Friday, October 30, 2015

End of October

I more or less started my maternity leave from work, and it's been quite nice and relaxing. It's also a huge adjustment from my usual hectic schedule, but such a welcome change. I'm just waiting for bebe to arrive, and preparing as much as I can by reading and making lists of things I still need to do. In late pregnancy there's this thing called nesting, where expecting mothers feel the urge to clean and prepare the house, but it hasn't really hit me- I'm either too tired or too lazy to scrub everything, but I'm sort of hoping it does hit me soon!

We were extremely lucky to receive so many baby items from family and friends (in Japan and Canada!), and we have pretty much everything we need. I heard newborns don't need much and I like how in Japan they keep material possessions to a minimum due to space constraints. It feels a lot healthier, I couldn't imagine having to purchase long lists of things that are not necessary, even though I love shopping in general. Baby stuff is very, very cute in Japan, but also practical so I'll stick to that part.

I've been baking a lot, it's something I've missed and it's comforting and warming, especially with the colder temperatures. I made granola bars and next I'll make apple muffins. I also like to experiment with fruit smoothies, and I'm all about hearty breakfasts like oatmeal pancakes since I don't have to rush. I like to take long walks and keep as active as I can, but some days I just feel so tired- every day is so different. I have to slow down, but it's impossible. I also have insomnia, no matter what time I go to bed I never seem to fall asleep before 4 or 5am. It's a combination of excitement and anticipation (and trying to find a comfortable position!).

I feel so lucky I have all this time to enjoy autumn and those gorgeous days. I also feel lucky I'm giving birth in Japan, the level of care I've experienced here is far superior to what I would get back home, despite how strict Japanese doctors can be about weight gain- I had to learn to just smile and nod.

However, I recently found out how difficult it can be for Japanese women to keep their careers while raising children- the system makes it pretty much impossible to do so (nursery and daycare shortage, unpaid maternity leave or simply not welcomed to return to their company) and now I understand why so many women in Japan are forced to become housewives. It's not the worst thing in life, but it's sad if you love your job. Thankfully things are slowly changing, but I think it will take several years before it catches up with some other countries. My case is a bit different, being non-Japanese and working part-time/freelance (and being welcomed back).

In other news, this weekend is Halloween. I haven't celebrated for a few years (I do recall some cat ears and black tights about three years ago, and a kid-sized tutu and a horrible tasting chu-hai four years ago), but I do like costume-watching. I was just passing through Shibuya tonight and people go all out with their costumes.

I also know that Sunday morning will bring Christmas decorations and carols, a magical overnight transformation. I don't mind Christmas so much this year as we'll be celebrating as a family of three!

Korean feast (Japanese-style)

Tokyo Sky Tree is impressive

Tokyo is endless

Tokyo Banana

A few weeks left...

This dress still fits me, thank goodness for DvF

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Uniqlo and Lemaire

Just when I was starting to get bored with Uniqlo (I find the last few seasons have been so disappointing, especially spring and summer 2015), they suddenly come back with something exciting. Just by chance I stumbled upon the latest collaboration, this time with French designer Christophe Lemaire. He used to be an artistic director at Hermès, and now has his own label Lemaire.

Just like his brand's designs, the Uniqlo x Lemaire collaboration is all about clean and sleek lines, cashmere blends, minimalist designs and elegant pieces. I seriously wanted to buy everything, but thankfully the growing bump gave me a bit of self control. I did get a soft wool cardigan (which is on my list for the bébé's arrival and hospital stay so it almost doesn't count as a purchase…) and black cashmere blend coat, which will fit me now and after. The pricing is super affordable too, considering the materials and stitching details, equally impressive in the men's section.

It's my all-time favourite collaboration, and it's already pretty much sold out everywhere in the world, such as in Tokyo, Paris and NYC. The Japanese online shop and some lesser-known store locations do have a lot left now. I especially love the coats and cardigans, but I'm not sure how the jumpers and dresses would fit. You can view the entire collection here.

Last autumn, I also liked the urban sweats collaboration with Alexandre Plokhov, and I wore and re-wore every single item (and still will when I can fit in them again!). I will undoubtedly wear every Lemaire piece for a long time.

As for my pregnancy shopping days, I have everything I need thanks to ASOS and Uniqlo (stylish maternity lifesavers if you're in Japan) and I'm ready for the cold days. I really enjoyed dressing my pregnant body, I feel like I kept wearing similar outfits as usual, only with a growing belly. I feel so lucky. I look back and laugh at the days in summer when I thought my stretchy tunics would fit me throughout the whole pregnancy, how naive was I- I think investing in some maternity pieces is really important, as everything now looks like a mini dress on me. It's amazing how quickly the body changes, and I'm quite tempted to reach for the leggings and sweatshirts at this point!

From now on I'll be focusing on different kinds of collections, which are just as exciting, but a whole lot tinier and cuter. It's a whole new world, I barely know where to start, but I'll figure it out… like everything else.

33 weeks...

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Autumn in Japan

And just like that it's already autumn, and soon I'll be celebrating six years living in Japan. Six years!! Sometimes I feel like I just arrived yesterday with my two suitcases, but on the other hand so much has changed in my life that it feels like forever ago. But no matter what happens, I'll never forget coming here in the first place and those new beginnings. Making that decision to move to Japan without any set plans really changed my life forever.

This time of the year always makes me nostalgic, autumn is when I left my life in Montreal and moved to Japan. It's also when I got married, and now it will be when bébé arrives- another big life change. I've been loving being pregnant, something I did not expect at all. I'm trying to keep a balance between working hard yet having lots of time to rest, it's not always easy but at this point I'm learning to be kinder to myself and realizing I have some limitations.

I don't know just how ready I feel about anything that's coming up, but like every other situation in my life, I tend to just go with it. I feel similar to how I did when I first moved to Japan, jumping into the unknown, equal parts terrified and excited. So, if this experience is anything like Japan, I think it will be extremely rewarding and filled with wonderful surprises.

These days I'm looking forward to cooking some nabe (Japanese hot pot dish), baking again, spending more time outdoors since it's so comfortable, catching up on reading books, sleeping sleeping sleeping (despite the recurring insomnia) and chilling out with that growing bébé making flips in my stomach.

A few scenes from lately…

A rooftop shrine

View of Shinjuku

My favourite spot

A Tokyo cat

A fringe

Train line at dusk

I interviewed Dominique Ansel from the cronut fame

A full moon on moon-viewing festival

Yukata style

Soy honey frappucino at Roppongi Hills

My puppy