Once Upon a Tanbo

Life the past few days

Posted on: June 3, 2009

I haven’t updated in 4 or 5 days now I think? A new record since I moved out to hima-ville. Obviously theres been a lot thats gone on since I last wrote and I guess I left with a sort of cliffhanger (about the apartment).

I guess I might as well start with the weekend. Saturday Ryohei and I went to check out the apartment. We had already “stalked” the outside part a couple of weeks ago but we were interested in seeing what the inside would be like. I think that the realitor was a bit surprised I was foreign but asked my nationality, if I could speak Japanese, and how long I had lived in Japan. My Japanese is pretty up to par so I think he was sufficiantly content that I wouldn’t be pulling a runner – or something… if the huge belly didn’t give it away in the first place.

Anyways the “guide girl” took us to check out the apartment. It was pretty nice… obviously not PERFECT in everyway. The bath is really tiny and the kitchen area is also really tiny. But the rooms, in particular the 2 on the top floor are very spacious and nice. Although the only room with an A/C is the living room… so we are going to have to shell out for another A/C and its installation in whichever room we pick to be the bedroom…

So we were both satisfied with the apartment… but then Ryohei says “I need to ask my boss if I can move” And I was like… “huh??” Thanks for not mentioning that up to now dear. So we couldn’t sign anything that afternoon and obviously the apartment we were looking at was “popular” the realitor said he had at least 3 other people who were interested in a viewing but since we were the first to contact him he had given us first dibs. I think he gave Ryohei until today (this Wednesday) to get in touch with him about if he could take the apartment or not. Anyways to make a long story short and cut out a ton of “drama” that happened on the car ride home. Ryohei’s stupid worrying seemed to be baseless since his boss told him it was no issue for him to move there and other people who had commuted from that city before.

**The issue – in case you are wondering, is that Ryohei works for a city government so he made it seem to me that you HAVE TO LIVE IN THAT CITY so that you are supporting he economy whatever, whatever. The city that Ryohei works in is even MORE rural than the city we live in now… case in point it doesn’t even have a MacDonalds or a family restaraunt… I don’t think I’ve seen a “city” in Japan that doesn’t have one of those. So no.. I was NOT thrilled about the prospect of if we had to move going to an even MORE boonies area… 😦 Although according to Ryohei we will probably have to end up moving there in a couple years so I need to get my licence while we are living in Nagaoka… (sigh) There were a lot of tears, a lot of “did I make a mistake… and if so when?” moments…

But anyways – with regards to moving – Ryohei emailed the realitor telling him he wanted the apartment last night and when I checked the website today it says “reserved” so it looks like we got the apartment – YAY! We will have to go up this weekend and sign a bunch of paperwork and get ready to start paying monies.

So on to the next story. I know I mentioned it on here before – but I went to visit Lulu in Tokyo and Nay stayed a night as well and we also met up with Khea! A mini bloggers convention!! It was SUCH a relief to get out of the inaka and into the big city AND see so many wonderful people. I haven’t seen Lulu for over a year but since we skype so much anyways it doesn’t feel like it. I also got to meet her husband(!) Shun for the first time. On Monday Lulu, Nay, Khea, and I met up in Ueno and walked around and talked for hours.

We met an idiot Japanese man who made a huge deal of saying how Canadians like Khea were so cute and that yappari Americans like me are fat. Pointing at my huge belly and asking how it got that big… I was like.. I’m 8 months pregnant you idiot. It seriously felt like a scene out of a movie. I was not incredibly insulted because the guy was an idiot but it did really suck to be called fat (again) Note – I was sitting so maybe I really did look fat… but anyways… it was so rude.

We had a good time tho! I wish we all lived closer since it would be nice to meet up on a regular basis. I think the next time we will be in Tokyo is in early Sept. to apply for BG’s passport!! So that was my last “big city” trip sans baby.

