Another day, another school. 

The kids started school today and it was a success!!
Lunch making was a bit tough as we’re still figuring out how to navigate the grocery store and we don’t have a ton of our dishes.  But I made it work. The kids didn’t want me to send peanut butter until they were sure they were allowed to. They’re such sweet creatures. (Also Nathaniel made them afraid of Japanese  peanut butter.)


We have to leave the house at 7:20 and walk a few blocks their bus stop.


For now I’m going with them but as soon as I can I’m going to ditch that.

(Rosie wouldn’t take a picture at the stop)

Then Nathaniel made me sit down and do paperwork with/for him.  It was horrible. So I snuggled Porter, my friend.

Then Porter helped with some paperwork.

Then he snuggled Nathaniel while he worked.

Nathaniel was a slave driver most of the morning so there was little to report.  Although I did discover that he helpfully translated the soy milk for me. . .


He leads a thrilling life.
Anyway, finally he decided to run some errands with me on this, our last day together.  Unfortunately we didn’t have any cash money. Something that is very different in Japan from the United States is that here, very few places take credit cards.  You do almost all your transactions in cash or bank transfers.  Which is great if you bank account. Which we will.  Tomorrow.  So we drove around and found a bank to exchange some more cash.  They were confused, we were confused.  But we got the money. So we went to eat.

Nathaniel had eel because it was the only thing in the place that didn’t have or wasn’t cooked in buta (pig) or gyu (cow. Rhymes with ew). But it was tasty.

I had a mini, fast hot pot. It was tasty too.

But the highlight of this trip was the worlds tiniest bathroom. Nathaniel went first and told me I had to go.  It was so tiny I practically had to stand on the toilet to open and close the door.

And then, just for my in mother in law, I made it sing me the song of its people.

 

 

Whatcha saying potty?!?!?
On our way home we stopped at a recycle shop to see what they had.
Ok. Full disclosure we stopped because the name is too funny.

Good news!!! Nathaniel found a million magic cards. I was so worried we wouldn’t have any.  Oh. And they are in English. So not even something super special.

The kids had a short day today so I picked them up from the bus.

And they had a great day.  They made friends at school!  And Rosie told her teacher that her mom thinks he’s cute.  Thanks kid. Should make parent/teacher conferences exciting.

I took a shower and realized that the mirror in the shower is in weird spot.  First it’s in the shower. Secondly it goes from nipple to knee. Not exactly a helpful placement.

But the shower set up is so cool. You have a whole room to shower in next to the tub. Here’s a picture


And then  attached  to that room is our laundry room where we also have a big sink for brushing teeth etc.


It’s probably my favorite set up in the house. It works really well and you can shower while 2 people are in the toilets and a third person does laundry is in any one else’s way.  It’s amazing.
I stopped at the grocery and bought these,  cause how could I not?

Then I made dinner. Turns out cooking chopsticks, while ridiculous , work really well for cooking spaghetti!

Nathaniel bought me some plum wine that you cut with hot water which I was excited for.  Except I clearly oveestimatd how much water I would need to add so I ended up with a giant glass.  Which helps with the lego building/dance party that is going on around me. At top volume. 

Tomorrow I’m on my own all day and frankly I’m looking forward to it. I made a little list of things to help keep me occupied for the next couple of days.

And!!!  My air shipment is supposed to be here on Friday at 1!!!!!  Like at my house!!!!!!!  So there is lots to look forward to.

Just another day in paradise. . .

Or something like that.
First thing this morning I did a load of laundry and hung it up.  I felt like a queen. Or a servant. But I was a proud servant.


And we met a cat who loves to hang in our yard. I can’t wait to meet the cat more.


I was feeling pretty good about myself so I sat down to fill out school paperwork.  And then. BAMN.  “Please fill in the name of an emergency contact in Nagoya.”

