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Happy MO-vember!!
I am feeling very unmotivated when it comes to blogging these days. The only pics I take are of Aiden, and with the colder weather and work, we don`t manage to get out and about very much. So not much to share with you all :(

So, am planning to take a wee break from blogging until the New Year.

Hope to see you all when I`m back!!

Opening a bank account with Japan Post

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There are some reasons why having a Japan Post Bank (limited English language page here) account might be more convenient than an account with one of the bigger banks. The main reason I decided to open one is that it is free (or very cheap) to transfer money from one japanese account to another. Other reasons to get a JP Bank account include (accessibility; every town has a post office!, no international fees, and no withdrawal limit)

I recently joined a garage sale group on Facebook, where people living in Japan can buy/sell used clothing etc. It is a really great group, but sending small amounts of money through big banks can be costly, so I decided to open a JP Bank account.

My local post office has a counter for JP Bank activity. Your local post office might too, if you see this sign somewhere!



To open a bank account with JP Bank, you will need to bring with you...

- 2 forms of ID (alien registration card, passport, public health insurance card...)
- the money you want to deposit
- your…

Kanji on your air conditioner

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If your home is anything like ours, and little hands and fingers are pushing buttons on the remote controls throughout the day, it can be confusing as to which settings you applied.

Here are some useful kanji that might appear on your air conditioner or Dehumidifier... very handy in this rapidly cooling weather...

KANJIPRONUNCIATIONMEANINGdanbouheatingreiboucoolingjidouautomaticjoshitsude-humidifyuntenin operationteishistop/cancelkirikaechange/switchshitsuonroom temperaturefuusokuspeed of air flowfuukoudirection of air flowhairuonkiruoffyoyakuset the timertorikeshicancelThe 2 last are often found near the  (timer).

19 months old

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Happy 19 month birthday Aiden!
This month has flown by - so much that I completely forgot Aiden`s actual 19 month birthday (on the 8th of November!)

It has been a difficult month as Aiden`s strong stubborn side is showing through and we have had some mega-tantrums... in some very public places.

The most difficult thing is that his mind seems to change daily (if not hourly). He will happily ride on the back of my bicycle in the morning, but in the afternoon screams for 30 minutes if I even try to put him on.

He has really enjoyed the park this month as temperatures have dropped and he can run around more without getting too hot. He loves the slides at the park, so we got a small slide for inside the house too. He loves sliding down (and sliding his toy cars and soft toys down too!)

He is getting stronger too (which makes it hard to contain his kicking and punching during a tantrum), so he can swing from the bars at the park by himself!

He has shown more attachment to his toys (cars particula…

Mummy and me pjs.

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I just adore the cute little pjs (pajamas) that Aiden has for winter. We got them from baby Gap and they are adorable.

I found mummy-sized versions at Victoria`s Secret!
Yippeee!

Attachment to toys

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When did you kids start getting attached to their toys (or other inanimate objects), and how long did it last? 

I`ve always wondered when Aiden would start doing it, and thought it might never happen... but suddenly this month, along with learning the word `car` he has been carrying around his toy cars everywhere. They sit on the table when he eats (and sometimes drive around on his plate - grrrrr!), are clutched in his hand when he goes for walks with me and when he falls asleep. They even come into the bath!

I think it`s cute!


Happy birthday Kitty :)

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of Japan`s most beloved characters...


Kitty Chan (aka Hello Kitty, aka Kitty White) was born on November 1st 1974 (in London England apparently!), making her 38 years old.


Why does Japan smell like candy?

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And it has nothing to do with halloween!

The tree named kinmokusei (the scientific name is orange osmanthus and the English translation is fragrant olive tree) is in full bloom, and if you walk down the street, you are bound to get a noseful of the sickly sweet aroma!

For 11 months of the year, the kinmokusei is just a green shrub found in suburban gardens, but in October, when the temperature drops, the tree bursts into flower, spreading its scent all over town!

 Do you have these in your area? Do you like the smell?

Raising bilingual children

A relatively well known website for expats living in Japan (GaijinPot) posted this article(written by Adam Beck) about raising biligual children in Japan. What do you think? Are there any other tips or tricks you use to nurture English (or your native language)?


1. Start early 
If you’re proactive from the start, you’ll have a much better chance of nurturing a good balance of Japanese and English. From birth to age 6 or 7 is a critical time for two reasons: 1) this is the period young brains are most primed for language, and 2) after the child begins attending elementary school, it grows more difficult to “rebalance” the two languages. In other words, the investment of time and energy up front will make it easier to foster the balance you seek, and then maintain that balance throughout childhood. Playing “catch up” with English is much harder! 2. Prioritize it 
Making this a priority goes hand in hand with being proactive. If the development of your child’s English ability isn’t one of yo…

Another free afternoon, so we went to the park

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And here are the pics to prove it...

 Trying to get a better look at the girl on the monkey bars
 More girl watching!
 I can do it too!
Time to go home...

Brrrrr

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Is it just me or did the temperature just drop 10 degrees overnight? We woke up this morning to read 12 degrees on the room temperature gage and Aiden was shivering!! 

What do you do to keep your kids warm overnight? Aiden kicks off any and all blankets, so I put him in long sleeved pajamas and then a Merino sleeping bag. We have this one made by Merino Kids(this picture is about 6 months old sorry!)


Lucky me!

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I love entering contests... no matter how big or small, I love the chance to win cute things and have them sent to me. It`s like Christmas!

When I lived at home in NZ, I actually won things quite often. Living in a country with only 4 million other people, I guess the odds were in my favor. In Japan I have only won a few things, but each time I do, I feel so special.

I entered a contest on Origami Living`s blog 2 weeks ago, and I won! The contest has closed, but you can find out more about Naoshi in the contest post.

She is an artist based in Yokohama who has become famous for her work with sand (calle Sunae here in Japan). If you want, you can find her facebook page here, and Etsy page here

Check out the cute prize I got, courtesy of Naoshi. Awesome Japanese talent :)

 (letter set) (sand craft kit) (postcards)
Thanks Joey and Naoshi!

18 months old

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Happy 18 month birthday Aiden!
I cant believe that little Aiden is now 18 months old! That`s one AND A HALF years old!! Time has flown by and he is just becoming more and more full of his own special personality. So much fun to have him in my life.


Here are some of the big developments this month...

Climbing - on, up and down everything he can find. He seems to lack fear (like most toddlers probably) and just launches into everything he can. I am left trembling very close nearby as he walks up steep, narrow slopes and balances on beams!

Memory - he remembers so much (much more than I thought he could) and sometimes puts me in my place as he `gets ready` for outings, points to keys and motions towards the locked door. He sometimes even remembers where we park the car!


Mimicking - he is getting much better at copying our movements and sounds and can even mimic characters on tv. This is one of the cutest things!


Seperation anxiety - he still cries when men (all except Yoshi and the male teache…