Hello all! It’s been a hectic couple of months, so I haven’t been able to update much lately – the biggest reason being that we now live in a brand-new apartment!
And when I say brand-new, I mean the complex was still being built when we signed the lease!
I noticed early on that apartments have been going up left and right the entire time we’ve lived in Japan; it’s a normal thing here to sign a lease before the apartment has been finished. We were excited to be able to get this one – second floor, 3LDK, couples only but pets allowed (two of our neighbours have dogs!), and swanky with new technology (there is a vent in the shower, so it doesn’t get mouldy, and – GET THIS – we can dry laundry in the shower!). While I love children, I was not a fan of being on top of a large dysfunctional family. I will take happy dogs barking any day!
We are surrounded by rice fields and gardens and a beautiful view of the sky!
Moving day was three weeks ago. The cats were eager to help, but less eager to be packed up as well. It took me a while to corral them in their respective cat carriers…
…and despite their reluctance to get in, once we arrived at the new place they crammed themselves into one carrier together and fused into one cat, the poor dears.
I’m grateful for all of the help we got moving – two of Paul’s former teachers, Ms. Tanami and Ms. Togano, as well as the brother of one of his teachers, Mr. Handa, all generously lent us their time and cars and helped us get all of our belongings shipped across town in less than three hours! Thank you so much!
And of course I would be remiss to not mention our most wonderful friends, Katie and Jansen, who stuck around after helping us move everything and put together our new bed! Thank youuuuuu!
After the ruckus of moving finally settled, the cats braved up and ventured out. They quickly became their usual curious and excitable selves, except this time they now have the entire length of the apartment they can sprint – and by sprint I mean gallop, they are basically tiny horses at night.
And the bathtub! The BATHTUB! There’s a panel outside in the hallway by the kitchen, and you can push a button and it will start filling up the bathtub for you! And when it finishes it plays cheerful music as it tells you it’s ready!
The cats really seem to love that room for some reason…there’s no escaping them!
We also have very nice neighbours. We had the entire place to ourselves for about a week, and then everyone moved in one weekend. Paul baked some cookies and we introduced ourselves to them all, and the very next night one of the couples rang our doorbell and gave us cucumbers they’d grown themselves!
Also WE HAVE COUNTER SPACE NOW! And our new grocery store sells cilantro! And it sells 2 limes for 200 yen instead of 1 lime for 200 yen! I’m in heaven!
So that’s it right now on our housing status! We’re very happy so far. I’ll post again later in a few months when we get more furniture. We are quite a bit farther from a few of the schools we have to attend, but we are taking it in stride as just more exercise! (We don’t have a car, so we bike.)
Let’s see, what else has been going on?
There have been plum blossoms in the park for the past few weeks now, and they were absolutely gorgeous!
And this week is the week of 6th grade graduation, which means bentos for lunch!
Thursday was spent setting up decorations and chairs. This was a 540yen ($5 USD) bento:
(From top left, going clockwise: steamed pumpkin and burdock, rice with umeboshi and some kind of Japanese pickle, pasta salad, egg, strawberry, spicy stir-fried mustard greens, fish, kaarage (fried chicken), and roasted sweet potato.)
The next day was graduation day. When I arrived at my desk this morning, there were several goodies waiting for me.
(From top left, clockwise: mochi, a sweet French bread that’s a popular treat here, some kind of caramel sweet, fresh cream daifuku (mochi wrapped around a layer of matcha and matcha ice cream!!), and a matcha tart.)
This day was the day for a special bento, and the most expensive bento I have ever had to buy: 1600yen ($15USD)!
(From top left, clockwise: some kind of tasty shrimp dumplings with soy sauce and spicy mustard, kazunoko (herring roe), shrimp, egg, salmon and mustard greens, something strange and wiggly and brown that I did not try, SASHIMIIIIIII (that’s why this cost so much!), shrimp and pork katsu with soy sauce and pickles, and rice. There was also a paper cup of miso soup and a cup of pudding!)
It was almost too much to eat, but it was soooo delicious!
So that’s what we’ve been up to these past two months! Next week my Swiss friend Hannah, whom I’ve known since we were in high school together, will be coming with her boyfriend to stay with us for a week to see Tatebayashi’s beautiful cherry blossoms.
It’s gonna be aweeesomemmeeeee!!!
Til next time! またね！