Explore Japan Sunday (5)


To recap, our Explore Japan Sundays have been:

Shinto Shrine

Video Game Convention

Nagoya Science Museum

Nabano no Sato Light Show

Today we started off slowly. Rosie did some “emails”

Our friend P Pod came with us again today and we headed out to a Sake Festival in Obu City. We got to take a subway and a real train to get there, which was exciting for the kids.

The festival was amazing!!!! There was a wide selection of food, including lots of foods on sticks, which is a favorite food genre of mine!

Amazing spiral cut potatos.  

Tasty banana!!!!

This guy was making candy apples right at the festival!

Tentacle anyone??

Tasty little waffle things shaped like characters.   Soooo good.  I need a giant waffle iron like that!!!

There were games for the kids to play where they could win fish (thankfully we didn’t have to!) and Rosie won handcuffs. . . .so that’s great.

Anyway, there are gods there, called Shojo that whack you with a bamboo stick to bring you good luck and a long life.  At first Rosie was terrified of them, but once she got whacked (lightly of course!) she realized it was fun and got on quite nicely.

There was a celebration with beautiful Sake.

When you tasted the sake they put a sticker on you saying you couldn’t drive home.   Rosie took it.  It goes well with her handcuffs.

And then they threw REALLY hard rice cakes at us.


And, as seems to be typical in Japan, people went CRAZY over them.  Old ladies were shoving and diving on the dirt to grab them!  It was fun to be in the array, but it was also a tad bit scary. Eventually I had to get Rosie out of there to keep her safe! We kept getting nailed with the rice cakes and then beaten down by the crowd for them.   But we caught a bunch and had a blast.

At the end of day, P Pod stayed and had curry with us at our house, and then I soaked in the tub and watched a show. (WHY DID I NOT DO THIS BEFORE!)

All in all a good day, before what looks to be a very busy week!

Shooters Saturday 

This morning the kids were quiet and let us sleep in.   I came down just after 8 and Rosie had taken our loaf of bread and sliced it and made herself a sandwich.

So remember how yesterday I didn’t want anyone to make a mess?  Yeah.

But I’m super proud of her for going all out and making it herself.   Independence is good.
After that we headed to Shooters for a brunch hosted by our relocation company.  Shooters is the “American bar” around here.   It was nice and there were some friends and new faces.   There were also some games and I won us a pack of tickets to a basketball game!!!!
Isaac enjoyed a croissant

And the kids had a blast playing uno Jenga or something like that.

Zay and I enjoyed a cupcake.

Ok. We didn’t really enjoy it. It was weird.  But the frosting was good.

Rosie and I wore matching headbands.

After the brunch we went to a really cool shopping area that Christina and Dewey had been to before.  It was beautiful.  Lots of neat little shops and eateries.

A little flea market outside.

It’s right  at the feet of a beautiful shrine.

You want me to do what?

I barely know her!!!!!!
There was a cute little Alice in wonderland store!

And that was kind of it for the day.   The brunch took up most of the day beginning at 11:30 and ending at 2.  We came home around 5 and hung for a while before going out for a quick, unexciting meal.
My chest is full of crud and after all the walking I felt a little bit like I was going to die. I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to make it up the last hill before home.  I could barely breathe.    I was excited that we found little backpacks for the kiddos so they can carry their own crap on weekend excursions so at least I was a little lighter in my load.   I’m hoping tomorrow doesn’t involve as much walking but I’m sure it will.   Let’s just hope I don’t keel over.
Also yesterday our US mail came (it comes every 2 weeks) and Nathaniel got called for jury duty.  You know.  In Michigan.   So we’re trying to deal with that.
And. . .   Yeah.  That’s kind of it.

Feelings Friday (6)

OMG. 6 Weeks?!?!?! How is that possible?!!?! How is possible that we still don’t have our stuff?!?

Anyway, my feelings this week were up and down, which seems pretty typical. I definitely had some great triumphs this week but it was *really* hard to be sick away from home.  Usually when I’m sick, I have Sushi Dogtor to snuggle me while I watch TV but here I’m all alone.  That was a huge adjustment.  Plus I wanted my Mommy, because even at 29 I still want my Mommy when I’m sick.    Knowing that I couldn’t have her was really hard.

