Friday, January 4, 2013
Posted by Mom of AOCG at 2:54 PM
Sunday, June 17, 2012
I have done posts about Tzusu Beach several times.
This one is the first time we went to Tzusu Beach. There are lots and lots of photos!
This is the second time we went and discovered the sea glass for the first time.
This is another link with some fun pictures.
Mother's Day 2011. Tzusu Beach is my favorite thing! We went there on Mother's Day and then dinner at California Chicken. A great Iwakuni day!
So, do you know how to get to Yellow Hat from the Monzen Gate? You can also get there from the main gate...it's just faster to slip out of the Monzen Gate. If not...it's a hardware store on 188 that has a big yellow hat on the sign...it even says "Yellow Hat."
You are at the stoplight, with 188 in front of you and Yellow Hat on your left. You turn left on 188. Check out your odometer because it is EXACTLY 8 kilometers to the turn for Tzusu Beach.
You will know you are getting near, even if you didn't check your odometer, when you see this sign on your left for a pediatrician's office.
The entrance curves to the right and around a retirement home. The parking lot is behind the retirement home.
There is a typical (rusty with weeds) Japanese park (but the kids still love it!) right in front of the parking lot along with restrooms (squatty potties, no Western potties) and a vending machine. Down at the beach, there is a small beach area to the right (with another restroom building) and then if you go left through the tunnel (We yell "ECHO! ECHO!" and "YODLELEYHEHOO!!!!!!!!!") there are a few more areas of beach. Some rocky, some beachy. All fun in their different ways!
You get much, much more sea glass (brown, clear, green, blue and, my favorite, Japanese pottery) when it is low tide. I just found this link that publishes the low and high tide times!
If you go during the week, during the morning, you may see yochien (preschool) kids playing on the beach. They like to run through the tunnel yelliing too!!!!!! :) Sometimes they also bring the residents of the retirement home out in wheelchairs to enjoy the sea view and air.
There is a "Ninja" playground (our title) in the woods behind the beach as well as a rusty zipline that is super fun. YOU NEED TO BRING BUG SPRAY if you plan on going there!!!!!!
Be sure to bring a plastic grocery bag, or two or three, for all of your sea glass and shell treasures. Also, I like to pick up litter along the way as well and throw it away or recycle when I get home.
It's also a good idea to pack a change of clothes for your little people because they will probably get wet, as in soaked, playing in the tide pools.
There is a faucet to rinse your feet at the restrooms closer to the beach, on the level of the big palm trees.
Some days there are freaky bugs that swarm and swarm on the walls and the beach. I tell my kids to stomp (when they're scared) and say "FE! FI! FO! FUM! I smell the blood of an Englishman!" to scare them away. They'll scatter. They really are creepy.
You only need to plan an hour and a half or two hours (with travel) to do this. It is not something you have to save for a Saturday, but a great morning or after school activity. It can be really hot (like everywhere) in the summer, so pack drinks and snacks for the car for the ride home. If you brought a change of clothes...stop at the Gyoza House for a quick lunch on the way home!
Enjoy! I hope this is helpful to my fellow citizens of Iwakuni! :)
Posted by Mom of AOCG at 2:20 PM
Saturday, June 9, 2012
As well as some really fun Japanese and American craft sets and toys......AND a sarong and keychains (personalized for all of the Wagoner family) from Bali from Chisano Sensei who just got back from an extended vacation in Bali!!!!!!!
Posted by Mom of AOCG at 1:59 PM
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
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So no turning back....and then I looked at her class list. And my heart hit my toes. 28 kids. 17 Japanese and 11 American. So probably take the 17 x 3 for a parent and a sibling and then the 11 times 2 for just a parent and that adds up to, hmmm, carry the 3...62...oh shoot...add in the bus stop friends.....yep. Around 70 people. Holy Schmoly.
