Monday, August 29 is the first day of Osaka International School!

On the first day the plan all along has been to get up early and bike to school together.  School starts at 8:30 but it sounds like the students gather as early as 8:10 to hang out.  We aim to leave at 7:45 which gives us a comfortable half hour to get to school so our kids can walk in early.  Oh but mother nature has other plans for us.  It’s raining today!  Our choices are to bike anyway or have John TRY to drive the car.  It’s now too late to figure out the bus.

In Japan the cars drive on the left side the road.  The steering wheels are on the right side of the car.  The turn signal and the windshield wipers are on opposite sides of the steering wheel from the US.  John had wanted to practice driving around the neighborhood first, but he hadn’t gotten behind the wheel yet.  So he was feeling nervous about driving in the rain, on the left side of the road, in a car that we don’t really own!  We made the decision to bike, but that decision took us about 10 minutes so now it’s 7:55.  The five of us start out on the bikes.  But then it starts raining harder!  Avalon had this 30 second idea that she was going to hold an umbrella in one hand and hold one handlebar in the other.  Too difficult.  Other people around us on bikes have full head to toe ponchos with hoods on.  Kaiyo is super worried about biking in the rain.

We got about 3 blocks and John said, forget it, I’m driving us.  So we turned around and biked back home.  Now it’s about 8:05 and our original plan to get to school early has gone out the window and the new goal is to get to school on time.  First John has to get the car out of its tight parking space.  When they built this house they certainly didn’t want to waste an inch on parking.  Getting out isn’t as hard as getting back in, but since John has never driven this car before it’s a tight squeeze here.  Once we get on the road it’s a mind game to remember to drive on the left side of the road.

As we drive slowly along, we say to him, drive on the left, drive on the left.  TIGHT LEFT TURNS DAD!  WIDE RIGHT TURNS DAD!  The entire way to school we are chanting tight left, wide right!  At every stop light with a turn we say, stay on the left!  And John says, oh thank you I already forgot again.  Not only that, but he also hit the turn signal when he meant to turn on the wiper blades and vice versa.  So when he wanted to turn, our wipers went crazy, and when he wanted to clean the windshield, our turn signal went on!  Luckily the trip to school isn’t really that far so it’s not that long of a drive.  But stressful!  And in the now pouring rain.  The cars are all lined up for drop off since it’s raining.  There is a bus stop right in front of school and kids are piling out of the bus.  I had wanted to walk in with the kids on the first day but now we’re in this car line and there’s no stopping.  I hopped out for a minute just to snap a quick photo and say good luck!

Phew!  The kids are in school.  Now we are free adults without our children for a few hours!  My plan is to go back to Costco with Art’s wife Mariah today.  She is picking me up at 10:30 at the house.  I have no idea what John is going to do.


Photos at school, taken on the second, much-sunnier, day.

I kept thinking I’d spend less at Costco this time since I was just there with Art not long ago but of course it’s Costco so I spent too much.  My excuse is that I am building the pantry and refrigerator from scratch so we need a lot of basics.  I didn’t get snacks last time so I concentrated on good ‘ol American snacks – the kind without seaweed, soy sauce and MSG on them.  Now my pantry has granola bars, beef jerky, Ritz crackers and Kirkland tortilla chips.  My kids are happy.

Much too soon it’s time to head back in the rain to pick up the kids from school.  The rain has never let up all day.  It’s such a change from home in Newport Beach where the forecast will be rain and it will rain for all of 30-60 minutes if we are lucky.  So John and I get back in the car for another white knuckle trip to school.  Actually, John is more comfortable this time and we know where we are going a little better.  But, it’s still a tight left, wide right chant the whole way!

Halyard, Kaiyo and Avalon all had a great first day at school.  They enjoyed their teachers, classmates and activities.  Halyard actually said school was fun – an adjective he hasn’t used to describe school since maybe 6th grade.  Avalon said they just played around in the shallow end of the pool during PE today.  Kaiyo got in the car and was holding 3 bars of Godiva chocolate.  He said that a girl in class was passing them out at the end.  Another boy told Kaiyo that the “richest girl” in class sometimes brings chocolate and things for her classmates.  She had extra chocolate bars so she gave some to Kaiyo and he gave them to Halyard and Avalon.


For their first day at school I packed them all lunches from home:  Corn dogs I found at the market!  Fruit, cheese, crackers, etc.  When Avalon got home she reported that her new friends had never seen a corn dog before!  They had a lot of questions about it.  Avalon said they’d also never heard of Tootsie Rolls.  The Japanese on the package above says: “Ah-meh-ri-ka-n Dogu”

For dinner tonight we had:

costco pizza

Costco pizza!

I think I’m done with Costco now for a while!