Feelings Friday (15)

Where did that week go??? This was a crazy busy week, full of good times and friends!   Meeting new people always gives me the opportunity to see how other people handle this life. There is such a wide range of expats here, from the states and otherwise, and it’s really neat to see how people feel.


For some, like us, it’s a once in a lifetime chance. Others are here as a stop on their journey .  That makes a huge impact on how life is here for you.  While our family is so lucky and happy to be here and cultivating new friendships, we are also tending to relationships in the states.  That’s kind of a weird thing to think about, when you actually stop to think about it.  The good news is, we’re lucky to have such great relationships so it’s not hard for us. Other families aren’t so lucky and have strained relationships they have to work with.  I can’t imagine that stress on top of everything else here.

For me, the biggest stressor is still being “on” all the time. It’s a huge shift for our family.  For other families, that’s a totally normal way of life.  So if you’re reading this and thinking about how your family would fare on this wild ride, keep all that mind.  It’s so different for everyone.


One thing I discussed with a number of people this week was the beauty in Japan, and the reaction to it.  There is literally a word here for “party to look at Sakura Blossoms”, Hanami.   They have viewing parties for Sakura, Wisteria, Tulips, Peonies, Wasabi, Lavender, etc. which when you think about it is AMAZING. I mean, I *LOVE* tulips. Sometimes in Michigan, I might stop and look at them on the way to school. But in Japan they have a PARTY to just STARE at them. They see the beauty that is all around them, every day.  How awesome is that?  I hope I can remember this when I’m backe at “home” and can take the time to enjoy more of what is around me.


Not to end on a bummer note, but all of us except Isaac have colds and feel ickish.  We are leaving for Tokyo on Sunday, so I’m hoping we can recuperate tomorrow and feel well enough to really enjoy our time there.


We sent Baxter  to Bunny camp for the week, and he was happy when I left him. However, having left Sushi so recently, and feeling under the weather, Rosie got upset when we settled down for movie night, which made me upset.  So tonight has been tough.  Tomorrow is supposed to rainy, and we have to pack so it’ll be a low key day while we convalesce.  To keep it interesting I’ll tell you about the Student Led Conferences the kids had today, so look forward to that tomorrow 😉

Thirsty Thursday 

It’s all good when I end the day wearing a shirt that says “I can’t adult today” with Baxter on my chest and a glass of wine.  

Today was a make up day.  I’ve been busy every day this week and the kids don’t have school tomorrow so I needed to run some car errands and clean the house.  

I went to 3 different 100 yen stores to look for particular items. I still didn’t get quite what I wanted but I did Baxter proof the baby gate so we can leave the door open for air flow. 

Also in case you have a desire to turn your fan into a work of art I found these.  

I made the kids eat leftovers.  And once they were out of the room, I ate a million of these.  

And I hit up a recycle shop to look around and found these gems:

TLS family those are for you!

Anyway, Baxter has let me know it’s time to put away the iPad.  

Kimekomi Wednesday!!!

Today was my kimekomi lesson with my amazing friend Allyn, who sadly is moving back to the states in a month.  

You guys.  I might have found my niche.  For real.  It’s hard to do, but satisfying and fun!!!!
For reference, here are the latest 2 projects of Allyn’s. She has done a whole bunch and is very good at it, as well as being a good teacher. 

It was super fun to work on.  I had a few ladies over, some of us crafting, others playing video games and hanging out with Mr. Baxter Bisucits.  
Here is the work in progress.  

And this is where I ended the day.  

My fingers are sore but I’m really enjoying it.  They have other animals, balls and of course, more traditional kimekomi at the store.  I’m looking forward to making more. 

Baxter was pooped.  He barely moved all afternoon after hanging with the ladies,

I made grilled cheese and my homemade tomato soup for dinner.  Ok, slightly burned cheeses and soup from the freezer.  But I was worn out from today!  I did see this on my way to the store in the rain. 


And Nathaniel texted me after my bath looking for a ride home.  So picked him up like this.  

Tomorrow I don’t think I can adult.  I adulted so hard all week, I need a good rest and bunny snuggle day.  Especially because next week is Tokyo!!!!!!!

Weeping Wisteria

Today I was invited to a Toyota Wives outing to see the Weeping Wisteria!  Even though it wasn’t fully bloomed yet, it was still a fun experience!



It was the first time for all of us heading to a far away park/festival, but we navigated some trains that had limited English. We were pretty proud of ourselves.


And BOOM! There it is!