Anyways yesterday evening I took the bus back from Ikebukuro and was told by Ryohei that his mom was probably going to drill us about moving so early.. sigh… straight back into nisettai (two generations living together) hell. So after dinner okaa-san was like I think you should stay until October – because heaven forbid that I take care of my own child on my own until she’s about 3 months old…

She even wanted to take 2 weeks off work after she was born to stay in the house with me and the baby the WHOLE time.. no no no no no no no. Oh my god – I think I would go crazy. I told her my mom was interested in coming to Japan after BG was born and staying with us in our new place until around Obon (the summer holidays) and obviously real mom trumps MIL so she kind of had nothing to say to that. Not that I know if my mom will come or not… nor do I REALLY want to have to be stuck with my mom for 2 weeks at home as well… But at least I don’t have an issue telling my mom to back off (and she will listen) but in MIL case I don’t think that will work. Thankfully I had both Ryohei and FIL on my side telling MIL that the childraising/birth culture where I am from is different. So.. it was sort of 3 vs. 1 in the the end. So, hopefully there won’t be any real issues. I felt a bit insulted that she didn’t think I could take care of a baby on my own. Apparently she told Ryohei she was worried about me since I “hadn’t done any chores” since I moved in. I would gladly help out if she asked me to do something – but everytime I ask her something like I’d like to cook or use the washing machine – she just says “later, later.”

Oh well… the realitors want us paying rent by mid-June so by the end of the month we should be moved in. Although I don’t know exactly when we will start living there… we might stay half and half at the in-laws until the end of the month.

So yah – I guess you are about caught up on my life for the last couple days. Its been fairly up and down. Ryohei has a stupid nomikai again tonight so he won’t be home and I won’t see him until tomorrow night. He also neglected to tell me that until I got off the bus yesterday… so its me and the in-laws again tonight for the whole night. (sigh)

A glorious welcome back to the inaka… I also have my next appt at the clinic this weekend which I am somewhat dreading. Oh well.. Lulu and Shun (and maybe Nay) are coming to visit not this weekend but the next so at least I have English speaking visitors on the horizon.


18 Responses to "Life the past few days"

Congrats on the apartment! Hope you can get moved in ASAP.

Try not to feel too insulted my the MIL's assumption that you can't care for your own child. I think there's an assumption in this part of the world that we foreigners are just inept in general. Also, new moms are supposed to do pretty much nothing for the first month and I think that it is pretty common for the new mom to stay with either her mom or her MIL and be waited on hand and foot (I'm sure friends in Japan have told me that Japan does this too, although China is much more hardcore about it … we aren't allowed to wash or hair or even open windows for a whole months here!). Anyhow, I'm sure it isn't personal, even though it is super annoying. I agree that having your own mom there would be much better than having your MIL. I did it with only my husband (will Ryohei get much time off work when the baby comes?) but it would have been great to have some help too, hope she can come!

I'm glad the apt. looks like it's gonna work out! It should be fun moving at, what, 9 months pregnant? (At this rate I'll get to do the same thing too!)

It was great meeting you. I enjoyed being on your North American Team =) It should be fun, the next time we get to see eachother +2 little ones! But until then….. blogging.

I`d take the help! I had my daughter last year and you don` t realise how much having a baby takes out of you…as long as MIL or mum are coming to HELP and not just google eyes over the baby. It`s so nice to have someone cook and clean for you while you fall in love with your lovely girl and basically recover..maybe set some ground rules..cos really, it`s HARD for the first few months..

Glad to hear things are starting to work out for you. I agree with Jessica, my guess is that your MIL is not thinking that you are not capable of looking after you baby just because you are a foreigner or whatever. The Japanese MILs (and mothers…) tend to think that no one is capable of coping by themselves and it is traditional to stay at home for one month – not leave the house and not do anything strenuous after the baby is born. It works for some people but definately wouldn't work for me! My advice (possibly bad advice…) is to keep communicating directly with your MIL and don't start trying to relay things through Ryohei. My Japanese MIL made that suggest when I first got married and it works for us… but of course everyone is different! Enjoy your move….

