Summer rain

Painting is ‘Quiet rain - Japan’ by Chisho Maas

I’m sitting on what is turning into my favourite stoop, listening to the rain and I’m sheltered by our balcony above. It’s not that private as it looks straight out onto the road but it’s a quiet road. In fact the whole neighbourhood is quiet. It’s 9pm on a Saturday night and all I can hear are a few cars in the distance, the rain falling and causing dripping all around and swelling the river at the bottom of our road. It’s so close and so quiet we can hear it at night. It doesn’t feel like we’re in the middle of the city and yet apartment blocks twinkle their nighttime lights all around us.
It’s the rainy season here so rain isn’t that surprising but was is nice is that the humidity is letting up for us.... some days at least. Sometimes it’s just sticky and you feel like you forgot to dry when getting out of the shower. Sometimes there’s a wonderfully cool breeze and the rain lifts the air and it becomes fresh with that summer rain smell.…

Can we live plastic-free in Japan?

Simple answer: yes, but it’s bloody hard work. One big thing we’ve all noticed since moving here is that Japan is very much still in the throes of single-use plastic life and not many changes have been made towards updating this attitude. Now various propaganda (for want of a better word) will have you believe that Japan is amazing with its plastic recycling because it’s incredibly strict on what it recycles and how that is divided. As a home we have 2 different types of plastic recycling: PET recycling and plastic packaging such as crisp packets and bottle tops. Sounds awesome right? Well this article reveals (as do many more) that whilst the statistics say 84% of plastic in Japan is recycled. Amazing right? Wrong! Only 23% is materially recycled with 4% being chemically recycled and the rest is burned....let me say that again- the Japanese government says it recycles materials which is actually burns to create electricity. 56% of the plastic I take time to recycle gets burned. Now w…

The honest truth

It’s not always easy living abroad. Whilst the experience of a new country is like nothing else it’s difficult to strike the right balance between the daily routine of school and work and boring household stuff in order to actually experience the country you come to live in. My job, as I see it, is to be chief organiser of excursions, holidays, visits and touristy things whilst balancing family life. I can’t always manage it as my brain sometimes takes a day off! Also, everyone is utterly knackered, it’s humid and raining all the time (but it is the rainy season), we don’t know the language or the culture and have a list of places everyone wants to go that’s longer than we can manage. Oh and there are mosquitoes.....lots and lots of mosquitoes.
But, as with everything in life, we are finding the balance. We all pick up when going on an adventure, we love our house and the area we are in which is right near the river (hence the mosquitoes). We have air conditioning so can avoid the humi…

Goodbye, dear friend

So there I was preparing a blogpost all about the new life we are living when I get some bad news from back home. Our beautiful labrador, Ebby, who is the sweetest personality, was gravely ill and the vet saw it as a kindness to put her to sleep. He said in all likeness she had bone cancer and it had progressed quickly. For ages she had been getting stiff on her back legs but I think she had been hiding from us how much pain she was in. My sister had to deliver the news and with the time difference that meant it was the children’s bedtime when we spoke but lunchtime for her. We had just come home from a lazy dinner out when our world was shaken by the news that our wonderful friend was in a huge amount of pain and not the happy thing she is normally. We had to keep the kids out of the room as our eldest was away and we didn’t feel it was fair to tell the others and not her. The hardest thing was keeping it from our son that one of his dearest friends was basically waiting to die.
My da…

Rain, green leaves and a poem for a bed

I can feel the humidity ease as soon as the rain starts to fall. It rains here in Japan. It rains a lot! It really rains when it rains as well. No piddly “it’s just spitting” for this country. Oh no! It means it when it rains. And the humidity means it when it ramps up in the day’s before the rain. I’m sitting on a balcony in Starbucks (not very japanese eh?) enjoying the fresh, rain-scented air. I have ten minutes before my bus and this is my go-to cafe when bussing it. Why when I could choose the cute little coffees shops that are everywhere here? Well because of this balcony. There are only a few coffee shops I’ve noticed that have outdoor seating and having come from France, where outdoor seating is a must for every café and restaurant, I find this little space comforting. That and the baristas in this branch actually make a really nice mocha! Abd my bus stop is right outside The little cafés are too stuffy for me. Maybe in winter I’ll feel differently but for now this little west…

You say goodbye, I say hello.

🎶🎵 Hello, hello. I know you say goodbye but I say hello. 🎶🎵
Have I got that song in your head now? If not go and listen to it. My husband will point out the lyrics are wrong but hey, he’s a big Beatles fan.

So we’re here. We’re in Japan. Everything moved so quickly after my last post that I didn’t even have much time to crochet. Shocking I know! The hubby was amazing at helping me with paperwork so I didn’t drown in it and also helping me  generally organise stuff. The kids finished French school on 22nd February as that was their half term. It seems a very long time ago now! We went to England a month later after saying goodbye to our friends in France. In the mere 18 months we lived there we met some good folk. Lots of people wishes us all a good journey and bon courage for our future endeavours. We received unexpected gifts and shed many tears. Tears of sadness, of excitement, of anxiety and of shear unabashed overwhelming gratitude for the love.
In England we saw as much family a…

The strength of the wolf is the pack

Watching the remake of the Jungle Book is quite an awe-inspiring event. Towards the end my eldest said (as the mother-wolf Raksha charges the massive tiger Shere Khan to protect Mowgli) “the mummy wolf is protecting her cub”. My instant thought was “I’m trying, my darling, I’m trying.” So much trust. Our children trust us, sure they question us and so they should but ultimately they trust us. Even though we’re moving country again, even though we’re taking them away from their new-found friends and hobbies in France, even though we’re moving further away from our family and to a place that seems so completely alien to all of us. Despite all this they trust us. I wholeheartedly love them for that. “The strength of the wolf is the pack.”

(Copyright cloudtail the snow leopard)

And as the tears roll down my cheeks at the emotional end of the Jungle Book they hand me a tissue saying “oh mummy, we love you.”  And I know I’m doing alright. They are caring, compassionate, daring, questioning, i…