Once Upon a Tanbo

Archive for the ‘niigata’ Category

Yay its almost the weekend!!! Super excited as we have plans to go to visit the Gunma Foreign Wife contingent on Saturday. Will be meeting up with Laura (Japan Mama) for the 3rd time and Sophie and another foreign wife plus sprogs for the first time ever woo hoo!! There will be 6 kidlets aged 3.5 months (mine!) to 3 years – should be fairly crazy. Slowly meeting everyone on my blog list in the area.. don’t worry Kyushu gals we will make it down there soon enough.

Ryohei turned in his placement “wishlist” today and put down the office in Niigata City as his first and only choice. He doesn’t know if they will be taking someone this year and tells me he’d actually prefer to go there during his 3rd year but thought it wouldn’t hurt to show his interest. We were up there last weekend to visit a museum exhibit and it is a nice place. They actually have my bank there! Only one in the prefecture… so I was able to go and take a look at my balance for the first time in about 4 months. Niigata City is nice and I am crossing my fingers we will get to live there for a year or two. Does mean getting to Tokyo when I want to visit will be a bet more expensive/take longer BUT since I actually have a FRIEND in Niigata City. I’ve been trying to get myself out there… even went out with A-chan and her family but it just isn’t the same as having a buddy who can speak the language and understands the whole living in a foreign country thing.

So thats whats been going on really… Sakura had a better night last night. She had one feed around 11:30 and then slept until 5:30! First time I’ve had a long stretch of sleep for a while… woo hoo. Made things so much easier today.

Tomorrow we are leaving for Ryohei’s parents to spend the night then off to Gunma for the afternoon! NEXT weekend we are trekking out to Shizuoka to visit Nay and Naoki for the first time in a while. Then its just 2.5 weeks until Sakura and I head back home for Christmas. Need to keep myself busy as sitting at home twiddling my thumbs is a real bummer.



I’ve been slowly losing my bloggy mojo lately. It seems like all my (very limited) free time seems to be directed towards other pursuits. I feel sort of bad about it – I feel like I should be recording more of what is going on so that in the future I can look back and see how I made it through. And should I be foolish enough to want another baby somewhat soon this could provide as excellent birth control.

Haha I’m kidding. Sakura has gotten significantly better although she’s having a very ANTI-NAP phase at the moment. I would be more than happy to let he stay awake but if she’s up for more than about 3 hours she turns in super angry Sakura which is like hell on wheels. She’s also decided that when she does decide to nap its usually going to be only 40min – hour. Which cuts down a lot of my afternoon relax time – which means only the bare minimum gets done.

We went to see Ryohei’s parents last weekend and we are going to his Grandmothers this weekend. I wish there was a bit more spacing between the Japanese female relatives who think they know whats best for my baby. I really really hate unsolicited advice and Japanese women over the age of 50 or so seem to be bountiful in it.

Ryohei has to work every day of the upcoming 3 day weekend which is going to suck. He’s been home 2-3 hours late every night this week and this should continue on for the next 2 or so as well… Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I just am filled with a slight sense of dread for the day to come. I love spending time with Sakura – don’t get me wrong – its just really really tiring to have no one else around to “split” the work with. So when I do see any friends (rarely) I am moooore than happy to have them play with her except she’s been going through a mommy mode lately (at 2 months wtf?!) where she seems to prefer being held by me and in a distant 2nd place Ryohei. He seems sad that he doesnt get the million watt smiles I do – but he’s been busy so much and she’s in bed by the time he gets home so they maybe have 30 minutes or so in the morning and weekends.. which aren’t really happening this month.

So same old story really…

Now that I’ve gotten Ryohei’s word on moving back to America in the nestant (near+distant) future I’m feeling a bit more inaka tolerent. Just a bit though – but since its not a forever thing anymore and someday I will actually be able to have a real career again etc I feel better. I would have died if we spend 30+ years here like Ryohei had originally planned.

I can’t wait for my trip back in December with Sakura although I’m nervous as heck about bringing a 4 month old on the plane!!

