Saturday, August 15, 2009


i've been in this space since nico's birth but i think you'll soon agree that we have outgrown it. so, please come visit us in our new space. take care.

Friday, July 31, 2009


so, if you haven't figured it out by now, we are hording secrets here. yes, secrets with a nice curvy s on the end.
i have never been really one for secrets but since we are so far away, it is kind of fun to be able to have a secret or two for a while.
believe me, they are good. so good that they consume a lot of our focus these days. so if my posts are sporadic, it is because i am trying to keep my lips sealed for a bit longer. just a bit. because i am discovering the joy of keeping a secret before i share with everyone.

in the meantime, i should be back soon with some summery pictures. mainly of the boys on the hunt for insects. or blowing bubbles. we just returned from an evening trip to the park where jason and i played badminton and nico and sebastian ran around chasing dragonflies. the weather has been very nice these last few days with no rain and the temperatures peaking at a mere 80 degrees F. it is hard to believe tomorrow is august. but it is. and with it exciting things await. like jason's 32nd birthday. 32. he is definitely not what i thought 32 looked like when i was young. he boasts of no grey hairs or wrinkles or stiff joints yet. even from the far distance of my twenties, he looks rather spry and youthful for such an advanced age. and august will also mark the ninth year that i've been hanging out with the old man. nine years, both long and short. full to bursting.

anyway, i will eventually have to let you in on our secrets but in the meantime, you can anticipate and guess your heart out. there is some fun in that as well.

Monday, July 20, 2009


(translation of title: Let's start summer holidays!)

So some of you probably started summer a long time ago. Back in May, right? Well, this weekend is the official kick off of summer in Japan. The beaches are now officially open here on Gotou and will continue to be so for about a month. Not that you can't go when they are not officially open, just don't expect any of the nice amenities like showers, somen noodle stands, or a direct bus stop. The showers and somen we can live without but we like the summer bus routes. Otherwise, you might see us treking many kilometers. Like when we went to Takahama over Golden Week. 45 minutes on a bus then one hour of walking to the beach. But it is a gorgeous beach.

There is a beach within relative walking distance from our house but last year we were a little disappointed with it. As in we don't like to find medical waste and random trash from Australia littering the beach where we want to play. To give poor Mukada beach the benefit of the doubt, we had been having a lot of gale force winds so it was probably not the best day to go to any beach. Also, with the declining population, many of the beaches are ignored for the more popular ones so there is no one there to groom the smaller beaches.

So my mission this summer, since it will be our last on this island, is to find a good beach near us. We scouted out one beach on Saturday but the sea was a little choppy that day so it was hard to judge. We are using this Gotou Tourism website to do a little exploring from home and comparing it with our trusty bus route and schedule website. The top two contenders are currently Ohama Beach
and Hamada Beach, seen here:

Today we were supposed to go to Ohama Beach to celebrate 海の日 (usually translated as Marine Day but since in America we think of another type of Marine, I like to translate it to Sea Day) but the forecast calls for rain so I guess it will have to wait until Saturday. And Sunday. And all the weekends after that.

Monday, July 13, 2009

like walking through a warm bath

it is too hot today. not florida scorching hot but heavily humid. i feel like i am underwater when i step outside. not that inside is much better. unless it is nap time and we indulge our sweaty nicolai in a cool room to doze in.

sorry to be so silent here. everything is good, just busy.
we aren't on the internet that much these days. will be again as school starts up and i go back to my proofreading gig. i should be on more with the writing workshop but i am kinda burned out with it. i think it is just not my thing. but i will stick it out and see it to the end. almost ready to see the start of classes again though with my leave of absence i now have a lot to make up. but it is doable. i am also in the throes of studying for the japanese test that will be in december.

sebastian is an inspiration there as he diligently does his japanese characters (hiragana and now kanji!) every morning and is beginning to read japanese books solo. we help him with english and numbers in the evenings. it is very step by step, maybe only fifteen minutes with each subject, but the daily sessions have made a definite improvement. he'll be reading japanese and english by the fall, i'll wager.