I was reassured by Miss Nika-san that our Japanese visitors would want American food. So I ordered fruit and vegetable trays, barbecue and medium hot chicken wings and pizzas. I found this nifty tip on how to cook hot dogs on Pinterest and then potato chips and dip and puff cheetos. Note to future party planners who are having Japanese attendees....they really only want the pizza and a few hot dogs. (We ordered more pizzas mid-party.)
|Grandma Yochien was kind enough to bring some sushi and rice balls!|
|Hello Kitty coloring sheets, of course!|
Then, we had the treat of the day!!!!! "Grandma Sensei" is the owner of the Yochien and she brought a kimono to dress Claire up! I took several pictures during the dressing because I had a lot of chances to do so! It took Grandma Sensei about 15 minutes to get her all dressed! Claire beamed all the way through and stood very nicely! It was because she was enjoying it so much as well as she's an overall good girl!
|There were several layers and steps to the kimono!|
|Claire felt like a Japanese Princess!|
|We threw her hair on top of her head.|
|I can't believe I didn't get a picture of the big bow! :( It was so pretty!|
|Getting closer to the end!|
|And a birthday crown!!!!|
|Happy Birthday to You!!!!!|
|The Happy Birthday fan! :)|
|And while no one mistakenly assumed I purchased them from the bakery....they were super cute and fun! I had made rainbow cupcakes before, but this you could taste the rainbow because instead of food coloring, I used jell-o to make the different colors.|
|Claire with her friend Aurora.|
|Don't you love when Moms step in and help at a party? :) THANK YOU!|
|I think Claire had 8! :)|
|Too bad we didn't get our other girls in a family picture. All of us girls except for Audrey had on matching Hello Kitty shirts! :)|
|All of the Senseis came!|
but couldn't get through all of them and cleaned up and went home for a little slip-n-slide action and an early bedtime.
Posted by Mom of AOCG at 12:58 PM
Last year Mick planted a cherry tomato plant in our cute little garden at the old townhouse on the flight line and then transplanted it to our current house and it was the cherry tomato plant that wouldn't die. We enjoyed it so much!
This year we expanded and made a "salad garden." Cherry tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers (smaller), and lettuce.
|HOLY COW!!!!!!!!!!! Did I say smaller? :)|
We have some green cherry tomatoes and there are sooooooo many blossoms still! We're going to have TONS!
I got so excited with the success of the "salad garden" that I have planted a few extra pots. Edamame, blueberries and strawberries. We'll see! One of our neighbors is an expert gardener, a good Kansas farm boy, and he told us to learn gardening, the best thing you can do is to start out slow. He said the mistake that most people make is to plant too much, fail miserably, and then never garden again. He likes our "salad" plan and has been giving us a few tips here and there.
We planted some rose bushes (tulips too, but those are gone) and they are blooming! Love them!!!!!
|When you have an ISU cheerleader gnome and a Texas gnome, you get motivated to make them a nice home in which to live!|
We also planted a mican (Japanese clementine) tree. It won't bear fruit while we are here, but I have the fantasy that years from now the people who move into our house will feel so lucky that they got the "Mican Tree Townhouse." :)
I don't think HGTV will be calling us anytime soon, but we are very proud of our little garden!
Posted by Mom of AOCG at 11:40 AM
Sunday, May 27, 2012
The big holidays, the Thanksgivings, Christmases, birthdays...I can handle those. Years ago Mick and I realized that because of his military career, it wouldn't do to always wish you were "home," meaning where you grew up, with extended family, for the big holidays. We wanted our kids to not be longing for something else the years that we couldn't buy 3, then 4, then 5 and now 6 plane tickets home for each big holiday, so we started our own traditions. Hoping that it would be enough to be in our, sometimes very meager, living room and around our beautiful kitchen table at the big holiday times. And it usually is. The big exception was New Year's Eve 2010 when all of my family, except for us, was gathered at my parents' home and skyped us just after midnight in Japan. That is one night that I would rather never have to remember. But normally it is fine.
Three day weekends, though, are the ones that are hard. We have never lived within driving distance of Council Bluffs (where I grew up), Omaha (where Mick went to high school) or Grand Island (where Mick grew up), so we have never, in 15 years of marriage, spent a three day weekend at "home." My Mom's potato salad, sitting on my sister's deck, gathered around my father-in-law's pool...these are things that I desperately long for on three day weekends.
There has been lots of Facebook posting about remembering the true reason for Memorial Day and I strongly believe this. It's not ALL about barbecues and picnics. Before Facebook, I would e-mail the article of The Lion of Fallujah since the Memorial Day weekend of his passing in 2007, and now I always post the article on my Facebook page. Major Douglas Zembiec, the "Lion," was a Naval Academy classmate of a friend, fellow Marine lawyer, Kyle Murray, who was our neighbor that year. Major Zembiec's death really hit home.
