Japan Trip Day 5

 

Since I cook all the time for you and try not to give you any commercial food because of the ingredients, I wanted to cook even though this is my vacation time. At least, at breakfast, I wsmted to feed you with my cooked meal. So I made veggie soup. No salt, no other seasoning but a little bit of basil and garlic. I added some shiitake mushroom that gave so much flavor and it came out pretty good. And “of course” you loved it! 😄
  
I always make oatmeal with banana in the morning. The only difference is adding fresh strawberry and fresh cow milk instead of almond milk. Whole cow milk tastes soooooo much better than almond milk that made me think I should switch to it from now on.
  
You love animals and today you learned how rabbit really looks like in reality. I always read the book that has a rabbit in the story but never seen one before. Now you were stuck to the tv and just stared at it. Too close to the tv Luca!
  
This is my niece, your cousin who doesn’t talk much (it’s teenager thing, I know that). But somehow you felt so comfy and fell in sleep in her lap.
 
Now we are going to take a road trip to Hot Spring town, Atami!
 
 
We stopped by 7-11 before we get on the highway. I get so excited to see all the Japanese snacks, lunch and drinks in a convinience store! This is Ritz with Cod Row + Cheese flavor! And the green one is wasabi flavor.
  

Look at this! All the snacks!! Most if them are dried seafood like squid and stuff. But they are so good with beer! Too bad I can’t drink alcohol yet because I am still breastfeeding you. One day soon, I will celebrate with one if them! haha
  
  
I love this custard pudding “Pucchin Purin” since I was a child. A lot of vanilla aroma, soft eggy texture and the sweet caramel sauce…. mmm I just love this. Too bad they don’t sell it in US.
  

    
  

In front of our ryokan, they had a festival and flea market. We had lunch there and you explored the parking lot.
 
The ryokan provided us dinner with a lot of seafood, wagyu (Japanese beef), and local veggies. It was so good!
  
    
This pot had avalone, lobster, squid, meckeral and tarban shell.
   
This ryokan inn has multiple hot springs bath rooms. You were so tired and took an hour nap. When you woke up, I took you to the bath with my mom but it was outdoor so it was super cold if you weren’t in the tub. You didn’t feel comfotable and cried a lot so I had to take you back to our room. I wanted to relax a bit but oh well. I hope we can enjoy tomorrow night.
  

 

Japan Trip Day 4

You always love to eat and love oatmeal with banana!

 

I wanted to introduce you to all of my relatives and your grandpa’s best friends from his high school. They all loved to see you and enjoyed how happy baby you were. They all loved your smile. There were some girls outside and they talked with little trashy words equivalent to f word and s word in English. But they saw you were smiling at them and they all said “omg, he just made my day!” haha I was so happy and was so proud to be your mama!

 
At Kamakura Reien. This is one of the biggest cemetery in the city. It was windy, and raining yesterday. It was cold and I was worried about you!
  

After the party, my mom, aunt, uncle and us stopped by at my dad’s graveyard. He passed away 3.5 years ago because of stomach and liver cancer. His best friends and brother said your grandpa passed away too soon and too young. He missed meeting you, Luca. He was a great father for me and funny and dependable man that everyone loved for his friends. He was a funny guy but yet very hard worker. He knows how to enjoy his life as well. He got a lot of hobbies such as golfing, fishing, playing soccer, playing guitar, singing etc…. He even belonged to a country western band: Drifting Daddies. He was also very motivated to learn English till his end. He didn’t want to give up. He always wanted to learn something to activate his brain. His life and his passion inspire me so much and I used to ask his advice all the time. I wish you guys could hang out because I bet he could teach you a lot of stuffs!! I miss my dad very much. 😊
 
While we were visting my dad’s graveyard, you slept through the entire visit. But I am happy that my dad finally got to see you… from heaven. 😊
    

 This is called Koemane Miichan (Voice copy cat, Mii Chan). It copies you when you say something to it. It doesn’t matter English or Japanese or any launguage! He imitates your laugh too that made me laugh even more!! And I can’t stop laughing again! It’s a cycle good or bad!