I am sure glad that we got our Hulu and Netflix working before I got sick because it’s likely someone (not naming names) wouldn’t have lived through week without it.  Also I am grateful for my bathtub and coffee maker who really stepped it up this week to keep comfortable.  And Nathaniel was able to really help out one night this week for which I am very thankful.  It’s unusual that he is able to leave work early to be home here.

Isaac is about the same. Thankfully his sleep schedule seems to have evened out. He did fall down the stairs this morning, and once I was sure that all of his parts were intact, we had a good laugh about how everyone thought *I* would be the first to fall down the stairs.  I’m telling you, it’s a miracle I haven’t.

Rosie is. . . well. . . I don’t know.  She seems happy but a little subdue.  I was at her school twice this week for various things and both times I noticed she was alone.  It hurt my heart. I definitely think she is feeling a little unsure of herself in the new situation.  It is also hard for her to see students she met just 4 weeks ago leaving.    I know it’s part of the process for her, but I’m still keeping an eye out for her because I don’t want her to feel left out and sad.

Nathaniel, again is Nathaniel. Tonight he’s out at his first big night out for work. I hope he’ll have a lot to report back on but I imagine that the conversation will go like this:

Me: How was the party?

Him: Ok.

Me: Anything exciting happen?

Him: No.

Oh. . . well thanks for that.

So that’s our feelings. All in all I do feel like life is starting to feel normal here, so that’s a huge change. I’m feeling a lot more comfortable being on my own, which is good because I’m on my own a lot.

Today I feel a bit better than I did yesterday, although as the day wore on, the funk settled into my chest, so that’s unpleasant.  I did a lot of house cleaning today because our landlord is coming on Tuesday and I have heard they can be picky about the house.  Hopefully no one will mess it up this weekend. (HAHAHAHAH)

I worked on my crocheting and had a breakthrough:

And then I made beans and rice and headed to the kids school for the Raffle and Potluck dinner. We didn’t win anything, but I met some nice people.  I spent most of the night manning the bar, which was fine since there is a 0 Tolerance for drinking and driving here. Since Nathaniel couldn’t be with us, I had to stay sober.  Since I was manning the bar I sent Rosie to get me some dinner:

Thanks kid.

Highlights of the day were receiving a pussy hat from Melissa:

And Isaac trying to pronounce a Japanese name at the raffle:



Tomorrow we have a brunch to attend with other Toyota families from around the world.  I’m looking forward to that.  It’s at Shooters which is the “American” bar.  Other than that I don’t know what’s on tap.

Enjoy your weekend too!!!

Yarn Over

Today I learned(ish) to crochet.  My new friend Malinee graciously met me at school and shoed me some basics.  Of course on the way there Google Maps thought it would be fun to take me through all of the teeniest, tiniest, single-lane-yet-two-way streets. I kept yelling at her “ARE YOU TRYING TO GET US KILLED?!”

Luckily I had stopped at Circle K for a yogurt drink. Japan really has the market cornered on the drinkable yogurts if that’s your bag (and I get that it isn’t for everyone). YUM!!!!

Here, if you aren’t into humans drinking milk, this is funny:

They also have the corner on road signs:

Anywho, Crocheting is hard. But it is something I would really like to learn to do, so I’m going to keep at it.  Be warned, you’re all likely to get pot holders for Xmas, provided I can make them and ship them.  All of that remains to be seen.

We also went to an amazing Indian Restaurant for lunch. Again, with the lunch sets. YUM!

(This cost about $8USD)

But in the afternoon, I started to come down with a cold. A really horrible, ferocious cold. I’m hoping it’s just a cold and not the flu that is going around here, but I’m hopeful.

Christina told me what medicine to go get, and sent to a B&D which is like a Walgreens, minus prescriptions but it’s super huge and super cool.

For instance, you can buy Placenta (No idea what this really is)

And this stuff for your tummy.

And this must be how you feel after it makes you poop.

There are animal snacks.

OH wait, those are for babies.

And giraffes with bowties. I’m not sure what it is, but I bought one, because. . .DUH! Giraffe with BOWTIE!

