Thursday, October 18, 2012

Only in Japan: 3 Signs of Autumn

Image source: Trip Advisor

I love Fall. It is by far the best of seasons. Maybe it's because I lived through the death-heat of Fresno summers for 26 years and fall was always a welcomed relief. Or maybe because my birthday is snug in the middle of fall. In any case, I LOVE FALL!

The other day I realized fall had snuck up on me. I went for a walk and ::BAM:: Autumn! It's probably because the signs of Autumn are so different here from what I'm used to. Of course there's the typical changing of leaves, and crisp air, but there are no Halloween decorations on every house, no Fresno Fair, no Pumpkin Spice Lattes. It got me thinking, what are the signs of Autumn in Japan. So with out further ado, I bring to you 3 signs that Fall has come to Japan.

1-The familiar song of the sweet potato truck.
No ice cream trucks in Japan. But they do have guys who drive around singing through a speaker, selling roasted sweet potatoes. We've yet to purchase any, but I hear they're great. Maybe I'll send Stephen down next time I hear his song. 

2-Everyone starts wearing long sleeves and jackets. 
Yes, I know this is typical in the States as well. It's cold; you wear warmer clothing. But here, it seems like the change in clothes has more to do with the date on the calendar than the temperature on the thermometer. October 1, rain or shine, everyone puts away the short sleeves and shorts in favor of long pants, long sleeves, jackets, scarves, and hats. This year, there have been a few very nice, warm days after the 1st. The kind of days where a pair of jeans and a short sleeve shirt are perfect. Yet, we're are the only two people crazy enough to buck the trend and dress for the weather, not the calendar. It usually makes for very funny conversations with every person we see. 
"Eeehhh, samukunai?! (aren't you cold?!)"
"No, it's 75 degrees and sunny. Aren't you hot?"

3-I plugged in my toilet.
Yes, you read that right.
Without central heating, the bathroom can get mighty chilly and who wants to sit on an icy throne in the middle of the night. Not the Japanese! That's why many toilets here are heated. (LOVE IT!) I leave the seat unplugged through out the spring and summer, but once the temperature dips, our favorite appliance gets plugged in.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jillian's Foot: An Update

Jilli's been such a trooper through this whole clubfoot ordeal. Although, I guess it's the only reality she knows, so she doesn't have much to compare it to. 

Her last cast came off in late June. We were so excited to have access to both feet for the first time since she was a week old. 

At that point, the doctor fit her for special shoes that would act as a brace to keep the newly stretched muscles and tendons from shrinking back to where they were. She's been wearing the braces 23 hours a day, every day, since then. 

I was worried at first about how the braces would affect our daily life with Jill. I knew it would be better in the cast for things like baths and play time, since we were now free to have some bare feet time each day. 

Other things though, like diaper changes and clothes, were new territory. Turns out, other than not being able to wear footy-jammies, the bar hasn't been too much of an imposition. And now I have a handy-dandy handle bar to assist in diaper changes. ;)

We've been amazed watching her play while wearing her brace. Her tummy and leg muscles must be getting so strong from all the leg lifts she does. 

She even figured out how to use the bar as leverage to roll over before most babies do. Other things, like finding her feet, took some extra time. But I'm sure now that she's discovered them, it won't be long before she's trying to unstrap her shoes. 

At our last doctor's appointment, we thought we would get the go ahead to move to only night and nap wear. After looking at her xrays, the doc said, "everything looks normal, but let's be extra cautious and keep the bar on 23 hours a day for a few more months." We're not sure how much of this is typical Japanese cautiousness, but even though we're frustrated, we're following doctor's orders and keeping the bar on. :/

We're all anxiously looking forward to FINALLY being graduated out of the bar during the day. I feel like Jill is trying to get mobil and having bare feet would really help her out. Although, I'm sure she'll manage even in the bar. This kid is a go-getter!
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