Showing posts from August, 2011


So, in order to de-clutter and organise my blogging life (or detox my life as my sis likes to call it), I have decided to set up another blog.
This blog - Fran-japani - will remain as my personal blog and have pics and stories about my life here in Osaka with hub and bub.
The new blog - Takoyaki Babies - is a blog dedicated to giving advice to mums living in or visiting Osaka.
There may be some overlap in content of course, but I thought that my family and friends back home don`t really want to keep reading about places to breastfeed their kids in Osaka... hehe
Feel free to check out the new blog, follow it, and even `like it` on Facebook (wow, the wonders of modern technology!!)

Where can I breastfeed in Osaka?

So I thought I would write a post for any BF-ing mothers who are out and about in Osaka and looking for places to feed baby.
I guess if you have a nursing cover or scarf or something, you could theoretically feed your baby anywhere, but if you are a bit shy and uncoordinated (like me), you might prefer somewhere a bit more private.
Let`s start in Umeda (north part of Osaka) and travel down the Midosuji line to Namba (south part of Osaka) because that`s where I do most of my shopping and am always looking for places to sit down and rest with Aiden.
UMEDA Hankyu Department Store (10F)
Hankyu Ings (B2F = basement 2F)
Isetan Department Store (7F)
Daimaru Department Store (10F)
Comme Ca (5F)
Hep 5 (4F)
HONMACHI Akachan Hompo (4F)
SHINSAIBASHI Daimaru (new building 9F/old building 7F)
NAMBA Marui = OIOI (4F)
Namba Parks (5F)
In fact most big stores that sell baby clothes also have a feeding area. Most of them have private partitions (usually separated by curtains), sinks to wash your hands, some of…

Some days...

Hi again on this hot and sticky Tuesday! Linking up with Lulu as usual.
Some days I have lots of ideas and creative things that I want to write about... Most days I am stuck with the monotony of the every-day (no one wants to read about that right?)
Some days I play with Aiden on the floor and encourage him to roll around, practice sitting up and improve his hand-eye coordination with toys... Most days I also love watching him play on his own (staring intently at plastic drink bottles, listening to the crinkling sound of the baby wipes pack and hitting his hands on the table).

Some days I still take 20 pictures of Aiden as I think he grows cuter and cuter by the minute... Most days I forget about the camera until he is asleep (so my memory card is full of cute but sleeping baby pictures).

Some days I get messages and emails from friends in Japan... Most days I read about their latest single girl and boy adventures on Facebook and wonder `what if...?`
Some days I go at the cleaning like a c…

Maternity clothes in Osaka, Japan


No, don`t worry, I am not pregnant again...
I have recently been asked about places to buy maternity clothing here in Osaka (clothes that are not overly priced, and not teeny tiny Japanese sizes). Although I was pregnant here in Japan, it was winter, and I was quite happy to layer lots of clothes I already had in my closet, so I do not consider myself an expert in summer maternity wear (sorry!). Anyway, here are some of the places I shopped at / know about in central Osaka (and some in suburbia too). Some of the websites are in Japanese only, so it might help to have a dictionary/friend close by! If you need help navigating to the maternity (マタニティ)wear page of a website, ask me any time. CHEAP (good for basics) * Muji - online store and also located in several locations around Osaka - check store finder page here. * Akachan Hompo - online store and real store located in Honmachi * Nishimatsuya - stores located in suburban areas around Osaka, and an online …

4 month sleep regression

So in Aiden`s mind, while he might be the coolest baby on the block, sleep is not something that `cool` babies are doing this month!
I have been struggling a lot this month as Aiden suddenly went from sleeping from 11:00pm till 4:00am when he woke up for a feed and back to sleep until 7:00 or 8:00am to taking 3 or 4 tries to fall asleep and then finally falling asleep at midnight, and then waking up every 1 or 2 hours for a feed until morning.
An extremely over-tired mummy is no fun I promise.
Check out this hilarious excerpt from the blog Knocked Up
"Go to sleep now," I've said, playing the mommy dictator of the land of slumber. "You have to sleep. Not sleeping is not an option. You better sleep or you'll regret it tomorrow." Axel knows these are empty threats. I'm the one who's going to regret it the next day if he doesn't sleep. And what am I going to do if he doesn't? Punish him by making him stay awake longer? You can't punish …

Yum yum

I love Haagen-Dazs icecream...
I recently tried (and loved these flavors)...
Green Tea Cookies and Cream (抹茶のクッキー&クリーム)
Mango (マンゴ)
Crispy Sandwich Vanilla and Beans (クリスピーサンドバニラ&ビーンス)

...and am looking forward to these too!
Melty Caramel (メルチーキャラメル) - this one will be released this month!
Vanilla Pudding (バニラプヂング)
I guess some of these flavors are only sold in Japan. Do you have any unique ice-creams where you live?

