Rain, green leaves and a poem for a bed

How green this place is!
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 western comfort is just that. 

I can honestly say, without a doubt, that all of us are loving it here in Japan. We were expecting culture shock but it hasn’t hit as we thought it would. Yes, many things are different but it is because we expected that here it has been easier? Culture shock hit us really hard in France but is that because we thought we knew the place?

Things have changed (of course) and we’re adapting. Our biggest adaptation (other than everything being new!) is not having a car. I have bought a bike, a mamachari which is popular here. It’s electric which really helps when my legs turn to jelly due to my illness. My little one loves the backseat and I’m making some crochet flowers for the front basket. We still need to get used to the difference in shopping. I’ve got some things delivered but I forget when in the shop that I have no car to load the bags in to and haveto arrange them in the basket and seat (if my little one is at preschool). I even have a very sexy yellow raincoat specifically for cycling as it’s long.

I think one shock for us is the amount of plastic here. As a family who is trying to reduce our plastic and coming from the E.U. with big mives being made like the ban on plastic bags and straws we have come to Japan to discover plastic is everywhere. Plastic bags are still being used freely (although there is talk of a ban) and no one seems to mind. It’s a bit like going back in time. However, they do recycle plastic packaging here. There’s a specific bin for that packaging. I would like to know more about where it goes though. But we’re taking our canvas bags everywhere and have learned the phrase for “no bag please” and are even taking hemp vegetable bags for when the shopkeepers try and wrap each cucumber in a separate plastic bag! Ok that’s an exaggeration but it feels like it some days.

We all love the temples and parks and gardens here. We are trying to explore a bit more now we’ve got into our routine (which is ruined next week with two kids finishing school for the summer!). The blossoms were stunning and the gardens are so green. The temples are everywhere and welcoming. The photos below are a very small selection of photos from the Shirotori Gardens.

Basically we’re settling. We got our furniture this week. No more airbeds or cardboard boxes for a dining table!

I wrote this for our bed:

Oh dear bed, how I have missed you.
The softness of your mattress with the firmness of your frame,
How you support my back and help me rest my brain.
The comfort of not having my feet hang off the end,
The wonderful, comforting way that you shape around my bends.
The height at which you rest means I can get on to my feet,
In the morning I don’t want to leave but the day I have to greet.
The combination of the mattress and the frame and the bedhead,
The shelves that form a part of you where my book rests, laid just read.
The pillows who compliment and finish off the rest,
In fact, dear bed, you’re perfect. I thank you for my rest.

I missed my bed and a combination of a great airbed that broke, a leaky airbed and then a mattress just didn’t come close.

Right I have an event at school to get to and a train to catch.

See ya later alligators.