The cool thing (to me) about the Wisteria (called Fuji here) is that it’s 1 giant tree and it’s just “trained” over trellises (trelli?) so it covers a huge area.  The trunks are also pretty amazing if you can see them!





It also smelled amazing!!  Like, I cannot describe to you how good flowers in Japan smell. They’re SO fragrant. I’ve never smelled anything like it!





There was also food on a stick, my favorite food group! Although no pictures, sorry!





That was pretty much the whole day. It was fun to be with other wives who have been here longer than me (or shorter too!) and discuss our lives here and in the States, or Australia!



I came home and had lots of bunny snuggles. He clearly missed me today.



Tomorrow I’m starting on my Snail! So I got snacky food in preparation of that, and Rosie wants everyone to know how she helped me clean the room 😉


Special thanks to Nathaniel for showing me how to use (ish) the fancy camera and letting me take it with me even though “it’s really expensive, so be careful”

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Nothing tragic people, just coming up with a title!


Although it appears that Sunday/Monday was not kind to a lot of people.  I have heard so far of a car accident, a bike accident and a dog bite. Plus someone who nearly ninja-ed her rice maker, and I damn near killed myself with flip flops and a green pepper on the floor for Baxter Biscuits (two separate incidents none the less!) Plus! In preparation for Saturday’s outing, I took a shower and dropped a brand new bottle of shampoo on my foot and have a giant bruise.  It’s a wonder I make it through most days!!



Anyway, today was lovely!!!!  I managed 2.5 loads of laundry (.5 was Baxter’s laundry which I was separately but doesn’t contain a whole lot) and spent the day with a new friend. (If you are a Criminal Minds fan, I’m pretty sure her husband works for the BAU. They have two passports, it’s classified and they’re not allowed in North Korea!)  She and her amazingly well behaved preschool son came over. Seriously. I’ve spent a lot of time with preschoolers and this kid is the BOMB.


As you can see, we had some grown up treats too 😉


It was sunny, and beautiful.  My house got cleaned. My kids were less hot-messy than yesterday.  We even had a vegan dinner:



Which my kids were excited about because Ms. Caitlin can eat it when she comes to visit!  They love to know what is Vegan, or Gluten Free, or Nut Free so they can tell me which of their friends can eat it. They’re super sweet. Especially today. Especially after a glass of wine.  Or two.



I finished my first ever Cross-Stich today!!!!!!   I did a Kit (without instructions!) from the Daiso (100 Yen store!) and I *LOVED* it.  I cannot wait to go get more and do more of them!





I’m going to put my water bottle next to my bed on it.  It has big plans.



Tomorrow I’m going to see the Wisteria which I’m super excited for! So that’s what is happening over here.  I had a great day. Mondays have been pretty hard for me here in Japan, but Ashley (Mrs. BAU) really made the day AMAZING for me. Just to have a person to talk while I picked up Baxter’s poopsies really helped!

Sing it Saturday and Explore Japan Sunday (13)

Ok!  I missed last night’s update because I didn’t get home until 12:30am which is like 4 hours past my bedtime.  Also I may have had some adult beverages. Just maybe.
Nathaniel was gone during the day yesterday to play Magic with some Japanese people.  Well. Let’s be real, probably Japanese men.  Or boys really.

The kids and I had a little bit of a lazy day.   After flopping about for the morning we decided to go get lunch.  Isaac swore up and down that he knew how to go a ramen palace he’d been to with his friend before, so we loaded up and headed out.  New rule: don’t take directions from Isaac.  After 20 minutes, we gave up and I googled one. We ended up at a tiny hole in the all place with amazing ramen and gyoza.   There was no English in the whole place, but we handled it. 

Rosie even paid the bill!!

Then we had Starbucks to reward ourselves.
We spent the afternoon playing outside in our “yard”

Saturday evening I met some friends and we went to dinner at Yamachan, the place of amazing wings.   And drinks.  We laughed a lot, and we’re throughly inappropriate.  So it was a good time!!!

After a bar, we hit up karaoke!!!!

The way it works here is you rent a room by the hour (hahaha!) and it comes with unlimited beverages!!’

So, we sang, we danced, we drank, we made weird FaceTime calls. It was a blast.

We hit the last train home, but not before a very inibriated man confessed his undying love for one of us (not me!) in Japanese.   What can I say?  I have beautiful friends!

Today we had a FaceTime with Nathaniel’s mom which was lovely.  And then we headed to a garden to take in the peony season. It was absolutely beautiful there.  
And it smelled amazing!!!

