Bali Bitches!

Ok you had to see that title coming.

We left for the airport at 6:30am on our Thursday and arrived in Bali at 11:00pm Japan time (10 Bali time) to start our first ever family vacation! Ok, we've travelled before but this is the first time we aren't traveling to see family or friends or for work! Very exciting stuff!

We were not anticipating how crazy the Nagoya airport would be leading up to Obon but we made it to our flight just in time for boarding. I even got a coffee in time.

And we were off to Seoul!

The flight was 1.5 hours long and they fed us a meal!

And gave the kids an activity!

Shot out to Korean Air for amazing service.

We had a five hour layover in Seoul which I was dreading but we deplaned to find the most exciting thing we've seen in a while.

I inadvertently ordered a meal designed for 2 people. #sorrynotsorry #dontjudgeme

Seoul airport has a whole area designed for passengers who are transferring. You can take in some of the Korean culture or shop, or relax. We did a bit of each.

These robots were awesome!

Some of us took our resting more seriously than others.
but eventually we were on to our second flight!

Again, food and toys!

Then it was time to rest.

Finally we were in Bali!

Once we made it to the hotel, Nathaniel scored us some amazing food

And then it was bedtime!

Yesterday we spent the day at the #1 rated water park in all of Asia! I can't wait to tell you about it but it's time for our driver to risk all of our lives and take us someplace new!

I Should

Tell you all about Bali but I just had the most amazing massage and I can't word. Tomorrow.

Guest Post: The Luckiest

The following post is written by my amazing sister!

First, an introduction: Hi! I’m Torey’s sister, Alix. I’m the older sister, though her kids won’t be convinced, and I’ll tell you I’m 29.  I’M TWENTY-NINE. I’m back in Ann Arbor, her once and future stomping grounds, and we grew up together (OBVI) in Dexter. Our mother always told us “Hey! Be nice! She’s the only sister you’ll ever have!” and BOY are we glad we heeded her advice (*ahem* Mom – we really DID listen). We are the best of friends, who look after each other’s kids (mine all have 4 feet) and houses, run errands together, and bring each other coffee in emergencies and sometimes just because. In short, I’m the luckiest, because I ended up with the best sister in the world. Since I was able to visit T, N, and the kids in Japan, I also promised my sister I would write a blog post. Well, turns out, I’m on the wordy side, so A blog post turned into a FEW blog posts, and this is the first. Now, bear with me, because I’m not as funny as Torey, but I will do my best.


To begin at the beginning (a very good place to start. I should mention I’m the executive director of a community theatre, so forgive me if I break into song now and then), I had MAJOR mixed feelings when I learned that my baby sis was moving halfway around the world for a minimum of a year. I mean, what an amazing opportunity! But, also, HOW AM I GOING TO SURVIVE WITHOUT MY SISTER THAT LONG?? So I swore then and there that I would do whatever I could to make a trip to Japan happen. And once again, I am the luckiest, because I was able to take the time from my job, my wonderful SO, Andy, was very supportive, and, thanks to the kindness and generosity of a couple of wonderful people, it was much more affordable than I had feared. The luckiest, I tell you. Now, with that said, there were a couple of not-as-ideal points. One, Andy wasn’t going to be able to come with me. His job, and the health of his father (who doesn’t leave super nearby) meant that he wasn’t going to be able to take the time necessary to travel to Japan – I mean, one doesn’t ocean-hop for a weekend. So, boo to that. And two, summer is the time I get to take my vacation because we are in between seasons in July and August. And summer is a *little* toasty in Japan, but c’est la vie. I WAS GOING TO JAPAN!! And my trip was AMAZING. It was INCREDIBLE. And I am so grateful that I was able to take it. And now, as promised, I get to guest-post for my sister! This first post (if you’ve managed to get past my rambling intro) is an overview of my trip. In future posts, I’ll cover travel tips/things I learned, plus more detailed information on our trips out of Nagoya.


