Sunday Afternoon 4/2/2017

Besides all the KitKats, this trip’s souvenirs were five pairs of chopsticks, a small Inu Hariko, and amulets for Brett and I for good luck (red) and good fortune (gold). The pink amulet and the one below are YaYu’s, for academic testing success (she has her SAT and AP exams coming up in a month).

There are four more days to enter Japan Giveaway #1, for a gift package with five tasty Hato Sabure, or bird cookies, from Kamakura. All you have to do is leave a comment on the post (click the link above) to enter. Remember, you can comment once every day to increase your chances of winning.

Room service at the New Sanno on our last night for our grandson and YaYu. Brett and I were still full from brunch (but waste not, want not – I brought home the little jars of mayonnaise and dijon mustard!).

I almost can’t believe that a week ago we were still in Japan. We took our son and family to the fabulous brunch at the New Sanno Hotel, and then our son and grandson stayed on for a swim in the pool. Our grandson ended up staying with us for dinner as well, and for fun we ordered from room service – he was amazed when they brought our dinner to our room. The cost for room service was actually very affordable, and prices were no more than we would have paid downstairs in the restaurant.

ALL the KitKats!

It was a bit of a shock coming home to Kauai’s warm weather, especially since it was still kind of cool-ish when we left. On Monday morning in Japan I woke up to a greeting on Facebook letting me know snow was expected that day in Minato-ku, the area of Tokyo where we were staying. The snow never arrived, at least not before we left, but it was very cold and rainy, and snow was definitely a possibility. Our son bought us lunch that day from a nearby hamburger restaurant (I had a bowl of minestrone), and we left for the airport at around 3:30 in the afternoon. We found six more flavors of KitKits at the airport – melon, sakura-green tea, Japanese strawberry, roasted tea, apple, and Okinawan sweet potato – bringing our total number of flavors for this trip to 17, a new record. We have all our KitKits in a big bowl, and Brett and I are allowing ourselves one a day, after dinner each evening.

My back bothered me a bit after we got back, but nothing like last fall and it’s fine now. I’m being very careful though, and trying not to overdo things until I’m sure it’s OK. I actually think that dragging around my heavy carry-on bag is what causes the back issues (because I dragged around a heavy bag last summer too).

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I never even started A Man Called Ove and my free library download ended, so I put myself on the hold list again and in the meantime I’ve downloaded A Burglar’s Guide To the City, by Geoff Manaugh. It’s a non-fiction, architectural look at how burglars think about breaking into every type of building. It’s very interesting and entertaining – I’m learning all sorts of things (not that I plan to go out and break in anywhere).
  • Listening to: It’s currently very quiet in the house – YaYu is in her room, and Brett just left for his daily walk on the beach path. Today he’s walking from Donkey Beach south to Kealia Beach (the one closest to our house) and back before driving home. It’s warm and sunny outside, but with a nice breeze blowing that I can hear rustling the trees. Loads of birds are singing (and I hear some roosters in the distance) – it’s a beautiful day!
  • Watching: Brett and I finished up all the available episodes of Ripper Street, and are getting ready to start This Is Us on Hulu tonight. Last night we watched the movie Loving – such a beautiful film. We’ve also discovered that all seasons of The Great British Bake-Off are available on YouTube, and since we have a smart TV we’re going to try to slip in a few of those as well this week.
  • Cooking/Baking: Everyone was on their own for breakfast this morning: YaYu had one of the specialty cup noodles she brought back from Japan, I had yogurt with strawberries and blueberries, and Brett had oatmeal with blueberries and soy milk. Tonight I’m making the baked chili rellenos topped with green chili sauce that I didn’t get to make before we left along with some yellow rice and coleslaw. No baking today – we brought home more than enough treats from Japan that I doubt I’ll need to bake this entire month.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I recovered from jet lag pretty quickly this time, although the first couple of days after we got home were rough. Brett and I got all of our “big shop” for the month accomplished, and came in under budget. It was difficult getting back on the exercise bike again, mainly because my feet and legs hurt so much after all the walking we did in Japan, but I’ve gotten back up to three rides a day, and am incorporating a HITS in each ride. I’ve picked up Portuguese again, for 10 minutes a day now, but I sure did forget a lot while we were gone. I found though that 10 minutes helps me retain what I learn – more than that and I start forgetting things – so I’ve backed that down from 20 minutes. I’ve given up with Rosetta Stone Japanese even though I only have one more lesson to go – all that work, and what they taught was pretty much worthless in Japan. I could barely understand anything or say anything. Hopefully I can find something else that’s more effective.
  • Looking forward to next week: I’m hoping Brett and I can get to the beach at least once. I’m of course looking forward to my daily KitKat – I close my eyes when I reach into the bowl and never know what flavor I’ll be having. But, they’ve all been good and I’ve been happy with every choice (I had sake last night – yowza!). I’m not sure I’m looking forward to having a gastrointestinal endoscopy (GUI) done on Tuesday, but hopefully it will all be good news.

