Sunday, July 24, 2016

Moppy Helps Celebrate a Birthday

Someone had a birthday in our family this week, but first...

These two missionaries heard about our International Teddy Bear Exchange and just HAD to have a photo with Moppy! Thanks, Elders!

And now for the birthday girl!

Christine turned 4 last week, and we started our celebrations with a birthday breakfast. 

Christine's favorite breakfast food is pancakes with butter and syrup. She had chocolate milk to drink with it. What's your favorite breakfast food?

Later, she had some friends over for some fun. Tyson and Audrey were kind enough to put on a show for the little girls. They used stuffed animals and told some very silly jokes. The little girls had fun watching.

Audrey has a karaoke machine that she let the little girls use, and here's Christine having her turn singing a song. I think she was singing, "Chihuahua." 

We took a break from the fun to sing Happy Birthday and have some mini cupcakes and ice cream cups. Chad and I were getting ready to drop the kids off at his sister's house while he and I went on our Stake's Pioneer Trek, so we kept our birthday celebrations pretty simple.

Later that night we did presents and a full chocolate birthday cake, which was lovingly decorated with M&Ms by Tyson and Audrey. Do you guys have M&Ms in Japan?

Christine wanted to share some cake with Moppy. She loved it! We enjoyed having Moppy celebrate with us.

So what are your birthday traditions?

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Bit More of Kobe and Our Apartment Tour!

Konnichiwa, Tyson, Audrey, Charlotte, and Christine!

Today, we want to share with you a bit more photos from our neighborhood!

There are many interesting buildings. Do you see a UFO in the below photo!? Well, that is not a UFO but a museum!

There is a monorail running through our neighborhood! In Japan, many people use public transportation, such as trains and buses. Public transportation is running everywhere in Japan that it is a very reliable and convenient way to go to places. And can you believe no one is actually driving this monorail!? It is running all on its own!

These are the views from our balconies! Remember we told you in our last blog post that we have both mountains and the ocean in Kobe? Can you spot a big ship in the second photo??

And today... we would like to invite you to our apartment tour!

We live in a very typical 3-bedroom apartment in Japan.

In Japan, we do not wear shoes inside our house. So, when we enter from our front door, there is this little section called 'genkan' where we take our shoes off and leave them. If you prefer to wear something on your feet inside the house, you can put on this special shoes called slippers that you can wear only inside the house. Here in this photo, Yuki is putting on his shoes at the genkan so we can go to church!

This is Yuki's room... We love furniture from IKEA, so most of our furniture is from IKEA. IKEA is very popular in Japan! Are you guys good at keeping your room neat and tidy!? Do you think Yuki keeps his room clean or is his room very messy!?

We will not show you Yuki's Mom's room, because... her room is actually messier than Yuki's room!!

And as our third bedroom, we have this 'tatami' room. Tatami is a mat that is made of rise straw, and they make up a Japanese-style floor.
Since we do not really use this room, it has become a storage/guest room... That is why you can see all those cardboard boxes and etc..
In this photo, you can also see 'futon,' which is a Japanese-style bed. Many Japanese sleep on bed nowadays, but still, there are many others who sleep on futon. It's a thin mattress that you put directly on the floor. The benefit of it is that you can always fold it and put it away in the closet when you are not using it and make more space during the day.

The door for a tatami room is called 'fusuma,' which is a sliding-door made of wooden frame and some cardboard and papers. As the name suggests, you slide it to open and close.

In Japanese houses, we have a separate bathroom and toilet.

On top of the water tank of the toilet, can you see a faucet? Whenever you flash the toilet, water comes out from this faucet into the water tank, and you can just wash your hands there. It seems like many people from other countries are surprised whenever they see this faucet attached to the water tank in the toilet. What do you guys think about it??
And also in the photo, you can see the slippers used just for the toilet.

This is the bathroom. Japanese bathtubs are very deep. When we sit down in the bathtub, the whole body will be in the bathtub. There is a big space with shower right next to the bathtub. In Japan, we usually wash our body first in this space, and then we get into the bath. We do not change the bath water for each person, but everyone in the family uses the same bath water each night... if it makes any sense! We first clean ourselves outside the bathtub, and we get into the bath to relax for the day.

This is our balcony. Can you guess what those green bars are used for?
In Japan, we do not use the dryer. Instead, we hang our clothes to dry after we wash them. We hang our laundry on those bars in the balcony!

This is our kitchen...

And this is our living room! In Japan, there really is no distinction between living room and dining room. There is one big space that we call living room, and we put a dining table in one section of the living room and we put sofas and TV on the rest of the space.

So, how did you like our apartment tour?? Was it pretty much like your house, or did you find anything that was different and interesting? I hope you guys enjoyed our apartment tour!!

Sayonara until next time!!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Splashy Fun With Moppy at Twin Hickory Park!

