Community Living

Ever since we got back from Japan, I discovered another reason why raising children in a close knit community, either family, friends or neighbours, is awesome.

By having many “parental figures”, children will have more exposure to different things, and consequently, they’ll learn different things too.

Little E has a lot more words in his vocabulary and he understands more things. It could be that he is older, but the things he knows are things that I wouldn’t have taught him. For example, we now count each step of the stairs. When prompted, he knows his numbers (up to 9, though he doesn’t seem to like the number 7). We go up and down the stairs at home, I never thought to count our steps. He did with the grandparents, and he now can count.

Another is him being able to look for the moon. He asks every night to see it and being Canberra, it has been too cloudy. It must have been a nightly ritual with Grandma and Papa in Qld.

Amazing, right?

I guess everyone has different ideas of what is important and interesting to teach children. By spending time with these people, you basically have different teachers for your kids :)

What do you guys think? Am I just talking rubbish???

Also, this confirmed that just because someone else’s parenting style is different to yours, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. They’re just different :)

Fussy little eaters: Wasabi Chicken and Greens

I miss the food in Japan. How I wish we have good authentic reasonably-priced Japanese food here in Canberra. It was great timing that I saw this recipe in a cookbook that was given to me for my birthday this year by Mr E’s uncle!

I didn’t follow the recipe completely as I didn’t have some things and I didn’t want to use too many pots ;)

Wasabi Chicken and Greens

image

Ingredients:
1 chicken breast, chop into strips
1 bowl of chopped vegies (I had broccoli, potatoes, carrots, green beans and snowpeas)
Oil for cooking

For sauce:
1 tbs wasabi paste
2 tbs plain yogurt
1 tsp lime juice
Pepper

Method:

  1. Steam vegies until cooked (you can boil too if you prefer)
  2. In a frying pan, cook the chicken until just cooked
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients then stir
  4. When vegies are cooked, carefully mix well with the chicken until coated with sauce (vegies are a tad fragile when cooked so make sure you don’t mix them too roughly)
  5. Serve with salad or over rice (though if you’re having it with rice, I would triple the sauce)

My loves liked this meal, with the little one having thirds! Mr E liked his wasabi so he said he would double the wasabi if it was just for him (it’ll be too strong for babies). You could also steam the chicken with the vegies if you want to be extra healthy :)

Please let me know if you tried this recipe and if you like it :)

Fruit peels, snail goo and charcoal mask

Here’s another reason why I love Japan.

If you remember my post on skincare (read here if you missed it), I get “holiday” skin. Pimples, oily and dry patches and extremely enlarged pores. But not in Japan, and I’ve been there in autumn, winter and summer.

I eat just as badly, though my idea of “going all out” in Japan meant eating an ocean of fresh sea urchin and roe. Fresh vegetables are hard to come by, unless you want them as tempura (deep fried). Fresh fruit is exorbitantly expensive. With the number of vending machines and convenient shops selling hundreds of different drinks, water is the last thing I buy (and why would you, if you can have this drink instead).

I put down my lack of “holiday” skin to two things:

1. Onsens: perhaps the minerals in the water and the heat bring out the badness and detoxify your body? Maybe?

2. The extremely accessible and large number of skincare available. I got three “wins” this trip:

image

The pink bottle is Detclear fruit peel, it comes out like gel and you massage it on your dirty skin. After a while, balls of supposedly dead skin and gunk will start to form and you just have to wash it off. The result is clean soft skin, it’s awesome! Quick, effective and fun way of washing my face.

The black tube is a charcoal mask that comes out like black super glue. You put it on clean skin and wait until it dries. When you can’t move your face, it’s time to peel peel peel. I love this part of the process, it’s so satisfying. If I read the pictures correctly, it is supposed to lift up the gunk in your pores. Or something. Whatever it is, I like this mask, clean and soft skin afterwards!

When I first put this mask on, my inlaws did double takes and said a couple WTF comments lol with no previous exposure to “girly things” like these, seeing it would be pretty weird ;)

image

A snail goo mask, I am excited to try this one. I’ve tried their “pearl” mask before and it was awesome. This brand is Korean but is everywhere in Japan. I wanted to buy the “snake venom” one too, but Mr E vetoed it lol

Have I told you that I love Japan? ;)

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of “beauty”?

Photos

My baby and childhood photos have been used as ransom for awhile now. With the passing years, I have now accepted that I will never see them. The last thing I heard was that they’d all be burnt into ashes. Meh.

Yes, it is sad, especially since I would like to compare myself to Little E. For those who know me would know that if there’s a fire, my photo albums would be the only material things I’d save.

