Thursday, 26 February 2015

Adventures in Oji - paper museum

After our adventures in Nippori, we hopped back on the train to Oji, which is just a couple of stops away. It's the first time I have been there. We were starving and so wanted to grab some lunch. I have to admit, I always find looking for somewhere to eat always stresses me out somewhat. At the station there were the usual suspects, MacDonalds, Sukiya, chain coffee shops... Then we spotted Little Mermaid. Turned out to be a Dutch cafe, lovely sandwiches and pastries, totally hit the mark.

With our bellies filled we headed off to find the museum. Ebi-kun wanted to get on the tram but I had no idea where they went but then he spotted the monorail instead.

Of course, I had no idea where this was going either but figured it wouldn't be too long. The fella at the bottom made us sit down, when I asked where to buy a ticket, he told us it was free - even better. Well, I have to say, it would have been quicker to walk up the stairs! The monorail is about 50m long, the kids all thought it was fun though!

The Paper Museum is a 5 minute walk through the park, right next to the kids playground. When you get in, there is a ticket machine to your left, the instructions are in English too. We got there just in the nick of time to make out own postcards.

The first fella was trying to explain everything in very broken English, we had to tell him to use Japanese in the end. They must get a lot of tourists in Oji because everyone tried to use English on us, it was quite weird for me!

The process was fun and you get to choose an image to watermark your postcard with, Ebi-kun picked out Tokyo Sky Tree and I picked the panda.

The process only took 5-10 minutes and the staff were really friendly.

There isn't that much English as far as explanations go but there is a very detailed handout when you arrive. The second floor has a lot of hands on stuff and was quite interesting.

I spotted this in the display section and thought it would make a fun activity. You could use family members photos and make different wigs for them.

Of course, Ebi-kun wanted to have a play in the park before we left. Looks like a nice little park, lots of kids running around.

We had a lovely day and finished off after the park by buying new shoes for Ebi-kun, his old ones had a hole in them. He has yet to grow out of a pair of shoes, he just wears them out!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Nippori Adventures

Saturday Daddy-Ebi was working so Ebi-kun and I decided to go on an adventure. I really wanted to get some fabric to make new curtains for the living room.

Nippori is known as fabric town and is dotted with fabric stores! If you are going for the first time, keep your eye open at the station because they have maps in English and Japanese. Tomato is the biggest store and there are 4 or 5 of them and there are loads of other stores too.

A couple of things if you go, don't try and tackle it with a pushchair/stroller. For starters it's next to impossible and some stores don't allow them inside. In fact, I would highly recommend leaving the kids at home if at all possible. I would also avoid the place like plague in March as it is the run up to the start of the new school year so it will be full of frantic mothers buying fabric to make the squillion of yochien bags.

No despite going to virtually every fabric store in the whole of Nippori, I didn't find any fabric I loved - insane right! I actually decided I would only buy fabric that I really needed, which is really hard for me!

This store is insane, it is floor to ceiling with bolts of fabric, there is no proper way to walk around, you literally have to scramble over the bolts! How they find anything in here is beyond me. I always worry about there being an earthquake when I'm in there, death by fabric isn't really what I want on my headstone!

I did pick up a bit of Echino fabric and some grey and blue dotty stuff but when I got home I decided I didn't like it for curtains! Fabric shopping fail!

But...the next day, I went to the mall and they have a Swedish designer Lagerhaus section and I found some fabric I loved there! I will share when I have the curtains done. They are half sewn in a pile at the moment.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Pancake Tossing

Last Tuesday was Shrove Tuesday AKA pancake day and surprisingly, I actually remembered in time! Ebi-kun tried his hand at tossing the pancakes, he was really good and didn't drop any! Bonus.

Actually, I think he was having fun just tossing them! I did eventually get them onto the plate.

We decided to go for Dutch pancakes, with apples fried in butter, bacon and maple syrup - sooo good. We should have these more often!

And of course we had to have some traditional sugar and lemon pancakes for pudding.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Aikido training and Oh My Gosh...

Ebi-kun is still training every Sunday. Starting aikido after the bullying incident was one of the best things we have done, he is far more confident and knows that he can handle himself if any other issues ever arise.

It's cold in the dojo, so I hung around for a short time then headed off to the new mall that has opened 5 minutes walk away. 

I usually grab a coffee and do some studying, I also needed to buy a present and as I was walking around the TOY section, I spotted this...

Lost - for - words!!!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Flowers for mothers day

Living overseas means that gifting presents can get a bit tricky and recently the postage hasn't been reliable, I had a package returned from Austria and 2 Christmas presents never made it here because the UK has tightened up its posting regulations - I should add that both parcels were within regulations but they still got returned to sender with the offending item - nail polish! removed!

Anyway, I end up relying on internet based services a lot of the time, back in the day Interflora was the only choice but now there is a much bigger range. 

