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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[PR]

# 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 (^_^;).
[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2009-09-07 15:37

父の一周忌、東京タワー、靖国神社 First Anniversary, Tokyo Tower and Yasukuni Shrine

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父の一周忌の法要のため、3人で暑さに喘ぎながら増上寺に出向きました。控え室でちょっと緊張した面持ちのドラ息子、ブツブツとたどたどしい発音で「南無阿弥陀仏」の練習をしてます。3人の若いお坊さんがお経を唱えている間、正座して神妙に合掌したり、祭壇では慣れない手つきでお焼香したり、一生懸命な姿がなんとも可愛らしく、きっと「じいじ」もあの世で喜んだに違いありません。

法要も無事に終わり、脱ぎ捨てるように服を着替えて向かったのは、そう「東京タワー」です。ここまで来たからには寄らないわけにはいきません。ドラゴンが東京タワーに上るのは、これで4回か5回目くらい。まず150mの高さにある第一展望台へ。さっきまでいた増上寺がよく見えました。ドラゴン、第二展望台まで行くと言ってききません。しぶしぶまたお金を払ってエレベーターに乗りましたが、即後悔。私、高所恐怖症なのでした(@o@)。

第二展望台は250mの高さ、あまりの怖さに窓に近寄れない! 言い出しっぺのドラゴンまで壁にへばりついてます。そのうちに慣れて歩き回ってたけど、最初からへっちゃらだったのはばびぃ。さすが年の功? 今度出来る「東京スカイツリー」は、第一展望台が350m、第二展望台が450mだそうな。その時は私は地上で待つことにします(^_^;)。

次に向かったのは、戦没者が祀られている靖国神社です。なかなか行く機会がなくて、今回も忙しくて考えてなかったのですが、前日に会ったankoさんが息子さんを連れて行ったことを教えてくれて、思い立ちました。

初めて見る大きな鳥居はやはり圧巻でした。参拝後、隣接する遊就館と呼ばれる博物館をひととおり見学しました。どんな戦争であれ、多くの人たちが国のためという思いで散っていかれたことを思うと、胸が痛みます。どこかで必ず戦争が起きている地球上で、たまたま戦争に巻き込まれずいる自分たちがどれだけ幸運か、考えずにはいられませんでした。

さてさて、暑さの中さんざん歩いて足が棒のよう、体を引きずるように帰路につきました。ハプニングが待ち受けていたとはつゆ知らず。東京駅にたどり着いたら、なんと乗るはずの京葉線がトラブルで止まってるではありませんか。しかも夕方のラッシュアワー。京葉線に乗るはずの人たちが何百人と、既に混んでいる総武線に流れ込み、その混雑ぶりたるや想像を絶するものでした。回りの大人より背の低いドラゴン、顔だけが宙に浮いている姿に、笑いをこらえるのに必死でした。

バスにも乗り継いで、ようやく近くまで帰り着いた時は日もどっぷり暮れてました。夕食は、再び焼き肉屋さんで。前回食べ損ねたドラゴンもおいしい焼き肉にありついて、元気を取り戻して日本での最後の夜を過ごしました。それにしても長い一日だった。
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Panting in the heat, the three of us headed for Zojo-ji Temple to commemorate the first anniversay of my father’s passing. In the waiting room, with a bit nervous face, dragon started murmuring. He was practicing “Namu Amida Buddha” in halting pronunciation. While three young priests chanted a sutra, dragon, seriously sitting Japanese style, kept his hands in a praying manner. Unsteadily but sincerely he offered incense at the altar. He looked so dear, which, I was sure, made Jiji in the other world very happy.

