Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tired of Winter? Think Spring! Think Sakura!

The other day I went shopping. I was expecting to see all the Christmas decorations replaced with the traditional New Year's decoration but I wasn't expecting to see all the cherry blossom items. My fiance said it is for spring. Ok....but winter just officially started and already spring is in the air ?

In a way it isn't shocking because winter here is green. People still grow vegetables and there are flowers blooming but for my family back in Canada (and for many in the States) white is the main color at the moment.

So for those of you who are already tired of winter, check out these stunning postcards-the colors are fabulous and uplifting!!
Here is a link to one of the stunning postcards.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Rambling thoughts about Christmas

It's Christmas eve. I just finished reading December's Oprah magazine (it was good ). I'm pondering life so bear with me.

It's Christmas eve....I love Christmas and before couldn't imagine my life without it. No...couldn't imagine a different way of doing Christmas than they way we celebrated it as I was growing up. In fact, I remember thinking that I couldn't marry a former boyfriend cause he didn't "get"my version of Christmas. You have to understand that the way we celebrated Christmas eve and Christmas looks like it came out of a movie-we did the "roasting chestnuts" thing ( that song is stuck in my head), sang around the piano on Christmas eve at my Aunt's house, went to grandma and grandpa's house on Christmas day etc. I loved the way we celebrated it. Now, I'm living in a country that doesn't "get it" and strangely, I'm ok with it.

Don't get me wrong....when I go back to Canada for Christmas I enjoy it....I mean who doesn't love presents?! And it is beautiful....the snow, the lights, the music, family time etc.

But I have to admit that, for me, there is a kind of freedom that comes with living in Japan and having a Japanese fiance who doesn't "get it". I have no stress. No trying to see everyone. Not too much food or drink. No cleaning up to do. No pressure to have the perfect Christmas. It's actually very peaceful. I have 2 weeks off and I have no where I have to be-I love this.

So....what are my plans for Christmas day? I think I'm going shopping...after all it's not a holiday here and my honey has to work. I will probably eat some great Chinese food and take a fabulous hot bath (and if you know how great Japanese bathtubs are then you know what I mean). I will chat with my family and open the presents my mom sent when my honey gets home from work.

Living here does make me appreciate Christmas in Canada (and all its hustle and bustle) and when I go back next year for Christmas I will enjoy every minute of it.

Happy holidays to those who celebrate!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Frog Sticker Tape

I just wanted to share the cutest sticker tape! Little frogs. Frogs are called "kaeru" in Japanese and these ones are fun!

There are 2 rolls in the pack plus the dispenser. Each roll measures 48mm x 3m or 1.89 in x 10 feet.

These would be sooooo fun for your creative kids to use or even for yourself if you like frogs!
Just a little warning....please help your kids if they use this as the cutting edge is sharp!
View it here:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Why is my nose cold?

When I first thought about moving to Japan I never thought about the weather. My students/friends told me that it was humid in the summer (which holy crap it is....that is another story) but I was told the winters are mild and nothing like what I was used to in Canada. That much is true.

The first winter I swear I only wore a sweater and most of the time I was ok. What they didn't tell me is that even though it does get below zero occasionally and it is cold enough to snow 2 or 3 times in a season, there is no central heat. This is a big deal. My first few winters, I was fine outside but freezing inside. They don't have central heat but they do have other heaters and ways to stay warm but I have to say that when you are used to central heat and every room being basically the same temperature, it just isn't the same. I would be at home freezing, air conditioner on (air conditioners are also heaters), blanket on and still cold. I would be sitting there wondering "why is my nose cold? I'm inside...this isn't right!"

The first winter I went to a friend's house. Her family (like many if not most) used a "kotatsu". A "kotatsu" is an electric table. It consists of a table with an electric heater attached to the underside of the table. The kotatsu is usually set on a thin futon, like a throw rug. A second futon, this one thicker, like a comforter, is placed over the kotatsu table, with the table top placed on top of that futon. The electric heater attached to the underside of the table heats the space under the comforter, and anyone who happens to be snuggled under it.It gets pretty toasty under there. This family also used a "hot carpet" so I'm sitting on the hot carpet and my lower half is sitting under the table....I was hot and cold at the same time. My a$$ felt like it was on fire and my nose felt like an ice cube!!!

Now....maybe you think that isn't so imagine being naked in the bathroom with no heat and in many cases air seeping through cracks and crevices or in some cases windows wide open---in December---and it's snowing outside!!! Shocking!!!

I've had friends say that in the mornings they can see their breath. I haven't experienced that but sometimes it is colder in my apartment than it is outside.

Now I am used to it and don't mind it and in fact I have problems when I go to Canada in the winter. I wake up sweating in the middle of the night since I'm not used to a warm room and warm blankets.

It sure is amazing what you can get used to!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Good News-I have an office!! you know from reading this blog that I have an etsy store. I have lots of stock. I live in Japan=no storage space. I have an office in my apartment but I realized that I'm running out of space. I am fabulous at organizing and I give/throw away things that I don't need or use but it doesn't matter any more...I have no space!! sure is funny. See, I moved into this building 5 years ago because of the "little house" you can see in the picture. Let me explain. I got this apartment because I knew the owner. When I came to see this place I saw the "little house" in the parking lot. She explained that they had it built as an office for her husband but that he didn't use it any more. So, I asked if I could pay extra and get it too. She said sure. Well...4 months later she asked for it back. I haven't had it for more than 4 years and really I didn't need it until recently. I knew it was sitting there empty but since she and I kind of had a falling out (long story) I wasn't going to ask her for it. But she sold the building and I just worked out a deal the new owners so....I now have a real office space! It has a toilet, a mini kitchen, air conditioner.....everything I need and it is only down stairs from my apartment. I truly believe that somethings are just meant to be......this "little house" is most rare and I moved into this place 5 years ago not knowing I would start a successful business and need more space. I love life!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas in Japan

Well...what a dreary Monday morning here! I'm sitting here drinking a steaming cup of hojicha (roasted green tea) and thinking of the holidays.

