Friday, January 30, 2009

New to Us

On the last day of each month, I go through all the photos we have taken in that month and choose the ones that will go in the Chronological album. I have not decided the new layouts and themes for the 2009 album, so I may not do this quite yet. Last year's themes included a Calendar page, a General Highlights page, My Stuff (or Yusuke's stuff), Ailin's Stuff, Special Family Events, and New to Us.

The New to Us page was fun because I got to look back on the month and find photos which represented new developments for Ailin, new stuff that we had purchased for our condo, new people in our life, new habits or experiences, etc. So, here is my New to Us brainstorm for January 2009.

New Developments for Ailin
Yuuuuusukeeeeee! (to help him wake up in the morning)
witch kowai (scary witch)
mickey jiji (draw mickey for me!)
kaijuu jiji (draw a monster for me!)
obake yaaaa! (Ghost!)
fuu fuu! (blow on it!)
Moon bye bye (Goodnight Moon!)
Brush teeth!
DVD watchy!
Movie watchy!
Bicycle ridey!
Ailin eaty!
Chocolate milk (mispronunciation here, but I get what she means.)
dai jo bu? (are you okay?)
Cow, bear, bunny rabbit, etc.
okii ne. (big, isn't it?)
oishikanai (doesn't taste good.) Actually, she mispronounces should be oishkUnai.
Papa (or mama or Max) daisuki (I love ...)
Who's that? ... Mama da! (or whomever she is pointing at)

Ailin's songs
Happy Birthday to you
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

And then, one that she made up based on a Japanese song, complete with hand signs. It goes like this:
Ton ton ton
An pan man!
Ton ton ton
Viking man
Ton ton ton
Dokin chan

Ailin's favorite book
Goodnight Moon

Ailin's New Experiences
1st hair cut at a beauty salon
1st time to watch a puppet show (at daycare)

Ailin's Happenings
Got sick with the Croup (January 23-26)
One of her classmates "bullied" her by blocking her way to get into the classroom. Ailin started crying. (That little brat!)

New stuff we purchased for Condo
A shelf for the living room
A desk for scrapbooking
A cabinet for scrapbook storage

New People
None this month...we missed out on a few events because of illness.
Oh, but the doctor at the Kaihin Hospital was SO MUCH BETTER than her regular pediatrician. Her name is Dr Kato and she is young and speaks English well enough. I might keep taking Ailin to her in the future.

New Habits or Experiences
Trying to find restaurants where Ailin can actually enjoy the food and behave at the same time! This month, out of all the places we went, we had the most luck at Bamiyan. Anpanman posters covered the walls, so she was entertained and she liked the food. Not my idea of good Chinese food, but you take what you can get.
I will, so help me god, try to keep my new and improved scrapbook area clean and free of dust. The best way to do this is keep the area beneath the desk free of clutter so that I can vacuum it easily.
Yusuke is supposed to be working less hours, but I don't see that happening yet. He is also supposed to stop using my rocking chair as a coat rack and temporary wardrobe holder.
I am trying to eat more veggies at lunch and dinner.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2009 Goals (Resolutions)

This past weekend, Yusuke and I finally had a chance to sit down and write our goal lists for 2009.

My List:
1. Do 2009 Chronological Scrapbook
2. Start "Travels in Japan" Scrapbook
3. Stick to budget and save money where possible.
4. Keep house neat & clean
5. Enjoy maternity leave with the new baby!
6. Take an on-line photography class
7. Learn how to use Photoshop Elements (better)
8. Keep dining room table, coffee table and kitchen counter free of junk
9. Keep scrapbook/computer room neat and organized
10. Teach Ailin more English words and songs
11. Be more sympathetic to Yusuke
12. Try not to get annoyed by Yusuke
13. Walk Max every day

Yusuke's List:
1. Spend time with family on weekends
2. Help take care of kids
3. Start dieting and exercising
4. Study English at least once a day
5. Help with cleaning the house
6. Do things for myself
Take a trip to Korea, Hot Springs or USA by myself
Go to a baseball game
Go get a massage once a month
Go to a bar whenever I want to relax
7. Take a trip with the family (to Kamogawa Sea World, Tokyo Disneyland, Ueno Zoo, Summer trip, etc.)