Anyways not really anything exciting to update with… its about 26 degrees now and seems this will be the last hot day of the year here… looking of daytime lows of about 14 and 15 the upcoming week. Yikes – still nervous about my first niigata winter.

am currently typing one handed with sleeping baby on my lap so forgive any mistakes. sakura didnt nap at all yesterday so taking this precious time while i get it 🙂

i used to play a song for her in the womb and i finally got around to playing it for her today and SHE FELL ASLEEP. i didn’t even know i had such a powerful ace up my sleeve?? of course its probably a one time only thing but still sleeping baby equals bliss and a bit of mommy computer time.

today my sil is out of the hospital and coming here for the night with iroha-chan!!! i bet there will be loooots of pictures. had another grabby mil incident which prompted to write a very scathing mail to ryohei on his lunch break about  telling him hes not allowed to spend the night out after this weekend and that i refuse to come back here to visit until at least october or so.. i was very pissed.

we were planning to go home tonight but simce sil is staying here too hoping that the smaller baby will hold mil’s attention more than huge gaijin 1 month old.

ryoheis brought up moving to america a couple times in the last few days even going so far as to asking me when and what we need  to do to apply for a green card. i think something may have happened to make him want an escape but nothing to do with work apparently?? well.. as much as moving home soon sounds appealing realistically it wouldn’t happen for another 5 years when sakura and (theoretical) sprog 2-ban are preschool aged.

just was surprised to have it brought up about 3 times in the past week. guess i just need to keep encouraging the idea as dont want to live in rural niigata for rest of my life. tbh id like to live at home but id actually prefer to live in a big japanese city like tokyo or osaka but ryohei wont quit his job to move to another place in japan so options are limited 😦

anyways from tmw night we will be home again… we’ve been here a week and a half now. sakura is 5 weeks today and is getting smiling down altho she doesnt do it much. she can also track objects she likes when i wiggle my fingers in front of her face 😀 last two nights have been a screaming crying mess but we had some better ones before that… just keep telling myself in a few weeks the worst of it will be over but in the middle of a neverending crying spell it feels like forever.. oh well…

at heast before the end of the month we will have taken a trip to tokyo/chiba, nagano, and ill be getting ready to go abd visit osaka/kobe in october. lots of fun stuff planned then 3 weeks home in dec. heres hoping that sakura is a bit more settled and happy by that point lol

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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… 😛 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 😛 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.

I think this is going to be a long post. Bare with me guys… I have a lot
to write about… Firstly thanks to all of you who commented or talked to
me "offline" regarding my Friday night post/whine. While things haven't
exactly gotten better since that point – it was nice to know that I
didn't have half the internets thinking I was a crazy lady. I wanted to
write back individual comments, but I couldn't really find the words to
say, but I just wanted to express my gratitude to you all. Its so nice
to not feel completely alone… which I think is probably what I have been
feeling the most.

So Nay came for the weekend! Poor thing! She was coming down with a cold
the whole time, so I felt really bad… but I think we managed to have a
good weekend!! The weather was not very conductive to anything fun, so
we spent most of Saturday indoors and then went to the "picnic" on
Sunday… although it was less a picnic in the park and more a "picnic" on
hard concrete in the wind in rain near a building which was near another
building which had a Starbucks.. and we one thing led to another and
Starbucks was overrun by about 12-13 foreign women, a gaggle of their
children, and a few (shellshocked?) husbands who huddled together for
dear life in the see of laughing, incessant English speaking, and
occasional tears.

It was really fun though and probably the last chance for me to see
quite a few of my Kansai friends for a while. Although I have plans to
see a couple special friends one more time before I leave for good next

It was good to see Nay as well. It was our first time to meet up without
any of the menfolk present and it was sort of like "high school
sleepover" atmosphere. We shared some nice gossip, cooked sushi,
chatted… all very fun and a great way to spend an otherwise rainy and
windy(!) weekend. Thanks for coming Nay and enjoy your much deserved
trip back home later this week!!

I wish I could leave this post on that happy note – but I had a few more
"fun episodes" last night after I was left alone again. Obviously the
distance and whatever else is getting to both Ryohei and I… The more it
comes closer to me having to move, the more I am NOT looking forward to it.

Him: You got another package in the mail today. (From Lulu – thanks so
much!) Why didn't you tell me it was coming my parents were "surprised."
(What the hell is so surprising about a package coming?!)

