Monday, 15 September 2008

Millie - 1 year old

Hasn't the year gone quickly- Millie was 1 year old on the 28 August and is a very different child to her Bro'. She already spending time in front of the mirror (like her mum) but so far is limited to banging stuff and throwing it in the sink.


It doesn't seem that long ago that he was a little (almost) baby and now he's going to school. With our stay in Japan coming to an end it wasn't posible to get him into Japanese school so he's going to an international school. He's only going to be there for one term but it's a good chance for him to catch up with his English a bit.

He seems to like school although he has had a few yellow cards and it's hard for us to know what he's doing as he still struggles to explain what has happened.

Every day Daddy takes him to the bus at 7.40am and Mummy collects him at 5pm- it's a long day for such a little lad!!!

Swimming School

With Archie getting out of nappies it was much easier for us to get him into a swimming club. As normal in Japan it's all very organised- Archie has his own swimming bag and trunks that you have to buy. Luckily bargain hunter Aiko got him signed up so they were included in one deal!!

He really likes swimming and seems to be progressing well.

Hokkaido - Biei and Furano

This was another great day out- quite a long day but spent a lot of it pottering around the Hokkaido countryside.

We went to see a few famous tree that have been used in adverts (Tabacco) and then had a cheese fondue lunch and a nice break. After lunch we went to see Flowerland where Archie and John had a ride on a tractor, Aiko made a lavender pillow and it was all finished off with some lavender flavour ice cream- not as bad as it sounds.

Next stop was Furano Cheese Factory; Aiko made some cheese whilst John looked after the kid- luckily there was a tractor that Archie could play on to pass the time.

Hokkaido - Sapporo

Didn't have much time in Sapporo as for some reason we had to go to Otaru to pick up a pot (sorry). Not content with the hand made glasses John decided he needed to buy some more souvenirs although perhaps he was trying to change the justification for returning?...
By the time we left Otaru and got to Sapporo we only had time to take a very quick look at the beer factory…from the outside and also have a ‘jenghis khan’ barbeque, of course with a Sapporo beer. To be honest it was just lunch and I think some of the lamb we cooked on the Barbeque whilst camping was just as nice if not better….

Hokkaido - Otaru

Otaru is not far from Sapporo and this was one of our favourite days out. After a bit of navigation we arrive at our starting point- a cycle hire shop. With Millie carried by Aiko in here carrier and Archie and I testing the strength of the bicycle off we went. With over 100kg on that bike it was a rather wobbly ride but people seemed to get out of the way quite quickly. First stop was for lunch and an Otaru Weiss beer and then off we went around the town!

Otaru was quite touristy but it did have a lot of old buildings and that made it feel quite different from Other Japanese towns and cities,. First there is the famous canal with its old building but there are lots of other relics dotted around.
Opposite this one was a glass blowing shop we stopped at but we eventually went to K’s Blowing and made 2 almost matching glasses- it was great fun but a very hot place!!!
As always we managed to find the junk shops and Aiko purchased a lovely enameled tin….which John then left in Otaru and only realized once we were over an hour through our journey back to the campsite….

Hokkaido - Asahiyama Zoo

It was a late start for this and we hadn’t planned it so rather a lot of confusion as we drove…somewhere! Eventually we agreed to go to the zoo but it was still quite a drive and is life ever that simple. As we neared the zoo we noticed a smell in the car. It was that familiar baby poo smell but when I turned round to confirm my suspicions they were more than confirmed we had a poo explosion and Millie was sat covered in the stuff with one hand in the air. Archie learned the new phrase ‘Oh my God!’ and used it for many surprising situations thereafter.
There then followed an hour of team cleaning – Aiko handled Millie by the side of the road (and Archie needed to go as well!!!arrgh) whilst John added to the weird westerner myth by washing seat cover in front of the nearest 7-11.

After all that happened we didn’t have a lot of time at the Zoo so we rushed round it as quickly as we could- We did ‘swim’ with the penguins and also saw a seal in a tube- fantastic!!