This week Tyson was at Scout Camp, so it was just us girls. Some friends invited us to go to a splash pad at Twin Hickory Park, about 35 minutes from our home. We'd never been there before, so we decided it would be a fun adventure.

Look at all the fun fountains!

There's also a great playground there- the play surface is very springy, too.

It was pretty hot (about 96 degrees Fahrenheit) so the girls wasted no time getting wet!

Charlotte and Christine play with Moppy on the playground.

Moppy taking a break to get some sun on Charlotte's mermaid towel.

We had a great time at the park and we are planning to go back again soon!

Moppy Celebrates Independence Day

I'm almost two weeks late posting this, but on July 4th we brought Moppy with us to watch Independence Day fireworks!

We went to the grassy area between the kids' elementary school (kindergarten through 5th grade) and middle school (6th grade through 8th grade). The county fairgrounds are behind the schools and that's where they set off the fireworks. We like going to the school instead of the fairgrounds because there's less traffic that way. We laid out a tarp (the grass was wet) and a few blankets and just relaxed until the fireworks started.

Here are Audrey and Tyson trying to make Moppy faces.

And the girls with their Moppy faces! 

Charlotte wanted to try again.

And here's a short video we took of Moppy watching the fireworks. Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Introducing the Parkers in Japan!

Konnichiwa (hello), Tyson, Audrey, Charlotte, and Christine! We are the Parkers in Japan!

We are very sorry Tag is taking a very long time to get to Japan... But after all, Japan is the Land of the Rising Sun! In Japanese, Japan is called Nihon, which means "the sun's origin." As you might be able to tell from its name, it is very, very far from the US, where you live!

So, while we wait for Tag to arrive, we would like to introduce a little bit about ourselves and the place we live!

This is us: Mom, Yuki, Sunshine, and Cuddly Bear (from right to left)!

Yuki is 10-years old and is in 5th grade (Did you know that the school year starts in April in Japan?).

Sunshine (the orange cat) is a boy, and Cuddly Bear (the brown cat) is a girl. They are siblings, and they are now about a year old! We don't know exactly how old they are since we found them on the street and adopted them on September 2015.

Yuki, Sunshine, and Cuddly Bear are counting days until Tag arrives! Mom is a bit worried kitties might scare Tag... Please let us know if Tag likes cats or not!

We live in Kobe, Japan. Kobe is one of the biggest cities in Japan, along with Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. It is a port city, and if you look toward the north, there are mountains, and if you look toward the south, there is ocean! We really got the best of both worlds in Kobe!

This is our neighborhood:

In our next post, we hope to share a bit more photos of our neighborhood and also about our everyday life! So, stay tuned! Until then, sayonara (good-bye)!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Moppy at Maymont

Visiting Maymont has become an International Teddy Bear tradition- we went two years ago with Charmin, and then last year we took Koko. Each time we try to take some photos of different things so we can share even more of this beautiful park with our international friends. 

This year we parked at a different entrance to the park since the entrance we usually go in (the Children's Farm) is under construction. And you'll notice that Tyson is absent from these photos because this week and next week he'll be at a special summer camp called Governor's School. He's studying robotics, which he's really excited about.

Moppy pic by the fountain!

We found this little hidden garden behind this building- I thought the flowers were just gorgeous. I think there were more flowers in bloom during this visit to Maymont than I've ever seen before! 

Here is one of several beautiful gazebos on the property surrounded by blooming flowers.

Got a closeup of this one.

These roses in the Italian Garden were gorgeous!

Here is Moppy enjoying the beautiful flowers in the Italian Garden. She matches the flowers!

After the Italian Garden we visited the Japanese Garden (we knew Moppy would like that a lot) and we were quite surprised to see a huge group of people there eating their lunch on tatami mats and wearing t-shirts with the flag of Japan on them. We asked them what that was about and we found out they were doing a special Governor's School program for Japanese studies. So of course we asked if we could take a photo of them with Moppy and these two sweet girls happily agreed. 

Here is Moppy with the Japanese Garden behind her. It is a very beautiful, tranquil place.

We stopped and had lunch on some big rocks. Charlotte shared her Capri Sun drink with Moppy (who was hanging out in our cooler bag- silly monster!

Here are the girls on the half-moon bridge over the stream. There's usually a huge waterfall (would be off to the right of this photo) but it wasn't running on the day we were there.

Here are Christine and Moppy hanging out- the girls had a lot of fun climbing on these rocks.

Moppy in a tree! Can you tell what tree it is from the sign? It's a Japanese Maple!

Audrey doesn't sit in trees- she climbs them!

Christine at the entrance to the Japanese Garden as we were leaving.

As we made our way back up the hill we saw these beautiful magnolia trees in bloom. Their flowers are lovely.

A blurry photo of a beautiful rose.

And for the grand finale...

How's THIS for a tree? Love this one!

We hope you enjoyed our day at Maymont! And be sure to look at the posts from when we took Charmin and Koko if you want to see some other neat parts of this awesome park. :-)