TBT – That time we found out what pineapple means.

That time we found out what pineapple means

So, Buddy is only 11 months old which means we definitely cannot include him in every single Throw Back Thursday! So, this is a throwback to when Cory and I were dating and had only just started trying to get pregnant and flew south to Okinawa one Spring Break.

Okinawa is home to tropical beaches, delicious food, an aquarium with whale sharks and, most importantly, Pineapple Land.

Pineapple Land is indeed as amazing as it sounds.

Firstly, have you seen baby pineapples? They are just really super cute.

Secondly, you go around pineapple land in a tiny, pineapple shaped car.

I mean, what could be better.

Well, I will tell you what is better. The audio guide. I was forewarned about this amazing audio guide by a good friend of mine and was incredibly excited for Cory to learn the origin of the word pineapple from a robotic voice with a strange strained accent.

So, do you know where the name pineapple comes from? It comes from the words ‘pine’ and ‘apple’. Amazing, right?

Yes, Pineapple land felt that not everyone would make this connection so added this fact into their audio guide. Genius!

After alighting your pineapple car you are then treated to an epic gift shop with all you can eat (although Cory still insists it was not ‘eat as much as you can’ as I interpreted it), free tasters of delights such as pineapple wine (thank goodness I was not pregnant by then!), pineapple cake, pineapple chocolate, pineapple bread and many more pineapple delights.

In summary, pineapple place is possible the best place in Okinawa, if not Japan.

Unless you don’t like pineapple, then maybe visit Fruit Land which is just down the road (really).

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TBT – That time we climbed a mountain with a baby

Throw Back Thursday –

That time we climbed a mountain with a baby

We were lucky enough to live in a town with a mountain, Mt. Tsukuba, which is fairly accessible and an easy little hike. However, with a 2 week old and a mama recovering from birthing aforementioned baby, we decided to take the cable car and head to the top. The British Grandparents were visiting at the time so between the four adults we had a successful first mountain trip for Buddy.

The drive up to the cable car is pretty enough and Buddy coped well with the twists and turns of the mountain road. British Grandma however did not cope as well and needed time to recover before heading to the top of the mountain. We found the restaurant/gift store and were incredibly lucky to catch the beginning of a magician show so sat down to watch it.

It turned out to be the worst magician in the world. So bad that it was fantastic and we throughly enjoyed every second of it. Especially the part where the children watching revealed all of the magicians secrets and the part where the magician forgot how to do a trick mid way through so just pretended it was over….

While watching the show, the oldest lady on the entire mountain came to offer us ‘かき’ or persimmon. She delighted in the fact she had offered the foreign family persimmon and spent a long time telling us how to eat it. FYI: bite, chew, swallow……We made small talk and I told her it was my parents second trip to Japan, I had lived there 8 years, Cory 4, and Buddy was actually born in Japan. She then proceeded to welcome us to Japan for 5 minutes. Um, thanks?

The trip on the cable car was uneventful apart from the judgemental stares of people wondering if a baby so young should be on a mountain. To be honest, a 2 week old has no idea if they are on a mountain, in an aquarium, or in the middle of a mall. As long as they have 24/7 access to boobs they really don’t care.

The top of the mountain was surprisingly uneventful and we were blessed with a beautiful view of Tsukuba and the surrounding mountains but unfortunately the alleged view of Mt.Fuji was not to be seen. I am starting to be suspicious of promised views of Mt. Fuji.

TBT – That time we saw a really big Buddha

Throw Back Thursday-

That time we saw a really big Buddha

This particular huge Buddha has a special place in our hearts as it is where we had our first (non alcohol fuelled, karaoke driven) date. So, we often visit the Ushiku Daibutsu, or Buddha, to reminisce about when we were young and care free. So, we decided to take Buddy to the place where his parents fell in love…

The best thing about this particular Buddha is it is fricking huge, like really really tall. In fact it is the tallest Buddha in the world at 120m tall.
It is so tall that you take an elevator ride up to Buddhas shoulders and from inside you get a view of the surrounding area. Apparently on a clear day you can see Tokyo Sky Tree and Mt. Fuji. I personally think this is not totally true.

After riding the elevator and admiring the view, you are faced with the smallest, busiest gift shop with Japan’s most aggressive sales women. They will try to convince you to buy your 6month old decorative chopsticks, magnets and incredibly fragile ornaments. They will not take no for an answer and you will have to run for the elevator when it arrives to escape them.

The gardens surrounding the Ushiku Daibutsu are also a treat filled with beautiful seasonal flowers and a pond teaming with koi carp who may or may not try to pull you into the murky depth of the pond if you do not feed them enough.

But, the best kept secret hidden behind the Buddha is the secret RABBIT and CHIPMUNK garden! Yes, you read that right CHIPMUNK GARDEN. In the Chipmunk garden you can wear an oven mitt and feed sunflower seeds to them. They climb your legs, rest of your shoulders and generally terrorise you. We highly recommend stopping here for as long as possible.

After finishing the chipmunk experience Ami outlet mall is just a 5 minute drive away for all your fashion needs. However this time we were surprised to meet up with a real life Newfoundland Dog. Cory, being from Newfoundland himself was extremely excited and on talking with the dogs owners they were even more excited. I was just please that Buddy didn’t get eaten…

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Buddy, at 2 weeks, slept through it….

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At 6months Buddy managed to stay awake and enjoy the sites! 

TBT – That time we had a baby in Japan

Throw Back Thursday

That time we had a baby in Japan….

So, as many of you know Buddy was born in Japan, in a town not far outside Tokyo. Having a baby and being pregnant in Japan was a very difference experience to having a baby in Canada or the UK (we imagine, I have never had a baby anywhere else other than Japan so I’m just guessing…).
Here are some of the biggest differences:

  • As soon as you find out you are pregnant you must announce it to 40 strangers in city hall. They will use this opportunity to have you write your name in Japanese 16 times and they will talk to you about the colour of baby poop.
  • You will visit the doctor approximately 483 times during the pregnancy. In the first trimester and second trimester you will go every 4 weeks, and the third trimester every 2 weeks. If you are overdue (thanks Buddy…), the doctor will try to convince you to go everyday, but you can plead ‘foreign’ and make it every 3rd day.
  • You get super cool 4D scans every visit and the doctor will save these onto a USB for you to keep.
  • You will be called fat. Many times. The doctor will tell you weird things like, “Don’t eat too much fruit,” then will call you fat. You are obliged to go to McDonalds and Baskin Robbins on the way home from these appointments.
  • The doctor will try to convince you that your baby is a giant. They will say “big baby” to you multiple times every visit until you become convinced you are carrying Hagrid’s baby.
  • Postpartum care includes luxury meals and ‘celebratory sushi’. Honestly, the best sushi I ever ate was given to me the day after I gave birth. I was almost tempted to get pregnant again then and there….almost.
  • Newborn babies are dressed in teeny tiny baby kimono’s and it really is too cute to deal with.
  • At some point a nurse will come into your room excitedly saying your name and hand you a tissue. On opening the tissue you will discover YOUR BABIES UMBILICAL CORD!!! The nurse will smile at you and leave the room while you try to figure out what the heck to do with an umbilical cord.
  • If your baby has no hair a nurse will sympathetically move the box reserved for ‘baby’s first curl’.
  • If your partner happens to be a man, and decides to stay at the clinic, change diapers and not leave the babies side in a proud new daddy haze, he will be the talk of the nurses station and everyone will gossip about why the heck he is with the new Mama & baby and why is he not at work…
  • If you are aforementioned male partner and you stay with the baby while they take him/her for their newborn check you may or may not see another woman and her baby crowning….