A trip like this was certainly something that took a fair amount of planning, and, not to brag or anything, but I’m like, really good at worrying. So I researched and I planned, and I bugged my sister, and then I bugged our friend Roberta, who visited T with her family before my trip (*cough* and who still owes T a blog post *cough). I found out all I could about what to pack, what to expect, how to behave, where to go, what to see, etc. And I wrote lists. I love lists. I am a list maker. GOOD NEWS THOUGH: My sister is a phenomenal host, and let me know all sorts of things she thought would be helpful. She made sure I knew things like tank tops aren’t really a thing in Japan, and that everyone carries a small towel with them, and not to forget bug spray. She forewarned me about Japanese toilets (you guys, I could do a whole POST on toilets, but I won’t. I have a phobia of public restrooms …). And Roberta talked me through all the logistics: what it was like getting through customs, what I could expect at the airport in Nagoya, and how normal people who actually get hot (unlike my sister) handle the summer weather. So, after all these lists , two suitcases, 50 pounds of American goods headed to T, a carry on, a suitable outfit for 13.5 hours on a plane, and goodbyes to Andy and the furbabies, it was GO TIME!


Thank GOODNESS I inherited my father’s ability to sleep on planes. That, plus going forward in time (let me tell you, going in REVERSE across the dateline, like on the way back, will MESS YOU UP), plus landing in Nagoya late afternoon local time meant that I could basically hit the ground running. Of course, by running, I mean waiting in line at immigration and then and customs, bouncing up and down, sweating, and texting my sister who was on the other side of the gate, also bouncing and texting. But we managed to keep it (mostly) together, I made it through, and then, SEVEN MONTHS after we’d last seen each other, it was SEESTER TIME! She drove me back to her house (she rocks this driving on the opposite side thing!), and I got to see the kiddos! They sorta noticed I was there. Well, they played it cool for a little while, and THEN I got hugs and cuddles and it was the BEST. I have really missed watching those kids grow up a little every day. Seven months is a lot of growing up when you are 8 and 10. I don’t think I even got to see Nathaniel that night – unfortunately, his work schedule meant that I didn’t get to see a lot him at all, but it was really good to see him too, and to catch up and hang out. I’m telling you what – family is my happy place .


We spent the first couple of days of my trip in Nagoya, hanging out, catching up, drinking coffee (in the morning), drinking beer or cocktails (in the evening), eating all the things, letting me get acclimated to time and weather, and taking it on the easier side. Two things to note here: one, canned cocktails in Japan are pretty awesome, not like pre-mixed stuff here. Business idea: figure out how to import Strong Zero. Two, when my sister told me it was humid, she was not kidding! As I mentioned, Torey is an excellent host, and prepared me well for the fact that everything in Japan in high summer is, er … (Molly, if you’re reading, skip ahead) … moist. Not only did she warn me, she explained to me why even if the temp and humidy % were comparable to home it feels WAY hotter in Japan. The answer? Dew point. Theirs is 10-15 degrees higher than ours, so yeah. It’s HUMID. And it was pretty dang hot too.


When I say we took those days on the easier side, we still did a bunch! We had lunch at a conveyor belt sushi place which is basically heaven. This was my first lesson in “everything in Japan talks or has a song.” It really amused this gaijin. But OMG SUSHI. And we ate unagi (eel) for good luck, because apparently we were supposed to on that day. It was delicious. It was ALL delicious.

.Then, my sister had made us (herself, Rosie, and me) reservations to do Shibori (traditional Japanese tie-dyeing) at a shibori museum in a place called Arimatsu, which is a very old town with gorgeous traditional architecture. It was SUPER fun. The ladies who taught us didn’t speak English, and Torey speaks some Japanese, but I speak none. But I do sew, and so I caught on pretty quickly. To the point that one of the teachers only realized about halfway through that I wasn’t understanding a word she was saying, only following what she showed me! Both teachers were absolutely lovely, and the older of the two thought Rosie was a hoot (did I mention Rosie wore her giraffe ears?), and basically ended up doing Rosie’s project while teaching her in Japanese with the cutest sound effects EVER.

