Monday, July 31, 2017

Introducing Tag to Rugby!

Konnichiwa, Tyson, Audrey, Charlotte, and Christine!

Baseball and soccer are two of the most popular sports in Japan.

Yuki and Yuki's mom are not big fans of sports, but we have some professional sports teams that are based in this region of Kobe and Osaka, including 2 baseball teams called Hanshin Tigers and ORIX Buffaloes, a soccer team called Vissel Kobe, a basketball team called Nishinomiya Storks, and a rugby team called KOBELCO Steelers. So, every once in a while, we go check out their games.

We heard that rugby is the most popular sports in Western Hemisphere, including New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa, and it seems to be slowly gaining popularity in Japan  as well. Rugby World Cup, which is held every 4 years like Olympics, will be hosted by Japan in 2019.

There was a rugby festival hosted by KOBELCO Steelers at their practice ground near where we live, so we decided to go check it out. They had some food stalls, performances by the athletes, and some games.

Yuki and Tag took a photo with their team mascot, Korokun. He had a special festival outfits on today!

They also displayed a tractor their team sponsor, KOBELCO, makes.

And Hyogo Prefecture Police was there, too, and Yuki and Tag got to ride their motorcycle known as shirobai (white motorcycle) and the police car!

We hope Tag enjoyed being introduced to rugby and riding the Japanese police motorcycle and police car!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Schools in Japan

Konnichiwa, Tyson, Audrey, Charlotte, and Christine!

So, we are not sure if you knew this, but...

Yuki's summer vacation has not started yet and he is still in school!

Tag told us you were already in summer vacation when he left America, and he was very surprised when he found out that Yuki was still in school!

Yuki starts his summer vacation on July 27th, and he is going back to school on September 1st!

Moreover, he has a ton of homework he has to do during the summer vacation, including kanji (Japanese letters) and math printouts AND workbooks, a book report, and a project of his choice.

The beginning of a school year in Japan is April, so Yuki will be going back to his class with the same class mates and the same teacher when he goes back to school on September.

This is Yuki's school. You can see the play ground, pool, gym, and school building.

This is the front entrance of his school.

This is the play ground and the school building.

In Japan, elementary schools are from Grade 1 to Grade 6, middle schools are from Grade 7 to Grade 9, and high schools are from Grade 10 to Grade 12. However, even though most kids go to high school, high schools are not compulsory in Japan and everyone has to take an entrance exam and pass in order to go to a high school.

Also, almost all the elementary school students in Japan go to school with one of these special backpacks called randoseru.

When Yuki's mom was small, boys carried black randoseru and girls carried red randoseru, but the time has changed. Now, everyone carries so many different colors of randoseru, such as pink, light blue, and brown!

Excuse Yuki's messy room, but this is how it looks like when it's opened.

Japanese elementary school students do not have school uniforms except for these randoseru unless it's a private school, but in middle schools and high schools, we all wear school uniforms to school.

Yuki cannot wait for his summer vacation to start so he can play and go visit many places with Tag!!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Universal Studios Japan

Konnichiwa, Tyson, Audrey, Charlotte, and Christine!

This past weekend, we took Tag to Universal Studios Japan, where Moppy is from!

We have Tokyo Disney Resort in Tokyo, the biggest city in Japan. Then, we have Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka, the second biggest city in Japan.

In 2016, 30,000,000 people visited Tokyo Disney Resort, while 14,600,000 people visited USJ!
You might think Tokyo Disney Resort is more popular than USJ. However, from the growth point of view, the number of people who visited Tokyo Disney Resort decreased by 0.6% from 2015 (30,190,000) while the number of people who visited USJ increased by 5.0% from 2015 (13,900,000)!

USJ is about an hour and a half away from our home with 4 trains, which is pretty close, so we go to USJ at least once every season to enjoy their seasonal shows and parades.

Tag was very surprised to see how many people were at USJ!

They introduced the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at USJ in 2014, and this year, they introduced Minion Park!

Tag even rode some rides with Yuki including The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man!

It was very hot, so we enjoyed some drinks...

and cooled down with a summer water parade!

We also visited Moppy's house, where Tag enjoyed the company of  Moppy's family. Can you spot Tag!?

We enjoyed our day at USJ this weekend! We are hoping we get to go back again at least one more time before summer is over!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Tag goes to church in Japan!

Konnichiwa, Tyson, Audrey, Charlotte, and Christine!

One of the first things Tag did when he came to Japan... was to go to church with us!

We usually take 2 trains and 2 buses to go to church, which takes about an hour.

It can be quite tough just to go to church especially during summer! On this particular Sunday, the temperature was 85.1 F (29.5 C) with the humidity of 75%. We were sweating a lot by the time we got to church! Japan is very famous for its humid summer.

There are not many churches in Japan, but the ward we currently belong to is pretty big, and I think we have about 100 active members!

When Yuki was smaller, we used to live in a country side of Kyoto, and the ward we used to go had about 30 active members.

However, no matter how many members gather together every Sunday, it is amazing how God's church is the same everywhere in the world! No matter where we are, we can always find home in the Gospel! Tag looked very happy finding something he is very familiar with as everything he has been encountered so far in Japan has been very new and different from what he is used to from his life in the US!

We forgot to take more photos at the church because we were very busy introducing Tag to everyone! Oops...

Hope you all had a nice Sunday over there in the US, and here's to a new week of adventure!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Konnichiwa, Tyson, Audrey, Charlotte, and Christine!

So, last Friday, when Yuki's mom came home from work, guess what she saw in our mail box!?

A package from the US!!

And inside there was TAG!!

Yuki thought Tag smells like America!

And here is Yuki enjoying some snacks Tag brought to Japan with him!

In Japan, it is very normal to sit on the floor. Back in old days, long before Yuki's mom was even born, Japanese people did not have chairs. So, we would just have a short table, sit on the thin cushion called zabuton on the floor, and eat at the table, just like Yuki is doing in this photo...

Anyway, we are very glad Tag finally made it to Japan safely and we cannot wait to take him onto many adventures with us this summer!! Stay tuned!!