Monday, February 28, 2011

Where have you been all my life...or at least the last 2 years?

Ok, I'm interrupting my quest to catch up this blog with a quick recent story. I don't have any pictures to go along with it, but just had to blog anyway.
So, I've been needing a quick hair trim for the last few weeks, and once I get that feeling that it is time, I really get antsy about it. I'm not a big fan of getting my hair cut and having a big language barrier. It is scary to try to describe what you want to someone who is sorta looking at you like you have 3 heads, but I'm not going to the states until June, and it was time for a haircut. I've cut it here a few times, but only at the on base salon, where they work with pretty much all Americans and speak fairly good English. But I have a few friends who have gone to the Aveda salon at the Diamond City mall off base (but close by), and they raved about it. Mallory was at school for 4 hours today and I didn't have anything else planned (besides laundry, dishes, making dinner...but I mean REAL plans) so I thought, "what the heck, I'll go check it out".
Armed with 4 pictures of what I was picturing (basically my same hair cut with a dash of long side swept bangs) and all the courage I could muster, I went in the salon. I was DELIGHTED with what I found. In true Japanese style, I was greeted with a warm "mushi mushi" (hello) from about 5 different workers immediately. I said and pantomimed that I wanted a haircut. They directed me to a couch, where I was immediately handed a warm, scented towel and a cup of tea. Just a few minutes later I was led to a room where I was to hang up my coat and leave my bag and shoes in a locker, and put on some slippers and a robe. I did, and then was directed to my chair. I had my pictures with me and explained what I was thinking to the lady. She studied them and my head and said ok, and led me to the shampoo room, AKA heaven. They have these awesome chairs that are like beds and they place a blanket over you and a scented towel on your face and then wash and condition your hair while giving you an amazing head massage. Wow. Back to the chair for my hair cut, and yet another head massage. She cut and blow dried and was very good about getting it exactly like I wanted. She was also meticulous about not getting 1 stray piece of hair on me!
When that was all said and done it was time to change back out of the robe. There was another customer in the room, so they offered me a hand/arm massage while I waited -yes please!
I changed, paid (and all that was only 5500 yen, or about $67 with the current conversion rate and left a very happy customer. I love that while sitting here typing this I still smell like the lovely salon smell.
There isn't anything wrong with the salon on base, but Aveda has a new customer, at least as long as we live in Japan!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

ABC's of ME

Saw this on another blog and thought it would be fun. Plus it's easy and I don't have to upload pics :)

: 33

Bed size: Queen (Although when you get 2 adults, 1 squirmy baby and 1 dog in it, it feels like a twin. We've already decided to get a king when we move back stateside!)

Chore you hate: Making the beds

Dogs: Yep! My weenie dog Maverick. He's 9 years old now, and been my buddy since he was 7 weeks old!

Essential start to your day: a coke- real, not diet.

Favorite color: blue

Gold or silver: Silver

Height: 5'1"

Instruments you play: Ummm, I can play the triangle :)

Job title: domestic engineer (mommy, house cleaner, laundry folder, taxi cab, grocery buyer...)

Kids: 1 sweet little girl, Mallory Isabella, 18 months

Live: Just outside Tokyo, Japan for the last 2 years (1 to go). We live on base in very crappy (yet free) base housing.

Mom’s name: Jane

Nicknames: Kimmy, Kimchee, Lil' Kim, Mal's Mommy

Overnight hospital stays: 3 nights when Mallory was born. I've had 2 other surgeries, but they didn't require overnight stays (just some really good pain meds!)

Pet peeve: When people smack their gum or make weird mouth noises; when people leave their blinker on and aren't turning; when my husband leaves his dishes NEXT to the dishwasher but not IN the dishwasher (love you babe!)

Quote from a movie: "I feel the need...the need...for speed.."

Righty or lefty: Righty.

Siblings: One little brother (younger that is, he's certainly not littler than me these days)

Time you wake up: Depends on what time Mallory wakes up, usually between 7-8 am

Underwear: Yes!? I'm not sure how to answer this question, really. I mean, I do own it and wear it 99% of the time.

Vegetables you dislike: beets, brussel sprouts, spinach

What makes you run late: I blame it on my kid, but really it's my exceptional ability to procrastinate.

X-Rays: I've had a few but nothing crazy.

Yummy food that you make: My favorite recipe is my mom's chicken enchiladas. Luckily though, I have a husband that tells me just about every night that I make great food. With the exception of "the night of the tar" (some crazy Thai peanut sauce w/ noodle dish I tried to make) he's never complained.

