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This past January, Calvin went ice skating for the first time and loved it, so we signed him up for lessons. He claims that while ice skating is a lot easier than roller blading, the falling down part hurts a lot more.

As artificial and un-Japanlike Rokko Island can seem, there is no denying its modern conveniences. The skating rink is on another artificial island, Port Island, about an hour away by train (3 transfers), but an elevated freeway connects the two islands, making the journey by car a mere 7 minutes door to door. No town traffic, no traffic signals, no stress, and plenty of convenient parking at the rink. Steve actually doesn't mind the drive!

But in one of those maddening twists of logic, the rink is closed during the summer months, when Steve (but apparently no one else) seeks desperately for cool relief from the horrible, horrible heat. In Japan, everything is done by the season and only in season. So Calvin will have to wait until Autumn to continue his skating lessons. And Steve must seek summer relief in other air conditioned activities.

In the bottom picture, Calvin poses with Aya and Erika, friends of Calvin's from day care days.



Calvin collects 'mini-yon-ku', four-wheel-drive model racing cars that are the rage of the sub-teen set (and many of their fathers!). The cars are relatively cheap -- about $5-8 -including motor -- but high-tech upgrade parts and accessories can push the cost of a single car into the hundreds of dollars.

Rokko Island has what is supposedly the longest race course in Japan. Funny thing is, the cars are so damned fast that they are merely blurs as they whip through the course. There is literally not much to see. And the day I was there, not one car managed to stay on the track for an entire lap. Most exploded out of the course like rockets, striking walls, pillars, or the occasional body that happened to be in the flight path of one of these misguided missles. The fence around the course which separates the wheeled whizzers from the spectators is not for show.

There is a picture of a part of this race course on Brian's page.



For his birthday this year, we got Calvin a Nintendo 64 game machine plus two games: Super Mario 64 and Mario Cart 64.

Calvin's style of play is rather interesting, involving full body movments that give him quite an aerobic workout. Those that think that video games are passive entertainment should watch Calvin play.

The official home page of the Nintendo company, http://www.nintendo.com/, contains all kinds of game tips, without which Steve would never be able to compete with Calvin.

(If you came here from Michelle's page, here's how to get back.)



For the Peter Pan halloween party, Calvin insisted upon going as Superman, so Steve dusted off his costume-making tools and went to work. Making these costumes for Calvin and Brian is quite challenging and fun, But I'm glad that halloween is but once a year.

Note B at the left, in full-bore, free-fall, red-line, warp factor 10 ("she canna take anymore, Capt'n!"), goofy-to-da-max mode.


In the park downstairs.  

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