Me: I told you about that last week. I didn't think it was supposed to
arrive for another couple days.

Him: Why didn't you send me a mail on my phone? I thought I told you to
do that.

Me: I was planning to… but I've been busy this weekend, and like I said
I didn't think it was supposed to have it come until later on this week.

Him: Can you stop having things sent here? We are running out of room…
you better put away all that baby stuff when you get here.

Me: *hurt begins* I AM going to do it. Did you stop to think that its
not just you moving back but me and your daughter as well?

Him: Yah – but my family is complaining we are running out of room.
Where are you going to put everything?

Me: *hurt continues – pregnant lady hormones raising – tear ducts
preparing* I don't know!?

Him: …

Me: *sniffle sniffle* …

Me: I don't wanna go there then…

Him: …

Him: You know I hope you hurry up and come here because I'm getting sick
of this. When we talk on Skype every night I can't get anything done.
*pulls out book and starts reading*

Me: Fine. Then feel free not to talk to me tomorrow night or Tuesday
night or for the whole rest of the week.

Him: And you're ok with that?

Me: I'll hate you.

Him: *Ryohei equivalent of rolling eyes*

Me: *angry tears/sad tears/frustration*

So yah… eventually we got to the point where we sort of made up… but
obviously the heart is not growing fonder with distance. So at this
point I don't want to move to Niigata where there is "not enough room"
for either BG or me apparently. And to be honest I'm not really looking
forward to seeing Ryohei because he's such a big grump and always
telling me how I am nagging at him and his parents are nagging at him. Yay…

So yah… this is going to get better right? Or am I just signing up for a
world of pain.
This has been the crappiest month ever… and I hope its not a prelude to
crappy life.

This is probably going to be a boring post – just a warning!

Well, today was somewhat productive – of course not work you sillies – that would probably mean that hell was starting to freeze over! No, instead I took advantage of my works close proximity to a bank and post office to start getting my post-Kobe life finances in order.

In my new corner of the inaka there is NO bank branch of my current account for about 1 1/2 hours either way… thus so I am not completely sponging off Ryohei’s fledging salary I’ve opened a postal savings account… which will give me access to cash should I need to run awa… I mean run to the shopping mall/movie theaters in Nagaoka on a whim while waiting for BG to make her appearance.

The rate for the American dollar has gone up a bit in the past month or 2 but it was still low enough that I could justify remitting a small chunk to my American account as well as part of the “just in case” fund. Being a housewife aka not working/getting a salary is going to be very strange for me. Doesn’t help I had a panic stricken husband calling me worried I was going to leave him because his first year local komuin salary was so low (sigh – at the panic stricken part not the low salary part 😛 )

Since we are staying with PIL for a while… probably until New Years at this point, (although BG and I are still escaping for a few weeks come early Dec!) we don’t really have any major expenses – baby related stuff would probably be at the top of the list but should be covered by more then generous offers of clothes and other baby equipment from friends, my resolve to breastfeed, and cloth diapering whenever at home – so the lone victim of our (lowered) budget looks less foreign/import foods for me (chhhhhhhheeeeessseeeee : ( )

In pregnancy news – I am 27 weeks today which means 3rd trimester!!! (Note – some people say 28 weeks, but I am all about getting this over with sooner so 27 weeks it is!) Only 13-14 weeks left until probably the best and worst day of my life – or so I’ve heard… I have my 7 month check up tomorrow so it will be nice to see BG and check what position she is in since I am having major rib pressure action lately!

In life news – Ryohei has three nomikais in a week One tonight, one tomorrow night and another one next Tuesday. I know since he is “the new guy” these are all must attend type things but once I get there I believe a certain number of nomikai per certain number of months needs to enforced. Thankfully Ryohei isn’t much of a drinker/partier and seems to do it out of obligation more than wanting to get pissed on the office budget. Hopefullllly after the baby comes they won’t pressure him too much, but this is Japan so who knows.

Alright so that was my boring update for today… I think the highlight of this week is waiting for the new episodes of Americas Next Top Model and Greys Anatomy to be released on the internet so I can view them in all my lonely splendor. Of course – this weekend should be nice since the lovely Nay is coming up Saturday morning!