Gaijin Housewife in Japan

Bringing you every day life in Japan to your part of the world.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Things that happened recdently

Today is really cold rotten weather. We have had beautiful spring like temperatures for the last few days prompting DH and I to go to a garden centre and buy some Japanese plum trees for our garden which we planted yesterday. Today it is snowing. Oh well.

On Saturday a box of rice, special potatoes, apples and flowers arrived from DH's parents. DH's mother sent me a big bunch of Stock flowers. They survived the trip well and responded very well to being put in a huge vase of water with flower food in it.
Now they are gracing my dining table and making the room smell beautiful.

 Last night I realised that my right big toe is infected where the nail meets the skin. I was so disappointed as I have had many ingrown toenails in my life and they all start out this way. So I took myself off to the dermatologist this morning not far from my house. The doctor said he thought that it might actually be a "pregnancy tumor" (the word he showed me in his medical text book) rather than an ingrown toenail, which I seriously hope that it is, cause the only way I have ever had my ingrown toenails cured is by having the nail cut out which is very painful and uncomfortable. In any case, he said he wouldn't be operating on my toe whilst I am pregnant, and I would prefer not to have it done either! So I left with a prescription for some cream to kill the infection. At the chemist next door I ran into a elderly neighbour who lives down the block from me. He is the boss of a different area but has been very kind and friendly to me since we moved in. Since it was my first time to use that chemist they asked me to fill out a form about allergies etc. My neighbour helped me with the tricky questions though I think the other customers in the chemist were a bit scandalised that he would be poking his nose into my private business by helping me read the form and commenting on the answers - "You're pregnant?!?!" -it's winter so not that easy to spot. I gave up my privacy about 8 years ago when I moved here and had to ask for help with such things and still occasionally do, so I was grateful for his offering to help me. We left about that same time so I gave him a ride home as he was walking and it was snowing. On the way home some idiot tried to pull out in front of us, which meant I had to brake suddenly and leaned on the horn - not the time to be having an accident, with an elderly neighbour in the car with me!
When I got home I realised what a long way I have come since 8 years ago. Now a trip to the dr involves taking myself (ie not needing someone to accompany me) 5 minutes down the road to clinics where they all know me, where I run into neighbours at the chemist and have a chat! Also I was thankful to the Japanese health system where one just shows up on the day you want to see the dr. You might have to wait an hour or 2 or 3 but you will get to see someone and it won't cost the earth either. Something that many people here think of as a hardship but when compared to waiting several days to see a General Practitioner (not a specialist, like I went directly to today) and then paying 2-3 times more for the pleasure, I am a fan of the Japanese system today. Ask me again in a week's time after my visit to they Obstetrician where I have to wait 2-3 hours even with an appointment.

Sebastian spat out another tooth today and is now amusing himself with a edible chew bone and trying to dig a hole in his bed. He has been sniffing my infected toe a lot today so he can obviously smell that something isn't right there. Good work Sebastian.
Sebastian enjoying his double layered bed. What a softie.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Muffin Top

Sebastian is getting bigger and more mature by the day. Today I noticed he was doing his very first "marking" pees on our walk round the neighbourhood. Time to get the snip perhaps.

Anyway here are some photos that DH took of Sebastian the other night on his cell phone.

Someone's not quite willing to admit they don't fit in their baby bed anymore
That looks REALLY comfy Sebastian
Muffin Top
Sebastian is working on growing a Mohawk.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

This week's Ikebana

Thank you to everyone out there who has sent me emails, messages and called to ask if my family and friends are ok.

Today was my Ikebana class as usual. This week I tried a new kind of arrangement since I am able to progress to the next level. This is called the "scenery style" or something like that. The idea is to recreate nature.

Today I used 3 new kinds of plants I have never used before. It was actually very interesting, as there are not really any rules, you just re-create your own image of nature as best you can.

So here is what I did

Here is what my classmate did - using the same materials that I used last week.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

It's a really beautiful day here today. Sunny, no wind and a little warm. However, my heart is literally breaking for my fellow NZers affected by the terrible earthquake in Christchurch. I was in shock yesterday when I went to my regular news website and saw half of the iconic Christchurch Cathedral had fallen down not to mention several large office buildings that had been reduced to rubble. 23 Japanese exchange students are missing. Unfortunately their English language school was in one of the buildings that collapsed.