Uh.  Say what?  I don’t know very many people here.  And I don’t know anyone’s phone number. It hit me hard.  In Michigan, I add extra lines. I have a hard time deciding what order to put my family and friends in.  Here?  I left it blank. I felt so deflated.

Nathaniel took the kids to Fuanassi land in downtown Nagoya so I could get some things done around the house before they had school tomorrow.  So pulled myself together and got in the car and drove myself to the 100 yen store.  I did it!! And I only turned on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal twice!

I was so proud of myself in fact, that I was thinking of how I would tell you all about it and feel amazing, that I came back to the car and got in ON THE WRONG SIDE.   I literally sat down in the passenger seat. And then was so confused.  I wish I  could  have seen the look on my face. I bet it was amazing. But I’m still proud of myself.

I decided since I was on my own for the first time I and I was winning (ish) I’d take myself to the station (on foot!) and have a Starbucks and a look around. It was lovely.

I almost stopped here, but I figured I couldn’t actually communicate.


I stopped on my way home and got a curry to eat at home.  Still not 100% what type of meat it was but it was delicious. I love food here


Then I had to go grocery shopping.  There is a grocery right around the corner, less than a block away.  So I walked over and got $50 worth of groceries and brought them back in my adorable shopping cart.

X
Then I put on my apron and did the dishes.

Then, like a good housewife, I caught up on more chores. I ironed clothes

I did my Japanese exercise.

 

 

And caught up on the latest sumo news

 

 

It was a pretty fulfilling day.  I also hung some art work, and filled out a lot of paperwork for school.
We found out our air shipment will be here Friday at the earliest which is a total bummer. We throught we were going to have it last Friday and now it’s still not here. All of our kitchen things are in there,but Nathaniel is still attempting to make dinner for us.
Tomorrow the kids start school.  We have to be at the bus stop a few blocks away at 7:33 so, that’s going to be rough.  But I think we’re all looking forward to it.  They’re out at 2 on Wednesday’s so it’s nice for them to start on a short day!

So that’s what is happening here!!!  How is it in America?  Or wherever you are

Just another manic Monday 

Today was coming of age day in Japan.  We didn’t celebrate, but it meant it was a national holiday.  We celebrated with a trip to the Nagoya Port Aquarium.
First we had breakfast

Then Nathaniel’s coworker came over to meet us and we hit the subway.

The area near the port is beautiful.  There are a number of other attractions in the area that we will need to visit.

Like Red Lobster

Just kidding. We are at the food court

This time I recognized some things I ordered!!!  Go me. And it was all tasty.
Next we visited the aquarium, which was pretty amazing. Apparently they’ve made a lot of improvements over the last ten years or so and it’s really lovely.

I particularly enjoyed the octopi.  They were really on the move and pretty exciting!!!!!

I also fell in love with all the ugly fish.  All around  us people we’re exclaiming “look at that shark,”. “Look at that dory fish!” Etc  but no one was paying any attention to the fat ugly fish with weird lips.  I felt so bad for them. They need Loving too!

And when you pay attention to them, they have a lot more personality.  This guy had his eye in Isaac.

After theaquarium   was the actual important part of our day.  We had our family interview at the Nagoya International School. Nathaniel (almost) flawlessly drove us out there where we met with the primary school principal.  It is an amazing school.  It’s a private school for preschool through 12 grade.  It is an international baccalaureate program which I personally love and I’m super excited to see where it takes my kids.  The best part?  It TAKES MY CHILDREN AWAY FROM ME. In fact they’ll start school in Wednesday and they are both really excited.  They’ll take a private bus for NIS to and from school which is really nice since it’s a bit out of the way.   I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it as the year progresses.
Rosie wouldn’t take a picture  so here is Isaac.

Next, since we were all starving and tired Nathaniel took us to an appliance store.  I found something every one needs.


It’s a travel personal bidet.  For all your asshole needs.  But don’t they seem so happy to have it?

Something I need.

And something no one needs.

A few other odd items.

Oh my god. That last one is so gross.

