Once Upon a Tanbo

An update

Posted on: May 11, 2009

Hello all… well I’m sure you’ve been anxiously waiting the next installment in the Sarah Saga. Or not… πŸ˜› I doubt that my life is honestly that exciting.

Well I am in Niigata – have been since around 10pm on Thursday night.. which by my calculations was less than 5 days ago. (wow) Since I’ve arrived I’ve already been on a fun rollercoaster of ups and downs and places in between.

I’m currently on day two of stay at home housewife duty… and trying to keep busy. Actually I have spent most of the morning arranging BG’s clothes in to newborn, 3 month, 6 month – 1 year, and 1 year plus piles to be put in boxes and stored until around those appropriate times. She is going to be one well dressed chick. I’ve gotten stuff from 3 or 4 countries in her pile thanks to Aussie, NZ, and Canadian friends who’ve given me stuff (lol) besides American stuff from my shower back home. Actually I think she has more Aussie clothes than anything… not that I’m complaining since they are so cute!

Living with the in-laws hasn’t been bad so far. Despite the fact they aren’t very “positive” people they are hardly the intrusive and boundry crossing type that some of my friends have been “blessed” with. So far there have only been a few moments of un-asked for advice and nothing that was too horrible. I’ve already met a few more people in the town that are way more opinionated and.. well with my American sensibilities down right rude. The uh, topic of choice is of course that I am NOT giving birth at the local hospital but I have elected to go to a (much nicer) clinic in the bigger town about 30 minutes away. I actually had someone telling me I might give birth in the car… (rolls eyes) I usually don’t really fight back but I honestly thought that was ridiculous. I’m sure a 30 minute car ride is not going to be the most comfortable thing in the world but I doubt as a first time mother that if I leave when I’m having 5 minute apart contractions, that the baby will be here within 30 minutes.

We will see – maybe I will be eating my words and we shall call BG – “Toyota-chan” to commerate her place of birth.

So yah, the in-laws aren’t too bad. Like I said they work anyways so pretty much from when I wake up in the morning until around 4-5 there is no one in the house and while we do spend sometime with them at dinner Ryohei and I often “retire” to the 2nd floor by 8 or so to watch DVDs or just have some time alone.

But of course.. its not all fun. I pretty much feel like a prisoner here. There is nothing – nothing to do and no where to go – without a car. Which I don’t have and then even if I did hijack one I have no idea how to drive it. I so miss just being able to hop on the train in Kobe and go to friends, shopping, entertainment… we are NOT going to be able to live here very long. I’ve already started looking at places in Nagaoka. We found a place that we are interested in and will hopefully be going to take a look at it by the end of the month.

I DO enjoy not having to worry about cooking and cleaning etc… but I hate relying on my in-laws and Ryohei for everything and I MISS things that I like… I’m already getting sick of 100% Japanese food all the time and obviously the ahem.. portion size is a bit different as well. I know why I’m so fat now πŸ˜› Since apparently (BG and) I eat quite a bit more than the average middle-aged Japanese person.

Ryohei is pretty much happy as a clam now that I am here and he can use me as an excuse to get out of talking to his parents, esp. his mother. He will just leave us talking in the kitchen to go up to his own room and play on the computer (sigh) We got into a huge fight on Saturday after I burst into tears at the AU keitai center because the bastards were charging me almost 1 man to cancel my cellphone despite the fact that I was told when I signed on if I used it over 2 years I would be able to cancel free of charge.

Actually Saturday wasn’t a great day in general… I was in a horrible non-sleeping and cranky mess all day and we kept getting held up doing random chores and the AU was last (I got a new cellphone from Docomo and am now on Ryohei’s family plan) and I just broke down and Ryohei got mad… and then I GOT MORE upset about him getting mad when I just wanted to be comforted… blah blah Venus and Mars.. you get the picture.

Saturday night was better since we went to go see Ryohei’s friend who is married with 2 little kids and I was so enamored with their 2 month old little girl. I want the 10 weeks to go by quick and have BG here 😦 I am TRYING to like it here, I really am… but its pretty much like I expected it to be.

Moving out… possibly sometime next month is going to financially and physically exhausting, but I honestly think to keep myself sane I need to be in a place where I can do shopping, cook dinner, and not have to worry about keeping up apperances. I feel like I am losing myself in all the “Japanese-ness.” I just want to get my own place where I can be myself and where I can feel comfortable doing my own thing.


14 Responses to "An update"

haha, “losing myself in Japanese-ness” love it! Am so stealing it cos I know the feeling. Hmmmm so mixed feelings from the countryside eh. At least it’s not all bad then.
Ew I HATE phone companies here, I actually had a huge fight with the staff in a docomo shop and ended up cryig to the lady who spoke English on the phone! I hope things get better from here, I’m sooo excited for BG to come, and I agree, i really don’t think a 30 minute car ride is going to be a problem.
Oh my, you are so organised, Ash’s clothes are such a mish mash, I only just packed away his newborn stuff seeing as though he’s so fat now.
Keep us updated! And give Ryohei a smack in the head next time he ditches you with MIL (Ryota used to do that too but I paid him back when we were in Australia and now he knows better! hehe) Take care! xxx

I am glad you made it to Niigata. We actually stayed in minami uonuma during golden week and now Iam curious where exactly your in-laws live as I have worked in that area a few times. Are you near the Joetsu Kokusai Ski hill? Which is the closest train station? Okay, I better post this quick because Reo keeps touching the computer and he will probably disconnect it.