Baby steps

So after cleaning up the 5th puddle of cat pee from a random part of the floor on Wednesday night, then waiting for Yoshi`s sister-in-law to come and watch Aiden so I could get started cleaning the outside cat cage, it was 9:30pm, I had barely thought about dinner, let alone started cooking, and in walked Yoshi (at least an hour earlier than he usually arrives home) from work!
I was a hot sweaty stinky mess and am sure I looked worse than I felt (if that`s possible). I burst into tears and tried to explain that although he had been working hard all day, the best I had to offer for dinner was green curry and rice (and a niku-man that his brother had dropped off earlier). I apologised for being a terrible wife and begged him to make an appointment for us at the house place on Thursday. At that moment I couldn`t imagine living in this house for even a moment longer.
So yesterday (Thursday) we met with the designers and went through our plans (fixing up little things that we both wanted to …

Some days...

Tuesday again! Linking up with Lulu.
Most days I miss my family a lot, but some days, like today - I can see my sister and some days I skype with my parents too.
Most days I crave my independence and can`t wait to move out of MIL`s house so that I can really start to be a wife. Some days (like this week while MIL is in Hawaii) I get to `play house` and make dinners and clean the whole house just the way I like it.
Most nights I get a total of 6 or 7 hours sleep, but it is soooo broken. I don`t think I have slept more than 4-5 hours in a row since Aiden was born! Some days, (especially since Aiden turned 4 months old), I only get 2 hours of sleep in a row... those days are no fun for anyone!
Most days Aiden is super genki, full of life and very independent. Some days (like 2 days last week when he had his first fever), he is calmer and wants lots of cuddles.
Some days I don`t worry too much about Aiden`s daytime schedule, and let him sleep in the stroller or sling when we take a walk. Most …

Monday again

PART 1 As of Friday, Aiden is 19 weeks old! This has been one of the hardest weeks so far, as he had his first fever, AND for some reason he has stopped sleeping those lovely 5hr stretches that he was before. How annoying. Instead he is back to waking up every 2-3hours...
Last Wednesday when Aiden woke up at around 4am for a feed I noticed he was a bit hot, and then we he didn`t go straight back to sleep when he was full (like he usually does), I took his temperature. It was 38.2 degrees, so I woke Yoshi up and he called the doctor (or some medical helpline). Aiden had no rash or other symptoms, so the doctor said to wait until the local hospital opened at 9am, and if things were still bad, to take him in for a checkup. At 9.30am we arrived at the hospital and the doctor checked Aiden`s temperature and gave him an enema so that he could inspect Aiden`s poo. Aiden didn`t really look all that sick until the enema took effect, and then his face turned green... poor baby! The doctor concluded…

Clever boy!

Ok, sorry everyone, but it`s bragging time again... my little 19 week old wonder boy sat up (supported by his hands of course) for 1-2 whole minutes yesterday!

Porsches and Prams?

Designed by the incredible David Dawod, check out the new `stroller for men`...

Apparently answering a call from Porsche to design a stylish and functional stroller that also had the option of folding up and putting in the back of the 911 (and other models of course), Dawod designed something pretty amazing.
Do you think more men would get out and about with their babies if all strollers looked like this? I`m not entirely convinced... and where`s the cup holder?

`Baby of the Day` August 20, 2011

So when I was back in NZ in May, I entered Aiden in a `Baby of the Day` contest on this website as a bit of a laugh. Apparently there are so many babies entered in the contest that it has taken 3 months for his `day` to come around. If he gets enough votes, we can win a Merino sleeping bag!
This is his entry photo (taken on the day of his first bath!)

If you have time and don`t mind helping us out, please click on this link, and vote for Aiden.
Thanks so much!! Big hugs from Aiden xoxo

Maru Maru...?

I love Japan. Don`t get me wrong. As I mentioned in my last post however, I am slightly worried about a country that votes this song (entitled `Maru maru mori mori`) as the most popular (or one of the most popular) on Japan`s music charts...
7 year old actors (Ashida Mana and Suzuki Fuku) released this song on May 25th 2011, and it has broken all kinds of records for album sales and airtime.
It is a cute and catchy song. For kids. That`s all I have to say.

