30 May 2008


My Mum is coming today! Hooray, it has been a long week with sick child, who is still sick....we are just at the bit now where there is a lot if grizzling, runny nose and coughing and no appetite.....so, although it will be great to do things together with Mum, it will be so good to have her help me, just until we turn the corner to brighter days and more smiles than tears....maybe just a day away?

28 May 2008

sick moo

I heard it is getting pretty cold in Melbourne town...we have hit the 30s here. I like being warm but I do miss the beach. Mini moo has been really sick with very high fever, throat infection and virus and a few new teeth. His fever has been hanging around for 3 days...awful. I have been very worried and chewed the top off two of my fingers whilst hell-driving to the doctors yesterday......my fingers are now very sore....I hope he doesnt pick up any of those new words he might have heard :( on the trip.....I am so thankful we have access to high quality doctors and medications, I cannot imagine the heartbreak of watching you child get sicker and sicker and not being able to do anything.....

26 May 2008


Moo is a bit sick. He has a fever which I was getting worried about but now after reading a lot of stuff think he is OK for the moment. I am going to get a thermometer, a good old fashioned one, so I can use a more accurate method to measure his temperature. I did get sucked in, as a new mum, and bought one of the fancy digital ear ones, what a waste of $50. Too hard to use, not accurate, requires batteries (invariably flat)......so, since he usually such a genki little mooch, I have my worriers hat on today....

23 May 2008

black scribble

I used to love to scribble with black charcoal in my uni days. It is a bit messy and impractical these days but it is possible on a computer. Im playing with some new styles, textures really. My dearest loved one is in China for a few days, I miss him. My Mum comes next week, cool. Strawberry season is nearly over but guess what CHERRY season is here!! Oh big hooray! There are two types of cherries available here, the cherry and the American cherry. I am yet to figure out (aside from the obvious) why there are two types and why they are branded American. Arent cherries cherries? They both taste good and cost about the same (except the super fancy ones which cost far more than I would ever pay.....). I never see branded Philippine banana, China garlic, Chile blueberry. I guess its all about branding and image and maybe the US association sells. I do often see Aussie beef. Cant complain about that now can I?

I decided I boss the dog too much, always telling him hurry up, sit on your mat, out, up, out of the way and in an impatient tone...etc etc...poor dog.....I do give him a lot of cuddles too but I decided if I can discipline the boy without yelling and bossing him surely I can do so for the dog. I think he knows because he is sooo cuddly and sooky to me. And it feels very nice not to be a witch. The dog is a very nervous and reluctant to obey, not because he is naughty but because he is not sure. It often takes a good couple of minutes for him to jump up the step to come inside while I stand there and takes him a really good couple of minutes to find the perfect spot to pee and again a long few minutes to spin around and around until he can find just the right spot to sit down.....so I do spend a lot of time waiting for him......no justification I know.....

22 May 2008

kyu kei (a little break)

Ive been a bit off the past few days...I suspect it was a case if kimchi-itis. Kimchi is delicious but mention of word fermented in the production process probably means bacteria. In the wrong conditions this means bad bacteria and that means trouble for the digestive system......you get my drift....I am a lot better today, thank goodness...I have been doing a lot of drawing and steadily working my way to finishing my website...the front page is above. Once I finish the buttons I will upload. Geisha cats have popped out of nowhere as well as lots of funny ideas to incorporate cards, fabric, paper and paint...but it might be too much work for one little card? I am also a bit shattered to see my sewing project fall by the wayside since I plugged in my machine yesterday and found the lights on but nobody home. The voltage is too different even with a transformer...so I am looking for a cheap one now.

19 May 2008

ohisashiburi desu (its been a while)

We took a little break and got out of town, just nearby Mount Fuji. When people mention Japan, the images I have used here are not usually what one conjures up in their minds. The fortunate part of living in a place is that you have time to explore outside the usual beaten tourist path. It is a luxury. I realised just how lovely it is to tour Japan by car. These kinds of places dont really service tourists and without any language it would be very tough. As you can see, it is truly awesome. Snow capped mountains, lots of quiet and still, cuckoo birds singing, smell of nature, rain, sun and just lots of loveliness.

There was also some earth moving by enthusiastic helpers...

and some serious investigation of nooks, crannies, boulders, ants etc....