Zoo animal favorite: I pretty much like them all. I could skip the insect part and maybe the reptiles too. I love the big animals, like bears and tigers. Mallory's favorite must be the lion, as it is still the only animal you can name and she knows the sound that goes with it (raaawr).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

On October 6, 2010, the Japanese ladies in our Culture Club took us to the Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. It was quite interesting to see some buildings and items from Japan's past.
The main building, where you buy tickets and there is a gift shop, etc.
These are my FAVORITE trees in Japan, in the fall anyway. (My absolute favs are the cherry blossoms, but these are my fav fall tree). They have these orange blossoms and smell AMAZING!!!!
Map, showing the lay of the museum.
First we went to this house (I don't know who this guy is- some rich Japanese dude).
Some of the pretty grounds at the museum.

These Japanese kids were outside playing. Some were on stilts and others were rolling hoops with sticks. Very old school- I loved watching them!
We all climbed on an old bus and took a picture.
Kimiko took this picture so I could be in it.
There goes Kimiko with her umbrella- very Japanese to stay out of the sun.

We stopped for lunch at a restaurant in the museum. They served us soba noodles. They are served cold, and you dip them into the soup broth on the side. They were pretty good, and were served with green tea of course.
Eating lunch

Check out my use of the chopsticks- it's pretty much not even a big deal anymore, after living here almost 2 years now.
We walked around some more of the grounds. This was an old onsen bath.
The drawing of Mt Fuji on the onsen wall.
Beautiful scenery outside the onsen window
Next we went to an old store front. These bottles were lined up on the wall.
Joan, Suzie and myself outside the store.
Our whole group for the day
A pretty kimono hanging up on wall.
Japanese "shoes"
Reproduction of a tea ceremony
Banzai trees
Some old soy sauce containers.
My attempt at being artistic
Noriko and a Japanese umbrella
Myself and the umbrella
Look at us looking so Japanese
After walking around a bit, we stopped for a drink. The ladies bought us these drinks that tasted a lot like cream soda. The bottle was the coolest part of the drink.
The pretty Japanese lady who served us the drinks.
After you peeled off the plastic wrapper, you popped up the top part. Underneath it is a marble.
You push down on the green top part and the marble pops into the drink, and then it is open. So fun, and delicious.
Posing with our drinks
At the end of the day we went by one more building which was once a house. A lady was showing how they used to cook, and tend the fire.
She let me have the "stick" and tend the fire as well.

It was a great day and I learned lots about Japan's past and of course strengthened my friendships with the other ladies in Culture Club.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

October 2010

October-another packed month here at Yokota. It started out with a trip into Tokyo with some friends. Bridget had heard about the Aisics store where they will measure your foot in this cool machine and tell you about your running style. We all thought it sounded cool, so we thought we'd make a day of it and try it out. Bridget went first.
Anne held down the babysitting duties (she was prego and didn't feel the need to get her foot measured).
Hillary was the next victim.
My turn!
Brett getting his foot scanned.
After we all went, they told us each which shoes would be best for our foot size/running type. It was interesting, and free. Of course, with the exchange rate these days, the shoes were more expensive in the store than if we ordered them online. I didn't buy any, but have the notes on a good pair for me. Of course, that would require me taking up the sport of running too...
After a bit more shopping (where we came across this Japanese lady in this outfit, complete with the Mickey Mouse bow on her head)
we found a Mexican restaurant to eat dinner at. I was more than excited.
The inside- looks like Texas, no?
Brett, Mike and Steve- 3 men and a baby (Brett is miming his Tom Selleck mustache)
The specials- it sounds so authentic!
Having a good look at the menu
The Cochran Clan
Mexican food is not complete without pitchers of beer!
After dinner (which really was surprisingly good for Japanese Mexican food), we went home via Shibuya crossing (the busiest in the world)

These pants don't quite fit right and need to go after tonight, poor kid!

In October, Mal did a lot of playing, and I managed to get her hair up in pigtails a few times.

One of the sad things about being a military family is PCS time- meaning when it is time to move, or for your friends to move. The Sweets (Anne and Steve) PCS'd to the states, and we will miss them here in Japan. Anne is next to me with the pretty curly hair.

Mallory got her first big boo-boo in October. She was playing in the hallway and fell against the metal umbrella holder and bumped her lip. It looks much worse than it really was, thankfully. She had a little cut, which swelled up and was puffy for about 2 days. Luckily, she only cried about 10 minutes and let me put ice on it right away. She was back to her usual self in no time.

