Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Weekend Happenings...

So I said I was looking for ScrapWorks papers & stuff...well, I was able to take a little road trip with my GF, Fiona, to Arlington Hts. (near the Japanese school). There's a fun LSS (local scrapbook store) called Lil Scrapper and it's next to Trader Joe's...another reason to be wandering around there! Let say that I had the BEST time chatting with the owner (Hi, Trudy!) and her a point where Fiona had to physically drag me out of the store! LOL!! Oh! This is what I purchased (but Fiona paid as a Christmas gift - thanks, Fi!!!) from that fun store!
 that was last Friday that I went on that road trip. That evening was packed full of paper correcting for Japanese school homework which started its first day on Saturday....YIKES, try to correct over 50 pages in a night (well, it doesn't help if mom doesn't know how to read correctly too!). BUT got it done, got the rice cooker timed (for 6am), got the backpacks ready and got the boys' clothes laid out for tomorrow! Well, things went well with the exception of studying for the morning quizzes...hope the scores are passable! UGH!

So Saturday, the boys are at school, mom shopped for food (crockpot lasagna for the boys & Katie, their sitter), and dad's band came over for practice. The kids picked up from school bus stop at 3:30pm. By 4:30pm, the band members left, the sitter arrived and mom is in a bath robe with wet hair!!!! 5:00pm arrived and we were off to downtown Chicago to a dinner at mk restaurant, an off-beat place on Franklin & Chestnut.

My husband and I attended a private dinner to welcome Kiyoshi & Helen Nishikawa, hosted by a JCCC's (Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Chicago) committee of upper-level management of Japanese companies. Kiyoshi Nishikawa is one part of a famous MANZI duo (Japanese standup comedy) - managed by the famous Yoshimoto Kogyo (YK).

Some background info:
YK was started in Osaka in 1912 as a YOSE, a theater that hosts the traditional storytelling known as RAKUGO. This form of comedy has since largely dropped out of the mainstream and can be seen mainly on NHK public television or in "shitamachi" areas such as Tokyo's Asakusa. In its place, the comic style known as MANZAI has become the standard in Japanese entertainment. Consisting of two performers, a straight man and a funny man, it is much closer to the western idea of a comedy duo. Just as the US had Abbott & Costello and the UK had Morecombe & Wise, Japan had Yasu-Kiyo. Yokoyama Yasushi and Nishikawa Kiyoshi were the biggest comedy stars of their day (the 1970s and 80s) and one of Yoshimoto's most successful acts. Yokoyama had that rare comic genius that is so often tinged with a self-destructive streak. His impeccable comic timing and stage presence were mixed with unpredictable off-stage behaviour and excessive drinking that led to his death in 1996 at the age of 51.
(Information taken from

His wife, Helen, born to a Kyoto mother and an American father (who lives in NY; they are seperated) was also an entertainer at YK. She was making more money than her future husband! LOL!! That's how they met and have been together 40 years...they are such a nice couple! Here's a picture of Helen and I...we both look so tired and it was the end of the dinner when this was taken.

Now comes Sunday and at 10am, we're headed out to the New Year's Party and the 40th anniversary of the JCCC at the Rosemont Convention Center. There's at least 800 attendees (10 people per table and there were about 80+ tables) and apparently there a party of 60 people arrived...don't know the story if it was a mis-count or they just showed up! But that set the whole event back about 30 minutes. The boys are in the kids' zone and that alone used up a few of the smaller ballrooms in the convention center. They had pinball machines, videos, games of all sorts and lunch, of course. The Nishikawas performed but we thought they were funnier at the private dinner. We did not win any of the grand prize...just a box of golf balls! Better practice, my dear husband! LOL!! It was a tiring day...we got home close to 5pm! UGH...dinner time! So tired but managed to deep fry a dozen chicken tenders, miso soup, rice and some salad.

And that was our weekend happenings....same kind of nutty schedule for the next weekend as well! But Sunday will be a non-eventful day...we hope!

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