Cleaning Up

Tonight we finish all the open food in the house before we leave for 2 weeks.

There’s an open bottle of wine. So that has to get consumed. Such is life.

Tacos of Gold

One assumes these taco shells come with a chef to make them for that price.

Baxter is appalled by food prices.


Not to be confused with Rice, or gohan as we call it here in Japan.

We had a really lame weekend, but it was so GREAT you guys.  We did a little bit of nothing, which was awesome. Well, Rosie had a sleepover that went from Saturday afternoon to Sunday evening with lots of fun, but the rest of us laid low.

I actually managed to lay completely flat on the floor.  Well, not intentionally.

Let me paint you a word picture:

I made my jasmine tea, which emptied the water heater-y-thing that makes the tea.  So I filled it, and sat back down on the couch.  However, I somehow overfilled it and it started to spray water all over the kitchen.  I hopped up and got my feet tangled in my gaucho capris, and fell FLAT on my face, taking my pants off all in one fell (see what I did there?) Swoop.   Sadly. no one was home to witness it, but I imagine it looked like this:

Only, with my pants down around my ankles.  Anyway, I laughed really hard and texted lots of people about it.

This morning I went with Mimi-san (a woman who helps expats like me with not-so-simple every day tasks!) to the Pet Hotel, or AirBunB as I like to call it, where Baxter will be staying while we’re in Maui.  It’s adorable, and they seem really excited to have her stay with them!

On the way there, my wrist started THROBBING and BURNING and by the time I got home, I had to take off my FitBit/watch because my wrist was swelling like a mofo.  So I iced it and took some Tylenol. And it continued to throb and swell.

I had to go to the doctor anyway to get my prescription refilled, so I told the doctor about it.  He was a bit shocked to see the swelling and diagnosed (with some movement, prodding and horrible pain) a sprained wrist and thumb.  Did you know you can sprain your thumb? I do now.

He wanted to make sure I wasn’t feeling faint when I fell (I wasn’t) so I had to explain what happened.  “You fell down, in your pants?”  Yes, I did fall down in my pants.  I left the part about my tushie hanging out, out.  So, now I have a sprained thumb, wrist and dignity.

OH!  Let’s add some insult to actual injury.  My big fat (swollen) American hand is too big for the delicate pink lady wrist compressor-y thing, so they gave me a MAN one. Which is totally fine, except that the poor Man Doctor was so embarrassed for me because I have man hands. MAN. HANDS.

The good news is that they gave me a topical pain reliever patch (which I assume is just some sort of beefed up icy/hot) that it is approximately the most amazing thing EVER on my poor man wrist.

So, currently I’m Resting, Icing (with the patch thing), Compressing (with the MAN’S compression wrap) and (not) Elevating, plus I added a side of alcohol.  It helps, trust me.

I just need to be better by Friday.  You know, for Maui.

Week Wrap Up

Ok. Right. So basically this week, Japan really tried to get me down. Between failing the driving test and some crazy allergic reactions going on, I basically felt like crap all week.

However, I’m really lucky to have some good friends who take good care of me when I’m down. Jenny and Ashley and I went to Costco on Thursday (they even let me drive even though I’m a danger to all of us!)

and on our way we stopped at the Tokoname Pottery walk which was awesome!!!

Here are some good pictures of the area. We were on a schedule, but I’ll definitely go back when I can spend more time and MONEY!!!

Somehow, we stumbled upon a shop with an old sensei who had just invented the world’s first matcha bowl that conducts electricity to make the radio play. I’m not joking.

We were invited (it was compulsory) to have tea and sweets with them. It was such a fun Japanese experience. They had us sit and took pictures with us and fawned over us.

We laughed so hard we almost peed afterwards. It was such a funny afternoon.

I’m a lucky girl to have found my people. Even if my Ashley-people is moving away.

Last night we watched Wonder Woman finally and I got to be snuggled up between the two kids, so it was a total win. This weekend in the states is our family of choice reunion. I’ve only missed one year before, so it’s pretty tough missing it this year, but I’m looking forward to the pictures and stories I get from people. The kids have play dates so they’re happy for the weekend and in less than a week we leave for Maui! It feels like time is really speeding up right now, but at the same time being in Japan makes me feel like my life is on hold.