Anyway, then we hit a Chinese ish restaurant around the corner from home because there wasn’t time to pick something else before I killed and ate the entire family.  Luckily it was a tatami room!

And it was delicious.

Plus they had some after dinner offerings

Those look safe right?

Anyway, not a lot actually happened  today. We just lived in Japan which was nice and a little more relaxing. Now I’m ready for a hot bath.

And wine.

In a can.  

Things!

Things are happening. Things are arriving. We are living in Japan.

This morning the kids and Nathaniel left me alone for a while for their own safety.   While they were gone, my new fridge and washing machine arrived!!!


Nathaniel and the kids stopped at a bento box place on their way home and brought me delicious food. I’m not sure what it was but it was beautiful and tasty. Although the salmon had bones in it which I was not expecting.  It was so good and apparently right around the corner so I know I’ll be back!


The family also stopped in to a DVD rental place (remember those????) and the kids found out there is an adult section.  Complete with a vending machine.  So I might have to swing by there for your entertainment.

Anyway, I could hardly wait to do my first load of wash.  And then I looked at the panel.


So yeah, I guessed?   But it looks like the first load is clean.  Unfortunately today was rainy so we couldn’t hang our laundry out. Luckily I had built a coat rack this morning so we moved it into the laundry room for the time being. Rosie has been so excited to hang laundry up but she lasted about 2 socks before finding something else to do.  Of course.


Once we were able to turn the fridge on, Nathaniel and I went to the grocery store.  Holy moly grocery store.  So many neat things to look at, and some weird things too.

The cost of butter was astronomical


but you can get a free gift with your bottle of cheap wine!


I bought some carrots. They are hilarious.


We also were excited to find bread that wasn’t crazy expensive but the children don’t know how to eat it since it’s not sliced.

Tonight we are going to have dinner with some expat friends who have been here for 2.5 years and go home in July.  I’m so glad we’re able to have some people to help us out.
Anyway, I’ve been sent to my room for being a bitch ass mom so I’m going to read a book.


Turning a corner?

Today Japan was looking up, instead of feeling upside down.    Thank the dear lord.

Last night Nathaniel installed our lights.

First, the guys came and installed our heaters. Wahoo warmth!

Then the kids and I ventured off on our own for the first time to walk to our train station Fujigaoka.  Where there are TWO Mr. Donuts and a Starbucks.  It was amazing.

Then I opened my new housewarming gift from my sister.

So I FaceTimed her. And it worked!  So I got to “see” my sister. It was amazing.
Next up, Nathaniel drove.


He used the navi

He swore.  A lot.  And used the windshield wipers.  A lot. It was epic.
We went to the 100 yen store and got some supplies which was nice and checked out anothe recycle shop for more household goods.
Then people. We had lunch.  We went to a ramen shop called Fuji Ichiban. It was fantastic.  I don’t know what I ate. But it was so good and I ate the whole thing. Which was a feat, but I’m not one to back down from a challenge.

So amazing.
Next we hit up a furniture store called Nitori.  It’s seriously Japanese IKEA.  Like I wasn’t sure what store we were in. Fun was had there.

And we bought some things.  CPST Friends don’t look.

And leaving there, we saw a real life rice patty!!!!!   And a goat!!!


Then on the way home Nathaniel spotted this gem located like a half second walk from our house. DANGER VISA CARD.

We dropped the stuff off and headed out to Apita which is AFuckingmazing. It’s like a giant shopping mall but it’s all one store. . . Sort of. And there is a Starbucks. And some weird shit.


Oh.  No thank you.

After I spent a lot of  money we came home to enjoy the days spoils.


I looked in each bag for a person to put it all away but alas, nothing.  Some of the things had instructions in Japanese and some had none. It was exciting. And nerve wracking. But as long as nothing comes crashing down in the next few days I’ll call it a win.

With the help of another expat who lives here, we set up our garbage station.  It’s complex. And I’ll write a whole blog post on it in the future when I figure it out.


