Here comes the year of rabbit!

Dec 28, 2010

The Year of Rabbit is just around the corner. Japanese celebrates Solar new year, so the year of rabbit starts from the 1st of January 2011. Attached is our new year card, reflecting what we have been doing for the past one year represented by selected pictures of the past four seasons.Here wishing you a happy new year and may the coming year offers us great health, joy and happiness! Amin~

Japanese Christmas eve

Dec 25, 2010

Do you want to know how my Japanese friends celebrate Christmas eve?

Below are some interviews with my colleagues at 7pm last night, the Christmas eve.

O-san (a female scientist, just wed last year): We will be having dinner at an Italian restaurant nearby. Of course, with the Christmas cake as well.
Me: Then you should be going home, get dressed and touch up your make-ups!
O-san: Oh, we are going there straight from work. He finishes at 8pm. There is still time for me to finish writing up an article.
Me: Yeah...very typical scientist!

N-san ( a male surgeon, just wed a surgeon last year): I don't know. No special plans yet. Oh, but she did say she will pick up the Christmas cake on the way home!
Me: Oh, any presents for her?
N-san: I don't remember giving her any special presents. hehehe...
Me: Ah? very typical hardworking surgeons... :)

NS-san (a technician mother with 3 children): I will pick up the Christmas cake from the nearby bakery. Maybe cook something special tonight.
Me: And maybe a present from hubby?
NS-san: Ever since our first child was born, there was no presents from him.
Me: Yeah...we tend to save for the children. Very typical mother. :)

M-san ( A scientist, wed last year and just came back from Harvard Uni this year): I will cook dinner and bake a Christmas cake. We will have dinner together!

That sounds more like it!

And me?
Like any kid in Japan, Sya wanted a cake. So we decorated the cake together...

Sya and the hat he made in nursery

Mommy I want to blow the candles...

Mommy, can I have your cake, with that big strawberry please?

The remainder of this cake will sit in the fridge for a while. Any volunteers?

Sya received a teddy bear from his Japanese Obaachan (the landlady)

A present from his piano friend...

Merry Christmas to friends who celebrate and Happy holidays to all!

Nursery activites

Dec 23, 2010

Sya came to us and said, 'Mommy, sensei asked us to bring a wallet and a bandana tomorrow'.

A wallet? Sya has no wallet. He is only five and we have never thought of buying him a wallet. We went kelam kabut for a while. Where to find a wallet at 10pm?? And a bandana too? Quickly hubby tried his luck at 'SEVEN supermarket' which closes at 12 midnight. Luckily he managed to find them at one of the chain stores.

Kids' wallet


So, what was the wallet for?
It was for his class trip. Where to? To a huge supermarket. And we were supposed to let him bring ¥100 in the wallet too. They would be spending money. It was part of the nursery's curriculum to let the kids slowly adapt to the community. Good eh?

Sya said they had a wonderful time. The teacher taught them about fruits and veges. And since 100yen was too little to buy their desired candies, some of them joined together and bought the candies in packets and then divided equally. The power of many! Gosh, they even have this kind of education in nurseries. It's impressing!

Having fun with nursery friends...
(Googled pictures)

So what was the bandana for?
The bandana was for the mochitsuki event they had the following day. Mochitsuki is a traditional Japanese event at the end of the year. It's known as mochi-pounding ceremony. Some of you may be familiar about mochi...while it's eaten all year round, mochi is a traditional food during new year.

Did you know that mochi was made by pounding the freshly cooked rice until it's smooth?

Mochi-pounding ceremony...a big event during the end of the year. The kids are wearing bandana

Then mochi is shaped into ball shape

What I found interesting was, the Japanese have started to teach the kids to function as a team at young tender age. That's probably one big reason why the Japanese are so strong as a country.

Though we didn't get to witness their activities, but from Sya's story, everyone seemed to have great fun!


Santa-san is how the Japanese refers to the Santa Claus.

A few days ago, everyone in Sya's nursery had received a Christmas present. When I came home, Sya excitedly approached me and showed me his present, still nicely wrapped.

Sya: 'Mama, mama...see! My present!'
Mama: 'Ohh...lovely!! Did Santa-san come to your nursery today?'
Sya: 'Ermmm....yeah! Let's open the present, mama.'

Then Sya and I unwrapped the present. It was a toy, which was appropriate for his age. It's a 'gasing' in various shapes. The end product...a wooden dragonfly! We can paint the dragonfly to make it more colorful but Sya prefers the wooden color.

Anyway...back to the story of Santa-san.
Mama: Everyone must have been happy to receive presents from Santa-san. How did the Santa-san come? From the chimney? I asked jokingly.
Sya: No mama, from the front door...and mama, please promise me you won't tell anyone about something I am about to say?
Mama: Huh? Ok...why?
Sya: Because if teacher knows I would be scolded! Just like Tarou-kun today!
Mama: Ohh? what is it?
Sya: 'Mama, I think the santa-san is our headmaster. Shhhh.... 'Sya whispered to me.
Mama: 'Ohh really?' I pretended not to know.
Sya: ' are too loud! Yes, I am quite sure!' I noticed he looked a little disappointed.
Sya: 'Mama...I think Japan doesn't have santa-san.'
Mama: 'Ohh...why?'
Sya: 'Because there are no chimneys in Japanese houses.'
Mama thought for a while.
Mama: 'Does that mean there is no present for you this year?' *wink, wink*
Sya: 'No, no...there can still be presents. Tarou-kun's mama and daddy buy him presents. So mama, please buy that transformer autobot for me, OK?'


