Saturday, September 16, 2017

Japan Travel with Children - Kyushu - Sightseeing Train Yufuin no Mori ゆふいんの森

A trip to the famous hot spring town Yufuin (由布院) in Kyushu is not completed without travelling on the sightseeing train Yufuin no Mori (ゆふいんの森). When I ran into the Japan Rail (JR) Ticket Office at Hakata Station, the display screen that showed the availability of Yufuin no Mori was not working. I quickly used my half-past-six Japanese to check with the staff, and I was finally relieved. There were still vacant seats on the day and time that we planned to travel! Sound dramatic? Yes, we heard that it was not easy to get a seat on the popular sightseeing train!

This train is strictly by reservation. When we visited Kyushu in June 2017, the online reservation for tourists who have purchased JR Kyushu Rail Pass at JR Kyushu official website was not available yet.  Therefore, we had to reserve the seats on our first day when we reached Kyushu.

At the time of writing this post (September 2017), while the online reservation is now available for tourists who have purchased JR Kyushu Rail Pass at JR Kyushu official website (with extra charge), the route of Yufuin no Mori has changed due to damages by heavy rain. Instead of 2 hours from Hakata to Yufuin, the temporary route now will take almost 5 hours.

Boarding this train was also a special experience, as the staff welcomed us aboard.

We didn't really have time to rest during our train journey. After we had put down our luggage and found our reserved seats, we started exploring the train.

Our family was fortunate to get this booth seating!

Such a big screen at the two ends of the train!

Even the doors in between  the cabins are so beautiful! There are shelves for the luggage.

Many people were queuing at the snack bar even before it was opened. On a sightseeing train, of course we must have a train bento lunch box! We ordered Yufuin Wappa (ゆるいんわっぱ, 720 yen), which looked so pretty!

The children requested for ice-cream. This soya bean flavour ice-cream (about 300+ yen each) was smooth and delicious!

The snack bar also sells souvenirs.

Other than purchasing food and souvenir, there was another queue in the snack bar cabin. Another must-do on a sightseeing train - stamping on the souvenir card!

The scenery along the way was breathtaking.

When the train passed by a waterfall, the staff informed us to look at our right, and the train was slowed down for us to admire the waterfall for a few seconds.

The staff also walked around with a sign board and children's train captain uniform for the passengers to take photos. When our children wore the captain uniform, they suddenly became the stars in the cabin, as the friendly Japanese ladies sitting next to us took photos of them, and kept saying they were "kawaii" (cute)!

Two hours passed by quickly, finally we reached Yufuin Station. There was a foot bath area (160 yen per person) just next to the train track.

This train journey was a special experience, and now I understand why it is not so easy to get a seat on Yufuin no Mori!

Useful Information

How to get from Hakata to Yufuin by Public Transportation
  1. Bus: Nishitetsu Bus from Hakata Bus Terminal (reservation is required). Duration is about 2 hours. Fare - adult 2880 yen, child 1440 yen.
  2. Sightseeing train: Yufuin no Mori (reservation is required). Duration is currently about 5 hours due to change of route. Fare before change of route - adult 4550 yen, child 2270 yen.
  3. Train: JR Sonic to Oita, then change to another train Nichirin Sea Gaia. Duration is about 3+ hours. You can consider visiting Beppu or Oita in between. Fare - adult 6650 yen, child 3330 yen.
Yufuin no Mori

Our Japan (June 2017) Travelogue

Thank you for visiting PeiPei.HaoHao. If you enjoy reading this post, do stay connected with us on Facebook!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Primary School Mathematics Model Method

The children's primary school mathematics problems are getting more and more problematic. Well, the comprehension of the questions is one challenge to the children. Another challenge is, the primary schools are teaching model method, which to me, is more challenging than using algebra!

Pei Pei once asked me why she had to show the working using model method even though she could solve the problem without the model. I asked her teacher during parent-teacher meeting, and the teacher shared that model method helps the children to make the mathematics problems visible, and the children should learn to use model method as soon as possible, so that they can use this method to solve more difficult questions. 

Now it is Hao Hao's turn to learn the model method. But he finds it difficult to understand what the bars are all about. Therefore, I have to think to ways to help him understand the interpretation of the bars.

Instead of a bar, I used concrete objects to represent. In addition, I learnt from a friend that to help children to grasp the idea of the question, instead of using complicated names, change the questions to name of people whom they can relate to.

Part-whole Concept

Example: Daddy has 3 marbles, Mummy has 2 marbles. How many marbles do they have altogether?

Of course, if you don't have marbles at home, you can use other objects that you can find at home!

Then replace the marbles by blocks. 

After that, use bars to represent. 

Comparison Concept

Example: Daddy has 3 marbles, Mummy has 2 marbles. How many more marbles does Daddy have?

Again, use the real object, followed by blocks, then by bars.

Model method is one of the heuristics to solve mathematics problems. Other heuristics include tabulating, guess and check, working backwards, simplifying a problem, and considering special cases.

Thank you for visiting PeiPei.HaoHao. If you enjoy reading this post, do stay connected with us on Facebook!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Great Lengths: Singapore's Swimming Pools

[Sponsored Review + Giveaway]

Our children attend swimming lesson every week. We visit the swimming pool near our home, and little do we know about other swimming pools in Singapore. It was enlightening as we read Great Lengths: Singapore's Swimming Pools and learnt more about the history of public swimming pools in Singapore.

Let us test you how much you know about Singapore's public swimming pools!

Question 1: What is the name of Singapore's first public swimming pool?

Answer: Mount Emily Swimming Complex

Question 2: Which swimming pool was the first in Singapore that resembles a water theme park?

Answer: Jurong East Swimming Complex

Question 3: Who won the first Olympic Games gold medal for Singapore?

Answer: Joseph Schooling

Did you answer all questions correctly?

3 lucky PeiPei.HaoHao readers will each receive one copy of Great Lengths: Singapore's Swimming Pools

To be qualified for this giveaway, just complete these steps:
  1. Like PeiPei.HaoHao's Facebook page (Thank you if you have already "Liked" us)
  2. Like this Facebook post, comment "What is the name of Singapore's first public swimming pool?" (answer in this blog post!), and leave your email address in the Facebook comment [or you may send your email address to mami(at)peipeihaohao(dot)com]
  3. Bonus (optional): Share this Facebook post on your Facebook timeline.

Giveaway Terms and Conditions:
  • This giveaway will be closed on 8 September 2017, 2359 hrs.
  • The winner will be randomly drawn.
  • Prizes are not refundable or exchanged for cash or prizes of any kind.

Great Lengths: Singapore's Swimming Pools
Publisher: Kucintas Books
ISBN: 978-981-11-089706

Disclaimer: We received the book for review purpose. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and photos are mine. 

Thank you for visiting PeiPei.HaoHao. If you enjoy reading this post, do stay connected with us on Facebook!