This year I added a new article to my Memorial Day repertoire. Tom Manion's tribute to his son, First Lieutenant Travis Manion is an important article asking the question "If I don't serve, then who will?" First Lieutenant Manion was serving under our friend, Colonel Beau Higgins, when he was killed in Iraq in 2007. Mr Manion has kept his son's memory alive through the good works of the Travis Manion Foundation.
I have long been a fan of Frank Schaeffer, author of Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the USMC and this year he published a must-read article in the New York Times about how Americans need more "skin in the game."
But the biggest burden on my Memorial Day heart is my friend Julie Breazeale, who lost her brother Staff Sergeant Jon Metzger this January. She is spending her first Memorial Day without her brother on an emotional tour in Washington DC, honoring the fallen.
Posted by Mom of AOCG at 3:20 PM
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Posted by Mom of AOCG at 2:53 PM
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
|It was a really meaningful show for the Japanese people because the Blue Impulse are headquartered out of Sendai, where the tsunami hit, and this was their first show back after the devastation hit.|
|This is our backyard and our playhouse. So fun how they were practically flying over our house!|
|You wouldn't catch our Blue Angels doing this, but it was very Japanese and cute! (Japan is SO Japanese!) The last plane was flying an arrow through the heart, but the smoke was blowing away by the end.|
|They liked smoke!|
|Another fun backyard picture!|
|Our pilots didn't like the heart, but the ones I talked to after the show thought the star was cool! :)|
|Thank you Blue Angels for a fabulous show!|
|We gave them chairs. It was pretty funny to have armed guards outside our yard. They were very friendly! :)|
|He wore his Japanese character hat (from the High School, says "Samurai") for the show.|
|Or as Mick said "She's not White T, She's White G!"|
Posted by Mom of AOCG at 2:54 PM
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
|My friend Sheila, front row left, is the English teacher and the Sensei, whose name is Shiho, is front row right. Claire is the tallest kid in her class!|
|How lucky are we to have Claire's Sensei so sweet and motivated? Love that this is her dream an love that she wants to make a difference with each child every day! WOW!!!!!!!!|
|26 KIDS, but I know she can handle it!|
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I had suggested that we have a kareoke party (the Japanese have Kareoke "bars" where you get your own private room and it's super fun), but she said no. Then I suggested a Scavenger Hunt and she didn't protest. One of her favorite shows is "The Amazing Race" and one early morning in December when Mick got up with Gigi and couldn't get back to sleep he had a brainstorm to have an "Amazing Race" birthday party and e-mailed me a bunch of ideas.
We tried to keep it a secret from her, but darn Google and it's auto-fill feature...she was googling one day and it suggested "Amazing Race Printables." Oh well! No surprise needed to make this a super fun party!!!!!!! :)
First we started with this invitation (if you didn't click on the above link for the fabulous printable person...here it is again!) (Double parenthetical, sorry, but she was really amazing! I highly recommend!)
|Um, yes...I did have t-shirts made with Audrey's picture on it....overboard?|
|Audrey had already taken off because it was suggested by Mason (holding the clue) that she go first because she was the birthday girl (followed closely by "Don't you think I should go second since I suggested Audrey go first?"). :)|
|Mick was the official judge on this one.|
|Way to go Jenae and Kyle!|
|They were super tired though from the extra biking!|
|Brad Goode was our judge here! Julia and Olivia handed out the clue at the Torii! Thank you!|
|In case you were wondering, there are 2,544 boxes at the Mainside post office. :)|
|And all judges had four of these in their possession but they are such GREAT KIDS that no one received one!!!! :)|
|Mason and Lucas finished this first and received this last clue.|
|There's my birthday girl and her friend Becky running to the finish line!|
|I asked Audrey at this moment, "Did you have fun?" and she said, "Not really. I'm tired." :-D|
Little sisters Gigi and Claire stayed with my friend Kathy (thank you!) and Gigi came home and fell asleep on a chair. Even Dora couldn't keep her awake.
|And yes...she HAD been in her pajamas all day. :) It was a busy day for Mommy and that was one step I skipped! :)|
|That's a t-shirt quilt made from t-shirts from kindergarten to present! My friend Kristen Razvillas did this for me and it is loved! Post a comment or e-mail me if you would like her contact information. Seems like her site is down.|