When Yusuke read my list, he commented that it was boring. Well, excuse me! I'm a mother of 1 (almost 2) with a full time job. If I can manage to not get annoyed by my husband even for one day, then I will feel successful. Well, my goals over the years have definitely become less harder to achieve. I am just in that phase of my life where if I can get through the day and then get a decent night's sleep, life is sweet.

I do hope Yusuke does carve some time out for himself...perhaps not as extreme as taking a trip to the USA all by himself, but I would be happy for him to finally work a little less and play a little more.

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's a Go

Well, I finally got up the nerve to tell Yusuke about the new furniture I purchased for the "scrapbooking room." He was quick to remind me that it is not my room to just do what I please with. In essence, this is true because it quintuples as a computer room, toy room, reading room, and Yusuke's temporary wardrobe-hung-over-the-rocking-chair room as well.

I am not sure why I get so freaked about telling him stuff. Perhaps because for a few years in our marriage, I couldn't tell him anything without a big fight ensuing. Those days are over, but the fear is still there.

So, when I told him and he reminded me it was not just my room to do what I please with, I explained that I was really only changing the corner of the room where I keep my scrapbooking stuff. (Hey, man, don't be jealous just because I have a hobby and you don't, but let's get on with it.)

I also explained my reasons (the whole thing about having overnight guests sleep there) and how neat it will look when I finish the room. I told him how I had decided to pay for it, and he said "that money for the camera was not just your money." Okay, he does have a point, but then I reminded him about how NICE the living room looks now. I did that! I decorated it like that! He said, "Yeah, you're right. I should just trust you. I'm looking forward to seeing the room when you're finished with it."

Whew, coast is clear. Furniture will be delivered this Friday.

Our living room

In case you are wondering about the orange octopus. It acts as a deterrent so that Ailin doesn't touch the TV. It usually works, except that today, she was using one of her DVDs to pound on the TV screen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Quotes of the Week

This week, for the sake of scrapbooking, I decided to collect quotes. I just wrote down amusing things that people said all week long, and taken out of context, they do sound kind of funny. You can see we are quite productive at work, and that at home, my conversation with Yusuke is somewhat limited. That's because we rarely see each other during the week. Finally, when written down, it does appear that Ailin is talking quite a bit.

Quotes from Work:

"I know who Paul's first crush was. When he was three years old, he looked in a mirror and fell in love."

"When my friend was a kid, his dad used to tell him that the song played by the ice cream truck meant that they had run out of ice cream."

"I wasn't listening to your conversation, but all I heard was 'I lost my virginity'."

"I didn't become a slut until I was in college."

"I think I'd stick my head my head up a cow's ass."

"Sometimes I want to kick you in the face."

"Do you need anything from the store? 'Cause if you do, I would like some ham."

"Just because it's written in a book doesn't mean it's true."

"Let's wikipedia it."

Quotes from Home:

"Do you always have to watch these dumbass Japanese shows?"

"Whose that bitch?"

"Get off of him. He's not a horse."

Quotes from Ailin:

Shi shi poo poo (numerous times while "reading" aloud to herself)

Moon nai (this means "no moon")

Samu samu samui! (this means col...col...cold!)

Witch kowai (this means scary witch)

Witch bye bye

Ailin no moshi moshi (this means Ailin's phone)

Mama fuu fuu (this means Mama, blow on it or something like that)

2 sai...two! (while holding up two fingers)

Ailin no mama (this means Ailin's mama)

Pankai! (this is meant to be "kanpai", and it means cheers)

Mama ni chodai (this means I give to Mama)

Happa to you! Happa to you! (to the tune of Happy Birthday.)

A C B D E .... (to the tune of ABCDEFG...)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Economical Effect

First, I did purchase my desk and cabinet last Friday. They will be delivered this weekend. I still have not broken the news to Yusuke. Ideally, I wanted to have it delivered on a weekday and get the whole thing set up before he got home, but I couldn't take any days off. Anyway, one piece of good news. When I was going through my old desk, I found a cup full of money. It was from sales of CM products, but I guess I forgot to deposit it into my bank account! So, all together, I have only had to contribute about $200 from my own savings for the furniture.