I was in Christchurch less than a year ago. We went and stood in the square and took photos of the cathedral. For me going to Christchurch as a child, with my family was always such a big event. So seeing all those familiar places half destroyed really is hard to process. So far I am relieved to hear that all my friends and relatives that live there are safe. But being here in Japan, makes me feel rather useless. I can't do anything but pray and hope.

Today I tried to keep busy. I took Sebastian to the park for a big walk where we met a funny little old man. The man was chatting away with me. I have no idea what he was talking about as his Japanese was so hard for me to understand. He asked me where was I from and how old Sebastian was but quickly forgot that he had asked me and asked me again. Then I went to the supermarket and bought some of the stuff that our emergency kit is lacking, which was quite a lot.
That made me feel a bit better that I had done something useful.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

UPDATE: The peach blossoms have bloomed

The peach blossoms have started to bloom. Unfortunately the daffodils also started to die.

So here is a picture of the arrangement with and without daffodils.

Friday, 18 February 2011

This week's Ikebana

Hello everyone

This week's Ikebana was really fun. We used Peach blossom branches, daffodils and yukiyanagi which are the cute little white flowers. For once I know all the names of the flowers I used! The peach blossoms haven't flowered yet but I will endeavour to take a photo when they do. So far only two have started to open. Peach blossoms are popular as a spring theme and also for girls day which is on the 3rd of March.

This arrangement is the test arrangement for this month. This is one of my favourite styles but I have yet to get 95 points for my efforts. This month might be my last in the 4th grade as I got a notice from the club that I am eligible to move up to the next level called 3rd grade. This is approximately halfway. Unfortunately the cost of it is rather a lot. 70,000 yen just for a certificate. I could almost go to NZ and back for that kind of money! But now is probably a good time to do it as we certainly won't have the money to do so later! Also, another attractive thing about moving up a level is that I would be the first foreigner to reach such a high level in our city's club. Tempting!

Anyway, here is what I did:

And here is what my teacher did:

And here is Sebastian being a little angel this morning and taking a nap on the floor next to me whilst I was using the computer.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


I think my tummy popped sometime yesterday. My winter jacket is now getting seriously difficult to zip up. I was hoping that I could get by for a few more weeks until Spring came but perhaps not! Along with bigger tummy, also confirmed by DH, baby is kicking up a real storm as of today. Perhaps the last few days growing furiously kept him/her from doing too much kicking as things were relatively quiet. Tonight it's like there are try outs for the Olympic karate team (Is Karate an Olympic sport? No? OK, then Tae Kwon Do) going on in my belly. Not that I'm complaining, my sleep has until now been uninterrupted..

Sebastian and I had a very bad day together. He was determined to bite me, bark at me and jump up on me any chance he got. I got so mad that I yelled loudly a couple of times. I felt bad immediately afterwards as he is getting new teeth which would explain the grumpy behaviour today despite the walk and games I played with him to tire him out. Honestly he is still just like a baby. He gets really scratchy and unpleasant the hour or so before dinner time when he is probably hungry and then at 9pm he is looking to go to sleep or gets "over tired" and goes mental around the living room. We are much better at figuring out these things now than we were a few months ago, so now we know better how to avoid a "puppy meltdown".

Friday, 11 February 2011

An unromantic, romantic weekend

Today is a public holiday in Japan. Something about celebrating/remembering something. It's snowing outside and set to get worse, so DH, Sebastian and I are enjoying staying in our nice warm house.

This year it will be 8 years since DH and I got together. I knew DH was "The One" for me, exactly 8 years ago this weekend.

So 8 years ago, I had been in Japan for 6 months, had met DH and we had become "language exchange buddies". We used to meet once a week and have dinner and talk in English - not so much Japanese as I was a bit shy yet, and he would also come out drinking often with my other foreign friends.
Then I had a chance to go and visit some random people in Chiba who my father had befriended on their trip to NZ. So since my Japanese was still terrible and getting to their house would be a bit of a challenge DH offered to take me. We decided to make a weekend of it.  We left on Sat night and went down to Chiba and stayed at a "Love Hotel" because they are cheap. We were very chaste even though we ended up sharing the bed. The next day we went to DisneySea for the day, which was great fun for me, though rather unromantic as we were just friends and surrounded by couples. Then another chaste night in a love hotel before visiting the people my father had introduced to me. When we got back to our city, we went out for dinner and then DH dropped me off back at my apartment. I already had a big secret crush on DH at this point, but it was then I knew he was "The One". The reason being that there are very few people in the world outside of my immediate family I can handle spending two whole days with constantly and still not be sick of at the end of it.