So yeah, that’s where we’re at.

You Turkey!

That’s how my dad “swears” at other drivers, because unlike his daughter, he is a good person.  He is also a licensed driver in the country in which he resides, again, unlike his daughter.


13 of us tested this morning. We saw one person before me have an automatic failure (potentially hitting a curb) and we left after the 7th person (Which was Nathaniel).  After we waited around for a short eternity, we were able to get our results. Keep in mind we had to arrive at 8:30, took the test starting at 9:30 (I was number 3, so 9:50ish), Nathaniel was done at 10:30 and we could get results at 12:40. THIS IS THE MOST ASININE PROCESS EVER.   There is no grading “rubric” they use, I’m fairly certain it is all subjective.  And we were told when we scheduled our tests for the same day (like, 8 weeks ago) that it was unlikely they would pass husband and wife at the same time. WHICH IS ARBITRARY. It appears they do not choose who passes until everyone has completed the test.

So, THREE PEOPLE out of THIRTEEN, yes 3/13, some 23% of people passed today, including Nathaniel.  Nathaniel was wearing a Toyota Jacket.  I’m just throwing that out there. He also *may* have changed lanes without checking his mirrors or blind spot. AGAIN, just saying.

Anyway I’m going to crawl into a hole and sob.

Driving Practice

Or, as I like to call it: NOT DRIVING practice. Here is the NUMBER ONE RULE I learned at our practice for tomorrow’s driving test. DO NOT DRIVE. Ok, you can drive, but ABSOLUTELY, under NO circumstances, should you EVER use the pedal on the RIGHT. You know, the one that makes you go faster? This course is literally done at under 5km/h. I shit you not. Every time I accelerated, they told me not to. GO SLOW! They would say. If I had to drive this way on the road, I would get creamed. Because by the time I finished making my turn, someone would have come and run me over.

I think we all know that I’m super safety conscious and I consider myself to be a pretty good driver, but the entire time the instructor and the interpreter were yelling “SLOW DOWN!” And I was literally thinking “WE AREN’T MOVING”. Except in the one spot where you have to go 50 and then essentially SLAM on the brakes so you can go “walking speed” . NO ONE DRIVES LIKE THIS PEOPLE.

Let’s just say, I do not have high hopes for tomorrow’s test for me. I’d like to say that I’m over it and it is what it is and all that, but I really hate not being good at something. And I find it embarrassing to be treated like I can’t drive. I almost cried at the practice.

So anyway, I’m not feeling my best. And on top of it, they neglected to tell us that we have to be here for basically the ENTIRE day whether we pass or not. In case you missed it earlier in my blog (like way way back) I have not been thrilled with my relocation company and this is just another straw that is breaking this camel’s back.

Monday Updates!

Hey Y’all!!!! (apparently when I’m American ((Not Canadian like I pretend to be here)) I’m a Southerner. . .who knew?)

I feel like I’ve been a little absent the past couple of weeks and it’s because I’ve just been sooo busy!!!  We had Bali, and then the beginning of school, taking over the PTA Secretary spot, my parents coming, my parents getting temporarily misplaced in a huge train station, my parents leaving, Medical Screening day, meetings, helping dear friends get ready to move, on and on and on.

Today, I took the day for myself.  I left the house ONCE (twice if you count hosing the garbage can out) to walk to a bakery (not as good as I’d hoped for one so close) and that was it.  I organized shelves. My dear friend, who is moving away WAHH, brought me a new shelf that makes my bathing room EVEN better!

(Sorry, crappy lighting)

I DUSTED (SO MUCH DUST IN JAPAN), I drank coffee and then tea. OH! My new obsession, iced Jasmine tea, unsweetened.  People. I knew I *LOVED* hot Jasmine tea, but a lot of things I like hot, I do not like cold, so I just never went there. BUT OMG.  I tried some the other day in my hunt to find a non-caffeinated (for afternoon), 0 calorie (to combat the bakeries), non-water (cause I don’t like drinking water, cause I’m a bad person #sorrynotsorry) drink. AND I FELL IN LOVE.  3 Single Serving bottles later (Oh, and one NOT Jasmine tea that was VILE, but Rosie drank for me) I realized I needed to be making this at home and not wasting bottles. Also, here it takes THREE different bins to recycle ONE plastic bottle, and frankly #aintnobodygottimeforthat.

