Vegan Parents Charged in Death of Baby

Posted March 31st, 2011 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

There’s a shocking news about two vegan parents in France : their 11-month-old daughter died for being fed only breast milk.  They are now facing up to 30 years in prison.

An autopsy showed that the baby was suffering from a vitamin A and B12 deficiency, which experts say increases a child’s sensitivity to infections.  The baby was underweight and deathly pale according to French media.

I don’t know why the parents didn’t notice the baby wasn’t gaining sufficient weight over the last 11 months, and didn’t consult with doctor or anyone for an advice.  And, why they fed only breast milk for 11 months?  They didn’t introduce any solid foods to supplement nutritions to the baby?

Anyway, it’s a devastating news,, but I was surprised to hear the “30 years in prison” part.  And, the fact that the ambulance workers called the polices instead of
consoling the parents, when they arrived and found the baby dead, because the parents were vegans.

I actually have a French friend who is vegan, but I didn’t know that it is not easy being vegetarian in France.  That’s why the parents are facing the 30 years in prison?  Ummm… now I understand what my vegan friend was talking about – her father was really upset when she decided to be a vegan.  Besides, her father is a butcher! (maybe that’s the reason why she became a vegan?)

Anyway, giving enough nutritions is the most important thing when rising a baby, and I think I should try to have more balanced diet.

Nice and Easy

Posted March 29th, 2011 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

It was such a beautiful morning!  I mean, I was awake from 3am trying to put Hiro to sleep, and after the sunrise I stepped outside to hang laundry then I noticed the air was pretty cold and the sky was blue.  I love this moment!  I’m excited to know that autumn is just around the corner 🙂  (Or maybe it will be hot again during the day?)

Yesterday evening my friend called me and we chatted for about 1 hour on the phone.  She was asking me how the things were, and talking about her workplace etc.  Then we started talking about Japan as she is flying back there next month for holiday for 3 weeks.  She said that she may spend lots of money in Japan, as usual…  Going out with friends, going shopping, eating out, travelling to sister’s house by shinkansen… I know what it is, because I’m like her.  We don’t spend much money in Perth (no shopping, not much eat-out), so when we go back to Japan we spend a lot.

I told her I’m thinking to have my hair cut sometime soon, and still can’t decide if I should get hair permed only, or get coloured too.  Then, she told me about “hair-clouring shampoo”.

There seems to be few brands of “colouring shampoo” sold in Japan that colour your hair as you wash…   Is there anything Japan doesn’t have?  There is a colouring shampoo for pets as well (*_*)

The Miami Bakehouse Cafe

Posted March 28th, 2011 in Eat out in Perth | No Comments »

D has been having such a big craving for a sweet bun with icing…  He loves sweets, especially sugary ones and buttery ones.  I really think he should cut down his sugar intake!  I can’t believe his favourite flavour of ice cream is cotton candy.  The vivid colour (blue? pink? purple??) really turns me off…

Anyway, the other day he wanted to grab some icing buns from somewhere.  It was mid afternoon and Hiro was awake but quiet, so we decided to go out to get some fresh air and buy some buns.  Somehow, we headed to Miami Bakery in Melville. (I wrote about this place before here)

To be honest, I don’t really like their pastries… they look great, but  are not to my taste.  Pies are nice though, they have a variety of flavours.  The pie of this month “chicken green curry” was tempting.

…..  I did it again.  I thought “hey this apple turnover looks nice” and ordered one.  The pastry was too dry and hard (I think it was more than 2 days old…), and the cream was tasteless.  I think I had this experience here before, and I totally forgot about it.  I should not order anything with cream here…

I thought D was going to have something with icing, but he ordered chocolate croissant instead.

They do hight tea now. (only at Mandurah and Melville shop)  It’s $27 per head, and includes warm savoury pastries, finger sandwiches, scone with jam & cream, and a selection of desserts and cakes.  Ummm, if you chose a right dessert/cake, I think it’s a good deal.

* Miami Hight Tea $27.00 per person

* Sparkling High Tea (with a glass of sparkling wine) $33.00 per person (only at Mandurah)

Mandurah Foreshore: Saturdays & Sundays from 2PM (08 9581 3000)

Melville: Sundays from 2 PM  (08 9319 3555)

End of March Already!

Posted March 27th, 2011 in Ume's Thought | No Comments »

Today is my dad’s 61st birthday 🙂  I just sent an email saying “happy birthday” and told him to eat something special tonight followed by a big birthday cake.  I was in Japan on dad’s birthday last year and remember eating cake with family.  I can’t believe it was just 1 year ago!  I feel like I haven’t been to Japan for a long time.

Things are still the same around me…  Still bit depressed by the news from Japan, and wearing PJ all day at home. I really need to refresh up!  I don’t normally spend lots of money on clothes and bags, but I feel like doing it right now.  I want to wear nice clothes and make-up, and go shopping and eat something nice!  I also want to have my hair cut too.  Should I keep it long or make it short?

It should be autumn by now, and according to the news, Eastern states are much cooler than Perth (around 22 degrees?)  Yet, it was another hot day with strong sunlight yesterday.  The iPad2 was released on Friday at 5PM, and D headed to the nearest JB HiFi to get few (for his dad, himself and friends), but there’s so many people queueing by the time we arrived and he couldn’t get what he wanted.  I overheard that there’re 1000’s people at the apple store in the city at that time.  1000’s…

Now, I’m spending the most of my free time thinking and planning what to do and where to go in Japan in autumn (autumn in Japan – around Sep ~ Nov).  Planning a trip is the most fun part, isn’t it. 🙂  We probably won’t be able to go out much as Hiro will be there too, but I think we’re going to stay with my family (mostly with my grandparents) as much as we can.  One of my grandma can’t hear me every time I call her, so we need to be there to talk to her.  We’re also going to eat lots of autumn foods, such as matsutake! 😀

The Fukushima Fifty

Posted March 25th, 2011 in Japan | 2 Comments »

Did you know that there were 50 people left at the Fukushima nuclear plant who have battled to cool down the overheating reactors since the disaster on March 11?  They are a band of lower and mid-level managers at the plant, and they were, of course, aware of the danger and the outcome of being exposed to radiation – death.

Although the heat from the damaged reactors were sweltering, they had to wear protective bodysuits to protect their skin from the poisonous radioactive particles – … but radiation seeped into the atmosphere minute by minute.  They did this, sacrificing themselves, because someone had to.  They left families behind… telling them that they won’t be home for a while.  One girl tweeted in a message translated by ABC: “My dad went to the nuclear plant, I’ve never seen my mother cry so hard. People at the plant are struggling, sacrificing themselves to protect you. Please dad come back alive.”

Later, 150 colleagues joined the original 50 and rotated in teams to limit their exposure to the radiation.  But by now, 5 out of 50 are believed to have already died and 15 are injured while others have said they know the radiation will kill them.

Tokyo Water Bureau officials said levels of radioactive iodine in some city tap water contained two times the recommended limit for infants, and the government have issued a warning to all mothers urging them not to let babies drink the tap water.   The U.S. have halted all dairy imports from Japan and will screen all other foods before allowing entry.

New McDonald’s Brekkie

Posted March 24th, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

Since watching tv ad of McDonald’s 2 new breakfast bagel, I’d been wanting to try them out.  They are only available until 10:30AM, and usually we are busy looking after Hiro around the time, so I didn’t really have chance to go out and grab one.

NYC Benedict Bagel is with bacon, egg, cheese and Hollandaise sauce, and Boston Deli Bagel is with bacon, egg, tomato, cheese and seasoned avocado.  I tried Boston Deli, and D tried NYC Benedict.

The bagel is pretty soft and fluffy.  It was $5.15 each and I thought it was bit expensive…  Even a Mega Muffin in Japan costs only 290 yen.  But, I did enjoy it.:)  Very full.

Baby Sculpture

Posted March 23rd, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 2 Comments »

The other day we packed our diaper bag and headed to Tiny Treasures‘s atelier to get Hiro’s hands and foot sculpture.  I was curious to find out how they’re going to mold the shape of baby’s hands and foot.

The lady was really friendly and I loved her atelier.  She also does sculpture for pets too.

This is how she did.  She made some mixture, and wrapped it around Hiro’s feet and hand.

I thought he was going to cry, but he was very quiet.  🙂

Sculpture will be done in 4 weeks…  It will remind us in few years time that he used to be this tiny.

Things Lately

Posted March 21st, 2011 in Ume's Thought | 2 Comments »

Things have been little depressing lately… The news about Japan, a tiny argument with in-law, and staying in the house for the most of the time, etc.  We do go out, just to the park nearby and grocery shopping. Even if it’s just a 10 minutes shopping, we need to plan the trip beforehand – check the diaper, feeding,etc. We are still not used to going out for long hour.

I’ve been taking lots of photos of Hiro, and posted some of them to my mum.  I hope it’ll arrive soon!  I can’t believe a stamp for an envelop to Japan is now $2.20.  It used to be $1.30 just few months ago.  Is a stamp within Australia still 55 cent?

After hearing about the extra pumps being added to help cooling down the nuclear heat, I hope things are getting better over there.  I’ve started to plan our trip to Japan (too soon?) already 🙂  First, Hiro needs to get Japanese passport – … well, I haven’t had time to go to Japanese consulate to register his birth yet, but after it’s done, it shouldn’t take time…  It’ll be about 1.5 years since my last homecoming.  To think about it, it’s not really a long time.  But I feel like I’m dying to eat Japanese food there!  (Autumn food!)

After having Hiro, I realised I can eat almost any food now.  Soft scrambled egg, smoked salmon, camanbart cheese…  During pregnancy I had craving for sushi (although sushi is not really my favorite food), so I recently headed to Nishi Japanese restaurant in Myaree to have nigiri-zushi.  I ordered assorted sushi medium – which contains 10 pieces of nigiri-zushi + few pieces of hosomaki (thin rolled sushi).  … Ummmm, it made me realise how much I miss going back to Japan!  The dish was around $22.00…  in Japan, you can get the same amount of nigiri-zushi from a convenience store for around 680 yen.  Yes, I will be very happy with sushi from convenience stores.

Oh, and, my friend brought me some takikomi-dohan (seasoned rice).  She thought I was having trouble cooking 🙂  Thanks E&K, it was really nice.  Japanese food is the best!

Just a Thought

Posted March 20th, 2011 in Ume's Thought | 2 Comments »

I know it may sound little strange, but when I was having dinner with in-laws tonight, I suddenly started thinking about the past – my life before coming to Perth, and the time when I was dating D.

Do you regret something what you’ve done in the past?  Or, wonder what it would be if you had chosen different direction in your life?  Like, for example, you had to make a decision “yes” or “no” at some situation in the past, and you chose “no”, but you wonder what your life would have been if you had chosen “yes” instead.

I don’t (try not to) regret my decisions and my past, but sometimes it comes up to my mind… Where would I be and what would I be doing if I chose different answers in the past?

To think about it, I’ve had so many situations that might have changed my life.  I had a boyfriend when I came to Perth to study English. I left him in Japan, and after awhile things got difficult and I decided to break up with him.  There was nothing wrong with him, it was just me – I just wanted to concentrate on my study and make my dream come true.

When I was dating D, I just happened to stay in his house for few weeks (some trouble at the shared house I was living), then I ended up staying in this house… until now.  I was going to move out the house, but D said “no”.  I stayed, but what if I had moved out and lived by my own?  Would the things be still same as our current situation?

It may be a silly thought…  just wondering.

Voices from Tokyo (East) and Shiga (West)

Posted March 17th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

“Some medical supplies doesn’t arrive due to the earthquake.”

“Try to go grocery shopping after work, but all the foods were sold-out at the supermarkets.  No rice, bread, noodle.  I decided to go to parents’ house to get some food, but they couldn’t buy much food either.”

“Only 2 rolls of toilet paper left…  Are we going to use newspapers after finishing these 2 rolls?!!”

“Controlled Black Out to save energy.  Including traffic lights.  People are recommended to take public transport or bicycle.”

“Big demand on blood donation”

“Manufactures and factories shut down due to the black out.  It affects other businesses and things are very quiet…  I work at a factory for Seven Eleven’s bento boxes and onigiri, but we don’t get much ingredients from suppliers now.”

“Batteries are all gone in Shiga too.  Some people think about themselves only!”

People in Japan seem to be in panic and rushing to the supermarkets to buy as many things as they can for themselves… even in the areas which aren’t affected by the earthquake.  Why?  Some people say that they can’t believe what government and the leader of Fukushima nuclear plant say on tv.  “it is safe…” “nothing to worry about…”  Some people are frustrated by others who buy food more than they need.  Please think about others, it’s not only you who are anxious and scared…

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 🙂