And we got some curtains up and some shelves and stuff put together.  Once life calms down some I’ll be sure to give a full house tour.


Oh. I also bought that giant hedgehog that Rosie is snuggling. That was a need.  Don’t judge me.
Then we had to feed the people again so we walked around  the corner to a cafe. It was another example of trial and error when we got Rosie’s hot dog with all the toppings and no hot dog instead of no toppings and all the hot dog.   But eventually we worked it out.
We had some weird dessert ish drink in a boot. Cause why not?

These were deliver to our table.  I have no further explanation.

I ate this amazing salad

And then we ordered dessert.


Oops.  It was amazing day I forgot to take a picture. Here’s a shot of the menu.

And the rest of the menu

Tomorrow we get our fridge and washer I cannot wait to do laundry and go grocery shopping.  Who would think that those would be so exciting to me?????   It’s going to be a great day. I can already tell.
And I leave you with this.

When in Japan. . . 

You guys. This morning I ran into another family here from our program. They are from Kentucky and have an 18 month old.  I LOVE BABIES.  We chatted, talked about her carrier (Lillebaby!) and then I installed their car seat.  So things are looking up.

We’ve figured out a heating soloution.  It involves 2 separate installation appointments and probably a cold night tonight and paying an additional 5% to use our credit card, but I’m over it.  I just want to be warm in my house.


Next up was cell phones.  We managed to get a SIM only plan for our iPhones which is awesome. And we signed up for super fast internet that will hopefully only take 2 weeks instead of FORFRICKENEVER and in the meantime we will have a hotspot for communication purposes but I won’t be able to stream my shows for now. I think I’ll live, but if I die, make sure they play Criminal Minds at my memorial service.
Of course this whole endeavor took more than 3 hours and involved 2 trips to the store to get it worked out.


By the time all was said and done, we didn’t get to our house today until 2:29pm and finally ate lunch at 4pm.  I shit you not.  That is not lunchtime people.

Oh!  And last night we had Indian curry which was so so amazing. I’ve heard that it’s really good here, so I was definitely happy to try it and I’m so glad we did. Isaac and I had the best butter chicken I’ve ever eaten.

Anyway, Nathaniel went out and scored us some lights because there are rooms that have none.  And a fridge and a washing machine that will be delivered on Sunday.  We also got temporary space heathers to get us through.
I went to Family Mart all by myself today and managed to buy dish soap with no help which is no small feat. And I got toilet paper so we could pee in our new house. An important step.

Rosie and I celebrated our new home with scalding hot baths (good for me, not for her) and I had a glass of wine. THANKTHEDEARLORD.

Now here it is 7:15 pm and I’m waiting for Nathaniel to come home with the internet and help me install the lights so we can see to go to bed. And then we need to eat something again.  And then we have people coming at 9am to install the rest of the heaters.  And hopefully we get keys to our car so we can take our lives in our hands and drive because we need:

Broom and dustpan

Dish drainer

More wine

Food

Garbage cans

Curtains

More wine

Mr. donuts

Wine

Food

OMGALLTHETHINGSYOUNEEDFORAHOUSE
so yeah. Today was more of a win than yesterday but I still might have cried in the tub.  Isn’t that what tubs are for?

Here’s a list. . .

Of things that happened today.
Things that went our way:

We found my favorite breakfast place, SaintMarc/Choco Cro and had pastries and coffee for breakfast. Yum.

We found Starbucks and I ordered in Japanese!

We saw our new house and love it!


We had conveyor belt sushi for lunch. We are our weight in super fresh, super fresh delicious in sushi. YUM!!

And the kids were pretty awesome today even though there was a lot of boring stuff to do and sit through and we are all jet lagged.

