Showing posts from February, 2012

My 15 minutes became 30!

So last week I wrote about how my interview with Chinese Self magazine was published... And now an interview I did with the New Zealand Sunday Star Times has come out too! I feel so special ;)

Apart from the fact they used my maiden name in the article, I am so pleased with the way it came out. It is basically a travel guide to Osaka, but a bit about me and my little family too.


Did you know that Modcloth ships to Japan?

If you are as obsessed with online shopping as me (well, I get as far as putting things in my `cart` then realizing that I have to pay with real money), you will know how awesome Modcloth is.

Their speciality is indie-style and vintage-style dresses but they have branched out into other areas too. Look at some of these cute things on their website...

The `Los Angles dress`

The `Armed with technology tea infuser`
The `Pom away with me bag`
The `Hey jade necklace`
The `Soda fountain dress` (in cola)
The `Good intentions wedge`

Well, a girl can dream ;)


Too cute!

Knee pads for crawling babies.

These ones are available on Crawlings` website and have been endorsed (unofficially) by Victoria Beckham who tweeted “Amazing! baby knee pads for when babies start crawling!!”

They are US$20 a pair.

I haven't seen this brand (Crawlings) in Japan yet, but it can only be a matter of time :)

The ones below are available in Japan (here) and are made by Lil` Melon (リルメロン) for 2,100yen.

Aiden has spent most of winter crawling which means his knees have been nicely covered/padded by long pants. If you have a summer crawler, these might be a great idea!

Life lately, according to my iPod camera

Time for a bit of cute I think, so here some pictures of Aiden from life recently...
 All dressed up and having a snack before last week`s funeral.

Pushing his walker around the room.
Snacking on a pink dinosaur at the indoor playcentre.
My sleeping angel!
Trying to learn his ABCs.
Snacking on a piece of the foam jigsaw mats.
Patiently waiting for dinner at the restaurant.
Sleeping... ahhhhh :)
Pity about the weather this weekend. Hope you guys are all wrapped up warm and doing something nice!

I have to attend a japanese funeral... now what?

A kind of somber post today... sorry. This week I attended my first japanese funeral. I don't want to go into too much detail out of respect, but thought I would focus more on the general stuff, (manner and etiquette) in case any of you have to attend a japanese funeral some day.
When I found out about the funeral I asked Yoshi and his mum about what would happen, what I should expect, what I would have to do... and both of them said not to worry. I wouldn't have to do anything special, and just follow their lead.


Here is what I should have known, so I am going to tell you.

Firstly, you will need an outfit comprised of nothing but black clothing. If you are female, that means black shoes, tights, a conservative black dress, black jacket and black handbag (or a black kimono). You may wear white pearls, but no other jewelry. If you are male, you need a black suit, white shirt and a black tie.

Secondly, you will need juzu (japanese buddhist prayer beads) to hold during the cerem…

My 15 minutes

Last December I got an email (through this blog) from one of the editors of SELF magazine in China who let me know that she was writing an article about love around the world to appear in February`s Valentine`s issue. I answered her questions and Yoshi and I had a quick photo shoot... and the article was published!

Cover - Scarlett Johansson is a hottie!

Our article - in chinese!

How exciting!! Apart from a print advertisement that I did for the english school I used to work for, this is the first time I`ve ever been in a magazine :)

Yakudoshi - the calamity year

Yakudoshi 厄年(やくどし)is what is known as the calamity year in Japanese culture. During one`s life, there are certain years which are troublesome or full of bad luck.

For women, those ages are 19, 33 and 37; for men, 25, 42 and 61. The worst of these (taiyaku 本厄) is 33 for women and 42 for men.

The year before a major yakudoshi is called `maeyaku 前厄` and the year after is `atoyaku 後厄` .

This year`s unlucky ages...
前厄32歳 昭和56年生まれ  Age 32 / Born in 56 = 1981
本厄33歳 昭和55年生まれ    Age 33 / Born in 55 = 1980
後厄34歳 昭和54年生まれ    Age 34 / Born in 54 = 1979

The worst years for women (33) and men (42) are also phonetically unlucky. The number 33 when pronounced `sanzan` means disastrous, terrible or hard. The number 42,  when pronounced `shi-ni` means `to death`.

This year is my maeyaku, so I had to go to a Shinto shrine last week to receive divine protection. At the shrine you write down all your information (name, age, etc) and pay for the priest to include your details in the prayers they do each day, and …

Valentine's day in Japan

I've written about this in previous years (here and here) so won't go into great detail but Valentine's day in Japan is weird.

Girls buy or make chocolates, cakes and cookies for ALL the men in their lives; lovers, husbands, co-workers and family members!! Stores go into over-drive with red heart shaped decorations and department store basements (the food floor) swarm with women trying to find the perfectly priced and perfectly presented gifts.
Women don't get anything in return until March 14th (White day) when men are supposed to give a gift valued at 3x the price of the gift they received on Valentine's day.