Anyway, I got some sad news over the weekend. I was looking at some other people's blogs and saw that Simple Scrapbooks magazines has announced that they will be discontinuing their publication from June. I guess that all subscriptions will be transferred to their mother magazine which is called Creative Keepsakes and they will try to integrate the Simple approach into this CK magazine. I am not really familiar with CK magazine, but I guess it will have to do. I am such a dork though. I have been reading SS for about 5 years now, and many of the staff members write books as well, so I have read several. I will really miss the staff! I know...totally geeky thing to say. Anyway, the downturn in the economy was supposedly their biggest reason for these changes. In reading more about it though, I noticed they also discontinued their magazine called Digital Scrapbooking. So, perhaps CK will be covering all these topics.

Another effect of the economy was that one of my favorite web sites will be discontinuing their shopping division. I have ordered several toys from them, and it was a great resource when searching for age appropriate toys because there were lots of customer reviews as well. Fortunately, they will be keeping the rest of their site in tact - bulletin boards, articles, chat groups, etc. I often found information I needed in their articles, so that is good news.

And, speaking of economy, in planning our budget for this year, I realized that we won't be able to save much due to my going on maternity leave again. From May, we will be scraping by on Yusuke's paycheck. We were able to do it in 2007 and we got through it, so I doubt it will be so bad. But, it explains why we bought so many materialistic things in 2008! We were totally playing catch up. This year, we'll have to tone down our desires, but one thing on our list is a new fridge, and another is a bigger car. This is why loans come in handy, as Yusuke reminded me yesterday while I was closely examining my excel spreadsheet. There is no other way around it.

I hope with all this talk of budgeting, Yusuke doesn't get upset when he sees my new scrapbooking furniture. I am not sure if he will give me a chance to explain my way of thinking. What is the best way to break it to him? Should I tell him before? OR, should I just wait til the delivery men come to the door?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Making Progress

I am really excited. Yesterday, I got off work earlier than usual and made a jaunt down to a furniture store called Home's. Home's is where Yusuke and I bought some of our furniture when we moved into our condo nearly 3 years ago, so I figured they would have the scrapbooking furniture I was hoping to buy.

Here is what happened. For Xmas, Shannon gave me the book The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker. It was on my Amazon wishlist, but I didn't think anyone would actually buy it for me. She is the best because she did! I read that thing cover to cover and completed all the pages in the workbook as well.

You see, when I put up my new Xmas tree last December, the only open space we had was right next to my scrapbooking corner. So, this cluttered looks-like-a-tornado-hit-it corner appeared in all the photos. Plus, when I started to wonder where potential guests would stay at our apartment in the future (no more staying in the "kids' room, I guess), I realized that no one would want to stay in a room with that much clutter. And, lastly, the computer/scrapbook room is in the center of our condo, completely open to the livingroom. I hadn't noticed until December, but the area had become an eyesore.

So, I made one promise to myself - to completely re-organize and re-design the scrapbooking area, and I was hoping this book would help. Not only did I realize some of the desires within myself regarding my future goals, but I also began to get a vision for what kind of scrapbooking area I would like. It wouldn't be just a simple paring down and cleaning up...or even a new basket here or there. I wanted something completely new and different.

The main change I decided to make was to buy actual furniture appropriate for working on photo albums and for storing supplies/products and albums. In the end, I decided that I wanted a new desk with upper shelves and a tall cabinet. I went around to 3 different furniture stores, researched in various magazines and websites, and checked out furniture catalogs before I made my decision.

As for budget, that was a tough one. How could I justify spending money on such a thing. Well, first were my reasons as mentioned above. My mom might come to Japan in the fall to meet and help out with the new baby, and she will need a decent place to sleep. Cleaning up that room will make her (and other guests) much more comfortable. Plus, I realized that I never actually do my scrapbooking at the desk I currently have. Why? Because it is so cluttered and certainly not inspiring. I usually worked on the floor, the coffee table or at our monthly Craft 'n' Chats. Finally, I just want our home to look beautiful, like someone who has some taste is living there. I have made improvements in other areas of our place, but I hadn't really touched the scrapbooking area since we moved in. By the way, the current desk is MIL's old dining room, underneath is a low table we bought from a cheap catalog when we first married, and above is an old particle board bookshelf turned sideways. Talk about being DASAI! (Dasai means "ugly" or "tasteless" in Japanese.)

