Once Upon a Tanbo

Archive for the ‘vacation’ Category

Sakura can now lift her head up all the way during tummy time and keep it up for a bit – she gets tired and it starts to droop and then she gets fussy but she seems to hold it longer everyday.

We had a GREAT time in Osaka… I miss it SO SO SO SO SO much. It was so nice to see a bunch of my old friends – I think I managed to catch up with everyone I wanted to see besides one family. Hopefully next time will be a longer visit – once Sassymoos house is finished this spring she has kindly offered up her guest room so perhaps I will be able to stay about double the amount I was there this time.

I also caught up with Corinne and Fi, who I know both read this blog – so I wanted to say thank you so much. I had a wonderful time seeing you and your invitation to visit Niigata is open anytime.

In just about a month Sakura and I will be heading back to America for Christmas. Very looking forward to it but hoping the plane will be ok – I flew the 80 minutes from Niigata to Osaka and the way there was not good but the way back Sakura slept the whole way. To LA will be 12 hours and thats just the flight.. theres also about 2 hours of trains and a 2 hour drive home to work in there… its going to be a long long day. Hmm…

Anyways will also be going to see Nay in 2 weeks time!! Woo hoo – I like keeping myself busy with all these little trips… I get so lonely during the week that I need to keep going places… of course the cost adds up so once we are back from California I am going to seriously looking into trying to get some freelance work since Sakura will be about 6 months and starting on solids I think.

Here she is!




Might as well stock up on blog posts while I have the time…

Sakura didn’t have an afternoon nap today so she went to bed fairly early and without any issues. She’s 12 weeks exactly today… I will probably curse myself by writing this but she SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT last night… she went to sleep a little later than usual because I wanted Ryohei to give her a bath when he got home at 6:30 instead of me doing it at 5:30 and she was in a decent mood… and we went to bed at 10:30pm and I didn’t wake up once until around 4ish!! She didn’t really wake up then, just had some boobies and slept until about 6:30… I was shocked. She usually needs a feed at around 12ish and between 2-3…

I have to say that as of right now she’s definitely a good sleeper. Gosh I hope it lasts – I really love that she consistently goes to bed between 6-7 which leaves quite a bit of time for me to make dinner/surf the web/talk to Ryohei.

He is taking Monday off next week so we can go and apply for her Japanese passport. Should be fun – not sure exactly what we will do after. He’s working some of Sunday and he didn’t get the 3 day weekend last week – so he’s looking forward to spending more time with Sakura err.. I mean us. He was so disappointed I put her to bed early today.. we want to push her bedtime up an hour so that he can do her bath since she sleeps SO early they really don’t have anytime together besides weekend.

In exactly a week and a half Sakura and I will be taking a plane down to Osaka to see all my old friends!! I’ll be seeing Sassymoo and Corinne and a bunch of other friends I haven’t seen for 6 months!! I can’t wait… they’ll all get to meet Sakura too! Ahh.. I miss Kansai – I hope I don’t get to homesick for it while I’m there…

It will be interesting to see how the plane ride goes… maybe a much shorter preview of December… can’t believe I’ll be going home so soon! Twice in a year – a first for me! I’m looking forward to spending Christmas in country where its actually done properly – no Kentucky Fried Chicken and Strawberry Shortcakes here! Sakura won’t know whats going on – but I haven’t spend a Christmas at home for about 5 years now so I’m really looking forward to it.. 🙂

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.

I had planned to write when we got back last night but was too tired and ended up crashing early. So here is my slightly belated account of our long weekend trip to Shizuoka. Let me preface this post by saying that 3-day weeks absolutely rule for visiting. It is long enough to do stuff but not too long that you are sitting there scratching your head in silence for the last day. (lol)

This time Ryohei came with me and he and Naoki got along so well! Nay and I were both talking about how they probably wouldn’t have picked each other as friends in real life and that all they really have in common is us crazy gaijin gals but all the same they were able to talk, play helicopters (long story), and get along together just as well as we did.

