Last working day for the year

It’s my last working day in the office before I take my maternity leave / baby care leave. I shall miss work. It’ll be hopefully middle of spring next year already when I go back to work. I shall terribly miss my teammates in the project too (especially those that I have worked closely with) and I’m happy to know that they’d be missing me in the same way. Being part of this mega $17B project wasn’t just technically enriching. It also blessed me with great relationships along the way albeit it has been a looong journey of valleys and hills.

Here’s (a representative of) me and hubs commemorating my last day at work for the year. And we say THIS IS THE BEST GINGER ALE EVER!!!

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Earlier, when I was still packing my stuff in a box, Jon bought me and Me-an this super delicious Greek yogurt. I haven’t eaten yogurt for the longest time already because I got saturated with it already after consuming tons during my first trimester. But this one’s different, with no sour aftertaste and would still be good even without the honey, we think. It’s more expensive than your usual yogurt at 189 yen, where usual yogurts are only at 105 yen or so. Thanks to Jon, Me-an and I had a nice yogurt break right there on my desk; sharing good conversation over good yogurt.

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And so from tomorrow, I’d be in full swing with the baby preps. Looking forward to see Otosan and sis-in-law as well!

I do wonder if the “blue moon” would have its effect on baby’s amniotic sac just like how the full moon affects the tide. Let’s see.

Mikoshi Festival

It’s August and hence the Mikoshi Festival season again. Here in our neighbourhood, the festival is this weekend. Since yesterday up to today, we’ve been hearing the beat of the drums and the people’s ho-huh-ho-huh as they walk around carrying a divine palanquin: a Mikoshi or a “mobile” Shinto shrine.

Men (and women) in action.

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The priests at the head of the procession.

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Photos above were taken last year. We didn’t get to watch this year since we went to the hospital yesterday for my regular checkup and afterwards went shopping for baby goods.

We did catch the ending part of the procession though.

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Our house is very near a Shinto Shrine hence during the festivities, the way to our house is lighted with lanterns. Can’t explain why but I really find lighted lanterns magical and charming.

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The lanterns are lighted all the way up the hill where the shrine is. (the car in the photo is parked on the second level)

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Summer is still lingering (hubs and I call it the “revenge of summer”, a way of saying goodbye before it makes way for Autumn) and hence it was soooo hot yesterday. I can just imagine how tiresome and dehydrating it must have been for the participants. Back in 2007, a friend-colleague invited us to participate in the Mikoshi Festival. We suffered the heat. And yes, for a time, I also had to have my turn in carrying the Mikoshi. And honestly? I don’t want to do it again (blush). 😀 I’d say it takes dedication and also deep belief in what you’re doing for one to happily participate in it. Perhaps if it’s done during colder seasons, I might reconsider. Albeit it’s really similar to the processions we have back in the Philippines during Holy Week and other religious festivities. And when I was still living with my family (before moving to Manila to work), I did participate in those processions almost yearly. And if truth be told, I missed participating in it. It’s all rooted on faith I guess.

Waiting

While Hubs bought his “daily goods” in the nearby Japanese Bookstore, I’m enjoying my book as well, with a nice view.

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a Royal Park cake

The P&ID section of our team was awarded by the Project team as People of the Month last month and got some cash gift. Wanting to share their gift with the entire (insert project name) Process team, they bought a cake from Royal Park Hotel confectionery for everyone on the team. Knowing how expensive Royal Park Hotel is, I know this cake is expensive. Alas though, it’s very SINFUL for me – one because of the RICH cream filling and second because of the peanuts on it (which may cause allergy for baby later on). But, I have to show solidarity with the team so I ate my share as well (hehehe excuses). My progress is good so far this week with regards weight gain control and it’s only once in a blue moon that I consume peanut so I’m hoping it will not harm baby (since books say only “excessive consumption”).

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In the background is my 15year old calculator which I really consider a treasure. Teehee. 😀

on feminism and being a super woman

Atsushi’s mom, Okasan, visited us over the weekend, till Tuesday. Okasan is amazing as always with her energy and her cheerful countenance. What was remarkable with this visit was that because she extended her visit till Tuesday, we got the rare chance to have a good, healthy, full breakfast before going to work. And when we got back from work, we arrived at our home that was filled with the good smell of home cooking.

And so of course I am left to pondering how I’d fare as a mom-wife with a very demanding career.

I think of how Okasan prepared the breakfast table for us, and I imagine (and know) that she has done so, everyday, for her family for several decades already just before going to work albeit she’s blessed with a work that has a flexible schedule.

I think of serving breakfast for my husband and baby before going to work and then later on serve dinner after office and I realise how dearly I want to be able to do just that.