Pumpkin soup

Dec 18, 2010

I have been very busy during the past few weeks. Tons and tons of experiments to do from 8.30am~10pm...every day, non stop. Thanks to my supportive husband, dinner is always ready whenever I go home. When I reach home every day, I just need to attend to my son and put him to bed. My son's meal, shower, homework is usually taken care of. How lucky can I be?

Friday is my hubby's relax day. He can do anything without being disturbed by Sya and me as we both are not off on Fridays. He likes to go to the nearest electrical store, sits on Japanese massage chair for 20 minutes and relax. That's his luxury activity every Friday. If I have time to go out during lunch, we would buy bento and have lunch at nearest park...recently frequent trips to Bizan hill to enjoy lunch with the cats.
However yesterday, a busy Friday, I couldn't make time for a lunch date with him. Hubby called and asked me what I would be having for lunch. Since I was so busy, I told him that I had never thought of it yet cause I may not have time to even buy lunch. Before going to his Friday prayer, my hubby came to my lab with a big bag.

Inside was some food for my lunch. What was inside? It was pumpkin soup, nicely lined with asparagus and broccoli in a tupperware and two big pieces of bread in a ziplock plastic.

I thanked him and said: 'Arigatou abang. Tapi camana nak makan ni kat tea room ya. Ramai orang Jepun kat lab makan lunch during lunch hour ni...'
He said, 'Tak susah la yang...abang ada letak sudu sekali kat dalam...' He sounded a little disappointed. Knowing he had been taking the trouble to prepare, I thanked him again. Then he left.
I could only squeeze my lunch at around 2 pm. In the tea room, as I opened the tupperware, my Mongolian friends came in for her lunch too. She praised me and said the lunch looked lovely. I told her that my hubby had made it, smiled at her sheepishly. She looked at me and said, 'Ahh...your hubby must really love you...' She then continued and said, 'If my hubby were here, there is no way he would do the same to me.', she expressed her envy. My Mongolian friend who is a newly wed, just came to Japan 8 months ago. She came alone as her hubby could not leave his work. I know she really misses him. Those words, coming from her must have been hard. To make her feel better, I told her that it would be different when he's here, knowing the difficult situation she is in. She looked at me and smiled, unconvinced. We had a quick lunch. The soup was warm and delicious. Extra warm with extra ingredient, if I may say....:)

It's times like this that made me realize that I have been taken things for granted once in a while. Being busy is not an excuse to not appreciate the trouble my hubby had gone through to make my lunch. A lesson matter how busy one gets, there is a need to stop and think and acknowledge what we have....that we are really blessed. I know I can survive, because of him. I cannot be where I am now without him...never.
Again, thank you hubby. I cannot repay you enough in my life. I hope we can lead a normal life when we go back. Is the decision to go back next year good or not doesn't matter now. As long as we can be together, that alone is good enough for me.

The story of Heather and Shirokuroneko-chan

Dec 13, 2010

Heather and Shirokuroneko-chan are a couple. They go everywhere together. They play together, they sleep together and they eat together. We first met this pair of cats about a month ago. Since then, we have been checking on them twice a week. We are not too worried about their meals because we know someone has been constantly feeding them. Not just this two, but all the cats in this entire hill. The last time we checked, they were more than ten cats there.
Anyway, we are very much in love with these two cats. They are just so adorable. Below are a few selected photos of these lovely cats taken for the past one month. Don't you find them adorable too?

Side by side...all the time...How romantic!

Heather is always the quiet and elegant type...

Shirokuroneko-chan (SKN-chan) is always the playful type...

Sya wanted to teach SKN-chan shake hand trick. SKN-chan was puzzled at first...

SKN-chan: 'Did you mean this? Hello kid...where are you?'

Heather likes to do what a girl likes to do, sniffing flowers....

Sniffing grass?

Heather and her beautiful posture...

She can be playful too...

After tired of playing, this is what they do. Getting a good cuddle from us...

That looks tempting...can I have some too?

Sya learning how to handle cats...

We love to climb trees...

We are good climbers...

We are good runners...

We like to play kejar-kejar...

I love to jump! See how high I can jump?

But I have to admit I love cuddling this lady...she just loves me! But then again, nobody can resist my charm...hihihi

Heather with her 'I am a lady' pose...

SKN-chan, after his big meal...

After meal, it's playing time again...

See...I can climb so high...

Introducing our drinking pond...we get fresh flowing water every day...

I will be the boss of the hill soon...


Who's that?

We've got company!

Though I love climbing...

I have to admit that my landing can be quite rough sometimes...

But that doesn't stop us from climbing...

Because trees are our favorite spots to play...

Hey...wait for me Heather! You look sexy even looking from the back...*wink*

I need my beauty sleep...'s our afternoon nap time...

Oh...this place is beautiful...

SKN-chan looks so handsome in this pic...

You two are beautiful together...

But Heather is still the beauty queen no matter what. You are a natural!