William Shatner visits Kinzaburo and Seikenji

Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 | 0 comments

            Today we all went out for chaffles and tea at Kinzaburo, followed by a visit to Seikenji (a temple) in nearby Okitsu. I've already posted about Kinzaburo and Seikenji if you're interested, but due to time will just post a couple of pictures and have to follow up later.
   As for William Shatner: yes, that's Keila's newest nickname. As if Little Pooper doesn't have enough already! Story behind this one: my brother found an old Star Trek show on tv here and was watching it while I held Pooper. Right around then, she lived up to that nickname....and you can probably figure out how 'Shat-ner' popped into my brother's head. Poor baby! I have the feeling she will always have a hatred of anything Star Trek related!

                                                 Adorable Keila at Seikenji

                                               Nap time at Kinzaburo

Kinako Kit Kats

Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2010 | 0 comments

   Happy Thanksgiving! No turkeys here so we're going to make a big pot of nabe tonight, pictures from that will likely follow at some point in time.
  To start the day off right, we tried some kinako (roasted soy bean powder) Kit Kats this morning--thanks, otousan! I have yet to take a bite of this year's version, but both my mom and Zelie gave them the thumbs-up. I'm going to guess that they're at least a 9, based on the previous fall's release. Kind of like a peanut buttery Kit Kat, what could be better??

Belly Button Update

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 | 0 comments

                  Keila lost her umbilical cord stump overnight on Friday! Don't ask me how she managed it, but I found it in her diaper, of all places. So much for following the Japanese practice of saving it in a special little wooden box we were given from the maternity center. I'm still not sure why the cord stumps are saved here, but I wasn't about to dig it out and clean it off, especially when you consider the fact that I've nicknamed our baby 'Little Pooper'.  Big Pooper would probably be more accurate, but I'll stick with Little in reference to her size.
  Bit of culture before I run back to check on her: the term for 'umbilical cord stump' in Japanese is 'heso no oh', which means 'umbilical tail'. Cute, right? Yuki told me what it meant. and my first thought was that now 2 of our 3 girls don't have tails. Here's hoping that Sushi doesn't feel too left out!

                                 Another adorable bath pic in lieu of a belly button shot

                              The (other) tail-less wonder

New Kit Kats

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | 1 comments

                  We found both of these new Kit Kats on the same night about 2 weeks ago, the night I went in labor, coincidentally enough. Which is why it's taken me so long to post about them.
 The new flavors are: cheese, and cafe au lait. Seeing as I'll try just about anything cheese, the first one was snapped up immediately. I debated on the cafe au lait ones, but Yuki said he'd eat them if I didn't want any more after a taste (I'm not a big coffee fan).
  The cheese ones came as a box of 10 minis, 25 Calories each. They were a bit pricier than the usual regular-sized Kit Kats, but I guess Nestle felt the fancier packaging would make up for the extra cost. After all, who wouldn't pay more for Kit Kats in an imitation treasure chest box?? I'm really glad I bought them though: they got a solid 9 on the taste-test scale! They contain a bit of real Gouda, and they definitely taste like cheese, with a slightly sweet Kit Kat aftertaste. I plan on buying more while they're available!
     The cafe au lait Kit Kats came packaged in a paper coffee cup along with a pack of instant (what else) Nestle cafe au lait. The advertising on the back of the cup showed how you could eat 2 of the Kit Kats along with the cafe au lait and still only consume something like half the calories of a standard cafe au lait and piece of cream-filled roll cake. (No big surprise there, considering how many calories roll cakes have). Verdict on these Kit Kats: maybe a 7.5 or an 8. Probably because I don't really like coffee. They basically taste like hard coffee-flavored candy, not bad.

                                             A treasure box of cheese

                                              Snack set

                               Nestle instant coffee and a cafe au lait Kit Kat

One Week!

Posted on Saturday, November 13, 2010 | 0 comments

  Happy one-week birthday, my sweet baby Keila!
  Still working on that birth story everyone's been asking for...I'd hoped to have it finished by today, but no such luck. Maybe some time this next week, depending on if I can fit some writing in between feedings, changings, burpings, and photographs! 

Keila, wrapped in her purple blanket for warmth while we frantically searched for a new outfit after she peed on 2 sets of clothes last night and one this morning. Lessons learned: 
        1. More is better when shopping for baby clothes
        2. Her dresser could be organized a wee (get it??) bit better in the future 
        3. Babies REALLY like to pee when you're changing their diapers!

First Bath Given By Daddy

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010 | 1 comments

  A lot of these posts from here on out will probably have something to do with Keila, but I'll do my best to include some culture, too. Today's topic: bathing babies!     
 Here in Japan, nobody waits for the umbilical cord to fall off before putting babies in the bath. I was quite surprised to learn this fact, since I'd always been taught that you keep the cord stump clean and dry, only giving them sponge baths until it falls off.
      By the time I learned of this different practice however, Keila had already been given her first bath, so there wasn't too much I could do to protest. Plus, I figured...well, I haven't heard of many Japanese people with belly button problems, so perhaps it's more of a cultural issue than a sanitary one? And in terms of the Japanese perspective, the nurses seemed to think it crazy that in America, we DON'T give anything more than a sponge bath the first few weeks...and that we don't actually bathe the babies every day! (In both countries they do, however, rub around the belly button with ethanol to keep it sanitary, although I recently read of a study indicating that just leaving a stump alone to dry may be the best practice).
  I have to admit, babies do LOVE being in the bathtub. As part of the new parent training at the maternity center, I watched a nurse bathe Keila on Wednesday morning, and yesterday I gave her a bath myself while they supervised. The look of utter bliss on her face was so obvious, she might as well have been purring with pleasure. I felt bad taking her out when we were done! 
 Today, since Yuki took the day off, he got to try his hand at giving Keila her bath while I of course recorded the moment with tons of photos:

                                             Happy girl!

