Your Ad Here

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fighting the Flu

Well that season has struck again.  Every year it comes around and knocks a week out of your life.  Flu season is in full force and has just finished sweeping through the girls` preschool.  Last week was almost like a second winter vacation, except for the VACATION part.  For my wife and I, it was a rough week. We were afraid we might end up with the flu but didn`t catch it as far as we know.  I had a fever at one point, but I guess it was just exhaustion.

When illness strikes our home, the everyday battle takes on a different form.  Instead of the usual hurding the children for meals and other scheduled events or settling them down and getting them ready for bed, it gets a lot dirtier as you could imagine; cleaning clothes, floors, wiping noses, etc. in a fight to maintain a sanitary, germ-free environment.

Not to mention the "worry bug" keeps biting you all throughout the night.  You suddenly feel a prick that wakes you up from your sleep to go check temperatures, breathing and make sure they are staying hydrated.  It`s more than a double shift, it`s almost a triple shift!!

Yet now that everybody has recovered, we are getting back to life as normal.  Sickness is a bummer, but for a parent there is no time to let sickness get you down.   In a way, it forces you to your limits and sometimes you find strength you never knew you had.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Stray Cats

On the weekend I took Anna to the park by her request.  Everyone has been under the weather recently and she was getting quite stir crazy.  We went to the park to play, but Anna found a group of stray cats.  She spent over an hour following them around and watching them intently.  She would study and copy their movements and smile back at me. 

Then I thought about it a little deeper.  In America, I had cats and a dog and a backyard to play in.  Anna has never experienced raising a pet or spent a lot of time with animals.  It was a special time for her, something I take for granted having growing up in a different place, a different time.

Appreciation for life is an important lesson for children to learn.  The only way to learn it is to actually spend time with animals and experience the life in them.  These days, especially in Japan, it is getting harder to teach children about the value of life.  The outside world is filled with risk and even danger for children, but also discovery.  It was a blessing to watch my daughter discover and interact with the stray cats. 

Most of these cats were thrown away by their owners and live off of the generosity of those who come to feed them on occassion.  I wonder what she thinks about it all.  I could see her processing it, but not quite sure how to feel or express it in words.

Just another little story from raising children in Japan...

Please leave a comment :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Making Time

I find that one of the challenges of parenting is making time to be with your kids.  I know I am with them taking care of them a lot of the time, but that doesn`t mean I am "making" time for them.

Most of the time I spend with my kids is far from organized or structured.  It has been that way for some years now, maybe it`s an age thing or I am just lazy.  In the past I have tried to settle the kids down and show them something or play with them in a structured way, a lot like my lessons at work.  However, I have found it difficult to keep their attention at home.  I have very little room to work in our little, undersized town house and with three little kids, it is hard to find a quiet spot to sit down and do a puzzle, or draw pictures, or practice the ABCs, etc.

This year, though, I really want to buckle down and try it again and see if the kids are ready for structured learning at home. I think making space and time is the important key factor.  Next is the discipline of creating a routine for that every week.  It`s worth a shot! Wish me luck.

This is my New Year`s resolution!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Anna`s Quest

Yesterday, my eldest daughter had an idea.  She was at preschool at the time.  She wanted to go around and record the names of all the girls in the school and write them down on a paper.  Recently she has been learning how to write, and is very excited about it.  She decided on her own that this would be her new project.

So she started her quest, to get all the names of the students and staff who were girls and then write them down.  She was diligent in searching out every girl she could find and asked each one their name.  She asked the teachers one by one until she was finally finished.  Then one of the teachers asked if she had asked the principal yet.  Anna reacted with surprise.  "The principal has a name!", she said.  She immediately went to ask the principal. The principal was delightlfully surprised and answered, "Teruko"  Anna never had heard that name before, so she reacted with a smile and astonishment, "Teruko!"  She then continued to go around the school telling everybody the principal`s name. And then wrote it down for everybody to see.  Her quest was finished and the story was so funny that the prinicipal told it to all the mothers while waiting for pick up time.

So when I came home guess what was the first thing Anna showed me?  Her list of names and she explained to me how much fun she had on her little quest.

