Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Beautiful Fall Day in Arashiyama

Maple Leaves on Bamboo
Today, we decided to go to Arashiyama, which is about an hour and a half northeast of us, just outside of Kyoto.  The kids and I went in late May last year, but we knew we wanted to head back in fall with John to see the leaves.  It's a great place to visit, it has a good amount of things for the kids to do, that also interest us.

We went to the Bamboo Garden, the Monkey Park and John and Maximo took a canoe up the river.  It was a nice fall day, but we wish it was a bit cooler.  Arashiyama was packed with people (but not too bad by Japanese standards).  There was a huge parade snaking through town too which jammed the roads a bit.  In a few weeks, when all the Japanese maple trees turn red, it'll be even busier!

Monkey Rules

The slide leaving the Monkey Park



A maiko (geisha apprentice) in the parade

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beijing - Take One

Last weekend, I went to Beijing for the Learning 2.012 Conference.  It was amazing.  Western Academy of Beijing, a large international school was the host - and it had amazing facilities.  It felt like one big Starbucks, and I mean that in a good way.  There were so many nooks and crannies for teachers and students to meet, collaborate and work.  If you are ever looking for a Technology conference for teachers, this is the best one out there, hands down.

Although Liz, my colleague, and I stayed busy at the conference on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we managed to get out and see friends Saturday night and jammed in a morning of sightseeing (Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City) and shopping (at Ya Show Market - pretty much a "gray" market full of knock-offs) before we left.

I missed the kids and John heaps, but they survived without me.  I'm not even quite sure if Maximo missed me.

China was a lot better than I expected, although I didn't know what exactly to expect.  I was worried about the pollution and the lack of staying connected to my Google Accounts and dear old Facebook, but the weather was gorgeous and I survived without being 100% connected all the time - although I still was Tweeting and chatting on my iPhone with John easily the whole time I was there.

I'm excited that we return in two weeks as a family to visit friends in Shanghai and then go back to Beijing and go to the Great Wall!

Here are some pictures from the trip:

Monday, October 08, 2012

Sports Day 2012

Maximo in the Noodle Race with Big Buddy Ben

Sports Day is one of my favorite days of the whole year!  Our school does a "take" on Sports Day.  It's has a lot less of the pomp and circumstance of a Sports Day at a Japanese School, but I love it!  My favorite time is the morning sessions when older kids and little kids get partnered up as buddies and they work together at different stations.  Maximo got an 8th grade boy, Ben, who did a great job!

Here's some video and pictures from the day:

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Sunday Shots

We took the local bus to Shin Kobe Train Station, then we worked our way south and playground hopped along the way.  We walked back to Sannomiya Station and hopped on the bus back to Rokko Island, all before lunch time.

It was a great way to spend a sunny, fall morning.

Here are some (iPhone - excuse quality) photos of our morning: