Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chiba Dodge Ball Championship Tournament

Every year we have elementary school kids' dodge ball championship tournament in summer and in spring. For summer tournament the best team in each prefecture gets a chance to participate in the national championship tournament in August. Chiba championship was held last Monday which was a national holiday in Japan.
My son's team has been one of the best in Chiba for these several years and for the last 2 years they were the summer champion in Chiba.
This year 17 teams participated and in the morning they played round-robin in 4 leagues.
The best 3 or best 4 teams could go on to the final tournament in the afternoon.
My son's teams won all the matches in A league and became the best.
They won 2 games and came to play the final match.
Only the winner could go to national tournament in August.
Our opponent team was our biggest rival for these several years in this region.
The following video is 2nd set of this final.
We won the first set but lost the 2nd set because of some questionable judgement and unfair play by the opponent team.

Anyway we won the final set and achieved the champion this year! The kids of the opponent team cried for regret but their tears didn't look beautiful at all to me after such an unfair play.

By the way my daughter's homeroom teacher was interested in some kind of bird while she was staying in Japan.
Here is a link to it's wiki page.
You can hear some varieties of their singing here which is very interesting.

Since this bird, we call uguisu in Japanese, is very common in Japan and thought that there should be similar birds everywhere in the world which was not true.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On June 28, my daughter's homeroom teacher in Holland visited our house with her boyfriend. At first they were scheduled to come to Japan in April but because of 3.11 disaster they changed their plan and postponed their visit to Japan. I was worried if they could not come but finally they came! This is the photo we took at night before they left Japan.

In the morning of 28th I met them in the lounge of the night bus from Kyoto. It is amazing that they traveled long way from Kyushu to Kyoto by bike spending about a month! They returned their rental bike in Kyoto and took a highway bus to Tokyo.
They could leave their bags in the lounge so we could do some sightseeing in Tokyo before we came to our house in Chiba.
A few days before I happened to find a daily inside tour of the Imperial Palace was available now when I was searching in a guide book of Tokyo for some good places to take them. New Year's day and Emperor's birthday used to be the only days it is open to public before and I have never been inside the palace myself. And I was lucky to make a reservation for it.
It is a walking tour and takes about 1 hour. The weather was fine although we were in the middle of the rainy season. It was very hot outside but it's better than rainy. The official tour guide always with us and he required that we walk in the line without stopping to take a picture.
The above picture is the Imperial palace Office building. From the Imperial Palace Garden which is always open to public we can see only a part of the green roof of it.

The next picture is the Imperial Palace. It is not Imperial Family's residence but this is where many kinds of ceremonies take place and they wave their hands from the balcony on New Year's Day and Emperor's birthday.
And this day there was a ceremony. Newly elected ambassador from East Timor visited here to deliver the credential to the Emperor.
This is a famous double bridges. From the public garden we see two bridges overlapping. In this picture I was on the steal bridge usually seen in beyond from the garden. Beyond the stone bridge you see people in the garden.
The lotus filled moat.
One of the moat's walls is under construction at this time and the rocks were kept here. Each rock is numbered so that they can pile them in their original position.
After the tour we went to see the Tokyo Sky Tree which will open next May. It's height is 634m now it's the world tallest building!
There was a kind man and he suggested to take a picture using this mirror. This mirror enabled us to take a picture of the whole tower and myself.
Since they were very tired from days of biking and travelling with a night bus we went to our house after seeing these 2 places.
They were very interested in Japanese food and tried all of food I prepared. I made nukazuke pickles, daikon salad with nameko mushroom. They tried junsai seasoned with vinegar, and they liked especially herbs like myoga. They even liked natto which amazed me.

She watched my kid's dodge ball practice and visited their school.
I year passed since we came back to Japan and my kids don't have much opportunities to use their English. They don't want to practice English by reading books or keeping diaries which I told them to. But this time I felt a relief a bit to see how they communicated with them. I could see they could understand their English and my daughter could speak English a bit. I really thank them to visit us.

On their last day I sent them to the platform of the train to the airport. At that time the thunder started to rumble so severely and heavy rain started which made our farewell a dramatic scene!
I think we can see each other again in the future.

Next I want to write about the following day.
My son went to Hobby Fair which took place in the Makuhari Convention Center.
The following picture is taken at 7:26. It is amazing that there are so many people waiting for opening of 9:00 from that early time.
One of my son's purpose to come here is to join bei-blade tournament.
I did not go with him this day but inferring from this photograph each battle was done by 3 kids.

I heard that he was defeated in the first battle. I can imagine how disappointed he was. He is carrying his bei blades in a plastic basket.
He got many presents for free including a new bei blade which made him satisfied.