We also hit the mall to go to the Daiso (100 yen store. So like a dollar store. But WAY better), the junk food store (Japanese junk food is awesome), and grab Starbucks and a snack. And then … GIRLS NIGHT! I got introduced to Yamachan (which has the BEST tabesaki (chicken wings famous in Nagoya) and something called cheese fry which is little pieces of deep fried cheese that put American mozzarella sticks to shame) and then we did karaoke. Oh did we karaoke. My sister and love a good karaoke room, and we sang until we were hoarse. My sister knows me well, and I had a fabulous time.


The next day we (Rosie and Torey and I) got crafty again and made hair ornaments at a party hosted by one of Torey’s ex-pat friends. This was also so much fun, and we ended up with gorgeous hair clips. And Rosie NAILED this craft.

 Then lunch at a curry joint (yum), my intro to Mr. Donut (OMGYUM), and the train to a mystery destination. Which turned out to be A FABRIC STORE. Which was unbelievable. 4 or 5 floors with traditional fabrics, modern prints, all you need to make those Lolita-style costumes you see in Japan, more trims than you can shake a stick at, crafting stuff, home dec … OMG. I “restrained” myself and only ended up with 3 metres of printed silk. Aaaand some obi-weight fabric. Aaaaaaaaaand some trims. And a kit to make another hair ornament but really at that point … Ok yes. I am a fabric junkie.. Then off to Osu Kannen to see the temple/shrine and to the second hand kimono store, where again I *ahem* restrained myself. Which meant three kimono and an obi.Then it was pizza and movie night while Nathaniel was at a work function, and we got ready to travel.


The rest of visit included a day/night in Hiroshima, a day/night on Miyajima, and an overnight in Kyoto. And, as with everything else, my sister did an impeccable job of planning and catering to everybody really well. But more on all of that later. Thanks for reading this far, if you’ve made it. I’m loving getting to share my amazing trip with all of you. (and if you’re thinking of visiting, if I haven’t made it clear, Torey is the best host ūüôā )






Baby you can Drive my Car

Or. . .I mean. . . not. ¬†Today was the day we got to spend the day at the Driver’s License Office. And when I say “spent the day”, I literally meant SPENT THE DAY.


Let me explain the process for you.


The window opens at 8:45am. We were told to be in line by 8:30 at the absolute latest if we wanted a chance to finish everything in one day, but we our best bet was to line up at 7:30. *By the way, everything isn’t actually everything* ¬†So we arrived a little after 7:30 to find there were only 10 people or so there. . . .ok. ¬†Not the mob scene I was anticipating.

Everyone was sitting around, calmly on benches, not lined up. ¬†At 8:35 people lined up for the window. ¬†It was calm, organized and lovely. No one fought over their spot in line, or cut ahead. There was no brawling, or yelling, or really even much talking. ¬†Again, at this point I wasn’t sure why we had to be there SO EARLY.


But then. THEN I learned.  ONE person opened a window and helped person number 1. (We were 7 and 8).


Here is what you do:


First, you show the guy at the window all your paperwork. He very carefully looksit over, including busting out a calculator to make sure you’ve been in the country for 90 days, and ask you a bunch of questions to make sure you’re qualified to take the test.

Once he decides you can take the test, you get a form. You take the form to a different window and buy some endorsement stamps for it.

Then, you take the form back to the first guy who looks over the now stamped form and he adds more info to it and then he stamps it.

Next you go to a different window to have them show you how to fill out the form you’ve been given, where they ask you more asinine questions. “Have you ever had alcohol in your system for more than three days at a time?” UH. No. Seriously, that’s a hell of a bender.