I'm glad to hear that got the apartment!! YAY!! It might not be perfect in every single way but I am sure it will be a lot better than where you are now! I mean, it's not for forever!!

Thanks heaps for a wonderful weekend! It was really great to see you again! I am going to try my hardest to get there on the 13th, even if it kills me πŸ˜›

I wouldn't worry too much about what your MIL said. I don't think it really has anything to do with your parenting skills. It's just the done thing here.

Take care and I will talk to you again soon!! I'm sure we are both going to be pretty busy for the next few weeks with us both moving apartments!

I'm glad to hear that got the apartment!! YAY!! It might not be perfect in every single way but I am sure it will be a lot better than where you are now! I mean, it's not for forever!!

Thanks heaps for a wonderful weekend! It was really great to see you again! I am going to try my hardest to get there on the 13th, even if it kills me πŸ˜›

I wouldn't worry too much about what your MIL said. I don't think it really has anything to do with your parenting skills. It's just the done thing here.

Take care and I will talk to you again soon!! I'm sure we are both going to be pretty busy for the next few weeks with us both moving apartments!

congrats on the apartment!!

it has pretty much already been said, but the culture here is to be taken care of the first month or so after baby is born. i don't like my MIL so there was no way i was going to stay with her (or her stay with us) after hiro was born. and i was lucky with an easy labor and quick recovery, phew! about her complaining about chores…my MIL is the same. apparently you need to keep insisting to help out, or just start doing things on your own. yeah, right. for me personally, i would find it annoying if someone kept asking me to help out if i already said no, so i stop asking. and there's no way in hell i'm just gonna start doing chores in her house. my SIL seems to have no problem helping out in the kitchen, but then she's been brought up (i think) making the same dishes so she kinda already knows what to do to help out! this is just another one of those cultural differences and the sooner you're out of there, the better (IMHO).

the first few months the baby sleeps most of the time so it's not like you need help with the baby. it's more like you need help with household things (like cooking or vacuuming) but those things aren't nearly as important as taking care of yourself and the baby. while it's nice to have someone give you a hand, if you're annoyed then it's not doing you any good at all. you have to do what's best for you!

yay! We crossed our fingies and toes for you, I'm so happy you got it.
I agree with the MIL comments, it is just the done thing here, I was a little insulted too when my in-laws said the same thing, but you know what, I took every bit of help I could get because it was much harder than I thought!
I'm sure you'll feel much more settled in your own space where you can organise things your own way, I know I did!
Glad you had a nice few days away too, what a douchebag that guy sounds!
I will definitely come to visit when you're settled in!

What you mean you don't have MIL ESP??? You can't tell what needs doing without asking and do it before she realises it needs doing and does it herself??? ;P

The whole Japanese house arrangement drives me crazy. My SILs drop right back into their roles from 20 years ago and I hang around the fringes folding and refolding a cleaning cloth.

As for the living in the same city thing- when we lived in Fukushima the city office had a huge push to get city workers to move to the village as over half of them had moved to the city next door. It was a bit like electioneering or something all the campaigning… Hopefully you'll be transferred to kencho before that happens!

Hope the apartment switch goes smoothly and you get to kick back in your aircon apartment with BG real soon!

I think the weekend with friends was just what you needed, hope you are feeling refreshed and energized.

I'm excited for you about your apartment, and I can't wait to you are a "happy camper" again, and I hope its soon.

Send you luve and cyber hugs.


Oh.. I missed the asshole- J-guy.. huh?? Do you mean he said this to your face? When someone says shit like that my mother always said "consider the source"…

Cheers, have a fab night.

thanks for all the good vibes and congrats! we are looking forward to moving so that I can "reclaim" some of my lost independence. I don't mind my MIL wanting to help… but I just don't think I want her around 24/7 when I am post partum and not in the mood to speak Japanese or hear about "how Japanese women do this or that"

I guess it all depends on when BG decides to make her debut.. i did mention that if shes here a couple days before my mom comes to visit that maybe i will stay at the in-laws… but I'm praying it won't be for more than 3-4 days so I am sending due date or later vibes to BG. lets hope they work πŸ™‚

GJ – YUP. He was like… "So I guess its true that all Americans are fat" and pointed at my bump. I think that the 4 of us were shocked. Hahaha.. stupid idiot.

Oh that old man was a bit of a turd. So rude! He did take a shining to Khea though!

I am glad that you and Nay could come and spend some time with me in Chiba/Tokyo. It was great to be able to see you both. Hard to believe it had been a year for you and me Sarah.

Glad you got the apartment and that your mum is probably coming to stay for a bit! I think my mum will come in January sometime after goma-chan is born but we have not really established when yet!

See you in 9 days!

MIJ lurker here!

I'm glad things are looking up with moving to your own place. As much as I enjoy my future PIL (and even my own parents) I think living with them as an adult would be too much to bear. Cultural differences aside, when you get adults together who have their own habits and ways of living that contradict, it's a recipe for disaster!!

As far as having your MIL around to help after BG is born, it really should be up to you. I imagine you're going to be tired and stressed as it is, so if she can help you without getting on your last frazzled nerve, it could be a good thing. But if she's just going to stress you out,it might be better to do without her assistance.

And to the jerk who insulted you, I would have said "Wow, so it really is true that all old Japanese men are little-minded a**holes…"

But that's just me. πŸ˜€ People like that aren't even worth your time, though I understand that it is quite hurtful when people say things like that. They'll get theirs. Karma is a bitch!


Trust me, Japanese moms do not have the market cornered on believing no one can care for their grandkids as well as they can!!! I've been a mom for 15 years, three times over, and I STILL hear crap from my mom about how I'm raising my kids! I thank god everyday that I live on the other side of the world from both my mom and my MIL!

So, so happy the apartment is going to work out! I know that is such a huge relief to you! Even if it does mean trying to pack up and move again with that big, fat American belly! See what happens when you scarf down too many Mint Milanos? LOL

Sending good moving and overdue baby vibes your way!

Great news about the apparment and as for MILs,everyone else has said it;)

Lulu – See you soon!!! Only a week til you up in the land of croaking frogs and rice paddies!

Jenn – Thanks for the comment! I am not sure how helpful/non-helpful MIL will be after the birth… I may end up staying here (Ryohei's house) for a couple days afterwards… we will see. I guess it depends on how soon the baby is born… either way I don't want both my MIL and real mom around since neither speak the others language and translation duties on top of baby care would be too much I think.

Slime – Yup obviously all the fault of the Milanos!! I've actually still got one pack left… saving it for a rainy day πŸ™‚ I appreciate my MIL and mom's advice.. but that doesn't mean I'm going to follow it. I think my biggest problem is I'm too nice and I don't want to be made to do something just because they think its the "right thing to do for the baby."

Maggie – Thanks!!! Can't wait to write more/post pics of it

I think letting your MIL give you a hand with stuff around the house/assistance with cooking etc.. would be a huge help. I kind of wish I had let mine do more but I went a bit crazy after Joey was born and didn't want anyone else near him apart from me because I felt like everyone was trying to tell me that I was bad mother/doing things wrong. Hormones are wonderful things. πŸ˜‰ She sounds like she just wants to help, even if it feels like she is trying to interfere. They just do things differently in Japan and if you can get her to understand that Ryohei is going to be quite hands on so she would only need to offer some assistance, it might work out well for both of you. I thought my ex would help more than he did so thought I would be ok but in the end it was all a big nightmare and I kind of wished that things had worked out differently as the first 2 months of Joey's life are a total blur to me.

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