Gaijin Housewife in Japan

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

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Sam and Rusty

I wanted to put some of these photos up with my post about the animals the other day, but haven't been able to get to a decent internet connection, due to there being Easter and the Library being closed. So anyway, here is Rusty, making himself very comfortable in my bed last night. I love it how he has managed to get himself half under the covers.
 Here is Sam, inspecting the camera. He gets quite excited when you try to take photos of him.
 And here are Rusty and Sam posing together. They were waiting for their dinner so I had a captive audience.
Next week I will be leaving Westport to move up to Nelson to my mother's house. She has been at her work on the Milford Track and rented her house out for 6 months. The tenants will be gone by next week so we can move back in. That will mean I am 5 minutes drive from the hospital instead of over an hour where we are  now and we will have internet access at our house, finally. Sam will be coming with us to Nelson, as he is actually my mother's dog technically and we will be around home much more than my sister and her partner. We will also be getting another dog to dog sit for a while. Her name is Roxy, the chocolate lab and belongs to my aunt and uncle who need somewhere for her to stay whilst they are in Nelson for a few weeks working. They usually live in Christchurch and have been affected terribly by the earthquake there too. So I am happy to look after their "baby" for them, - it's kind of like we are playing musical dogs at the moment! DH's parents are looking after Sebastian and my mum and I will be looking after Roxy and Sam. Roxy is only 2 years old or so and Sam is getting to be an old man, so it will be interesting to see how they interact together.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Good Friday on the Wild West Coast

Today is Good Friday in NZ. It's been a few years since I was in a country that observes Easter. I am so used to Japan, where the shops never close, regardless of a public holiday. Businesses here can be liable for a fine for operating on Good Friday or Easter Sunday, I think it is. So I find it very inconvenient that I have to wait a whole day for the supermarket to be open. Not so good when you are 33 weeks pregnant and hanging out for a fix of something – I'm not sure exactly what it is I want but if I went to the supermarket I'm sure I could figure it out. Of course my waistline – if I still had one – would thank me that it isn't so easy to go out and buy a chocolate bar/tub of ice cream/bag of cookies…

Which reminds me, there is a bag of mints in the car – hooray! Saved!


This morning I took Sam out for a waddle up the road. As we were coming home I could hear the sound of what must have been gun shots. Not being an authority on what gun shots sound like in real life, I can only assume that is what they were. Sam was a bit spooked by the noise, but they did sound far enough away across farmland for me not to worry too much. Then I remembered that it might be the Great Annual Easter Bunny Hunt. Wild rabbits are a big pest here in NZ, so every Easter weekend, there is a kind of competition, with quantity being the aim. A rather macabre way to spend the day, but a great help to environment. I saw one hopping through the yard last week and it was the biggest rabbit I have ever seen, in fact it was more like a hare.

We get all kinds of animals romping through here. Today we have had a visit from a peacock. Someone near here owns one and occasionally it goes walk about. I had heard about this peacock but hadn't seen it until today. It is pure white and rather spooky looking. It can run pretty fast too, which is good if Sam ever sees it when he is outside. Luckily Sam was in "food mode" and was concentrating on the piece of toast I was eating and didn't notice it.

There is also a paradise duck next door that hates our car and tries to attack it sometimes.


So even though it is a public holiday and supposed to be quiet, there is plenty going on here in the wilds of the West Coast!




Thursday, 21 April 2011

Keeping Busy

I am house-sitting at the moment for my sister she is away for a week. Well actually I am just continuing to stay here whilst she is away and looking after the pets. I am minding the family dog, a black lab called Sam, who is lovely, placid and intelligent and a sweet ginger cat, called Rusty.
Rusty and Sam are good buddies. They hang out together, especially around dinner time (actually exactly 2 hours before dinner they are already hanging around). And I have even seen them tag teaming on another cat who wandered into their territory from next door. Luckily that cat was faster than Sam who is built for comfort not speed if you get my drift. He is a lot different from Sebastian and it took me a while to get used to his character again since I have been back. Sam is very smart (did I already say that?) and often tries to tell you what he wants by a series of groans, grunts and barks. He also knows the names of all his toys, his collar, his lead, and will bring you exactly what you ask him to.
He is also getting good at spelling. We can't use the words "walk", "beach" or "swim" and so we have to spell them but he always pricks up his ears anyway and starts to look excited. He loves food and sticks the most in the world. Luckily he lives on the west coast where there are sticks galore on the beaches that need a good thrashing.
However, Sam also has a rather delicate constitution. This is the total opposite of Sebastian who I have named Sebastian Iron Guts the second.   
Iron Guts the first was another black lab we used to have, Zak, who famously ate, amongst other things, a huge block of chocolate and suffered no ill effects.

So last night, when I let Sam out to relieve himself before bed time, he wandered off and didn't come back for 3 hours. This is very unusual for him. We are out in the country a bit here and he is good about not wondering off so we don't keep him on a lead, he just hangs around….until last night when he hadn't returned after an hour I started to get worried about him. After 2 hours, I headed outside with a torch and walked around calling him, got in the car and drove up and down the road a bit, no Sam. Finally 3 hours later at , he showed up looking very pleased with himself. I was a bit annoyed by this time as I was so tired and had spent hours calling out to him and really wanted to go to bed but I was thankful that he came back safely from his little adventure. This morning, the rest of the puzzle fell into place. Sam had smelled a rotten old bone somewhere, probably on a neighbouring property and had gone and chewed it up, and then was sick several times in the garage where he sleeps. I had shut him in there as usual but left all the other doors open so I could hear him if he barked in the night (which he usually does when he needs to go out and be sick). Unfortunately I didn't hear a thing – perhaps I was in a deep slumber after being kept up to . That's why we don't give him bones. But he can't help himself- obviously. He is mostly fine today, but seems to be a bit sleepier than usual. I would be too if I had been out till and then up half the night being sick.
So that's been keeping me busy today, cleaning up dog barf. 