After your form is filled out (AND DO NOT MAKE AN “X” IT HAS TO BE A CHECK MARK!) you are given permission to take the vision test.


So you go to the vision test window. And take a vision test.  And if you pass that, you are given a number so you can sit the exam.


NOW! NOW you are qualified to take the written exam!  However, they only offer the test twice a day. Once at 10:30a and once at 1:30pm.


So remember how we were number 7 and 8? Only 1-4 made it into the first group for the test. ¬†Because it literally takes OVER 20 minutes for the guy to look at your paperwork. And that was just step one out of 6 that you need completed before you can take the exam. ¬†You have to get all the way through the form you cannot make an “X” on in one day or you have to start all over the next day. You cannot show up with your documents checked and start in the middle of the process. ¬†OH. And *everything* in the building shuts down from 12:00-12:45 for lunch.


We ate at a little Indian cafe once we completed our vision and were told we could take the test.  Of course, by this point it was 11:45, so we had clearly missed the first test and had to wait until 1:30 to take the next test.  Which literally lasts 10 minutes and is 10 questions long (Nathaniel and I both scored 100%!)


When you complete the test, the computer spits out a date that you can take your driving test. Our date was set for September 29. ¬†SEPTEMBER. TWENTY-NINTH. ¬†If that date doesn’t work for you, you can go to ANOTHER FRICKEN WINDOW and ask to change the date. Because Nathaniel’s Michigan license expires in November and it is common for people to fail their practical exam the first (or second or third) time, we got to go to the other window and ask for an earlier date. Which they didn’t have. So there’s that.


So, September 29 we get to drive the course and hopefully pass. However, we were told by our interpreter that they likely won’t pass both of us on the same day. Which seems really arbitrary and unfair. ¬†I ¬†do not want to fail because I want to prove to Nathaniel that I’m a good driver, but I also want him to pass because he has to because if he fails by the time he gets another date it’ll be too late. THIS IS SUCH AN INSANE PROCESS.


So, let’s review:

I had to get up at an ungodly hour

To spend 6.5 hours doing paperwork etc.

So that in SIX WEEKS I can take a test that I will most likely fail on principle.



Explore Japan Sunday (21)!

I'd like to be able to tell you that yesterday was better than Friday, and it was, but really only a little bit.  I managed to feed the kids lunch and even made a simple dinner. Plus the kiddos and I enjoyed some games of Uno.  But it was still like pulling teeth to get me out of, and keep me out of bed.  It helped that Nathaniel came home from Fuji-san and wasn't dead (a fear of mine) however, he was more like the undead. He'd been up for 36 hours and was sunburned and sore.  I'm going to make him write a guest post (ROBERTA. . . PAGING ROBERTA WH OWES ME A GUEST POST) about Fuji because it' s not my story to tell. But not dead is good.


I stayed up late watching my TV shows and enjoying being a lone.


Baxter however was peeved that I wouldn't go to bed. She couldn't hold her ears up by 10 so I went to bed.



Today I still didn't want to get out of bed, but I forced myself too.  I cannot stay in bed.


However, my day took a turn for the worse when we got to Osu Kannon and someone was already wearing the same outfit as me.






I'm pretty funny eh? Also can we talk about how ripped the girl in Green is??? I would seriously wear that outfit every day if I had her abs.



Anyway, needless to say (actually not really needless #becausejapan) the world Cosplay Summit was here in Nagoya this weekend.


We saw a parade, complete with Marching Band.



And then lots of characters.  More so than usual.







Nathaniel was very popular as a photographer!


Pretty sure those guys ^^^ are really army, am I right?




Slutty Picachu, you do you!




These hangover people were HILARIOUS! They were old, drunk and enjoying life!





Check out the horn on this one!

(Ok, really check out her abs again! Clearly these people are not enjoying lunch dessert every day!)



WTF is this????



Actually, I take that back, WTF IS THIS?





This is what my sister should have done with her hair while she was here.