Obon 2011

Obon (お盆) is the short summer holiday that almost every person in Japan (except those who work in retail and hospitality I suppose) takes in the middle of August. Roads are jam-packed with cars, shopping malls are full of screaming kids, and the price of accommodation and travel skyrockets.
Yoshi and I were so busy with our new bubba that we forgot all about the holiday and didn`t make any plans (most people here plan months, if not a year, in advance) and were out of luck when it came to finding a hotel in either of the places we (well `I` actually) wanted to go.
Anyway, Yoshi had 5 days off work, so we tried to make the most of our time together as a new little family.
Here are the highlights of our Obon 2011.
Ikea Although we have been lots of times, it was the first time we took Aiden to Ikea and actively looked for things to brighten up his corner of the room (Aiden doesn`t have his own room and sleeps in his crib next to my side of the bed). We found a giant green leaf that stands up …

Japan : the 4 month check-up

A few weeks ago we received a letter in the mail addressed to Aiden. It was from Higashi Osaka City, requesting Aiden`s presence at the 4 month health check. Enclosed we also found several sheets of paper with questions to answer, boxes to tick and some information about the BCG vaccination.
So, today Aiden went to the city office (with all the other 4 month old babies who live nearby) for his 4 month check up. This is the first time that Aiden has seen a doctor or nurse since his 1 month check up (at which time he didn`t receive any vaccinations, just had his measurements taken and a quick hearing / sight check).
We (me, Aiden and Yoshi`s sister-in-law) arrived at about 1:30pm and were told to take Aiden`s temperature using a thermometer provided. After 3 failed attempts (error messages on each of the first 3 we tried), we finally got a reading of 37.3 degrees which was acceptable.
We (and all the other mums and babies) then had to listen to a quick lecture about when to start feeding o…

Some days...

Hi again, I`m joining Lulu and Sakura Haruka with my `Some days...` post;
Some days, (very few days), Aiden sleeps from 11pm - 8am (with lots of feeds in between). Most days Aiden wakes up early, plays a bit, and then crashes out for a morning nap an hour later.
Some days, I see photos like this (faces blocked for privacy);

(taken of my highschool friends in NZ and their babies) on Facebook and want to cry. Most days I accept the fact that I have chosen a life in Japan and have to make the most of it. A few of my friends here in Japan will be having babies soon, so I guess I will have the chance to take a photo like this before too long!
Some days I think my Japanese (speaking) ability really sucks and curse myself for not studying more. Most days I seem to get by and even manage a few half decent conversations with people without too much trouble.
Some days I wish I could have an honest and open conversation with someone. Most days I feel the need to filter everything that comes out of my…

4 months old!

Happy 4 month birthday Aiden!
That means you are 1/3 of a year old!! Too FAST!! It seems like just yesterday that I was pregnant, and definitely the last time I had a good night`s sleep was back then too!
In the last month it seems that you have grown up incredibly. You can have little `conversations` with me now; when you `oogwa` and `ooh` and `haiwoh` and I respond with smiles of delight and try to mimic your sounds (and vice versa).

Your new best friends are your hands, which are constantly in your mouth, and covered in dribble (as are your clothes, bibs, and everything else you touch).

You are getting much better at rolling over and are becoming more interested in sitting up, but you sure hate lying down and will always grumble and moan and groan until someone moves you. You love to try to stand. I swear you'll be walking early, the way you love to stand. Most people are amazed at your age and head control and ability to put weight on your legs. I'm not surprised at your adva…

Will snail extract make me pretty?

Snail slime/extract (used in face masks, creams, soaps and more) is one of the current beauty trends sweeping Japan right now. News from Korea (where Japanese women get a lot of their beauty advice) tells us that extract from snails can help to smooth wrinkles and rough skin, as well as healing scars and blotches on your face. The technical term for snail slime (in case you wondered) is Helix Aspersa Müller Glycoconjugates.

Claims are that snail extract will help to regenerate skin in the same way that a snail`s shell is regenerated.
Have you tried it?
The idea of putting snail extract/slime on my face didn`t scare me at all... it isn`t like a real snail is crawling over my face! So tonight I tried a snail extract face mask that I bought from LOFT here in Osaka last week.
The pack looked like this and it cost 251 yen (it is cheaper - by 4 yen - on As well as snail extract, it contains collagen and hyaluronic acid.

I used it after my weekly facial scrub and I have to say that…