Parent’s Day : Art And Craft Class

The other day it was parent’s day at my elder daughter’s school.

I accompanied my younger daughter to her art and craft class because my wife needed to work that day.

Children made paper arts with soapy water, straws and paint.

At first children blew through a straw into the soapy water in the plastic cup.
Then they put their paper on the cup when the bubble grew to its full size.
The bubbles left an interesting pattern on the paper.
They could also mix the paint coloring on the paper.
Of courese my younger daughter and the parents was able to participate in the class and make their own works.
My younger daughter put her hands in the cup but she laughed loudly. 😦

This is of my elder daughter’s work. It is quite unique.

This day gives us a chance to know how our daughters talks to their friends and how they study in class every day.

After the class, the elementary school teachers held a disaster exercise in preparation for things like an earthquake.
We parents had to take our children home on foot while we checked for dangerous routes such as where a block wall might fall.

Taisho Romanticism In Kawagoe

The Taisho era in Japan was from 1912 to 1926.
The romanticism in Europe inspired the era in various fields like literature, movie, policy and thought.
That is to say that Japanese adapted the Western style in their own way.

You can see that heritage in architecture which is used in various places even now.

In Kawagoe I can find them easily.

This is of a small restaurant into an alley.
This building is registered as a tangible cultural asset
The owner needs to report house’s maintenance to the government but he can receive the subsidy for repair.
You can enjoy eating a full-course meal of French cooking.

This is of a local bank.
This building was built in 1918 and is three-stories tall.
This building remained safely though the massive earthquake happened.

This is of a museum but it was built as an imported bicycle shop in 1915.

On the other hand among the old buildings there are a lot designed from eastern architecture.

Anyway the western and eastern style buildings exist side-by-side in Kawagoe city.

 

Local Souvenir : Peach?

Is this a peach?
No, this is a peachy sweet treat filled with bean paste.
Its box also looks like the box of a real peach.
This sweet treat is called “Shingen-momo”
Shingen comes from “Shingen Takeda” who was a famous military commander.
Momo means peach.
You can usually buy this in Yamanashi prefecture where you can get lots of real peaches, too.

If you need to buy souvenis for someone like your colleague and customers,
you generally choose snacks because they aren’t expensive, easy to send to someone and long-lasting.
Most souvenir shops develop their own local snacks such as rice dumplings, cookies and rice crackers.

Many these souvenirs are sold in each tourist spot.
The reason is that you can not buy them anywhere else.

Besides making such souvenirs is a popular business for local people and it makes the town cheerful.

You can find various souvenirs on this site.

Large Chain Stores

I often go to this home improvement center to buy garden tools and fertilizer for vegetables on the weekends.
As you can see these photos, the center has a large area which offers gardening goods, furniture, kitchen materials and car parts.
Besides you can buy beer, vegetables, snacks and rice at this center
There are also McDonald’s and Starbucks in the same area.
You can finish your shopping in just one place.
Sure it is very convenient and I need these shops but I feel a kind of strangeness.

This center is full of chain stores like IKEA, Costco and Carrefour.
(Carrefour has pulled out of Japan.)
So there are many of the same centers in the Saiama, Chiba, Kanagawa next to Tokyo.

Actually if you were blindfolded and taken somewhere, you couldn’t find out where you were because the cityscape looks alike everywhere.
I heard that this also happened in the US and other countries.

If a city wants to keep its character, it should not attract chain stores even if it becomes inconvienient.
If the government restores the Tohoku affected area, I hope that the unique and advanced town will be built.

Globalism means that every thing is unified but localism is the opposite.

I’ll write about local affair and things next some posts. 🙂

Shopping On A Rainy Day

Today a strong typhoon was on its way to my neighborhood and it rained heavily.
So I went to the shopping mall which has a roof and a canopy with my family.

We can walk into some clothing shops, general stores, bookshops, hundred-yen stores and restaurants without an umbrella.

This space is at the center of the mall which has a large roof.
This area is used for concerts, bazaars, exhibitions and the other events.
Today the handmade toy and general merchandise bazaar was held.
These handmade goods are made of natural things such as wood and hemp.
Some of the shops sold goods for charity that were for the affected area.

My daughters bought cute stationery item such as pencils and notebooks.
She uses a 4B pencil for school because she doesn’t have enough strength to write using other pencils.

Once the elder daughter buys something, I have to buy a similar item for my younger daughter even if she doesn’t necessarily need it.
omg. 😥

Low-malt Beer At Home

Recently as far as alcohol is concerrned, I mainly drink low-malt beer about three times per week.

