From Fukui, with Love

Choosing a birth centre in Japan

Posted by in Mary's blog, Mike's blog

When we travel, we spend time meticulously pouring over hotel/ryokan reviews so that we can make informed decisions about where we spend our vacation time.  To our surprise, finding a place to give birth has been kind of similar, except instead of comparing amenities like onsens and breakfast, we have been comparing medical interventions and child care philosophies… The standard stay at a birth centre here is around 1 week, which in contrast to the 20 hours we spent at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener when the Bunny was born is…read more

It’s a…

Posted by in Mary's blog, Mike's blog

It’s no longer possible for Mary to hide that she’s pregnant.  The warmer weather mixed with the growing “baby bump” (what a strange name…) makes for lots of questions.  Here are some answers to the most popular ones that we get while we’re out and about: Q: Are you…?  Baby? [tries to make strange hand motions because “pregnant” isn’t in most Japanese people’s English vocabulary] A: Yes.  She is baby. Q: Are you going to have the baby in Japan?  Where will you give birth? A: Yes, and…good question (we…read more

Date day on the Echizen coast

Posted by in Mike's blog

We found ourselves in a fortunate situation:  Mary is on spring vacation and most of my students are on holiday…so we have a few days to ourselves while the Bunny has fun playing at hoikuen.  We’ve been married for 6 years, our kid is 3, and all of our family is overseas.  This time is precious and invaluable, so we are making the most of it! For our first “date day” we decided to take a drive to the Echizen coast (for the first time!).  The stretch of road we…read more

“Shaken”, not stirred: Making sure our car lasts longer than milk

Posted by in Mike's blog

Every car in Japan has a yellow sticker on the windshield.  On the sticker, there’s a date.  The date signifies the point until which the car can be driven before its next scheduled maintenance. We have known for some time that our car would expire in March 2013.  There’s been a big “3” (for March) staring at us since we started to use the car last June.  The car has been good to us.  Aside from a small ¥1500 repair and an oil change, the only cash that we have…read more

Big “B”, little “b”, what begins with “B”?

Posted by in Mary's blog

This is not a post about the little “b”.  It’s about the BIG “B”: THE BUNNY! When we came to Japan a little over a year ago, the Bunny was just 20 months. She was our sweet baby girl, but babies don’t stay babies for long. Our baby girl has turned into a fun loving, curious, and affectionate big girl. The Bunny celebrated her third birthday in December while we visiting with family in Canada.  According to her most recent health check, she is now 99.4cm tall and weighs 16.5kg!…read more

Yes, we are having a baby. Yes, we are having a baby in Japan.

Posted by in Mary's blog

Our family of 3 is about to become a family of 4. We are very excited to announce that we have a little one on the way! Our second child will be born in the blazing heat of Fukui’s summer. I have decided to renew my contract and stay in Japan a third year, so this child will be born in Japan. There is no doubt that having a baby in a foreign country will be full of all kinds of new and exciting adventures. You can look forward to…read more

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How radioactive is Fukui?

Posted by in Mike's blog

Remember that time in 2011 when the world’s eyes turned to Japan after the great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent nuclear crisis in Fukushima prefecture?  Of course you do, everybody does. We flew to Japan around 5 months after the disaster(s), but we didn’t do so without being aware of the impact that they had on this place.  After a few minutes of research we were fairly certain that Fukui is just TOO FAR to have been directly affected by any of the airborne fallout from the nuclear…read more

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Japan does “cute” very well

Posted by in Mary's blog

Two weeks ago I embarked upon my first ever trip to Disneyland: Tokyo Disneyland. My gracious husband stayed home and looked after the Bunny so I could enjoy a girls’ day out with two fantastic women, Mauricia and Michiko. Fukui isn’t so close to Tokyo. In order to keep the cost of the trip down, it required a night bus. That’s right. I thought it was a good idea to spend the night on the bus, followed by a full day at Disneyland, and then another night on the bus…read more

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Nagano: Mountains, cottages, hot springs, a nice lake and NINJAS

Posted by in Mike's blog

We just got back from a 6 day vacation in the mountains of Nagano prefecture. A few weeks ago I was having a discussion about my family’s summer plans with a friendly group of old ladies.  We had been trying to put together a plan for a short trip, but it wasn’t coming together.  One of them casually mentioned that she has a vacation home/cottage in Nagano, it has been largely unused this year, and she wanted us to take our vacation at her cottage so that someone could open…read more

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Sorry, this content IS available in your country

Posted by in Mike's blog

We had gotten pretty used to seeing “sorry, this content is not available in your country” messages on streaming video websites when we lived in Canada.  Every time we heard about a new American service, our hearts sunk a little bit because we know that countries have very strict borders on the internet because of copyright policies.  Hulu?  Not north of the border.  Fox/NBC/CBS/ABC?  Not a chance.  Life was still good, though.  Netflix launched in Canada in September 2010 with significantly less content than its American counterpart – but hey,…read more