However, I was kind of lucky about the budget. Last year, around this time, I decided to save up for a new camera. I wanted a fancy Rebel Kiss or something like that. I planned to have 50,000 saved up by October. However, in July, my husband and I won a new digital camera in a drawing. We didn't really need another point-and-shoot digital camera, but a couple weeks later, our old one broke and we needed to start using the new one. My husband suggested not buying a fancy type camera, but I contined to save the money anyway. Then, I thought "why buy a camera like that? I don't actually know how to use it. I would need to take a photography class to learn how to use it properly." (Creative Keepsakes offers a good on-line class that I will probably take some time down the road.). For now though, I wanted to use the money for something special...and I finally decided to put it towards the furniture. Some of the other money is coming from my CM acct which I will be closing. And, the rest will be from my savings. I might as well do it now, while I am still earning a paycheck!

I found someone who will take the dining room table and chairs, so I am glad to not have to throw out MIL's old table. I think Yusuke would have felt upset about that considering the fact that he seems to believe every object has feelings.

Up until yesterday, I was busy planning my strategy and new space. One big decision I have made is to let go of my Creative Memories Consultant status. Here, you have to spend 50,000 per every three-month period in order to remain active. This is easy if you have customers who actually purchase products from you, but most of my customers ordered very sporatically and their orders were small. No big deal because I did enough scrapbooking myself to justify purchasing products and supplies on a regular basis. Another issue I had was lack of time and space. With working full time, I simply could not offer workshops or have a lot of stock for sale.

However, now with the new baby on the way and me having take another year of maternity leave, I have to face facts that I won't be able to do as much scrapbooking. So, I won't need to buy so much product, and since I can't seem to get rid of stock easily, the unsold products would just sit their taking up more and more room. And, in reading this book, I realized that I want to take my scrapbooking in a different direction. Someday, I would like to write articles or books about the subject. I want to use other companies' products rather than using 100% CM stuff. Don't get me wrong...I do love CM products, but not enough variety is offered in Japan, and there are many things that CM does not sell. In all the magazines and books I read, CM is never mentioned. I don't know if there is a licensing problem or advertising laws related to this, but how can write articles if I only use CM stuff? I decided that my money should not have to go for only CM stuff anymore. I want more variety...and I want to expand my creative skills.

So, Kirsten, a good friend and fellow consultant who is doing quite well with her business, will be taking on my stock and my customers. I am so grateful to her, and I know my customers will love her. I am also glad to have more space to work with as well.

Meanwhile, here are some of the things I am preparing for my new space:
An inspiration board - this is a bulletin board filled with lots of things that inspire you. I decided to divide the board into 8 parts, and each part shows a color combination that I like or find inspiring. In each part, there is a photo or postcard representing those colors.
1. Blue and Green - an old postcard of some cliffs overlooking the ocean. It is actually a replica of a painting, and I have had this postcard since I was 16 when I bought it at an art museum in southern Japan. I had written on the back of the card, "I want to come here someday." The color scheme of our dining area is blue and green.
2. Orange and Beige - a photo of the sunset view from my the one at the top of this blog. The color scheme of our livingroom is also orange and beige.
3. Blue and Yellow - a photos of our bed quilt, which my mother made for our wedding. These were the colors for our wedding as well. I like this combination because to me, it represents the sun and water, two life-giving elements. I would like our bedroom to be this color scheme, but I have not made that much progress yet.
4. Red and Green - Who does not love Christmas? I find the Xmas season with all its lights and decorations so inspiring. For Xmas this year, Yusuke gave me a red card with a Xmas scene cut into it like lace. Inside was a note telling me what a strong wife and mama I am. I'll include the note in this mini-layout.
5. Multi-colors - One of my favorite things is stained glass. I love the color combinations, so anything from sun catchers to panels to lamp shades really catch my eye. I found a picture of a nice one on line, resized it and printed it off on photo paper for this section.
6. Color Combinations - first I thought that one of my favorite color combinations, pink and brown, should go here, but then I realized that there are several other really amazing combinations out there...and I often forget about them. Cathy Zielske, in her books, explains about some of the most effective combinations for scrapbooking, and that was the first time I saw pink and brown together. I am going to a mini-layout hightlighting some of the combinations.
7. Inspiring people - there are several people out there, Cathy Zielske and my friend Kirsten included, who inspire me in little ways every day. Kirsten is extremely talented in art and photography. She has a great sense of design for not only her scrapbooking room, but also for her pages and other people's pages. Cathy is the Art Director of Simple Scrapbooks magazine and the author of two books. Her books changed my entire approach to scrapbooking. My mom inspires me because she was the ultimate working mom who also is a talented quilter. Pictures of these 3 as well as some others who inspire me will go here.
8. A quote - I am looking for a good motto to put here, but one of my favorites so far, goes like this:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body...but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand - martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a ride!"