Love you very much,
Your mama

Japan Trip Day 3

 

“My mama is coming through!” lol This yellow flag is for pedestrians. Mostly for elementary school kids to cross a street.

 
In ftont of my elementary school again. There is also a remain of Minatomono Yoritomo. He was the imperator and politician in Kamakura era.
   

Such an old school mail box. I love this style. Luca goes “Mama, I hear something from the mail box!” lol
 
At Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine.

 
I found this one spot to park bicycles with baby seat. I guess this is for mamas but I see a lot of mamas are using this for taking kids to their school.
  
  
Luca wanted to walk so I let him. The tricky part for Luca is the ground. It got a lot of rocks that it is pretty slippery. He slipped and fell a lot but he didnt cry.
  

   
At Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. I always visit here when I come back home. I love this place.
  
 
Enoshima Island
  

My mom, sister, aunt and uncle took Luca to the Enoshima Aquarium. Obviously, it is his first time and I hope he enjoyed it.
I always love to see a bunch of Sardines swim together. I can stare at them all day long. It is such a relaxing to see.

  

  

It was warm but gloomy at the beach.

Luca saw penguins for the first time. He chased them with his eyes and was excited to see swimming right in front of him!
 
At the end before we made an exit, I asked the artist to draw Luca. Very cute!
    

We stopped by Denny’s which was the only restaurant open during the time (4pm). I hestated to eat because American Denny’s are gross. But I was surprised how high quality the menu was. I ordered something was not on these pics but it was pretty good. I ordered Shirasu don (whitebait) so then Luca can eat too.
   
  
You were pooped when we came back home!! (you were playing with my empty cell phone case)!
 

Love you very much,
Your mama

Japan Trip Day 3

 

“My mama is coming through!” lol This yellow flag is for pedestrians. Mostly for elementary school kids to cross a street.

 
In ftont of my elementary school again. There is also a remain of Minatomono Yoritomo. He was the imperator and politician in Kamakura era.
   

Such an old school mail box. I love this style. Luca goes “Mama, I hear something from the mail box!” lol
 
At Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine.

 
I found this one spot to park bicycles with baby seat. I guess this is for mamas but I see a lot of mamas are using this for taking kids to their school.
  
  
Luca wanted to walk so I let him. The tricky part for Luca is the ground. It got a lot of rocks that it is pretty slippery. He slipped and fell a lot but he didnt cry.
  

   
At Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. I always visit here when I come back home. I love this place.
  
 
Enoshima Island
  

My mom, sister, aunt and uncle took Luca to the Enoshima Aquarium. Obviously, it is his first time and I hope he enjoyed it.
I always love to see a bunch of Sardines swim together. I can stare at them all day long. It is such a relaxing to see.

  

  

It was warm but gloomy at the beach.

Luca saw penguins for the first time. He chased them with his eyes and was excited to see swimming right in front of him!
 
At the end before we made an exit, I asked the artist to draw Luca. Very cute!
    

We stopped by Denny’s which was the only restaurant open during the time (4pm). I hestated to eat because American Denny’s are gross. But I was surprised how high quality the menu was. I ordered something was not on these pics but it was pretty good. I ordered Shirasu don (whitebait) so then Luca can eat too.
   
  
You were pooped when we came back home!! (you were playing with my empty cell phone case)!
 

Your first visit to Japan

  
Luca: 11 months old

On April 24th in early in the morning, we took a flight for about 12 hours to visit my family in Japan. Just you and me. I was nervous to make a trip for this long without your Papa but we made it. 9 hours of sleep, 3 hours of crying, and restlessness but we survived with a lot of help from flight attendants and some little friends that you met in the airplane. 

 

You always look up to see the airplane sound where is coming from. Now you can get to see it so close!
  
I hope you will like those organic baby food. I always cook for you and never feed you with commercial food so let’s see how it goes.
    
You have never seen an escalotor before!
  
