From Fukui, with Love

Banking in Japan without bankbooks

Posted by in Mike's blog

I discovered a new app called Moneytree a few months ago, and in the past few days I finally got it set up the way I like.  Now I can bank like it’s 1999 again (as opposed to 1989)!  This isn’t a sponsored post…I just really really enjoy the way this app has made our lives easier. A bit about banking As much as I’d like to be an expert on different countries’ financial systems (OK, not really), I’m not.  What I know is what I and other normal people…read more

Happy beach days in Fukui

Posted by in Mike's blog

Summer is hot for us, as I’m sure it is wherever you are reading this from.  Our chosen method of beating the heat (when we have time), is swimming at one of the local beaches.  We do live on an island, and most cities are less than a day trip away from the nearest beach. Fukui has its fair share of sandy beaches, but most of them are pretty far from us.  Fortunately, there are two within 45 minutes of our place (by car).  We enjoyed our first beach day of the…read more

School lunch in Japan is a good deal!

Posted by in Mary's blog

In Japan, students eat school lunch. Every day they get a hot well balanced meal to eat while they’re at school. Rice is a staple in Japan. So much so that each meal time has rice in its name. あさごはん (“morning rice” or breakfast), ひるごはん (“noon rice” or lunch), and ばんごはん (“night rice” or dinner).  As expected rice is also an important part of school lunch. School lunch at hoikuen Every day at hoikuen our children eat school lunch. We are very thankful that the hoikuen provides a healthy meal…read more

We’re almost free from winter!

Posted by in Mary's blog

I don’t like winter.  I have fond memories of liking winter as a child.  I enjoyed playing in the snow with my brothers and sisters.  We built snow forts, had snowball fights, made snowmen and snow angels, and went tobogganing.  I think it was sometime in my teens that I stopped enjoying the season.  I’m just not a fan of being cold. We’ve had a mild winter this year in Japan, and spring is just around the corner (my favourite season!!).  But winter in Japan still feels quite COLD.  I know…read more

Not a typical birth experience in Japan

Posted by in Mary's blog

I think my birth experience in Japan was far from the “normal” Japanese experience. Prior to The Turtle’s birth I read a lot of blogs about giving birth in Japan. Their experiences were quite a bit different from my own. I wanted to include a few here, so you can get a better idea of what birth in Japan might look like. A Canadian mom from “Life in the Land of Wa” Where: Fukuyama-shi, Japan Story: This mom had to labour in bed without the option of getting up and…read more

Our first lucky bag!

Posted by in Mike's blog

I just paid ¥1000 ($10 CAD) for a big red bag, and I had no idea what was inside. Lucky bags (福袋) are a new year’s tradition in Japan.  Stores gather things that may or may not have sold well at the end of the previous year and sell them as bundles at deeply discounted prices.  It’s been tempting to see these mystery bags pretty much everywhere all week.  Even the Apple Store joins in on the fun! I enjoy surprises, but there were a couple of things holding me…read more

Our Thanksgiving in Japan

Posted by in Mike's blog

We had our annual Thanksgiving feast at Bunkyo Gospel Centre last weekend.  It was wonderful. Japan has a “Labour and Thanksgiving Day” in November, but it isn’t celebrated the same way we are accustomed to.  We discussed cultural differences between Thanksgiving celebrations around the world while we ate turkey at our table. My mom and I worked in the kitchen to prepare one of three 15 pound turkeys in the church’s convection pizza oven.  We imported the turkeys and cranberry sauce from America through Yoyo Market.  Here some simplified steps…read more

Calling Canada from Japan (and vice-versa!)

Posted by in Mike's blog

We’ve been under pressure from our family to invest in a MagicJack setup for the past couple of years.  Nearly every member of our extended family uses MagicJack…so we should too, especially since we’re overseas, right? Nope.  We got something better. (note: This isn’t as much as an anti-magic jack as it is a pro-alternatives post.  The reasons we didn’t want MagicJack are, in brief: (1) Depsite the word “free” being listed on the front page of MagicJack.com 26+ times, it costs $50 for a device and $20-$30 in annual…read more

We fought and we won: How we (finally) got a Japanese credit card

Posted by in Mike's blog

This post signifies a MAJOR victory in a battle we’ve been fighting since our first week in Japan:  We are now the proud owners of a bona fide Japanese credit card! Way back in the day when the Bunny rode around Fukui in a stroller, we took her to the main post office branch in the middle of the city on our initial quest to get a credit card.  We aren’t fans of spending money we don’t have, but in our first week here alone we ran into the beginning…read more

Our first takoyaki party was a huge success!

Posted by in Mike's blog

  Last night we had an opportunity to have some friends over and make a unique Japanese party food.  Together, we were 15 people from 9 countries crowded into our living room and kitchen feasting on delicious foods with strange ingredients. We had a takoyaki party! Takoyaki was first popularized in Osaka, and it can be found at street vendor stalls throughout the country, especially at festivals.  It’s a great party food because it’s easier to make in large quantities and the pieces are small and easily shared. We had…read more