On Valentine's Day I confessed to DH my real feelings and the rest is history. 8 years later we are happily married with a dog and a baby on the way.

So even though this weekend is kind of our 8th year anniversary, we are not doing anything special. But staying home by the heater, watching the snowfall is kind of romantic I guess. : )

Monday, 7 February 2011


Some of you might remember that I was worried about moving to our house because of all the new obligations it would entail. So far, passing on the Kairanban (neighbourhood news) is the only thing we have had to do that is a bit annoying, mostly because it is full of boring unimportant stuff and the boss of our block seems to think it necessary to pass on the news letter from the water department without delay, so it comes round about 3 times a month. I was very suspicious about who we might be living next to since we have had such bad luck with our other neighbours in the past. There was the strange lady who lived next to us in Germany who watched her TV at top volume at 3am. Then there were the people with their loud cars who used to go in and out of of the car park right next to our bedroom at all hours, the kids who would crash their bikes into our brand new car etc.

Anyway, I always say hello when I see my neighbours but there is one neighbour who seems to have taken a special interest in me. Well actually I think they are all curious about me but she is the main one who is not shy about talking to me. She came over the other day when I was outside with Sebastian with a photo of herself doing traditional Japanese dance. I think she thinks that I am bored being at home most days, so she asked me if I would like to join her dance class. To get out of it I told her that I am 6 months along so I wouldn't be able to join dancing class. So that started a big discussion about how DH's family live far far away etc. She was very concerned for me. She also told me everything I need to know about all the neighbours, where they work etc. And that one house has *gasp* a bathroom on the second floor! That failed to surprise me as I would have liked to have my own bathroom on the second floor and what with coming from a country where that is not totally unheard of either. Anyway, after our little chat she went on her way and I am sure the whole neighbourhood knows we are expecting now, which is fine and rather convenient way to get the news out.

Later on that evening the neighbours directly next to us came out to see Sebastian who was very rude and barked at them. They were kind enough to still think he is cute even though he wasn't very polite to them.

Then on Saturday I came home from work, opened the fridge to find a beautiful expensive looking punnet of strawberries in there. The only fruit we buy is bananas or mandarins so I was confused how they got there. DH said that the lady who likes to chat brought them over and told him to make sure I ate them, to keep healthy etc. Let's just say when I buy strawberries as a treat about once or twice a year I buy the cheapest ones in the shop. I've never had such lovely strawberries before. So I am limiting myself to 3 a day. After all the annoying neighbours I've had, I'm so thankful for the ones we have now! May it stay that way.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Whatis going on in my brain these days

It's been a while since I posted. There was no Ikebana this week and I have been going through a rather strong "nesting phase" over the last few days so sitting in front of a computer really is nowhere near as fun as rearranging my kitchen draws.

It really is quite strange. I have never before felt such a drive to clean and organise things. Never before has my new tidy and clean kitchen given me so much pleasure! What's wrong with my brain? You may remember this is supposed to be a blog about my life as a reluctant (to do housework) housewife. Yesterday I suddenly started cleaning the kitchen and just kept going and going. Usually it would take an imminent visit from my MIL or my own mother to get me to do stuff like this. I'm kind of hoping that this won't totally go away after the baby arrives (I know I won't be able to spend hours cleaning once the baby comes) as DH and I can be quite messy.

Today I noticed Sebastian was sliding around on the floor a lot which means time to shave the hair that grows out between the pads on his feet. Well we did that and one thing led to another and soon he had his leg hair trimmed and his ears, toe nails clipped and ear cleaner put in. I would have kept going but it then I noticed the floor needed vacuuming and then I had to do that.

Also, stuff I used to like doing like watching certain TV shows, reading lots of blogs etc just doesn't interest me anymore : ( Instead I fantasise about scrap booking and make elaborate plans on what part of the house to rearrange next.

Today I ventured out to a shopping mall in search of an album to start putting things in for the baby and I have to say I visited every bathroom they have and I thought, thankfully I live in this city where there is a public toilet every 100 metres that is usually clean and doesn't cost anything to use. I was also "waddling" rather than walking. After an hour or so of fruitless looking for an album but then totally not even thinking to go the photo shop and see what they had, I was so glad to get to the supermarket section so I could lean on the trolley as I went round. Luckily I made it out of the supermarket with something for dinner tonight.

Feeling a nap coming on after all that excitement today! Let's see if I can get into bed without being distracted by something that needs sorting out.