Change of Things – Perth and Japan

Posted November 22nd, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

It started to be cold and windy since the second day. It’s raining, and the wind outside sounds like it will be snowing anytime soon. The air is cold – but the thing is that inside the shops, restaurants, or trains is quite warm and I don’t know what to wear. I only brought just few clothes because I wasn’t gonna go out much during the stay and also I thought I could always buy nice clothes here if I want to.

We did a bit of shopping yesterday coz we needed something urgently for Hiro. Things here are pretty much different from those in Perth. We had to change some of our rutine. First, we brought our microwave sterilizer to sterilize the bottles and pump, but the microwave in my house is too small to fit the sterilizer! I can’t even put a microwave sterilizing bag. It ‘s very short too. I don’t know why my dad bought such small microwave… I guess they don’t have anything big to warm up? Hmmm… so we can’t use microwave sterilizer, we decided to do the basic method – sterilizing in boiling water. We needed a tray, drying rack, sponge etc to wash Hiro’s bottles so we headed to Daiso nearby and bought several stuff. Men, things at 100 yen shop always remind me how cheap I could get things around the house. 🙂

As I mentioned earlier, I brought my electric pump to express milk here in Japan.  Hiro is almost 9 months old, and I think I did a good job feeding him EBM (expressed breast milk) since he was born (considering the trouble of extra cleaning and time consuming).  And I’m still thinking to continue this until my milk dries out.  But, on the day I arrived my home in Shiga, I found that the electric pump is weird.  It kept stopping while pumping. I thought it’s broken due to the air pressure on the plane or something, but it turned out that the batteries needed to be replaced.  I guess it uses lots of power.  I was using this pump connected to power while in Perth, so I didn’t know how quickly I had to replace the batteries.  When I thought the pump was broken, I was actually thinking of stoping giving breast milk to Hiro.  Somewhere in my head I want to stop because it’s troublesome to express milk.  But I also think that I want to breastfeed him as long as I have milk.  So, the broken pump could be the opportunity for me to stop, but I guess I will keep continue doing what I do now until the time comes.

By the way, Hiro loves crawling on tatami!  The house is cold, and he escapes from blanket while sleeping, so he wears pretty warm (not too warm though) clothes on this futon.  Lucky I bought this baby circle crib thing from Amazon… otherwise he would be somewhere else (not on his futon) in the morning.  All the rooms are connected in my house (just separated with paper sliding doors (sho-ji), so he could be anywhere.  He seems to enjoy sleeping on futon, and has been pretty happy since we arrived here 🙂

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First Flight with 8 Month Old Baby

Posted November 20th, 2011 in Japan | 2 Comments »

It’s 2AM, and dark and raining outside.  I should be tired and sleepy, but I’m writing this with a bottle of warm milk next to me in case Hiro wakes up for his feed anytime soon.  Everyone in this house is sleeping, except me and my bro.  I hear tv sound from his room.  It’s Saturday night (Sunday morning?) and I guess it’s the only time he can enjoy staying late during a week.

I arrived Kansai airport yesterday afternoon.  I must say I’m very happy and relieved that we are here finally.  Japan is not as cold as I thought – it’s raining, and it gets dark around 6:00 PM, but the temperature is not cold and I was kinda sweating when I arrived airport.  I’m not even wearing a jacket or pair of socks right now. (even at 2AM!)

The flight …..   was AWEFUL.  It wasn’t the worst because Hiro did sleep pretty well on the plane, but D and I (and maybe Hiro too) were exhausted.  We left Perth home around 9PM – Hiro was sleeping in his cot, but woke up in the car and stayed awake in the airport.  He seemed to be calm and quiet, and we thought he’d fell asleep with warm milk as soon as we get on the plane.  But, it didn’t happen.  He was obviously tired and sleepy, but couldn’t go to sleep and that made him very uncomfortable and irritated.  He wasn’t crying though – just wiggly and rubbing his eyes many many times.  I was trying to pad him to sleep, but you know the airplane seat is very narrow and I couldn’t really move around like I do at home.  I was moving him up to down, left to right….. and then, he started to gag and threw up everything he ate since 5PM, including pumpkin and all the milk.

It was a LOT of vomit.  He kept throwing up every 2 seconds for about 10 seconds, and I thought he was choking.  All the food came out through his mouth and nose, and my seat and clothes were completely soaked with his vomit.  I could hear everyone around me was saying “OH MY GOD…!”  I was in panic, and tried to settle him down quickly.  When I saw his smile, I was very relieved.

Luckily I brought a change clothes for him so I could change him, but I didn’t have my own.  I had to take my tops off and wear a cardigan on top of a camisole I was wearing.  Smelly….!  After changing his clothes he was still active, but in the end I managed to put him to sleep around 2AM – 2 hours after departure.  The flight was midnight so everyone was sleeping by then.  Then D and I could sleep a bit.  We book a basinet seat in advance – the seat is at the front so there’s lots of leg room, but we couldn’t put any baggage underneath or front of our seat.  We had to put everything in compartment above us.  That was bit troublesome when we wanted to get something from our bags.  This is what basinet looks like (Cathay Pacific) ↓

The another thing which was difficult during the flight was preparing milk for him.  As I don’t do breastfeed (express milk in a bottle) I had to bring formula in case I can’t express on the plane.  As soon as he sees a bottle he wanted to drink and started crying.  He didn’t stop crying so I had to feed him before the plane took off/landed.  He had to suck on something while taking-off/landing for preventing earache and he doesn’t take dummies all the time (only when he is sleepy and tired), so I was bit worried that he might finish the milk before the air pressure changed.  He cried a little, but it was ok on both flight.

From these 2 flights I learnt some lessons and now I know what I should and shouldn’t bring to an airplane when flying with a baby.  I actually had lots of baggages – 4 big bags + a baby carrier –  and some of the things I brought weren’t necessary at all. Everything was in different bags and it was so messy and stressful when I needed something and couldn’t find where it was and in which bag.  So from now on, I will prepare the followings for carry-on luggage.  Especially when using bassinet seat you’ll only get a net on the all to store your things.

  • a pouch with 1 diaper, wet wipe, 1 disposable changing mat to put in a net in front of you … when you need to rush to toilet to change his diaper, you can just garb it and go.
  • a pouch with a pair of socks, dummies, moisturizer and 1 or 2 toys

I will also prepare 1 bag containing baby bottles with 180ml of sterilized water and measured formula.  I brought few empty baby bottles and an empty thermo bottle, and got hot water from a cafe inside airport to make formula, but it was hard to cool down the boiling water when Hiro wanted milk.  It just took too long.  I found that I could ask flight attendant to warm up the water on the plane, so I thought I should have divided the sterilized water in bottles in advance and ask them to warm up to desired temperature.  It is much easier and stressless.

I brought too many diapers to the airplane.  I just used 3 diapers during 2 flights, but there’re more than 10 diapers in my carry-on luggage!  I brought an electric pump (which can be used with batteries) so I could pump at airport and on the plane, but I just didn’t have time for it.  I did it once on the plane from Perth to Hong Kong, but it was bit messy and I had to worry about washing the pumps.  I brought microwave sterilizing bags, but didn’t use it on the plane and at airport either.

We arrived Kansai airport around 3:30m PM, and reached home around 6PM.  My dad, mum and bro came to airpot to pick us up in a big car (to fit extra parson).  Hiro was awake after 6PM feed, but slept from 9PM until 6AM next morning!  He must have been so tired.   But thanks to that, D and I could get a good sleep 🙂


Eating Bread Everyday

Posted March 31st, 2010 in Eat out in Japan, Japan | No Comments »

I do eat rice too, of course, but, I’ve been hunting on bakeries here.  I love bread ( well, I love any food :p ) especially Japanese bread ♪

A photo from a cafe.  Going to a cafe with dad for breakfast on weekend is my routine 🙂

Normally Japanese bread loaves are sold thickly cut.  I love thick cut toast.  And, Japanese bread sold at supermarkets are somehow much tastier than those here… (to me)  There are many kinds, such as “chewy”, “double aged dough” etc  I love the chewy one (もっちり) 🙂

Here is my another favorite bread “melon-pan”.  You can buy it at most bakeries, supermarkets, convenience stores and other shops that sell bread in Japan.  You can guess how popular this bread is.

Melon-pan contains two different dough – the base is normal bread dough (sweetened) and the top is cookie dough.  It’s sweet bread and it tastes different depending on the bakery/brand.  Personally I like the cookie-part to be very crusty.  Some of them are pretty soft.

The reason why it’s called “melon-pan” is that the bread has patterns and it looks similar to a melon.  There is a character in Japanese cartoon called “melon-pan-na chan” too .


Japan is “sugoi”

Posted March 28th, 2010 in Japan | 3 Comments »

There are so many thing I feel “sugoi” about Japan.  “Sugoi” means … well, “unbelievable” “great” “wow” “very” etc etc.  We use this word quite often.

One of them is the service in Japan.  Someone who’s been to Japan should know how good the hospitality service in Japan is.  Even at the plat home in train station, people who work there greet every passenger by bowing and saying “itterashaimase” “arigato-gozaimasu”.

The other day I went to a bakery shop by car.  As it was Saturday and the shop is located in a famous tourist place, there’re so many people walking around.  Luckily there were three traffic officers at the entrance and the exit in the bakery car park.  After finishing my shopping, I proceeded to the exit, then a traffic officer was giving me a sign “please wait” with body language.  As I waited, the officer suddenly walked towards the road and stop all cars coming, then waved his hands to me while bowing and screaming “arigato-gozaimashita!”.   It was only for me.

By the way,

Yesterday was my dad’s 60th birthday.  We had dinner at a sushi bar near the house, and had birthday cake together at home. It was a good day 🙂


Trying to Enjoy This Moment…

Posted March 26th, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »

This morning, I made breakfast for Pooh (my cat) and left home to go to an electric shop to have a browse.  I wanted to buy something (enough shopping? I know! ><) but couldn’t find anything good.  On the way back I went to a shopping mall to buy something for my grandma, then ended up buying something for myself too :p  At home, I woke my brother up and had lunch together (with grandma too).  Now I’m relaxing near the window typing this.

I love the moment like this.  Just relaxing, watching Pooh…  I don’t want to go back to Perth!

… well, I have to.

I had a bite on baumkuchen that I got from my friend’s wedding. This baumkuchen is coated with white chocolate..  yum!

I love baumkuchen.  There is a famous shop near my house Club Harie and its baumkuchen is available at department stores such as Takashimaya, Hankyu and Daimaru.

Tomorrow is my dad’s 60th birthday, so we are celebrating with a big birthday cake 🙂


If you go to Japan…

Posted March 24th, 2010 in Japan | 2 Comments »

If you get a chance to come to Japan, there is a thing I want to say to you…  Don’t buy anything at the first glance!  Once you arrive Japan you will see so many things that you want to buy… but, you shouldn’t buy them yet!  You may find nicer / cheaper things later somewhere else.  This is my lesson :p

Yes.  I bought so many things in the beginning, and now I regret it.  After I bought a thing, I found a similar thing at cheaper price in another shop.  Sometimes better quality!  Hmmm 🙁

Now I’m in panic, to tell the truth…  I have no idea how I’m going to bring everything I bought back to Perth. (>0<)  I went to the post office today to send some of them, but they’re too heavy.  I will go to the post office again tomorrow.

I couldn’t help but shop …!  Things are much cheaper and better quality here.  I’ve been telling my friends that I’m doing shopping here so that I won’t need to buy anything in Perth for the next one year :p

… It’s been raining everyday here, and the forecast says that Friday is snowing in Shiga.  The dark weather, cold, and the news from Perth, etc etc…  bit depressing (>c<)

I will try enjoy the rest few days in Japan!


Friend’s Wedding in Kobe

Posted March 22nd, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »

It was a really really windy day.  Not only in Kobe, a huge storm hit Japan island yesterday.

I went to Kobe to attend my friend’s wedding.  She is a friend from Osaka collage.  The ceremony and the party was held at Partire Kobe Wedding Village (near Kobe Mosaic), just few minutes walk from JR Kobe station.

Although it was cloudy in the morning, the sun started to show when the ceremony began.  She looked sooo beautiful !!! I was so happy to be there to cerebrate her special day together 😀

The whole ceremony was well organised – both groom and bride cried a lot (with happiness), so did other guests.  And, there were funny parts as well, such as groom threw a bouquet of broccoli to male guests (to compete with bride’s bouquet toss), and whoever caught the broccoli had to eat it with Japanese mayonnaise. :p  And, when the groom and bride fed wedding cake to each other, bride was holding a huge spoon and groom had to eat a huge block of cake.  (the spoon groom was holding was a normal size)  Anyway, with lots of lough and tears, the ceremony ended with outdoor dessert buffet.  There’re so many mouth-watering-looking sweets.  My friends and I took a piece of wedding cake (sponge and cream with strawberries and fruits) first then went back to get some more, but most of the sweets were gone by then :p  Everyone run to the buffet counter and took as much as they could put on a plate.  … I realized that everyone had two stomachs…

After the wedding, groom, bride and their friends normally move to another place to have another party without their parents and families.  (called “nijikai”)  I didn’t go to the “nijikai”, but had a cup of coffee with my friends at a cafe in Kobe Mosaic.  Just wanted to catch up.

It was a good night.


Date with Dad

Posted March 21st, 2010 in Japan | 2 Comments »

It is 6 AM here but the sun is already out.  Spring must be around the corner.  Usually I don’t wake up so early, but today my dad left home early to go to Vietnam with his friends.  He looked excited 🙂  I hope he has a good time and be safe.