Everyone back home is getting, decorating, partying etc. Me? I just kind of pretend it doesn't exist. I hear Christmas music when I shop and eat out (sushi and Christmas music don't really match)....I even see some decorations here and there but it just isn't the same. Where I live it's are blooming and veggies are growing....yes it's cold (ok...not like Canada but I'm not used to that anymore) but there is no snow, no feeling of Christmas in the air etc. I don't decorate my house for a few reasons and one has to do with the lack of storage space.

Here Christmas is for children or for young couples. Usually children get 1 present from their parents but that often stops around the time they start high school. Couples....Christmas is a romantic holiday and couples go out for a nice meal and Love Hotels are very busy that night or around this time of year. Yeah...I said Love hotels....Japanese homes are really small (many parents sleep with their children so no space for couple time) and you can hear everything so love hotels are a place where people can get away and! Oh and all Christmas decorations come down on the 25th....weird. In Canada they don't come down until after January 1st.

Anyway Christmas is not a holiday so people go to work. My honey has to work so I will probably go shopping! At least I don't have to work...I have my "fuyu yasumi" (winter holidays) coming up so I will enjoy all 16 days off!

I'm not feeling too homesick since this is my 3rd Christmas in a row that I haven't gone home. My family sure seems to miss me not coming home but I probably will go home next year. They can spoil me then!!

Well....I should go and get ready for work.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My First Entry

Well...this is my first entry in my blog-I know it doesn't lool like the first but I have taken over this blog from my fiance was basically just cutting and pasting information about products I have for sale on my etsy site.

I decided to blog because I do get many comments and questions about my life in Japan. People have really interesting ideas about what it must be like living here and after more than 9 years of living here I have to say it is "futsu" or "normal" for me now. Not that I'm still not surprised by things or that I understand the culture (don't think that will ever happen) but it is my life.

First I don't live in or near Tokyo so my experience will be very different from those who do. I live in Fukuoka-ken (state) which is on the island of Kyushu which is the most southern of the 4 main islands that make up most of Japan. I live in a small city about 40 minutes from Fukuoka city which is the "big" city (actually I believe it is Japan's 8th biggest city). I live in the "inaka" which means "countryside" though in Canada's "countryside" there aren't 4 different convenience stores on a 5 minute stretch of road....but here, this city is considered "countryside".

Yes, I'm from Canada. I grew up in Cambridge, Ontario. I went to the University of Guelph and lived in Vancouver before moving to Japan.

I get the "Why did you come to Japan?" question a lot and most of the time I mumble something that makes sense but the truth is that the plan was to stay for 1 year, make some money, find myself and then go to the British Virgin Islands with my then boyfriend to sail for 5 years but after 6 weeks of being here....we broke up and everything changed.

After 4 years of being here I realized that I wasn't leaving any time soon and moved from my 1 room apartment in the city to my much bigger apartment in the countryside. If I had lived here in the "countryside" when I first came here I probably would have moved back to Vancouver cause not much happens here and there are few foreigners and 9 years ago there were almost no places to shop or eat out etc....I was surrounded by rice fields and nature. I'm very happy I lived where I did for 4.5 years because I made lots of great friends and had an amazing life working at a foreign bar (tons of stories there but I will save them for another time) but I needed more space and so I moved.

People ask me "what is it like to live in Japan?" is like being a fish in a fish bowl.....I am watched everywhere I go...everything I do is interesting. The only time I am not watched is at home (and in Tokyo....when I went there I felt invisible for the 1st time in was a bit weird). Children run away from me. Old ladies like to touch my hair and skin. Men have approached me know what I mean. I have, at times, pretended not to speak English (which then they assume I'm Russian though I'm not sure why) to avoid the crazy people who want to practice their English on the dance floor at 3 am and the drunk businessmen on the last train home.

I have to say that I can't imagine being anywhere else at this point. I have a fabulous life. I have a fabulous fiance (more about him later), a great job, a great business, great friends etc. So for me, for now, Japan is my home.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gorgeous Japanese Geisha Card

Gorgeous Japanese Geisha Card
by FromJapanWithLove
This card is really beautiful! There is one geisha in a really beautiful kimono.
Please note that although it looks nothing like a christmas card-it is meant to be one.
Inside it says "season's greetings and best wished for the new year." This is written on a piece paper that is "glued" onto the card.
I said "glued" because it is only in a few places and could be easily pulled off. This card is perfect for scrapbooking or any project you can think of!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kawaii Cute Japanese Rubber Stamps-Kawaii Bears

Kawaii Cute Japanese Rubber Stamps-Kawaii Bears
by FromJapanWithLove

This is a very cute set of rubber stamps.
These are "mokomoko bear"...which can be roughly translated to "floating on a cloud bear".
There are 12 mini rubber stamps and 1 blue ink pads and one little pad of paper.
They come in a cute little plastic case!These are perfect for scrapbooking, card making or any project you can think of!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Beautiful Japanese Postcard

This is a beautiful postcard. This is a photo of bamboo in front of a building with a traditional thatched roof.
This postcard would be perfect for scrapbooking, card making or any project you can think of!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Beautiful Japanese Rubber Stamp-Love

This is really beautiful. It is the "kanji" or Chinese character for love. Love in Japanese is "ai".The stamp is around 3.8 cm or 1.5 inches.This is perfect for letters, scrapbooking, making cards or any project you can think of!


Related Posts with Thumbnails