It is IN FACT, so good, I checked to make sure I can get THIS EXACT ONE in the US when I return, and I can. So cross that off my import/export list.

You guys, my kids LOVE school here. (Except Rosie and PE, but like Mother like Daughter!)  Every night at dinner we sit around and talk about their days, and unlike their FATHER, they actually say words!  When we started, I had to ask leading questions. “Who did you play with today?” “What did you learn in Japanese?” “What was for lunch?” etc, but now they start the conversation on their own! They tell me their best part and their worst part and often (but not always, cause their kids) ask me about my day! I am not the best at being “present” in the moment. I feel like my brain is always going a mile minute thinking of things I have to do, should have done, want to do, don’t want to do, what’s next. . .etc. (I’ve always been this way) but I am CHERISHING these dinners. It sucks that Nathaniel isn’t usually home for them, but the kids have gotten really animated when they tell me about their school, and I love to just let go of all the little things I have going on inside my brain for 10 minutes. (34 million minutes if Isaac has a story about a video he watched. . .I do NOT cherish those moments)

Rosie had a playdate with “A” this weekend. “A” is not his real name, but I do not have his parents’ permission to post about him (yet, I haven’t asked . . .we just met. . .) so I’ll call him “A”.  It should be noted that A is a boy, and when Rosie says his name, she practically SWOONS. A appreciates that Rosie is a “tooting girl” and showed her how one of his fish poops a lot.  So basically, they’re good friends.  I got to have Ramen with A’s mom which was lovely and then spend a couple of hours by myself wandering a new mall.  Sorry Nathaniel’s wallet. #sorrynotsorry

Isaac stayed home alone because Nathaniel was in Hong Kong on a Brocation.  Isaac has learned how to video chat with his friends on Google Hangouts which I am *FAR TOO OLD* to understand. But it involves them all playing some game online and SCREAMING at each other on the Googles. So he did that *ALL DAY* Saturday and was as happy as a clam! (We’ve seen a LOT of clams here in Japan, and I can tell you without a doubt, they are happy!)

On Sunday,  I took the kids to a new (to us) beach and just hung out in my tent while the kids played in the water. There were a

ton of stand up paddlers there and some para sailors (or whatever it was that they were doing) that were pretty cool to watch. And there were AMAZING shells. I LOVE sea shell collecting. I’m worse than the kids. I come back with BUCKETS full in Tybee. But these shells are different here!  They are red and purple and so cool! And I found this shell!!!

Sunday night I took the kids out for dinner at a Funky “American” diner. They played “Bowling for Soup” the whole time, so basically it was like I was in high school but I could drink beer. Well, legally.

And Nathaniel came home late last night with Souvenirs for everyone.

This week you can look forward to our driving test practice, and then the actual test, plus a visit to the Bunny Hotel where Baxter will be staying while we’re in Hawaii. I have a TON of driving to this week, so I’ll be in the car a lot, so send me your podcast recommendations!

(Also, weigh in ((NOT JUST MY MOM)) who would watch/be interested in me Vlogging?)

OH!! And this.

Feelings Friday: Guest Edition (1)

This is a guest post written by Roberta!

Feeling from the home front… So those of us left behind have feeling too… I posted about my family’s trip to Japan a few weeks ago and now I’m going to post about the feeling of those of us “left behind.”

Oh the drama of having your friends go off on a once in a life time trip!!!

I have so many feelings…

One, I love that Torey, my super good friend, is in a foreign country and exploring a new and different life -with success I must add!!! I  could not be more proud or happy for her!

Two, her beautiful children, both my former students (so once you are a student of mine you are always one of mine just an fyi), are successfully navigating this new life in a foreign country.

Three I’m 90% of the time so happy for them but 10% of time…. I’m selfish and I miss them terribly.  90% of the the time I can’t believe the obstacles that Torey, Nathaniel, ad the kids have overcome!  But 10% of the time I HATE all of this!!!!    I want them here! I want them with me and with my my kids!

