Monday, January 23, 2006

06-01-22 Best B-day Present... ever

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.
I had a good weekend, and a GREAT Monday (which is technically Sunday back in the States)! Why you may ask? Because after 30 long, troublesome years, the Seachickens are going to the Stupid Bowl! Wow. I get a big smile when I say that... Feels good. Honestly, I am a very lucky individual, I have a great life, a great family, a rewarding job, it's all good. And yet, my city's teams have always sucked so bad that I just pretty much have given up on them. I still follow religiously, but it has usually been with a hang dog feeling, wondering when they will lose. Well, they are going to the big game, and my it feels might nice!

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.
Oh yeah, and in other news, the reason why this is all so great was that I think they won for me, since you know it is my birthday the 22nd, and taht is the day they won and the world, in case you didn't know, revolves around yours truly. At least it should on my birthday. With my mother visiting and helping with the kids, ( doing a wonderful job of it too, keep up the good work moms!) I've had some time to try to stay abreast on my schoolwork. So much so that I had to put in a few hours on my birthday and I'm still not done! But it all sort of paid off.... at least it feels that way today, if I choose to see the Seahawks winning as a sign. I so choose, yes I do!
Don't get me wrong: I got some wonderful gifts on my b-day, swanky new shades, a snazzy fleece coat, funds for a boarding trip, new smells, books, new coffee to replinsh the dwindling supply, lemon meringue pie (not a big fan of cake) great sushi and buri kama dinner (my wife rocks, she does!), all good, all wonderful, but Seahawks winning a playoff game for the first time in twenty+ years, nice! First time to the Super bowl ever? Ever? Woo Woo!

OK I'm done ranting and raving. I will wipe up the drool and slaver. I send pictures to make up for my lateness, pictures of B-day, pictures of Isaac (6weeks and growing bigger, even though this photo is from his one month b-day) and Grandma P making sugar cookies with Naomi. Enjoy them all, like I enjoyed this past 24hours!

p.s. with vacation starting at the end of the week, maybe this getting older thing isn't so bad after all.
Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

Friday, January 13, 2006

"Saving Grace"

Hi. Haven't posted in a while, been difficult with all the computers, people, and school. I was thinking about the assignment for ESL, the saving grace one. It got me thinking.

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

The Japanese people can be fairly stoic, especially when it comes to tolerating pain and in general, I think they are probably more tolerant than Americans, or at least more used to and comfortable living with what I would usually call unreasonably uncomfortable situations. Examples of this are when my dentist thinks of pain killers onle as an afterthought (if at all) before drilling, or even the simple fact that asprin is almost non-existent. But where I really notice this is in winter. Japan gets cold, and yet with such a modern society, there has been little or no move ot better insulate houses, meaning many people live in cold situations, and who hasn't seen the little boys in shorts or girls in skirts trudging to school in the snow? A different pain thresh hold for sure.

And yet for all of this, my saving grace at this time of year, when it is cold and frosty, is a creature comfort I have found only in Japan, one that I know I could probably live without, but am glad I don't have to. Its my ... wait for it.......

Heated Toilet seat. Yes, yes. The appliance designed to compliment the lack of insulation is a wonder. This point was made abundantly clear to me when I sat on my first cold toilet seat of the season! Ooooo what an unpleasant experience. So while I still don't completely 'get' the lack of proper insulation in modernly constructed private dwellings (and I include in this the lack of central heat and air) I do admire and love my heated toilet seat. I am temtped to buy one before I head back to the States, whenever that might be.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Originally uploaded by skawt_p.
This is Isaac Scott Partridge and his close relations.He is a bit of a surprise, since he was supposed to be a girl. I think our doctor made a mistake in his pronoun usage -- i seem to recall he hada prclivity for that. Ah well, no harm no foul happy eveyone is healthy. And now... now we are set, I think since supposedly it is very good to have an older sister/younger brother combination in Japan they even have a set phrase for this, something like 'first daughter, second son' and it means something when you say it right in that people go "oooooooooo! That's good."

Anyway here he is, and has been for over a week now. Brought him home Thursday and he is still not over the shock. The differnce though is whereas Naomi would bounce off the walls and shake the windows to shards when she was agitated, Isaac is more like his old man and falls asleep when he is overloaded, or over stressed. What a happy, successful defensive mechanism that must have been in the past, boy howdy!

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

More to follow but for now, everyone is happy healthy and getting along. Naomi, as you can see is pretty excited too. She has been working on her diaper changing skills, and is now much more interested in potty training herself out of diapers. Still have some work there though....

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

And because I missed a post last week (oops) I figure I will update you on what is happening now. So the holidays are fast approaching (slow down slow down! why is noone listening?) and parents ar ecoming and presents are being bought... it is getting to be hectic. Right now, my father is in twon but he will be joined by Temre's parents and her sister early this coming week. We will have a ... full...? no, that doesn't do it justice.

PACKED! house!
This weekend saw a small x-mas party for the housing unit. Lots of families, but sadly not too many non-kiddie totting attendees.... chickens! Not that I blame them. Kids get all amped at the idea of Xmas andd I would have avoided this gathering like the plague had I been childless too. As it turns out I am not and it was actually a bit of fun. The kids were calm until that nasty Santa guy showed up.

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

All in all a fun time was had.

Well... mostly fun. I'm telling you Santa is scary for kids.

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

Couldn't resist. Christmas cake all over the nose. Thanks 'Mom' and 'Pop.'

