take pictures of things I want to share and don't want to forget...  but often times I forget to write the corresponding post to these pictures (which just get buried in my gallery) when I sit down to my computer at night.

A Cherry Blossom tree in our apartment complex
 Spring time is MAGICAL in Japan.  At least for me anyways...  after a long and "cold-enough" winter, it is an amazing time.  It starts with the plum blossoms, which often bloom before it even begins to warm up, a few weeks later, it's the cherry blossoms and the tulips and the beautification department on our island is fantastic and something is always in constant bloom.

Maximo carefully carrying home tulips from our old backyard to put in a vase in our new apartment.

It took some convincing to get him to be okay with cutting the tulips.  He told me, "No, Mommy, you can't cut them they're alive.  You're just supposed to look at them and smell them!"

It is warming up here, although it has been quite rainy on the weekends, which has made it a bit hard to get out.  Today was a gorgeous day, so the kids and I went out for a bike ride/walk.  We received a map in our mailbox of where Maximo's decorated carp was hung on island, so we set off.

A few weeks ago, we painted a carp in celebration of Children's Day (celebrated May 5th).

Our row of traced out carp to color - front and backside!
Max loved it and decided to paint his polka dotted.

It was an activity the Rokko Island Community organized.  And, it's been really organized.  We received a confirmation, then today we received a map with its location on island (there are probably about 200 or hanging around the River Mall), and when they take them down in a few weeks, they will mail it to us.

A beautiful day on Rokko Island
Maximo's carp in front of the Fashion Museum

Maximo's carp!
So, with John gone, we set out to enjoy the 70 degree weather and sunshine, grabbed take out at McDonalds and ate underneath Maximo's carp.  It was a great day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lola's End of Year Celebration

The start of the school year in Japan is April which is a nice time because it's when it is starting to warm up and the plum and cherry blossoms bloom which is a magical time of year in Japan.

At the end of the school year, students have presentations or specials days.  Lola's daycare is no exception.  She had a little part to say "Hait" and raise her hand, then go pick a piece of food from the "fake food pantry" and then claim it is "Oishi!" Delicious.  She cried when they called her name because she needed to have the doughnut from the fake food pantry at before it was her turn, but recovered quickly and was very cute with all her friends.

After the little kids were done, the "older class" re-enacted Three Billy Goats Gruff and then showed off their gymnastic skills.

It's always a cute day!

Friday, April 06, 2012


John and I celebrated our tenth anniversary today...  barely.  But it was a good date for Maximo's first student-led conference.  Maximo led us around his classroom and needed very little prompting.

He started with saying, "Thank you for coming to my conference."

Then we sang "The Green Grass Grows All Around"with him and two of his classmates who were conferencing at the same time.

We then went through the stations set up around the room.

1. Literacy - Maximo used a pointer and showed us things around the room - like the class routines, the days of the week, some poems and then he read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to us since his class made a wall story.

2. Unit of Inquiry - He showed us the Plant Game and put the parts of the plant where they belonged and then showed us his class's radish and bean plants and where they just planted sunflowers.  They are currently learning about Changes & Cycles.

3. Mathematics - He showed us the flower garden counting game and then he sequenced events together from activities they had done in class.

4. Science - He did an experiment for us with mixing colors.  He had to finish the statements, "I wonder", "I predict", and then state what actually happened.

5. We saw his PE work and he showed us all of his skills from jumping to crab walking and throwing. 

We then had a video that Mr. Olson had made of Maximo playing the castinets and making different sounds/volume/tempos with them.  Lastly we went to the art room where we saw some of his work.

He shook Mrs. Forster's hand as we left...  and it was done!

He did a great job sharing his work and even though he often shares what he does at school it was great to see him in action.

10 Years