This was my favorite. I have no idea who it is, but I loved him.


We walked to a cafe called "LOVE Pacific Rim" which is locally sources, vegan food.  AND OMG, so good!



On our way home we got to play a rousing game of  "Regular Japan or Cosplay?"



When we got home, I took a little more time for myself in my room. (What Crystal would call "an upstairs day") and tried to work on centering myself.   I game downstairs and we played some family games of Uno again. I'm not gonna lie, this might be my new favorite old game!



Tomorrow we start cleaning up and catching up for our trip on Thursday. We'll get it together.  Ok, I'll get it together. Thanks for sticking with me guys!

Feelings Friday (20)

Real Talk People.  I'm gonna talk about mental illness.

I'm feeling really, really down.  Like, hard to get out of bed and human. . .down.   I said before that I've never been away from my family for so long, and when my sister left on Wednesday it really hit me. I don't know when I'll see her next.  That's really tough for me.  I used to see her at LEAST once a week. Now, once a year? That's really tough.


Wednesday after I took her to the airport, I crawled back into bed and basically haven't done much since. Thanks to my friend Jenny, I managed to put on clothes and peopled for a couple of hours today but it was all I could handle.


Here's the thing though: It's not just me that is suffering. It's my kids.  They miss their Tanti, they miss Michigan, and they miss their mom. And that makes me feel even worse, which just makes me want to crawl further into this hole.  This is what mental illness looks like.


I am so lucky that *for me* this is situational.  Next week we'll go to Bali and life will go back to being good.  I know, deep down, that I'm going to be ok.  I'm normally sort of on the other end of the spectrum, with anxiety.  This is really throwing me for a loop.  I'm giving myself until tomorrow to wallow and then I'm going to kick myself in the ass and get going.


Not helping, is this:



But of course, laying in bed isn't helping that either.  So tomorrow, after my self-ass kicking, I'm going to clean it up. And then I'm going to shower.  And then maybe I'll human a little bit more.

Baxter seems to have sensed that something is wrong and doesn't want to leave my side. Which is awesome.



Except that tears and shedding bunny don't mix well. I'm working on creating a face peel from bunny hair.

Nathaniel is off climbing Fuji-San tonight/tomorrow.  I'm ironing and watching Descendants 2 with the kids.  Ok, that's a lie. I'm ironing, and blogging and not paying any attention to this movie. Except to note that the over wrought pop music hasn't changed since *I* wanted to watch this crap. Sorry Mom.



Sorry. That was deep you guys.  I feel a little bit better getting it out there. I also think it's important to normalize talking about anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses.


So there's that. I hope to report tomorrow that I'm feeling a bit better.



Near, Far, Wherever you are

We've been on the move again! We're pretty good at getting out and seeing all the things.

Saturday afternoon I took my sister to see Heiwa cemetery which is huge and very peaceful.

Then we visited our little bamboo forest behind our house.

And we found some kitties! I love going places with kitties!

Saturday evening was a bit. . . Uh. Wet. We decided to wait out the rain a bit before we went out as just the adults but we failed. We waited and waited and waited but ended up giving in and getting totally soaked! But it was totally worth it. We ended up at a funny little itzakaya down the street that we've wanted to try for a while and we're very happy to report it's amazing!

After dinner we were super full so we had dessert. #becausejapan

We headed to Ken Nishio bakery down the street.

So. Tasty.

Sunday morning Alix and I went out for a little sister time at one of my favorite cafes : I (heart) Coffee.

We enjoyed lattes and granola with yogurt. And of course, each other's company which we've been missing.


Sunday afternoon I took Alix shopping and out to lunch. We visited the Daiso and spent so much more than 100 yen. Whoops. Then we had lunch at Zarame which is another place I've been meaning to try! It was so good!