I buy “low-malt beer” (not regular beer) because the price of 350-milliliter can is 100 yen which is half the price of regular beer.
The taste is the same as beer for me.
My wife also likes drinking beer.
We eat a snack at the same time such as chips, peanuts and cheese.

Each of us drink one can on weekends.
The amount of alcohol might be low, but we can get drunk.
That’s reason enough to enjoy.

The object of drinking is to reduce stress during the weekdays.
We can forget our worries at least while we get drunk.
Sometimes I open my big mouth because of an alcohol.

However, my daughters don’t like that I drink beer because I fall sleep soon after I drink it. 😳

Moderate alcohol intake makes us laugh and fall sleep fast.

Where Will We Spend This Summer Vacation?

I want to plan this summer vacation within the next weeks.
This year I’ll be able to take a four or five day holiday with my family.
I heard that this amount of holidays were much less than other countries.
So I can’t go to the US or Europe because it’s very far from Japan.

Anyway I lined up a few candidates.

●Domestic
These places are popular tourist spots in Japan.

Okinawa

Okinawa
This place is very popular during the summer because you can enjoy many kinds of the marine activities such as scuba diving and swimming in the sea.

Kyoto
There are many traditional shrines and temples I like but I wonder if my children can enjoy them.

Otaru, Hokkaido

Hokkaido
It is a cooler area even if it is the hot season in Japan.
We can eat a lot of delicious seafood and see beautiful natural scenery.

Karuizawa

・A nearby summer resort.
I can get to a near summer resort in two hours by car.
We can stay in a cottage, pension and vacation house and we can barbecue.
It’s convenient and reasonable.

●International

I have never been to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia or The Philippines.
I don’t know them well yet but these countries seem fun.
I remembered that I had not been outside of the country in eight years.
My passport will expire before our trip!

Hmmm,

Besides there is a problem that my younger daughter, who is three years old, is allergic to egg and milk products.
It isn’t easy to decide where to go.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Red..Kawagoe Festival

These festival red floats appear on October once a year during the Kawagoe festival.

There are twenty nine festival floats, each of which have own sahpe.

During this festival children beat a drum loudly and girls and adults dance wearing masks of things such as raccoon dog, fox and clown.
Head fireman leads a march and adults pull the floats.
More than million people go to see this festival.
It is a day when people living in the center of Kawagoe and many tourists get together.

Tracing it back through history, the Kawagoe city suffered from a conflagration in 1638 and the most of the town was burnt down.
During the reconstruction, the lord of the castle began to this festival in 1648.
I think this lord of the castle would encourage people who had become depressed.

Since that year this festival has continued for more than three hundred years.

Fortunately this year the festival will be held as usual.
People living in Kawagoe city will be able to pass this festival to next generation and they will be encouraged by this festival.

Second Living Room

●Sunshade

Japanese people have put a long canopy on the south side of our residences for hundreds of years because there is a strong sunshine from the south during the summer season.
Since last week, the sun has become stronger gradually.
During the summer I put up the sunshades to offer protection from the sun.
There are some kinds of sunshades made of bamboo, cotton and polyethylene.
I chose the polyethylene type because of the design and abilty to block wind and rain.
This sunshede cools the room inside and reduces the energy used by AC a little.

●Playing on the deck

We can use this deck for playing, a pool for children, making something and eating lunch or dinner.
That is to say this is a second living room.
My daughters enjoy playing on this deck more than their parents.
We can relax in a shaded area easily because this deck connects with our living room inside.

By the way I made this bench by myself. I think it turned out well considering that I’m a beginner.

●The meaning of this deck

This small space may be a luxury for people living around Tokyo.
The reason is that the cost of the land is very expensive.
However, I think that every house has to have a space like this.
This space forms a gentle barrier between the inside (private zone) and outside (public zone).
We feel it as an extension of the living room.
This space protects us from outside eyes and invaders.

However, the foremost function is that these green spaces together will make a beautiful city scape.

Sleeping In The Train

I usually sleep for five hours at home but I will be very sleepy if I can’t sleep more than six hours.

So I usually sleep in the train because I’m on it for an hour.
You may think that it’s dangerous for me because someone might steal my wallet or something.
However, more than half of the people riding on the train try to sleep.

One of the reason is that it’s safe on the train in the daytime.
I sometimes see on TV that a drunk got his wallet stolen by pickpockets on the train late at night, but I think that this is rare.

Second reason is that most of the people including me need to commute for a long time.
It can’t be helped There aren’t any jobs outside of the city. Working from home is just a pipe dream.
Japanese business customs are old-fashioned.

Third reason is that Japanese want to use their time as efficiently as possible regardless of whether it is really useful or not.

These are the reasons that I sleep on a hard chair. I wish that there were beds on the train.