    Loved, loved, loved getting to spend so much time with this little one!

  • Thinking of good things that happened: We had an absolutely fabulous time in Japan – everything about the trip went right from start to finish. We loved meeting our new granddaughter and getting to spend time with her – she is such a happy, calm baby. Our grandson is a bundle of energy (he’s six!), but so smart and funny, and so much fun to be around. Our son and daughter-in-law spoiled us rotten, taking us out to eat several times, buying our train tickets, offering us advice and directions, and so forth. I was able to bring home three small loaves of the best raisin bread ever from the bakery near my son’s condo – it went into the freezer here, and I’m allowing myself one slice every Monday for breakfast to make it last. On top of the $87.43 we set aside during our stay, this past week we put an additional $14.21 into the change/$1 bill jar.
  • Reporting losses and gains for the quarter: I lost another six pounds last month, bringing my total weight loss so far to 14 pounds! All that walking in Japan sure made a difference. We have so far saved $1801.71 toward our goal of saving $7000 this year for next year’s Big Mystery Adventure™. If we can keep up the pace we will make it, but it’s not going to be easy . . . we have lots coming up for the girls this year, and Brett needs to get new glasses, among other things.
  • Grateful for: I am thankful every day for my wonderful husband of 38 years. Brett and I had our anniversary this past week, but won’t “officially” celebrate until later this month. When I joined the navy back in 1977, as I headed off to my first duty station my mother’s parting words were, “for heaven’s sake, whatever you do, don’t marry a sailor!” Others told me that our marriage would never last. But here we are, still in love, still best friends, and still enjoying each other’s company. Brett’s sister thought it was awful at one point that I didn’t want to participate in all of Brett’s hobbies and activities, but that’s one of the things that I love about our relationship, that each of us appreciates that the other is a different, whole person, with different likes and interests. We do share the “important” stuff though, about money, child rearing, politics, and such. Every day with Brett has been a blessing. My mother, by the way, thought Brett was wonderful from the moment she met him, and totally approved of my marrying a sailor!
  • Bonus question: What new things did you learn in Japan this time? I learned a new word, mamonaku, which I kept hearing over and over whenever we rode the train and subway (something I never heard on Rosetta Stone). It means “shortly,” like “shortly, the train will be arriving at xxx station.” Our son also pointed out that ticket machines in Japan will accept and make change from what is the equivalent of a $100 bill (10,000¥). I had never noticed that before, but you can buy a ticket for around $1.40, and get around $98.60 back in change if all you have is a 10,000¥ bill! Kind of nuts, but very convenient.

That’s it from Casa Aloha this afternoon! How was your week? What did you accomplish? What good things happened for you?

15 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 4/2/2017

  1. The One in Debt says:

    I’ve never made chili rellenos, but I really must try. They are my fave to eat.
    I’m quite jealous of all the kitkats. The apple one sounds delicious. And love the recap of your trip to Japan. My daughter is infatuated with the country. I would love to take her but my anxiety for airplanes hinders me. Sigh. I must overcome it. Maybe a brief stop in HI before Japan would good. And I heard traveling east back home is easier on a person in terms of jet lag.
    Congrats on the weight loss! I know its no easy task even with lots of healthy eating and exercise.

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    • Laura says:

      The apple KitKat is pretty good – you can actually taste apple. The sake one was pretty boozy – that was a surprise! The only one that’s been somewhat disappointing so far was the Okinawan sweet potato, but Brett liked it, so who knows?

      Brett and I have decided that for long trips, if at all possible, that we will break them up with a stopover somewhere. Obviously we can’t do that from here to Japan, but for trips back to the mainland we will if at all possible. It’s just to much for us these days, but we still want to travel. HI would be a great stopover on the way to Japan, although the flight from here to Tokyo is as long as flying from Portland or Seattle (which might be more affordable).

      I love the deep-fried chili rellenos, but the baked ones I make are much healthier and easier to make. Basically you whip egg whites until stiff, then fold in the egg yolks and a little flour. Put half into a well-greased 9″x13″ pan, layer with whole green chilis and sliced cheese, and then top with the rest of the egg white mixture and bake. The eggs puff up when it bakes. I serve with warm enchilada sauce (we prefer the mild green kind). Anyway, pretty easy and foolproof, and it’s fairly low calorie and low carb.

