hero problems

K was listening to music while doing the dishes.

I did NOT marry K for his taste in music.

Shudder. It's shocking!

It's mostly Japanese folk music like this:

Aren't you lucky I found one with English subtitles?

He has one cd I approve of- the Rocky soundtrack.

Anyway, I was half listening as I was watching tv when....


Footloose?? K has the Footloose soundtrack???

It just didn't seem the kind of movie he would be into. And especially not one he would've been into as a teenager when it came out.

I thought he was listening to this:

I asked how he knew the song and he said huh? How do YOU know it?

Well, derrrrrr Footloose? Kevin Bacon?

Huh? Footloose? Huh?

Turns out K wasn't listening to the Footloose soundtrack.

He was listening to the School Wars soundtrack. School Wars is a 1984 tv drama about a group of boys who go to a low level high school and get into gangs. They are turned into a national championship winning rugby team by an amazing and unconventional coach.

That sounds more like K's kind of tv.

But the song???

K: Oh, that's Katsuragi Yuki's song Hero.

H: She must have recorded a Japanese eversion as that's definitely an English song.

K: Nope, someone must have recorded her song in English.

So we both got out our phones to check- Bonnie Tyler Holding out for a hero- 1984.

Katsuragi Yuki Hero- 1984.

Hmmmmmm........ inconclusive.....

We played the songs at the same time- identical. Well, you know, except for the language issue.

Does she have any other songs? I asked.

Yes, she's very famous for singing Bohemian.

Righhhhhhhht. Yeah, she's definitely known for her original songs then.

Poor K looked deflated.

Ahhhhh, hmmmmm maybe it was an English song first... but her version is better!

I guess even if Bonnie Tyler sings the real Hero, Katsuragi Yuki will remain K's hero!


I stuffed dinner.....

Seriously stuffed it.

Irreparably so.

And it was delicious!

I have a small problem. I stuffed those green peppers the other day and now I can't stop- every vegetable is whispering in my ear 'stuff meeeeeeeeeeeeee'

I use chicken breast mince as it's not fatty and then I change up the recipe each time. We've had:
onion, turmeric, cumin, garlic, coriander and parsley
cheese, tomato, garlic, onion, eggplant and parsley
tomato, onion, garlic, cumin, parsley and eggplant

I use wheat bran from our wheat and eggs as binding agent and then just whack them in the oven till they're cooked.

I am a pretty haphazard cook when it comes to ratios and measurements and ingredients but seriously this has not failed yet!

Amy told me they eat stuffed peppers in school lunch sometimes but it's miso flavoured Japanese style. I feel another round of stuffing dinner coming on then!


Any weekday morning 6:40am

Japan has an infatuation with group exercise.

If it's not a company warmup before work it's a village Sports Day or a neighbourhood early morning baseball league.

And for elementary school kids summer holidays wouldn't be summer holidays without waking up at 6:00 to get up and dressed and out the door and to the neighbourhood meeting place for 'rajio taiso' (radio calisthenics).

Call me a cynic but I really don't think it provides a terrible lot of exercise for your average active elementary age kid:

But anyway, it's a big deal and the kids have a card to get stamped each morning as they rock up to swing their arms around a little and jump on the spot.

The calisthenics song is broadcast on the radio LIVE from an exciting local calisthenics meetup somewhere in Japan each holiday morning at 6:30.

And this being my neighbourhood and us living on a muscle crampingly steep hill and kids getting more exercise just getting there each morning than they do actually doing rajio taiso we add our own part 3 after the kids do the broadcast part 1 and part 2 exercises.

Monday and Tuesday part 3 is skipping on the spot for 100 jumps or more.

Wednesday through Friday they line up in grade order with the little kids at the front and the grade 6ers at the back and run helter skelter, clothes flapping and bed hair bouncing to the next intersection then back through the intersection where rajio taiso is held, through to the next intersection going the other way and back again.

And so, if you happen to be wandering around my neighbourhood some Summer morning about 6:40 you might glance down a side road and expect to see a rogue dinosaur or Godzilla or at least a monkey pack as every kid between 6-12 in the whole neighbourhood comes racing toward you like their life depends on it: 

It's started!