Mallory also had her very first day of school in October! I found a great little Montessori school off base that will take kids Mallory's age part time, so she goes Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9-1. Her school is called 'Tulip' and she is one of only about 4 American kids to go there. All the rest, including the teachers, are Japanese. I love that she gets that culture and language and food too (they feed her lunch). She LOVES it and I love it too! Here's her little school building:
On our stairs, ready for school!
One of her teachers

Our Culture Club met again and this time we had a baby shower for Lynn, who was due with her 2nd child, a boy later in October. We had the shower at her house and Mallory got to join us. It was lots of fun. We played a rice game where you have to find safety pins mixed in with rice (MUCH harder than it sounds).
Mallory playing with our name tags.
We played another game where you have to draw a baby on a paper plate on your head. It was pretty funny to see the results!
Yummy food and decor.

Playing with Mallory
Just hours after the shower, Lynn went into labor, and sweet Joshua was born the next morning. He knew to wait just long enough- good boy! I got to visit him in the hospital and hold the tiny thing (only 5 lbs!)

Mallory crawled into our laundry basket one day and was having the best time playing- silly kid!

She also put on Dada's shoes and wanted to 'walk'.

Trying to escape out of baby jail in her leopard onesie.
Look at her standing on those tippee toes trying to see over the gate!


Looking so cute in her carseat.

I took a mini photo session of her one day, right around Halloween time.

We both have black Converse :)

My cooking group met, and in October we made pumpkin soup, stuffed acorn squash and green bean bundles. Yum!

The ladies were so cute and brought costumes and gave Mal a witch hat. She loved it!

Japan doesn't have pumpkin patches, so lots of us got together and made our own on a friends' porch. Mallory was having a non-smile day for some reason, so I got a few profile shots of her.

Finally, one cheesy grin.

I also had a little Baylor photo session with her. I'd bought the Baylor onesie for her back when I was still pregnant and before we moved to Japan. Who knew this would be the year they would actually do quite well in the football program, and make it to a bowl game? It was the first time since 1994, so of course I had to snap some pics of my future Baylor Bear!

I saw pictures like this in a magazine, and then stumbled upon alphabet letters in the store one day (a surprise in a country that speaks and writes Japanese). So I bought some to spell out ONE, even though she is 14 months now.
It didn't quite work like I wanted as she was way too interested in the letters to leave them in order.

What does this even spell mom?

Another great friend, Michelle and her daughter Brookston, also PCS'd this month. She was always so great at getting us together for potlucks and pictures. She had a fun idea of us each picking a color and dressing up like a box of crayons. Mal and I were yellow. How cute are the various colored kids??? We miss you Michelle!
My yellow girlie.

Sleeping in her crib- with her foot hanging out over the edge!

The kids English class had a Halloween party and it was fun. Here's the room all decorated.
Mallory and Toshiko, the Japanese teacher.
"singing" into the pumpkin microphone.
The witch hats the kids decorated.
Hard at work decorating their pumpkin face pancakes.

Getting ready to sing "10 little witches"
Toshiko, Kazuki, Misato, Kakeru, Mae, Juri and Shiori.
The younger kid's class.
The older kid's class.
Decorating pancakes.

You can tell they are Japanese by the tatami mats and all the shoes outside the door.

The older kids class. We all wore black to be "witches".

Halloween morning Karen and I took the kids to the Ops Group building to trick or treat. Here is Mallory in her Halloween costume. I took the easy, homemade route this year. She is sushi. The white is rice, the orange pillow is the salmon, the green wrap is the seaweed (nori) wrap and the green clip on her head is wasabi. Her treat bag says "Kikko-Kid" soy sauce, get it!?!?
Yummiest little sushi roll I ever did see!

Halloween night we hung out with our neighbors and passed out candy. I figured M wasn't old enough to want to go trick or treating and I'd bought stuff to hand out and didn't want it, plus more, in our house! Here are our "super dogs" ready for the night!
Bridget and Mallory
Mike set up a tent and got it all spooky looking! The kids loved coming by and getting candy from us!
Our candy stash- we had plenty to hand out!
Mallory waiting to hand out candy!
"spidey" maverick
Cheese-y sushi!!
Hillary, Amanda, Isabelle, Matt and Mike. We had fun hanging out and chatting. Brett was in the states for a class, so he missed the fun. It rained a bit but we stayed dry in the tent and had a fair turn out. All in all a successful holiday, and a great month at Yokota!