the baby’s first hanami (cherry blossoms viewing)

A spring-y outfit for…


…Yui’s first hanami!


This variant blooms days earlier than the white variant so they’re in full bloom earlier this week whilst the white ones will be in full bloom this weekend or early next week.



With the Sakura frenzy, everything now is sakura-inspired. From food products to wines, to toiletries to home cleaning agents. And we try everything too, not only for the novelty of it but because it tastes good (food and wine). Our favourite so far is sakura yogurt.

And look there’s sakura udon too!


The taste? Very very slight sakura taste discerned only by an udon lover.

Japan Spring, you’re so lovely it’s such a waste to while the day inside the house!

Yui’s first Hinamatsuri

Yui’s first (beautiful) Hina ningyo set, courtesy of her Obaachan! 🙂


The Emperor and Empress and the Sannin Kanjo (three court ladies) up close.


With the celebrant! Happy first Hinamatsuri Yui! 🙂 Everyone is so beautifully round-faced. hehe!


I especially love the sakura designed black lacquer screen and box/stand of this Mataro collectible. .


Setting up was very interesting and enjoyable what with the little parts of the set. We also have to read a bit to know what goes where and to make sure we had the pieces positioned just where they should be (I was particularly proud that I positioned the cherry tree and mandarin orange tree at their right positions without reading first. Teehee). We had to wear gloves while setting it up to avoid leaving marks on the beautiful lacquer.



Much as I want to keep this beautiful Mataro collectible. on display for most of the year, we have to keep with the tradition and store it before March 4 ends. We of course want to wish Yui a family of her own in the far future hence we abide with tradition.

Thankfully, her Obaachan thoughtfully chose a set that comes with a box with which we can store the dolls after the festival and set it aside for next year.


It came with a brush set as well.


I bought these for storing the dolls as well.


Ja, time to store the dolls now!

sakura yogurt

Everyone in the house, save for the baby, is addicted to this one right now.


Incomplete, an act of kindness, Yui’s first solids preps

Tonight and tomorrow night, Hubs is away for a stay-in workshop organised by the company, him being one of the lecturers. I’m happy for Hubs for this opportunity but I sorely miss him; this being the first night we’ve been away from each other ever since our church wedding two years ago let alone the first since Yui was born. Yui seemed to be out of sorts herself as well this evening. Not crying thankfully but more clingy than usual. Nighttime is actually her bonding time with Dad as I go about doing household chores. Funny how she finally settled for the night after hearing her dad on the phone when Hubs called to say goodnight. I am more tired as well since I have to take care of the baby AND do household chores; this after coming home carting a baby in my arms, a bulky baby bag on one shoulder and dragging a stroller/baby car on one hand (Mayumi carried the shopped goods thankfully). But still I’m real thankful because Yui at least wasn’t cranky this evening. In fact she was smiling a lot. So even when I was already very tired, I found myself still having the energy to do some household chores at 1:30am. Thanks to Yui’s help. The miracles of being a mom – you thought you’re tired already yet you still find yourself going and going and going. But really, aside from the lending arm that Hubs gives when he’s around, it definitely is lonely without Atsushi around. Two nights seem to be very long.

Yui is soon to start her solids already and I planned for today and tomorrow to buy the stuff necessary for the first few weeks at least. Been researching on giving baby solids for quite some time now and it’s finally time to actually buy the stuff for us to get started.

For today’s destination, we had to ride the JR train. Unfortunately however, the station we went to doesn’t have an elevator. We had Yui on a baby car and it’s really quite a feat to climb a long flight of stairs with a baby and a big bag albeit Mayumi will carry the folded stroller. The train master however kindly offered to carry Yui’s baby car and even offered that I put my big bag on the stroller for him to carry which of course I had to graciously refuse. When we got up to the platform, he didn’t leave us immediately the moment he set down the stroller. He waited till I was able to safely tuck Yui in in the stroller. Such a kind act. Thankful. Touched. Impressed.

The baby goods shopping was successful. Was really happy with these girly cover-all bibs; hello kitty and suzzy’s zoo being washable cloth type and the owl and flower design being easy to wipe plastic type. We’re ready for solids yey!


Hina ningyo!

A year ago, we wondered if we’d be celebrating Hinamatsuri (for girls) this year or hanging a drawn carp during Kodomi no Hi (for boys). Well, we will be celebrating my favourite Hinamatsuri after all! 😀

I know that from tradition, parents give these doll sets to their little girls, every year. But I have only speculated on how much they cost. I didn’t even know where to buy them. I thought they are bought in museums and the like. I realised that when I was still single, I haven’t been really to any baby/children’s floor in the malls otherwise I would have known that these dolls are usually sold in malls and how MUCH they cost.

Since the first week of January, these dolls have already been on display.





See the details of the dolls? Amazing isn’t it? See also the price though.



If you only have a few thousand to spare, here’s the cheaper version.


There’s also cute Hello Kitty versions. And cheaper too.


Tradition says that these dolls should only be on display at your house up to March 4. Otherwise, the daughter/s of the house will marry late. Since the dolls would have to be stored for most of the year, a good storage place and good manner of storing the dolls must be in effect to preserve the dolls.