The rest of the garden was gorgeous too.

The highlight for the kids and me was feeding the koi.  Like, seriously. Who needs meditation when you can feed koi?

I think the highlight for Nathaniel and his photo assistant Rosie was using some new thing to make these photos happen.

It was definitely lovely and I look forward to visiting the fish again.

After dinner Nathaniel had to run an errand. Rosie promptly fell off the couch (what!?!) and slammed her calf into the coffee table. (How!?!?!?).  I still had to put away dinner etc so I set her up with some ice and Isaac offered to read to her.

I die.
I’m not going to lie that some people in our family had a behavior problem this weekend and it made other people crabby.  I managed to have a heart to heart with those people this evening (preinjury) and I hope we’ve turned a corner.   Tomorrow is a lazy day for me.  I have some crafting to finish (not my snail yet!) and the house always needs some loving after the weekend.  So I’ll see ya then!

Feelings Friday (14)

Ok. Whew.


How do I feel?  You know? I’m not even really sure right now.  I mean, you don’t go through life analyzing your feelings all the time. Maybe we should?  I do always feel really good when I sit down and write this stuff out for you (and me).  So here it goes.


I talked last week about how there is a “slump” between month 4-8 for a lot of expats, and specifically “Trailing Spouses” which is an icky term. IDONT’TLIKEIT.  Anyway, I feel a lot of that and I’ve been talking to my other expat friends about it some this week.  Feelings shouldn’t have a negative stigma, they should be talked about. (Sorry Molly)


As one friend put it “What you’re going through is normal. If someone says they didn’t feel that way, they’re lying” So that makes me feel SO MUCH better and more normal.


Right now, it’s no longer a vacation. The “high” we felt we arrived here is gone. People have moved on to their daily lives and it’s just. . .living. But it’s also still a heck of a lot of work.  I mean, this week I bought something at the grocery store and I *STILL* Have no idea what it is, and WE ATE IT.  Because by that point in my day, after trying a million different ways to figure out what the fuck it was, I was D.O.N.E. so I just bought it and cooked with it. BOOM. PROBLEM SOLVED.  Every day isn’t as much of an adventure now, and there is some let down from that.


However, we have lots to look forward to, and that is certainly helping.   In a couple of weeks we are heading to Tokyo for Golden Week to see some Michigan friends (Who will come bearing (baring?) gifts of sunscreen that is safe and deodorant which makes me not stink.)   And then at the End of May I’m taking a GIRLS’ TRIP to Hong Kong without my family to meet another friend for a weekend of relaxation which I need. I will put my ass in the sand and may not move all weekend.


THEN! People will start arriving to see us. And this I cannot wait for.  I want my family friends to see what it’s like here!  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our family and I want to share that with the people I love.  Also I wouldn’t mind some help with the chores. 😉


SO yeah. That’s how I feel. Things are good, things aren’t good, but then they’re good again.  And that’s life people.



Nathaniel had to work until like 9 last night so he got home after 10 while I asleep.  Which sucked. But it did mean that he got home at 6:30 tonight!  So we had dinner together for the first time in a long time at our table.  The conversation was hilarious.


Isaac, on the topic of the girl Rosie reports he has a crush on (he adamantly denies): *name redacted* is the WORST.


Nathaniel and I : (dying, because clearly she is *NOT* the worst and he LUUUUURVES her)


Rosie, on the topic of a Japanese instructor: I’m almost as big as her!


Rosie, on the topic of the Korean BBQ we ate in Hiroshima: Can we have that chicken again?

Me: Honey that was beef and pork.

Rosie: That’s my favorite kind of chicken. (Said with an eyeroll)


Nathaniel regaled us with tales of the “Mexican-ish” food the cafeteria sometimes offers.


I shared my excitement about chicken being on sale. No one was thrilled but me.



It was nice to have a dinner conversation that had another adult in it.


So that’s it people.  That’s what I feel. Tomorrow I plan on feeling some alcohol and tunes when I attend my first Karaoke night here! So there might not be a post tomorrow. . . . See y’all later!

Looking for my Niche



Today my friend Allyn took me to a Kimekomi store.  Kimekomi is a wood and fabric craft, from Japan, that creates beautiful art work!  I’m still looking for my crafting niche, but hopefully this is it.

You can read about Kimekomi here:


And I promise to keep you apprised of my progress.

First though, I had breakfast:




And after I had lunch:



DON’T JUDGE ME. Sometimes I eat my feelings.