The ceremony went well. We immediately changed our clothes and headed for, yes, “Tokyo Tower.” There was no reason not to stop by the tower since we were so close. As far as I remembered, it was the fourth or fifth visit to Tokyo Tower for dragon. First stop was the first observatory at the height of 500 feet, where we had a good view of the temple we had just been to. Now dragon was determined to go up to the second observatory. Very reluctantly, I paid again to go up higher. The moment we stepped in the elevator, I regretted. Yes, I have acrophobia. (@o@)

The second observatory was at the height of 820 feet. It was so scary that I couldn’t even go near the windows!! Even dragon, who brought up the idea of coming up, was glued to the wall, but soon he started to walk around. It was Babi who was just fine. Does living many years count? “Tokyo Sky Tree,” the new tower in construction, will have the first observatory at 1,150 feet and the second one at 1500 feet. I think I will wait on the ground then. (^_^;)

Next destination was “Yasukuni Shrine,” dedicated to the war dead. I had never had a chance to go there and this time I was too busy to think of it. But Anko-san, I had met the day earlier, told about her visit there with her son, which was very inspiring.

The huge torii or gate I had seen for the first time was overwhelming. After making a visit to the shrine, we went to the adjacent museum called “Yushu-kan.” No matter what purpose each war had, so many people died, dedicated for the wellness of the country. It really breaks my heart when I think about it. While there is always a war somewhere on the earth, I could not help but think how lucky we are for living in a time and a place without getting involved in a war.

Anyway, we walked so long in the tormenting heat. Dragging our stiff legs, we headed home without the slightest idea what was waiting for us. When we got to Tokyo Station where we were supposed to change trains to the Keiyo Line, we found the line stopped for some kind of trouble. It was early evening, the rush hour. Along with other hundreds of people who couldn’t get on Keiyo Line, we took an alternate Sobu Line which was already full. How crowed was it? It was beyond imagination. Dragon, a little shorter than other adults surrounding him, had barely his face above the crowd. He looked like he was floating, which I had hard time holding back my laughter at.

It was long after dusk when we finally got near Babi’s place after taking another long bus ride. We went to the Korean BBQ restaurant again. Dragon finally tasted the meal that he had missed the other day. Now recharged, we spent the last night in Japan. It was a long, long day.
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[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2009-08-30 02:13

遊び足りない! Can’t Play Enough!!

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日本滞在も残り少なくなってきました。先日一緒に遊んだプリスクールのお友達。でも、一日じゃ全然遊び足らず、もう一度、来られるメンバーで集まることになったのでした。今度はAさんがお宅を提供してくれました。

Aさんファミリーは2年前に新居を購入したとのこと。他のママたちも初めての訪問だったので、見るもの全てが目新しくて「すご〜い!」の連発でした。Aさんの手作りカレーに舌鼓を打ちながら、ママたちはまたまたおしゃべり。遊び足りなかったのは、ママたちも同じですね(^^)/。

子どもたちは、もちろん大はしゃぎ。近くにお散歩にもってこいの玉川の土手があり、歩いてみました。プリスクール時代、いつも木登りしていた子どもたち。姿が見えなくなったと思ったら、やっぱり木登りしてました(^o^)/。

これで1年分遊んで満ち足りた? そんなはずはありません。でも時間は無情に迫ってきます。泣く泣く解散し、chiezoさん宅を目指しました。chiezoさんも去年引っ越したばかり、新居を見ないで帰るわけにはいきません。運転が嫌いなmiyuikoさんの車に命がけで便乗して「無事」に到着!(^_^;)

夕飯をご馳走になった後、嬉しいハプニングがありました。別れたばかりのAさん親子が「お土産をわたすのを忘れた〜!」と持ってきてくれたのです。そしてとうとう帰る時間に。Miyuikoさんが涙目になったように見えて、自分もこらえるのに必死でした。

駅まで見送ってくれたchiezoさん親子、路面電車から手を振る二人の姿が見えました。あ〜、もっと時間があればなぁ。そういえば、chiezoさんの新居をじっくり見て来なかった!やっぱりまた行かないと!

Now we only had a couple of days left in Japan. We had already played with friends from dragon’s preschool the other day. But one day was just too short for the kids to play. So we decided to get together again. Moms and kids who could make it went to A-san’s house this time. A-san kindly offered her place.

