職場の先輩先生方にはとてもご理解いただき、さらにツル介さんが育児休暇をとることになったので、とても助かっています。育児休暇の様子はツル介のブログで・・・(Taking Leave in Japan)


I’ve been busy as the new semester started. I’m a teacher – the new program started at the school I’m working at. I had to move offices at work in March, while getting ready just so busily for the new semester and for the new program. I feel relieved that the weekend is coming after the new semester started with no serious problems. Whew.

I am very grateful for this situation where my colleagues and bosses are very understanding and besides, Tsurusuke is now taking paternity leave. He’s blogging about his leave: http://takingleaveinjapan.wordpress.com.

During this busy time, Honyako’s still been coughing since March. She’s usually okay in the daytime but she wakes up at night, coughing hard. We brought her to hospital a few times in the last few weeks. On the other day, I asked Tsurusuke to go to the hospital to get more of the same medicine Honyako was taking. Then, Tsurusuke went to a different hospital by mistake. (See Tsurusuke’s blog.) I got really upset about that, but Tsurusuke’s been helping a lot – he’s been getting up a few times in the middle of the night when Honyako wakes up coughing (I’ve been too tired to get up…). He does a lot of house chores like laundry, doing the dishes, and bathing Honyako…. So, Thank you, thank you, Tsurusuke-san….



またまた久しぶりのブログ更新。3月に入ってほにゃ子はとうとう風邪をひきました。もともとは2月28日、雛人形をギリギリに買いに行き(祖父母から初節句にとお祝いのお金をもらっていたのですが買うのはギリギリになりました)、そのときに寒い中を歩き回ったのがいけなかったのです。奈良の一刀彫の人形を見るのに、いくつかのお店を回って、奈良公園をぐるりと歩いて、結局某デパートに戻ったのでした。結局、一刀彫で気に入ったのはとても予算にあわず、平安調のかわいい雛人形を買いました。旧暦でお祝いすることにして(1か月お人形を飾ることに)・・・といっても3月3日にはせっかくなので、(即席の!)ちらしずしとハマグリのお吸い物を作りました。でも、その日からほにゃ子の風邪は悪化しました・・・。熱が出て、夜機嫌が悪くて2時から5時までずっと寝ずにいた日もあったし、よくなったと思ったら、また機嫌が悪くなり、おかしいなぁと思ったら中耳炎になってしまい・・・。よくなったと思ったら、もう3月も半ば。そんなこんなで、私もツル介も風邪をうつされ病院へ・・・。親とはそんなもんなんですね。それにしても、病気になりながらも、ほにゃ子のこの2週間での成長ぶりはすごいです。病気の間に、自分で座れるようになり、少しずつ立とうとし始め、バイバイやバンザイを覚え・・・。赤ちゃんとはほんとにすごい! 病気になりながらも笑わせてくれます。

It’s been a while again since the last update of my blog. Honyako finally got a cold as soon as March started. It was because of what we did on the 28th of February. We went out to buy Hina Ningyo (dolls for the Doll Festival “Hina Matsuri”) just in time for the festival, which is March 3rd, and we wandered around in the cold weather (her grandparents had given us money so that we could buy dolls for her; we just ended up waiting till the last minute). We wanted to see the special Nara dolls called Itto Bori (“carving with one knife”) and we walked around the Nara Park after visiting several shops. The Itto Bori dolls we liked were beyond our budget, so we ended up buying Heian Style cute Hina Matsuri dolls instead. We are going to display the dolls according to the moon calendar so that we can enjoy them for a month. But I made Chirashi Zushi (instant though!) and clam soup for the festival day. From that day, Honyako’s cold got worse…. Her temperature went up and she couldn’t sleep very well at night time. One time, she just couldn’t go back to sleep for three hours straight, from two to five in the morning. When we thought she was getting better, she became grumpy again, and we found out that she got ear infection (inflammation of the middle ear). When she’s finally getting well (which is now), it’s already mid-March. In the meantime, both Tsurusuke and I got a cold from Honyako’s and had to go to hospital. So, this is what parents are all about. I see. Anyhow, we were impressed by how much Honyako’s been growing in spite of her sickness. While being sick, Honyako began to be able to sit by herself (to change her positions from lying on her belly to sitting), try to stand by herself (with our supports still needed, but she’s trying), and learn some gestures such as “bye” and “banzai!” Babies are really amazing. Honyako kept bringing lots of laughs while being sick – while recovering from her sickness.