Sunday evening we headed to Toyota-shi for a HUGE Matsuri that culminated in 1300 fireworks.   And about ELEVENTY BILLION times that many people.  I wouldn't say it was my favorite activity we've done in Japan, but the display was pretty remarkable and lasted 2 hours! Of course so did the commute. . . .



Monday morning the kids, Alix and I packed it up and in and headed to Kyoto.   Our first stop was the Hello Kitty Cafe. (Cause I'm a sucker)



This was probably the most "mediocre" food we've had while Tanti has been here and it was really good!




Oh and adorable.






Since Rosie got her treat, the adults got their treats!




And Isaac finally got his treat!  He's been wishing for one of these since we saw it in Hiroshima when the Coles were here!




Then we visited Ninenzaka which is the pedestrian street full of adorable shops

that leads you up to Kiyomizu-dera, a beautiful temple we've visited before.



These bells are up for the annual Tanabata festival of stars. The story is that 2 young loves couldn't be together because there as a river separating them. They sent their wishes up to the stars and the stars built them a bridge to each other.

This time I got to go the rest of the way up and see the bunny temple!




After this we hopped a cab (look people, it was REALLY HOT and we took a lot of cabs) to the Yasaka Shrine. The Yasaka Shrine is the shrine that puts on the Gion (The float parade we saw a few weeks ago) festival every year.




After this we were REALLY HOT and REALLT MOIST.  SO I made an executive decision to do something indoors.


A cat and OWL Cafe! Rosie was too scared to do the owls, so the kids and I stayed down with the kitties and Alix got to meet Hedwig!





We checked in to our tiny and quaint AirBnb and played a rousing round of Isaac's favorite card game besides Magic, Smash Up. Basically, Alix and I flailed around trying to figure out what the heck we were doing and Isaac killed us at the game. But it made him REALLY happy!



Then you guys. We ate again!  I found a little hole in the wall around the corner called "KuraKura" and it was so good!! We sat at a Tatami table, drank the beers and ate all the good foods!



I think this was my favorite, clams boiled in local sake!



You even got to drink the broth!


We ate a lot of food.


This morning I took my sister (and the kids, but really mostly my sister) to Orinasukan, a textile district museum for the locals NOT the tourists.  It includes tea on the tatami and a private tour (no photos allowed) of the actual looms in use!!!!    I'm pretty sure Alix thought she'd died and gone to beautiful textile heaven.




Our last stop for our Kyoto tour was back to our favorite Zen Garden, Ninna-ji.  We just sat and enjoyed the beauty of the sunny garden.



And then, from nowhere came a beautiful, peaceful, calm rainstorm.  It was so serene.





We stopped at Family Kitchen again for Thai curry.




And then, boom! Just like that our visit to Kyoto was over!



Tonight is Tanti's last night.  I'm so sad to send her away, but so so glad she got to be here.  Having visitors reminds me why we live here and why it's amazing.  Tomorrow, there will be tear

Where Have We Been?


On Thursday Alix and the kids and I took the Shinkansen to Hiroshima.

After we had Mister Donuts of course.

We started our visit with ramen at Ippudo which is a famous ramen chain.

Then we went to the Hiroshima Peace Museum.

I'll spare you more pictures because if you're a regular reader than you've already seen them. However, I find it pertinent to tell you that each time we go I am deeply moved by it. It hasn't lost its feeling for me.

Then we took a stroll through the park. They are gearing up for the 70th annual Peace Ceremony which is dedicated to the victims of the A bomb and sends the message "No More Hiroshimas".

Friday evening we found a hole in the wall oknomiyaki joint and introduced Alix to the Hiroshima specialty.

I wish I could have gotten a video of their automatic beer dispenser thingie. It was so cool. Also our waiter complimented me on my Japanese. BOOM.

On Friday we revisited Pain D'ior which is the bakery we stayed near last time. The kids and I wanted Tanti to eat some delicious baked goods too!

Then we took the street car out to the Miyajima ferry and then took the ferry onto the island.

