Apologies, People of Motomachi: this Gaijin made a Mistake. (Ok, more than one.)

Just got home after a thorough soaking to and from school.

The umbrellas didn’t really cut the mustard. It was a wellies and waterproof trousers affair. Not that I’ve brought either of those over with us.

img_1357-2Anyway, this morning we arrived to school. Far fewer kids in evidence walking to school today which makes us suspicious that perhaps when it’s stair rods out there the parents cheat and drive them close to the school. Mmm.

Got in. Handed over yet another order form, (this time for a sewing kit for Oliver), and the health form about vaccinations, (in Tagalog,) to the international teacher, Lin-sensai. She then made a request. “Somebody saw you yesterday go to the bakery after school. Then you were eating as you walked along. This is not allowed. You must go home after school, and the kids take off their randoseru, then you can do groceries. And no eating outside.” I was mortified. I cried. Bloody wuss. I’m trying so hard I’m really feeling the pressure. Thankfully there were no kids in the classroom.

So it was a tearful walk home in the rain. Got soaked through and have hung up my clothes in the bathroom and put the drying ventilation on to sort them out. Have made a coffee and perused Facebook and am listening to radio3 online.

Apart from this cultural faux pas, the schooling is going well. And the food from the bakery was bloody worth it. It’s amazing.

Like a Parisian patisserie but with more bread stuff and less fru-fru. I suppose if I’m going to transgress, I’ve done it in style.

Home

This is a bit of a catch-up post.

  1. I have found a closer supermarket which is far more comprehensive. I am a happy shopper.
  2. Yesterday we met Dan for lunch and had a Korean barbecue meal. Hover over the photos to get the captions.

    People have been asking about our house. Well, it’s at the top of a hill, so coming home we all get a mega workout climbing one hundred odd steps. It is on three levels and is great. We have a strip of scrubland outside the living area which will be handy for barbecues. Here are some snaps.

Weekdays. But boys still at home….

So today is Wednesday. It’s my Dad’s birthday – Happy Birthday Dad!!

Today is exciting because this afternoon we will all visit Motomachi elementary where the boys will be enrolled. Hopefully they will start on Monday. It will all be a bit fitful as there is a school holiday around Golden Week at the start of May and then we’ll take the boys out of school in mid May to accompany the Moomins (grandparents) whilst they come and stay.

So in the meantime we have been mixing the usual home ed stuff with exploring our new area and meeting Dan for lunch. Sunday evening we planted some seeds and look forward to growing our own cucumbers, strawberries and herbs.

 

 

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Ramen. Under the egg and shredded radish are noodles. You eat the solids with chopsticks then sup up the miso broth with a ceramic spoon or straight from the bowl.

On Monday we went to a Ramen restaurant and one of Dan’s colleagues joined us.Yesterday we were en famille and we went to a cook-your-own okonomiyaki, (optimistically called Japanese pizza, but there’s no real dough and it’s mainly a cabbage frittata with barbecue sauce and mayonnaise on top). I went for seafood and the boys stuck with pork.

The meal begins with a salad, (the dressing reminded me of Little Chef prawn cocktail), and then the hot plate is activated and you cook the meat. Meanwhile you mix your bowl of stuff and add the cooked meat to the mix. Then you dump the mix onto the hotplate. Apparently it needs to be 14cm in diameter. I joked about not bringing a ruler and Dan told me that they are provided. (Of course). Then a saucepan lid goes over the top and a timer is turned. Once the time is up, the okonomiyaki is flipped and cooked for the same time. Then you get creative (or not) with the sauce.

Dan worked a little later last night so I did some research and found a ramen restaurant near Ishikawacho station and we met him and headed there for tea. It was cold and raining and I was glad I’d taken my woolly hat and warm jacket.

Tonight we’ll be having spaghetti bolognaise. Dan cooked up a big batch and froze it before coming back to the UK at Easter.

Sunday

It’s been a few days. The jet lag has taken its toll a wee bit and it is only now that I feel clear headed enough to post again.