This is our flight, son! Here we come, Japan!!

 

5am in Japan. Even you cried so much and tired, you still smile at the camera. You are so my son! haha
  
As long as we passed this long flight, I knew my mom was going to be with us for whole time so I wasn’t worried about it. 

Day 1: we shopped for your shoes, clothing and books at a department store in Oofuma. One of my “must-stop-by” department stores, Lumine. When we came back to our place, you received a lot of early birthday gifts from your grandma. 

 

You just made a new friend!
  

 
We are staying in Nikaido, Kamakura. It has a lot of green here. It is so peaceful and I can hear birds’ talking!
  

   

From Day 1, we were away from the place where we stay almost all day. You are supposed to take a nap twice a day. If it’s on a bed in quiet place, that would be an ideal place to sleep. But since we are out all day, you just sleep in my carrier when you need to. I feel so bad that I can’t go home just to let you take a nap. In the photos, you look exhausted…

I hope in a couple of days, you can adjust the time here. Including me. 

Love you very much,
Your mama

Your mama’s Seishun Part 2

  

On last Thursday 21st of April, Prince passed away at age 57. Probably you would say “who is Prince?”. Prince is one of the legends in Music industry (he had won 7 Grammys). His type if music is R&B, He had created a lot of hit songs from 80s and I used to love his songs when I was young like “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Cream”, “Raspberry Beret” , “Delirious” etc. My mom used to say “Turn the music off! It’s not appropriate for you!” I don’t know if I thought he was “sexy” man at my age but I sure loved his up beat music.
We just lost David Bowie a couple months ago too. He was another music legend but in different type of music. I have more memories with Prince than David Bowie. Anyway when I hear those music artists who were popular in my teenage era, I feel so melancholy. My mind goes through with so many memories. Hope, love, dream… A lot of things were in my mind but I was the type of kid that wasn’t able to express myself the way I wanted to. I didn’t know how. I think I was raised in very reserved way which is typical in Japanese culture.And I knew I didn’t feel myself in it.  And somehow I always admired and was inspired by foreign culture and I knew I wanted to spend my life elsewhere, not in Japan. And I always admired United Kingdom and wanted to live there. I loved the accent, loved the royal family, loved the sophisticated culture (the idea of UK is all coming from the movies I watched:  A Room with A View, Maurice, Another Country… It’s all like in 1920s, not 1980s. Lol). I loved (and still love) British music more than American music. I thought this was the country I was going to live in. 

At age 16, some of my friends started to join a study abroad program. Once they told me about it, I thought “that is it. That is the chance I have to take”. It was very difficult to convince my parents and make them understand how important this would be for my life. They didn’t take it seriously and told me to pass the exam first. If I would pass, then they would consider if I should go or not. So I took two different programs’ exams. Writing essays, and interviews. The results were… passed on both of them! My parents were so shocked to know that how serious I was and passed the tests. So my dad agreed and let me go to … United States. I am not sure why I chose United States instead of UK when I loved the country so much and I am pretty sure I had an option to choose. I still look back and think what happened to that decision. Lol I think overall the cost was so much cheaper in US comparing to UK. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to Europe. I think that was why.

So here I am. After 20+ years, I am still in US.

The story of what I have been through in the 20+ years will be another story for another time. 😊 

By living in such an open, expressive country, I think people taught me how to express myself more and that changed me so much in many positive ways. I still dream about wanting to live in Europe occasionally but at this age, it would be difficult to change the environment. I met friends that I can call them best friends, I have a secured job, and I have a family. Am I giving up my true dream? I don’t know. Maybe. But the most important thing is if I am happy or not in the current moment. To answer to the question, yes I am. Because I have you in my life. 😊❤️

Love you very much,
Your mama 

Your mama went to two amusement parks in the raw!

  

I love Harry Potter and always wonder how the Butter Beer tastes like! It was like root beer float with butterscotch foam. it was yummy but definitely I recommend you to get frosted one.
  