But the best part of today was this:

So now Nathaniel and the kids are out to dinner. He made Netflix work (But now not Hulu. WHAT THE FUCK INTERWEBZ) before he left and they will hopefully bring me back more tasty yogurt drinks.  The medicine I got is supposed to knock me out, which I’m really looking forward to.

If I feel up to it I have a lunch date tomorrow (see comments re:blowing through cash), but it all hinges on how crappy I feel.

So that’s Wednesday.

Step it Up

Today I went for a 10k step walk before lunch.

I got up at 6 and by 9am I had done the dishes, cleaned the floor, washed the laundry, napped and hung the laundry.  Then I headed to our train station and met some ladies for a beautiful walk.  There were a million STEPS. LIKE. OMG my butt hurts now, so many steps.

After the walk (which despite the steps was beautiful) we had an amazing lunch.  I love the “Lunch Sets” here. You get a huge amount of food for a low price. And it’s usually gorgeous.



Dessert: (The most important part, let’s be real)

After that it was home, more chores.

Here is what 24 hours of not sweeping looks like:

I visited the Post Office today and was successful in sending stuff.  I think.  We’ll know in 10-21 days I guess.

Here is Isaac on TV in Japan! They did a feature on the kids’ school and even though he didn’t say anything, he is still visible.

I visited a new bakery near me today and got little Valentines’ Day Presents for Nathaniel and the kiddos. No pictures, sorry. It was a long long day.

It’s almost 8pm here, and Nathaniel isn’t home yet. We’re supposed to have a nice dessert together, but I’m waning people.

Tonight the Police came to the door. You know, my most favorite thing.  Apparently they are going door to door to get the names and birthdays of people in each house in case of aN National Emergency. Or something.  I think that’s what happened? I’m not 100% clear on what was happening.

Yesterday the gas company came to the door to make sure we didn’t have a gas leak because our bill went up so much last month. Uh, cause no one lived here before that? At least I think that’s what was going on. . .

Tomorrow I’m going to learn to crochet. . .wish me luck!

Cat Street

So the kids were off school today, again.   Because, they NEVER go to school.  Anyway, they were supposed to let me sleep in, but alas, Rosie got me up at 8am for the password for iTunes. . . not sure how she missed that sleeping in does not include waking me up.

My friend Christina suggested we head to cat cafe. We did some research. . . which was all in Japanese and we headed out.  We managed to get on the correct train, at the correct time and met Christina and Iziah at their train station and headed to Sakae.

We found our way to the cat cafe and had a very disappointing conversation where the woman told us in broken English that Zay was not permitted to come in because he might be too noisy.  Christina was an angel and told us to go. . .so we did after some argument.

I am so glad she convinced us. IT WAS AMAZING.


The cats loved our stuff.  They couldn’t get enough of it.

They also assisted in ringing up guests.

There were so many cats.
This one knew where the food was and where the cats were not allowed.

Some of them were really playful.  They would all of a sudden race across the room.

Apparently Isaac needed a bath.

This one had his way with a blanket.   He’s a munchkin kitty.

More cats.

This one had the kids cracking up

Because of this:

So many cats, all really sweet and fun.  You pay 700 yen for the first 30 minutes and then 500 yen for every additional 30 minutes.  They provide drinks for you and you can chose to purchase food for yourself or the cats.  It was different than the cat cafe that we visited in Michigan. This was a tiny room, just a bit bigger than our living room here, and basically all you do is play with cats. And it was perfect.

After that, we headed to meet Christina where she and Zay had headed. Of course by this time, my phone battery was dying, so we winged it. AND WE WON.

Then we found our way back to a restaurant (A MEXICAN RESTAURANT!) that the kids and I had passed.  It turned out to be closed on Mondays, so we headed to a Komeda Coffee that we had also passed. Again, we were winging it and we did ok! After that, without directions we made our way back towards the train, to a Starbucks (where I was complimented on my Japanese!), to a Don Quixote Mega Donkey (Christina had never been) and back to the train. ALL BY OURSELVES YOU GUYS. No directions, no help. WE JUST DID IT.  Christina and I were VERY VERY Proud ourselves.

Of course I was exhausted by the time we got home. We did baths and showers, I made dinner and OH YEAH. I WATCHED HULU! I’m working on catching up on “This is Us” and I’m going to google how to watch Criminal Minds.