Friday, 15 April 2011

Some more photos of the last month

Getting bigger and bigger by the day! DH nearly had a heart attack when I showed
him via skype yesterday how big my tummy is. 8 weeks to go.

At a cafe by the river, so beautiful and peaceful I almost cried

Sebastian with a sesame seed on his nose. DH's mother was making a eat a
teaspoon of them after each meal and he wanted some too, naturally!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Thank you Womama

Yesterday a special package arrived for me (I would have got it earlier but it went to Japan and then had to come all the way back!). It was from Womama.

They make beautiful maternity wear and underwear here in NZ and also sell overseas too. I have 3 bras and a feeding top of theirs already. All but one bra (the one I was wearing) got left behind in our rush to leave our house after the earthquake and on day 3 of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power plant. 2 weeks later we still couldn't go home and I was still living in my 1 bra. 
The lovely people at Womama heard about my lack of suitable underwear and came to the rescue. Now I am no longer suffering from an underwear shortage and even have a lovely birthing wrap to wear when Maru chan arrives! 

So if you are looking for some lovely maternity underwear that is high quality, comfortable and looks beautiful too, please check out their website. I think they are even having a sale at the moment, too! I was a big fan even before the earthquake happened, but now even more so.

On another topic, I have just come back from my second appointment here in Westport with a midwife. Not the same one as last week, but a fabulous woman who I would love to have as my lead maternity carer for  Maru chan if I was staying here in this town for the birth. 
She listened to Maru chan's heart beat and was concerned that it was very fast, over 200 and not coming down and staying down. So she put me on the fetal heart beat monitor thingee for about 10 minutes and watched as Maru's heart rate went up and down a lot. She then faxed it off to a obstetrician at the big hospital an hour from here. The dr came back and said it was excellent and nothing to worry about as the heart rate was going up and down and combined with a lot of movement means that Maru is very active and healthy. I also have low blood pressure, good blood test results, no temperature etc. So I was very impressed with her actions, even though it turned out to be nothing that she took the time to make sure that everything was actually fine and I felt well taken care of. 

DH has had his work interrupted by the aftershocks in Iwaki and even been sent home early from work yesterday probably due to there being no internet. He got home to find the water was off again. 

The government has raised the level of the nuclear disaster to 7 - equal to that of Chernobyl, though experts are saying they are completely different situations and only 1/10 of the radiation of Chernobyl has been released/has escaped. I am glad we were extremely cautious in our reaction to the situation and I am far away from the place as this situation obviously existed long before they had analysed the data and re-evaluated the situation.    

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Some photos of the last month

 Well I can finally upload some of the photos I have taken since the quake
Me and Maru chan at Heian Shrine in Kyoto, going to have a pray 

Sebastian is reluctant to get off the couch after the earthquake so he can get more cuddles.

No shower and eating directly from the rice cooker, to save washing up!

Leaving Iwaki, Sebastian wants to see where we are going and bark at pedestrians
Not the most entertaining, but funny what you take photos of in times like this.
Iwaki made the news again yesterday with another huge aftershock. I was supposed to be flying back to Tokyo yesterday and would have been somewhere between Tokyo and Iwaki when it happened. A very scary thought. DH is fine but says the internet is down again this morning, though I was able to talk to him last night when he got home.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Staying Put


Staying Put



Well I have come to the decision that it is best for me and Maru chan to stay in NZ until the birth. This was a very hard decision for me, mostly because the best possible situation, of having my baby in Iwaki with my husband and mother to support me, no longer existed thanks to the earthquake and tsunami and out of control nuclear power station. The next best option of stay in NZ and have baby and hope that DH will be able to make it here in time for the birth (he says he can only get a week off work for the birth) with the support of my mother and sister leaves DH in a bit of a crap situation. Still mother and baby should be the priority in this situation so NZ it is. Since I have made this decision, there have been several signs that it was the right one.

First, I called Air NZ to ask them to change my return flight to Japan. I booked a really cheap non-refundable ticket to get out here, thinking I would just stay 2 weeks. The wonderful call centre person put my return journey on hold for a year so I can go back when I am ready. I nearly cried as finally something nice happened.

Then DH tells me yesterday he is going on an overseas business trip for a week from next week. I think he could have said no if I was going to be there but I am glad he gets to go somewhere instead of rattling around in Iwaki – and I mean literally rattling. There was another huge earthquake there last night. A 7.1 at the epicentre, so it would have been a strong 5 in Iwaki– which is huge. DH probably slept through it as he is a champion sleeper. I would have been traumatised and stressed out- again. Water was restored to our house yesterday, almost exactly one month after the first quake. I hope it stays on, after what happened last night.


Sebastian, our puppy is still in Tottori and having a lovely time from what I hear. DH's sister keeps me informed on how he is and tells me that he has really brightened up their lives which makes me so happy to know that he is well cared for, loved and even spoilt rotten. I am now wondering if he will want to come back to us when the time is right.


Maru chan is very healthy and kicking up a real storm every night. I got on the scales this morning and noticed that I couldn't see my feet or the reading on the scales. Today I am 31 weeks. 9 or so to go!