Anyway, here is what I’ll be making, in different colors:





They ladies who run the store were so gracious as to poke the holes for eyes for me, because the wood is made from pressed sawdust and is very fragile.






After our outing, I had to give Baxter some snuggles. He’s getting bigger, and  the past couple of days he’s been really snuggly. He’s figured out how to tell me (By trying to dig on me, which HURTS!) that he wants me to snuggle him.  And he’s doing REALLY well on not peeing on my stuff. So these are all good things.





I’m still in a cooking funk, so I *made* Sushi for dinner:





These are like $5 here.  AMAZING.




And then I took a hot hot bath, which is the best.



Nathaniel had a meeting with the States today, so he had to work super late. Maybe I’ll see him this weekend.



(PS. I am *FINALLY* going to get to go Karaokeing this weekend!!!!!)

Shake yo’ Groove Thang

Today went well.  I woke up, and made it happen. GO ME.


I spent a lot of the day catching up on chores I had let fall behind.  I wish I would have taken some before and after shots, but I used my Young Living (Hippy oils) Thieves Cleaner to clean the burners on our stove top.  Clearly, I should have done this sooner because they are literally a different color now. Ew.  I also caught up on folding and ironing. Because here, in Japan, this is my life people.  Living in a small space means you don’t have room for mess.  Which is good. It’s definitely changing our habits, but it still stinks to have to do it sometimes.



I made myself a PB&J (side note, no one here has peanut allergies so we eat WAY more peanut butter here!) and indulged in one of my favorite Japanese snack foods.  I have no idea what it’s called but it’s like a giant Cheeto:



They come in a million flavors.  They’re 8 Yen each at our grocery store, but I bought a bag of this flavor (BBQ?) that had 30 for 285 Yen!   It’s crunchy and Salty and all things good.



Rosie and Isaac had a friend come home with them from School and we met her Mom and Little Bro at Starbucks where Isaac finally got to try the Limited Edition American Cherry Pie Frappacino.


It literally has a piece of pie crust in it! He loved it! It was right up his ally!


Then we hit up a park. I didn’t get many pictures because I was enjoying myself, but there was this.





Of course then it was late and I hadn’t planned dinner. I was lamenting the lack of prepared foods that are Nathaniel safe when I stumbled upon this:



It’s like, Stir-Fry to go. All I had to do was make rice, and then cook this with some chicken! BOOM DINNER. So nice to not have to prep all those veggies!



Then I had a MOM-WIN: I Read to the kids on my Kindle *WHILE* doing the dishes.

And there was this amazing google translation.

And now I’m pooped.



Look forward to some Japanese Craftiness coming in the next few days!

Come on Cumin!

You guys. Ah. Mazing.


First of all, I have been up since 5am because I couldn’t fricken sleep. So annoying. I seriously need to get this figured out.  The bonus to being up at the ass crack of dawn is that my house was cleaned for the day before I left at 9:15!


My friend Jenny had invited me to a Pakistani Cooking Class in Toyota-shi for today.  We headed out and didn’t even get lost you guys. We’re pretty awesome.  There were 11 of us women (including the teacher and her mother-in-law from Pakistan) plus 2 toddlers and a squishy baby.  We met in what looked like a Home Economics Room in a community center. The room was *REALLY* nice. I cannot think of a place in the States I’ve seen like this. It was older, but well kept and well stocked. The consensus among those of us from the US was that in America, people don’t treat public property nicely enough for things like this.

My favorite part of the room:


Those are our ovens 😉



Together we made:

Chicken Curry

Garlic Rice

Chicken Kebab

Cucumber Raita

Potato Flatbread (Paratha)


Carrot/Rice Pudding


It was all amazing and delicious.  And the community aspect of the class was the best. There were women from Pakistan, South Korea (we giggled when she stressed the worth *SOUTH* and told her we were Canadian!), the US and Japan.  Hearing the different accents and stories of cooking as families was really neat.

And then we ate:



And we were so full. SO SO FULL.

But we came home with some leftovers and the recipes. For the most part, these were recipes I can actually make on my own!!  AND they were all Nathaniel Friendly!



After we got home, I was pooped. SO FULL and so tired. So I got some bunny snuggles in and he was feeling VERY snuggly today which was nice.



So that’s kinda it for today.  I made some tasty garlic/lemon chicken/pasta for dinner which no one but me ate because apparently the kids had snacked too much and Nathaniel isn’t home yet. But you know, it was good.


Tomorrow will be another lazy day I think given how wiped I am from today’s activity.  Is there anything you want to know more about?