Saturday, September 25, 2010

Let's spend a happy.

It was Alek and Hugo's birthday today!

At lineup, the whole school sings to birthday kids. Here they are singing to our boys on Friday morning.

The night before, Hugo and I worked on the cupcakes. This mix cost 788 yen at the International Grocery.

It was hard to calibrate our toaster oven, which is guaged in watts, not degrees.

But we figured it out.

We Skyped with all the grandparents while we opened presents. Almost everything was Lego....

The amazing secretary at work helped me order some Legos here. They arrived right to the 7-11 near our house! I also pre-paid to have them wrapped. (Darrin decided I was a genius at 10:30 Friday night, for having done this). Here was what was on Alek's wrapping paper:

Something extra special came in the box from Mum Mum:
Birthday lunch! Aahhhhh....

Around 2:30, we left to see Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavillion, in NorthWest Kyoto, and then out to a new conveyor-belt sushi restaurant for birthday dinner. This was Alek and Hugos' idea, the day before. (When it came time to leave, they didn't want to go see it anymore, but we made them leave anyway. We let them bring some Lego characters to sweeten the deal.)
Here's the entry gate.
A bell tower. Since it was their birthday, we paid Y200 to have each boy ring the bell.

have a video of this. The man is coaching us the whole time, kind of grumpy but also not. "No, like this." "get off the fence." "Pray first. Pray after. Like this."

And then, the pavillion:

They made the pavillion to look just like this Nanoblock model that Hugo got for his birthday. (Max put it together).

Bonus: We got there right at carp feeding time.
These next shots are just for Kurt.

The lego guys kept flying around the garden. They stopped to have a couple of battles.

Perfect little teahouse, with a cool roof.

Then, we walked 10 minutes to a conveyor belt sushi place for dinner (Alek and Hugo's request).

Every table had kids. See all the minivans in the parking lot?

And here's why. If kids eat five plates, they feed them into this slot. Then you play a little game (sumo, fishing, arrows) with Kura-Sushi-san, and then if he wins, you get a prize from the prize dispenser up top.

I think this is another reason the place is popular with families:

Predictably, Hugo left his Lego man at our table. We went back to look for it, but no luck. But as we were walking to the bus stop, one of the employees came running after us: "Okyakusama!!!" And she had his ninja warrior. Hugo was quite happy...
Alek got the tall seat on the bus home.

We played some more. We each decorated our own cupcake. We sang. We bathed. We cleaned up the tatami room. We blogged. We slept.

And that was Alek & Hugos 7th birthday!

Is it just me, or are my blogs getting longer and longer? Register your complaints below.


  1. Wish we could have been there to share the day.
    A nice Pennsylvania package experiment has been shipped.

  2. Hey, is that a Japanese Chuckie Cheese???? We miss you!

  3. Mum Mum says hi, see you soon.

  4. My favorite moment is Beth (on the video) saying "don't pray for anything material."

  5. The message on the gift wrap is lovely! Send more photos of "Engrish" please. :P

  6. I am behind on comments, but not on reading! Happy birthday to Hugo and Alek!!!

    What a fun day! Yes, let's spend a happy! (That part was my favorite.)

  7. Is there a down side to this year abroad?? I am feasting on the blog...the photos, everyone looking pretty involved in everything, the interesting destinations, etc. Most of all I stand in awe of your ability to manage this blog with such humor and thoroughness while doing whatever a Fulbright scholar does every day!! I'm old Ginter Park family; now there is visible proof for why your folks were so eager to move near you. EW