<   2009年 09月 ( 5 )   > この月の画像一覧

夏のおさらい(ミステリー・スポット) Looking Back Our Summer (Mystery Spot)

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サンタ・クルーズの「ミステリー・スポット」に行ってきました。わりと有名な観光スポットで、日本人の観光コースにもよく入っているのですが、なぜか一度も行ったことがなかったのです。何がミステリーかというと、なんでもそこだけが重力の法則が通用しないらしい。まさか!

山の急斜面に小屋があって、そこでは身体が斜めに立ってしまう、板に乗せたボールが低い方から高い方に転がって行く、天井から吊られた球が変則的に動くなど、不思議な現象だらけ。どう考えても、斜めに建てられている小屋のせいで、目が錯覚を起こしているとしか思えないんだけど、ツアー・ガイドのお姉さんはそうじゃないと言い張ります。エイリアンの仕業説もあるとか。

それにしても、私はこういった目が変になるものは大の苦手。目の前の世界がぐるぐる回ってまっすぐに歩けないし、何かにつかまらないと立っていられない。とにかく早くその場から立ち去りたい一心でした。

ただ、水平なはずの棒の両端に乗って背比べをすると、あら不思議。場所が入れ替わると背丈の差が変わるのです。その時はびっくりしたけど、あとで冷静になって考えると「な〜んだ、そういうことか。」単純な物理でした(^_^;)。

ツアーの最後には、参加者全員に車に貼るステッカーが配られました。日頃、運転していると「Mystery Spot」と書かれた黄色いステッカーを貼っている車をよく見かけるので、どうしてだろうと思っていました。なるほどそういうことだったのか。少なくとも一つの謎は解けましたぞ!

We went to “Mystery Spot” in Santa Cruz, a famous tourist spot that is often included in tour course for Japanese. Somehow we had never been there for all this time. What is mysterious abou it? From what I hear, in this particular place, the rule of gravity does not apply here. “Can’t be true!!”

On the steep slope of a mountain stood a hut where your body stood at an angle, a ball placed on a piece of board rolls from the lower to the higher end, a globe hung from the ceiling swings irregularly. Mysterious phenomena. No matter how hard I tried to figure out, I could only come to a conclusion that this was due to an optical illusion caused by the hut built slanted. But the guide girl insisited that it was not. She said one of the hypotheses was it was aliens’ work.

Anyway, I’m not very good at this kind of visual stimulation. The world was spinning in front of me. I could not walk straight. I had to hold on to something so that I wouldn’t fall. The only thing in my mind was “I want to get out of here!”

There was one phenomenon really mysterious to me; two persons standing on either end of a bar that was supposed to be horizontal. When the two changed their places, the gap of their height changed. It was mesmerizing first but when I carefully thought over it later, I got it. It was just a simple physics (^_^;).

At the end of the tour, a yellow bumper sticker with “Mystery Spot” written on it was handed out to each participant. On the road, I had often seen cars with the yellow sticker on their bumpers and wondered why so many cars had it. “Now I get.” At least I solved ONE mystery!
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by danceofdragon | 2009-09-26 16:10

夏のおさらい(カンフー道場のポトラック) Looking Back Our Summer (Kung fu school potluck)

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夏休みが終わる頃、ドラ息子が通っているカンフー道場では、毎年ポトラック・パーティがあります。今年は初めて公園でやりました。広々としたスペースでのびのびと遊べて、気持ちよかったです。

バレーボール、フットボール、中国式将棋、おしゃべりなどなど、参加者は思い思いに楽しんでいます。皆で集まって、綱引きや水風船合戦などでも盛り上がりました。武術の人たちだけあって、身体を思いっきり使って遊びます。木の枝からぶら下がったピニアータ、普通は棒でたたきますが、カンフー・キッズはパンチやキック、割れると中からキャンディがドサッと落ちてきて、これを我れ先にと拾い集めるのが醍醐味です。この日のピニアータも、カンフーらしく陰陽のシンボルでした。