Honyako seems to be having a good time at the day care center. We’ve been busy since I started to work again. In the second week of this month, I went to Miyazaki on business. The trip was one week, and Honyako stayed at my parents’ in Kagoshima during the week. Surprisingly, she doesn’t cry at strangers any more. She spent a few days without me no problem. I flew with Honyako to Kagoshima on Sunday, left her with my parents, and went to Miyazaki. I was worried and went back to Kagoshima on Tuesday night. I found Honyako happily drinking milk in my mother’s arms. I didn’t see her till Friday then. After three days, she looked different! Babies grow every day, don’t they? Tsurusuke also came to Kagoshima on Thusday (holiday), and he also said Honyako looked different after a few days’ interval. She actually became able to crawl forward—though her belly was still on the floor. Anyways, I was impressed by my parents’ arts of taking care of a baby. Yes, after all, they did raise three kids.

So, my business trip was over with no problem and we came back to Kansai. In the next week, Honyako had an upset stomach; perhaps she got tired after all. (Rotavirus or Norovirus, maybe!)

This Monday, I got the swine flu shot finally. This is perhaps its side effect: I got a headache, then an upset stomach—perhaps I got the virus from Honyako (!?)—and finally got a fever. Luckily I recovered after one day. And so, finally, finally, I’ve updated my blog!






It’s been a while since I wrote last. It’s been raining and very cold today. I’ve been on child care leave for the last few months and tomorrow I’ll be back to work. Today is my last day for the child care leave—and it’s so cold! Besides, Tsurusuke is out all day, so I’m spending this day only with Honyako.

We’ve found a day care center for Honyako. We’ve brought her to day care centers a few times (for experiences), so we both (both I and Honyako) seem to have gotten used to it, more or less. I realized that there were still a couple of things that I should bring to the day care (like a plastic bib she uses when eating), so I went shopping with Honyako in the rain.

Soon after we got home, Honyako fell asleep. She’s been sleeping more than two hours by now. She’s a sleeper from the very beginning. But these days she takes a nap only thirty minutes or one hour at most. But occasionally she sleeps this long. So does she today, and thanks to her long nap, I was able to update my blog. I hope to do so soon!



I often sing songs to Honyako – just some random songs that I make up. When I’m tired and feel like making a fuss about everthing, songs can help me feel a bit calmer and less irritated. When Honyako doesn’t want to go to bed, I sing songs of what we did on the day. I don’t worry about singing in tune. I just make up something. (Well, perhaps it’d be better if I could sing in tune to promote Honyako’s musical intelligence.) “Niko niko (smile smile, also means two two) Honyako, sanko sanko (three three) Honyako, yonko yonko (four four) Honyako, goko goko (five five) Honyako, but yes, you are niko niko (smile smile, two two) Honyako~” I like to play with words.

One day, I was singing while doing the dishes. “Honyako korokoro~” Tsurusuke then asked, “So, what’s up with ‘korokoro’? What does it mean?”

Oh, that’s right. I’d forgotten that it’s difficult for Japanese language learners to understand what these words mean. Tsurusuke said that onomatopoeia was the No.1 complaint by Japanese learners.

“Korokoro” means something round or is used to describe the movement of something round. Honyako is korokoro, isn’t she!

You hear “korokoro” when you see a ball rolling, “pakupaku” when you eat, and “zaazaa” when you see lots of rain outside the window. You hear those words all the time since you were a little baby if you are a native speaker of Japanese. I think they will get a similar image of what Ponyo means. Korokoro is in this big Japanese Japanese dictionary called Kojien but hyonahoyn is not. I just made it up, I guess. But native speakers of Japanese would get a similar idea of what it means, right?

Words described in sounds are interesting. English has such words, too. I just wonder what different images Japanese learners will have when they hear different onomatopoeia. The images may be different depending on their mother tongue.

>> PS << I asked Tsurusuke if he knew what “tsurutsuru” means. He said “Donno. Flutter?” Tsurutsuru means “something smooth.” Tsurusuke pointed at his forehead full of dignity. No, I don’t call you Tsurusuke for that. I do for the “tsuru” and “kame” combination (crane and turtle, both images of happiness and longevity). That is true.