However, I know that I am not the only one in the world without them. I also compensate by taking incessant number of photos of Little E and those I love :)

Anyway, I have not told anyone of this, other than Mr E. It’s embarrassing and it’s a #firstworldproblem that I don’t want to think about. So, it totally blew my mind when my inlaws gave me a small album of Little E’s time with them on the holiday. I have been looking at them every single day since we got back.

image

If there’s a fire, this album would be the first I’d save :)

Do you take lots of photos? Unnecessary ones sometimes? What do you do with them? Do you have them filed and orderly sorted? :)

Three

There are three things that I learnt while I was in Japan:

1. When nothing seems to make sense in my world; when I question things, events, people; there’s something that I know I know. Something that’s unquestionable: my role as a mother. I am thankful that in the midst of confusion, God has blessed me with such a precious gift for me to take care of. That I will never have to question.

2. I am blessed with the most considerate, patient, selfless man for a husband. He knows every single being of me, perhaps even more than I know myself.

3. Having siblings is awesome (if you get along). Even after squabbles, few rude words said, hurtful acts done; they’re just like water off a duck’s back. Each sibling is accepted just as they are. The bad bits, the good bits, all of it. It’s amazing to witness :) Perhaps I will be ready one day soon to give Little E that kind of support.

We’re still trying to get back into routine, Little E liking us a little more each day. He still looks for Grandma and Papa, but he seems to forgive us for taking him away from his beloved ;)

Japan: Osaka, Osaka Prefecture

image

The famous Glico billboard in Dotonburi: the food and shopping mecca of Osaka

We spent the last few days of the trip in Osaka. Like Nagoya, we’ve all been to Osaka in previous trips, so we didn’t do anything other than doing last minute shopping, eating and taking day trips (to Uji and Kobe).

image

Osaka at dusk

My plan for Osaka was to do absolutely nothing. Sleep ins, eat, shop, alone times and pampering times; basically things that I don’t get to do when home with the little man. Thankfully, I got to do all that :) One of the highlights of my Osaka time was a pampering session at the hairdressers! For hours, I did absolutely nothing but just be. Most of the time, my feet were attached to their massage machine, it was amazing! Mr E and his brother joined me in the experience and it was so much fun :)

image

What my hair looks like when bleached...

Another highlight was our Nagomi visit organised by my sister inlaw. It was such a fun occasion, getting an insight into Japanese people’s home and cooking. A snippet of their lives, really. If you’re ever going to Japan, please do make sure you get to do it too! For the whole 3 hours we were there, I smiled the whole entire time. The experience authenticated my trip, if that makes sense?

image

DIY sushi! Soooo good!

Before long, it was time to pack and go home. I truly enjoyed the trip, like I have said before, I learnt so much more about my inlaws! They’re fun quirky people ;) My kind of people!

Missing Little E meant that some parts of the trip were almost unbearable, most especially when hiccups happened. Consolidating five differing opinions, desires and ways of doing things were tricky at times but like my brother inlaw said, we don’t normally live in each other’s pockets for 3 whole weeks straight, let alone sharing a room for more than a whole week! After two weeks, even Mr E got annoying ;)

As our Nagomi dinner host remarked, I feel privileged that I have inlaws that I get along with to go on holidays together, so I am thankful.

A humongous thank you to my parents inlaw who took care of Little E and for giving me the opportunity to be me. Mr E and I found each other again; we were never lost but we definitely broke apart a little :) Marriage after children takes a lot of effort, such a difficult request when time is not something you have a lot of. I am very blessed.

Japan: Kobe, Osaka Prefecture

I am home now, reunited with my precious. I am so happy to be back, however, I am about a week behind my Japan posts so here’s one for our day trip to Kobe.

image

The day started late with a quick walk around the town, sussing out which restaurant to go to for lunch. We stumbled across this beautiful shrine during our walk.

image

We watched a group of young people dipping their fortune paper into this pond. From what we gathered, the fortune only shows up when the paper is wet. The kids seem to be happy with theirs ;)

image

We also did a quick walk through the Western Houses area of Kobe. It is interesting to see the architecture of the place, you’d think that you’re elsewhere. Also another thing to note, there are many wedding shops around the area, I assume it’s because of the possibility of holding your wedding in anyone of these Western houses. Definitely a case of “the grass on the other side is always greener”, as I would love to wear beautiful kimonos on my wedding! :)

image

The clock on the photo above is stuck on the time when the 1995 earthquake happened; apparently, one of the highest ever recorded in the world. Like true Japanese style though, just like what we saw in the museum in Hiroshima, recovery time was super quick! Amazing.

image

The main reason why we’re in Kobe: having a taste of Kobe beef. The picture above is probably about AUD15 of beef. I actually preferred this over the Hida beef we had in Takayama, however, I do still prefer Australian beef :) :) :) We were told that all the Japanese calves came from the same farm, though they’re raised in the different areas of Japan. Curious, right?

image

While the boys went to a sake museum, us girls trekked through a giant hill in the highly humid weather to see this waterfall. My sister inlaw can’t remember what the significance of this waterfall is but it’s one of the top three something waterfalls in Japan hahaha it filled the time ;)

image

We ended the trip at the Kobe port, looking through the experimental samples of ferries/boats. It was a pleasant experience :)

I enjoyed Kobe, though I won’t rush going back there again ;) it is an easy trip from Osaka, so if you’re after a daytrip option, Kobe could be one of them :)