This being Yui’s first Hinamatsuri, we want to buy her her set. A cheaper one at least hehe. But it’s already crowded as it is in our library – the only place I can think of where we can store the doll. Or in the tatami room. Hmm let’s see.

the health clinic check and colouring book wall posts

Early yesterday morning (the earliest appointment Yui and I had together so far at 8:45), the whole family went to the children’s health clinic floor in the Ward office (Japan equivalent of the city hall) for the required 4~5 months checkup.

We actually also have the required (and free!) regular well baby checkups – first week, one month, 3 to 4 months, 6 to 7 months, 9 to 10 months, 1 year old, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 years old – which can be done in private hospitals and clinics. These, on top of course of the vaccination schedules which of course doesn’t necessarily coincide with the scheduled checkups.

But the government’s health department also required regular checkups on top of the ones above that will be done by the government health personnel. Guess this is the government’s way of ensuring that their baby citizens are taken cared of well. Quite impressive isn’t it?

We actually thought we’d be the only ones there, similar to the personal visit we had from the ward office midwife when Yui was just five weeks old. Hence we were surprised to see a lot of babies with their families. Turned out they’ve called all the 4~5 month old babies in the area for the required checkup and organised a checkup system that’s quite reminiscent of company checkups.

The group is only supposed to be for 4~5 month old babies and only in our area at that. And yet there was quite a number of babies. Far cry from my first assignment here in Japan some ten years ago when I haven’t seen a single pregnant woman.

When we came to the room to have Yui’s statistics measured, I hesitated a bit when I put down Yui on one of the cots. She was still sleeping and I was wary that she’d cry a lot (like most of the babies there!) when I had to strip off her clothes since I’d be waking her up and the room is a bit cold (I was wearing a coat yet I was just comfortable with the temperature). But when she woke up, the first thing she saw were the drawings of Pooh Bear and Doraemon and Hello Kitty and a smile spread and stayed on her face even when I was taking off her clothes. After the body measurements, we had to wait a bit for our turn for one of the doctors to check on Yui and so to keep Yui warm (yes she still has no clothes on!) I put her again in her oversized bunting.

Her oversized bunting (oversized so that she can hopefully wear it again next winter. But since she’s already 65cm at barely 5 months when supposedly 60cm clothes are up to 6month old babies, I’m not sure if this will still fit her next winter).


Anyway I digress. While we waited, Yui just calmly looked at all the screaming and wailing babies and looked curiously at the wall drawings as well; making me decide that it’s high time to put up drawings by yui’s crib as well. Meanwhile, we are thankful the check with the doctor went smoothly and Atsushi and I were again very proud to see Yui propping up herself strongly when the doctor had her on her tummy.

We also had lectures on how to take care of our older baby, first solids (recommended at five months) and teething basics & care.

After the checkup we went to a mall to look for posters that I can stick on the wall by Yui’s crib. But we had difficulty looking for hello kitty posters nor pooh bear posters. So we decided to buy this one instead and have the colouring time as bonding time as well, yet another opportunity to tell Yui a story.


I would have to delegate the drawing from scratch to Atsushi. 😀 😀

sausage forest, anyone?

Want any ideas for your child’s bento/lunch box?


How about forest theme?





You can also opt for an Under the Sea theme. The tanukis (the ones above the squid-shaped ones) of course is with the forest theme.


And nope I didn’t make these. Nor did I took these photos in an exhibit. These were on display in a supermarket. Of course we helped ourselves with the samplers (and bought some as well).



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.


The priests at the head of the procession.


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.


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.


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)


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.

sakura dori

After a hard rain, it always is a beautiful day the day after, making today’s walk to office even lovelier what with the blue skies highlighting the sakura trees, that has blossomed in its prime, lining the whole Sakura avenue in front of the office. And this week is even lovelier what with the sakura petals falling, as if it’s snowing with pink and white petals.

Our office, masked with sakura blooms.


Ookagawa Sakuramatsuri

Been waiting for weeks for this weather. Thankfully, the great weather came on a weekend when most of the sakura where already in full bloom, roughly 80%. Of course, it’s gonna be a busy weekend.

First destination for the sakura season: mobile sakura matsuri (cherry blossoms festival) traversing the 4.5 km Ooka River. There were so many people as expected. But I’m happy I was lucky enough to take some shots of “serenity” and not chaos.

Love the last photo.

I also love shots of the sakura against the water.

Hello there duck!

Now these are both our (Atsushi’s and mine) favorite. Reminds me of my favorite line in my favorite cartoon movie Mulan,

The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.

But lo, how beautiful the illuminated sakura is!!

But of course, it being a matsuri/festival, food stalls also line the street selling traditional Japanese street food like yakitori, takoyaki and okonomiyaki among MANY others.

Popular among kids are the candied strawberries, apple and banana.

Ahh tsukareta (tired). But it was fun indeed! Especially since we met up with Atsushi’s friend Kamio-san. I love listening to their laughter as they patiently wait for me while I was busy clicking around.

Time for bed as tomorrow is gonna be a busy one as well. 🙂

Thank you for today Lord! And thank you for technology – with it, my parents can see how big I am already even when they’re oceans away.





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