I didn’t know that A-san’s family had bought a house two years ago. The other moms had never been to their new house either. Everything we saw looked so interesting and everybody kept saying, “Wow!” everywhere in the house. Smacking our lips over A-san’s homemade curry rice, moms were very busy talking. Moms needed to play more as much as kids after all. (^^)/

Kids were, of course, overjoyed. We went for a walk to nearby riverbank of Tamagawa River that provided nice trails. There we once lost the sight of the kids and soon found them climbing up the trees. There was no wonder since they used to climb trees all the time in preschool days. (^o^)/

“Have we played enough for one year?” Of course not. But time was cruelly running out. We finally decided to part and headed for chiezo-san’s place. She had also moved to a condominium last year and we could not go home without stopping by. Miyuiko-san, who hates driving, gave us a ride and risking our lives, we got there “safely!”(^_^;)

After having dinner, there was a pleasant happening. A-san and her kids, whom we had just said good-bye to, showed up because they had forgotten to give us some souvenirs!! Now we really had to go home. I had to fight back the tears when Miyuiko-san’s eyes looked teary.

Chiezo-san and her daughter walked with us to the streetcar station. From the train we saw them waving at us. I wished we could have had more time. Oh, no! We didn’t even look around her new place! Well, we have to go there again!!
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[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2009-08-23 13:36

東京スカイツリー、御茶の水、新宿高層ビル Tokyo Sky Tree, Ochanomizu and Shinjuku Skyscraper

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なぜか東京タワーの大ファンのドラ息子。そして、新しい東京タワーができると知った時には大喜び。何でも新しいタワーは「東京スカイツリー」と呼ばれ、東京タワーの2倍近くの610mの驚異的な高さになるそうな。日本に行ったら建設現場を見に行こうねと、約束していました。ばびぃと3人でまた電車の旅です。

墨田区の押上駅という駅に初めて降り立ち、キョロキョロと辺りを見回したら、それらしき大きな物体が目に飛び込んできました。「あれなの〜?」最初は半信半疑。灰色の空に灰色の物体が不気味に立っています。普通のビルじゃなさそうだし、やっぱりあれに違いない。

掲示板があったので見てみると、この時点で90mの高さだということでした。これが610mの高さにそびえるタワーになるとは、ちょっと想像できません。2011年に完成した暁には、そうです、また日本に来ないといけませんね(^_^;)。

雨も降ってきたので、早々にまた電車に乗りました。次に向かったのは文京区の御茶の水。前にインターネットで見つけた「おりがみ会館」に行ってみましたが、特に感動するものもなかったので、ささっと見て、後は御茶の水散策。雨も上がったので、孔子廟である湯島聖堂やロシア正教のニコライ堂を見て回りました。

ここでばびぃは帰途につき、ドラゴンと私は新宿へ。センタービルの53階のレストランに行きました。床までガラス張りの窓から下を覗くと、さすがに足が震えます(^_^;)。そこで会ったのはJさんとnonさん。お二人とは「MOVE」という アメリカ生まれのプログラムを通して知り合いました。10年以上も前のことです。「MOVE」は身体的な障害をもつ子供に基本的な運動技能を指導するものです。

当時、日本支部の事務局長であるJさんと、私のように障害をもつお子さんがいるnonさん、また他の沢山の方々と、セミナーやフォーラムを開催したり、ニュースレターを発行したり、とても充実した日々でした。そういえば、赤ちゃんだったドラゴンにおっぱいをあげながら、ある時はチョロチョロ走り回るドラゴンを追いかけながら仕事をしたこともあったっけ。今じゃ大きくなり、こうして一応おとなしく横に座り、大人の会話にも耳を傾けているドラゴンを見て、不思議な感じがしました。

カリフォルニアに引っ越して以来、MOVEからは離れてしまいましたが、今も変わらず精力的に活動されている二人の様子は多いに刺激的でした。陰ながら応援し続けていきたいと思います。
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For some reason, dragon is a big fan of Tokyo Tower. And when he learned about construction of a new one, he was so excited. The new tower will be called “Tokyo Sky Tree,” with the astounding height of 2,000 ft, nearly twice as tall as Tokyo Tower. Dragon and I had promised to go to the construction site when we went to Japan. Babi, dragon and me, three of us were on a train again.

For the very first time, we got off the train at a station called “Oshiage” in Sumida-ku. We looked around and something like it jumped in our sight. “Is that it???” We were not sure. Something gray was looming against the gray sky. It didn’t look like an ordinary buidling. That should be it.

