Japanese puppet show

Nov 27, 2010

Umenohana nursery had organized a puppet show today. Sya had been looking forward to the puppet show and had been constantly reminding us about it. So obviously we had to change Sya's piano lesson to some other time and attended the puppet show instead.

The Japanese were really good at entertaining children. During the show, the kids were concentrating 100% on the show partly because the storyteller made a great effort for the kids to participate in the story too! I, as a parent who accompanied found it very refreshing. It is a quality that we should take serious note of.

The puppet show team had two shows prepared for today. The first show was a short storytelling which was later followed by the most anticipated puppet show.

The storytelling was about how rabbits escaped from the wolves.

The storyteller with an attractive voice

The audience before the show

The audience during the show...everyone had their eyes locked on the storyteller

Before the five rabbits were captured by the wolves

A video of the storytelling

the puppet show was about a story how a dog, a cat and a hen exterminated two thieves and managed to make the abandoned home theirs.

The two thieves in the puppet show

A video of the puppet show

It was hard to believe that the team consists of only three people!

Every kid who attended the show was given a souvenir - a sandwich, yogurt drink and a mandarin for lunch

紅葉狩り Momiji gari

Nov 22, 2010

We went momiji gari yesterday. Momiji gari literally means red leaves hunting in English. Just as cherry blossom represents spring, the momiji or autumn leaves has traditionally represented autumn in Japan.

If you had lived in Japan long enough, you will notice that the Japanese are very sensitive to changes of season. It's in Japanese tradition to appreciate every little details that come with it. For example sakura viewing in Spring and autumn leaves viewing in autumn, these practices are deeply rooted in their lives. Like the cherry blossom, the momiji reaches its peak in a rather short time and then fades and drop off the trees. It represents delicate short-lived beauty that Japanese people are traditionally fond of. Just like a samurai that led a short but honorable life.

Like every other year, I had been constantly checking the news and website for the best time to view autumn leaves. Finally, the forecast reported that the best time to view autumn leaves in where I live was last weekend and what more thrilling was, the day was blessed with great weather too!

This year, we had decided to view the autumn leaves deep in Iyakei valley, a 3-hour-drive from the city. Iyakei is famous for breathtaking autumn scenery. We were so excited!

On the way to the mountains...

As we went deeper into the mountains, the color of leaves changed from green to yellow then red...

We had to pass through many narrow roads...
Almost there...

Ooohh...look at the crowd. This must be a good spot.

So we stopped and snapped a few pictures too...

Our next stop was Iyakei camping site. The place where we went camping last summer.

Isn't it beautiful?

Next, we stopped at an observation platform. A place where a good overview of the whole valley could be seen.



My personal favorite

Sya loved it too...

Couldn't resist to take pictures of ourselves ..:)

But someone lost his energy here...he was so hungry that he couldn't even walk! hahaha

After feeding Sya with some food in the car, we headed to another spot with a statue of manneken pis, a present from the Belgian embassy.

The statue was placed in a piece of rock, 200m from the bottom!

The statue was said to be placed there so to challenge anyone who would dare go up and pis...haha

Let's go closer...

A little closer...

Ooohhh...scary! That was the farthest I could go! But look at the view...breathtaking! Mountain with yellow and red carpets...

The view here was awesome too!

Our next destination was kazurabashi, Iyakei's best-known attraction. Kazurabashi is a precarious-looking vine bridge which was built in 1646 and is one of the oldest bridge in Japan. The bridge was made of vine, twigs and twine. But don't worry, they do regular check-up! hahaha...We didn't plan to cross the bridge because ayah was afraid of height. He tried it once and told me that he would never want to cross that bridge again.

However, my son who loves excitement, headed straight to the entrance! 'Mommy, quick! Let's cross the bridge. It's fun!' So...it was mommy who had to take him cross the bridge!

Look at the gap! My friend actually had lost his snicker here...ahahaha

That's us in the middle...me terrified!

After all that adrenaline rush, we headed back to the car park...

On the way, we saw a nice little waterfall...

We saw people eating along the road...reminded us that we were hungry too.

Many stalls selling Japanese grilled fish...they looked very tempting!

But instead of grilled fish, we had ice-cream and a Japanese delicacy called dengaku.

We also had Japanese soba for a late lunch...

Our last stop was Oboke...a place with beautiful Japanese garden.

Refreshed and home we went!

It was worth all the effort and energy. We really had a wonderful time. Watching changes of season and experiencing the beautiful nature, for us... is the best way to destress.

Gateau au chocolat

Nov 21, 2010

We made Gateau au chocolat. A cup version requested by Sya.

Gateau au chocolat is a French version of chocolate cake.
It's probably different from any chocolate cake that we have ever had because it's more heavy and thick with chocolate. It's not by just adding more cocoa powder. The key is to add melted semisweet chocolate and butter into the mixture. Now, you may be able to visualize in your imagination how chocolaty it is! Yummy!