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

oooops! I missed a week. Hmmmm well maybe noone will notice. If you do notice and mention it to me (by our next class meeting, please) on the 5th or 6th, I will ... be more forgiving of you missing a blog... once. Maybe.

So anyway, things are getting a bit hectic and stressed. As you can see we had Naomi's birthday this weekend, even though her b-day isn't really for another 10 days, just what with a child coming on Thursday -- that is an official date now... December 8th, so mark it down -- we needed to bump the party up. It was fun. We invited some friends, people Naomi knows by name (or at least knows their children's name) and had a little brunch party. A good time was had by me anyway and I think the birthday girl as well. The rest will probably sort themselves out. I seriously doubt anyone went away hungry, or bored, thanks to Temre's prep work and my fleet feet (off for donuts, eye-injuring balloons, and other fun little party goodies).

Now it is crunch time. This week will be stressful as will the remaining week + before the break. Thankfully my dad is coming soon to rescue. I just hope he isn't too gorked from the flight to lend a hand with his grand daughter. Then again, as we haven't seen him for wow almost 18months in person (though nearly weekly video conferencing) he should be jazzed up to pitch right in. Otherwise I know I will be going down in flames... So much pressure! Ah kids... the species can't live without them. Wish us luck.

Originally uploaded by skawt_p

Originally uploaded by skawt_p

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Originally uploaded by skawt_p.
I did almost nothing productive this weekend and it felt great, and my family enjoyed it too. I mean look at this face. What more is there to say? I feel bad, I wanted to be productive, but I must admit I like having my weekends off, as do the girls.

Hey so Wenesday is "Thanksgiving Day" in Japan. Strangely (from a North American's perspective) it is actually a day of thanks for the workers of Japan, so it is what we would call "Labor Day." So ... they've taken two of the big national holidays from the US, (and I think Canada too, I think) combined them together, but where is the end-of-harvest/beginning of the winter feasty-thing? Don't get me wrong, Japanese holidays are meticulously planned out so that each month sports one snappy celebration, all designed to offer at least one three day weekend and for that I have great amounts of respect. So instead of questioning, maybe I will just say 'thanks' to my host country and culture for providing me with a day off that so closely matches my favorite holiday from my home culture.

We will be celbrating turkey day (fifth annual) right here this find equally enjoyable ways to spend your day off. Now if only I could rig up some football....

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I miss my kotatsu!

Spaced-out heaters suck!
Originally uploaded by skawt_p.
You know Japan has some of the absolute coolest culturally specific products to help keep people comfortable in Winter: kotatsu, deep-bath tubs, and heated-toilet seats are a few of my favorites. I have even grown to like the smell of my kerosene heater. I miss my kotatsu something fierce! Some of my fondest memories of winter are of Temre and myself holed up under the kotatsu on the weekends, only getting out to make food and go to the bathroom, where we would visit the pleasant toilet seat... ahhh! All gone now. In our current house, we have none of the fun stuff, just a wall mounted unit (heat from the ceiling, what a novel idea) and a pathetically inadequate, painfully expensive space heater.

And this brings us to my central question of today. All these great (and not so great) objects shouldn't distract us from the truly perplexing question of why Japan has been so reluctant to build houses that take advantage of basic an ubiquitous amenities such as insulation and central air. Why? This is just ridiculous, as is the excuse 'oh because of Japan's love of tradition.' bull! Japan is very selective about the products it adopts, but it does use new ideas and stuff very frequently; K-tais, the things that over 95% of the population carry with them at all times are shockingly modern. Other examples of new household amenities abound: sit-down toilets, western-style tables and chair sets, mounted air-con units, refridgerators, none are very traditional, and yet somehow someone forgot to adopt insulation and central air. Why is this? Do you know how much money would be saved over the lifetime of a house? Do you know how wasteful poorly insulated houses are?

I ask again, why are modern dwellings and the amenities there in so slow in penetrating the Japanese market? Koreans adopted heated floors long ago, and yet in Japan, they are still very rare in Japan, with only a few being built in Tohoku and Hokkaido. Why? Especially for a people who so uniformly hate to be cold, I mean really can someone explain this disconnect? What gives? My feet are cold, and
I want some answers!

Monday, November 07, 2005

05-11-05 Our long weekend trip

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.
Over the longish weekend, the family and I went to Miyajima and Hiroshima. It was a tough decision, but I think it was the correct one. You see, I love the School festival, or at least I enjoyed it last year, but with Temre getting more pregnant, time is running short on seeing the sites in Japan. Another child will make the travel that much more difficult, so we decided to forgo the festival and see Hiroshima, which we have both wanted to do very badly. It seems almost mandatory... or at least important in some way.

Hiroshima was very somber and powerful. I can see why students never forget the museum -- it is designed to be quite memorable. I found the grounds of the Peace park to be very relaxing and yet also rather likely to make you think and reflect. Overall, while I wouldn't call it 'fun' it was well-worth the trip. I would actually like to spend more time in Hiroshima because it is a fascinating city to me.

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

Miya-jima on the other hand was beautiful and relaxing and not-overly thought provoking, at least not on the level of Hiroshima. Naomi loved it -- monkeys, deer, dogs, even strolling tanuki at night. It was great and lots of photo opportunities too, so we liked that. I would love to visit miyajima again, and highly recommend it as a great counterpoint to the more somber visit to the Peace Park in Hiroshima.

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.