There was an information board of the project, which said it was up to 300 ft at that time. I could hardly imagine that this would be 2,000 ft tall dominating the sky. Once it is complete in 2011, guess what, we have to come to Japan again.(^_^;)

It started raining so we hurried back in a train for our next destination, “Ochanomizu” in Bunkyo-ku. We went to an origami store called “Origami Kaikan” I had found on the internet, but there wasn’t much to be impressed. After quickly going through the store, we explored the Ochanomizu area a little bit. The rain had stopped. We visited “Yushima Seido,” a Confucian temple and “Nicholai-do,” a cathedral of Russian Orthodox Church.

Then, Babi went home and dragon and I headed for Shinjuku, to a restaurant on the 53rd floor of Shinjuku Center Building. There were huge windows that went down to the floor and we could feel the chill go down our legs when we peeked down.(^_^;) There, we met J-san and non-san. It was more than 10 years ago when I first met them through the program called “MOVE,” which, developed in the U.S., teaches basic motor skills to children with physical disabilities.

Together with J-san, who is director-general of the Japan branch, non-san, who is, just like me, the parent of a child with disabilities, and other many people, I used to help hold seminars and forums and publish newsletters. Good old fulfilling days. I remember working while nursing the baby dragon or chasing the toddler dragon. It was a strange feeling to see him, grown up, sitting seemingly still next to me, listening to adults’ conversations without running around.

I haven’t been involved in MOVE much since moving to California, but seeing the two still vigorously engaged was very stimulating. I decided to keep supporting their work from the behind.
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[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2009-08-17 13:59

谷津干潟と板橋 Tideland and Itabashi

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この日も大忙し。まず、ばびぃが谷津干潟というところに連れて行ってくれました。電車とタクシーで行ったけど、なんと観察センターがお休み(^_^;)。じっくりと見ることはできませんでしたが、通りがかりの人がいろいろと教えてくれ、エイや、引き潮で海に流されて行く無数のクラゲが見えました。

その後、ばびぃと別れて板橋に向かいました。板橋は私とケーシーが結婚生活をスタートさせ、1992年から2000年までを過ごした場所です。舞姫とドラ息子も板橋で産声を上げました。特に、舞姫が産まれて、脳が正常に発達しないだろうと告げられ、人生で一番辛い時期を過ごしたのも、そして「つぼみの会」という障害児のための小さな保育施設を通して、同じ立場のお母さんたちと出会い、立ち直ることができたのもこの板橋でした。

目的地はTさん宅。当時、Tさんとは、他のお母さんたちと一緒につぼみでいろんな活動をしました。季節の行事、バザー、会報作り、区役所との交渉などなど。誰もが自分の子供だけでなく、会のみんなのために一生懸命に活動したものです。

TさんちのRちゃんと舞姫、かつては一緒につぼみに通った仲間です。4年ぶりに会ったRちゃんは、声変わりまでしてすっかり大きくなっていました。そして妹のMちゃんは、ドラ息子とわずか3ヶ月違い。ママたちのお腹にいた時から一緒だった二人です。きっと友達を越えた絆が二人の間にはあるに違いありません。

Tさんが急遽二人のママを呼んでくれて、思い出話に花が咲くとともに、子どもたちが大きくなったがための新たな問題など、話は尽きませんでした。来年は飲み会を企画してくれるとか(^o^)/。Tさん一家と夕食を共にし「じゃ、また来年ね。」と軽く別れてきました。

We had another busy day.  First Babi took us to Yatsu Higata (tideland).  We took a train and a taxi to find that its observation center was closed. (^_^;)  Although we were not able to take a good look at the tideland, a man passing by showed us a lot.  There were a few rays and a whole bunch of jellyfish being carried back to the sea along with the receding tide.
 
Afterward, dragon and I headed for Itabashi where Casey and I had started our married life in 1992.  We lived there until 2000.  Both princess and dragon were born in Itabashi.  It was especially the place where I spent the hardest time of my life when we were told princess’ brain would not develop normally.  It was also the place that I got back on my feet through a small daycare facility for children with disabilities called “Tsubomi no Kai.”  “Tsubomi” means flower bud.  There I met moms in similar situations.
 