Now, where is that weighing machine...I gotta hide it from my sight for a while...sigh!

Gateau au chocolat, the normal version

Dental visit

Nov 19, 2010

My son was given a medal for having a perfect set of teeth...6 months ago.
But...it is a history now. Sob, sob...


Because we were given the latest dental check-up result this week, yup...Sya has got caries, also known as tooth decay. Hubby and I were quite disappointed. Especially hubby, because he had been taking good care of Sya's teeth until recently when he started to refuse us from helping him finish up his teeth brushing every night.

(Sya's aunties in Malaysia please take note...we will hand over this case to you when we go back!) *wink*

Sya's medal...isn't it cute?

Anyway, we were advised by the dentist in Sya's nursery to visit a dental clinic for a proper treatment. Our first ever dental visit in Japan. Obviously I couldn't just pop in at my University Hospital for a caries treatment. It's a tertiary center and they only accept severe cases. So I googled for names of dental clinics in Tokushima city. Note...Tokushima is just a small city and believe it or not, more than 180 names had surfaced!! Hahaha...no wonder dental clinics in Tokushima can go bankrupt! We have the highest doctor-to-patient ratio. Be it dentist or medical doctor. How to choose from 180 clinics? We gave up! We decided to visit a dental clinic nearby, which was just 2-min walk from our home. Yeah...ain't that convenient?

We were greeted by a friendly nurse as we went in. I informed her of my purpose. She looked at me and said, 'I am sorry, but did you make any reservation?'. Oh oh...nope. She looked at me apologetically and said, 'I am sorry but we are full for the day. But you can squeeze in at around 5pm. Is that alright?', at the same time showing us the very packed appointment book. I had no choice but to agree since I had taken one day leave that day. Other days were impossible.

So we went back at 5pm sharp, didn't want to miss it this time.

Let's talk about the clinic building. It was new with a taste of modern design. You would be more surprise when you go in...the interior looked pretty much like a hotel! And then the variety of toys. There was a whole set of Thomas trackma
ster lying there! Not to mention other expensive toys too. Sya headed straight to the toys when we went in. Hahaha...
I visited the lady's room later too, it was gorgeous!

Sya was so excited! And I thought kids usually are terrified of dentists!

All sorts of toys for kids and many different magazines for adults

Sya played with Thomas trackmaster while waiting to be called

We were attended not long after that. We were directed into a treatment room for kids. Sya was a little worried at first but not for too long because he was greeted by these familiar friendly faces!

Expensive toy model house and friendly decoration to calm the kids anxiety...

Still steady...giving a peace sign

While waiting for treatment...a little nervous

We were first attended by a dental assistant because the dentist seemed to be very busy. She carefully checked Sya's teeth, removing the debris and food stuck between the teeth. She then wrote something in a note for the record. Lastly, she brushed Sya's teeth thoroughly before she left and called the dentist.

Sya was good through the whole procedure...

Sya was then asked to gargle, which he found the automatic refilled water interesting.

Finally, the dentist was here! Quite a handsome doctor too! *wink*

The dentist came in and apologized for not attending to us earlier. He checked the note written by the assistant and then checked Sya's teeth to confirm. He agreed that Sya had two teeth with caries but they were very mild. He advised to fill one tooth today, and to come another day to fill in the other. He then began his treatment. The dentist carefully used a forcep to remove the decay. Then, a relatively young assistant was called to do the filling.

Beautiful young assistant came in for filling

After the procedure, the doctor came in and checked the work of his assistant. Everything went quite smoothly he said. The doctor excused himself again, then came in with a trolley of toys! He praised Sya for being a good boy and in return, Sya got to choose a toy to take home! Wah...what else, Sya was ecstatic!

Finally, we were given a piece of report as below. The red scatch indicated the sites where brushing was found not complete. We were advised to give extra care to these parts. Do notice that the computer had also analyzed the percentage of teeth that was not properly brushed, which was 18.8%!! Amazing! Impressive! Two thumbs up for the details and service!

Oh, I had forgotten to mention earlier that we had to change into slippers when we went in the clinic. The slippers were stored in a cabinet below. What I found impressive was that the slippers were guaranteed to be germ free (99.99%) because they were given UV light treatment! Ahaha...

Sya was reluctant to leave because he hadn't have enough playing

It was already dark when we headed home

We were all very impressed with the service there. I talked to my colleague about it the next day. It seems that the dentists in Tokushima are competitive. They must make sure that the service is tip top. Otherwise, they won't be able to survive long in the market.

Whatever it is, the impact is positive on the patients. Why not? I have a son who can't wait to visit his dentist next week. He's not afraid of dentists and that's a good sign!