The only thing about this trip that I would change is our method of transportation. Some of you may know of the Seishin 18 Tickets… basically 5 days worth of riding on the JR lines for the great price of about 13,000 yen. We decided to use 4 of the 5 days (since you can split them) to take the close to 6 hour train ride between Kobe and Shizuoka… hmm not such a smart idea. My butt was KILLING me by the end both times, my currently ~1 lb baby on bladder and bum did not equal happiness with the hard train seats. However we saved a killing as we spent about as much on the whole pass (which still has one day left for Ryohei to take to Niigata next week – hello 11 hour train ride) as a round trip on local trains for one or us or a one way shinkansen ticket.

Anyways – we arrived Friday afternoon to a bright and beautiful Shizuoka. The temp. on the whole was much warmer than Kansai. We had a nice lunch (grilled cheese/ham/tomato) sandwiches prepared using Nay’s homemade bread which Ryohei loved so much he (to my embarrassment) asked to have them again for Saturday breakfast. I hate both tomato and mayonnaise and rarely cook with either so I think this accessibility to “forbidden foods” was very exciting to him.

After our lunch we went to visit Nay’s friend (also a westerner married to Japanese) and her 3 children. Ryohei had a ball playing with the two eldest and I enjoyed holding the baby for a bit. Still hasn’t really hit me that in LESS THAN 4 MONTHS there will be one in my own home.

After our lovely tea, complete with a homemade orange cake and whipped cream – we returned to the house and had a delicious dinner of Nay’s cream pasta (See the recipe on her blog from a month or so back) It was delicious. She is such a wonderful hostess… and while I am incredibly undomestic, I like to think I’m good company 😛

After dinner we had what was to be the first of many long, heated Scrabble games. I’ve been a Scrabble fan for a long time and it seems my husband is a new convert. After getting the ropes down he went on to have several excellent showings including scoring a whopping 96 points in one go with the word “QUIZ” placed in a triple word score. Naoki and I… especially me… are quite competitive and there was some minor trash talking… and I have to admit that I did utter a few words I would not be proud of BG hearing at various points. Ahem…

Saturday was another beautiful day if not a bit cooler than the day before. We went strawberry picking which was delicious, but those places must make so much money. We had “all you can eat” for 30 minutes but we must have been done in 10… there are only so many strawberries you can eat in one go AND the condensed milk is so sweet it fills you up quickly. I ended up eating an over ripe strawberry at one point and got a mouthful of sticky condensed milk and juicy strawberry goodness on my new black shirt (Sigh) I hate getting my clothes dirty so I had to ask Nay to stick it in with her wash to clean it…

Anyways, with a fresh change of clothes we were on our way to the beach. I love the beach near N&N’s house. It has lots of fine sand and many little clams. The husbands were soon enthralled with the “hunt.” They were like little boys – and within about 30-45 minutes we had so many clams that we decided to throw back all the small ones.

After the beach we went out for a delicious tonkatsu dinner and then returned for a couple more heated scrabble matches, electric helicoptor battles, and sleep.

On Sunday we had planned to see Kakegawa Castle but between the rain and maybe just a little laziness, we decide to stay around the apartment for a bit before going out for lunch and then catching the train back.

It was a busy and fun weekend and so GOOD to see N&N again. It had been over 3 months since they came to visit us in Kobe. Nay is hopefully planning to come visit one more time at the end of April to keep me company. Nay mentioned it, but we did speak with Lulu and Shumpei a few times on Skype and made plans for the 6 of us to meet up in Niigata (Sleep over at Ryoheis parents…. Yay!? ^^;;) in mid-June. It will in all likeliness be our only meet up as a group of 6 since BG will be on her way the month after.

Just have to say that I’m so happy that through blogging I was able to meet such wonderful girls… or should I say families! I only hope that as I have a bit more free time over the next couple years as a SAHM, I will be able to meet up with quite a few more of the wonderful ladies whose blogs I enjoy reading everyday!

In less than 12 hours we will be off to the airport for our flight back to Japan. The week and a half here was too too short. I absolutely do NOT want to be going back to Japan right now. The only thing that makes it bearable is knowing that I will be seeing my very very good friend next weekend. But we have been having temps in the high teens and of course sunny so the thought of going back to cold and rainy weather already has me experiencing sad.