At Universal Studio. We went there on Monday thinking probably it wouldn’t be crowded but it was a lot of people!!
  
It was such a hot weather. Like 85 degree.
    
This is at Magic Mountain. I can not take this free fall ride so I skipped this Super Man.
  
This is the latest ride, Twisted Colossus. I rode a few roller coaster rides before this so I got used to the speed. This was a fun ride.
  
This is Mobile Team that I worked with for 3 years. The most of the original members aren’t working with us anymore but the current members are also fun to work with.
 

By the age when you are tall enough to get on a roller coaster, I don’t know if I can ride with you because I can’t be persistent with the speed and the pressure anymore! Haha But if you have friends to go with, I will go along with you all and wait for you at the bottom of the ride. Hehe 😁

Love you very much,
Yuko

Great weather, great walk!

  
Luca: 11 months old

It has been a couple of weeks since you started to walk. Papa told me we need to get a pair of shoes because you walk around in our house so much now. So we did! We went to Gap and get a pair of shoes!

I’ve been thinking about taking you to a park for whole week and the weather is so gorgeous that I thought it’s a perfect day on last Saturday.  And you need more exercise because you wake up at least a couple times at night every single night. You need to learn how to sleep throughout a night. Seriously. 😒

So I found a nice big field/park right next to a place I’ve had a lunch with my colleagues which is called Stewart Park. The parking isn’t free but I thought it is a perfect place to let you walk anywhere you want to walk. There is not that many people use this place either. 

At first, when I put you on the ground, you hesitated to touch the grass and walk. You didn’t know what to do but after I guided you to walk, you were non-stop!!! You didn’t want to stop walking! It was pretty hot yesterday and wanted you to take a break under the shade but you refused! Lol Your face turned red, and sweaty. I gave you a sip of water and I was little worried that you would get sun burnt (I put tons of sun screen!). But you just kept going that it was difficult for me to make you rest. After 45 min we spent our time there, finally you wanted to sit and play with grass and leaf on the ground. I thought that’s it, you are done. But… After 5 min of rest, you started to walk again! I bet you are having so much fun to discover how to walk, the view that it’s higher than before and the nature other than being in the house. I’m so glad that I am helping you to discover a lot of things! And many many more to come!

  
 

I hope you like being on the swing! I think it’s a lot of fun!
  

Finally, you started to get used to be on grass! Now you walk non-stop!!
  
This park has one basket ball court. And behind it, they have slides.
    
It is such a BIG field. I saw people were playing volleyball and also you can play sofball here.
    
Two big kids swings and two little baby swings.

Stewart Street Park
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Love you very much,
Your mama

A song for You

  
Luca: 11 months old

It has been already 11 months since you are born! And I am still breastfeeding you!! I’m so happy that I reached this far and I am still producing enough milk to make you happy! 

But… The level of focus on being fed is decreasing. You keep looking around if you hear something around you. It’s normal and you should be curious what’s going on around you. But sometimes you are on and off on me for so many times that I have to keep asking you “oshimai (‘Are you done’ in Japanese )?” And when you are not focusing, I keep telling you “Shuchuu (‘Focus’)!” Lol

I even made a song for you so then you can focus on me at least you look at me while I sing. The song is just about “you can do it”.

Ganbare Ganbare

Ganbare Ganbare

Luca chan dekiru, zettai dekiru

Ashita ni mukatte ganbaraooo

It means
“You can do it, you can do it
You can do it, you can do it
I believe in you, Luca. Absolutely you can 
Do your best for tomorrow!”

Haha I don’t know if you are going to remember this song when you grow up but so far it’s working when I sing this song for you. You smile and you focus on me while I sing! Yay! (I don’t know if the last sentence even makes sense but it sounded good when I came up with it so I just kept it. Haha 😝)

Papa and I make a random song here and there. We make pretty good songs sometimes but we can forget we made them after a month or so.  Too bad we don’t know how to write music notes. 

Whatever works for you, Luca. We will do it for you! 

I love you very much.

Much Love,
Your mama