Hope you enjoyed her story too.  If you did, please leave a comment :)












Monday, January 10, 2011

Cute treats

One thing about Japanese, is they love cute things!  Cute sells here! Especially to children and parents. 

Recently my wife bought some donuts at Mr. Donut, she couldn`t resist buying the pink bear donuts for the kids.  I had to take a picture real fast before they were gone.  Needless to say, daddy didn`t get to taste them, but that`s I need the extra calories. 

Snack time in Japan or Oyatsu is around 3 o`clock in the afternoon.  It is a somewhat official time for young children to have a snack after coming home from school, or nursery.

And of course that is when the bakeries, snack shops, and other places open the windows to entice the children with fresh baked goodies.

But if you want to guarantee a sale, make sure your snacks aren`t just fresh but cute as well.

Most of time, we get the kids to have fruit for snack time as a healthy alternative.  However, if you live in Japan you know that fruit is outrageously expensive.  One apple will cost you about $1.20 and strawberries $5.00 a basket, and don`t even think about melon, you might have to break a $20.  The cheapest available fruit is banana.  Still about $1.50 a bundle.

So often we find ourselves going back to the cute treats...which in a way are the cheaper alternative...kind of...ENJOY!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Once in awhile

Most people on their days off relax, or go out and experience the world through dining, shopping, travel, or other varieties of leisure.

During winter vacation, my wife and I were able to get away from the kids for a day and enjoy those long missed activities.  The girls enjoyed the day at a nursery.  And WE had coffee, lunch and went shopping together and were able to talk.  I mean really talk, Uninterrupted for over 10 minutes.  It`s something you take for granted until you have children.

Every year or so we get an opportunity, to have a day like this.  How I wish we had more chances, but that`s all we can do.  I won`t even say how much it cost to have the kids watched, but it was worth it.  It`s okay every once in awhile. ;)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

There went Winter Vacation

Well the children went back to preschool today marking the end of the winter vacation.  Unfortunately for mommy and daddy it isn`t much of a vacation.  In fact, I know for my wife it was a lot more work having them home all day.

I got a little artsy with this photo, I hope you like it :)

Overall it was a mellow vacation time, no big trips or anything special besides Christmas presents for the girls.  The girls ate a lot of mocchi over the break.  If you don`t know what Mocchi is click here.  It is a traditional Japanese food eaten during New Years` time.  It is smashed white rice that has been hardened and preserved and is melted and mixed with soups or other sweet flavors.  It is very sticky, and messy when kids eat it, if you get my drift...

So besides trying to catch up on rest, cleaning, and other errands it was a fun time.  Although it often feels like we need a vacation from our vacation. 

Also the end of this winter break brings the realization that this is the last year with the girls as preschoolers. Next semester Anna will be going to grade school and life will take on a whole new flavor.  Part of me is excited to see her grow up...wants her to grow up, wants her to overcome her immaturity, but I know I will miss the sillyness, the dancing, the spontaneous singing, and all the other things that preschoolers do that are so precious.  I hope and pray that she never loses those things. 

Loving children in their immaturity is so important.  I think it is a lesson for me in parenting.  The world is stressful and I come home wanting things to be perfect..or normal in a way.  I can easily come home and turn into an angry, irritated daddy.  I need to make sure that my daughters are confident in my love for them even in their immaturity.  I want them to know that being alive and being with me is enough to make me happy and want to love them.

So passes another season...another we must face another winter together...just three more months !

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Well it`s the New Year and I am thinking about how my girls have grown.  The other day we went to brunch at a Coffee Shop in Urayasu.  It is interesting to watch their relationships with each other develop.  Some days they fight all day long, other times they are the best of friends.  They are learning to get along and forgive one another as each day unfolds.  They are learning to talk with one another and use their imaginations as a team.

Sisters seem to have a special bond, but it seems to be very fragile at times.  My desire is to look back at these days with fond memories, and that my daughters will grow closer as the years go by.

Being a father, I obviously have an advantage understanding how little boys think, but little girls have taught me a lot about the other side.  I am grateful, when I am able to catch my breath, for their sweet girlish ways.

Well another year is already under way and there are more adventures ahead for these three little girls in Japan.