Sunday, August 23, 2009

7th Annual Wild Weasel Triathlon

Saturday I did my first triathlon! and despite Em spoiling MY event to blog about, I'll continue with my post.
The base does a triathlon each year and last year my friends did it and I thought that'd be cool to do and half decided to do it the next year. Well, I did it!! and was very happy with my results at 1 hour and 4 minutes. And that with a crappy bike.

It was a little shorter than an offical "sprint triathlon" at 500 m swim, 9 mile bike and, 3 mile/5k run. The swim was the hardest part because of all the people around you that are kicking you as you kick them. It was hard to get a good stroke in and I even did a couple strokes of the doggy paddle as we crammed around the first turn.

I feel all excited still and can't keep thinking about doing another one. And my friend Merrill has me dreaming of a nice road bike purchase too!

Mike, Merrill, Me
The Mormons

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dad my tooth hurts!

Max's teeth have been exfoliating a little late, but still in the norm. Last week he asked me if he could come to work with me to take Tooth D (not the middle tooth but the one next to it, the right lateral incisor) out. I told him we might be able to on Monday. Later that night he began to complain that it was really hurting and coming close to tears. So I looked and to my surprise he had an abscess! My only guess/explanation is that the neighboring permanent tooth ate away the root a little funny and bacteria got under his gums and to the root/tooth and thus the bubble.
I took him to the clinic, borrowed some supplies/instrument/toys/torture devices and brought them home since Em wanted to see it done. I didn't let her anesthatize him or pop the abscess either (or did I...). Then pulled it out! The top picture shows a little how he couldn't raise his lip on the right (left side in the picture). It was fun!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

rase-rase-rase-ra or Nebuta Festival

Last week we spent a long day in Aomori, the capital of our prefecture also called Aoromi, celebrating the Nebuta festival.

"There are many theories about the origin of the Nebuta Festival. One is that it is said to have originated after the subjugation of rebels in this district by "General TAMURAMARO" in the early 800's. He had his army create large creatures, called "Nebuta", for frighten the enemy. Another theory is that the Nebuta Festival was a development of the "TANABATA" festival in China. One of the customs during this festival was "TORO" floating. A "toro" is a wooden frame box wrapped with Japanese paper. The Japanese light a candle inside the "TORO" and put it out to float onto the river or into the sea. The purpose behind this is to purify themselves and send the evil spirits out to sea. "TORO" floating is still one of the most impressive and beautiful sights during the summer nights of the Japanese festivals. On the final night, "toro" floating in accompanied by a large display of colorful fireworks. This is said to be the origin of the Nebuta Festival. Gradually these floats grew in size, as did the festivities, until they are the large size they are now. Today the Nebuta floats are made of a wood base, carefully covered with this same Japanese paper, beautifully clolred, and lighted from the inner part with hundreds of light bulbs. In early August the colorful floats are pulled through the streets accompanied by people dancing in native Nebuta costumes, playing tunes on flutes and drums. "

We barely made it to Aomori, about an hour and a half away, in time to catch the last 10 minutes of the parade. One might think that it was too short, but with three kids that's about all you need of a parade. It was a great 10 minutes though. Just a bit better than the Riverton Days Parade.
It was filled with so much excitement. These Japanese really know how to celebrate! The floats were so big and detailed, they almost looked alive. We saw then during the day, but the rest of the week the parades were at night with them all lite up. During the parade one person would call out "rase-rase-rase-ra!" Then everyone else will chant it back, over and over. This is joined by a twitter of flutes and steady pounding of the drums. Surprisingly, for something so constant and repetative, it didn't get annoying and you find yourself joining in despite having no clue what they are chanting. (I believe it is the equivilant of cheering someone along. One site says it is just a chant used "to shake away the sleepiness of summer.")
Later that night we saw the longest firework show we've ever been to. It lasted 2 hours and had lots of "finales." A few were so grand that the smoke in the sky began to obscure the continueing fireworks. Fireworks were great and all, but the cool part was they took some of the floats and took them out on the water on barges. The night was filled with these brightly lite giant floats accentuated by huge fireworks and flutes and chants of Nebuta.

We tried to leave early to beat traffic out of the city. There were sooo many people there! So we headed back to the car only to be behold this:Our car was totally blocked and we had to wait another hour+ to be able to leave! We had a good time despite being so tired from lots of walking. We enjoyed a steamed bun, yaki soba, rice balls, chicken nuggets, and of course ice cream from the ever present festival vendors.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Another Earthquake

We just had a little earthquake. Just a 3. We are at the top of the green parts on the map. It lasted about 30 seconds with a gentle rocking.