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Sunday

I think Sunday was the hardest. We attempted a big supermarket shop – by bus, none the less – in the morning; then in the afternoon we took the train out to Kamakura, a hill town south of Yokohama which has lots of temples, a giant buddha, and lots of shops and cafes.

Dan has a preferred supermarket; OK supermarket. Google maps told us the nearest one was a fair way away. But we catch a vey nice air conditioned bus and follow the progress on Dan’s phone and start the shop. Now. I love exploring the food shops and this one was a bit disappointing. Plus, I suppose I have more fun when there isn’t a time or purpose constraint and we had both on this trip.

I *had* started a blog post on Sunday so it seems a shame to waste it. Here is what I wrote:

The wind howled and the rain poured last night and most of this morning. I slept badly and got up early. Dan joined me and we watched a couple of episodes of the Million Yen Women on Netflix before the boys got up. It’s a great wee drama about a novelist and it involves intrigue, murder and I use it as an excuse to learn some Nihongo.

We decided to go to the supermarket. After much Google Mapsing we decided to try for the OK supermarket a twenty five minute bus ride away.

Anyway. Here’s the photos of the shopping trip. Of course, lugging it all back on the bus wasn’t as much fun. And the bus was crowded and not air conditioned. And something leaked onto my leather handbag. But I did have the guilty pleasure of listening-in on a conversation going on in the seats behind me between two older Antipodean ladies. I was a bit annoyed at first because I was trying to record the voice of the bus driver who reminded me of a Goons’ character. I did catch this snippet:

 

 

Kamakura

Perhaps not surprisingly, (look at my use of the fronted adverbial, folks), I was not at my best for our afternoon jaunt to Kamakura. By the time we had climbed the steps to the train platform I was feeling totally huge and gallumphing. Being surrounded by these petite things in their stylish clothes that hang from their bony frames does nothing for the self esteem. But I tried to brush off these feelings reminding myself I was knackered and hormonal and European and overweight. Natch.

Ofuna BuddhaWe had to change trains at Ofuna, where there is another giant buddha that you can see from the train. (We’ve not yet got off the train at Ofuna to explore it ourselves). IMG_1148

 

 

 

 

 

Dan has a favourite decadent Hot Chocolate shop in Kamakura and I wasn’t going to turn him down, feeling as I did. We sat outside and watched kites loop around above the trains station.

We then wandered into Kamakura, bought some kitchen equipment from a department store; Dan let me have some breathing time on my own in a funky cafe – I had a chilled chai latte which was a bit too sweet but I pushed on through! Then we returned home. Of course I have taken some snaps of some interesting food items, thus:

There’s a tiny amount of sakura still on the trees, I’m a little sad we missed it, but hey-ho. The next cultural theme will be the carp windsocks which are part of the Children’s Day celebrations in May, which form part of Golden Week. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what this is all about but when I do find out more, I will share with you all. You lucky souls.

Finally, we spotted this and I couldn’t resist.

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Stress

There have been times this week when I’ve been so overwrought with stress that I haven’t been able to get the words out when speaking. It’s a bit concerning, (which adds to the stress), and I am realising that things need to change as this level of ineptitude is not sustainable. It feels like something is short-circuiting in my brain. Headaches are common, as is a desire to eat more crap. So, I’ve got a strategy.

1. Deal with things head-on.

2. Get more exercise.

3. Get more sleep

4. Suggest that Friends of Beckermet School cut down on their events as currently I am not coping.

Behind the scenes I have started reading my book for the new book club, (Oryx and Crake) and I’m loving it.

I also sent off a flurry of applications for online writing jobs and one has come to fruition. Go me. Except it’s writing other people’s essays and dissertations which I find morally troubling. Also, practicably, it’s going to be hard as I don’t have an academic library nearby. So oh dear. I think I’m going to have to be choosy about what I say I can do for them.

About to make the pastry for Friday’s Moorish Tart, so I’d better crack on.