Yagi-san (day 8 – Thursday)

Went to NASA for the level 9 tour:

Started out in the gift show to get some sweaters.


Had lunch in the employee cafeteria.    Funny thing is that before Space Center houston, this is where all the visitors used to eat (early 90s late 80s)

Saw the neutral buoyancy tank

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Saw mission control.  They were in the middle of a mission, and we were in the background on NASA TV for a few seconds:


Yagi-san would make a good mission controller.  (This is in the old mission control room)


Some day I might be a Flight Director.. Might as well start looking the part.


I was thinking of using this for my future status reports (from the Mission control consoles)


sonia makes a pretty good looking flight controller herself:


Here is a plaque from the Apollo 13 astronauts thinking the controllers for their efforts during that trying experience:


Here is Yagi-san next to a big sized picture of a Japanese astronaut:


We saw the mockups used for training:



We also saw the vacuum chamber used to test spacecraft in space like conditions:



Here are some pictures of pictures of it in use 🙂


We also looked at the restored Saturn 5 rocket:

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That was the end of the Level 9 tour.  Next we looked at the exhibits at Space Center Houston.

Yagi-san got to touch a rock from the moon:

HPIM8037  And look at some other exhibits:

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Then we picked my mom up for dinner (something you can do when she lives 1.5 miles from your house instead of 40 miles)


And afterwards, we all worked on a poster about Japan for Stephen’s school for Yagi-san’s visit:


That wraps up Thursday.

I do not have any pictures for today (Friday) on the computer yet.  Tomorrow we go to Bastrop, San Antonio, and Austin.  We return on Thursday.  I am hoping to update the website as we go along, because we will be see a lot of things and taking a lot of pictures. 

Yagi-san (Day 7 – Wednesday)

Went to the YMCA in the morning:


But there was not enough time for him to go swimming because we wanted to show up to Toastmasters on time:

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Yagi-san had trouble understanding Toastmasters…  Anyway, the only difference between the above pictures is that Stella is in one and I am in the other one.  (Somebody had to hold the camera…)

That night we went to the rodeo… saw a lot of cool things.

Steer wresting:


Barrel racing:


Rodeo clowns


Bull riding… (sorry, don’t have a good picture..)

The 4-H bull catching thing where they get to keep the cow:




That event was the most fun to watch…

oh, well, got to move on…

Chuck wagon races


Then the concert started, but it was a little loud


And it was late

And I made the "newbie" mistake of not demanding my seats when I first sat down and then moving from seat to seat… Oh well.

Couldn’t leave without trying the massage chairs again


Yagi-san (Day 6 – Tuesday)

Tuesday was a slow day… There were no activities during the day.  But that night we went to a Ejaz’s house to hang out.


Stephen was very excited to show off his knowledge of Shogi… (Fleel like starting a Shogi Club anyone?)


Enough of that… let’s get back to regular chess for now:


Group picture:

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Yagi-san (Day 5 – Monday)

On Monday, we took Yagi-san to work to meet some friends of friends.  Here they are:


And we introduced him to some of our co-workers.  (let me know if I can post your names 🙂 )

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That night we went to the Movie Tavern and watched "College Road Trip".  I covered a little about the Japanese references in this movie in a previous post.

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I should also mentioned that I got the "Blue Thing" margarita and some egg rolls.   I don’t know what it was but the next day I my stomach was upset, I threw up, and I could not eat all day..  No more "blue things" for me.

Yagi-san’s visit (day 3)

Got up at 6:30. Went to get Yagi-san coffee from Starbucks… (I think I will be buying a coffee maker soon.)

Went running 3 miles with my next door neighbor at 7 this morning.

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Then we went to my mom’s house. Yagi-san met my mom and gave her a gift:


She is taking her dogs to my dad’s house out in the country.

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Then he met my step-mom in the Cold Spring:


We took a tour around the study/office building:



He met my dad:


Then we had to build a pen for the dogs. Yagi-san helped out.


