Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Summer in Japan



So, it's been a while, and summer has fully kicked in, along with its suffocating, sauna-like humidity and cicada soundtrack. I was able to escape to Canada for a few short weeks, but to be honest, the weather was unusually hot and humid there too. Still it was a nice trip, as usual, but it felt very rushed and tiring. I never thought I'd say that, but coming back to my Tokyo life actually felt relaxing.

Canada was a mix of catching up with everyone, being at my mom's house and eating her lovely food and trying to catch our cat (who gives me bad allergies), meeting my adorable nephew for the first time,    going on a road trip to Toronto, having coffee with my former Montreal roommate and a dear friend who shared Osaka memories with me (and their cute babies), spending time with Seoul friends in TO, a day trip to Niagara Falls (eh, I had to introduce Canada's most famous landmark…), an impromptu stay at the Park Hyatt Toronto, swimming on one of MTL's rooftops, shopping trips at the huge supermarkets and marveling at the fruit selection, barbecues in the backyard, bare feet in the grass and every morning a delicious breakfast.

I found Canada a bit more difficult this time- have I been too spoiled by Japanese convenience and cleanliness? The first few days back home are always a reverse culture shock for me, but this time it dragged on: the horrible customer service (it's a hit or miss), the lack of public restrooms anywhere, the inability to buy water at vending machines on any corner. Have I been in Japan for too long? Still, I loved how warm people are, how strangers sometimes strike up a random conversation with you, and how it's socially acceptable to pretty much do anything you please. I also liked how everywhere is non-smoking, Starbucks are practically empty (and they have those healthy lunch boxes), you can find amazing-tasting coffee, sandwiches and pastries on every corner and green spaces for picnics.

It's always nice to be home, and this time coming back to Japan was equally good. I love my (fairly new) home here, I love my job and I was excited to get back into it. I've been a bit of a homebody lately, taking it easy. There has been a huge change in my life in the past few months... I'm pregnant! It was a lovely surprise (also to my family and friends, as I'm apparently the last person they imagined with a baby), and we're so happy and excited. It's actually been a wonderful time, even if this summer heat. I never thought I would enjoy it so much, as I had never even really thought about what it would be like. I cherish every moment of it, I like sitting alone sipping tea or iced coffee and think about the bebe. I also started maternity yoga, which is a great workout and so relaxing at the same time. I also love updating my wardrobe, with lots of summer tunics, bump hugging t-shirt dresses and treating myself to a little DVF wrap number, which I'll be able to wear for decades. Pregnancy in Japan has been a smooth experience, the health care is very good and I feel like I'm in good hands.

I can't help but look back at my time in Japan and realize how things have changed. I probably say that every time, but it's been quite the journey, and somehow it's just the beginning. I have so much to be thankful for.

13 comments:

Charles Martineau said...

Félicitation pour le bébé! Your blog entries always gives me big smile. Every time I come back from Japan to MTL (or now Vancouver) I always go through the same thoughts as you... this difference in culture is the beauty of life.

Rachael Brennan said...

Congratulations! It seems like so much has been changing for you in the past year.
I loved the feeling of the baby kicking when I was pregnant. With a now almost 4 year old, it's hard to believe he was ever sloshing around in my belly
www.seachangeokinawa.blogspot.com

Kayla Laura said...

Reading your nww posting made my day. I was missing your blogs!!

Congrats on your littlw bundle of joy; I'm glad bebe has been treating you well! It's exciting hearing of new pregnancies (and I believe we are not too far apart in pregnancies as well)

Ruth Dear said...

Congratulations! I saw on your instagram that you are pregnant and I thought I might have missed your blog post about it! I always love reading about your life in Japan and your experiences returning to Canada and how different things are between the two places. It's amazing what a journey life takes us on, and when you really experience a big transition it's so interesting to look back then think how little you knew about how things would turn out! I'm looking forward to reading about this next stage of your life (as much as you want to share on this blog) and continuing following your journey in Japan!

JoellaJ said...

I'm so happy to see an update from you Vivian! I already said it on instagram but Congratulations again- I'm so happy for you!

オリたん said...

Congratulations! I'm so happy to hear that things are going well so well for you. Becoming a parent sounds so exciting. I hope that I am able to join you in that soon, but not too soon.

Traveling back home with my SO was stressful too, but I think a lot of it is caused by me worrying for his sake. Can't really relax when I am trying to make sure everyone else is happy. Thus why traveling alone will always be my preferred method. xD

Anyways, congrats again! Enjoy reading your updates, even if they are few and far between.

pigonthego said...

Wow! Congratulations! That's wonderful news! I'm also looking forward to reading about your next stage of life, if you choose to share it :)

My trips back to California from Japan were always mixed in review, as well. Living in Japan was a lot more convenient in many ways, and I do believe that the average quality of almost everything was higher there than here in San Francisco. I do love how sociable people are, though. I almost never feel alone here, even when I've been working at home and living alone.

Montreal's an awesome city! If it weren't for those winters, I would try to finagle a way to live there. So friendly, so fun!

spajonas said...

Congratulations! That's fantastic news. I wish you all the best :)

シャヴィエルマックス said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frauke said...

Dear Vivian, I somehow had to comment now... so many good news! CONGRATS!!! Following your blog from the beginning - I lived in Tokyo/Nakano in 2005/2006 (and trying to visit my beloved city at least every second year, means this october again! Yippieh!) - I still miss my daily Tokyo life, so your blog brings this little japanese/Tokyo enjoyment every day (well, as I am trying not to miss the newest post, I am checking nearly every day...)
Thank you and keep on posting! Love from Berlin/Germany! Frauke

Jacquie said...

Congrats Vivian! Lovely news :o)

Janice Moy said...

Congratulations! I enjoy your blog very much and am fascinated by the way you have really made a life for yourself in Japan. My husband and I visited Japan (Kyoto, Kanazawa, Tokyo) in June for two weeks. It was a second trip for him, a first for me -- and I loved it. Of course, I know that a tourist's experience of the country can't tell one much about what it's like to live there. For that I read blogs like yours and writers like Donald Richie and Amelie Nothomb. Best wishes to you and your husband!

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