                                    Cute little elf

                                                   What a great dad!

                                                  Enjoying the spa treatment

                                                         Finally, a back rub!

Announcing Keila Honami Kuwabara!

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010 | 1 comments

   Here are a few pictures of our long-awaited new arrival! I don't have time to post more at the moment but will try to update again soon. Her details for those of you who don't already know:
1. Born November 6th at 4:57 p.m. after a 'fun' and rather surprising labor that I'll also have to talk about later.
2. 3154 grams or 6 lbs 15.25 ounces
3. 50 centimeters or 19.7 inches
4. Apgar score of 9 (out of 10); minus 1 point for her extremeties being slightly blue even though I'd been put on oxygen at the end.  But she had a healthy cry and started kicking asap (big surprise there). Go baby!

                                      We're already liking the paci

                             I've been superceded by another female...and I don't even mind


40 Weeks and Counting

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010 | 0 comments

                  Well, my due date came and went yesterday. Sigourney apparently wasn't informed of it, since she made no noticeable efforts toward her debut! In fact, not only did she not appear, she managed to sleep through almost her entire non-stress test during yesterday's checkup. Meaning that I got to keep the fetal monitor on for over an hour instead of the 20 minutes it should've taken, had she actually moved around like she was supposed to.
  At one point, I had a nurse actually shaking my belly to try and wake her up. No such luck. 5 minutes later, the doctor himself came in and shook my stomach around! Still, nothing. She shifted slightly and then went right back to sleep. They finally gave up after 65 minutes of monitoring. Final score: Fetal monitor 0, Sigourney 1.
 The doctor expressed a bit of concern about her lack of movement until I told him that she was incredibly active pretty much the entire night before. I'm sure she was just worn out from all that nocturnal kicking...and of course, as soon as I left the office (and I mean, the door were still sliding closed behind me) she started in again!
  ...Besides the nonstress test, the rest of my checkup showed that labor probably isn't likely any time within the next couple of days, but who knows. So, in summary...we're still waiting!

          The belly pic...place your bets now as to whether there will be one next week

Mont Blanc Pepsi

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010 | 0 comments

            Another fall product: Mont Blanc Pepsi! I saw this at the grocery store last week but was hesitant to buy it, since flavored Pepsi doesn't usually taste all that great. Still, after having Month Blanc ice cream at Baskin Robbins last month and loving it, I decided to give this Pepsi a go. After all, I'd only be out 98 yen if it was awful.
  Before I continue, here's what Mont Blanc is, for those of you in the US who've never heard of it: it's a cake or tart (sometimes a cupcake) made of pureed chestnuts and whipped cream, often on a meringue base. It's named after the Mont Blanc mountain, the highest mountain in the Alps, since that's what it is said to resemble. This dessert was first described in an Italian cookbook, but it then became popular in France in the 17th century before moving on to Japan. (In case you're not already aware, French desserts are HUGE here).
  So there's your bit of dessert history for the day. Now, this particular product...I'd have to say that it's amazingly good! If you can't quite imagine a chestnut/whipped cream flavor, think of something a bit like tiramisu. Oh, and ignore the whole 'Pepsi' taste, since there's none of the usual Pepsi flavor present at all. For a drinkable dessert, I'd give it an 8.5 or a 9. Pepsi finally did a flavored drink right!

Signs of Fall

Posted on Monday, November 01, 2010 | 0 comments

             Fall has definitely arrived here, although you wouldn't know it by today's weather: sunny and around 75 F, wonderful for November 1st! Still, I thought I'd post a few signs of the season anyway, since the snowcap slowly forming on top of Mt. Fuji doesn't look like it's going away any time fast.
  First off: the bugs! Every fall, massive and brightly colored spiders sling their webs all over the place, usually around head-level in well-traveled areas. Being smacked in the face with a spider web even once is one time too many, in my opinion.
  Inchworms and caterpillars also like to put in an appearance around this time--the one pictured below is by far the largest I've seen, although it sadly met with a car mere seconds after I shot that photo. Poor bug!
  Other signs that fall is here include: rice out to dry for the harvest, the sky getting 'higher', and various fall plants and produce making an appearance, such as mikan (mandarian oranges) and kaki (persimmons).
  Fall food is another huge indication of the changing seasons, but more on that in another post....

                                              Huge spider

                                 Inchworm moments before its untimely demise

                                Massive spider web

Rice drying in a local field

                                    Beautiful fall sky

                             I forget the name of this plant, but my sinuses don't like it!

                                                Kaki aka persimmons

                                           Mikan grove

                                  Lone persimmon tree in a green tea field