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I was feeling quite muscular afterwards (It doesn’t show yet 🙂 )


The dogs tested the pens and found some weak points:


My dad and step-mom gave Yagi-san the “Gone to Texas” book about Texas history:


Then we went to go eat. On the way we saw the Lake Livingston dam spillway


We ate at Bodacious Bar-B-Q


We visited the Cold Spring old county jail museum.. but they had just clsoed:


Then we went shopping:


Then we went back and went on a walk to the spring. Then we picked some vegetables from the garden:


My dad gave yagi-san a $10 confederate note:


Then I demonstrated some techniques I use to lose at shogi.. 🙂


My sister came by and Yagi-san got to meet her


Then we had dinner at The Hop


Then we returned home to sleep and get ready for tomorrow when we go see the Rodeo.

Yagi-san visit day 2

This morning we started the day with Starbucks coffee and home made pancakes (the just add water kind). Yagi-san had requested a map of Houston yesterday, so I picked up one this morning at the gas station next to the Starbucks. They also had one of San Antonio which we will be visiting during his stay. I got that as well.

I had to work this morning. But Yagi-san went swimming at the YMCA this morning with my in-laws.

At lunch time, we meet Toshio and ate at Bennigans. During lunch Toshio mentioned that he knew of three free tickets to the Aeros Hockey game tonight. So we decided that Yagi-san, my self, and my youngest son Christopher would go.

Then we dropped Toshio at work. Picked up Christopher early from school. Then we drove by the nicer part of my neighborhood where the million dollar homes are. And we drove around Hooks Airport which is next to my subdivision. It was a windy day so there was no one flying.

Then we went to Barbara Bush library to return some books. I had planned to get Yagi-san some videos about the places we would visit, but there really wasn’t anything. And Yagi-san did not seem inclined to get anything. There was one of those tourist brochure stands, so we picked up some of things to see around here.


Then we went to the Hong Kong market.

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Then I dropped Yagi-san off at the house for a nap. Picked up Stephen and dropped him off at home. Then we went to get Christopher a hair cut.


Then we went home and feed the kids. And we waited for the Hockey game.


The we went to the Hockey game with Toshio.

We had pretty good seats. Here is one of the contests they had between the periods.


A cheerleader was passing by so we got a picture.


Also got a picture with the Aeros mascot “Chill Dog”


Christopher enjoyed cotton candy


And I had a good time too:


While we were at the hockey game, Stephen went to the chess tournament for the first time. He won 4 games and got a trophy.

anyway, off to sleep tomorrow. Got a big day. running in the morning, then all day at my dad’s place.

Yagi-san visit (day 1)

If you have been talking to me at all in the past month, you must be knowing that my friend from Japan is visiting me for three weeks.  This has been a big focus for us for the past few weeks.  First, let me review how I met Yagi-san.  I was in Tokyo in April 2007 for a work meeting.  I was on the subway and this older gentleman set next to me.  I tried to speak some Japanese to him, but I do not think I said it correctly.  He says, “I would prefer it if you spoke English to me.”  So we talked a little and ended up exchanging email addresses.

We kept in  touch via email.  Then my family and I visited Tokyo in July 2007.  We all went to his house and got to meet his family.  And we invited him to come to visit us.  That is now happening.

I have been trying to plan his trip.  You can see the wiki page where I have the latest plan at: www.gadgetnate.com/wiki/index.php?title=Yagi-san%27s_visit_in_March_2008

Today, Christopher and I picked him up at the airport:


We came home and met my mother-in-law and father-in-law.


We chatted a bit, and then he took a nap.  So, I thought it would be good to go back to work.  Later that evening, Stephen played the piano for us.


Yagi-san brought us all gifts.  I got a learn Japanese book.  Hopefully I can work on it while he is here.  Then we all sat down and had dinner together.


Yagi-san bought some very good green tea.

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And some berries… I will have to get the names later.


And he brought some sochu, which we will have to try this weekend.


After eating, Stephen played Shogi.


Then I tried playing shogi and learned the Kaku Gawari defense:


But it wasn’t enough… I lost two games: