Little House In Ise

Happy New Year 2009
January 5, 2009, 17:07
Filed under: Family, Japan | Tags: , , , , ,


If Holidays have themes beyond what our various cultures paint on them, then this holiday’s theme was probably “Discovery”. Megumi and the kids discovered Shogi (Japanese chess), I discovered a secret that Ray and Kokoro have been keeping quiet since summer and we all discovered that laughter increases proportionally with the number of people you pack into a bed.

Before the Holiday’s began, Megumi enrolled the kids in a Shogi class. Though it was a kids’ class she sat in and participated too. At the end of the class all three were awarded a rank of 20th kyu (20級) meaning they have a lot of work to do before they get their black belts. The teacher said that he could have easily given Ray a higher rank than that because he had a better grasp of the game overall (many chess skills and tactics carried over) but that it was best that everyone starting together receive the same rank. My only involvement in this, other than cheer-leading, was to provide a new Wii game that includes shogi. The Wii game can still whup their butts at a pretty low setting but that may be changing.

We were in Okayama for New Years and Ray played against his grandfather and his great grandfather both of whom tried to pass along tips and tricks while brutally thrashing the poor boy. Megumi also played a game or two with her grandfather but I don’t think he was as kind to her about providing advice and instruction. He did quite generously provide a butt-kicking that she will likely remember for a while though…

Before leaving Tokyo, I was told that there was a secret that the kids had been keeping from me since summer and they were excited to show off once we were there. The whole family was in on the surprise with Granma providing the equipment and Guranpa setting up an area to train. Megumi repeatly tossed me red-herrings such as, “We have to wait until the fire is big enough” etc. It turns out that the kids have been practicing unicycling.

Granma had gotten them one over the summer and Guranpa had used aluminum tubing to construct support bars for them to use at the beginning. They have been keeping up the training at a local play area that provides unicycles, stilts, balls and such. Ray’s focus has been stilts and I later found he had gotten quite good at walking on them. Kokoro on the other hand had put her huge heart into learning to ride unicycles. The big girls (2nd and 3rd graders) at the play area who knew how to ride gave her tips, encouragement and a hand up when she needed it. So, the kid is pretty darned good. Considering that it was only last summer that I took the training wheels off her bike I am impressed and amazed that she immediately decided that two wheels was one too many. I can’t ride those things!


Happy New Year!


Our Christmas on the 27th (25th was a school day)

Our Christmas on the 27th (25th was a school day)

Kokoro and her loom

Kokoro and her loom

It snowed in Okayama

It snowed in Okayama — guess who was happy?

We made 16 kilos of mochi this year

We made 16 kilos of mochi!

Kokoro does quality assurance

Kokoro does quality assurance

Ray keeping the mochi machine warm... Yeah, right!

Ray keeping the mochi machine warm… Yeah, right!

Megumi, wishing for more soy-sauceMegumi, wishing for more soy-sauce

Great Grandfather and Ray

Learning shogi from his Great Grandfather

Cousins were there too! Koseke and Taisuke

Cousins were there too! Koseke and Taisuke

And away she goes!

And away she goes!

Big brother and coach

Big brother and coach

The family in Yasui

The family in Yasui


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: