Sunday, October 25, 2009

We are home!

I wanted to update quickly and let everyone know we made it home safe and sound. It was a very long day. Miyako did fairly well on the big flight from Tokyo to Detroit. We went through customs and were pushing it to make our connecting flight, only to board and find out we would have to deplane because a bird flew in the plane and got stuck in the cockpit. We boarded a new plane and had to wait for what felt like an eternity for them to come and fill up the gas tank so we could be on our way. These small delays added to mere exhaustion and a state of hunger I had not known in awhile, made us all very happy to land in Lexington. Our homecoming meal of choice for dinner - McDonald's. I know that sounds like such the typical American - coming home from a foreign country (who has McD's BTW) and eating McDonald's, but it just sounded so good. Jet lag recovery has been very rough coming back, a lot harder than going to Japan. The last two nights Miyako has been up from about 11-2/3 crying and upset because she wants to play, not sleep. I wish the job description of mom had included paid time off for recovery of jet lag, but no such luck. As a mom, even if you could sleep, you do not get to when your child can't. Oh well. Hopefully it will be better in a few days.

I have really enjoyed keeping the blog updated. I am sure stateside I will not be as regular, but we do have fun things to post about coming up - this coming weekend is our first Trick or Treat with our little Pumpkin and her first birthday party is on Sunday! Be looking for more updates with these fun activities!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Heading "Home"

Tomorrow we are heading back to Kentucky. The bags are packed, for the most part, and I guess you can say we are "ready." I have had a great last week. The weather has been fantastic and I have continued to meet new people while being here that friends back home connected me with. Today Miyako and I met a new friend and her son (who is one day older than Miyako) at the indoor play area we have grown acquainted with. The ladies were so sad to see Miyako-chan returning to America. They loved her there, but who wouldn't right? We also took a long walk and took some end of the trip shots of our neighborhood.

As I contemplate returning back "home" I definitely have things I look forward to...sleeping in my own bed, watching football all day on Saturday, visiting with my family and friends, and being back at church. However, as I sit here looking at the bright lights of the skyscrapers and Tokyo Tower, I know I am going to miss it here. God has really provided me with some great new friends during my month here. What a blessing. And, the big city has so much to offer. One lady I became friends with has been here for 6 years and said she still has not seen everything yet. I will miss too the public transportation...although it was sometimes hard with Miyako in the stroller during rush hour, it was so much easier just to hop on the metro. I forgot how much I enjoyed public transportation from my time in Belarus.

I can tell you though what the best part of the month was for me...our family was not thousands of miles apart. I think this was the first four weeks since March where we were not separated via a trip to Japan. Since March Kan has flown about 150,000 miles. You can do the math, but that is a lot of trips to Japan. We basically try to have him home for three weeks and then he is gone for 10-14 days. It was so much fun to be here together as a family and to not be separated. There were times when we did not see him much due to his busy work schedule, but to be in the same apartment and know he is coming home each night was a blessing for our family. I do not know if Miyako even realized she was so far away from her "home." Home for her is being with mama and papa so she was pretty content while we were here. I guess we can learn from her too. I feel so fortunate to have this little family, to go home to extended family and friends, and to know one day I will be in heaven with an even greater extended family with my Heavenly Father. I have thought a lot these four weeks on where "home" is, and firmly believe home is with Jesus. No matter where I go or what I do, He is the one constant in my life who never leaves me or forsakes me.

If you think of it, please pray for us tomorrow as we fly back to the States. Miyako has a bit of a runny nose and my throat is a little scratchy due to some fall weather coming in the past couple of days. Pray for us to stay healthy and for Miyako to do well on the plane as we travel back.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Relaxing Weekend

This weekend has been very relaxing. Friday night Kan had a dinner with work so a lady whose fiance was with Kan came over to our apartment and we made Japanese curry together and hung out. Saturday it was a family day and we did not do much. We relaxed and I watched Midnight Madness on the Sling! WHOO HOO! GO CATS! They sure did look good in the dunk contest. Kan's friend came and took us to Shibuya. So you know in all the movies of Tokyo that you see there is this major intersection where it seems like thousands of people are crossing? This is Shibuya. I had wanted to go there but not by myself with Miyako because of all the people, so we went on Saturday. It is everything and more that you see in the movies. Swarms and swarms of people. I am glad I saw it but do not think it will be a place I frequent. I did cross the major intersection with Miyako in her stroller. I think she had sensory overload from all of the people and bright lights.

Today we had a lovely time meeting with the Dutch missionaries I mentioned earlier. It was so refreshing as Japan can be a dark place spiritually. They are strategically working to bring the Gospel to Tokyo and have great support through Redeemer Pres in New York City. Kan really enjoyed talking with them as well and we simply had a wonderful time.

This afternoon Kan's friends took us to Odaiba. There are two big shopping malls here with lots of places outside to walk around. One of the malls reminded Kan and I of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Tokyo has more shopping than any other place I have been to. I enjoyed the kid store and got several Hello Kitty gifts to bring home for my friends and their little girls! The Japanese are wonderful hosts. One of Kan's co-workers with a car rented a car seat for the month we are here so he could take us sightseeing on the weekends. So thoughtful. Overall it was a wonderful weekend. And how about those CATS? Pulling out the win at Auburn. That was great news to wake up to this morning.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Date Night with Miyako

The sun was bright today and Miyako and I finally made it to the zoo! After taking the train and walking we made it to the entrance after 30 minutes and found it OPEN! The only problem was my little priss pooh was getting tired. And there was a sign at the door "No Giant Panda." What a bummer because I really thought I would have seen a Panda at the Tokyo Ueno zoo. We walked around and saw lions, tigers and birds oh my. There were tons of bird exhibits. Another bummer was after my first picture of Miyako my memory card became full so I did not get any more pictures, and they had a fake panda I wanted to get a picture of with Miyako in front of it. Oh well. I did buy her a stuffed panda and after a short little 20 minute walk through (not a terribly huge zoo and I had an unhappy baby) we left the zoo and took the metro back home for the afternoon nap.

Tonight Miyako and I had a date night since Kan was out late with work. We went to the mall and walked around. I was going to eat in the food court and share a pizza with her (her first by the way) until I saw that Bubba Gump's Shrimp Company was open. The restaurant was connected to the mall and overlooked the Tokyo Bay. Since we were eating at 5, we saw the bay at a beautiful time of day. The sun was starting to go down and the lights were coming alive off the buildings and bridge. I did not get my picture, due to my memory card not getting fixed yet, but I will forever remember it in my mind. Miyako had a kids cheese pizza, and loved it by the way, and I had some popcorn shrimp.

I had never been to a Bubba Gump restaurant before, but as you can imagine they play lots of country music. Now, I am not a huge fan of country. The best time I have had with country music was two years ago at the post Vandy/UK game celebration when my girlfriends and I hit the bars in Nashville. We joked that we were the only ones in the bars singing along without knowing the words considering our choice of music is Black Eyed Peas and Beyonce. So, sitting in Bubba Gump's with an almost one year old leaves little room for conversation and you are forced to listen to country music. I found the songs quite interesting. I was thinking about my friends at home and missing them a little bit when a Dolly Parton song came on about Jesus meeting you where you are at and how you are not lonely with him. What a sweet reminder God used to brighten my spirits and remind me I am not alone because I have Him.

We ended our date with a chocolate strawberry crepe - for mama naturally - but I did let Miyako have a bite or two of the dough part of the crepe. Tomorrow we are having lunch with a Japanese lady and her 11 month old son. She is married to an American so I am anxious to see if our kids look alike. :) My connection with her came from the Dutch missionaries. I am looking forward to getting to know her over lunch at Denny's (they are much better here than in the States) and letting our kids play at an indoor playland. Until tomorrow...

We finished

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Quiet Day

Today was a quiet day for Miyako and I. Mama did not feel like sightseeing so we went to the indoor play area. I am not sure how to describe it. It is about 4 rooms with toys for different ages of kids along including a lunch room, nap room and changing table area. The workers were so excited to see Miyako-chan. Today it was not very crowded, only about 4 kids there while we were there. I met a lady who is Japanese and is married to an Australian. Her little boy was born exactly one week after Miyako. I enjoyed talking with her, in English of course. She comes to the play area about twice a week and had been there for 2.5 hours when she left. I told Kan I guess women enjoy these play areas because there is lots of room and lots of different toys for their kids to play with. Most apartments are small and do not have a lot of space for a lot of toys. Miyako and I stayed for a hour before we headed home for her afternoon nap.

Miyako ate homemade spaghetti for the first time tonight, leftovers from last night. I have been hesitant in giving her big people food but felt like I needed to expand and give her more variety. It makes me nervous because I am afraid she will choke. I guess it is the first time mom worries in me. She loved the spaghetti and peas for dinner.

Kan has a late night tonight so dinner was on my own. I picked up a kotsudon from the supermarket - this is one of my favorite dishes here - it is egg, onion, and fried pork in this brown sauce over rice, of course. It is really delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it while I watched the local morning news in Lexington on our computer. Let me just say I am not missing the weather you are having back home. Tomorrow in Tokyo it is going to be sunny and a high of 64 (and one of my friends here said that it is starting to get cold here:). We are going back to the zoo tomorrow in hopes of it being open! Pictures will come next post.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This past weekend was a national holiday in Japan. Since Kan was off work on Monday we made the trip to Kyoto to see his parents and let them meet Miyako for the first time. We took the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Kyoto and saw some beautiful countryside along the way. We were in Kyoto by lunch time on Saturday (a 2.5 hour train trip would have taken 6 hours in the car) and Miyako got to meet her ojiichan (grandpa) and mommychan (grandma).

Of course they were smitten with Miyako - who wouldn't be right? I was worried that she would not warm up very well since she had never met them before, but after a couple of hours playing and interacting, she did just fine with her Japanese grandparents. We did not do any sightseeing while in Kyoto. We basically just spent time in their home, eating and chatting and letting them get to know Miyako. Oh, I did forget her sippy cup and had to buy one at the local department store for $11. Yes, I could not believe I spent $11 on a plastic sippy cup, but I did not have any other options.

Sunday Mommychan took Miyako shopping and bought her some lovely dresses. Kan's mom is also a wonderful cook and we ate some lovely dinners, both in their presentation and taste. The national holiday was a field day event for elementary age children. Nobody works on this day and parents go to watch their children in the field day event. It turns out that Kan's parents' house is across the street from a school so all day long on Sunday we heard through the loud speaker an announcer calling the events and then kid music playing. It really was all day long! Thankfully Miyako still took a good afternoon nap.

We came back on Monday to lovely weather here in Tokyo. Supposedly it is going to be nice all week! Today Miyako and I ventured to Ueno park. This park has the zoo and several museums including the National Museum of Tokyo. It was a HUGE park and I found where all of the homeless people in Tokyo lived. Up until this point I had not seen a homeless person here and was surprised considering we are in one of the largest cities, if not the largest city, in the world. Well, walking through the park, we saw lots of homeless people and it was quite sad. It was also sad to come upon the zoo and see it was closed today. My friend from Nagoya told me some museums close the Tuesday after a national holiday so I guess this is the policy of the Ueno Zoo. We will try again tomorrow. The National Museum was also closed but the Art Museum was open. I decided to venture in and try it. Turns out you do not pay one price for all of the exhibits, but you pay individually for each exhibit. So, I decided to pick one and since we are in Japan I did the Japanese paintings for 700 yen, a little more than $7. The man who I paid for my ticket was an artist and had some paintings in the exhibit. He proudly walked me to his paintings of Italy. Miyako did great as we skipped her morning nap to venture out. And of course, she made lots of friends on the metro ride to and from the zoo.

A highlight today was my Skype call with my friend out in Arizona! So fun! I love Skype and we decided even when I am home we will Skype so she can see little Miyako.

Here's to tomorrow...let's hope the zoo is open!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Visitor from Nagoya

As you can tell from my lack of posting this week, we have been busy!! So much fun to be had the last couple of days. Wednesday I went with a Dutch lady to a Western grocery store. They had everything from Campbell's soups to salsa and cheddar cheese. I was hoping to find Gerber baby food but no such luck. I did splurge and get Miyako some goldfish and myself some cheese and wheat bread. However, the prices were outrageous. A box of Betty Crocker brownie mix was $8. A Sam's size bag of m and m's was $22. I am not kidding. More than gocking at the types of food in the store, I was gocking at the ridiculous prices.

Wednesday afternoon our friend Darlene arrived from Nagoya. We met Darlene through Kan's American family and she has been in Japan for 9 years now. What a blessing her visit was to me and Miyako. On Wednesday night Darlene and I went to eat at a restaurant near our house. We had okonomiyaki. It is a pancake like dish with egg, cabbage, a meat of some kind (we chose pork) and ginger. Typically you cook your own dish at your table, but since we were gaijin (foreigners) and the only people at the restaurant they cooked it for us at our table. It was delicious. I even ate mine with the fish flakes they put on top and enjoyed it. We also set up a Skype call with Kan's American mom. The crazy thing is his sister and brother-in-law were also online. So, we were skyping with Momma Di on one computer and Kim and Tom on the other computer. It was a lot of fun and Darlene enjoyed being able to catch up with Dianne.

Thursday there was supposed to be a typhoon so we thought we would be housebound. Instead, it rained in the morning and by noon Darlene, Miyako and I were out and about. We went to Asakusa which is considered the Old Town of Tokyo. It is well known for the Asakusa Kannon temple (also called Senso-ji) which is the oldest temple in Tokyo. The Buddhist goddess of mercy sits at this temple and is protected by the god of wind and fire (I think). This area also housed a Shinto shrine called Asakusa Jinja which was built in 1649. The main gate to the temple was hard to miss with the gigantic red lantern (called Kaminarimon). We enjoyed walking around the area and feeling like tourists with all of the other foreigners. After this we took Darlene to Ginza, the big shopping center with Prada, Tiffany, etc that I referenced earlier. It was nice to walk around on a beautiful day and really get to look at everything.

For dinner Thursday night we ventured to Roppongi, another area known for foreigners. Once I got there, I understood why. We saw Outback Steakhouse, Hard Rock Cafe, and TGI Friday's within blocks of each other. Our mission though was a Mexican restaurant we found on a side street. It was delicious. It did not come with free chips and salsa which is probably a good thing because you did not overeat, but the chicken burrito, Mexican rice and refried beans tasted just like Rincon from home. After dinner we stumbled across a Coldstone Ice cream and inevitably had to stop for dessert. The area we were in is called Roppongi Hills. I read in my tour book that it gets an estimated 100,000 visitors each week day and up to 300,000 people come here on the weekend days. Amazing. Being in Roppongi felt like what you see of Tokyo in the movies - lots of people, hustle and bustle, and lots and lots of lights.

I was so thankful to have Darlene with us as I did not see many elevators on the metro system so she helped me carry Miyako in the stroller up and down stairs. I do not know what I will do next week when I try to go to the zoo. I am praying for divine appointments with elevators or else I might get a little discouraged.

After breakfast today at a restaurant across the street from us called Jonathan's (no it is not like the fancy Jonathan's in Lexington but it did have pancakes!) Darlene went back to Nagoya. Miyako and I ventured to her indoor play area after lunch and the workers were so happy to see us back. The lady I met last time was there again today and I enjoyed talking to her while our kids played. Miyako likes having all of the different toys to play with and watching the other kids. Let me just brag a little bit too on Miyako. She is a big hit here. Everywhere we go, people smile at her and she smiles back. One man on the train was making funny faces at her and she just laughed. She is a big hit and people keep saying "kawaii" which means "cute." I think she is a little star over here and people have been so nice to her. It is fun to watch.

We are heading to Kyoto tomorrow for Miyako to meet her Japanese grandparents for the first time. It is a holiday on Monday so we will be back in Tokyo Monday evening. I will update the blog once we get back.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Indoor Playland for Miyako

Well, it is rainy and gloomy yet again in Tokyo so I decided to put Miyako in the baby biorn and venture out to try and find this free indoor play area for kids. I finally found it. It is a good thing I did not find it yesterday because they are not open on Mondays anyways! A lady saw me having trouble with the front desk because of my poor Japanese and she helped me fill out the paperwork. I was able to get a card for Miyako-chan so we can go back there any time on our visit here. The lady who helped me was very nice and we chatted for quite awhile. She gave me her phone number and we hope to get together again while I am here. She has a 7 month old little girl. The room was pretty cool. It was divided into play stations for different ages (up to 3 years old). It also had a dining area, changing area, and naptime area. There were lots of moms there with little ones and it looked like a nice social area for moms. I hope to go back while I am here. Miyako seemed to like it once she realized it was not the church nursery and I was staying with her. The only bummer is I did not take any pictures. I did not want to look rude or inconsiderate.

I forgot to mention something cultural from yesterday. Kan got a tear in his suit so we needed to find a tailor to fix it. First we walked to this one place and he said it would take him more than a week, but he recommended another tailor down the street. Well, we found this tailor only his wife said they have been out of business for 20 years due to her husband's death. She recommended a third and final place inside a mall who is going to fix it in a week. Yes, we could have just gone with the first guy. Oh well. The interesting thing Kan told me is that it is very normal for people to stay where they are for a long time in Japan. This woman has been a widow for 20 years yet she still lives in the same spot and people assume they are still open for business. He said it is normal for businesses to not change much over time.

Well, I must say I was very proud of myself for finding this indoor play area. I felt like I accomplished a huge task today. And Miyako is sleeping soundly from being worn out! Tomorrow is a big day. Our friend Darlene who is a missionary in Japan is coming to stay with us for three days. I am super excited to have her here. I have never met her before but she is friends with Kan and his American family. It will be fun to have someone to walk around the city with. I am also meeting with the Dutch missionary whom I had tea with last week to go to a Western grocery store. I am hoping to find some gerber baby food and some sort of greens to feed Miyako like frozen peas or green beans. I cannot find those at my local grocery. Until tomorrow....

A Fun Filled Weekend

So, you will have to forgive me. I spent most of my evening fighting facebook to upload pictures to my Japan 2009 album. When it got around to writing my blog entry, I was too tired to fight with the blog too. So, I know my pictures look a little funny, but right now I am beyond caring and just want to give you a glimpse into our world. Please forgive me. Next time I post pictures on the blog I will do it on a different day that I post on facebook. Too many places to keep up with pictures. Anyways, the pictures above are a hodge podge of sorts of our trip so far. There are a few pics of our apartment and the view from our balcony; Kan and Miyako playing with her new "baaaaa" as she calls it; our sushi feast from Saturday night with Kan's co-worker and his fiance; walking around the city on a rainey Saturday; and Miyako in her cute little high chair we bought for her here. Enjoy the pics. Now on to my entry...

Our first full weekend in Japan was filled with lots of fun. We woke up on Saturday to bright blue skies and debated on whether or not to go to Disneyland Tokyo. However, after comparing Disney prices ($130 for our family) to zoo prices ($30 for our family) we decided to venture to the zoo and save Disneyland for when our kids can enjoy it more and we can stay longer than 3 hours before nap time or temper tantrum hits. We were ready to set out, walked out of our building, and the rain started. Again! So, we got the rain gear on which means Mama gets to wear Miyako in the backpack and use an umbrella to keep her dry, and headed to the Ginza shopping district to visit an ATM and walk around.

I had heard about the Ginza area but had never been. Let me tell you, I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman only Kan is not Richard Gere with unlimited spending. On one corner I was looking at Tiffany, Cartier, Gucci, and Prada. It was amazing how many super nice stores were in such a small concentrated area, and even more amazing how many people were actually shopping at these stores and spending money. Kan said he saw/heard lots of Koreans and Chinese and not many Japanese. Japan's economy has not done well in the past 20 years or so and as a result the Ginza area is more for tourists now. We took a break at Starbuck's to get out of the rain and spent about $11 on two frappaccino's. After Starbuck's we headed towards another area of town that Kan used to stay at on business trips and walked around and had lunch at one of his favorite restaurants. Saturday evening Kan's co-worker and his fiance brought us dinner...fresh sushi that we made in our kitchen. We had salmon, tuna, teriyaki chicken (for me), and tuna fish salad. It was all yummy and the presentation was pretty (see picture).

Sunday we were up and at em pretty early because we had to watch the UT/AU game on Sling. Needless to say, the outcome was not the greatest but we did cheer on the Vols. Kan's co-workers came to pick us up at noon and we drove to Yokohama for the day. Thankfully, it was sunny and about 80 degrees outside. We walked, and walked, and took a ferry and walked some more. It was a beautiful part of Japan and not as concentrated as Tokyo. We got to go up in a huge tower and get a gorgeous view of all of Tokyo which was fun, but by the time we got home, Kan and I were beat. You can imagine how tired little Miyako was without getting an afternoon nap. She fell asleep on our drive back and easily went to bed once we got home.

Today was a bummer of a day because the rain came back. I went to find this indoor play area that is for children up to two years old and is free. I walked all around the building and could not find it. Turns out I was in the right building but wrong entrance. It is only one stop from us so I guess I will try it again tomorrow. I enjoyed cooking one of Kan's favorite noodle dishes for dinner tonight although to be honest, I was not a huge fan of it. It was a little too much of a fishy flavor for me, but I am glad he liked it.

Tomorrow I do not have any big plans...trying to see what the weather does. If it is nice I will venture out to the zoo. If it is rainy again, I will try to find this indoor play area for a second time. I love public transportation and walking everywhere. It does provide great exercise. At the same time, I would love it even more if the weather was nice and sunny.

One funny thing I have found...if I speak just a little bit of Japanese to a stranger, they think I am fluent and start speaking non-stop to me of which I can pick up about 2 words out of every 20. It is quite funny and I remember people doing this to me when I lived in Belarus. It brought back funny memories. So much of my time here has reminded me of when I lived in Belarus, only this time I am married and have a child living overseas and not a single girl running around Eastern Europe. Well, my bed is calling me. Let's hope I have a little more energy next time I post. Good night all.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tea with Dutch Missionaries

I woke up this morning to yet another cloudy rainy day. I was really bummed as I did not know how I would get Miyako to our tea appointment in the pouring down rain. Kan reminded me of the Baby Biorn we brought so after much work I got Miyako in the backpack and we were off to meet with the Dutch. What a lovely time we had. They have been in Japan for 6 years now, 2 years of which was spent in language school. They have three lovely children who are tri-lingual. The name of their church is Grace City Church tokyo and it is a church plant through Redeemer Pres in New York City. The target population of their church is young professionals between the ages of 20-40. Their team consists of the family we met with and a Japanese pastor. They are waiting upon another family from America to join their team. Their church does not have regular worship yet, but they do have several small groups and outreach Bible studies. As I was telling Kan about the church, we were very excited about it. If we ever had the opportunity to come back to Tokyo long term, this would be a good church for us to be a part of and to bring his friends to.

The wife I met with today is going to take me to a Western grocery store on Wednesday. She said it is a bit pricey but I can find Gerber baby food and Pepperidge Farm goldfish. I did not think about the baby food in Japan being different but instead of chicken and veggies you get fish and tofu. Let's just say Miyako is not a huge fan of the tofu, although she did eat half a jar of it tonight. Maybe she is getting used to it. But it will be nice to have a few Gerber foods on stock for the nights she does not want her fish and tofu. I was very encouraged by meeting with this family today and making some new friends in the area.

I think Miyako has adjusted to jet lag as she took a typical afternoon nap like she does at home...cry for 45 minutes, sleep for 45 minutes and cry for another 45 minutes. How I already miss those solid 3 hour jet lag naps! After her nap we took a stroll in the neighborhood and got caught in the rain so I had to put my running legs on to get Miyako back before she got too wet. She just laughed as the rain came down on her little feet. As most of you reading this are just now starting your day, we are getting ready to eat supper and watch a movie on the computer with some take out. Kind of sounds like we just went to Wah Mei and the movie rental store in our neighborhood except tonight we went to Hotto Motto and brought along Fever Pitch from our own blockbuster movie collection.

I had a fun Skype moment today with my friend Natasha in Ukraine. It was 6PM for me and 11AM for her. I love Skype. It was great because I could show her our apartment and our view...two friends who met in Belarus, live in Ukraine and the US and talked while one of us is in Tokyo. Amazing.

I will end with some Miyako moments of the day - while I was feeding her today she took my earring out and put it in her mouth. Yes, I was a tad bit scared. The child puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. She also took about 4 steps on her own and looked up at me with the biggest smile. She is so proud of herself and it is so stinkin cute. Finally, I told her to go get her ball and she said "Baaaa" and went and got it. Smart girl.

Tomorrow is calling for rain all day which is a bummer because we really wanted to go to Disneyland. I am hoping I wake up in the morning to a surprise of sunshine and we can take Miyako to see Mickey Mouse Tokyo style.

Good night all.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Romans 8:15

For my Bible Study this week our homework was to memorize Romans 8:15 which says, "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba Father." I confess LeVan that I did not do my homework during the week, but I think by the time I leave Japan to come back to the States I will know this verse like the back of my hand. I am going to use it as my theme verse while I am here. So, when I get on that large subway system I have nothing to fear! And that was my attitude today when Miyako and I took our first adventure on our own and it was a glorious day.

My day started with taking our Book Club global as I Skyped into the meeting. They even gave me my own chair by putting the laptop in my seat! It was very cool and fun to see my friends and show them our place here in Tokyo. The only problem is I saw a glass of wine on the table and wanted one but realized I should not start that at 8 in the morning. We discussed The Help, which I highly recommend you read. It is a wonderful book.

After Book Club, Miyako and I headed out to the mall, which is one metro stop away from our apartment. We really are in a great location. It takes about 1 minute to walk to the subway station. I was hoping if I left around 9:30 I would beat the morning rush but the train was still pretty crowded. However, when you have a cute baby in a stroller people let you through pretty easily. The nice man who directs people as they get off the subway even pointed me toward the elevator so I would not have to take the escalator with a stroller and gobs of people.

The mall was wonderful. It would have been better if I had about $10,000 to spend on cute trendy clothes for myself and Priss Pooh. Everything is very expensive but oh so cool and trendy. The mall had this playland for older kids that let's them pretend they are part of a city and they get jobs and play in this make believe town like they are adults working full-time jobs. It also had a movie theater which I may have to go back to when Kan is home to see that new Jennifer Anniston movie by myself. Some of the movies are in English with Japanese subtitles and there was this crepe place right by the theater. Yum. Sounds like a nice evening to myself.

On our outing today we also found this place called Ciel Tower, which a lady had recommended to me. It has a kid center specifically for children two and under where you can take your tot to play and get their energy out with toys appropriate for their age. So, I was wanting to go to it at some point but did not know where it was. Well, it is right by the mall so I am looking forward to checking it out. Did I mention it is free? And close? Perfect.

After Miyako's afternoon nap and my P90X yoga (which is one of the hardest things I've done), we walked to the grocery and picked up fixings for dinner. Tonight I made Japanese curry, one of Kan's favorites. I am wondering if it will taste better here than when I make it at home? Hmm...I think it is time to find out...I am hungry.

Miyako did some fun things today. She was holding onto this stool, looked at me with this huge grin, and walked towards me for two steps before she collapsed in my arms. She is so close to walking! It is so cute because she is so proud of herself when she does it and has this huge grin on her face. I also bought her a ball today at the mall. It was sitting on the stool with her toys and I said "Miyako, go get the ball." And she picked up the ball and tossed it to me. What a smart little cookie we have.

Tomorrow Miyako and I are having tea with Dutch missionaries doing a PCA church plant here in Tokyo. I am excited to meet them and have some fellowship. I will let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rain rain go away...

As you can guess from my title of this entry it has been raining nonstop today. I was so bummed because I had planned to take Miyako out and about, but due to the rain we stayed inside. A co-worker of Kan's brought us a walker to use so she played in that quite a bit today. I just felt bad that I could not get her outside. We did stand on our balcony periodically and enjoyed the view. We do have an excellent view of the city.

We are still fighting our jet lag. Miyako got up this morning around 4:30 but after changing a dirty diaper she went back to sleep fairly quickly until 6:30. I can tell though she is not herself and still struggling somewhat. I think if I would let her, she would go to bed at night at 6. She does not fight at all when it comes to going to bed at 7 and I have to do everything I can think of to keep her up that long. It has given me some sweet moments of snuggle time with her in the evenings that I will cherish. She is taking solid afternoon naps but does not want to wake up. I have to go in and wake her up if she is still asleep at 4:30. Bless her little heart. She just does not know what is going on.

Since I cannot share about anything we did today outside the city, I can share some milestones for her. She let go of a stool today and took two steps towards me by herself. She did this once before but it was a couple of weeks ago. She had not dones it since so it was fun to have her try again. Also today she gave me a kiss which was sweet. And, she now loves the telephone and understands what it does. She has a play phone and whenever I play with her and say "Hello is Miyako there" or "Moshi Moshi, Miyako desu ka" (which is the Japanese) she picks up her phone and puts it to her ear and grins! It is so cute and the best part is that she understands it in both english and japanese.

Hopefully tomorrow we will have a more interesting post about something fun we got to do, although the forecast is calling for more rain.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Baby Overseas

I lived overseas for two years after college in Minsk, Belarus and I remember the struggles I had: not getting to where I wanted when I wanted due to public transportation, wishing the lady behind the counter would understand my broken Russian (which became much better by the end of 2 years and now I find myself wanting to speak it while in Japan), or just the simple things that are so much easier in the country you are familiar with. Well, that was a piece of cake compared to having a baby overseas! She is still fighting jet lag and was up last night from 2-4:30. She was up again at 6. I should have known that good night would not last forever. HA! I am glad we are staying for a good bit of time because I would hate to spend a week of a 10 day visit adjusting to jet lag.

Today I had big plans to go to the mall. However, Priss Pooh did not take a morning nap therefore I did not get a shower so we could not go to the mall after her morning nap. Oh well. The same thing would have happened in America! It just feels heightened when I was really wanting to try the subway today by myself. I need to remind myself I am here for a month so I have plenty of time and I need to let my sweet girl get adjusted. She is taking a solid nap and I am listening to Spin ride 177 from Heidi while I write this entry as I drink my coke zero. Life is good. Plus, for those of you not on facebook, I watched Monday Night Football this morning on the computer via our sling box!!

I have gotten several suggestions of things to do from the yahoo group of foreign women married to Japanese men. There are several shopping centers to go to, a cool area by the bay to walk around, and some childrens museums that have toy rooms even for Miyako's age and nursing facilities. So, we are going to take the ones on our subway line first to tackle and then once I am more comfortable with that move on to those places where we have to switch lines. Yesterday we took a second walk in the evening and found a playground within 5 minutes of our apartment, but they did not have baby swings. That was a bummer since Miyako loves the swings. I feel bad for her somewhat because we could not bring a whole lot of toys and stuff. However, it is a blessing because one of Kan's co-workers found a high chair and exersaucer for us to borrow. It will be nice to not feed her in her stroller and to have a place to put her when I have to use the bathroom.

Here are some fun cultural tidbits for you. A friend of my husband's gave Miyako a Hello Kitty fork and spoon. However, the spoon has a stopper on it. Maybe we have spoons like that in the US for kids but I have never seen one. Our toilet has a heated seat...I am not kidding. And there are all kinds of buttons on it to get sprayed with who knows what. Of course all of the buttons are in Japanese and I am afraid to touch them. When I was here 8 years ago, my American mother-in-law and I had a hilarious time trying the buttons out at a fancy restaurant...we went against all rules, but we had fun doing it. I took my first Japanese bath today. In Japanese homes they have a bath tub and a shower. It is common for the bath tub to be filled in the morning with hot water and after you shower and clean yourself, you relax in the bath for a few minutes. I must admit it was very relaxing.

Some of you may be wondering how I am getting my exercise in...well, I borrowed those P90X DVD's from a friend and play them in my computer. They are super hard. I did the plyos one this AM and it was like a training session with my trainer. I am so glad I brought them with me!

Well, I have gone on enough. Kan just called and told me he found a cable for me to download pictures. I took some of our apartment today and will try to post them soon.

My First Day Alone

Today was my first day alone in Tokyo since Kan had to be at work first thing in the morning. I learned a lot about myself in just one day. As you can imagine, it is a little lonely hanging out with a 1o month old in a foreign city where you do not speak the language. I decided to just spend the day getting familiar with our neighborhood. Miyako and I found a way to make it to the river and stroll alongside the river. We saw lots of children getting out of school and people leaving work. We had a nice day, but it was lonely. The Lord showed me that in the US I fill my time with stuff to do and people to see, and this is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think sometimes I use a busy schedule to keep me satisfied and fulfilled rather than looking for that in the Lord. I am thankful for a God who shows me these things, forgives me, and meets me even when I feel alone. He is the one true person who can truly satisfy me.

I am excited about some opportunities the Lord is providing for me to make some friends through strange ways in Tokyo. My American inlaws have a friend who lives 90 minutes from Tokyo and she is going to come stay with us for three days to hang out. It will be fun to get to know her better and to learn about her life in Japan as an American. I also follow a blog of a lady who lives about 90 miles from Tokyo. She has connected me with a yahoo group for foreign women married to Japanese men. Through this group, I hope to connect to some of those women who live in Tokyo. And finally, Kan and I will be going to a PCA church on Sunday so I am hoping this gives me some opportunity to meet people.

Many of you may be wondering how Miyako has done with jet lag. She slept last night from 7 PM to 6AM and only got up once in the middle of the night. I let her stay in her bed until 7AM so she can get used to the 7AM wake up time like we have in the states. I am grateful she slept so well. However, her naps were a different story. She did not take her morning nap and cried the entire hour of it. Her afternoon nap though was great as she slept from 1-4. The worst part was the evening after her nap. She did not want to wake up at 4 and was fairly cranky until bedtime tonight. I was trying to hold her off until 7 but felt so bad for her...she was simply exhausted. So, she went to bed tonight around 6:45. Hopefully she will make it 12 hours. Kan and I are different stories. We went to bed at 9 and were both up at 3. Finally at 5 I decided to get up and do my P90X DVD's a friend let me bring. He finally caved and got up too to go for a run and get us breakfast fixings. I did get an afternoon nap today but feel for him as he did not get that luxury working all day and evening.

I felt like the wife of a Japanese man as we had eggs, bacon, rice, and miso soup for breakfast. Well, Kan had the soup. I just could not eat soup for breakfast. It is a foreign concept to me. :)
Tomorrow Miyako and I are headed to the mall. I am hoping to find her a booster chair of some sort. I think she is tired of spending so much time in her stroller since we walk everywhere and that is also what I am using as a high chair. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

We made it!!

Well, the Kawashima family is safe and sound in Tokyo. Right now I am writing from my awesome apartment! We have a great view of lots of skyscrapers and I am one metro stop away from a mall and walking area along water. As you come out of our apartment building there is a drug store that sells diapers so I am in good shape.

The flight here was much better than I expected. I think I expected the worse...for Miyako to cry during 12 of the 14 hours we had on the plane. She surpassed my expectations and did a wonderful job. She got fussy of course...she is 10 months old. But for the most part, she was an angel. We could not have asked for a better traveller. Her first night sleeping was a little rough. She was up every hour. However, I just patted her back and told her it was nighttime and she would eventually go back to sleep.

Today is Sunday here in Tokyo. We checked into our apartment and did some basic shopping for food and every day items. Here are just a few things I have noticed about Japan in the first day of being here.

Observation 1 - You have to go to the grocery every couple of days because the refridgerators are like the size of our college dorm room fridge. So, Miyako and I will venture to the grocery every couple of days but thankfully it is within walking distance so we do not have to go far.

Observation 2 - The Japanese think of everything. On the taxi ride from the hotel to our apartment I noticed a little shield on the window. This is so you can roll the window down while it is raining and not get wet. Clever. The small details are very important to the Japanese. Now I know why my husband gives me such a hard time. HA! I do not pay much attention to those small details and they are very important to him.

Observation 3 - The service here is impeccable! As we checked out of our hotel two people loaded our luggage cart and took it with us as we waiting on the taxi. Once our taxi was loaded and we were in the car, they stood outside our taxi and bowed to us as we left. They know we are not famous people. This is simply how they serve. They go above and beyond what is expected, and they do not do it for a tip. The bell people at the hotel do not get tipped. They simply do their job with high quality and service. I think this will be a hard thing for me to adjust to when I come back to the States.

For those of you wondering, I did watch some of the KY game on Kan's computer via sling. However, I was glad when we switched to the TN game after watching the first quarter. Not so good CATS. Can we start talking March Madness yet?

Well, I need to get Miss Priss Pooh up from her nap. I will try to post pictures of our apartment later once I take some!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Japan Bound

The whole purpose of this blog was created to keep my friends and family updated on our life in Japan that we thought would be happening in the near future. However, due to circumstances the Lord changed our path and right now we are not moving to Japan for a temporary assignment, like two years. We are though headed to Japan for four weeks!! I am very excited and nervous all at the same time. I have no idea what to expect but am thrilled to be taking my daughter there and for her to meet her paternal grandparents for the first time. Finally my blog will meet its purpose as I can keep our friends updated on our travels and what we do while we are there. We will spend most of our time in Tokyo with weekend trips to Kyoto to see my husband's family. We will also be renting an apartment for the month so that should be fun to get a feel for what it will be like to live in Tokyo. I hear McD's in Tokyo has wireless internet so I may get to know Ronald real well! I am hoping to take Miyako to the Hello Kitty store, Disneyland Tokyo, and the zoo. If I can make it there, on my own since my husband will be working during the day, I will feel like I have conquered the world. This will be an adventure and as nervous as I am, I am thankful for the opportunity and hope I can embrace the challenge with a positive attitude.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Groundhog Day

Being at home full-time sometimes feels like Groundhog Day to me. It seems like I do the same thing every day...get up, feed a baby, play with baby, baby naps and I shower, feed a baby, play with baby, baby naps, I try to do something productive, feed a get the point. I guess when I "worked full-time" outside the home I did the same thing, although my daily schedule at work was always something different. As I write this though, I realize it was like Groundhog Day too. All of this to say, life is too short to feel like you are in the movie Groundhog Day. We are meant to enjoy life. It will not always be easy and there will be hard times, but we are created to live life to the fullest and enjoy each day.

In light of this, I am trying to do something fun with Miyako every day so that we do not get in the trap of doing the same thing day in and day out. We are fortunate to have two parks within walking distance of our house so every day we spend part of our time enjoying nature, walking to the park, and swinging. Miyako LOVES the swings! Today was special because we went to two parks. The first one we enjoyed with friends. The second one, we enjoyed with Papa. One advantage to my husband's travelling is when he is home, he gets to work from home, so we enjoyed a nice walk together with Miyako. The weather is turning cool, fall is approaching, and the sun is shining. It was a good day. Tomorrow's activity is lunch with a friend...just one activity a day that is a little different, gets us outside the house, and change up the pace a little bit. If anyone has any suggestions for fun things to do with an almost 10 month old, I welcome them. I am sure we will also go to the park tomorrow...of course, in that sense I am creating my own Groundhog Day, but she enjoys it so we will do it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Pros of My Husband Traveling...

My husband travels a lot with his job and this current trip seems like an eternity even though it is only 12 days. Rather than focusing on the negative about not having him home, I will focus on the positive of him being laundry day on Monday consisted of only 2 loads versus 3 or 4; I can fix a bowl of cereal for dinner and prep time, eat time and clean up time is about 15 minutes; I can go to bed at nine PM and not get laughed at by the night owl in the family who stays up pretty late working...I think this is it. Not very many positives. I am getting tired of this traveling business and want him home.

On a fun note, Miyako and I have done some cool things this week while he has been gone. She loves the swings and there are two neighborhood parks within a 15 minute walk from our house. We have made a walk to the park a daily adventure for us. It gets us some fresh air and gives me a time during the day when I am not chasing her around the house. We also went to a Japanese festival on Saturday. It was very cool. They had traditional Japanese dancers, a Japanese Idol contest, and traditional games that kids play in Japan. I bought her three books, one of which is bilingual, to add more books to her Japanese shelf. When my husband gets home with the gadgets for uploading pictures, I will post some.

My friend told me I need to post more about our day to day life and even the frustrations of our being separated from our papa a lot, but I do not want to do that too often and dwell on the negative. We do have a job and God has provided it for us for this time in our lives. Hopefully it will not be forever, but even if it is, it is God's sovereign plan for us and that is what I can truly rest in when I get frustrated, lonely or sad.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer Fun

It is hard to believe it is already the middle of July, especially since today it only got in the high 60's in Lexington. I told Kan that I felt like we should be making some chili and settling in for a night of football! I used to LOVE summer...I could lay by the pool with a good book all day and actually enjoy the heat. However, the older I get, the more I like the cooler weather...not winter so much, but fall and spring. Today reminded me of fall and I am trying not to wish away the rest of the summer because I know that once we get through fall we embrace winter.

I have still not figured out this entire blog thing. It is hard to keep up with along with facebook. Plus, I am not sure if I have many interesting things to write about. For the past week I have had trouble sleeping. It is not that I can't sleep, but when I do sleep I have the strangest dreams that are very real and not always pleasant. Kan seems to think it is due to our life right now being a little unsettled. Who knows. Whatever it is, I hope they stop.

I have posted a few photos of our summer thus far. We have had a great summer. We took Miyako on her first beach trip to Isle of Palm, SC for a couple of days. She also gets to go to Topsails, NC the first week of August with Kan's American family. Miyako and I also visited a Japanese park in Georgetown, KY with our friends Amanda and Emma Jane Hurley. Kan never knew it existed and it was located 2 miles from where he went to college!

Miyako is now 8 months old. So hard to believe. She is into everything, crawling everywhere and wanting desperately to walk but is not quite there yet. Enjoy photos of our summer so far.

My friend, who is a faithful blogger, recently wrote me and told me not to give up on the blog, so Julie, here is a post in honor of you...I will commit to being more faithful to the blog even if I do not always think I have interesting things to say. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009


Well, I just got back on Saturday from visiting with my in-laws in Knoxville. Most people hear the word in-laws and cringe, but I am truly blessed with a fabulous family. I have two sets of set lives in Kyoto, Japan and the other set in Knoxville, TN. I have not had a chance to get to know my Japanese in-laws due to the distance between us and the language barrier we face. I hope one day if we ever have the opportunity to live in Japan, then I will get to know them better. My in-laws in Knoxville are wonderful. While Kan has been out of town, I decided to drive down there and visit for a few days. We had a great time. Every time I am at their home, I simply relax. It feels like a vacation. My mother-in-law got up with Miyako during the evening so I could get solid sleep, and she played with her while I went jogging and shopping. We always have such a nice time simply sitting in the living room and chatting. I truly am grateful to have married into a sweet family. Also on our trip Miyako and I went to visit my friend from college who now lives in Johnson City, TN. She recently had her third child in March so I finally got to meet Case. It was a nice visit considering we rarely get to see each other. Once you start having children it seems so much harder to actually see people, so I am grateful for the time we had together. Miyako and I did well traveling for our first venture by ourselves. I think when Kan goes for two weeks I will pick someone to visit at least for a few days to break up our time without him at home. Miyako is a sweet baby and generally pretty good, however it just gets lonely around the house when you spend most of your time talking to a 6 month old. So, I figure the best way to solve that problem is to take a small road trip to have some adult company for a few days when he is gone and that will make the time pass more quickly. Let us know if you want us to come visit! She can make it about 3 hours in the car before she reaches her breaking point!

Monday, May 11, 2009


Here are some pictures I promised in my last post. This is out sweet girl Miyako. The first picture is Papa with his Little Volunteer. The second picture is myself and Miyako on Mother's Day in our matching orange dresses. The third picture is Miyako's first try with cereal. The final picture is Miyako sitting in a fun tube that our friend let us borrow. She likes to sit in this while Papa is working. I am still learning this blog thing so hopefully the next time I post pictures the layout will be better. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Today was my first Mother's Day with our sweet Miyako outside the womb. Last year at this time we had just informed our family we were expecting and this year she is already 6 months old. I had such a wonderful day today. First of all, it is beautiful here in Lexington...sunny and 70 degrees, which is nice compared to the rain we have had all week. We went to church this morning and Miyako and I wore matching dresses. I can do this while she is young. Mine was actually all orange/peach and her dress was a peach and white gingham pattern, in honor of UT of course. Once I get the pictures uploaded I will add one to the blog. The church service was very powerful. Our Pastor talked about the foundation of the family and how when our families are not built on the solid foundation of Christ, our nation will begin to fall, which is what I believe we are seeing right now in our country today. Kan and I both left church encouraged and with renewed vision for our personal family and how we can have an impact on the world around us. After church, Kan made homemade blueberry pancakes and we feasted while Miyako played in her Jump n Go. Little did we know, she was really "going" because when we got her out it was straight to the bathtub. She had a slight blow-out. So much for "not working" on Mother's Day, but she was happy. I enjoyed a long run with two girlfriends and then Kan and I took Miyako on a short walk. Tonight we are doing Chinese take-out at our favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant. The only bummer about today is knowing that Kan leaves for Japan tomorrow. This next trip is a little bit longer, 12 days rather than 6, so Miyako and I plan to visit Nana in Knoxville to help break up Papa being gone. The only good thing about him being gone is that when he comes home, we leave for our first family beach vacation!! As I sat today feeding Miyako, the Lord reminded me of just how blessed I am. I have such a wonderful husband and sweet daughter and am truly glad to be just where He has me right now.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

6 Month Check Up

Well, yesterday I took Miyako in for her six month check up. She is 16 pounds and 26 inches long, very healthy and in the 75th percentile for both height and weight. We knew she would not stay in the 95th percentile for height too much longer considering her papa and mama are only 5'5". What a trooper she is...she only cried for like 30 seconds after each shot and then was back to her normal self. Today we start cereal. I wish pediatricians would give you a hand out of exactly what you are supposed to do with this whole solids thing. She just recommended I go ahead and start and try something new every five days or so. I have no idea what we are doing, but we will give it a shot. I am trying to decide when you give them the you feed her first and then give it to her or wait a hour or so after feeding and then try. Problem with that is I do not want Miyako to be a snacker. I guess we will live and learn and see what works. Another milestone yesterday is that she sat up on her own. She is a little top heavy so she could not stay seated by herself for too long, but it was fun getting her on tape. What a big girl.

I had my first CVS adventure yesterday. I am wanting to save more and be more resourceful with my grocery shopping. My dear friend is helping me enter this coupon/saving world and I went to CVS yesterday to sign up for Extra Care bucks. They were having a good deal on coke products so I started with that. I spent more than what I thought, but I have $20 Extra Care Bucks for my next venture at CVS. My plan is to keep buying items I need with this $20 that will produce more ECB's and hopefully the savings will come out in the end. Time will tell.

I have yet to download recent pics of Miyako but once I do I will add them to the blog. Until next time...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My First Post

Well, I am entering the blogger world and here is my first post! I am hoping this blog will keep our friends and family updated on what is going on in our home, and I may even meet some interesting people along the way. Yesterday was Derby Day here in the Bluegrass State, one of my all time favorite days. As I listened to the thousands sing My Old Kentucky Home, chills ran up my back. What a race it was...amazing how that horse came from 12th place to finish first at odds of 50 to 1. Miyako, my six month old, did not really know what was going on, but one day she will know the tradition of the Kentucky Derby and be able to make Derby Pie. Speaking of my baby girl, she is 6 months old today. I cannot believe it!! She is getting so big and is such a joy. I never thought I would enjoy motherhood as much as I do. When she smiles at me, I feel like a million bucks. There really is nothing better! Well, I am going to learn more about what I can do with this blog and hopefully it will be somewhat interesting. I am not computer savvy at all so this is a big step for me. Until next time...