February 24, 2008

The Rest of The Weekend

The remainder of our Weekend was both fun and interesting. We stayed local, and had a great time.

On Saturday night, we went to Canadian Academy for a really exciting concert. The event was put on by APAC, the Asia Pacific Activities Conference. The finest musicians from each of 6 international high schools (2 from Japan, 2 from China, 1 from Korea and 1 from the Philippines) joined together to make up one large concert band, about 100 strong. The night started with a professional Japanese Taiko Drumming performance, which was amazing. Though a little much for Lauren's tender ears, Jacob enjoyed every minute.

Feel free to check out this link to the APAC website, if you're curious to hear more of the music performed. The piece entitled Methusaleh II was quite remarkable, we thought. (Ilena was dying to get up there with her flute and piccolo and join in, but Mike held her back.)

Sunday morning was a very lazy one. We got to catch up with some family and friends on the phone and webcam, which is always great. After a late brunch, we headed out to Suma, a town just west of Kobe on the JR Train Line, and went to The Suma Aqualife Park. We had learned of Suma from the father of one of Lauren's classmates. It's not the kind of place you would find in tourbooks, but appeared to be a nice little spot. A beach town nestled right near the mountains. From talking to another gaijin we met in Mister Donut (who was living there and had a daughter Lauren's age) and glancing at the guide map we got at the train station, in addition to the Suma Aqualife Park, there is a nice botanical garden, some shrines, as well as the beach. Suma is now on our definite weekend list for when it gets warmer and we want to hit a nearby beach. (Nothing stunning, but its a beach, and as the woman we met - who was from Florida originally - noted, we're from New Jersey, so how high can our beach standards be? Its close - about a half hour by train.)

Today, at the Marine Park (i.e., aquarium), we got to see a great dolphin show, some adorable sea otters and penguins, and lots of other traditional aquarium gems. The dolphins did a great job of soaking those brave enough to sit near the front of the stands on this 40 degree day. Unlike in the States, however, the staff actually comes around with little plastic tarps and towels to cover you with and to dry you with off should you happen to get wet. Ah the niceties over here in Japan! We all had a really nice time. The Dolphins were a big hit, as were beautiful large Carp that Lauren got to pet, and a neat bunch of exhibits with Eels, Jellyfish, and many others.

Finally, in an unrelated note, meet Lauren's dolls newest friend:

(We have also purchased Jacob's Power Rangers a "bad guy" with whom to engage.)

By the way, we hear its the 2008 Academy Awards tonight in the U.S. After reviewing the nominees this year, we learned that we have no clue and have not seen any of the "important" movies of this year. Thinking that maybe we are just out of it, since we are parents and don't get to the movies often, we reviewed the past few years of nominees and winners. Apparently, its just this year. In past years, we had seen most if not all of the nominees. This year, not so much. So, loyal readers, what is worthwhile?? (And keep in mind that worthwhile is presently defined as worth the price of admission - in Japan - about $18-20/ticket + 3 hours of babysitting time. Otherwise, we'll wait for the DVD!)


Melissa said...

I've only seen one of the movies nominated for Best Pic (Juno) and Jason's seen none. Although i hear "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" (or as Beth once called it, "eh, there might be blood...") are very good.

But agreed - a weird year for movies. Save your money and rent them on DVD.

By the way, your blog is a big hit with everyone around here!

Jeremy said...

I am with Melissa, save your money. None of the movies truly jumps out as a must see.

Lisa said...

Save your money even if they were amazing...they were good..some better than others...looks like lots of fun was had as usual. GReat pics of ilena and jacob and mike and lauren at the aquarium!