Apologies for the two week lag in creating a new entry. I can blame it on being busy but it was really the opposite. Not much was going on to blog about. Last week I started my first online course for my masters via Skype which was a very very interesting experience. There are eight students and one professor and everyone sits in their own space wherever that may be and logs on to a skype conference. You can’t see anyone, but you can hear them breathing. Actually, during a part of the class that we had to do a writing exercise, I muted my computer so it would be quiet and after I wrote my piece I was reading it out loud to myself (or at least I thought it was just myself). Turns out when you hit mute on your computer, you only mute the other people! I got a little Skype message from one my classmates telling me he heard everything I was reading to myself. That was a little embarrassing and will never happen again. If you are wondering what this crazy picture to the left of the blog is, well, I have to say, I’m not so sure myself. The girls and I were at Tokyo Hands shopping and while I was looking for something, the girls decided to try out some of the zany Japanese products. Sophie put it on (while it was deflated) and started using the hand pump until she came running to find me and told me she couldn’t breath and would I find a way to remove it from her neck. This past weekend, we went with a group from the Tokyo American Club to the Sapporo Snow Festival. You might remember that Tom and I took the boys to this the last time we were in Tokyo. There are some funny photos from that trip – us with the 30 Japanese fisherman on the weekend tour. This time it was a bit different. However, the snow festival was a bit disappointing. The American Club goes a week early trying to beat the crowds and the prices and usually the sculptures are almost entirely completed. But this year it was far from being finished. Another by-product of the bad economy? Who knows. We did however get asked to help work on a sculpture which was fun. Tom immediately found the chain saw. What a surprise. There was a world competition ski jump going on at the old olympic site and we were able to see a jump or two before they shut it down for high wind. The jumpers were staying at the same hotel so it was fun to see them walking around in their ski team uniforms (especially the Polish Ski Team – Tom wanted that jacket so bad). We had an action packed weekend that included an indoor water park, a Genghis Khan BBQ at the Asahi Beer Hall, a visit to the Sapporo Olympic Museum, lunch in Ramen Alley, a visit to the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival and Skiing at Kokusai Mountain (all in 72 hours)! Today was Setsubon, the festival that celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring. I’m sure that it doesn’t seem possible in New York, Wisconsin or Exeter, New Hampshire, but today was a beautiful sunny 50 degrees and it felt just like spring was on it’s way. Sophie is off with her school for a 4 day ski trip to Nagano. Tokyo International School has some serious field trips… sayonara.