Category Archives: Life and Stuff

Rainy Days on Mondays

An acquaintance of mine is off scuba diving somewhere this summer, but his last wish for those of us left in Japan was that we get pounded by rain whilst he was off somewhere else. (We had a dry “rainy season” following a dry “Season in which it rains”.)

Thus far, his wish has come true, but in an odd way.

We’ve had a mercifully cool summer. It’s been humid to the level of “breathing liquid” but the temperature has been in the high 70s/low 80s Fahrenheit (26-28 Celsius) which is a lot better than usual Tokyo metro area temperature of “scorched earth”.

The trade off has been lots of rain and a few migraines.

Today, for example, we kept the air conditioner off most of the day. However, about the time it got so humid we decided to turn on the air conditioner, we had an impressive cloud burst.

I hope this lasts. However, I suspect we’ll have a hot September. I have to be good and sweaty by the time I get to work, I guess.

Another Zombie Day

I didn’t think we would be, but were zombies again.

I’ve written before about how the day after a trip to the in-laws turns everyone into zombies.

The girls are still in “grandparent amnesty” mode in which the intervention of grandparents staves off a plethora of punishments and it’s my job to remind them that, yes, the dishes really do have to be washed, and no, there is no one here who will save you.

This means not much was accomplished today. I did some writing and at least one daughter may have done homework but I was too much of a zombie to find out.

Tomorrow we’ll start settling back into normal life, but today was kind of a bye on normal life.


Settling Back in, Without Mercy

We made it back from the in-laws despite more rain, several random complete traffic stops on the expressway, and a temperamental navigator (a computer this time).

Once we got back, we got comfortable quickly. Maybe too quickly.

We were late starting out and that put us into the “u-turn rush” which wasn’t that bad, except the traffic came to complete stops several times during the trip. We still don’t understand why as there were no accidents.

As we got near home, our navigation system decided that we’d ignored her one time too many and she stopped giving us notifications.

Once we got home, we all fell into our usual chairs and routines and relaxed to the point that all of a sudden it was time to go to bed and we hadn’t actually eaten supper.

Tomorrow we’re back to our full regular routines. Maybe we’ll manage to unpack eventually.

Fish and Visiting

A short one today in honor of our short visit to the in-laws.

Although, we’ve had a short visit we are, all of us, ready to be home.

Our oldest has club starting back up, our youngest has Junior Leader activities, and She Who Must Be Obeyed has work.

In my case, I’m ready to continue doing nothing as I’m now in my actual official vacation, but doing nothing in my own way. Although being at the in-laws is mostly relaxing, it comes with lots of extra people and chairs that don’t fit.

By day five it’s time to move on.

Lost and Rebound

I recently passed the two year anniversary of my diet/lifestyle change and I suppose it requires an assessment.

The second year was the rebound year. I pushed the weight loss quite far and some of it came back with a vengeance once I relaxed my rules. Carbs crept back in and my dedication to the daily exercise routine waned.

Oddly, I’ve reached a kind of steady zone where I neither climb nor drop. However, the zone is above where I’d like to be.

I still fit the clothes I bought after the weight loss, but they are noticeably tighter than they were before.

I’ve been reviewing the first food journal I kept to see what the biggest changes have been with the goal of restarting the “diet” I followed in that book. I’m waiting until after we get back from the in-laws to start though. Being here involves food and alcohol that doesn’t fit the plan.

I’ve been lazy about exercise though; that also doesn’t follow the plan.

Darkness and Rain and Hydroplane

Not much today but a trip through the rain and darkness in a car with misaligned headlights.

Although I’m the only one who seems to think they are misaligned.

We got started late and that put us into the darkness. Our car is a hand-me-down from our in-laws who are no longer able to drive it. I’ve always complained that the headlights are probably misaligned because they have an odd pattern with a clear line I’ve never seen on another car and they don’t actually seem to illuminate much. Although everyone who sees them agrees something is wrong, the lights seem to pass inspection.

This wasn’t a problem until we hit rain in the mountains. That’s when things got interesting. We had limited visibility and headlights that didn’t illuminate the rails or lines.

Eventually we got through the rain and had a beautiful view of the remains of the sunset. Off to one side, though, was an impressive storm cloud that put on an impressive lightning show.

I guessed that was where we were going and, as fate would have it, that was where we were going. We hit a harder storm at the worst possible area: road construction with opposing traffic separated by a row of cones.

We enjoyed some light hydroplaning and a few moments of terror.

Eventually we got past that and are now enjoying being at the home of Mother and Father of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Beer is involved of course, especially after that trip.

Randomness, Curses, and Music

We avoided the rain but it is clear that we are cursed after music festivals. Or at least I am.

