Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I discovered today that I'll be getting to do a lot of reflecting thanks to the extremely thorough post-partum care at my hospital. I'll be spending seven days at the hospital. I'm trying to be pleased that they will be taking such good care of me and my new baby, but I'm struggling to get excited about the fact that my husband and mom will be limited to very narrow visiting hours.  

And today's photo-of-the-day: reflection.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Past Due

Today is 40 weeks plus one day and still no baby. I'm feeling fine and so trying to remember that she isn't really past due, that in fact she would have to stay put for another two weeks (oh please no) for her to be officially past due. It is very unusual to plan for a week away from my house that could start at any moment. At least, I think it will be a week. The Japanese hospitals are very, shall we say, thorough and so keep new mothers in (even after a natural birth) for nearly a week. From what I've seen they keep people in for an extended period for any sort of procedure. So, in the states, when you'd be sent home on the same day, here you're kept for three days.

In the meantime, we're still shopping and cooking. I finally made a delicious bread recipe that my brother recommended from The Italian Dish website. It's an easy, no-knead recipe, where you have pre-made dough sitting in the fridge ready to bake at any time. And it's delicious!

Unlike the recipe, I made mine in a dutch oven (as per my brother's instructions) baking for 30 minutes with a lid and 20 more minutes without and it was perfect! And with this bread, we were able to have this fantastic cheese and salami spread for appetizers. Back on the photo-a-day pictures, today is "5 o'clock", which is when we got to have our bread.

Friday, November 2, 2012


My doctor says to do it, as it will speed up labor. It is my only means of transportation, other than a taxi or train. As my bike hasn't moved since this time last year, I'm sure it's rusty beyond repair and I wouldn't trust myself and my altered center of gravity on it anyway. But man, walking has become difficult. Besides the fact that the only shoes I can really wear at this point are my hot pink sneakers, which look decent with about three things that I own. Most of my really comfy pregnancy clothes aren't really coordinated with sneakers, but then I guess I should really let go of my ego, since I am walking around with a watermelon attached to my tummy.

The most annoying thing about the difficulty I have with walking around, is my inability to shop. I have a very reliable shopper, who is perfectly willing to go out and get the groceries, especially now that he has his flashy new scooter. But, I like doing the shopping, especially for the produce. I do not, however, like lugging it back up the hill to the apartment. Especially now, since the ever-present watermelon means that my carrying capacity is severely reduced.

But today, I heeded my doctor's advice and went out for a long walk. I did a bit of shopping, only for the necessities, and avoided going into my favorite produce place. Which fits in nicely for the photo-of -the-day theme of "Color". Oh but the apples looked so good!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

When does a muffin become a cupcake?

I've been wanting to make this recipe for Whole Grain Maple Pumpkin Muffins since I saw the photo a few weeks ago on The Yummy Life. Maple donuts were always one of my favorites and anything baked with pumpkin in it is objectively delicious. Thankfully, the original poster put numerous variations of the recipe including for muffins. Since my kitchen is the size of a thimble, I do not have space for crazy items like donut pans. I do, however, have an abundance of muffin tins.

So this morning in my attempt to avoid my daily trip to Starbucks or my corner cafe, where I will immediately spend 10 dollars on a mediocre cup of tea and baked good; I decided to try this recipe out. Plus, I needed something for my daily photo.

I used the recipe basically as it is printed, though I did cut the maple syrup in the muffin recipe by half. I also used a bit more than the original 1/4 cup of brown sugar. I generally try to cut down on the sugar in most recipes. These were still delicious without all of the sugar, and then if they are glazed, which I tried as well, they are deliciously sweet. But I suppose that is to be expected when you cover something with powdered sugar and maple syrup. Mmmmm.

So, while these are technically muffins and fairly healthy with the whole wheat flour, I feel like they become cupcakes when you add the maple glaze and walnuts to the top. Now, I have to try save some for others. Or maybe not.

November: Photos and Baby

November has arrived and I'm still very pregnant. As I am now getting into the swing of this whole stay-at-home-wife business, I will soon get to change all of that with my new stay-at-home-mom/new-mom role. Exciting!

One of my goals over the last few months, has been to take more photos (oh and to maintain my blog, ha!). I take millions when we travel, but very few when it's just normal life, but I suppose that is not unusual. Obviously, with the baby on the way, I will have a constant source of inspiration here in my apartment very soon. But until then, I'm going to attempt to do something slightly more creative by participating in a Photo-A-Day Challenge. Now, off to find things that start with the letter C. Too bad I've already used the crib photo!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

WaNavi Japan: Harvest of Hope

I've just discovered, thanks to a friend at work, WaNavi Japan's Harvest of Hope. I don't know much about WaNavi yet, but one of the things that they have set out to do is to provide Japanese people and foreigners in Japan access to fresh, local, radiation-free produce.  Hooray! Everyone loves radiation free produce! I'm fairly confident that most of what we buy is radiation free, but this organization seems great. Plus, they will deliver a box of produce to my door and make a donation to Tohoku relief whenever we buy. Even better! My first delivery arrives in one week, just in time to start prepping freezer meals for Tony to prepare once I'm out of commission.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Birthing class and burritos!

We had our first birthing class today. It was a fantastic experience with some very nice people. The whole philosophy of the class made me much more comfortable with the fact that I won't really be able to understand anyone in the labor room. Well, that is anyone except Tony. My doctor does also speak English, so I can speak to him, when he's around, which I have a feeling won't be all that often.

Also, since the Japanese system is very hands off and anti-medical intervention, I will more than likely not have any sort of pain relief. I'm happy with this, but obviously need some method to get through the process. The class is called Hypnobirthing, which sounds very new agey and weird, but really isn't. The whole philosophy is based on the idea that most of our pain in childbirth comes from fear and the resistance to the labor process. So, they teach techniques on how to relax throughout labor and allow it to happen. The reviews are amazing. I suppose I'll find out soon enough if I agree with the reviews. Seven weeks left as of tomorrow!

The other good news about our class is that it is in Azabu Juban, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Tokyo. Not that I've seen that much of Tokyo, but it's a cute little neighborhood with great shopping and restaurants, including Frijoles! My favorite (read only) burrito place in the Kanto Plain. I even got photographic evidence, as always when I'm excited about a meal, or want to brag about it to Todd, I took a photo, not a very exciting photo, but it was a delicious burrito.