Oh Sarah, I am so happy you are moving, you two need a place of your own so you can fight when you want, run around naked when you want, be lazy when you want- don don don don “wink”!

The both of you are new to living with each other- couples fight, you are getting to know each other more and living with someone is another task by itself.

I don’t do Public transportation unless it is a taxi so after a fews months of living in Japan I did not even blink an eye and got myself a car- and we were 30 min from downtown but in the suburbs, it still felt like in the middle of nowhere , that was a long time ago but I had the same feelings…

I hope you wont move as much as we had to (But it can be fun too), find a place you LOVE because it is a huge expense, especially if it is a new place or decent, inspect EVERYTHING, some people just don’t understand how expensive it is to move in Japan, I lived in this one place for a year and a half, it was HORRIBLE.

I can’t wait until you are moved and happy!!

Arghh,people and their opinions;happens everywhere.Just ignore them and do as I have been trying to do (without much success as I am so stubborn) for the last x years and agree;)Now the weather is nicer,you may enjoy just walking around.I know you will get stares but take your i-pod,listen to some good tunes and the exercise and fresh air will help to lift your spirits or get rid of bad feelings.And you get to talk to the baby as you walk so you have excellent company:)

As for the food,I went through a major” I can’t hack any more rice and fish” stage during my last pregnancy,so say you need to have some western food and if in doubt,hijack the kitchen when your in-laws are out at work and have a cooking session.

Good luck with everything and great news that you will be moving out.

Oh my I TOTALLY have gone through this "living-with-Japanese-relatives" situation! You have my utmost sympathies and I wish I could give you a hug!

I totally needed hugs and comfort, when I first came to Japan and lived with Takeshi's whole family for 6 WHOLE months. It was bad, really bad, some days.

I couldn't talk to anyone, except Takeshi, but he was away all the time at work. His family, at one point, did not think it would be good for my to outside, by myself, because I couldn't speak the language and, "who knows what could happen to you" speech. His mother and grandmother put me through the "teaching the new wife/daughter-in-law the rules of "good housewife skills" by bullying me sometimes, and criticizing me. That pissed me off. Most of the time I would clam myself up in TK's bedroom, and surfed the internet (since I couldn't go outside, bleh). I was a big hermit for a while…

Takeshi and I must have fought a million times there out of frustration and stress. Even the family (all of the adults), broke out into HUGE arguments over me, while I was there. Sometimes I would just have to go into their bathroom and cry my eyes out, so I could sit at the dinner table with them! Ugh.

It was very eye-opening and stressful for me. His family and us have a MUCH MUCH better relationship, now that we don't live with them. Haha. Thank god for that! >__>;; Yikes. I felt alone a lot of the time, and went through HUGE bouts of depression.

So that's good that you're looking for places to move to! Haha. I lived at that house for 5 months too many. πŸ˜‰

Good luck with your searching! I send you a big mental hug!

i actually was waiting anxiously for the next installment. πŸ™‚

at least you have some “me time” while everyone is at work and while not having to worry about cooking and cleaning is probably really nice, i too would have a hard time adjusting to a typical middle age japanese diet. we are so spoiled, aren’t we? πŸ˜‰

I’m glad you’re looking at moving. I’m a firm believer that, if it is at all possible, a newly (well, relatively, ykwim) couple with a new baby need their own space. It is very hard to be comfortable and be yourself when you are living in someone else’s space. You need to be able to cook your own meals, go out whenever you please, explore your new community, retreat if you don’t feel like talking, have friends over whenever you want … you know, have your own home. Even though the in-laws aren’t bad as far as in-laws go, just having your own place will make a huge difference, I’m positive.

Like Marianne said, the unsolicited advice is going to be everywhere, and it only increases once the baby is born. You eventually just ignore it, but even now I get slightly miffed when someone says something about my son’s clothing, or his hair, or how we (gasp! shock! horror!) allow him to play in the dirt.

And no way is 30 minutes too far. I know of people who have crossed state lines to get the birth experience they want. You give birth where you feel comfortable, period. Even if you have a super fast labor, you have hours, not minutes, to get there. There’s a reason most people drive themselves to the hospital and don’t call an ambulance, afterall — the situation is usually not that dire.

Ahhh but if you move out you can add ‘ohhhh your poor baby not living with her grandparents….’ to the unsolicited advice. And trust me ‘you don’t know them, ha! ha! ha!’ is a lead balloon comeback!