陰陽といえば、手作りのケーキもあって感動しました。周りに立っているカンフー人形まで手作り。私が行った時には頭は既に食べられてしまっていて、代わりにイチゴがささってました。

ドラゴンにとってカンフー道場は、幅広い年齢の人たちと接することができる場でもあります。年上の人たちには、お兄ちゃんお姉ちゃんみたいに、可愛がってもらったり、年下の子供に技を教えようとしても、言うことを聞いてくれないで手を焼いたり。人見知りのドラゴンも、今じゃすっかり溶け込んでいる様子、家や学校以外にも自分の居場所ができてよかったなと思います。

このたび目出たくブラウン・ベルト三段に昇格しました。次はいよいよ黒帯を目指すドラゴンです。「あちょ〜〜!」
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When a summer break nears to an end, it’s time for an annual potluck party at dragon’s kung fu school. This year, for the first time, we had a party in a park. It turned out to be very comfortable with lots of space to play around.

Playing volleyball, football, the chinese chess, or just chatting, everybody spent time as they pleased. There were also games all of us played and got so excited with: tug of war, water balloon fight, etc. Being martial artists, we played using whole our bodies. A piniata hung from a tree branch is usually hit by a stick, but these kung fu kids punched and kicked it open. The best part of it is to swarm to get the candies that fell from the cracked piniata all at once. The piniata they used that day was, of course, a yin and yang symbol.

Talking about the symbol, I was so impressed with the homemade yin and yang cake. The kung fu dolls standing around the cake were handmade, too. When I saw the cake, the heads were gone. Somebody had already eaten them. Instead, strawberries were stuck in the head’s place.

For dragon, the kung fu school is also a place where he can interact with people of various ages. He gets attention from older students, just like that of older brothers or sisters. Some younger kids give dragon a hard time. When he tries to teach them some form, they wouldn’t listen to him. Now the shy dragon fits in, looking very comfortable. I’m so glad to see he has found his own place there besides home and school.

He recently advanced to the third brown. Now he is on his way to become a black belt. “Achoooooo!!!!!!”
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by danceofdragon | 2009-09-21 02:56

夏のおさらい(エアショー) Looking Back Our Summer (Air Show)

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恒例のサリナスでのエアショー、見に行くのは今年で4回目、グランマとU家の皆さんを誘って行ってきました。グランマとは去年も一緒に見に行きましたが、その時は見る見るうちに天気が悪くなり、最後はぶるぶる震えていたくらい。去年の目玉は空軍の飛行隊「サンダーバーズ」でした。見たことなかったから、ものすごく楽しみにしていたのに、雲が低く立ちこめ、飛行直前に中止となったのでした。悔しいのなんの。

今年は打って変わって快晴です。ってことは暑い!日傘雨傘、日焼け止めを動員し、水分補給も欠かしませんでした。毎年趣向を凝らした演出で飽きさせないエアショーですが、今年はなんと恐竜ロボット、その名も「ロボサウルス」が登場して、火を噴いて車を3台も燃やして食べてしまいました。今年の目玉は、おなじみ海軍の飛行隊「ブルーエンジェル」、何度見ても興奮します。

終わった後は、フェンス越しですがブルーエンジェルのチームに会うことができます。ドラ息子も自分のブルーエンジェルの帽子に、6人のうち3人のパイロットからサインをしてもらい、鼻高々。我が家の家宝となりました。U家の皆さんもエアショー楽しんでくれたようで、Aちゃんがひと言「また来た〜い!」。来年もまた一緒に行くことになりそうです(^o^)/。

Looking Back Our Summer (Air Show)

Going to the air show in Salinas is our annual event. It was our fourth year and we went with Grandma and the U family this time. Grandma came with us last year, too. But at that time the weather turned worse every minute and by the end of the show, we were shivering from cold. The feature of last year was “Thunderbirds,” a squadron of the US Air Force. We were looking forward to see them so much for the first time. With a low cloud covering the sky, however, they decided to cancel its performance in the last minute. How disappointed were we? Yes, a lot.

