The best part of hockey life by far is the amount of free time Dave has to spend with the family. Compared to the schedule in North America the travel over here is a breeze and the games are seemingly few and far between. Every day after Dave gets home we eat lunch, put the baby down for her nap and ask ourselves ‘what should we do today?’
We go for walks. We go to the park. We take the baby to playgroup. We visit waterfalls or shrines. We soak in the onsen or make strategically planned trips to the grocery store. And sometimes, now that the baby is a walking, running, crazy woman, we drive to Utsunomiya, a nearby city much larger than Nikko, and walk around the mall.
At home this would NEVER be an activity of choice for Dave and me. We like to buy the odd thing here and there, but we’re not serious shoppers. We love going for walks, but something about the mall makes our backs hurt. But when the wind comes down especially hard off the mountains making it too chilly to have the baby outside for long periods and we just can’t stand to spend another minute in the small box of our apartment, the mall is an easy place to let her roam free without the constraints of a snowsuit or the dangers of traffic. Plus they have a Starbucks for mama.
Baby’s first Starbucks! At home I don’t a) drink coffee or b) go to Starbucks but when home seems so far away there is something about a mocha that makes it all better. Baby had a chilled hot cocoa and loved it because she’s no fool.
A new-found love of trains…the only thing that could prompt her to drop that stuffed dog was this section of the toy store.
Teaching her father how to play trains.
Repeatedly charging at the mirror, probably much the the annoyance of whomever’s job it is to Windex.
Darting in and out between clothes racks in the boutiques, making many salesgirls laugh and say ‘kawaiiiiiiiiiiiii’ while secretly hoping she takes her grubby mitts to someone else’s shop.
It’s the little victories! Finally found the almond-soy milk blend I’ve been scouring the Earth for!
One of my favorite guilty pleasures in Japan, yakisoba for dinner. Cheap, delicious, and really really really really delicious. Did I mention it’s delicious?