Getting Settled in Japan: A Day Off with Daycare

The text of this post was originally written in April, 2004 as part of an online diary I kept before I actually started my blog. I'd forgotten about it until I ran across it in February 2008. I inserted it into my blog then, assigning dates appropriate to the content instead of to the time I actually added it. Thus, these April 2004 posts show up as my “first posts” in my list of posts, even though I didn't actually start a blog until a year later with my first post about buying a car in Japan.

There's nothing here of interest to anyone but me; I insert it here so that it's together with my other posts (which are also of little interest to anyone but me :-)) Any comments I add while posting this to my blog in February 2008 appear like this.

This was originally written just after we moved from California to Japan, so our days were dominated by jet lag, and trying to set up our life and newly-acquired apartment. Anthony was 18 months old.

True to form, Anthony got up at 5:15. My eye felt and looked much better. At 7:45, we set out on our bikes to deliver Anthony to his first full day of daycare. We were looking forward to a “day off”, but the primary goal is to get him experience playing with other kids. He'll go Mondays and Wednesdays.

When we'd brought him the first time (last week), he'd gotten off to a rocky start because one of the day-care ladies took him before he felt comfortable with the place, and so he screamed bloody murder for a while. She said that all the kids did that and to just go so that he could get over it more quickly. We didn't like that at all, but it was one of those things that happen so fast you can think about it later. They thought he was crying due to separation anxiety, but I knew it was simply because he wasn't yet comfortable with the new place (having been there for only a minute before being thrust into it). So anyway, this time, when the same lady tried to take him, I was ready and simply said “no, that's okay, I'll sit with him”. And indeed, within about two minutes, he was drawn by the lure of new toys, and was off to play.

The first thing he found was an interesting wooden toy that looks like a bunch of small cups tacked to a broomstick. You put a big marble in the top one, and it tips over and dumps the marble to the one below, which tips the other way, and so on, all the way down. He was thrilled with this, and had a kind of excitement that his face and body simply couldn't contain. The facial contortions were almost gruesome, and were it not for the happy reason, I would have been concerned. I'd thought such excitement was reserved for meeting Santa and/or Christmas morning, but it was thrilling to see that it could be found in such a simple toy. While Fumie and I were extremely heartwarmed to see it, were disappointed not to have captured it on film.

While he was enjoying this, we slipped out, not wanting him to become fussy by seeing us leave. We stopped by a small cafe very near the apartment that we'd not stopped by before. We each had their “morning set”, which involves a tiny cup of coffee, three small rolls of various flavors, and a tiny salad that might fill half an American coffee cup. We were having a nice, quiet time, and so extended it by getting another (mini) cup of coffee. The total for this feast was a mere $20. The prices for eating out in Japan are worse than airport pricing, but if you think about it in yen (2,000 yen), well, it's like paying with Monopoly money.

Around lunch time, I made the five-minute walk to the convenience store for lunch (we still haven't gotten into a routine of grocery shopping), and half way there, getting into the more city area that our apartment is just off of, I took a picture down the street. The apartment is behind me, up a hill a minute, on the left side of the street. Anyway, if you follow the view in the picture down the street, you see a big orange arch. The almost-fisheye lens make it look much smaller than it seems, but if you take the five-minute walk from there (maybe 7 or 8 minutes from the apartment), you find that it's huge — about four stories tall. I think the one that's there is a rebuilt version of the original. The original is probably 800 years old, but this one can't be more than 150 years old. (It turns out that it's about 80 years old). Anyway, it's not a common site in Japan, but we can see it just stepping out of our apartment complex, so I thought to take a picture of it. In there are around it are museums and such (such as a museum of modern art — something I'm not likely to visit any time soon :-))

In the afternoon, Shimada-san came over to see the place, and together we went out to look at cars. He knows a lot about everything, and in this area he didn't disappoint. I'd gone with the idea of looking at a few select models (mentioned two weeks ago), but he directed me to other models that I'd not thought were appropriate for us (from casual inspection seeing them on the street) which turned out to be very good. We stopped by a Honda place and a Toyota place, and I ended up getting brochures for maybe nine different models.

I was running late to pick up Anthony by 5pm, so I decided to drive there directly. Apparently he'd had a good day, but he was happy to see me nevertheless, and a bit hungry. He's used to eating on his own schedule, but they have a set schedule.

When I got home, Fumie and Mom were there. We played around with Anthony for a while (who, after getting some food and milk, was in a wonderful mood). I gave him a bath, and put him to bed at about 7:00. It was the earliest he went to sleep for some time; I hope he sleeps through to the morning.

Fumie and Mom went to look at the temple light-up that we'd tried to see yesterday. I stayed home with Anthony, and caught up on this diary.

Continued here...

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