oy vey, as one grandmother we know would put it.
nico is insane. he's a little powerhouse of determination and willfulness and maybe that sounds redundant but if you knew him, you would know that he deserves the overemphasis. he's too smart. like in the, hey, i am smart enough to know all my abcs and be able to count to 30 so i guess i can go outside by myself and see where sebastian and mama went to. in a diaper. and a gross sweaty tee shirt. and rain boots. (we have double locks and he undid both of them, with the help of a chair) jason found him with a helpful local girl on the other side of the bridge. gasp. the river. the road. the cars (read: the taxis). heart attack city. then later that day we go for a family stroll and all the shopkeepers along the main street come out and tell how they saw him walk by their shops. walk by. alone. main street. intersections. driveways. did i mention the taxis? my hair is absolutely white now. mr. independence. he was following me and sebastian to school though that is not where we were (it being a saturday). jason was frantically searching the neighborhood, looking down steep concrete steps. it was when he ran to the river to face one of the dreaded places to search that he saw nico sitting with the girl. and was he upset? no. he explained that he was looking for me and sebastian and that we were going to go get ice cream.
you may wonder, how did jason not know he was gone all that time? nico had been happily building airplanes with his legos and jason stepped away from him for two minutes. one, two. and hearing the kids outside playing, jason assumed that nico went to join them (which he often puts on his boots to try and do). but in the meantime, nico was trotting along in the opposite direction. he knows how to walk on the side of the street, how to look both ways, how to wait for the green signal. but nico. is. too. smart. for. his. own. good.
yikes. anyway, the little devil is waking and it is time to retrieve sebastian from yochien. i'm home after another dentist appointment and jason is subbing for me. so i thought i would share a little snippet of our life with you. now it is your turn. yes, you. how are you?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Little Bit of Watching=A Lot of Inspiration

Measuring Happiness: A snippet about the glorious kingdom of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness
The Dalai Lama's Shifting Direction + Monks in Exile: A bit about Tibetans in exile. So admirable.
An Inspiring American: Truly awesome man.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I want to say how did this happen. How did I end up with this funny, intelligent guy whose head is almost at the towering heights of my shoulders (okay, towering may be an exaggeration)? But I know. I've had a few years of him shifting. Last year, there was only a shadow of the baby left in his cheeks. Now he is pure kid.
Yesterday, Sebastian stood on the school stage for the monthly birthday party and said introduced himself and stated his wishes for the following year. In Japanese. He stumbled a bit (out of stage fright) and his classmates all rushed to assist him, loudly whispering his cues.
We had to read a message to him as his parents but being the teacher as well, I sat it out. Gladly since I would have been a little emotional. Because truly, we are so, so proud of him. He inspires us to hope for lost or forgotten dreams. He teaches us to be patient and compassionate.
So as usual on his birthday, I give thanks.
Happy 6th Birthday, Sebastian Olivier.

(and don't you worry, Nico's in on the love too)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

june (a)

good morning. i am sorry the posts here have been so spotty these last few months. we've been busy with work and school and life and haven't had much opportunity for reporting what's happening. that's natural, i think.

this last week we've been sick, nico and i especially. i took a few days off and had for the first time a substitute teacher who i could beg to go in for me: jason. i armed him with lesson plans and taught him the gestures to songs then went back to bed. usually with the lap top so i could work on a season of law and order.

nico was pretty sick and we went to the doctor which was actually the first time since he was an infant so i guess we are lucky. for a grand total of about 13 bucks we saw a lovely, English speaking doctor and got plenty of medication to knock the virus out of his system. he's on the mend now and it is good since we have to go into the city again. for those new visa stickers.

so, we are staying for a bit longer despite the drawbacks. it mainly has to do with the economy. we cannot in good conscious leave a decent position during a recession/depression. it would be foolish. many strange things have been coming out in the news and we have heard the concern of some caring grandparents, but really, compared to the news in america, everything is peaches and cream here.

i'm in a writing workshop. this last week i've been out of the saddle and owe quite a bit of writing and i am not sure when i can make it up. i can say that i don't like writing on short deadlines, that it stunts my creativity. i don't need acres of time but a week doesn't give me enough opportunity to think and write.
anyway, i am sure we'll be back soon with pictures from nagasaki and probably many hydrangea pictures since i'm sweet on them. sorry to be so infrequent but we're trying to get our act together and you will be seeing more of us soon.

take care.