Today was a good day, and tomorrow looks promising too.  I can do this. I CAN DO THIS.

Explore Japan Sunday (4)

We did it! Another successful Explore Japan Sunday, and although we ate lunch at an appropriate time, this time we managed to push dinner to about 20 minutes too late for Rosie. Whoops!

Anyway, as promised, Isaac and I hit the Ramen Festival one more time.

There were probably 10 to 20 times as many people today as there were yesterday.  Yesterday was cold and snowy, and today was beautiful and sunny.  Although the Ramen today was equally as tasty as yesterday, I felt the experience yesterday of standing in pouring snowy-rain, eating steaming, hot ramen out of a bowl with hundreds of other people doing the same was pretty amazing. Today’s experience was awesome because it was just me and Isaac hanging out. We had a great time together!

On the correct train. 

Just a few people. Enjoying ramen.  

It was too busy to divide and concur so we got the same kind. 

This was some weird fruit or vegetable thing that was sweet almost like a pineapple. 

Two lefties eating ramen!!!

While we were Ramen-ing (and getting on the wrong train. . .whoops again!), Nathaniel and Rosie headed to the newest Aeon Mall to check it out. Reportedly they ate pizza, bought some more of those card things and saw puppies at the pet store.  It was hard to get a full story because in the middle of spelling “invincible” for Isaac, Nathaniel fell asleep on the couch.

Then it was off for our actual “EXPLORE JAPAN SUNDAY” Adventure which took us to Nabana no Sato to see an illumination festival. Now some of you may recall a similar festival that we attended at the speedway in Charlotte, but this was AH. MAZE. ING. AMAZING. Rosie kept saying “I feel like crying it’s so beautiful”
It took place in a garden that was completely lit up. Some of the lights moved (there was an amazing “Waterfall” display), some were just gorgeously still and some changed color as we went.


We went up on this thing for an overview.   It went up 45 meters.  Which is.  Something in feet.

This was a photo op taken by a staff member.  You had to make the peace sign.  No idea why.  It was not optional.

The “highlight” of the show was an animation show done completely in lights. It was breathtaking.  Like, for real, BREATHTAKING .



We ended the evening, 20 minutes too late, with dinner. Nathaniel and Rosie each had cold Soba (Which Rosie has discovered she LOVES!), Isaac had  hot Soba and I had a rice bowl with shrimp.

All in all, I would say a very satisfying day. I am COMPLETELY exhausted, but word on the street is that our Hulu and Netflix are up and running. Unfortunately the kids are off tomorrow. . . .so I can’t just lay on the couch all day.
Tuesday and Wednesday I have fun things planned so Thursday is my next lazy day!!!  So far away!!!

Isaac’s Best Saturday 

I was told I have to title today’s post that by my ramen loving boy.

Today was cold and snowy which isn’t great in Japan.  No one here likes it.  Including me. 😉

Anyway. We needed some very important computer crap to make the tv happen, so instead of driving somewhere, we took the subway (which is next to Starbucks) into downtown Nagoya and went to Bic Camera which is like a giant Best Buy but with good customer service.

A lot of the larger stores and malls here have these arcade areas with games and Gachas (little vending  machines with capsules filled with toys) where you can leave your children and your husband.

So you can look at all this.

After that we visited Tokyu Hands so I could look for a can opener after last weeks can opener debacle.  Of course I decided it wasn’t worth $23. So no can opener for me.

Then, Isaac and I went to a. . . RAMEN FESTIVAL.


We paid 850yen each for a choice of 1 of 11 bowls of ramen.  Isaac and I chose different bowls and O.  M.  G.

Mine had the best pork I have ever tasted in my entire life.  Seriously.  It melted in my mouth.  I have literally never tasted anything so good in my entire life. I let Isaac have a bite of mine, but I didn’t get a bite of his.  Guess he liked it too.

After that it was off to some camera store for more camera equipment.  Woo.

I was glad I found this backpack at Treasure Bomb for about $13.  It was much better for my back than my purse.

Then we took the train home and I was tucked into a hot bath by 4:00pm.
I made Instamt Pot  salsa chicken and we had a chicken taco night. It was lovely.
I had this wine

It was also lovely.  And on my second glass, everything is lovely.
Nathaniel is working on the computer crap. I’m watching The Returned and I plan on returning to my bed shortly.

