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Japanese style 1st Bday! [Todd's family]

Celebrating my son's [1]st B-day in Japan was a cultural eye-opener. I like living in Japan when I get to learn new things and think in a different way. [爆弾] For example, here in the pic below you see a rice cake with a kanji figure on it (isshomochi). It can be read in 2 ways: 1.8 kilograms or "whole life", meaning that we wish our son to never go hungry his whole life. It shows that in pre-modern Japan people struggled to feed themselves and the infant mortality was high. We should appreciate every meal.[レストラン]


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Leo is wearing the rice cake on his back to represent that life is not easy and we have to struggle to survive.How true!
The red rice and beans above is called sekihan and that is the the literal translation, seki is red and han is rice, while the fish is called Tai, which is sea bream and the Japanese use this term to express pleasure so it shows how seafood, even a fish is part of the Japanese psyche.

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TDS (Leo's Birthday) [Todd's family]

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We went to TDS for Leo's [1]st birthday and enjoyed staying in the Mira Costa Hotel again. This hotel's name is the same as the University I grew up near[雷]...what a coincedence.


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Mickey, Minnie and[ムード]
Todd, Masami, and Leo
why don't Mickie and Minnie have any kids[exclamation&question][ひらめき]

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Summer Celebration, Jewish style [Todd's family]

[カメラ]Let's have a great time in California! Narita [飛行機]Airport is certainly not the best airport in the world but for my son, he looks like he's ready for action.
Leo slept in a basonet on the plane but it was not easy getting him to sleep. It was my first time to travel with children so whenever you see parents traveling with kids, give them sympathy. It's nice to have passengers around who smile at your child and keep him occupied.
I used to wonder why parents were flying with small children but I realized there is often no choice.
On this trip, we attended my nephew's (Ben) Bah Mitzvah so Leo is wearing the traditional cap.He and I enjoyed it! [カメラ]



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First Boy's Day (Children's Day)/(Hatsusekku) [Todd's family]

Recently, this holiday changed names so I got confused again.[目]But I suppose it was unfair to girls so they changed it to Children's Day. Anyway, I remember walking around my neighborhood in Zengyo seeing these beautiful carp stremaers floating in the air off of flag poles. Of course, I love flying flags myself but I had never seen beautifully colored fish kites! I was amazed but wondered what they were for. Of course I later was told they represented boys of families who wanted them to grow up strong and beautiful, like a carp swimming up stream.
So, when my wife and I had a son of our own I was so happy to be able to celebrate this holiday with Leo. My mother-in-law took the time to buy us a really luxurious carp streamer, and in addition, a small samurai armor and helmet (kabutokazari) set that was also VERY expensive. [プレゼント]
I felt like, wow, my son is a samuri and has his own armour and helmet, that is the coolest thing ever! [モータースポーツ]
We celebrated by taking him shopping, then at night, giving him a bath with a green plant in the water (shobu) to guard against future illness. I had never seen or heard of this plant before, and I really like hot springs so this was a great discovery.
Then we my wife folded a paper into the shape of a samurai helmet and we put it on him for photos.

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100 days old ceremony (Momoka iwai) [Todd's family]

Having a child in a foreign country has been a great adventure. I have learned a tremendous amount about Japanese culture and the value of human life. When we went to the Kugenuma shrine to celebrate his birth, the priest gave us a few gifts that surprised me. I had no idea what was contained in the boxes but about a month later I found out. [ひらめき]
When Leo turned 100 days old I returned home from work to find my mother-in-law waiting with the boxes open. There was food inside! [レストラン]
We celebrated Leo's turning 100 days old by giving my son his first rice.(Okuizome) It was my job to put the rice grain to his mouth but I soon realized I made a BIG[台風]mistake. It's just a symbolic ceremony because Leo couldn't eat yet so we're just supposed to put the grain of rice on a chopstick then up to his lips. I wasn't told anything so I had to experience it to learn it, and I really enjoyed it.


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Omiyamairi (new born baby ceremony) [Todd's family]

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In Japan, it is custom to visit a shrine after newborns turn 31 days old for a ceremony. Our boy was blessed by a Shinto priest and given a bag of souvenirs to use in upcoming ceremonies.For example, he was given sake, chopsticks, a rice bowl,etc.the shrine was Kugenuma Fusimi Inari Jinja near our home in Fujisawa, so that was very convenient. [soon]
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This was my first time to see my wife dressed in a kimono [ブティック](she wore a Western dress for our wedding)so what a special treat it was for me.[ハートたち(複数ハート)] Leo is wrapped in a family treasure kimono passed down from Masami's mom. I felt a bit too casual not wearing a suit but Californians don't need suits![無料]
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New Family [Todd's family]

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Our first child, Leo Todd Lenkowski, was born on Nov.25, 2011 at 2:45a.m. weighing 3428 g (7.5 lbs. )and 51.5 cm (1.6 feet).[プレゼント]
He's a healthy and happy boy. We're looking forward to raising him in Tsujido and improving our lives here.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the hospital[病院] system wonderful here. They stayed in the hospital 4 nights and 5 days with great service and hospitality, all covered by the Japanese Medical Insurance system.
When my boy was delivered, I watched him appear and my wife's first words were, "Is he cute?" I was glad to say that he was cute and most importantly, healthy.
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Here is the little bugger in the rainforest! [足]



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Todd's Family on 2011-11-02 [Todd's family]

Here we are in Tsujido coast park near our home.It's Japanese style and very well kept. We always walk (or I jog) around this park for exercise. From this spot in the photo, you can see Mt. Fuji and the Shonan Coast. I hope our baby likes it.


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【033】Day of Dog (Suitengu Shrine ceremony for unborn baby) [Todd's family]

[犬]This ceremony is very important and customary for Japanese women and families. Dogs have large litters so somehow the dog became a kind of symbol to pray to for a healthy birth and baby. I was very surprised by this custom and found it fascinating. Masami attended a Shinto ceremony with about 50 other women while her mother and I waited. Then she was given a good luck girdle to wear that protects the unborn child.
This shrine was the same her mother attended in Tokyo near Nihonbashi. After that we ate lunch at Tokyo station. My favorite part of the day![ビール]





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