Thursday, June 21, 2018

Kien's social calendar

When we were up north the other weekend Kien said that he liked being in Auckland more than Mangawhai. We asked him why that was so. He said it was because he wanted to see his friends. So I promised him we would have the following weekend at home so he (meaning me) could arrange playdates for him. Well, talk about a full social calendar for the weekend just gone. On Saturday he went over to one of his good friend's place early morning until early afternoon. Then I reciprocated with having Hemi at ours. They ended up spending a couple of hours in the pool, and it was dark by the time his mum came to pick him up, and even then the boys didn't want to get out.

On Sunday we had Naotaka, Philemon and Sonny over. Sonny is new to the group - well, new for them all to hang out together at school. Sonny and Kien were in the same team for cricket in their first year. I must admit, having the four boys together for a playdate is much easier than just three. When its three there's always one who is left out at one point or another.

I told Kien in the morning that he needed to come up with some activities they can do. I didn't want them to be playing minecraft all afternoon. So he came up with a schedule. Firstly, they were going to play minecraft for 30 minutes. Then they were going to the playground. Well, they did play minecraft while I went to the supermarket, and then when I got home I sent them out the back to play with nerf guns.

After an hour I feed the ravenous bunch, and then they ran around some more.

Such good fun. They are all plotting another playdate. Boy of boy, the kids' social calendars are busier than ours!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A couple of stories from Kien

Here are a couple of stories Kien has written over the last couple of weeks. I've not been concentrating on writing lately. We've been working on improving his keyboard skills as well as identifying and reading notes. I should really do a recording of him playing some pieces. He's coming along nicely with his music. I only have energy to work on one thing at a time, so it seems.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


The other weekend we were up at our property in Mangawhai doing general maintenance and hanging out enjoying a break from the rain. We collected pinecones, mowed some grass, and Kien chopped down some woody weeds. Here's a little video clip of him using his machete skills.

I went and sat on the corner of our property at the very top of the pine forest. The view is beautiful from up here, all the way out to the Hen and Chicken islands. This is where we want to build our dwelling, eventually.

Imperial Palace East Garden

We made our way to the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo on day two of our trip in April. It was a beautiful crisp day and a pleasant walk in the sunshine to get there.

We reached the gates to the Imperial Palace East Garden where swans gracefully floated around the moat for tourists to photograph.

Jef and I have been here before (way back in 2006), but its nice to come back to visit. It's beautiful here, and despite the crowds it still feels somewhat peaceful.

The main palace and surrounds were severely damaged in a fire in 1945. The massive stones used to build the castle walls are spectacular.

Gosh, April feels like a long time ago. Kien's hair has grown heaps since then.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

We took a flight

We needed to go somewhere, and not having a lot of time I looked at the options for flights/timezones/touchdown times/ease of commuting - and Tokyo won this round. Flying out Friday and coming back Tuesday doesn't give us much time, so we didn't want to stress about having to see everything. Just a few places at a comfortable pace was all we needed to do, and walking around the streets of Tokyo and tasting all the wonderful food on offer was enough.

We were fortunate to get on the flight. It was absolutely full leaving AKL. Luckily we were at the top of the priority list for onloading, and it was a surprise to find we were upgraded to premium. It was a very comfortable flight, and I drank sparkling wine the entire way up to Narita.

We got to our hotel pretty late in the afternoon/early evening. Rest was what we needed if we were to tackle the following days effectively. But first, Jef was frustrated that our hotel room had a balcony, yet they only allow you to open the window a tiny bit so you can't actually get outside. No, he wasn't having a bar of that!

We all conked out that night on the double bed, which was a tight squeeze for the three of us. Then in the morning I sent Jef down to explore the local Family Mart. It's like a dairy on steroids. He came back with our yummy pre breakfast snack - steamed pork bun. We ended up consuming a fair few of these whilst in Japan.
They make for inexpensive snacks whilst on the go at 122 yen, or $1.57NZD.

Ueno Park

Blossoms. You'd think I planned it - to be here at the height of blossom season when there's a window of 2 weeks. The Blossom Festival is crazy! People everywhere checking out these blooms.

They were beautiful though, undoubtedly. We've heard so much about the Cherry Blossom Festival, so it was a nice surprise to accidentally show up and see it for ourselves.

It was tiring jostling through the crowd, but totally worth the visit.


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