We were to meet the T-family that day.  T-san and I, along with other moms, used to do various activities at Tsubomi; seasonal events, bazaars, newsletters, negotiating with ward officials, etc.  All of us worked hard, not just for our own kid, but for everybody at Tsubomi.  
 
R-chan of the T-family and princess used to go to Tsubomi together.  It was four years since we had last met, and he had grown so much and his voice had changed, too.  His younger sister, M-chan, and dragon were born only three months apart.  They were together even before they were born.  I’m sure the two have some special bond with each other beyond friendship.
 
There were two other familiar faces T-san had invited that day.  We were not without things to talk about; from old-time memories to new issues that arise when kids are much bigger.  They said we could plan for a big party next year. (^o^)/  After having dinner with the T-family, we casually parted, saying, “See you next year!”
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[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2009-08-13 03:34

プールと食べ損ねた焼き肉 Pool and Missed Korean BBQ

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日本に来て初めての快晴の日、朝からばびぃのアパートからほど近いプールに行きました。水の滑り台やら滝やら波の出るプールがあって、本格的なところでした。波の出るプールでは、1時間に10分だけ人工的に作られた波がプールを流れてきます。押し合いへし合いしながら大勢の人が、波が押し寄せてくるたびに「ウォ〜!」と歓声を上げ、プカプカ浮いている様子には、なにかしら不気味なものがありました。もちろん自分たちもその中にいましたが(^_^;)。

滝に打たれるのに夢中になったドラ息子にさんざんつき合わされ、おかげでせっかく塗った日焼け止めも洗い流され、顔と肩が真っ赤っか(^_^;)。こんなの子供のとき以来、、、ばびぃの家に戻ったところで、タイミング良く横浜に住む従兄、Tちゃんから電話が。千葉まで会いにきてくれるとのことでした。Tちゃんとは学年が一緒。これまた4年ぶりの再会です。

一緒にちょっとばかり近所の夏祭りを覗いて、焼き肉屋に直行。ところが満席で外で待つこと1時間以上。その間、ドラゴンはTちゃんと共通の話題がありました。なにせ、Tちゃんは、サーフィン、スノボー、スケボーをこなすスポーツマン。スケボーに夢中、そしてスノボーをやりたがっているドラゴンは質問の連発でした。

だがしかし、時差ぼけで夜7時を過ぎると、どうにもこうにも眠くなってしまうドラゴンです。この晩も、ようやく席に着いた時には熟睡状態。焼き肉には結局ひと口もありつくことなく、帰りはTちゃんに途中までおんぶされる始末でした。

遠路はるばるやって来てくれ、遅くまでつき合って、最後はドラゴンをおぶってくれたTちゃん。翌日は月曜日だったのに、帰り着いたのは午前さまだったでしょうね。申し訳ないっす!

Under the first clear sky since arriving in Japan, we went to a pool not far from Babi’s apartment in the morning. It was a full-scale facility, with water slides, waterfalls and a wave pool. At the wave pool, for only 10 minutes every hour, high waves were artificially generated. A big crowd of people in fanny-bumper let out shouts of joy at every wave made and floated along. It was quite a weird sight to see, but, of course, dragon and I were among them.

Dragon was so fascinated with the waterfalls and insisited that I sit under them with him. Thanks to that, sunscreen was washed away and I got badly sunburned on the face and shoulders (^_^;). I hadn’t had such a bad sunburn since I was a kid.

When we were back at Babi’s apartment, the telephone rang. It was a timely call from my cousin, T-chan, who lives in Yokohama. He kindly offered to come over to see us. T-chan and I had been in the same grade. Again it had been four years since we last met.

We swung by a neighborhood summer festival before heading for a Korean BBQ restaurant. However, the restaurant was full and we had to wait outside for more than an hour. While waiting, dragon found a common topic with T-chan. T-chan is some sportman with experiences in surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding. Dragon, who is into skateboarding and wants to try snowboarding, was shooting question after question at him.

However, once it was past seven at night, dragon tended to give way to sleepiness due to jet lag. That night was no exception. By the time we finally settled in the restaurant, he was out like a light. He didn’t get to eat any of the BBQ and he had to be carried on T-chan’s back halfway home.