I was very tired on that day. Well, both my husband and I would become exhausted by the end of the day as new father and mother. Honyako really likes to sleep and the first three months was very easy for us for the months I hear everyone finds very tiring. But in the fourth and fifth months… when we began to worry about her neck control… Being worried made me feel tired. What made me even more tired was that Honyako kept refusing drinking from a bottle even though my breast milk didn’t seem to be enough. (For the bottled milk problem, we managed to solve it after two weeks’ trial and error.)

On one of those days, my husband and I argued over what kind of food we should first give to Honyako. My husband insisted that his friend gave spinach first. “You shouldn’t give rice to her first! She can’t digest it.” “I can’t accept the idea of giving her food that causes upset stomach. You can’t make her eat and suffer from diarrhea. Babies can’t digest carbohydrates. You should give vegetables first.”

Being very tired, I shouted back at him. “As far as I know, rice should be the first thing to give to babies!” “I’ve read many books and they all say so. How many books do I have to read?” – I just read a couple but things get exaggerated when we argue. I usually don’t want to make him feel that I’m forcing him into “my” version of “the Japanese way” and so I try not to use “in Japan, we do…” But, as I was just so tired, I even said “Everyone gives rice first to babies in Japan!”

Since Honyako was there, our argument was over very quickly after a big eruption (mostly by me). (My husband simply didn’t talk back – great, he is the mature one.)

I searched for information in the Internet next day. I found on the WHO web that one of the first things that you give to babies to eat was rice. (I now can’t locate the website.)

After all this argument, I gave rice porridge first to Honyako, believing that rice wouldn’t make her sick so much that I’d have to bring her to hospital.

Few weeks later, my husband was talking with his mom on the phone. When I heard them talking about baby food, I got a bit nervous thinking that I might have made his mom a bit upset because I insisted on giving rice first.

I then talked with my mother-in-law, too. When we began to talk about baby food, I immediately started to explain, “I looked at the WHO website. They say rice is okay!” My mother-in-law said “Sure, the first food I gave to Tsurusuke was rice cereal!” Oh… so, Tsurusuke also ate rice first as a baby, okay…. My mother-in-law: “Don’t worry, you don’t have to take Tsurusuke’s advice.” How generous of her! (*)

>> Later << I bought an English book titled “Cooking for Baby” for Tsurusuke’s Christmas gift. The first dish in the book was rice cereal. My husband also read a book about child care that he borrowed from a friend and got relieved to find that rice was first on the list of least allergenic food for babies.

(*) I do listen to my husband’s advice. I try anyways. He’s the eldest of ten kids and was always with a baby or two in his childhood. I’m always grateful for him. He bathes Honyako and does other house choirs every day. So, I gave spinach to Honyako after rice. I had to strain it. It was time-consuming, but I wanted to respect what my husband said.









【さらに後日談】クリスマスにツル介さんにCooking for Babyという離乳食の料理本(英語の本)を買いました。その最初のメニューもライス・シリアルでしたよ。旦那も友達に借りた育児書を読んで、アレルギーの最も起こりにくい食べ物の一番に「米」を見つけ、安心してました。

(*)ツル介さんのいうことは正しいことも多いので(10人兄弟の一番上で、常に赤ちゃんと育ってきてますから)、話は聞くようにしてますよ(できるだけ!)。ほにゃ子をお風呂にいれたり、育児も家事もいっぱいしてくれて、感謝してるんですよー♪ 一応夫に気を使い、米の次にホウレンソウをあげました。最初だったから裏ごしして面倒くさかったけど。;-)


Our daughter Honyako is now eight months old. It took her almost six months to become able to control her neck. She can now turn over, only to one side, but she is certainly growing bigger, trying out new movements every day.

When Honyako was born, my sister gave me a letter. She is a mother of three kids. Her message said "Let's enjoy raising kids. I always feel "ikuji" (raising kids) means "ikuji" (growing or improving myself). [The Chinese character for "ji" in the first ikuji is "children" and the one in the other is "myself." “Iku” means “grow” or “bring up (a child)”] So, I'd like to keep my "ikuji=ikuji" journal. I don't mean to be too serious about reflecting, though. I’ll just jot down what I think and feel about simple happenings in my daily life.

By the way, “Honyako” is not our daughter’s real name. I call this “honyahonya” (mimetic word meaning “soft” or “flexible”) little baby “Honyako.”

Me: Kame, grew up in Kyushu, 3x years old
Husband: Tsurusuke, grew up in upstate New York, 3x+2 years old