Now, some obtuse feminist might say “that’s not only what women are made for! Why can’t the husband do the serving/cooking?! Women shouldn’t be stereotyped as the ones who SHOULD wake up earlier so as to be able to cook for the family”.

But I don’t go with that kind of stereotype “feminism”. I rather strongly agree with Amanda Palmer’s definition on what a true feminist is: to do whatever she wants (click here for the very sensible article).
And I say, I want to cook for my husband and baby, take care of them, be the best wife-mom and have an amazing career on top of it.

How to do it though is another matter that has to be dissected. One main problem probably is that I am an insomniac. I have such a terrible insomnia that most of times, on the average, I only am able to sleep two hours after I went to bed. So if I had a long day at work, I’d only get to sleep at 2am or so. End result, I make up for the lack of sleep by waking up late just in time to get to office on time. No time to prepare breakfast at all.

Another main reason probably is that I’ve been doing this late-night-late-morning routine for 16 years now, ever since I left home for University. Sixteen years of habit that has to be undone.

However, as has been often said which we’ve already proven quite a number of times, it only takes 21 days to kickstart a habit. Throw in 30 days, if you want, for good measure. And so here’s to hoping that I’d get to start and end and keep going that planned 30-day habit of serving breakfast for my family especially now that soon we’ll have a little one who’s dependent on us for her survival.

Hmmm. Come to think of it. I can use those insomnia evenings to prepare breakfast.

As for the evenings and dinner, with the kind of environment we have at the office wherein we have to put in long hours to keep abreast, ofttimes I’m either already too tired to prepare a meal or it’s already very late that eating out is the better option.

So how to go about this evening dilemma? One could be to apply that don’t-work-for-more-than-40-hours-a-week-for-a-more-efficient-you philosophy. Although from experience, it’s hard to apply this at the office.

So what to do? The only option I can think of now is akin to what I usually do when deadlines are all stacked up: just do it. Quit thinking and fretting about it. JUST DO IT. And do your best while you’re at it.

For the mean time, I will just have to raise the white flag and give up the part about being a super wife at home and clean/cook always. With pregnancy and a demanding full time work, I think I already have more than enough on my plate. I guess for now I just have to make up to Hubs by being sweeter. 😀

green thumb hubby

I just can’t get enough of melons recently. Thankfully hubs is all too patient to buy even when it’s heavy to carry along with the other groceries.

Little did I know, Hubs planted the melon seeds we had last Saturday. There was still nothing on the pot this morning. But lo and behold after 12 hours!

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Hubs is just amazing with plants! I forgot already if we had honeydew or the cantaloupe variety last weekend. Curious and excited!

Diaper talk: Combi’s Sangenic and garbage collection

Garbage segregation is strictly implemented here in Japan. Every household has a copy of the daily garbage pickup schedule – what type of garbage gets picked up at certain days and at what time. And if you’re a delinquent and your combustible garbage is with PET bottles, trust that the garbage dudes definitely won’t pick it up.

The schedule differs with every area. in ours, burnables/decomposing garbage and plastic wrappers/cellophane/styro and similar stuff gets collected twice a week at Mondays and Fridays (albeit burnables should be in a different garbage bag as the plastics). PET bottles are on Tuesdays, big boxes and old magazines/books (should be neatly tied and bundled together) every second Saturday of the month, und so weiter. And oh, it’s required that you use see-through garbage bags, well, sometimes, it’s out of courtesy as well.

During winter, spring and fall, the decomposing garbage getting holed up inside your house is just fine. The cold ambient arrests the bacteria that would otherwise cause foul odour. It’s a different matter though during summer when it’s hot and decomposing garbage could fester fast. Thankfully, we don’t cook much nowadays, especially during the workweek so it’s not torture at all.

However, I can just imagine how used baby diapers would reek after four days of being held up in the garbage can. Or rather, I really don’t want to imagine at all.

Hence, I am convinced that this special diaper trash can made by Combi is really a boon for parents in properly disposing their baby’s poop.

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The “contraption” is actually a bit complicated when we tried to check it out – Mayumi and Hubs had quite a good laugh about it as we explored how it is used. But basically, it uses a disk of partitioned cellophane. When you throw away the used diaper inside, the opened partitioned cellophane will “candy-wrap” the diaper as it goes to the bottom, leaving a newly opened cellophane gaping wide open to receive yet another used diaper.

Supposedly, the “candy wrapping” and good trash can seal can eliminate the odour seeping out of the trash can. Hopefully. Let’s see how it is in a few months’ time or should I say, next summer.

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