Was Torey a part of your life?  Were you like me?  Did you not realize how much she gave, how much she motivated you until she was in Japan???  My feelings are… I miss Torey so much ( sometimes I wonder if I miss her too much), I miss Rosie and Issac for my children and i miss them as a teacher at Allen. I miss Nathaniel for my husband, and my family -he and the kids are a huge part of our weekends!!!

It’s no easy to go to japan, but it’s also not easy to be left behind.  When your friend tells you she lost her parents (TOREY CLARIFICATION: I misplaced them, not lost in a casket-y way!) and all you can do is text hugs and offer to drink wine for your friend. It’s not enough! You want to hug her for real, you want to cook dinner for her for real, you want to help… but you can’t. You know she is strong enough, you know she can do this without you….but you WANT to be able to help hold her up. And now you aren’t close enough and it breaks your heart, but you know she will be ok, because she is strong. You want to be able to do more…. because if she was home you could, you could do more….

(Torey note: well, now I’m crying. Some days are better than others, but I always miss my people. Knowing they miss me is 50% good and 50% bad. I don’t want anyone to feel sad like I feel sad. SO. MANY. FEELINGS. Did I mention Nathaniel is out of town this weekend?????0

Not too bad for how I was feeling when I wrote it….

Mom Guilt

You guys, it’s real and it’s STROOOONNNNNNGGGGG. On the heels of Mimi and Papa leaving I have one angry girl and one weepy boy.  Plus you know, I’m pretty sad too.


And then. BOOM.  I get an email about the school musical which my kids are both involved in and are absolutely ecstatic about.   And it’s October 12.  While we’re in Hawaii.

DEVASTATED.  Why?!?!?!? Why did I not look that up when we were booking tickets??????  It wasn’t on *my* calendar (yet) and I didn’t check the school calendar. And if I had, I would have seen that there is a MUSICAL ON THE CALENDAR.  OH! And Sports Day (which is a Japan National Holiday and sounds AWESOME), plus a PTA Cultural Trip.

New Rule. Check ALL the calendars first. Then book tickets.



I told the kids tonight, before their next rehearsal tomorrow.  And Rosie sobbed. And I held it together and DIDN’T sob but I rubbed her back and I told her how sorry I was and offered to let her watch TV all night long while eating junk food. I reminder her there will be other musicals and this is (perhaps) a ONCE IN A LIFETIME chance to go to Hawaii.  But when you’re 8, it’s hard to put all that LIFETIME into perspective.  So I’ll just rub her back and feeding her junk food and bribing her with TV.


Isaac said “Well, when you said bad news, I thought people were dead”. OH. Well then.  At least he’s not a worst case scenario-er. OH WAIT. Yes. He is. Like Mother, like Son.


Anyway. . . I’m off to wallow in my mom suckiness.

Medical Screenings and NIS

I spent all day today at the kids’ school helping organize and run the yearly medical screening. They check every student K-12 on vision, hearing, height and weight and spine development. The medical staff that visits speaks no English, so my job was to communicate to our English Speaking Students what needed to happen.

Past Torey knew (at that point) Future Torey would want to wallow in her PJs after Mimi and Papa left, so she scheduled (at that time) Future Torey to go to school. ALL DAY. This Morning Torey was SUPER PISSED. But by Mid-Morning Torey, this Torey was happy to be there. It was a lot like Stage Managing a show you’ve never seen the script to, and oh yeah, it’s in another language, so basically I was prepared by all the nightmares I’ve had over the years!

I took the opportunity to have lunch one on one with each kid which was definitely the highlight (although I also really enjoyed the whole day!)

This is Isaac showing me the garden the grade 5 students have planted. This afternoon he told me they have to be careful now because they discovered a lot of CENTIPEDES. #NOPENOPENOPE. Glad they found them AFTER I was there.

This is also outside their brand new building.

Anyway, to prove to you just how productive I was, here is a picture from the facebook page of me wearing pants.

And here are various other photos from this school year, courtesy of the NIS twitter and facebook pages.