These mountain ranges peak at about 3000mts. You can do a lot of walks in various parts of these ranges. We stayed in a cottage which was self contained so endulged in bacon and eggs for brekky after a very cold night. I almost bought my coffee maker along but resisted since we were going for just a short time....I used instant instead....it didnt kill me......food in this area was slightly more scarce and reminded us of our holiday to Bribie Island where getting good food was near impossible...its is an ongoing joke now when we get a very bad meal....as well as this amazing scenery, in the middle of nowhere is an incredible Keith Haring museum it was shame we were not able to see it but we have planned a return trip (byo food) and hope to see it then.
This is a cake a I made today. It looks like any other banana cake but really it is hiding a LOT of vegetables in it......mini moo is a good eater but trying to get him to eat a lot of veges is a challenge. I guess I should be grateful that he has now mastered sitting at the table by himself and can sit for more than a few seconds, hooray for him!! AND, miracles still happen, I can now get him to brush his own teeth...after trying 5 toothbrushes and having a huge screaming match every night. I bought a small step so he can stand at the sink by himself, got a 360degree brush so he can just chew it and it does the same job and a very small, soft brush for the front teeth. He even smiled at me last night when I helped him...amazing!!

17 May 2008

slightly offline

If you are trying to contact me via my Grassy Garden email address please note it is currently offline for the next few hours. Please contact me paulasoon@gmail.com

14 May 2008

rain, rain, more rain

It has rained for days and nights....I wish I could send some home. No wonder everything is very green here! The culprit is a typhoon off the coast, the second in a fairly short space of time. We have not had the winds but loads and loads of rain..then when it doesnt rain a lot of grey heavy clouds. It looks like me and every other carer in Tokyo busts outside during the non-rainy periods to let their kids blow off steam...in the meantime I am finding a lot of indoors things to do, great and often free play halls, lots of arts and craftings and some cooking for dinners....
This would have to be the most basic Japanese dish that anyone can cook, the equivalent of boiling an egg. I would not recommend this fish as it has thousands of tiny bones. The actual dish is called saba miso, saba is mackerel (not this fish above) and it is cooked in a mix of miso, sake, water, sugar and ginger. With a bowl of rice and some vege it is easier than and toasted sandy!
Oh, we also had some big (well big for us) earthquakes last week (before the one in China - I wonder if they are related?). It was early in the morning and rocked the whole house, so much so it woke us up. There are earthquakes you can feel everynight and during the day if you are in a quiet place. These guys were quite big but offshore 100km and quite deep underground so no tsunami and not much damage in the closest area, we are lucky. There was a lot of aftershocks. I guess its part of living in this part of the world....I have devised our emergency plan and supplies and discussed it with my darling so he knows to get the dog. I hope we dont ever need to use it.

12 May 2008

grey day gone

The grey cloud went away, hooray!! I met some very nice Mum's and other kind people over the weekend. It rained for 2 days and 2 nights. I am not used to such weather...it does make it hard to do things....but thats why umbrellas are so cheap......I also found the most superb French bakery that opens at 7am, double hooray. Outside of my Paris croissant eating experience, it is the best croissant I have ever eaten!!

8 May 2008

soup soul food

Super delicious and simple soup, miso base, fresh fish, shells and veges with soba noodles. This was made by my dear husband so I cannot take the credit. It sure was tasty.

I felt a bit homesick lately, just the past few days. I guess its pretty normal, I do live far away after all. Maybe because my family is visiting soon and knowing I will see them soon makes me want to see them more? Im not sure. So I am keeping busy because it would be impossible to stay homesick in Tokyo as there are so many ways to keep busy and learn and be entertained. I realised I have not yet 'bonded' with anyone outside my family unit. This is something I need to change, I have to make at least a couple of new friends. The people here I already know dont count because thats cheating. So, I am going to a Mums group tomorrow, which I have been to once, and met some nice people and so, I'm hopeful the grey cloud will clear and new friendships will start to form. I like having friends, not a lot, but the ones I have are very special. So I hope to meet someone like that.

On another unrelated note, I am trying to make some sewing magic and join into Softies for Mirabel. Sewing is not my strong point but I do like it so I will keep you posted about the progress.