Today our oldest took part in a prefectural music contest. They’d barely squeaked in as they’d received a silver award in the contest last Saturday. Usually only “Gold” awards move on, but if there aren’t enough “Gold” awards, the best of the silver awards move on. (I think nine bands usually move on.)

There was a lot of pressure as the past couple years our oldest’s school has moved on to the regional contest, which is one step (ish) away from the national contest.

Because our oldest’s school played next to last, we waited for the results. On a side note, the organizers have the “trade generator” system down pat. By the time we left the auditorium, only ten minutes after our oldest finished, there was already a CD of their performance available for sale. They also appeared on video to advertise the DVD that is for sale.

The announcements came whilst most of the parents stood outside the auditorium (the actual band members had filled the hall). We could, though, hear the announcement of the results. The funniest moment happened at the beginning when they announced that the judges had already gone home and therefore could not be punished for their decisions. Something like that. (The judges had actually already gone home, though.)

Our oldest’s band got another silver award but the school where I work received a “Gold” award and will be moving on. Therefore today was kind of bittersweet.

After that we went home and, once again, everyone was in the mood for soft serve ice cream. Once again, though, we couldn’t find any. I blame myself.

Waiting for the Storm

Typhoon 5 (aka Noru) is coming and I’m waiting for it to start messing with my head.

Because it appears that it may be a direct hit, I’m waiting for air pressure changes to start triggering headaches. This happened a couple years ago and both my youngest and I had reactions. It wasn’t a full migraine, it was more of a constant annoying pain, like a sinus headache or a hangover you can’t shake.

The other worry is that the storm will interfere with our oldest’s music contest. Granted, this is a minor thing, although we’re all worried that we’ll get either soaked, trapped, or soaked and trapped by the weather. (I’ve been fooled by the eye of a storm before, and I ended up spending a long time in a train station.)

Luckily, the storm is losing strength and appears to be changing direction which means we will mostly get wet. Unfortunately, that will be followed by heat and humidity.

Queasy Rider

For some reason I’ve been thinking about motorcycles lately.

My father always had a motorcycle, there’s even a picture of me when I was little on one of his cycles. He also went through a biker phase that morphed into a different style of biking but technically never ended and we had at least two motorcycles at our house. He had a dirt bike and cruiser (complete with fairing and detachable saddle bags) and one of my favorite moments was riding on the Kawasaki (probably a Kawasaki) with him to Denver where I got my allergy tests to eventually be mostly cured of my allergies.

Despite this, I only drove a motorcycle once. Dad, out of the blue (i.e. for reasons I don’t remember) taught me how to ride. (We were in our house which means it had to be in the early 80s which meant I was at least 14 or 15). After I mastered the “down one up whatever” shifting nonsense on the dirt bike (a Honda I think), I rode down a dirt road near our house and actually had a great time. (I didn’t ride enough to get confident/stupid.)

After I returned to our house I got off the bike and never drove a bike again.

Although that was a great moment, I never had the desire to drive a motorcycle again. Maybe if I’d driven one earlier things might have been different, but at university one of my friends had a nasty motorcycle accident that put his leg in a cage and that pretty much eliminated any interest I had in driving a motorcycle. Another friend recently pointed out, whilst questioning why anyone would want to ride a motorcycle, that every motorcycle rider he knew had an “accident story.”

That pretty much explains why I’ll probably never own a motorcycle.

Music and Bolt and Hunting for Soft Serve

Today we wandered down to a music contest starring our oldest and her band, er, her band club. The adventure ended with ice cream and disappointment.

The contest featured dozens of high school bands each with 10 minutes to perform before they were rushed off for pictures and waiting. There were lots of rules, mainly no pictures or video in the concert hall unless you buy it from the professionals.

Our oldest’s band did well (and will be moving on the next part of the contest) although I felt it was not their best performance of the song.

After their turn, I took the opportunity to bolt for home as our oldest wouldn’t be performing again.

On the way home I decided I needed some soft serve ice cream. In fact I was craving it. I even passed better, more expensive variations of ice cream because was in the mood for soft serve. I went for the cheapest only to discover that particular McDonald’s branch didn’t sell ice cream. Then I went to a different restaurant where I got a big cup and a little bit of ice cream for a substantial price.

It was tasty, but it was a disappointment.

Later, She Who Must Be Obeyed and our youngest came home. It turns out they had also been craving soft serve, but they’d found a better version. I broke at least one commandment involving coveting at that point and committed ice cream adultery in my heart.

However, because our oldest is moving on, I’ll have the chance on Tuesday to get real soft serve.

Of course, I’ll probably be craving something else at that point. I hope I’ll be able to find it.