This year, on the contrary, the weather was completely different. A clear, blue sky, which meant, yes, it was HOT!! Equipped with a parasol, umbrellas and sunscreen, we also tried to stay hydrated. Every year the show offers a variety of attractions, which we never get tired of. This year, there was a dinosaur robot, called “Robosaurus.” It blew fire on three cars and ate them up. The feature of this year was the familiar Blue Angels of the US Navy. No matter how many times we see them, they never cease to amaze us.

After the show, we could meet the team members of Blue Angels over the fence. Dragon was so proud to get the signatures from three out of the six pilots on his Blue Angels hat. Now the hat is our family treasure. The U’s had fun, too, as seen in what A-chan said. She said, “I want to come back again!!” It looks like we are going together again next year. (^o^)/
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by danceofdragon | 2009-09-17 01:46

夏のおさらい(2回目のキャンプ) Looking Back Our Summer (Second Camping Trip)

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夏休みが終わりました。この果てしなく長い休みの間、日本にいた10日以外をどのように過ごしたかというと。。。とにかく、エネルギーあり余るドラ息子を忙しくさせるために、私の乏しいエネルギーは全て費やされたと言っても過言ではないでしょう。とにかく昼間は友達と遊ばせ、夜はカンフー通い。 もう一人、こちらも元気いっぱいの舞姫は、4週間のサマースクールに行き、それ以外はひたすらデイケアに預けられ(^_^;)、平日はこんな感じで乗り切りました。

週末は家族でお出かけ。サンタ・クルーズのビーチに行ったり、ストックトンのグランマ宅のプールで泳いだり。キャンプにもまた行きました。日本から帰ってきてからも、サリナスでのエアショー、サンフランシスコの科学博物館、カンフー道場の持ち寄りパーティなどなど大忙し。ドラゴン、他にもお友達の誕生パーティに呼ばれて遊園地やゲームセンターで遊ばせてもらったり。そうそう、お泊まりの初体験もしました。

いやいや、こうして振り返ると、よくやったなぁと自分でも感心します。立ち止まって考える暇もなかったけど、悔いはないって感じ。たくさんの夏の楽しみ、本格的に涼しくなる前に、いくつかこのブログに書けるかしら。

まずは2回目のキャンプから。キャンプ初心者であるY家とU家の方々と3家族で行ってきました。キャンプ場は近くのポートラ州立公園、バナナそっくりのなめくじが生息しているところです。

二泊三日、大勢でわいわいと、よく遊び、よく食べ、よく笑いました。最初の夜はW家のご夫婦が大量の薪を差し入れに来てくれ、思う存分キャンプファイヤーができて、マシュマロを火であぶって食べるのを楽しみにしていたY家のA君もご満悦。

Y家のパパが仕事で来れなくなったり、出発の朝、U家のMちゃんが発熱して参加が危ぶまれたり、U家のママが二日目に体調を崩して救急外来に駆け込んだりと、ハプニングまで盛りだくさんです(^_^;)。それでも、Y家、U家の方々、準備も手際わもほぼ完璧で、とても初心者には思えませんでした。来年も一緒に行けるといいですね。
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The summer break is over. How did we spend this seemingly endless break other than those 10 days in Japan? It is no exaggeration to say what little energy I had was all consumed on keeping dragon busy, a boy with inexhaustible energy. I just let him play with his friends during the day and took him to his kung fu classes at night. Meanwhile, my dancing princess, also full of energy, attended the four-week summer program at school, and the other days she was taken to the daycare(^_^;). This way we managed to survive the weekdays.

On weekends we, as a family, were always on the go. We went to beaches in Santa Cruz, visited Stockton and swam in Grandma’s pool. We went on another camping trip. After coming back from Japan, we were pretty much busy going to an airshow in Salinas, a science museum in San Francisco, a potluck fun at dragon’s kung fu school, etc. Dragon was also invited to a couple of his friend’s birthday parties held in an amusement park or a game arcade. Oh yes, he made his debut to a sleepover.