As Aiden was sick this week I couldn't leave the house to buy either gifts or ingredients to make gifts before the 14th, but managed to get out today and do a bit of shopping. First stop was Godiva; because the packaging is gorgeous and the chocolate is delicious... But they had already changed over all their signs and stock to reflect the upcoming "Wh…

The evil toppatsu

Since having a baby in Japan I have heard mention of the evil illness "toppatsu" many times. My sister-in-law (who lives next door and has a daughter 10 days younger than Aiden) said that all babies get it, most before their first birthday and basically it sucks. At the time I put it in my dictionary and came up with a word like "suddenly", and honestly didn't think much of it again.

Then last week, SIL's baby came down with a high fever that lasted 3 days which was followed by a red rash which also lasted about 3 days. She (the baby) was in a terrible mood, cried all day and night, and basically was no fun to be around. This, I heard, was the dreaded 'toppatsu'. So I googled it and translated it again and this time I learned that toppatsu is "roseola".

And now, Aiden has it too.

There is no medicine to treat roseola but you can give babies medicine for some of the symptoms; the fever especially. It is also very hard to diagnose because it p…

10 months old!

Happy 10 months Aiden!!

I can`t believe that Aiden is 10 months old today. Time is passing so quickly and it seems like every day he is growing up in some way. He is becoming so cheeky and funny, even more independent, physically adventurous and just fun to be around. 

He still doesn't like sleeping, which is really tough on me, but I feel some relief hearing from other mums that their super-active babies didn't sleep much when they were young either... but that things DO get better!

What can he do now?

He is still cruising around the furniture, and although he has taken mini-steps, and lunges towards things (or between things), he hasn`t tried walking on his own yet.

He can stand up unassisted for 10-15 seconds, or until he realizes that he isn't holding onto anything and panics! He can squat and kneel which is very cute :)

He is babbling much more than before, and now that his two bottom teeth have come through, he is playing with his tongue more, and making some kinds of razz…

Put it in the (anti-aging) textbook

If you watch japanese television you will know how many weird and wonderful programs they broadcast here. Most shows are purely for entertainment (especially here in Kansai), and most feature `comedians`, `talent` and `idols` to draw in viewers. Recently a huge percentage of shows also feature food!

One show that I watch during dinner time is entitled Kyoukasho ni nosetai(`Lets put it in the textbook`) and each episode strange and unusual and interesting facts are presented... things that the producers feel that we (the viewers) need to know.
Tonight, amongst other things, a 55 year old woman taught us some anti-aging massage and stretching techniques which I wanted to pass on to you guys - mainly for the reason that she looked no more than 40 years old... so something she is doing must be working!!

Even if you don't speak Japanese, you should be able to follow this instruction video pretty easily... make sure you use the thumb of your right hand to massage the inside of your left ch…

2012 Nengajo Lucky Numbers

Otoshidama Tsuki Nenga Hagaki (お年玉付き年賀はがき)

Have you checked your nengajo for your chance to win prizes? Each nengajo (new years` card) in Japan is printed with a unique 6-digit code on the bottom right corner. Check those numbers against these...

1st prize - 030625
2nd prize - 071658 and 153787 and 675457
3rd prize - **2511 (any code with these final 4 digits)
4th prize - ****27 and ****44 (any code with these final 2 digits).

The first prize includes a choice of some great things including a TV, travel and home appliances!

Have you won a prize?

Take your nengajo to your local post office to claim it.

Good luck!!

p.s. I won a sheet of stamps - woohoo!

The Inglesina Fast

It isn't a diet, although that was the first thing I thought of when I saw the word `fast` hehe.

I finally got round to spending our department store vouchers (a present when Aiden was born) yesterday at Namba`s Kintetsu Department Store.

I chose this, the Inglesina Fast (made in Italy), because although we have a great Ikea high chair, it is really inconvenient in a japanese house, where the dining table is only about 30cm off the ground (we sit on the floor). So now, when I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, Aiden can sit right next to me at the table!

It is really a cute color and design, and holds babies from 5 months - 36 months (or 15kg). It is portable and folds flat (and comes with a carry case), so we can take it in the car when we go out to restaurants. It was a wee bit expensive (8,400yen), but because I used our vouchers it was free - lucky!!

If you are in Japan you can buy them through the japanese web shop - here, or at various locations in store.



Happy Setsubun

Every year on February 3rd, Japan celebrates Setsubun (the bean throwing festival; lit. seasonal division). You can read about it here on the wiki page, but basically there are 3 important things to do on this day...

1.  we each count out the number of roasted soy beans which match our age (so I would count out 21 beans - haha you thought I was gonna tell you how old I am??), and eat them.

2.  Mamemaki - we throw the rest of the roasted soy beans at the `devil`, or a person wearing a devil`s mask, and shout the words `oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi` (which means `demons out, luck in`). If you want to print out your own devil`s mask, check this link for some cute printables.

3.  Ehomaki - we eat big rolls of lucky sushi (in silence), while facing in the `lucky` direction. The lucky direction changes each year, so you have to be sure to check in advance. This year, you should face north-north-west. 

Here is a diagram showing the lucky sushi and the 7 auspicious ingredients, for the seven gods of…