365 photos in 365 days: Photo #210

Merry Christmas!

Today Michelle put on a Christmas party for the elementary school! She does this event every year for the kids and every year I help her. I have such a great time at her christmas event, it’s so fun and the kids have a blast! For the past three years I dressed up as santa. The only bad thing about being santa every year is that the kids already know I’ll be the one in the santa suit. So during the party the kids kept asking if I was santa this year or pointing at me and calling me santa. It was fun and I always laughed at them and said no and then made a face. They loved it. But when the party came to an end and I dressed up as santa, the kids still went wild that santa came to their party. It was so fun hearing the kids laugh and scream, “SANTA-SAN, KHOA-SAN, SANTA-SAN!”

Every year I hand out a small gift that Michelle made for the kids. One year it was a bookmark, another year was candy canes and stickers, this year was Hersey kisses and scratch and sniff stickers. When giving the kids their present, I used to just say “here you are” and the kids would say “thank you” in a very quiet voice. But this year I decided to make the kids yell thank you to santa-san! It was so fun and the kids couldn’t stop laughing when I made some of them say “thank you” two or three times because they didn’t yell.  Here’s a picture of Santa-san and his reindeer:

Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN
Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN

Have a safe and wonderful Christmas! We want to thank all our followers for coming and reading our blog! We really appreciate everyone of you coming back and liking and commenting on our photos. Starting on the 22nd, Michelle and I will be doing some traveling around Japan. During that time I am not going to be able to post any of my daily photos. Don’t worry, I will still take a new photo every day, but the post will come later.  Merry Christmas!

-Khoa

365 photos in 365 days: Photo #206 & #207

Good evening!

Sorry for the late post. Michelle and I went to Dogo for a Christmas dinner yesterday. We had a blast! It felt so great to eat a family-style dinner; passing food down the table, talking, and enjoying each others company.

Michelle got a hair cut yesterday! For the past month we talked about her getting a haircut before the Christmas dinner, but she felt bad leaving while we were preparing food. I told her that we had it covered so she didn’t have to feel guilty, but she still didn’t want to leave.  So I asked our friend who was hosting dinner if she could secretly make a hair appointment for Michelle.  When I told Michelle she had an appointment, she was so surprised and thankful.  Michelle’s hair turned out so great; she looked so beautiful when she came back. I took this picture after I walked her over to the salon:

Location: Okinoshima, Shimane-ken, JAPAN
Location: Okinoshima, Shimane-ken, JAPAN

While we were in Dogo, we wanted to go shopping for some boots. I got tired of walking around in my tennis shoes when it’s raining or snowing. I don’t think my poor toes can handle walking around in wet socks and shoes anymore. We went to a store that sells boots and I started trying some on.  Every boot that I tried on was way too small, I even had to cram in my foot when trying on the extra large ones.  I turned to Michelle, saying that this couldn’t possibly be the only section of boots. I walked down a couple of aisles and there they were.. the mens aisle of boots. I was so embarrassed…I tried on women’s boots!

After we did some more shopping, we took the ferry back to an island closer to home. The ferry doesn’t go to Chibu so we had to wait in Ama for about an hour. We did a little grocery shopping, bought some drinks, and played on Michelle’s iPad. While we were walking to a bench, I saw this pile of glass Coke bottles. I love how the bottles are pointing in different directions.

Location: Ama-cho, Shimane-ken, JAPAN
Location: Ama-cho, Shimane-ken, JAPAN

With the recent shooting that happened in Connecticut, it reminded me that we should all enjoy the time we spend with friends and family and to always appreciate every day we have with our loved ones. So after looking at these photos, please hug someone special in your life and tell them, “I love you.” I just did 🙂

365 photos in 365 days: Photo #203 & #204

Good Afternoon everyone!

I know, a late post again. I haven’t been doing too well with keeping up on posting. Maybe it’s the cold weather. Maybe it’s because I just want to spend time with Michelle. Maybe it’s because I just forget and am living life. Nope, it’s all because of Halo 4 (and spending time with Michelle). We just have so much fun playing online against other people. I also have a lot of fun hearing Michelle swear like a sailor. That’s right! She swears like a sailor when we play Halo and I love it! It’s not the same when I am at home playing and she is at work because I don’t have a foul-mouthed woman to enhance my playing experience!

We finally got a picture of … a TANUKI, the namesake animal of our blog! You can read more about the tanuki in our “about the blog” page.  We always see them around the island during the night (there’s 2,000 or so tanuki on the island after all), but it’s rare to see them during the day.  As a result, snapping a picture of a tanuki is very difficult.

For the past two years, Michelle has been asking me to try and get a picture of a tanuki. I always bring my camera to try and get a picture when we go for a night walk, but the little guys are always so far away.  When I try to sneak up and get closer, they run farther away. Then the tanuki usually stop to look back at me! Like they are taunting me! It’s maddening!

But I got lucky on Wednesday night. We went for a walk and I reluctantly brought my camera even though I didn’t think we were going to find a tanuki. While we were talking, Michelle tapped my arm and pointed. I looked over to where she was pointing and I saw the tanuki… sitting… staring at us about 4 meters away. I slowly brought up my camera and took a picture. I showed it to Michelle, but the tanuki was so small in the picture. I walked closer to it… slowly so I wouldn’t scare it. I bent down and took another picture, but I thought I could get closer still because the little tanuki didn’t seem too scared of us.  I crept closer and it got up and took a few steps away, but sat back down and seemed to pose for me.  I walked a little closer and took this picture:

Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN
Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN

I think tanuki are very cute. I really want to catch one and keep it as a pet or just go and pet one. I asked Michelle if I could pet it but she said no 😦 Maybe I have to go out and find one on my own to go and pet it. Someday before I leave this island I will pet a tanuki!