Well, looking back, I feel so proud of myself for doing so many things. Although I didn’t even have time to stop to think, I can say, “I have no regrets.” I wonder how much of this summer fun I will be able to write in this blog before the summer is officially over and it cools down.

Let me start with our second camping trip, which we went with the Y family and U family. They were both beginners. The camping ground was in Portola State Park, not very far from home, where banana slugs inhabit that look exactly like bananas.

During the three-day trip, the big cheerful party of us played a lot, ate a lot and laughed a lot. First night, the couple of the W family stopped by with whole bunch of firewoods. Thanks to them, we were never short of the fuel for campfire, which made A-kun of the Y’s very happy. He was so looking forward to having marshmallows roasted on the campfire.

The trip was full of unexpected happenings, too(^_^;). The dad of the Y’s could not make it because he had to go to work. The morning of the first day, the U’s were not sure if they could make it because M-chan had a fever. The second day, the mom of the U’s didn’t feel well and had to run to an emergency hospital. For all the troubles, both the Y’s and U’s were prepared and skilled so perfectly that it was hard to believe it was their first camping trip. I hope we can go together again next year.
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by danceofdragon | 2009-09-14 03:37

これがほんとのバケーション? Was It a Real Vacation?

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とうとうカリフォルニアに帰る日がやってきました。とにかく楽しかったのひと言。息子と二人で出かけるのも、ばびぃと三人で出かけるのも、それぞれに味わいがあり、懐かしい人たちとの再会も果たせ(皆じゃなかったけど!)大満足の10日間でした。

それもこれも、ケーシー、グランマ、義姉が応援体制を作ってくれ、舞姫の面倒を見てくれたから可能となったことです。グランマは2週間ずっといてくれ、義姉は2回やってきて1泊ずつしてくれました。義姉によると「あなたママじゃない人ね」って感じで、じーっと顔を見てたそうです。そしてとても協力的だったとか。舞姫も、いつもと違う顔ぶれに囲まれて楽しかったかも。

私の方は、突然舞姫の世話から解放されて変な感じ。ご飯を食べさせなくていい、おむつを替えなくてもいい、お風呂に入れなくてもいい、車椅子を準備しなくていい、、、「なんか身体が楽、、ちょっと罪悪感はあるけど、これって本当のバケーション?」去年もドラ息子と二人で来ましたが、その時は父の急死の直後で辛い旅でした。でも今回は、悲しみもだいぶ薄れてきたところだったので、心底楽しむことができたのです。

留守番部隊の方々にひたすら感謝感謝です。さてさて、久しぶりに会った舞姫は、相変わらずマイペースの姫でした(^_^;)。

Finally it was time to go back to California. “We really had a good time.” That’s all I could say. With dragon or with Babi, every outing had its own flavor. We were able to meet lots of friends we hadn’t seen for a long time, although could not meet all them! Those ten days were full of fun.

This trip was possible all thanks to the support team who took care of my dancing princess. The team was formed by Casey, Grandma and my sister-in-law. Grandma stayed for two weeks while my sister-in-law came to help two times staying overnight each time. According to my sister-in-law, princess once stared at her face as if she was saying, “You are not my mom, are you?” And she said princess was very cooperative with her caregivers. I think it was good for princess to have somebody else around her.

Meanwhile, I first had a strange feeling, all of sudden, freed from all my caregiving chores. No feeding, no changing diapers, no giving a bath, no worry about wheelchair... “My body feels light....I feel a bit guilty but is this,,, is this a true vacation?” Last year, dragon and I went to Japan, too. However, it was a very heartbreaking trip right after the sudden passing of my father. This time, now that my grief was much healed, I was truly able to enjoy our stay.

I cannot be grateful enough for the members of the support team. How was princess when we came back? She was as princessy as ever, going her own way as usual (^_^;).
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by danceofdragon | 2009-09-07 15:37