And Nathaniel taught me how to make the Bluetooth speaker play my music so I can do more singing!
Tomorrow we have some evening plans for Explore Japan Sunday but Isaac and I are probably going back to the ramen festival before that to sample 2 more.   I’m serious.  It was that good.
It was a reallly good day.    I’m loving the time all of us can be together.

Feelings Friday (5)

First of all, I cannot believe we’ve been here just over a month.   In some ways it still feels brand new, and in other ways it feels like it’s been forever.

I have a lot of the same feelings I had last week. If you can’t remember, or missed it, just imagine me, bright red face and all the cuss words you can imagine, and some you’ve probably never thought of.

I found out today that another Michigan Family got their sea shipment today, and my heart just sank. I’m happy for them, but most people shipped their stuff out WAY later than we did and are already receiving their stuff.   I feel a lot like we’re living in limbo right now.  I can’t “sort the house” until I have our stuff. We’re starting to run into a problem that they might not be able to pick up our (Shitty ass) rental furniture at the right time, so I might end up with all of our stuff here AND all the rental stuff. I’m not feeling good about that, it’s giving me anxiety.  I feel so unsettled still. It’s no longer a vacation, but it’s still not our home.  Today is day 67 without our stuff.  That’s a lot.  And we’re looking at 3 more weeks like this.

Otherwise I’m hanging in there. I really really miss having a pet. I miss the companionship.  I’m home a lot by myself and even when I do go out, the people around me often don’t speak the same language as me.  It’s a lot of thought to complete simple tasks. It would be nice to chat *at* someone during the day.  It’s weird, but my friend Christina and I were talking about how as we meet more people, we almost feel MORE lonely. For instance, I love hanging out Christina, but being with her makes me miss my friends and family in Michigan.  When I’m alone, I just feel lonely. But being with someone new makes me lonely and sad.  Does that make sense?

Again, the children are happy.  They’re happy at school and thrilled they don’t have school Monday. Glad someone is 😉

Nathaniel is busy at work but seems to enjoy it.  His hours are long but he seems happy.

We LOVE Japan.  All the growing pains are move related, not related to the country. The country is beautiful and the people are nice. I no longer fear driving which is nice. I can hop in the car and go places when I want to.  I also am learning my way around and can find my way based on landmarks sometimes which feels really good.  I’m good at the grocery store and the 100yen store (maybe too good. . .how does one spend so much in 100yen increments?!!)  I’ve mastered the ATM, getting gas, renting movies (like the 90s) backing into parking spaces without a back up cam or sensors.  I’m starting to recognize neighbors and they clearly recognize me. We nod at each other and say hello in various languages and hand signals which is really nice.

I do wonder how much of Japan the kids are getting. They’re at an English taught school, so even though they are in Japanese lessons a couple days a week, they aren’t immersed in the language.  Isaac clearly doesn’t understand how BIG of a deal it is to be in a country where the language is different. He often wants us to “just ask” something, but we don’t know the words. He also talks to EVERYONE, but in English and can’t figure out that they mostly have no idea what he is saying.  We found some camps that we might send the kids to this Summer to increase their language.  I’m still waiting to get my lessons started too.  Now I know more what I need to know, so I think learning will be faster. Plus the opportunities to practice are endless 😉

So that’s how I feel, in case you were wondering.

Today I finally did the whole week’s worth of ironing. I had to iron American Sized Clothing on a Japanese Sized Ironing Board.

It looks like this:

but with something HOT in my hand.

I went to our Natural Food Store to get more soaps.

I love that they offer refills here with less packaging. Each of these holds twice as much as the original bottle for about 1/2 the price. It’s good for the environment and the wallet!

I also found some funny items at the 100Yen store.

And I made myself lunch.

And read the mail.

It looks like they knew I was coming. . .

I also did all of the following:


cleaned the floors

put out the plastics

cleaned the tub and bathing room

cleaned the toilets

washed the laundry

hung the laundry

folded the laundry

took down the laundry poles

So that’s today. Nathaniel had me get money out of the ATM for Explore Japan Sunday, so that’s exciting. . . . but I don’t know what we’re doing.

Tonight I’m heating up pizza and we’re having a movie night. What are you all doing?