Other little projects:
Label all my albums
Create a journaling kit (in a basket)
Put together an inspiration binder
Put together a binder of lay out ideas

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Short Cuts

I am sure moms all over the world take short cuts here and there. (Well, the exception may be stay-at-home Japanese moms, but that is another story.)

I sometimes feel guilty about the short cuts I take. I mean, I have every reason to feel guilty about them, but I also feel justified. Is it possible to feel guilty and justified at the same time?

ShortCut #1
I am late for work almost every day. Does it really matter though? I am only missing a morning (all staff) meeting that lasts about 5 minutes each day from 8:20 to 8:25. Yes, I do miss out on communicating with the teachers at large, and perhaps some people don't realize I still work there because they never see me, and yes, usually when I drive into the parking lot, the VP is standing there and we bow a good morning to each other.

Justification for #1
My work day officially starts at 8:30 and ends at 4:05. This is according to my contract, but the VPs have requested us to come at 8:20 and to leave at 4:50 instead. I honored their "request" all these years because I thought I was getting something out of it (like, extra vacation days during the summer), but that changed. And, now we get nothing in return for doing this. Also, I often stay well past 4:50 throughout the school year. Finally, things change when you have a little toddler to supervise while you are trying get dressed, put on make up, cook breakfast, eat breakfast, gather all the bags at the door, get her dressed and fed all at the same time while your husband sleeps until the last possible minute. And, then when you are about ready to leave, he crawls out of bed and says, "Hey, wait for me! I need a ride to the station!"

ShortCut #2
I don't always include vegetables in our supper menu. I do, if the main dish is a casserole or a homemade pizza of some kind, but I don't bother otherwise.

Justification for #2
Wow! I can't believe I finally admitted this. Ailin (I can only assume from what they tell me) is eating plenty of healthy meals which include veggies at daycare. She is lucky to be getting such great food. And, on weekends, my husband and mother-in-law are obsessive about including veggies in her meals, so I feel like she is getting plenty. In the early fall of 2008, I was using a cookbook that illustrates how to hide pureed veggies in every kid meal. Every Sunday night, I prepared all sorts of pureed veggies and froze them in small ziploc bags so that I could use them in breakfasts and dinners all week long. That lasted about 1 month. Why would I want to spend my Sunday nights doing that while my husband sits on the couch watching TV and eating junk food? I want to do that thing they call "relaxing" too! And, after coming home from a long day of work when I have exactly 2 hours to make and eat dinner, spend quality time with Ailin, clean up kitchen, give her a bath and go through the whole bedtime routine, veggies are just not a priority! Tonight, just to experiment, I included boiled spinach and carrots on her plate and I tried to strike a deal with her. She could have dessert if she ate one bite of her veggies. (I know, boiled spinach and carrots are not exactly tantalizing). She gave it an honest try...3 times, but then spit them out. Time to move on.

ShortCut #3
I don't always walk the dog. Of course, Max needs a walk at least once a day, if not twice. I would love love love to take him out every morning and evening. Up until last September, that is exactly what we did.

Justification for #3
This I feel truly guilty about. He has his own room (2 1/2 tatami mat size) with a window, a dog toilet, his drinking water spout and a bed. He stays in there during the day while I am at work. He has learned to use the toilet when needed, so yes, he does still poo and pee freely, but everyone (himself included) would prefer that he goes outside. Plus, he enjoys the fresh air and exercise, to be sure. Last fall was so hectic at work that I often couldn't leave work until 6pm. This really threw me off. Not only that, but the slightest change in schedule tends to throw a working mom off...I don't have time to dilly dally. If it is raining, windy (we live near the Tokyo Bay, so it gets really windy here!), or if I need to stop off and buy a few groceries, etc., I no longer have time to take Max out at night. The morning routine got out of hand as well. My husband started sleeping in til the last possible minute. Up until summer, he was at least making an effort to get up earlier and help out with Ailin - either he made breakfast or got her dressed or at least would stay with her while I took the dog out. I had all I could do to get through the morning and bedtime routines.