Debenhams Flowers contacted me and asked if I would like to try out their Flower Delivery service, so I got a surprise Scented Spring bouquet sent to my mom. It was really funny, I happened to be chatting on Facetime with her when they were delivered, she kept saying it must be a mistake, why had someone sent her flowers - anyone would have thought she'd never had flowers before!

They arrived packaged in a box and looked lovely when she got them out. Unfortunately she never got around to taking photos because my step dad got rushed back into hospital, taking photos for my blog wasn't really high on the priority list!

But she did say that they smell gorgeous and the scent fills the whole house, which is perfect in gloomy February. They were delivered over a week ago and they are still going strong!

Debenhams Flowers also a 25% discount for you! 
Whoo-hoo, so if you are in the UK or you're planning on sending your mom flowers you can use the discount code DFBLOG25 and get the discount on their Mothers Day Flowers (doesn't include the Flowers by post range) and with the money you save you can treat yourself to something special!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Delicious Granola Bars...

I wanted to make some granola bars to take skiing with us, we have to catch a really early train so it's best to take something with us. I asked about and a friend from the Japan Cooking Group sent me her favourite recipe, you can find it on her blog Recipes For Denny.

The recipe calls for 2.5 cups of nuts, I used a combo of chopped almonds, sunflower seeds, mixed seeds and puffed rice (yes, the dregs of the kitchen cupboard!) plus 100g choco chips and they are YUM!

For those in Japan, I found coconut oil at Yamaya, they have a 200g jar for about ¥700 and a 500g bottle for ¥900.

 To take them with us, I wrapped in greaseproof paper  and taped them up with masking tape BUT the MT tape doesn't stick too well! lesson, learned.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Another Day On The Slopes

Last Wednesday was a national holiday, so we headed for the mountains. The weather was perfect and the skiing was great!

We headed out to the snowboard park again, the snow wasn't powdery so a bit more painful when you fall! Didn't stop the boy...

I don't know if this is one of those Only In Japan things but I have seen a lot of kids strapped onto their mom or dad and whizzing down the slope, that is not a backpack, it's a small child! I've also seen snowboarders doing the same. Considering I broke my leg skiing, I know how dangerous a sport it, this just seems insane!

There is nothing more scary is than watching your child go whizzing off down a steep slope! The upside is that I forget to worry about killing myself lol!

And then he wanted to try the big boys jumps! Is there no stopping him?

Of course daddy wanted to get into the action too...

I love this place, it's so pretty - especially when the weather is nice! I'm hoping we can squeeze in another trip this season.

Monday, 16 February 2015

And the winners are...

International Book Giving Day was going on all over the place, and the winners of the giveaway have been emailed. If you entered and your name is Kelly or Sara then check your email address!

How cute is this poster by Fiona Roberton?

Saturday, 14 February 2015

International Book Giving day is HERE

Hurrah! How are you celebrating?

We joined a book swap organized by Zoe from Playing By The Book. Our swap partner Anabel, from Anabel's Blog, is in Scotland so we decided to send a novel version or Totoro, I hope she loves it!

She sent Ebi-kun Attack Of The Giant Robot Chickens which is by the Scottish author Alex McCall and it has won various awards, and Anabel has met the author, looks like a fun read! We will do a review when he had read it.

Ebi-kun did well for book because I also bought him the National Geographic 5,000 Awesome Facts 2, that should keep him quiet for a while!

For more about International Book Giving day and how to get involved pop over HERE and if you haven't entered the book giveaway yet (what's wrong with you?) pop over HERE

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Great New Book By Kristi Kremers

We have some book related posts this week for International Book Giving Day...

Yes,  I know you think February 14th is all about the romance, the roses and the chocolates but it should be about books too! Hands up if you'd prefer a good book rather than something that is going to add inches to your hips or die in a matter of days - see, not such a daft idea after all!

I have some good stuff lined up for you this week and I want to hear about your book giving escapades too!

So let's get things rolling, today we are reviewing Who Is A Leader by Kristi Kremers.

Who Is A Leader is like a traditional picture book, aimed at elementary aged children and filled with cute illustrations. It talks about 4 world leaders and the qualities that a leader has. Now, the clever part of this book is at the back where there are questions for teachers and parents so that you can expand on the conversation and dig deeper with the kids. I think this is especially useful for parents who, lets face it, most of which haven't done any kind of teacher training, so this kind of thing often doesn't come naturally. 

Who Is A leader will be free to download on Feb 10th & 11th ( time, no idea which timezone that is!)

It would be a perfect book as a springboard for so many discussion or projects and I will be using it when we next study about a leader.

I also got to interview Kristi about the book and her fascinating story, pop over to My Organized Chaos to listen in.

PS - did you pop your name in the hat for the giveaway? It's over HERE

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