Country House, City House


Whenever my mother is in Japan, we usually take Haru to Tokyo to see her.   This time, we decided to do something a bit different. We spent the last few days at my grandmother’s country house out on the Chiba peninsula.  This is the first trip out to the country house for Haru, so it was quite interesting to see how she’d react from being away from the city.

the country house

The country house is located up on a hill  in a pretty rural part of Chiba bordering on Tokyo bay.  Despite a huge deforestation of trees to make way for what seems to be a housing construction project, there’ s still plenty of nature left near the house for Haru and the dogs to experience.    Like for example, the big ugly moth with leaf like wings that paid a visit to our screen door and refused to go away.  Not only did the big ugly moth stir up the dogs, it seemed to frighten Haru, who I thought was virtually fearless.  But she seemed to genuinely afraid to get close to this big nasty bug, and I totally don’t blame.  After all, would you want to get close to something about the size of a CD-ROM, and that looked like this:

the big ugly moth with leaf like wings

Despite the less than welcomed visit from our lepidoptera visitor, who eventually left, but not before tiring itself out and passing out on the back porch, Haru seemed to enjoy herself a lot.

On the second day out in the country, we wanted to take Haru and the dogs out to the local ranch, but unfortunately due to poor weather, which was superstitiously blamed on me (some people believe that I have the supernatural ability to draw rain wherever I go), we were not  able to go.  But we did enjoy a nice lunch in town.

playing on the floor

Haru and her grandma siting on the porch

But the most important reason for our little trip was not see a bunch of cows or pigs, or even drink fresh squeezed milk.  It was all about family and spending quality time with the family.  Haruka is only able to see her grandma twice a year or so, and I am only spend a couple of hours a day with with her, so this was about taking some time to spend quality time away from the city rush, with the family.

Haru having a conversation with her grandma

Haru and her cousin’s BMW


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Sit n’ Spin


 

I haven’t written in a while, and there are very good reasons for this.   First reason is that my wife took Haru to Yamaguchi to visit her grandparents and her cousins for a week, so I didn’t really have anyting to write about or any pictures to post. 

 The second reason is because it was golden week (a series of national holidays) in Japan and I was pretty busy doing some home improvement work like rebuilding our wooden deck, and cleaning out the garage.

But the main reason for not writing is… well …I guess it just plain laziness I suppose. But now that almost everything is squared away, and I’ve regained my energy and motivation, and so I’ve decided to write again.

In the last few weeks,  nothing too much has changed. Haru is finally starting to learn some English words. She knows how to say nose, mouth, eyes, and feet, along with the words she already knew how to say like bye bye, and banana.  I have been trying to make it a point to make her learn at least one new English word a week.  And although her pronunciation is not quite perfect, it is a lot better than most Japanese adults that I know. I think that if she keeps at it, she’ll become a pretty proficient English speaker.

My mother’s in town again, and as usual she came with a lot of clothes and gifts for Haru. One toy that my mother brought was a Sit n’ Spin, an interactive toy reminiscent of the Tea Cup ride at Disneyland.  However, from the quality of it, they seemed to have digressed from the quality of the original one that they sold in the 70’s. I remember having one myself when I was little.

The original was made of  thicker and sturdier plastic, and was able to support two small children, whereas the new one is a bit flimsy and barely able to support one 20 pound 17 month old, let alone two kids.

I remember that I used to be able spin around in my Sit n’ Spin so fast, that it used to make be dizzy and make me feel like I want vomit afterwards. On the new one, getting Haru to spin around even once seems to be quite a chore, even with me helping her. As a matter of fact Haru seemed to figure out that she could spin herself around a lot faster if she stood on it rather than sit on it.  It seems that the flimsy toy, now made out of Saran Wrap is just not up for the job, which is quite a disappointment, because I remember have so much fun on it.    

It also seems that they’ve come out with a musical version of the Sit n’ Spin that lights up and makes music.  I am so glad my mother didn’t bring one of those.  We have way more than enough toys that make an awful racket, we sure didn’t need another.                                                         

 
the old skool version of the Sit n’ Spins:

The old 1970’s version of the Sit n’ Spin

 

the 1980’s ‘Care Bears’ version

And the new version

the new and ‘improved’ version
And it seems that I’m not the only one who thinks that the new Sit n Spin is cheaply made and just plain crap.  Here is video review from a lady who shares the same exact opinion that I do about the new version:

 

In my opinion, there are some thing that were done right the first time and shouldn’t be made “better”.  Rather than adding all of the musical gizmos and noise making games to an already great toy, they should have concentrated that production cost in maintaining the sturdiness and ease of use of the older version.  But of course, I am an adult now so who am I know what kids nowadays like.  I just know that the older version was so much better and so much more fun and its a shame that my daughter might not know how much fun they really were way back when.

Haruka on her plastic tricycle

sometimes toys are overrated, and a roll on a nice soft comforter can be just as fun.

Crawling off of her ‘no frills’ version of the Sit n’ Spin.

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