Things that did not go our way:

We knew our new home didn’t have A/C and that we would have to purchase units eventually.  However we did not know that the A/C unit also provides all the heat. That was not told to us or clearly explained.  So ok, that is going to suck up some funds no biggie right?  WRONG. THEY DON’T TAKE CREDIT CARDS. We knew a lot of places didn’t accept cards and so we did come with a large amount of cash, but this was not a purchase we were planning on making RIGHTTHEFUCKNOW so that I DONTFUCKINGFREEZETODEATH.   So that’s a snafu.  And we’re working through it currently. But omg. People. Maybe make sure that it’s clear that A/C is not just air conditioning.   This means we can’t spend the night in our house and it’s back to the hotel for us where I’m pretty sure the bed is made of stone. I’m sore from head to toe.

Next up?  Rosie’s passport has the WRONGMOTHERFUCKING BIRTHDAY on it.  So there’s that. It appears that it may not be a problem.  But let’s be real, it isn’t exactly fun or easy to deal with.

And to end the day, we discovered that it takes 2 weeks to a month to get internet service.  Say what!?!?!?  I’m not sure why no one started this process for us earlier in the game.  So now I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through.

Suffice it to say there are growing pains happening here. And knowing that Nathaniel is headed to work in 3 short days is making me flip out. I love a LOT about life here, but I feel like we are still in limbo and I can’t actually LIVE yet.

Sky priority 

I’m writing this at some crazy altitude where I’m too cheap to pay for wifi so y’all will just have read it later.
The good news is that we did it!  We got all 7 suitcases, 8 carry one and 2 boosters seats to the airport thanks to some good friends, our kids ate 2 meals in the fancy Delta Lounge in the hour we were there, and we made it onto the plane in one piece, with minimal yelling. (I did make N promise to tell me to chill out when I needed to, and we made him practice saying it in a way that would not result in an air Marshall tazing me)
So let’s recap the past few days, because they have been an amazing blur:

Home from down south on Wednesday  night.

Thursday  we updated insurance and registrations, found a buyer for the car, did all the laundry, hunted down missing medication, showered (an achievement for sure), registered as international drivers and watched Virginia tech have an amazing second half of a sports bowl.

Friday was the day we detailed the car, did more laundry (seriously?  We only have like 6 outfits each, how can there be so much laundry????), got nails done (I mean, uh. . .ran a really important errand honey.  It was important) did something else important I’m sure and took the kids for a sleepover. Plus u of m sucked at sporting I think, but I went to bed.
Saturday was New Year’s Eve and my mom’s birthday. We sold the big car first, picked up the kidlets and took all 4 of us PLUS the pooch in the truck out to my parents house. It’s really a sight to behold watching 80lbs of mutt try to wedge herself in between two booster seats.  She’s not only huge, but exceptionally uncoordinated.   Like mother, like doggy daughter.   So lunch at my parents’, and then I finally got a nap.  Then we partied All.  Night. Long. It was a blast.  We said “hello” to 2017 and happy birthday to a dear friend.
SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY, shit got real. We had our “Sayonara Send Off” party to say “See Ya later” to all of our Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and South Bend friends and family.   It was incredibly humbling to have so many people show us how much they care for us. It was happy and sad.  My heart was both full and broken at the same time.   It was sort of the moment that I could feel the “idea” of Japan becoming the “reality” of Japan. I even saw my kiddos shed a few tears which was super tough.
Then Monday Sushi Dog moved to Mimi and Papa’s house. The kids and I all cried about it. I ugly cried until my head pounded and even Sushi couldn’t kiss it away. I know she’s happy and well cared for at my parents’ and I know she’s going to have a blast with their dog Sophie.
To take our mind off of that, we went to sing “Sing” which was amazing and adorable and helped me make my one and only New Years resoulotion: to sing more.  I love singing and I used to sing around the house all the time, but then the kids got older and needed to talk to me more, or talk to each other and it wasn’t the right time.  Now they’re gone during the day so I vow to sing my way through Japan.  So look forward to that neighbors!!!