We spent the early part of the day seeing the town and the shrine.

Ok. Mostly we saw deers.

And a corgi who was carted from photo op to photo op and posed like one would a child.

We loved him.

And this deer, who "can't even"

For lunch we had more oknomiyaki because Alix needs to figure out how to make it.

And then took the rope way up and down again to see the mountain.

We checked into the Kikugawa Guest House which is a traditional Japanese ryokan. It was lovely and if you get the chance to stay overnight on the island I highly recommend. The island empties by 7 when the last ferry leaves and its quiet and peaceful. I let the kids pick our dinner and they chose our favorite bar on the island. What? Your 8 year old and 10 year old don't have a favorite bar???

And I'm glad they picked because Alix and I both enjoyed their special for summer.

There was 3 different kinds of SUPER FRESH sashimi, a kebab with beef and chicken, a pickle plate and rice with anoga (Conger eel) and broth. So amazing.

I also ordered us a sake flight.

Which reaffirmed that I don't like sake.
So I had beer.

The kiss each got a special Miyajima made ginger ale.

And we shared a Miyajima pudding which was custard with Blueberry preserves.

It's a traditional Japanese bar, but we were treated very nicely by the whitest of white guy servers. It was pretty entertaining.

It poured after dinner, so we dashed back to the inn and dropped the children off and picked up umbrellas and headed out to low tide.

On our way back we kissed deer.

And visited the hole of doom.

And saw the largest rice paddle by night.

After a lovey night, we came downstairs and enjoyed breakfast.

Then we came home and met Nathaniel at the train station for lunch and shopping. Tonight we'll eat more. I promise.


Basically, the kids and I are in heaven because my sister is here.   It's hard to sit down and write a blog that describes how much it means to me to have my sister here.   My mom used to say to us when we were trying to kill each other "she's the ONLY sister you're going to have"  and I'm so lucky she's the only one!!!

Yesterday we started off the day with conveyor belt sushi.  Alix got to experience the magic is our old ass navigation in our car not knowing how to get where I needed to go and then google maps being all "uh.  I dunno.  You're in Japan dude"

After lunch Rosie, Alix and I headed to Arimatsu to do shirbori hankerchiefs.   It was a blast.  Alix was super fast at it.  Rosie was slow but got part of it done on her own, and then the old lady who was helping fell in love with her and helped her out. 

Yes, Rosie wore giraffe ears and horns all day.  

After shirbori, we drove through a typhoon and met Isaac at the Aeon.   He got himself all the way from the house, to the train station, 3 stops down and to the mall!!!!   Go Isaac!!!!   I'm so proud of him.  
We had a snack and shopped. 

Some of us were more worn out than others. 

We left the children at home and Alix and I headed out the rain for girls' night out. 

To yamachan!

And then karaoke. 

This morning Tantil, Rosie and I headed to a friend's house to make hair accessories.   Alix was again super fast and super good, but the surprise was how amazing Rosie did on her own for the most part!!!

The finished product. 

Again, some of us are more worn out than others. 

Today's afternoon was a visit to Otsukaya which is 5 floors of fabric and craft items!  Thanks Danielle for the recommendation!

Tanti was in heaven.  
Then we visited Osu Kannon for some kimono shopping.  But we got really hit.  Real feel today was 112.  So we had ice cream on the train like true gaijin. 

We opted for pizza and Moana tonight.  And snuggles.  

So that's what is happening over here.  Basically everyone is Super happy to have Alix here.  Nathaniel is happy too but he is at work.  :(

Tanti is HERE!!!!




After a flight delay, and lots and lots of waiting, my fabulous older sister is FIANLLY here!!





I picked her up yesterday afternoon and we were home around 5! We had Cup of Noodles and Grocery Store Sushi for dinner and spent the evening catching up and laughing! It was great!


We have lots more planned for the next week or so, so stay tuned!  I cannot tell you how happy having guests makes me! Especially my sister!