Also… I feel like a house. I truly, honestly, feel so disgusted with how I look right now. Yes I’m sure much of it is related to my present condition, but its still very disheartening to see pictures of yourself and feel absolutely shocked at what is reflected back there. I’m sure the “fat gaijin” stares will be in full effect as soon as we get out of Kansai Airport. Ryohei of course had horrible digestive issues and lost weight while here. Go figure…

We did manage to get all our shopping done so that is good but mentally I am not ready to go back to the land of “constrictions.” I’ve gotten used to the friendly and casual manner of Americans and now I have to go back to being an outsider who is to be feared for my “lack” of Japanese. I think that this visit has confirmed that one day we will have to leave Japan even if it means I have to pull Ryohei kicking and screaming from Niigata. (Actually he likes it here esp. the huge Japanese food market and the constant sunshine)

So anyways… I should be happy and refreshed… and I am. But I know that I still have 7 weeks of work left – 5 of those with Ryohei in Niigata, as well as a move and total apartment cleanout to orchestrate…

I think Ryohei is happy to be returning but I will probably start the countdown until my Christmas visit as soon as we get back.

I’ve been posting quite a bit lately! Woo hoo! But oh my gosh I am so excited that I can hardly contain myself. As I think I grumbled about here, Ryohei had basically no holidays over New Years which pretty much meant doing absolutely nothing the whole 9 days off. So when he told me he got both Sunday and Monday off of this coming 3 day weekend we knew that we had to do something because this is a rare chance for the two of us.

Ryohei has been dying to eat something called Botan Nabe. In other words a nabe (hot pot) dish using the meat of wild boar. Apparently the Kansai area is very famous for it and he wants to have a chance to eat it while the area is still easily accessible. For me, I am dying to get away from the apartment for a night. I am so sick of looking at the same scenery and sleeping in the same bed. I wanted more than anything to go somewhere over New Years break.

And so we have found the best of both worlds – a ryokan (Japanese inn) that is known for its Botan Nabe located about an hour and a half or so by train. I just made the reservations and now I am almost giddy with excitement!! This weekend the two of us will get to have a romantic get away to the countryside and stay in a luxurious inn while eating awesome food. I accidentally reserved the most expensive plan coming with boar meat yakiniku and some salt roasted river fish – but honestly we deserve it. The two of us have not had any vacation like this for… I can’t remember how long. Probably the last time we went to a ryokan almost 2 years ago… and with the baby on the way this might be our last chance as a couple to enjoy a place like that alone for a long time.

Anyways I am so so so so so so so excited! It IS a little pricey which is why we haven’t visited one up until now especially with Ryohei not working most of last year but this isn’t about money anymore – in the everyday bustle it seems like we haven’t had any real couple time and hopefully this will be a boost to that.

I haven’t told Ryohei I reserved the place yet, we only just talked about last night before going to bed but I bet he will be so excited. I can’t wait to see his face!! Don’t worry I will be bringing the camera for sure to share the fun with all you here!!

Only 5 days!!! I can not not not not not not wait!

One and a half hours left until I can get out of work. Today is one of the special Pizza Hut days where if you do “take out” you actually get the pizza for half off. Thus a large pizza for Ryohei and I to split is only about 1500 yen… wow that’s actually considerable to a price you could get back home. To bad its only a once a month thing… or actually maybe it’s a good thing since I can see myself being yelled at by a multitude of Japanese pregnancy doctors for gaining the “prescribed” 7-10 pregnancy kg on pizza alone.

The downside to the pizza is that its about a 20 minute walk from my office and then another 10 minutes to the station. And THEN another 25 minute train ride + 10 minute walk home. In the current cold snap I’m probably going to have pizza slice shaped icicles instead of the real thing. Oh well, nothing my microwave can’t help with.

Anyways the real meaning this post is not to rave about reasonably priced pizza, but to talk about the weekend I had with Nay and Naoki! Although I don’t doubt that readers of both of blogs will probably be getting the same story twice!! Anyways – without further ado my retelling of the weekend. Oh and being the lazy bum I am – no pics from me. Nay had her camera though and got a lot of nice ones so hopefully she’ll upload a few when she gets the time and you can enjoy my bloated face and 1st trimester pudge for yourselfs.

