It’s all in the details

The world is a small place. Tokyo is modern and doesn’t feel that foreign. It reminds me a little bit of Seoul and New York. Yesterday we visited the center city – Shibuya crossing which is like the Times Square of Tokyo, and Ginza, which is like New York’s 5th Avenue.

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So far, Japan feels kind of like the US but dare I say better and more convenient in little ways. It’s all in the details. For example the public restroom stalls here are equipped with a baby seat so that mommies can go to the bathroom too. It’s the little conveniences like this that really get me.

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Plus, everything is clean. The subways are orderly. People actually line up to get on the trains and I haven’t seen any pushing. Everyone is so polite and civilized. And it seems like there is a culture of consciousness about the environment and conservation which I am impressed by. Japan, you are looking good.

Japanese Convenience Stores

We have done a bit of exploring in our local area. I think my favorite thing so far is going to local convenience stores like Family Mart and 7-Eleven to pick up meals to go.

Convenience stores in Japan are nothing like in the US. They sell bento boxes and all sorts of goodies and treats.

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Delicious, easy and affordable. The average cost is around $5 for a meal.

They also sell an assortment of pastries. Light, fluffy and not overly sweet. And a ton of other snacks – candy, dried cuttlefish, senbei. There is also a fried food stand with things like fried chicken, korokke, and corn dogs as well as a steamed bun stand with char siu bao. We haven’t even scratched the surface of all the items in the convenience stores and I’m so excited to try everything!

14 hour flight with a toddler

We arrived in Japan yesterday after a very long flight. Sienna did pretty well overall, although it was exhausting for all of us. Especially me.

This girl loves to be free to roam and she is at the age where she wants to walk without holding my hand. She will throw her body weight down or stop and sit on the floor in protest. I tried to shepard her up and down the aisles as best I could, and stop her from picking up trash off the floor. (One of her favorite things to do right now is put trash on the trash can.)

She did sleep for a good portion of the flight in my arms. So I was actually able to watch a few movies – the Wolf of Wall Street, the Book Thief, and part of the Great Gatsby.

Some tips for flying with a toddler:

1. On international flights, ask for the seat with the bassinet. We got upgraded to more legroom gratis thanks to this baby.

2. Carry a backpack instead of a shoulder bag and travel as lightly as possible.

I usually carry a backpack only. I gate check the stroller and infant car seat. My husband carries a backpack and the travel crib. We have the one by Guava Family and love it.

Since S has now graduated to a much heavier big girl car seat, we gate checked the car seat this time.

3. Wear slip on shoes and use a baby carrier when going through security.

4. Bring non-messy snacks like puffs.

5. For international travel, when you face long lines at customs or immigration, see if there is an expedited line for families with babies. At customs we got to bypass the winding entry line and go to the line for diplomats and families with babies.

6. Before the flight, let your kiddo run around and burn off as much energy as possible. By the time we boarded, S was zonked out and it bought me time to watch a movie.

7. Nurse or bottle feed during take off and landing.

8. Cups, wrappers, and napkins are just as much if not more entertaining than toys. I didn’t carry on many toys for S. Just a small board book (good choice) and a small stuffed bear (waste of space). At this age S is happy playing with things like wrappers and plastic cups.

Eating some snacks on the plane.

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Sienna loves playing with these plastic cards.

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Goodbye work!!

Friday was my last day at work! I thought about quitting for some time after I had Sienna. I felt like I was missing out on so many milestones and precious moments. Then, K ended up with a good job opportunity overseas which opened up the possibility of me taking some time off. Previously, I refused to quit my job and move overseas because I had invested so much – financially, and 3 years of my life going to law school and taking the bar exam. But now, 7 years out of law school, I feel that I have somewhat of a good base with 3 years in private practice at a big NYC law firm and 4 years in the federal government. Hopefully I will be able to return to work someday.

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I thought I would feel a little sad leaving, but I don’t feel a bit sad!! I couldn’t wait to get out of there! I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life in Japan!! More importantly I am looking forward to hanging out with this lil cutie pie every day!!

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Sienna’s First Birthday

A couple weeks ago we flew back to LA to celebrate Sienna’s first birthday with our family and friends! What started out as a small celebration turned into a much bigger party. Since we are moving to Japan and we are not going to be making our usual frequent trips to LA, we just decided to expand the guest list.

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Wish I had a copy of this pic where the candle was not blocking Sienna’s face…

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Friends since kindergarten, elementary and high school! Now with babies.

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My cousin and her baby, about a month older than Sienna

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Not a typo! The theme was Sienna and the monsters nonsters! Nonsters are non scary monsters.

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