ShortCut #4
Cleaning doesn't always happen. I figured out what was the least amount of tidying I could possibly do during the week so that my husband wouldn't complain. I found that washing dishes, keeping up with laundry and vacuuming the floor at the very least was enough to stave off complaints during the week. (Of course, by the weekend, he was/is always talking about how dirty the house is...).

Justification for #4
I found that last fall, I couldn't even keep up with these basic things, and sometimes my husband had to wash dishes or hang laundry out when he came home at night. I am trying to do better now that work as not as hectic, but I realized there are certain things Yusuke could do to really help me out. Since he no longer helps with cleaning on the weekends, and during the week, he is rarely home to help out, I realized that there was a bare minimum for him too. If he could do these very basic things, I wouldn't spend so much time piddling around trying to do them. Maybe then, a load of unfolded laundry wouldn't sit on the couch for days getting full of dog hair (Max finds these locations very comfortable for his evening naps.) and the floor might get vacuumed once or twice during the week.

Here is my list for Yusuke:
Clean the bathtub while he is showering.
Do at least one thing for Ailin in the mornings...this could even be sitting with her while she eats breakfast or getting her dressed.
Put clean dishes away.
Make sure car is filled with gas before the start of each week.
If he cooks his own dinner during the week, at least wash those dishes up.
Put newspapers in the recycling bin when done reading them.

I have not shown him this list, but I am sure when I do, I will hear about all the stuff he does do to help me and how he is probably the only Japanese guy who has to do anything around the house.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Projects for 2009

This year, I am still working on my Goals List, and my husband is supposed to be thinking about his. Each year, we start a new page in our joint diary (just a pretty spiral diary that my friend Sara gave us one year), and we make a checklist of our goals. Periodically, we check the list and check off anything we have achieved and then we do a final check in January before we start a new list. We did our final check last weekend (at our annual meeting about goals and household budget/savings).

Yusuke laughed at my list from last year as he watched me check off some of my completed goals. He thought some of them were too easy, but the key to making this list is to include both easy and difficult goals so that I can feel good about at least checking some things off.

My major home projects for this year:
1. To gestate. Our baby #2 is due on June 7th.
2. To re-organize and redesign my scrapbooking space.
3. To finish my Chronological 2008 album (2 months left)
4. To do an album of all our travels around Japan (and one in Korea).

My major work projects for this year:
1. To retype my worksheets after the unfortunate breaking of my memory card in August.
2. To figure out a plan for the 2009 Debate Team
3. To enjoy my maternity leave and my child-care leave, which will start in April.

These are just projects, but I have not actually made my list of goals yet. Goals include things like "Get teeth cleaned in June and December," "Be nice to Yusuke," "Keep house running efficiently," etc. I'll finalize it over the weekend, and post it here next week.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Starting Fresh

After taking a break from my blog Mande's J-Life, I decided finally to start fresh because I do need a place to write and gather information, but my old blog was holding me back somehow.

Some friends and family members often complained about it or made comments referring to the fact that I often wrote about my personal life. Originally, Mande's J-Life was intended to be a way of keeping in touch with old friends and family members from the USA, and I hoped they would either comment or privately email me keep up our relationship. But, it didn't really pan out like that.

I found that many of my friends back home are not that interested in blogs, do not write their own blogs and do not even seem to like email (or letter-writing, or Xmas card-writing, or phone calling). So, really, you can lead a dog to water, but you can't make him drink. Basically, I rarely heard from most of these friends or family members, and if they were keeping up with my blog, I wouldn't have known about it (except to hear occasional complaints or jokes like "oh, you should blog about that now," whenever something happened.) Well, I am sure some fellow bloggers would understand where I am coming from.

I found that many of my readers were friends or acquaintances and other bloggers living in Japan. Understandable. We all relate to each other since we are in the same boat, so to speak.

This new blog is partly a place for me to stay organized about what I need to be doing or thinking about. It is also a place to comment on my daily life as a working mom, a working housewife, a foreigner in Japan, teacher at a high school, pursuer of various hobbies, and whatever other roles I play in my life! I hope others enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing.

Here goes!