Friday – N&N drove up from Shizuoka and after a few trying to coordinate efforts to meet up, we ended up in my apartment. Yay! It had been raining horribly the whole morning but by nighttime it was clear and we decided to visit the Kobe Luminarie that night. Ryohei had an eye appointment and was already down in the city but due to some unfortunate gaps in information he ended up waiting at the station for us for about 20 minutes and was (quite) pissed off with me. Not really much I could do though! So we hurried off to pacify the man-baby with some okonomiyaki from his favorite shop. Actually we had a bit of a wait, but finally the 4 of us were at a table eating yummy Kansai delicacies. I even think Naoki took about a 5 minute video of them making the okonomiyaki. After that we went to Lumiarie. It wasn’t as crowded as I was led to believe and was very pretty but really only worth about a 10-15 minute view before getting back to warmth became the more important thing. After arriving home we had an early night (most nights are early nights for me now considering I can barely keep my eyes open past 10)

Saturday – Ryohei was off to work in the morning. *la sigh* Anyways I had heard about a German Christmas Festival up in Osaka from a friend who unfortunately couldn’t go because her daughter was sick, but we decided to go up anyways. I am FINALLY in the Christmas spirit!! It was a lot of fun – in particular the German food, german potatoes, German sausages… etc. Totally yummy and worth the “ouch” factor of the price… It was really fun but FREEZING cold. I had luckily stuffed my gloves in the pockets of my coat when I went out but Nay and Naoki didn’t have any. Poor things… anyways I think the festival would have been more enjoyable if we weren’t feeling like we were turning into yukidaruma.

Anyways after a stop in the big yodobashi camera – we headed back home and bought ingredients for our “family nabe” aka the dish that we pretty much serve guests anytime they come over. Well – actually I mean I – since Ryohei was still working until past 7. Anyways we had the nabe and then the miso rice porrage from the broth and then tried to have some sort of entertainment. I obviously need to learn a few lessons in entertaining as Ryohei and I are the boring types who just lounge around on the computer/tv in our free time. I think its time to start “investing” in some boardgames like “Life” and “Scrabble.”
Oh – also we got a mini showering of gifts from both Nay and Lulu who send me up an adorable toy and outfit for babes. Nay got us our first baby toys – ever!! Woo hoo!! Now I have a rattle… that according to the cover will silence and make even the most ornery baby start cooing at a shake.

Sunday – This was the first time the four of us really got to hang out! (Thanks Ryoheis job) And we decided to do “doraibu” since Naoki had brought the car and both of us really enjoy going out as well, but living in the big city we don’t need a car. After a bit of deliberation we headed out to Awaji Island, the island which connects Honshu and Shikoku. It only took us about 30 minutes to get to the island and Nay and Naoki had never been to Shikoku before, so we decided what the heck and decided to drive to the first town accessible on Tokushima to “get lunch.” Ahh yes, the joys of having a car. So we drove for about an hour and a half in total and ended up in Shikoku at a little ramen place. Which was actually good!! I think I have professed a couple times on this blog my distaste for ramen. It usually leaves me feeling pretty sick – but this was pretty good! Not very oily and yummy broth. Very impressive. Ryohei marveled that I actually ate the whole thing.

Anyways we had plans to meet up with my friend Cassie and her daughter and husband in Sannomiya at 5. So we high tailed in back and made pretty decent time. After a bit of “trying to park the car in the big city” drama, we found a reasonably priced/spaced place and met up. After a quick trip to the Starbucks where Cassies daughter starstruck not only us but pretty much the entire area we were sitting in, we headed up to an omelet rice place to have dinner. Anyways it was a fun evening – the boys ended up on one side listening to Cassie’s husband explain the pain and hassles of registering births, fathering, etc etc…
And we talked about fun girly stuff like pregnancy, going home for births, and epidurials not working….

All and all a great night!

Anyways after that we all parted ways and despite almost nodding off into my Hokkaido Cheese Potato Omelet Rice a billion times I still managed not being able to fall asleep until past midnight. So now I am here at my desk… although with only about an hour or so to wait until I make my march through the cold streets of Kobe in order to acquire a pizza!