Katie’s Kindergarten Entrance Ceremony

At the beginning of April, Katie officially entered the kindergarten at our kids’ school, which means that we started sending her three days a week.  Since we homeschool our kids half of the week, full-time at UICS for our kids’ is just three days a week and we always start sending them three days a week once they turn four.  (In Japan, kindergarten is more like preschool in America and many kids start at age three).  Katie is extremely social and she loves her teacher and the other kids at school so she was VERY excited to pass this milestone.  The teachers gave her a corsage and she got an official certificate of entrance into kindergarten.  After the ceremony, we celebrated by eating at McDonald’s at the local mall. 🙂

Here are some photos of the day.  Don’t forget to click on the photos if you want to enlarge them.

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UICS Bunkasai 2010

Every year our school puts on a fall cultural festival (called a “bunkasai”).  This year our kids sang, danced, acted in a modern version of Pilgrim’s Progress called “Journey to Heaven”, and played the “pianica” (an instrument that is a cross between a harmonica and a piano) in the UICS bunkasai.  They all did their parts whole-heartedly and seemed to really enjoy the event.  Bryan and I had a great time watching their performances.  Even though this was Katie’s first time to do things on stage in front of an audience, she sang her heart out and didn’t seem shy at all!  I was very impressed! 🙂  Here are a few photos of the event.

UICS Sports and Games Day

Last month our kids’ school had its annual sports and games day.  Since it’s rainy season in Japan now, the event was held indoors at an ice skating rink that is used for indoor sports during the summer (when I guess no Japanese people feel like going ice skating).   The day’s fun events included relay races, tug-of-war, and a competition to see which team could toss the greatest number of balls into a basket in an alloted amount of time.  Ethan was ecstatic that his team won the overall competition for the day and Austin did a good job of having a good attitude that his team didn’t win.  Bryan and I got to join in some of the races with our kids and we all had a terrific time.  We can’t wait until next year!!

UICS Field Trip to Tochigi Police Department

I’ve blogged about our kids school (UICS) before.  A couple of times a year, the school plans field trips to various fun and educational places.  This time, we visited the Tochigi Prefectural Police Headquarters.  Before the tour started, we were shown a video about what police officers do.  Then the officer in charge of our tour took us to look down through large windows at the room where the officers take the “911” calls for Utsunomiya and the surrounding area.  (Actually, in Japan calls to the police department are”110″ calls and medical emergency calls are to “119” instead of 911).  One of the high school students in our group got to make a practice 110 call on his cell phone to an officer in the call room below.  We all laughed while he tried to make up an emergency situation on the spot. 🙂  We learned that officers working in the 110 call room have 24 hour shifts — meaning they work nonstop for 24 hours and then go home to rest!  Wow!!  That information  made me hope that if I ever have an emergency it’s at the beginning of everyone’s shift and not at the end when all the officers are exhausted!! We also looked through a window down at the traffic information room where officers keep track of what roads are crowded or are obstructed by accidents and also make radio announcements regarding road conditions.

When our tour was finished, we drove to a nearby park for a picnic and then spent some time at the Tochigi Prefectural Natural History Museum, which I’ve blogged about before.  It was a great day and I am very thankful for the work the teachers put into planning field trips that I never could have planned by myself for our kids.  I love our combination of UICS and homeschooling! 🙂