Now moving on to yesterday’s picture…

Every Thursday, Michelle has to go to one of the neighboring islands to teach at the junior high. Since we don’t own a car, she has to walk to the port. It’s a 30-minute walk up a steep hill and then a 30-minute walk back. I usually walk with Michelle when she doesn’t ride her bike.  It’s hard to roll out of bed at 5:50 in the morning when its one degree Celsius (33° F) in the house, but I braved the cold and walked with her yesterday. Once we got to the port, I looked around to see if there was anything interesting to take a picture of. I didn’t find anything. That is until I looked beyond the wave breakers and saw that the sun was rising. I kissed Michelle goodbye and walked to get a picture of the rising sun. It was so beautiful! After about 15 minutes, I captured a picture that I was satisfied with and started to walk home.

Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN
Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN

Not only did I get such a beautiful picture, but when I was walking back home one of the first year junior high boys saw me, ran to catch up to me and started to try and speak to me in English. It made me happy that he wasn’t afraid to try and speak English with me. When we got closer to the school, I saw a few of the elementary school kids walking to school. They stopped and waited for me and were so happy to see me. While we were walking to the school, one of the sixth grade girls gave me a Japanese quiz. She would say the English word for a fruit and then asked me what the Japanese word was. It was a lot of fun and they got a kick out of saying English and hearing me speak Japanese. I had a great morning all because of Michelle.

-Khoa

365 photos in 365 days: Photo #201

Today was a great day! I got two loads of laundry, dishes and cleaning done all within an hour of Michelle leaving the house. I don’t know why but I was on a mission to clean the house today. It must have been because I wanted to play Halo or because I didn’t do any chores over the weekend. But I do not regret my actions at all. If I could I would do it again. Wait a minute…. I can do it again….next weekend!

I was originally planning to go for a walk with Michelle when she left for school, but I couldn’t because it was snowing pretty hard. I should have sucked it up and walked with her anyways but I don’t have any snow or rain boots. We have gone through two winters and you would think I would have a pair of boots, but I don’t. You know what I choose to do instead? Walk everywhere in my sneakers…in the snow. Pretty dumb of me but I just never felt the need to get boots…that was until today. I waited for the little snow storm to pass before I went to the bank and to go find a picture. Around 8:40 a.m. it stop snowing and it was sunny with some clouds and the snow started to melt. I left the house with a smile on my face and started to look for a picture.

I first started to take pictures of a shrine by our house, but the wind started to pick up. I left the shrine without checking my pictures and walked as fast as I could in the snow with my sneakers on. As I got closer to the bank, the snow started to fall harder. It wasn’t so bad but when I finished getting some money, I heard hail hitting the roof of the bank. I had no choice but to walk to the store in the snow/hail storm. When I got closer to the store, I saw the shishimai (lion) statue, standing tall in the snow. I fumbled to get my camera lens off to grab a couple of shots of the statue amongst the falling snow. Here is the best out of the group!

Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN
Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN

365 photos in 365 days: Photo #200

Hello!

Halo 4 is in my opinion the best game of this year. The story was great, the graphics where beautiful, and I got to play it with my best friend 🙂 Don’t worry, Michelle and I didn’t constantly play Halo all day, we also did some chores and went grocery shopping. The weather forecast said it was going to snow all day but when we left for our walk, it was sunny and snowing at the same time! Michelle loved walking to the store while it was snowing but still bright and cheery outside. She didn’t mind the cold at all. However, when we finished shopping, the weather took a turn for the worst. The clouds covered the sun, the wind picked up, and snow started to fall more heavily than when we started. It got so bad that Michelle had to use her scarf to cover her face. I had to take a picture of her because I thought she was being too cute.

Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN
Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN

^Look at her trying to stay warm while still holding the daikon and cauliflower we bought at the store 🙂

Stay warm everyone! Winter is on its way!

-Khoa

365 photos in 365 days: Photo #198 & #199

Good evening!

Sorry for the late post. I was doing so well this week :/

Yesterday, we received a care package from my mom. She sent us some mac-n-cheese, clothes and Halo 4! I have been so excited for the release of Halo 4 that when Michelle got home from school, we immediately played. We’ve been playing the campaign together non-stop ever since. I honestly think that playing video games with Michelle is 10 times better than playing by myself. She is so competitive that it makes me want to play even better. That is how it actually is with pretty much anything we do: tennis, darts, video games or just trying to one up each other on gifts.

Two days ago it snowed pretty much all day. None of the snow stuck but it was so beautiful. I love the snow. I was kind of sad because it didn’t snow yesterday but the weather was gorgeous, the sun was out, the clouds were fluffy and white, and it wasn’t too cold. I was able to enjoy my walk to the store without being freezing cold.

Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN
Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN

Today was another great day. Not only did we play some more Halo but we also made mochi at the elementary school. We had a blast watching the kids pounding the rice and eating some delicious mochi. I was busy taking pictures for the event, so all the moms wanted Michelle to try pounding some rice. Everyone loved watching Michelle make mochi.

Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN
Location: Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, JAPAN

Have a great weekend everyone! I know I will because we will be playing Halo!

-Khoa