Biggest Damage Ever, Possibly

Posted March 14th, 2011 in Japan | 5 Comments »

As I mentioned before, this is the biggest earthquake happened in Japan and I can’t imagine the damage on eastern coast of Japan.  I saw video of huge tsunami swallowing houses, cars, and people who were running away from the wave.  Thinking about people who lost their family in this disaster, I just can’t think it to be the other people’s affairs.

The earthquake is still happening right now over there.  Many people have lost their houses .. and everything.  I could finally contact my friend who lives in Hokkaido – she said that all the mail delivery service has been stopped, and all the transportation, including freeway, ferry and train, are disconnected between Hokkaido island and Honshu (main) island.  People are afraid that they may run out of provisions.  My friends in Tokyo also told me that on the day earthquake hit Tokyo, they couldn’t go back home until midnight.

Two days ago, my mum told me that she had lost contact with her friend who went back to Fukushima to see his family one day before the earthquake.  As you know, Fukushima has the nuclear plant and is one of the most affected area.  My mum thought he was involved in this disaster, but he contacted her yesterday saying that he is ok as well as his family.

I hear that Japanese government had asked residents in Tohoku area (東北地方)to evacuate from the house, but most of the people who couldn’t make it or were still in their houses were elderlies.  Watching the news of rescuing elderlies from the crushed houses is devastating…

Yes, Japan is one of the richest and highly industrialised country, but this earthquake has caused a huge financial cost to the Japanese government, businesses and individuals.  And, Japan had sent earthquake experts to New Zealand to help victims over there few weeks ago.  I hope those experts were already in Japan or on the way back there.

If someone would like to make a donation, here are some websites :

The World Vision Japan Disaster Appeal

Save the Children Australia Japan Earthquake Appeal

Redcross Australia

(photos from CNN News & GlobalGiving)

First Week

Posted March 12th, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 6 Comments »

My first week with MIHIRO (we call him “hiro” or “hiro-chan”) was … full of things and pain.  I feel like it’t been few weeks already, as there were so many things happened.  Very concentrated 7 days.

I said “pain”, because my body was still sore from the delivery…  And probably the muscle ache from the lack of sleep and tiredness.  I was having little problem with my breastfeeding too (his mouth is too small and he can’t suck properly) for couples of days so I’ve been using an electric pump at the moment.  Lucky I had bought it beforehand!   I still try to breastfeed him, but need to have a top-up with pumped breast milk.

A nurse from Child Health Centre visited our house to check on Hiro during the week.  His weight had dropped about 6% of the birth weight, but it’s normal for newborn babies to drop around 10 %, so I’m not worried much.  I just hope he will catch up on weight gain soon.  To do so, I need to feed him well!

I knew people say that parenting is hard job, no time for yourself, etc etc.  I didn’t believe it was all true…  until I experience it.  But, it’s all normal and people are doing it, so I think I will manage it too.

The Biggest Earthquake in Japan

Posted March 11th, 2011 in Japan | 2 Comments »

Today, just 2 hours ago, huge earthquakes hit northern Japan island.  The magnitude is 8.8 – which is much bigger than Kobe Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.

As soon as I heard the news from D, I contacted my families to check if they are ok.  They all live in Shiga (some of my relatives live in the prefectures near Nagano), so they said the damage is not that big.  Luckily there is no ocean around Shiga (just a big lake) so no tsunami will attack there.  My grandma said it was shaking for quite long time though.

I have friends who live in Hokkaido and eastern side of Japan.  I hope they and their families are ok too…

There are so many natural disasters happened around the world lately…  Brisbane’s flood and cyclone, earthquake in New Zealand, and now Japan is the victim.  What’s going on?   Tsunami, fire, flood and landslide…  There’ll be so many side effects.  I hope the damage of this earthquake to be as minimum as possible.

Hello World…

Posted March 9th, 2011 in Ume and Baby, Ume's Pregnancy | 14 Comments »

Meet my first baby – he was born on March 4, 11 days before the due date.  2980 g / 49 cm

In the morning on 3rd (a day before delivery) I thought my water was leaking, so I called my OB and went to hospital to check.  It was not water from my uterus (it was just pee!) and I went back home.  But, around 7PM I had a huge gush of clear water come out while watching tv in the living room.  There was no doubt that my water had definitely broken.

I called hospital and went there with my hospital bag.  At the labour ward, midwives checked the water and confirmed that it was the water from my uterus.  I was 2 cm dilated.  There was little blood too.  They put something on my belly to check baby’s heartbeats and contractions.  It was around 8PM.

According to the monitor I was having mild contractions, but they weren’t painful.  I was thinking “maybe I can cope with the contraction pain without any pain relief”, but it started to be stronger around 9PM past.  It was like heavy period pain (I have very heavy period pain and the contraction was exactly like that).  Luckily D had asked midwives that I’d need epidural (we had talked about it earlier and he remembered it), and anesthesiologist was on the way.  By the time she arrived my room, the pain was super – I couldn’t talk and had to squeeze D’s hands every 2 minutes.  After the anesthesiologist explained all the risks and side effects of epidural to me, she inserted the needle on my back.  I was given IV by a midwife too, so there was a thick needle on my left wrist and a thin tube on my back.