Yesterday my dad and I went to Otsu city, which is the capital city of Shiga prefecture.  He suggested to go to Bunka Hall first then go to Otsu Prince Hotel to have a cup of coffee, and browse model houses built around the hotel.  My dad is thinking to build another house…

Bunka Hall (culture hall) is a place where Shiga museum, library and big park are gathered.   The park was beautiful!  Many people were exercising around the pond and families were sitting on the glass enjoying their time.  I took so many pictures of trees and koke (Mosses and Liverworts).

We had a quick browse at Museum, and had lunch at a cafe inside the library.  I had omu-rice set, and my dad had ebi fry teishoku (prawn katsu set)

After lunch, we went to a tea room inside the park.  We had freshly made maccha green tea and wa-gashi (Japanese sweet).

… so full! We left there and headed to Otsu Prince Hotel.  After a cup of coffee, we walked around the model houses and had a chat with sales staff.  Talking with the staff made me realized how much Japanese houses are focusing on the durability for the earthquakes, fire, and also eco.

Modern houses are now all operated with electricity (such as bath room, kitchen, floor and also air conditioning system) yet monthly electric fee is pretty cheap.  For example, you can set the water in the bathtub at the same temperature and enjoy hot bath anytime, you can add hot water, talk from bathroom to anyone in the kitchen, keep the bathroom floor warm, set air-con in the bathroom, automatic toilet sheet, air condition for the whole house, temperature controlled flooring etc etc.  There things are common nowadays.

The layout of Japanese houses are so unique and I wish I could have such house in Perth.  Modern Japanese houses are wooden floored, but have at least one wa-shitsu (tatami matted room).  It’s nice, but I know it’s very difficult to do it to houses in Perth :p


Yamashiro Onsen Trip 2

Posted March 20th, 2010 in Eat Out in Perth - Japanese Food -, Japan | 2 Comments »

Dinner was crab full-course (>v<).

Started with beer, we had crab sashimi, crab steamed board, crab chawan-mushi, frame-grilled crab, crab sushi, crab tempura, crab salad, crab soup, and crab flavored rice with crab meat.  You gotta be crab-lover to eat this dinner…

Crab season is winter, and the areas near Japan Sea, like Ishikawa prefecture, is famous for crabbing.  My family used to come to Fukui prefecture (next to Ishikawa) every winter to enjoy crab when I was a kid.

The food was delish!  We were so full and couldn’t move our bodies after eating these crabs…

In the morning, we were woken up with these breakfast.

A typical Japanese breakfast – rice, miso soup, some condiments and grilled fish…

We grilled our fish on charcoals..  There was squid sashimi, some cooked vegetables with dashi broth, pickles and Onsen Tamago.  Onsen Tamago is half-cooked egg by been immersed in natural, hot Onsen water.  It’s eaten with soy sauce and mirin based sauce.  Those 6 condiments are mentaiko, nori (seaweed paste), grilled salmon flakes, chirimen-jako (seasoned tiny fishes), walnut miso, and seasoned dry shellfish meat.

My dad and I finished the meal with Onsen coffee (brewed with Onsen water).

You can imagine how full we were!  So many seafood in 2 days….  I wonder how come Australian people don’t eat seafood as much as we (Japanese) do, we both live in island county.


Yamashiro Onsen Trip 1

Posted March 19th, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »

My parents, brother and I went to Yamashiro Onsen in Ishikawa prefecture as 18th was my mum’s birthday, and my dad is turning to 60 (kanreki) on 27th.  We stayed there one night.

This area, Kaga, is very historical place and also famous for its natural onsen.  My family stayed in a room with private onsen. 🙂

Ryokan means traditional Japanese style inn/hotel.  The room is usually tatami-matted, and guests were expected to sleep on futon on the floor.

It was also a cold day and little raining.  We arrived this Ryokan around 2pm, and just relaxed until 6 pm – dinner time.  There’re also few more spas (onsen) inside of the Ryokan (non private) , so I went out of the room to enjoy bigger Roten-buro (outdoor onsen) at the ground floor.  Although those spas are not private, there’s no one there. 🙂  I was alone and enjoying 4 different Roten-buro by myself. ♪

The dinner and breakfast was gorgeous!!!!  I will post about the food later 🙂

This are is just 2 hours drive away from my house. The onsen (natural water) was so good, and I could feel my skin was so smooth after taking bath.  Everyone changed to Yukata (light cotton kimono) and played card game until dinner…