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Showing posts from February, 2013

Ame-sha magazine shoot in Nara

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Yesterday we went with Yoshi (and his staff) deep into the mountains of Nara to a place called Takidani Flower Park (滝谷花しょうぶ園) because a well known American Car magazine in Japan was doing a photo shoot there.

It is supposedly a very famous park and I am sure that in the warmer months it is very beautiful. But in the middle of winter, the ponds were frozen over and the trees were bare...



Anyone with an American car was welcome to go and park and look around and have their car`s photo taken. It was a good chance for Yoshi to see other cars, and advertise his company too.

It was freezing cold and we passed lots of snow covered fields, houses and trees on the way to get there.

It was fun to spend time with Yoshi on a Sunday (very rare as he usually works on weekends) and to get out and about. We even enjoyed a yummy lunch of noodles, rice and zenzai (hot red beans and mochi).

Here are some more pics from the day...









Lots of fun for Aiden too... plenty of his favorite cars!!

Mamemaki 2013

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Mamemaki 豆まき(lit. bean throwing) is part of Setsubun festival in Japan that happens on February 3rd every year. One member of the family (or a teacher if you are a school kid) wears a oni (devil) mask and everyone throws roasted soybeans at that person.

While throwing the beans you chant `oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi` which means `get out devils, come in good fortunes` (or something very similar!)

Once you are done throwing all the beans you count out some more beans, the same number as your current age (plus one for good luck) and eat them all.

I got some cute photos of Aiden throwing beans and having a great time (we waited for Yoshi to come home - that`s why Aiden is wearing pajamas).


(do you see Yoshi`s nephew wearing the oni mask?)
We started throwing beans off the porch at our place, but then Yoshi`s nephews came over (from next door) and invited us to throw more beans on their lawn!


Fun fun!

Ichigo gari

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Ichigo gari (イチゴ狩り) means strawberry picking in Japanese. It has become quite the trendy outing for couples and families in recent years and this season is something to do on those cold wintry days (because the strawberry houses are much warmer than the outside air!!)

Of course you don`t have to limit yourselves to just strawberries. You can enjoy momo-gari (peach picking), ringo-gari (apple picking), nashi-gari (pear picking) and much more during the year.

I saw a special section on ichigo-gari in this month`s edition of the Kansai Walker magazine (online version here). We found a strawberry farm to visit in the Gojo area of Nara. It took about 1.5 hours to get there by car, and was in the middle of nowhere.

We paid 1500yen each (little kids are free) and enjoyed an hour of picking and eating fresh strawberries. Aiden had a blast squashing the berries and licking his fingers. Paradise for a strawberry lover!!














Yum yum!!

22 months old

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Happy 22 month birthday Aiden!


`Juu, juu ochita!` `Juice, the juice fell`
It was (as far as I can decipher) his first 2 word sentence!!

To be honest I am a little concerned about his speech development... The internet (I know, worst place ever for a worrying mum) suggests that he should already have upwards of 20 words... But he doesn't (currently has 10-12 in English and Japanese).

I have heard from friends that 2 years old seems to be a turning point. And if he hasn't started making more words and sentences by then, we can start to worry more.

I have ALSO heard that boys in general speak later, and kids in a bilingual environment speak later too (yes I know there are exceptions and quite a few bilingual boys speak a lot at 12 or 18 months).

Aiden is often around people, he loves music, books and movies, he babbles to himself non-stop and he has a few words in English and in Japanese.... So, I will ease off the worry for a couple of months and see what happens naturally.

In other 2…

Where to buy baby clothes in Osaka

I have had a few emails asking about places to buy babies` clothing in Osaka, so I thought I would start compiling a list.

Shops
Akachan Hompo (store finder here - japanese only) Nishimatsuya Toys R Us / Babies R Us (store finder here - in english!!) Next (3F of Namba Parks)
Mamas and Papas (found in Aura - 5F of Namba Parks) Zara (the Lalaport Koshien, Qs Mall, and the smaller store in Shinsaibashi are the only ones with kids clothes). H&M (the Lalaport Koshien store is the only one with kids clothes).
Muji (store finder here - japanese only)
GAP (store finder here - japanese only)

Department stores
Daimaru Shinsaibashi 9F
Daimaru Umeda 10F Hanshin Umeda 6F Isetan Umeda 7F Takashimaya Namba 6F Hankyu Ings B1F and B2F

Online shops
Zara Japan (english) Next Japan (english) Akasugu (japanese only)
Lemoir (japanese only)
Akachan hompo (japanese only) Rakuten (english) Amazon (english)
Mamas and Papas (Rakuten store here
GAP Japan (japanese only)

Do you have any other favorite stores that we can add to the lis…

Sunny Sunday Setsubun!

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It is the day of another Japanese festival today - this time it is Setsubun (aka. bean throwing day haha!). I have posted about the meaning of Setsubun before, so you can read about it there, or on wikipedia if you would like to. 

Basically it marks the beginning of spring (the name means seasonal division), as well as helping people to rid their homes of any evil spirits. We throw beans (mamemaki) to shoo away the devil and invite good fortune in. We also eat yummy rolled sushi (makizushi)!

Yoshi is at work, so Aiden and I went to the park where I tried out my new camera! Woohoo! It is a Nikon Coolpix P510 and I love it already. It costs around 30,000yen but I got it for half of that because I used my Yodobashi camera point card! (love those points!!)


Here are some pics I took at the park today...


What a happy little monkey in the sunshine!!

A review of wesendtoyou.com

Although I usually shop online at a few select stores that ship internationally (to Japan), I sometimes see other things that I want to buy.

Last week I fell in love with a pair of pants online at 6pm.com but found they only ship domestically within the US.

I decided it might be time to find a mail forwarding service and I came across wesendtoyou.com through a link on one of the gaijinpot.com forums.

After registering my details on their website I sent them an email asking if they could ship the jeans from the US to Japan. Shipping from the US to Japan (and Korea) is their specialty, and apart from some restricted items (a list of which is available on their website) they will forward both small and large parcels.

So I went back to 6pm.com and ordered the pants. Instead of my own shipping address I entered their address (in California). I did have a twinge of concern... I mean if the company wasn't legit, they would end up with a pair of jeans at my expense right???

Anyway I soon stop…

Dear reader K

Hi all,
I receive lots of nice emails from my readers, and always do my best to reply. I got a lovely email today from a reader in Yokohama (let`s just call her K).

Anyway, for some strange technological reason, I couldn`t reply to her, so will copy my response below.


Thanks K for your sweet email!! I love hearing from people who read my blog, because I see the stats, but have no idea what kind of people they are, or where they are from... I am glad you enjoy reading it anyway!! 
I have been to the US twice but only for a short time each trip. And each time I went to California because that`s where my hubby has contacts. Do you recommend anywhere in particular if I get back there again?
Good luck with your pregnancy (the end of it) and the birth of your baby!! So exciting!! I hope you blog about your adventures as a mum; blogging certainly helped me when I was feeling overwhelmed with everything, and continues to now as well. Being a mum is hard enough, but doing it in a foreign country... …