Summer 2012

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Wow…now labeling posts according to seasons. I wish I had more time to blog as it would be a reflection of me getting out and doing interesting things, but it’s been all hands on deck here recently taking care of two kids and maintaining the facade of having our shit together. Facade might be too strong a word; I think we do have our shit together, but only barely. And now I’m on summer vacation, however brief it may seem, so in theory there could be some more action around here for a few weeks. Accept that on my first day of vacation everyone got sick, again. And I’m learning that in terms of fostering sanity working is far easier than being home with two (sick) kids all day. Hopefully things will smooth out for a few days at least.

I took Ray out into the rice paddies this afternoon in part to pry him away from the tv/ipad/iphone, and in part to take some pictures. After bribing him with the prospect of special treats he enthusiastically allowed for some photos.

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Leo, despite coughing like he smokes 2 packs a day, is doing well. He’s a happy baby when he isn’t suffering from some debilitating virus that he’s contracted from his brother. And even then he’s good for a smile now and then.

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I love this tree; I’ve featured it here before. It’s a persimmon tree in the middle of the rice fields. I’m glad whoever chopped down all the trees long ago to make rice paddies left this one, or at least planted it retroactively.

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It’s been five months since I applied for permanent residency and I’m still waiting. I’m not in any huge rush but still feel the urge to have it granted to me. In the meantime we’ve been pretty actively looking at land to eventually buy and build a house on. Land is expensive here compare to what one could get for the same money in the States, so it’s disheartening in that regard but it’s reality. Chieko and I have differing ideals when it comes to where and how we want to live, so we’re obviously looking for something that meets both of our expectations as much as possible. I really enjoy searching for property and looking at old houses though, so I’m enjoying it, but I wish there were more options. Japanese people are not only content, but actually highly value, living in ‘convenient’ places — crammed together on shoebox plots of land that are near main roads, train stations, supermarkets, well situated amid the sprawl. For me this is a nightmare. They also have a different definition of convenient than me, and I dare say other westerners/Americans. For me, a supermarket that is a 15-minute drive away is convenient; for my wife, that is far. I’m sure there will be more blog posts addressing the topic of home ownership though, especially once we actually start making real decisions. There are not a lot of English resources regarding the home-buying process in Japan, so if nothing else I’d like to chronicle our experience here.

My neighbor’s 16-year-old daughter has a crew of friends over tonight for a BBQ. I’m amazed at how much noise 10 sober girls can make. They’re lighting off fireworks and screaming like mad, periodically venturing up to the window next to which I am sitting, typing like a crazed foreigner, to attempt some English interaction. Our house, and this table that I’m sitting at, is a complete disaster so I hope they are too focused on formulating cheesy English phrases in their heads to notice the mess.

And that’s the dirt from this end. We are heading to Chieko’s parent’s place within the next few days, as soon as everyone is fit to sit in a car for several hours. I’m bringing my bike and hope to ride all around taking lots of pretty pictures. We’ll see how that works out!

 

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