Nagaoka, hey? Hmmm, wonder if I could drive that far… ;P

Aaaww, poor Sarah! I’m sorry for all the downs 😦

You can definitely play the “I’m craving western food” card while you’re pregnant, prego women can get away with just about anything! Send me a grocery list and your new addy, you know I’ll be only too happy to send you some yummies! (Any excuse to use Black Cat, it’s just so cool!)

You should have Ryohei teach you how to drive! Then you could take him to work 1 – 2 mornings a week and have the car!

Corinne – Please feel free to use it, I know you live so close to your in-laws too… its hard not to get “sucked in.” Awww.. can’t believe you are already putting away Ash’s newborn stuff!!! He must be getting so big!!! Ryohei gets an earful when he does bad stuff lol.. I don’t know how much actually sticks though.

Lily – Ohh what were you doing in minami Uonuma? We aren’t THAT near the International Ski Area.. more towards the Uonuma side of the city.. about 10 minutes or so from the Muikamachi area if you are familar with that?

GJ – Yah I would like to move and start our own “family” life we shall see! I think Ryohei got a mail back from the realitor today which should give us a bit more information. I’ve never held a drivers licence in any country but I can imagine its pretty convenient to just get up and go whenever you please πŸ™‚ I’ll keep ya updated on life!

Marianne – Yah, I’ve been enjoying a daily (short) walk since I got here. I am trying to ignore opinions and being so thankful my MIL isn’t one of them. She’s pretty timid so even if she wants to I think she would gaman agaisnt it.. woo hoo! We had… you guessed it.. . rice and fish tonight… and gyoza. I did sneak to 7-11 and buy some cornflakes so at least I’ve been able to have cereal for breakfast!

Laura – WOW.. that sounds like such an awful situation!!! I would be so angry about not being able to be “let outside” like some kind of pet. Glad to hear that you are finding things much better far away from them. Thank god my situation is not that bad… I honestly think that moving out would be a good solution for us as well.. but at least my MIL isn’t bullying me.. I think I would go crazy and run away lol.

Jo – Aww… I feel loved πŸ˜€ Yah there are pluses and minuses to being here. It still feels too soon to really weigh which there are more of. I’m interested in how I will feel in a couple more weeks… and yes I NEED my western food… rice veggies and fish alone do NOT cut it.

Jessica – I agree with you. Of course the average Japanese woman “returns” to her parents (mothers) house after giving birth to be pampered for 1 – 2 months. I can’t see most people back at home doing that. Ah yes.. unsolicited advice is fun… and part of the territory I guess.. sometimes I feel like people are ultra critical just because I’m foreign. I DO think that getting our own place will make a huge difference in adjusting so I am hope hope hoping that something will work out for us.

Fukases – Ahh? Am I going to get comments like that? Wouldn’t really surprise me though. People is small towns seem to loooove doling out all sorts of fun advice. And hey Nagaoka shouldn’t be too far!! πŸ˜€ No traffic… beachside driving, cheap with ETC… besides if you come after I give birth I’ll kindly let you take care of the baby while I nap!!! (hahaha – I’m sure you are tempted now)

Slime – Hahaha… I’m not sure if playing the western food card will work with my in-laws (it does work with Ryohei so when I begged him to take me to 7-11 so I could get a corndog and chocolate milk her obliged!) I would love to get some “from home” stuff from you but maybe I can send you something from Niigata in return! I will give you a mail πŸ˜€

If you can afford it then moving out might be the way to go. I went a bit batty after Joey was born and couldn’t stay the month I was supposed to with my MIL for all the reasons you described. It might be tough on you when you are so heavily pregnant but it would probably be worth it in the end. That said, it has been a very short time and things might get better. At least they aren’t being annoying and in your face,that is one thing off your mind!!

I’m glad you haven’t got a Niigata version of Granny K. ALthough I reckon the ‘timid’ mother in law will wear off in time πŸ™‚ For all the crap I complain about and the shit we went through when Shou was born with GK’s un-wanted opinions, In hindsight I think it was still better not being completely on my all the time.

The good thing is you and BG will have ‘YOU TWO’ time during the day and people around at night. Bath times seemed to bring GK out of her room for some unwanted – don’t dress him in that, use that, rah rah. But, you can get that sorted before MIL gets home from work.

You’ll get hungry breastfeeding too – especially when the milk comes in so stocking up on some yummy foreign things you like might not be a bad idea. Midnight snacks!!

And half an hour to the nice hospital – I have to drive an hour. Worth every painful minute when the time comes. And if the bunster can wait till he gets to the hospital then BG will be fine.

Not long to go πŸ™‚

The bunster didn’t come out during the night so another day of getting things sorted.

I feel for you – I really do. Here in the rural part of Osaka it takes me a good 45 minutes just to get to Tennoji (nevermind Umeda or other parts of urban city). And as for Japanese food all the time….*sigh* been there done that for the last 7 months. We have non-Japanese food maybe once every two weeks? Even Thai and Indian is “foreign” here. Needless to say, there are days I feel like I’m losing my mind. But I’m lucky enough to have pretty non-intrusive in-laws and I think it makes all the difference. Good luck making the transition. Hang in there!

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