I felt sorry for T-chan for coming all the way and spending time with us till late, ending up carrying dragon on the back. Next day was Monday but I was sure it was past midnight when he finally got home!!
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[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2009-08-09 06:46

お台場での一日 A Day in Odaiba

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この日は、大学時代の友人、RちゃんとTちゃんに会いました。Rちゃんには二人の男の子がいるので、ドラ息子は遊び相手に事欠きません。お台場で待ち合わせ。お台場は東京湾に面する海辺の街。ここ10年くらいで、東京の新しいレジャースポットとしての地位を確立しました。

土曜日ということもあり、既にたくさんの人で賑わっていました。駅からもどんどん人があふれ出てきます。着いて最初に目についたのが、なぜかお台場にある小型の自由の女神像。ドラゴン、一瞬ニューヨークかと錯覚したようです。

ランチの後、サイエンス・ミュージアム「ソニー・エクスプローラサイエンス」でひとしきり遊びました。子供たち、自分の写真を撮って、コンピュータがその笑顔度を判定するゲームが特に気に入って、とびきりの笑顔を連発。99.7%という驚異的な数字を出して1位になってました(^_^;)。

次は、この夏だけ公園に展示されている、実物大の機動戦士ガンダムを見に行きました。ガンダムは私が子供の頃から絶大な人気を誇っているアニメのヒーロー。もし本当に存在したらこのくらいの大きさだということです。曇り空とはいえ、湿気ムンムンの中を歩くのは至難の業、それでもたくさんの人がぞろぞろとガンダムを目指して歩く光景は、まるで巡礼さながらでした(^_^;)。

それからお台場に本社を構えるフジテレビを少し見学したり、道ばたで大道芸人のパフォーマンスに魅了されたり。でもあまりの暑さに、涼しいサイエンス・ミュージアムに舞い戻ってしまいました。

男のたちが遊んでいる間、私たち女の子はおしゃべりに夢中。なんせ4、5年ぶりに集まったので話は尽きません。大学で知り合った私たち。ということは、お互いの人生の半分以上は知っているわけよねと、妙なことに感動したりして。外に出たらあたりはもう夕闇に包まれてます。名残り惜しいけど、またの再会を誓い合って帰路に着きました。

Rちゃん、子供も大人も楽しめるように一日の行程を考えてくれてありがとうね。

We met R-chan and T-chan, friends from college. R-chan has two boys, which meant dragon was in good hands with good playmates. We met at Odaiba, a waterfront town facing Tokyo Bay. For the last 10 years or so, Odaiba has earned its position as one of the new leisure spots in Tokyo.

It was Saturday and the town was already crowed. Even more people were flooding out of the station. There was a small-size Statue of Liberty in Odaiba for some reason, which came in dragon’s sight upon arrival. For a moment, he thought he was in New York.

After a lunch, we went to “Sony ExploraScience,” a science museum. The kids especially liked a computer game that lets you take your picture and judged the level of smile on your face. So they smiled and smiled, amazingly winning the highest score of 99.7% (^_^;).

Next we walked to a park where the real-size “Mobile Suit Gundam” was displayed only during this summer. Gundam is an anime robot hero, which has been enormously popular since I was a kid. If Gundam exists in the real world it is supposed to be this tall. Although cloudy, it was quite tormenting to walk in the hot muggy air. Even so, hundreds of people were trooping toward Gundam, which looked just like a pilgrimage (^_^;).

Later we swung by Fuji Television, that has its headquarters in Odaiba. We enjoyed watching the performance of a street performer. But the torturous heat urged us back to the science musuem in the nice cool air.

While the boys were playing, the girls (us) were busy talking away. There was so much to catch up on since we hadn’t gotten together for 4 or 5 years. We realized that we had known each other for more than half of our ages since we met at college. Well, strange thing to realize. When we got outside the sun had already gone. We hated to say goodbye but we made sure that we would see each other again someday.

