The next few on my list don't need much explanation so I have decided to include them all on one entry. I think this may be my M.O. for the next several posts so that I can get them all in before we leave Japan in 18 days!! What?!?! How did time sneak up on me so fast? I'm not ready in so many ways, but time marches on, as they say, and there is no stopping it. Anyway, back to the list....
#15: Walking Everywhere
On average I walk about a mile or two a day. It's about a 12 minute walk to the train station, about a 10 min walk to the grocery store and about a 15-20 minute walk to some of our favorite places in Jiyugaoka (the name of the area where we live). If it's raining and you run out of diapers you have no choice but to get out there. I put the rain cover on the stroller, pull out the umbrella, and if it's really coming down I put on the rain boots (gum boots, galoshes, or whatever you may call them in your country) and off we go. Also, we don't walk just in our neighborhood necessarily but where ever you end up you walk a lot there too. In the US, if you want to go to the movies the process may look like something as follows: walk to your car, drive to the theater, get out of your car and walk 100 meters or so (but if it's too far we shamelessly ask the driver to drop us off at the entrance...no sense in the whole group having to exert a little bit of effort) to the entrance. Going to the movies here requires a lot more than just that. It's not exhausting it's just...different. You walk...you walk to the station, you walk from the station to the theater and all that walking will take around 20 minutes or more... it's just the way things are.
At night people are walking all through out the neighborhood. This is somewhat of a strange sight for this American at 9pm when you come across about 10-15 other people on their way home at night from their various activities in the day. I just never saw this when I lived in the US. In the states I remember feeling a little scared and apprehensive and wondering if the person who was coming up behind me or coming toward me had ill thoughts towards my well-being and I would begin to think out my plan of escape if I were to be attacked. I made sure I left my house with pepper spray in hand. Here that just isn't the case (in entry #3 will be missing the feeling of safety). I will miss walking everywhere. In the states (New York city excluded), if you want to walk you have to carve some time out in your day. Here it's just part of the normal goings on of life in Japan.
# 14: Our Grocery Delivery Service
Delivery services are common in Japan and a rule of thumb in the "mama" realm in Japan is once you have a baby you get a grocery delivery service. The reason being is, again, you don't drive...you usually either walk or ride your bike to the store and with a little one in tow this makes for quite a tricky journey.
Once a week my fruits, vegetables, milk, break, eggs, tofu (hey, this is japan), diapers, specialty items for baby, and other japanese items comes to our front door. It is fabulous. The cost of delivery...a whopping $2 and the prices aren't much more expensive than that at the grocery store. If any of you reading this blog know where I can get good grocery delivery service I would be more than happy to know. There is a big difference, however, in the frequency of trips to the grocery store in Japan in comparison to that of the US. It is common to go once, maybe twice a week to pick up items you need for that night or the next day's meals. You don't buy in bulk. You buy a little but go often. I don't like going to the store that's why our grocery delivery service makes my countdown. Yes, I will miss this for sure!
Our frozen items, cold items, and dry items come in these nifty little bins that the delivery man will pick up the following week so they can be reused.
My order forms...you name it they've got it. Stuff for babies, clothes, shoes, household items, cleaning items, and food. The pink form below the catalogs is my order form. Thankfully they also have English assistance available. Lucky me!
#13: Small Portion Sizes
I heard it once said that the Japanese only eat until they are 80% full. That's smart eating right there! It shows too.
When I lived in the US I was diagnosed with IBS (irratable bowel syndrome) and it sucked! My stomach ached ALL THE TIME!! Once we moved to Japan, however, my stomach troubles ceased to exist! It was incredible and such a relief to be living free of stomach/intestinal pain. When we would go back to the states to visit my stomach troubles would return again. This can only lead me to conclude that American food is bad for my health! We eat tons of red meat and smother our food with cheese and then we deep fry it all. UGh...just the thought makes my stomach hurt. Plus, we eat REALLY BIG portions. The portion sizes in Japan are considerably smaller...and it's wonderful. I have never left a Japanese eating establishment overly stuffed and in pain because I gorged myself on too much food. Plus, the presentation of the food is simply beautiful.
I am nervous about leaving this style of eating. I am going to have to really exercise self control and restraint once I move back. It is all too easy to fall back into the eating habits of the good ol' U.S. of A. Jesus, lead me on!
The next two pictures are from one of our favorite restaurants. Don't you just love the presentation. So pretty and everything on the menu if very healthy.
Sigh....pushing out all three of these items made me sad. Oh, Japan, how I will miss you and your ways. Hopefully, one day, we can come back to stay. :)
1 week ago