Thanks to the epidural, the pain was gone few minutes later.  Around midnight, D and I fell asleep until 2:30AM.  I was awakened by the contraction pain.  I told midwife about it and I was hoping that she would top up more epidural to ease the pain, but she was worried that too much epidural might make me have no feeling when I have to push the baby.  She checked my cervix, and it was about 7~8 cm dilated.  She topped up with 10 ml of epidural first.

The 10ml didn’t make much difference.  The pain was not around my tummy, but around my bottom.  It was like a huge pressure around my anus – as if I was holding a big poop or gas.  Midwife told me “it’s not a poop, it’s a baby!”.  She told me NOT to push it.  It was really big pressure and having to hold it was quite hard.  I told midwife that it’s very painful – she checked with my OB and topped-up with more epidural.   My OB was on the way around this time.

The OB arrived just before 4AM, and he checked that my cervix was fully dilated.  Since the pain around my bottom was not as strong as before (because of the epidural top-up), OB and midwife assisted me when to push.  I tried to push when they told me to – no pain, but I could feel something was coming down.  I pushed 3 times on each contraction, and after several times I knew my baby was out!  First, a head, then shoulders… two big pressure (pain?).  It was 4:16AM.

Now I have my baby on my arms.  I can’t believe he was inside my belly, and my pregnancy was over.  He is the same person as the one I saw on the screen at my first ultrasound test.

His head is already covered with dark black hair.  I am so happy that he was born without any complication and unhealthy condition.  Now I’ve been super busy with this totally new life cycle.  As a first time mum, everything is new (I’ve never changed a diaper before) and I’m leaning bit by bit each day….

Sugar Pie Cookies

Posted March 6th, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

I don’t know if I can say this is a recipe, but it’s so easy to make using left over frozen pie sheets, and I thought I’d post it here.  What you need are frozen pie sheets and sugar.  That’s it.

Although it’s effortless to make, they taste delicious and one whole tray of cookies were gone within 1 hour (by D).

<Sugar Pie Cookies>  makes about 30 tiny cookies

  • 2 pie sheets (half-thawed)
  • 4~ tbs sugar
  1. Line a pie sheet on a clean kitchen surface.  Sprinkle sugar to the every corner.
  2. Line another sheet on top.  Sprinkle sugar to the every corner.
  3. Gently roll the pie sheet towards the top, while sprinkling extra sugar on the way, until it is completely rolled up.
  4. Cut into 1 cm thickness.  Coat with more extra sugar, and bake in the oven at 180° for 30 minutes or until golden.

I used granulated sugar, but you can use raw or dark sugar too to enjoy different taste.  Let it cool on the tray until completely cooled down, and keep in an airtight container.

New iPad 2

Posted March 4th, 2011 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Browsing internet in the bed before getting up is what D does each morning.  Since I don’t go to work anymore, we wake up around the same time and get up around the same time.  When he was watching the video of Apple releasing new iPad next to me, I just had to watched and listened too.

These computer things…  new one keeps coming and coming!  If I was alone, I would be so far away from such news and wouldn’t even know what iPad was.

On the video, they’re saying how fast, thin, and light the iPad2 is, but what I liked (kind of) was the magnetic cover called “smart cover“.  There’re 10 designs, 5 with polyurethane (the one used for space uniform) and 5 with leather.  The cover also wakes up the iPad as you open it, and put to sleep as you close it.  It’s an optional accessary and you will need to buy it.

It does stand up the iPad too.

When I saw the cover, it reminded me of bath tub cover in Japan.


iPad2 will be released on March 11 in US, and in some of other countries including Australia and Japan on March 25.

What to do next?

Posted March 3rd, 2011 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

It’s already March… I don’t know why but I was so sure that my bub would come out in February. I guess he is punctual.

Now, everyone tells me not to go out by myself anymore. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s not easy.. I even need to ask someone to come along just to buy a bottle of milk from a shop near the house. When I try to tidy up a room I need to ask D to help me getting a box from the top shelve even though he is busy working. I don’t want to disturb anyone, but I’m …… bored!!! I can’t just stay in the bed all day and do nothing (><).

… I know I may envy this situation once the bub comes out and things get busy.

Yesterday I was tiding up my fridge, and ended up cooking all day. For some reason my freezer is always full, and I noticed that the foods were not as cold (frozen) as they should be due to the insufficient air circulation. I keep lots of food in the fridge/freezer (e.g. nori sheets in the freezer, icing sugar in the fridge) – I guess I need a bigger fridge!

I started cooking some chikuzen-ni (Japanese simmered roots veggies), shepards pie and lasagna.  Chikuzen-ni is for me (D doesn’t really like these Japanese food), and lasagna and pie are for D (I don’t really like these meaty food).  Then, sliced half-frozen beef very thin for cooking later (to use for yakiniku, or hot pot).  I also found pie sheets in the freezer, so I made mini pie tartlets and sugar cookies using these sheets.

It was actually really tiring to stay in the kitchen, especially while using fire and oven – hot!  I won’t be doing any cooking for the next few days for sure…  Yesterday was my cooking day 🙂