hanabi and ramen

The yearly hanabi (fireworks display) sponsored by Kanagawa Shimbun which is held right in front of our office was held today. Wanting to avoid the crowd after the hanabi, hubs and I hurried home when the hanabi was just getting started. There was such a crowd that I didn’t hazard taking a photo anymore; I was only intent on protecting my pregnant belly against the rushers.

Two things I’m glad with with the throng of people: one, there are definitely more people this year than last year – people last year weren’t really particularly feeling festive after the big earthquake in Tohoku region. I’m happy that the people in general seem more buoyed now, more genki. Secondly, it always is really nice to see people dressed in the traditional summer clothes – the yukata. It’s not as elaborate and expensive looking as the kimono but still it’s nice to behold.

We were so hungry but we couldn’t eat in our office area because we wanted to be out of the crowd ASAP. But cooking would take time. Hence we decided to eat near our home. But the best restaurants in our area are the ramen houses. Hubs usually don’t prefer eating ramen but thankfully this evening, he urged we eat ramen. Yey!

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Left one is Atsushi’s. It’s tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen that’s soy sauce flavoured whilst mine on the right is miso flavoured. I could taste the vinegar in Atsushi’s broth. It’s good but I’m happier with my flavour (albeit mine is more expensive and Atsushi’s has more pork slice).

Because we got guilty with all the fat content, we bought fruits in the fruit store just in front of the ramen house.
Plums and grapes for dessert.

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Just balanced, right? 🙂

Torigin for Friday dinner date

Sakuragicho’s giant wheel beyond.

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The chef preparing our yakitori.

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First batch of yakitori!

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Aaahh I missed this! So intent with our yakitori I forgot to take photos of the rest 😀 Forgot to take a photo of the Kani (crab) salad too which by the way was REALLY good together with ume (plum) dressing.

Otsukaresama!

we’re now informed; a pregnancy registration experience

If truth be told, during the first few weeks of pregnancy, I had to make peace with a lot of big differences of prenatal care here in Japan as compared to western countries and in the Philippines. To name a couple, no maternity hospitals/clinics are open on Sundays (as are some other hospitals for sickness except for those hospitals designated for emergencies) and that maternity hospitals here as a general practice don’t prescribe prenatal vitamins. Yes, even folic acid.

I felt that there was disparity on how one of Japan’s most pressing problem is its ageing population owing to lower birth rates and yet we didn’t feel any government support on the pregnant population. One would have thought that Japan would step up on this pressing issue. But there seems to be no action.

Apparently though, we’re just uninformed. The Japanese government of course had already taken action. No, they don’t give out vitamins. But they give support alright.

When we visited the ob-gyn last month, we were advised to go to the ward office/city hall to register our pregnancy. I thought it’s just as brief as when we go there for alien registration which usually takes just about 10 minutes max. But it took me one hour this time! Why so?

The ward officer had to explain to me everything he gave me in this package after I had filled out the necessary forms.

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In the package, one of the things I was giggling is this.

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Supposedly I’d attach it on the sling of my bag to earn me a seat on the train. Unfortunately though, as is typical with most Japanese who doesn’t have a culture of staring at other people, most of them are so busy reading their books or with their phones that they don’t notice the woman in front of them wearing the badge. The badge only earned me a seat once. Nevertheless though, I’m happy just wearing the badge.

What the hospital really wanted me to get from the ward office though is the boshi kenko techo (母子手帳) or the Mother and Child Health Handbook.

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The ward office employee asked me if i wanted the Japanese or the English copy. Of course I chose the English one. Inside the book are pages used to contain information of your history prior to pregnancy, your record during pregnancy (the checkups you had, weight gain, tests you undertook and even dental checkups) and record of your baby’s health after birth (the developments, the immunizations administered).

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Since it contains all the record of the immunizations of the baby, obviously I need to keep this handbook with me until baby is well into kindergarten. Or thereabouts.

The guidebook that came with it was really helpful. It showed some advise on how to take care of yourself during pregnancy, your diet, who to ask for help in your area etc.

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I was most thankful though on the section which tells about the law and your rights at work.

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It was clearly stated that it is prohibited by law to dismiss from work or discriminate pregnant women or women who gave birth. They even gave a contact number if in case you meet some problems.

The government really had to take care of that fact. Otherwise they’d find themselves in a worse predicament than they are now what with women deciding to work instead for self fulfillment.

Now this is sweet. The guy in the ward office gave me these two pads.

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The one in the left I should bring with me during my prenatal visits. This booklet contain slips of ¥4700, ¥7000 and ¥12000 which will subsidize the expenses incurred during our checkups. In our last checkup two weeks ago, I had to take all the routine tests. And even with our company insurance and the ¥12,000 slip, we still ended up paying ~¥10,000. So really, the subsidies helped. Without the ¥12k slip, we would have had paid ¥22,000!

The other booklet on the right contain slips for every immunization that baby needs. I just take out one slip designated for a particular immunization and baby would get it for free.

These two booklets however are given only once so if you loose it, you can’t ask for another one again.

By the way. These subsidies are only acknowledged in hospitals in our area or in some hospitals outside Yokohama which are approved by the Yokohama city government. Meaning i can’t use these slips in Tokyo if ever I decide to have my checkups there. The same goes for Tokyo-issued boshi techo and subsidy slips.

I was also advised on the parenting and birth classes available in the area and the schedule. They have no English classes however. I just might have to request hubby to translate during the class! Haha. I’m still hoping though we’d catch an English class, even if it’s in Tokyo.

I was also advised that once I’ve given birth, we should register the birth within two weeks so that baby and mommy can enjoy more privileges (will share more next time).

Anyways, the government does care after all. 🙂

Excited to see baby again on the monitor in our next prenatal visit! Hope you’re growing healthy and fine baby.

a snowy last day of feb

It was lovely to wake up and see everything in white and still snowing at that!

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Yahoo was right on with the current weather (but not before. Yahoo forecasted only rain last night)

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But when I saw the walkway, I balked and was daunted. I was scared of slipping in the snow again, given my condition.

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Thankfully this kind of fresh snow is not slippery so I made it to office without any mishaps. よかった!⛄⛄⛄
——
It’s still snowing heavily after 8 hours!! 🙂 A memorable leap day indeed!

look who’s in love

It’s been a particularly cold and dreary-looking day with the clouds looking heavy. I wish I could say they’re heavy with snow, but no they aren’t.

In this overcast day though, what was usually ignored took a lot of notice. There was this particular side of the building which is the least interesting to look at. But not today.

We fondly refer to it as “the building that’s in love”.

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autumn sunset

Being able to see this beauty every working day, when the weather is fine, is absolutely one great blessing to be thankful for.

I’m afraid my phone camera didn’t give the place justice though.

I actually turn speechless when I get up from my seat and look up and see everything bathed in gold and surrounded by the blue sea. Absolutely beautiful.

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autumn on November 30

We’ve been so busy lately that we haven’t really been to the countryside to experience autumn. Here in the city, I feel like autumn took a long time in coming. And even when it came, the visit was so short. Short though it may be, yet still beautiful.

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