Monday, June 13, 2016

Rainy Season, Six Months, Where Have I Been

Bebe in Ginza

In my last update baby was only two months, and he's now six months, so it's been ages. I've eased back into work since March or April, and now my next challenge is to find a daycare for Anri. As difficult as it will be to leave him at a day care a few times a week, I think it will be good for him to socialize and to be in a different environment, and to be immersed in the Japanese cultural ways since he spends most of his time with his French-speaking maman. I'm also looking forward to working more, I feel more motivated than ever and somehow there are so many good opportunities lately. I still feel so lucky I can work such a flexible schedule, I don't think I could handily working full time in an office these days.

It's notoriously difficult to get a spot in a daycare in Tokyo, and pretty much everywhere else in Japan. There are very few government-subsidized spaces and all are very coveted, and priority goes to full-time workers. It works on a complicated system of points, and most of the decision-making happens in April of each year. So I'm very off-season and the hunt is a bit discouraging, and makes me realize why so many Japanese women reluctantly quit their jobs after having a baby- sometimes they just don't have a choice. I'm still hopeful I will sort something out sooner or later.

I've been enjoying spending time with Anri, who is big and healthy at six months. He's such a fun and playful baby, and he just smiles at everyone wherever we go. We literally take him everywhere: he's been shopping in Ginza, in the crowds of Shibuya and Shinjuku, and at some cafes in Harajuku and Aoyama. He's very calm and curious. I can't wait to discover more of his personality.

I'm also back into running, I've been going at least 2-3 times per week, so it's a nice activity to do on my own or as a family, we take turns running while the other walks with Anri in his stroller. I also have lots of time to cook, so I've been trying some basic Japanese recipes, it's a lot of fun and much easier than I thought. I'm also cooking baby food, Anri started eating a bit. He had his first taste of rice mixed with dashi, which is just rice cooked in a fish and kelp stock. He loved it! In Japan, baby's first foods are usually okayu (rice porridge), pureed vegetables (pumpkin, sweet potato) and tofu in the first few weeks. I'm now following the Japanese guidelines since I have a recipe book, but I'll add some Western-style foods so he gets a taste of everything.

So that's life, lately! It's kind of quiet but I needed that. It's actually never really quiet with a young baby around, but I'm enjoying this time as I know it's fleeting, and Anri is growing up so fast. Working keeps me sane as I like getting out of the house from time to time, and I like being challenged by different things. It's a good balance for the time being, and becoming a mother pushes me to be more organized in life in general…. which isn't a bad thing.

On to rainy season now, then scorching hot summer. I'm still trying to figure out holiday plans, as I don't think we'll go to Canada this summer since my mom visited in April, but I'd like to go somewhere in Asia. To be continued!