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      • The One in Debt says:

        thanks for the tip about flying to Tokyo from Portland or Seattle. I wasn’t aware of that. DD says, “let’s go!”.

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  2. Vivian Gibson says:

    Love the picture of your granddaughter. She is beautiful.
    I ordered some kitkats from Amazon but they are shipping from Japan and will not arrive until the end of April or the beginning of May. I was surprised that shipping will be free. Love Amazon prime.
    Really like your souvenirs. Do you actually use the chopsticks or are they strictly decorative? I’m glad you had such a great time.

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks, Vivian! Our grandson really takes after our daughter-in-law, but our granddaughter takes more after our son – she looks a lot more like he did when he was a baby. She was an absolute delight – can’t wait to see her again! Our D-I-L is very good about sending photos, videos, etc. so we can keep up with her and our grandson’s progress even though they live so far away.

      We love Amazon Prime too! I have also gotten items shipped for free from Japan. We do use chopsticks, maybe once a week or so (YaYu uses them more – she prefers them to a knife and fork!). I have to get them all different so everyone in the family has their own pair – mine are the cream ones with the blue gourd design. Chopsticks can be VERY expensive in Japan, surprisingly so, but I go for the cheap ones!

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  3. Laura says:

    Where have you found the great British baking episodes on YouTube? I’ve found a sprinkling of them, but so many are of really poor quality or episodes are missing. I love that show and wish that more and three seasons were available on Netflix.

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    • Laura says:

      Someone I know said she was watching all of them (and maybe putting up with poor quality). I just checked, and most of the episodes I can find are blocked on my computer by PBS, so maybe she uses a proxy account? Hmmmm – I was really looking forward to watching more of this show – we love it!

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    • Laura says:

      All the KitKats are what we call “snack size.’ That’s pretty much all you get there, but serving sizes for everything are smaller for the most part that what we get or expect here. They just don’t eat as much as we do.

      No favorites yet, although there are still a few flavors I haven’t tried yet. If I had to choose one now it would be rum raisin, but I could like something better if I came across it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Laurel says:

    Oh, that baby! So darling and such kissable cheeks. 🙂

    We were told our marriage wouldn’t last either. Ha! Happy Anniversary!

    I hope you like This is Us. I love it and can’t wait for the next season. Your burglary book sounds interesting! I’m reading a fluffy novel (Truly, Madly, Guilty) as a follow up to Evicted, which was really good but somewhat depressing. It’s just OK so far. And my hubby bought me a New Yorker subscription for Christmas this year, so I’m madly reading to keep up with the great articles in that each week.

    All the flavors of Kit Kats are intriguing. I had no idea, but may have to try some from Amazon. You’ve piqued my curiosity.

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    • Laura says:

      Our granddaughter was just adorable – we so enjoyed getting to spend time with her. She’s going to be a knockout!

      We’ve watched the first episode of This Is Us and are hooked – it was excellent! As it dawned on me what was going on with the story I almost started crying, and the characters are just about the same age as our son!

      Brett has received a New Yorker subscription as a Christmas gift from his sister for the past several years – it’s a great read. The burglary book is fascinating – he goes into all aspects of the crime of burglary (the definition of burglary vs. theft or robbery is basically the act of entering a private space to commit a crime).

      Believe it or not there have been over 300 limited-edition flavors of KitKats in Japan over the years!

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks, Natalie! Hope you get everything done. I thought I had this jet lagged whipped, but no – it was back again last night with a vengeance. I could get more done if I felt more like myself.

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  5. Hawaii Planner says:

    My week was good. I accomplished a ton of “housekeeping” stuff. Booking camps & travel, & things that have just been lingering. As well as finalized our taxes. The best part of the week was my mom arriving yesterday. M surprised us with pink champagne, and we sat by the pool in the sunshine yesterday, catching up & drinking champagne while the kids entertained us. It was absolutely lovely. Having my mom in town is a huge gift. She loves to do chores & organizing, so she’ll be an amazing help.

    The cheeks on your granddaughter! What an absolute doll. 🙂

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    • Laura says:

      After all you’ve been through, your Mom’s arrival sounds like the icing on the cake, and exactly what you need and deserve (I loved my mom’s visits but she always created more work for us versus helping out). Champagne out by the pool sounds perfect!

      We’re already counting the days until we see our grandchildren again – maybe Christmas this year, or next spring here on Kaua’i!

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