7 May 2008

illustration friday-seed

Illustration Friday theme is seed. This drawing is from a random memory I had of when I was doing an English workshop at a local kindergarten in the mountains of Japan. The idea was to count 1-10. This game was the 'watermelon game'. The kids got dressed up in black plastic bags like a watermelon seed and then we had a race where they had to move all the seeds from one end of the room to the watermelon slice at the other end. Each seed had a number on it. It was so much fun. But, it was also during summer so the poor little kids in plastic bags were sweating like mad, but having the best time ever.

6 May 2008

golden week

Golden Week is a week of public holidays for various celebrations. Japanese workers are reluctant to use the annual leave so this block of public holidays forces offices to close and people can take a break. This also means chaos on the roads and public transport. Thankfully, things here are organised and there is a website you can refer to that tells you about traffic congestion, where it is, how long it will last and the peak times of the day, so handy! We headed to a place we thought might have less tourists, but we were wrong. So we went looking for an odd looking road, the one less travelled, found one and we took it. We found the place pictured above, so beautiful, on the other side of the mountain where we had orginally planned to visit. This was exactly the place we were looking for. We sat by the river and ate lunch and skipped stones into the water and floated leaves. This river has a lot of fireflies in summer, something I had never seen until I came to Japan. We will certainly return in the warmer months to view such an incredible sight.

4 May 2008

food celebration

This is a regular dinner for us. I really cannot speak any more highly of the food quality here in Tokyo. Everything tastes so good and is so fresh. I thought instead of always saying how good it is I would include some photos of things we actually make and eat....the main dish is a white fish (like tuna - oily and tasty), cut into chunks and seared and prawns, caramelised onion, spring onions, garlic, ginger and those big black and red things are dried chillis (brought all the way from Footscray). The flavour includes fish sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper and a few other bits and pieces. The side dish is green vege and prawns with garlic and ginger. We eat this with rice. It takes about 10 mins to prepare and less than 10 mins to cook.

Acknowledging the serious food shortage (and water) which is faced by many millions, I want to make sure I dont waste any food. I dont usually waste a lot but weekly, there is stuff I throw out. So I have a new shopping strategy. Asian shopping generally relies on day to day shopping, Japan is no exception, which explains why the shopping trollies look like they are for Barbie. This is to maximise the fresh goods available on the day. However, everything is always available here so I can put a bit of planning together and buy only what I need, instead of what I think I need and waste less time and energy by going every other day. F and V dont last a week. And this ties in well with my little mooch's shopping aversion at the moment. It also makes me wonder why the F and V that I used to buy at home could last a lot longer in the fridge than here....?

3 May 2008


One of my oldest phobias appeared today, that of being vomited on by someone whilst on public transport. Years ago, when I didnt have a car and used to rely on trams and buses, I used to worry about this a lot and try to choose a seat that had the least amount of people near it or alternatively sit or stand near an exit. And, I used to carry a plastic shopping bag in case, one day, I was ever sick myself....My phobia was confirmed (that is, it does exist, fear that is) when a guy did vomit on the train, but he held it with his hand over his mouth until the train stopped and burst out the door vomiting on all the people waiting to get onto the train....ever since I always stand back from the opening door when waiting to embark.......Today challenged even my oldest phobia. Vomit in a crowded elevator.......BUT, my phobia was thwarted by busy traffic which meant we arrived at the elevator door just after the event......thank you busy traffic....thank you.

2 May 2008

nice days ahead

It is a treat to play with water. Knowing this isnt possible at home, I keep the tap on the slowest drip and keep the play periods short because it is not just at home I should be worried about water use. This play in the park was also a chance to try out some different settings on my new camera. It is so easy to use and the fact is was inexpensive but can do a lot, I am very impressed. Luckily parks, with taps are almost everywhere, but I especially like this park. It is off the main road so you cannot hear the traffic. Other people come for picnics and kids play, and it has a big garden you can kick leaves and climb around sculptures. There is also an old Japanese style house, donated to this community, so you can go inside and poke around for free. The surrounding park is part of the old grounds that surrounded this house. It is truly lovely.

1 May 2008

love at first sight

This purple necklace from my sister, thankyou, I LOVE it, LOVE it!! And thank you for all your lovely birthday messages and pressies, lots of love xxx