Acclimating

Osaka Earthquake

Today, Monday June 18, our house shook at 7:58 am.  It was quite a jolt.  The kids were getting ready for school and Avalon was finishing up some last minute homework at the table when the ground starting rumbling and the house started shaking and I started panicking.  It was the strongest, scariest earthquake I have ever felt.  That’s saying something because I’m from California and I’ve felt my share of earthquakes.  But as it turned out, we were one of three cities that felt it the strongest.  We live right next to the center!  That’s never happened. The epicenter was in Takatsuki where I work every Tuesday.  The neighboring city, Ibaraki, also got a lot of damage and that’s…

Japanese Winter

Subtitle:  This is no way to live. The average temperature over the past week has been around 4 degrees Celsius.  That’s 39 degrees F.  It was negative degrees C the other day.  I feel like I’m living inside an ice cube.  Finally it snowed today, Saturday, January 27.  If it’s going to be ice cold outside I prefer that it snows so at least it’s a beautiful sight and there’s the possibility of a snowball fight or snowman to be made.  Old timers at my kids’ school are telling me that this is the coldest winter in Osaka they’ve ever experienced.  Japan can be beautiful in winter but let’s be honest, my California self can’t take this cold.Japanese houses are…

Typhoon Lan Arrives

We arrived in Japan from sunny, coastal Southern California, where the weather is almost always perfect and the sun shines without humidity and the sky is blue and the air smells like the ocean.  We looked forward to experiencing four seasons in Japan.  My kids had never lived anywhere with real changing seasons and my husband who is from Chicago missed them. In the past year we’ve seen sights that we’ve never seen at our house in California.  Fire red autumn leaves on the trees, snow falling outside our front door, cherry blossoms bursting on branches like popcorn, and a whole lot of torrential rain and gusty wind.  I’ve never needed an umbrella so often in my life.  And that…

Toilets in Japan

I’m finally writing my toilet post.  We’ve been here a year now so I’ve been thinking about it that long. Gomen nasai (sorry), but I’ve got a year’s worth of thoughts to write about.  There’s just too much to say about toilets/sinks/bathrooms in Japan.  There are two kinds of toilets in the ladies room here:  Japanese toilets and Western toilets.  Maybe Asian toilets are not a surprise to some people.  But they were a surprise to me when we vacationed in Japan in 2013. A lot of people told me beforehand that I should always carry a pack of tissues with me just in case I needed them in the public bathrooms.  That advice was drilled into me as a…

Our 2nd Year House

Oh wow.  This microscopic kitchen looks like something out of House Hunters International on HGTV.  We have ARRIVED.  We even have a dishwasher, something that every international house hunter was predominately preoccupied with.  It seems that most people (who are featured on TV anyway) do not like to wash their dishes by hand anymore.  In my opinion, it’s much more important to have a reliable clothes dryer. Now we live in an area called Onoharahigashi (Oh-no-ha-ra-he-ga-she).  It’s actually Onohara and higashi means east.  We are just down the street aways from the kids’ school, which is in Onoharanishi (Oh-no-ha-ra-knee-she).  Nishi means west, so the school is in Onohara west.  Nearby there is also Onoharaminami (Oh-no-ha-ra-me-nah-me) and minami means south.  Kita…

Silly, Strange Japan in Photos

June 13, 2017 I’ve been collecting more interesting photos to share.   Some are hilarious and some are downright strange.  The featured photo above just about sums up my trash frustrations when in the great outdoors.  I don’t mean out on a nature walk.  I mean just after setting foot outside my front door.  One day I asked some people why there were no trash cans in public places.  We had some discussion about it, but the consensus was exactly like on this sign.  Everyone just carries their trash around with them and takes it home.  I guess I need a larger purse! On another day I was talking to an expat American teacher at school and I was telling…

Trying to Stay Awake at 1AM

It’s exactly 1:25 AM on Monday, May 1 in Japan.  But it is exactly 9:25 AM on Sunday, April 30 in California.  Tickets for the Broadway sensation HAMILTON at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles go on sale at exactly 10 AM PDT (pacific daylight time)… that’s in 35 minutes.  My chances of actually getting to buy online tickets is very slim, so it’s likely a waste of a night to stay up like this, but I have to try.  I am a huge Broadway musical fan.  I’ve been wanting to see Hamilton on Broadway for a long time.  But I haven’t been to New York City since Labor Day weekend 2001 (just a few days before 9/11 happened) when John…

Gotta Love Wacky Japan

Here are some thoughts about Japan I’ve been storing up in my head.  You will have to add some pictures in your imagination to go with my thoughts.  Friday, February 3. Japanese houses are freezing in the winter!  I don’t think I can overemphasize it enough.  FREEEE-ZING.  NO central heat makes our house an ice box.  Sometimes you can see your breath inside the house.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration.  In the US we really take central heat for granted.  When you adjust the thermostat you know that any room you walk into, including the toilet/bathroom, is going to be nice and toasty.  This house we are living in is only two years old so even new houses don’t have central air or…

#Stories#Best#SorryYouHaven’tHeardFromUsKids

Avalon’s full blog post title wouldn’t fit in the title space: #Stories#Holiday#Fun#Best#ByAvalon#SorryYouHaven’tHeardFromUsKids Saturday, January 21, 2017 Hi!!!!!! This is Avalon! And previously, we were in Malaysia.  This might be a long post cause I have to say a lot! The plane flight to Malaysia was 7 hours! (From Japan) So once we got out of the airport, we had to get a cab,  I don’t know, maybe 20 minutes in to the drive to our hotel, then cab driver had internet problems! Which could also be said as… he got lost. And so in the end, it ended up taking an hour to get to the hotel!  And once we got to the hotel it was about 7:00 so we…

It’s Snowing at our House!

Sunday, January 15, 2017.  It is snowing today (actually right now – this blog post is real time!)!!  It actually started very lightly yesterday.  But when we woke up this morning it had actually stuck on the ground overnight and it continued to snow through the morning off and on.  We can actually watch the snow fall from the windows in our house. The kids went out to play in it for a little while.  But there really isn’t enough to have a long snow play day.  It would be fun to play in the field across the road from us, but alas it’s actually a rice field and that would be very bad if we ran all over it….