Thank you, R-chan, for planning the day’s activities so that both the kids and adults could have fun at the same time.
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[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2009-08-06 13:57

霊園と恐竜 Cemetery and Dinosaurs

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この日午前中は、父の遺骨を預けている霊園にお参り。灰色の空の下、電車とモノレールとバスを乗り継いで行きました。カリフォルニアでは全くと言っていいほど、公共の交通機関とは縁がないので、ドラ息子にとっては貴重な体験です。

午後は幕張メッセの恐竜博に出かけてきました。ばびぃの住まいは、幕張メッセがあるJR海浜幕張駅からたった二つ目の駅です。近いので行ってみようということに。たくさんの迫力ある恐竜の模型に感動しつつも、結局一番長く時間を過ごしたのは売店でした(^_^;)。化石や宝石類のコーナーに張りついて離れません。男の子って面白い物に興味をもつんだなとあきれます。結局、ティラノサウルスの立体パズルをばびぃに買ってもらい、ようやく会場を後にしました。

そしたら駅に行くまでのわずかな時間に、雨がざーっ。これまた、雨の少ないカリフォルニアに住むドラゴンにとっては貴重な体験でした。
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One morning, we visited a cemetery where my father’s cremains were temporarily placed. Under the gray sky, we took a train, a monorail and a bus to finally get there. For dragon, whose daily life in California has almost no connection with public transportation, it was a very precious experience.

In the afternoon, we went to a dinosaur exposition at Makuhari Messe (a huge convention center in Chiba Prefecture). Babi lives only two stations away from Kaihin Makuhari Station of Japan Railway where Makuhari Messe is. So we decided to check out the exposition. Although we were so impressed with the dynamic diplays of dinosaur models, we spent the most time at a souvenir store (^_^;). Dragon was stuck at the fossil and gem section. It was intriguing to see boys interested in such things. After all, he picked a three dimensional puzzle of Tyrannosaurus, Babi bought it for him and we were finally out of the building.

Then, on the way to the station, rain started falling. For dragon, who lives in California, a low-rain area, I suppose it was a good experience, too.
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[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2009-08-04 15:23

楽しすぎ! Too Much Fun!

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ドラ息子と二人で日本に行ってきました。目的は父の一周忌の法要でしたが、実際のところ、母(ばびぃ)と出かけたり、友人たちと会う予定がびっしり。あっという間の10日間、遊んだ遊んだ。一つ一つの出来事をじっくり書くのは無理そうなので、ざっと綴ってみたいと思います。

まずは、2004〜05年東京目黒区に住んでいた時に、ドラ息子が通った幼稚園の仲間とのプチ同窓会。小さかった子どもたちは、すっかり大きくなってます。男の子たちは遊び方は変わらないけど、よりパワフルになってて、女の子たちは大人びてます。何人かのお友達とは去年再会しているので、子どもたちはすぐに打ちとけて、遊び出しました。

ママたちは?もちろん変わりませんよー。以前のように若く、美しく(^o^)/。一緒に駒沢公園で遊んでいた時に戻ったみたいでした。あいにくの雨だったので、集合場所としてお宅を提供してくれたFさんとmiyuikoさん、そして企画してくれたchiezoさんに感謝感謝です。このプチ同窓会が恒例になるといいなぁ。いつかはカリフォルニアで?
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My dragon boy and I just got back from Japan. The purpose of the trip was the first anniversary of my father’s death. As a matter of fact, however, we had so many other plans to go out with my mother (Babi) and to meet friends. Everyday was full of fun and ten days went by so quickly. I would like to report each event briefly since I won’t be able to go into detail for each one.

First, we had a petite reunion among close friends at the preschool dragon had attended during 2004 and 2005 when we lived in Meguro-ku, Tokyo. The kids who were so little had now grown up so much. Boys, although the way they play was still the same, had become more powerful. Girls looked a lot mature. We already met some of the friends once last year so the kids started playing right away with no hesitation.

Mommies? Of course, none of us had changed; just as young and pretty as before (^o^)/. I felt like being back to the time we used to play in Komazawa Park. I am so grateful to F-san and Miyuiko-san for offering their places for gathering. Unfortunately we had rain on and off all day. Thank you also for Chiezo-san for all the planning. I hope this petite reunion can be our annual event. Maybe in California someday?
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[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2009-08-03 13:40