I try not to buy vegetables. I'm not really hardcore about it, I buy mushrooms year round as we grow them but at the 'ooooo look! A mushroom!' level rather than the meeting demand level, and will buy veggies if necessary but I believe in eating fresh seasonal produce and we grow so much out there if we don't eat it it's a waste!

With this philosophy backing our meals we eat a lot of Chinese cabbage, leaks, daikon and pickles in winter and a lot of leafy greens for much of Spring as they are the first crop to be ready to harvest each year. 

And then, without being able to pinpoint a day that it happens, each year we go from 101 creative ways to disguise the fact we're eating bokchoy and spinach AGAIN to WHOAAAAA- we're drowning in produce and need to start eating six meals a day just to get through it all!

And that's what happened Tuesday. I realised I was surrounded by containers of produce and needed to start blanching and freezing and bottling and canning and all those other jobs that start when the growing and harvesting jobs are finally done.

This season is also a great one for veggie meals. Harvest meals. Summer feasts:

(no, it's not your eyes, that's a blurry pic)

Salted cucumbers, corn on the cob, tomato, runner beans and broad beans, onion, garlic, eggplant, egg, flour and chicken mince stuffed capsicum.

The only thing we didn't grow ourselves was the chicken mince.

A truly satisfying meal.

Now we just need to eat about 100 satisfying meals and we'll clear the kitchen of produce- just in time to harvest some more....

A little too much Masterchef?

I am a sucker for a cooking show- Masterchef, My kitchen rules, Not my mama's meals (the one with Paula Dean and her son), Great British BakeOff, Cupcake Wars etc etc etc.

The girls get really into it too (except for US Masterchef, Hell's Kitchen or any time Marco Pierre White is in a show as they don't like mean people and get a little worked up about being nice and using your polite voice.)

At the moment Australian Masterchef is on and Amy especially is really into it. She keeps arranging her meals more artfully and giving me scores out of 10 for the meals I make. Gee thanks, hun!

This was Amy's breakfast salad the other day:

Hmmmmmm..... a vertical line off centre with a heap of white space there? A little too much Masterchef, maybe?

Little kids, big dreams

Wayyyyyy behind posting but July 7th is Tanabata festival here. It's a complicated star crossed lovers and Milky Way story that I could write out but hey, why put Wikipedia out of work, hey? So here's the background.

Anyway Tanabata was too cloudy for the star crossed lovers to make their way across the Milky Way and meet when the girls checked before bed this year.

The next morning Meg asked if it cleared up overnight.
Don't think so honey.
That's ok, said Amy. They can just Skype.

Ahhhhhhh my little romantic, hey?

Slightly more romantic were the kinder kids who wrote their wishes down for the local Summer festival.

I couldn't help myself, I love little kid wishes so I took some pictures while the girls lined up for their free game and fairy floss (the small business association hands out coupons to all the school kids- great business decision, they get HOARDES!) So here you are (with my translations, don't blame them!)

I hope Yuga and Non and Daddy and Mummy and Granny and Grandpa and Sei and Mr Takano and my other Grandpa and my other Grandma all don't get fevers.

When I grow up I want to be a High School baseball player and I also want to run fast. I'd like to go to Saku Chosei HS and Go to the National HS baseball championships. First I'd like to win a running race.

I want to be Doraemon.

I want to be able to speak English well.

I want to be Tinkerbell

I want to live with Rapunzel.

I want to get muscly and become a firefighter.

I want to be able to go to the toilet by myself.

Aren't they just so gosh darn cute? Except for living with Rapunzel. That's a bit worrying. I mean, she was a prisoner, right???



When my brother was little he went through a stage where he didn't go anywhere without a book.

Meg loves books and has been an avid reader for years.

Recently Amy is getting into reading as well.

Yesterday we went shopping together like this:

Not sure if you can see but they're both holding books.

Meg shopped the way my brother used to do. Trailing around almost following us somehow managing to avoid running into people and reading silently as she went.

Typically Amy had her own way of doing things:

Mummy, how many countries participated in the first modern Olympic games?
A) 14
B) 24
C) 34

Mummy, in gymnastics, what is the difference between men's and women's floor?
A) length of programme
B) scoring                     
C) use of music            

on and on and on for the entire shopping trip. Seriously. And I thought shopping with them when they were toddlers was painful!