Then we got rid of our children for a bit to pack.   Holy hell people. It is no joke trying to pack our lives into suitcases that not only zip close but that can be lifted by mortals.  Since Hercules was not included in  our tickets, each suitcase had to weigh less than 70lbs.   Of our 7 suitcases, 6 weighed between 60 and 70lbs. Boom people. That’s how it’s done.  And I didn’t even have to throw out anyone’s underwear to make room for my coffee. (Although I may have decided that I didn’t need another set of sneakers or all those mittens in order to get my coffee mugs in)

And you guys. The most  amazing thing happened this morning. Or yesterday morning. Or whatever day it was when I got on the plane. You get it. Anyway, amazing thing: some of my amazing friends who I have shaped me as a mom, person and friend showed up to surprise me with goodbyes  AND they brought coffee. I couldn’t even cry because I was so surprised and felt so. . . Happy to know that people love me. It makes leaving harder but makes being a good person easier.  So that’s sappy and icky, but I have a feeling I’m going to have a LOT of feelings over the next few weeks.

And so far, 7.5 hours into our 13 hour flight (1 of 2) the kids are being pretty awesome.  Of course, they haven’t slept even a minute, but they seem happy and haven’t complained too much.


I can’t believe this is finally happening.

UPDATE: 9 hours in and Isaac is still going strong. Rosie looks a little bit like she *might* snooze.  I’ve slept for like 13 minutes.

UPDATE 2: 10.5 hours in. Rosie closed her eyes and was ~almost~ asleep and then someone got up to pee. No sleep for her, me or Isaac.

UPDATE 3: they’re never going to sleep.  But putting my hair in a braid for travel was a great choice.  Now bring me coffee.

MORE UPDATES:   Rosie fell asleep 20 Minutes before our first flight landed. She had a meltdown when we woke her up but everyone improved after dinner at the Tokyo airport.  Isaac looked like he was going to die from lack of sleep and I almost died or killed someone but somehow, some way we made it through!!!!!  We are finally in our hotel safe and sound!

Call MTV 

We are attempting to maneuver 8 large suitcases, 8 carry ons, 2 booster seats and  2 small children through Detroit metro airport and the Tokyo airport tomorrow.

I feel a reality show coming on. . .
Editing to add photos!

Remember that time. . . 

When we were leaving the country semi permanently in less than a week and we had about eleventy billion things to do before?  Yeah that’s now.  It doesn’t help that we’re limited to 2 days of “business” hours before we leave.
So today after having been in the car for 10 hours yesterday, N and I jumped right in.
First we had a team meeting.  Sushi, N and I were all in our bed in our pjs and we made a list of what we needed to do.

Next, I went to Starbucks because eff that noise. Nothing was getting done without a latte.

Then I found the title to the car that we need to sell before we go. Boom bitches, it was WHERE IT BELONGED.   I’m declaring that the highlight of 2016.

Then I made a trillion phone calls to people to get important paperwork sent to me via email.  Everyone was nice and helpful and no one (except my dad) chastised me for being so late to the game. So there.  I can adult, I just do it sort of last minute and by the seat of LuLaRoe #japants
Thankfully my parents and sister arrived with more coffee and Taco Bell.  There isn’t Taco Bell at all in Japan you guys. So, we all need to run for the border right now. I put my dad to work installing a new lock on our door.  Apparently if you’re leaving town for any length of time you want your doors to lock. Again, adulting.  I made my mom and sister run errands for me and I ran around unsure of what to do. It was brilliant.
N had a bunch of tasks on his list too and as far as I know, he acheivied.  If he didn’t, he’s didn’t tell me, which is probably best for his safety. I’m not what one would refer to as “super stable” at the moment.  I’ll let you know whe. (If) I am.
We got out international driving permits done today too. Which is awesome because I have a giant zit on my chin. Like. Giant.  So hopefully I never get pulled over in Japan or they might wonder what happened to the growth on my chin.
Now we can setttle down and watch some Virginia tech football.  I know I’m excited.