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Reconnecting with my craft

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As I may have told some of you since our big move to Japan I haven’t crocheted much. This hasn’t been intentional, in fact it has been very unintentional and it has gotten me down on several occasions (ask mylong-suffering husband). But, within the last few weeks, I have picked up my hook again. The first motivation was finishing my sister’s 40th birthday present.....which was due in February. I wanted to finish this so I could bring it in my suitcase to the U.K. rather than post it! Then it was the boy’s birthday so I made his crochet succulents and now a U.K. friend asked for some soap-holders so I’ve hooked those. I feel so much better for just grabbing that hook and yarn and getting on with it. In fact the little projects of soap-holders and succulents have been perfect. They don’t take long and results are instant. 


This week (and last) we are in the U.K. staying with my parents. We planned to see lots of friends and family but due to my usual illness/exhaustion, other people’s co…

Kyoto Anxiety

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Last weekend we went to Kyoto. Now it’s only half an hour from us by Shinkansen (bullet train) but I’ve wanted to go for over 20 years and the husband had time off work AND it was the boy’s birthday so we made a long weekend of it. I was so excited that it turned into anxiety. 


When you suffer from an illness like depression it manifests in many ways. My main issue is anxiety. I worry so much about the smallest details that I have panic attacks. I forget to enjoy myself. I put huge pressure on myself. I can see it coming, like a huge wave of water that’s going to knock me down. Sometimes I can stand strong and let it wash around me. Sometimes I drown in the undertow. There is nothing I can do to fight it. I try. I’ve tried many things but sometimes I just can’t win. Other times I get knocked over by the wave but stand up and let the water wash around me, knowing full well it is full of toxic emotions but it’s around me, not flowing through me. Looking at it I feel stronger. Looking at …

Summer rain

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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…