It’s Teacher Appreciation Week! Every year, the PTA at my kids’ school has big plans for this week. Each day they decorate the teacher’s lounge with a different theme. Since the school is a Japanese immersion school, they alternate between both Japanese and American themes. Last year, I was on the American culture day team. Can you say hot dogs and potato chips? But this year, the themes were different. Each day was based on a different season and holiday, and I was assigned to the Valentine’s Day theme.
Every time I visit Japan, Aya’s parents always ask if there is anything specific I’d like to do or try. They have done an excellent job at showing me Japan beginning from my very first trip fifteen years ago. I’ve tried all of the most popular Japanese foods, and even some of the not so popular ones. I’ve seen the scenic sights and the city sights. I’ve gone to the hot springs, and sang karaoke. I even saw my favorite enka singer in concert! After all that, it still seemed like I had a list of things that I wanted to try. During our previous trip, I requested the KFC Christmas chicken dinner (it’s a big deal there). But now, it’s getting harder to find things I haven’t tried yet. That was until I discovered matcha.
Happy New Year! It’s still January, right? Oh, it’s February already? MID FEBRUARY!?
Man, what a year so far. We kicked off the New Year in Japan with Aya’s family. We experienced the city, we soaked in the hot springs, ate fantastic food, visited with friends and had fun with family. The kids absorbed so much language and culture while we were there too! But all great trips have to come to an end. And just before the end, the day before we left, I got the flu. And then on the plane, Ellie got the flu. And when we landed and got home, Chloe got the flu. And after a few days of dealing with us, Aya got a bad head cold. And then she left for a week long business trip. Sooo, we spent the first two weeks back sick, miserable, jetlagged, cranky, and eating terrible. We went from going out to great restaurants eating fresh fish to eating Taco Bell on the couch. But finally, finally, that’s all over with and we are looking forward to a bright 2018! Well, at least trying…
Chloe attends an all Japanese pre-school. And while it’s incredible to watch her develop a second language and get to experience her Japanese culture, it often sends me out of my comfort zone. I could easily just do drop-off and pick-up and nothing more, but I’m determined to not be invisible and be the involved parent I want to be. I have been involved, but sometimes it’s not always in ways that I would expect, or prefer. I don’t know if it’s a Japanese custom, or just-at-this-school custom, but the school likes to have a group of parents from each class to “perform” for the kids at the holiday party. That’s how I found myself doing a synchronized dance about rice with a group of moms at the holiday party.
Now that Thanksgiving is over and we are well into December, I have dropped my Grinchy attitude and have full-on embraced the Christmas spirit. Well, at least I’ve been jamming the Christmas tunes. In my last Scroogy post, I confessed my weirdo-ness and love for Christmas music. And in the spirit of Christmas I thought I’d share my top 10 favorite albums (in no particular order) that you’ve maybe never heard of. I cherish the Charlie Brown Christmas, and love Harry Connick Jr., Frank Sinatra and all the other common songs you’re familiar with, but they won’t be on this list. There are tons of weird and ridiculous albums out there, but these are a few unique ones that I genuinely enjoy and are part of our family holiday soundtrack.