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Month: September 2017


This morning, as I was making coffee and pouring it into my thermos, Miyu said behind me, “Mommy…look.” So naturally I looked back and saw this:

I love her sense of humor. ๐Ÿ™‚

Miyu’s Flag for School

This week I was informed that Miyu will be needing a flag by Friday, which is tomorrow. Her hoikuen provided the paper for the flag and we have been entasked with creating a design with the theme of “Autumn Fruits”. So I gathered all of our arts and crafts materials and here I am on the dining table, wishing I had double-sided tape, and wondering what the hell to draw!

Ken had looked at me last night, grinning, and said, “Well since I’m the artist of the family, I guess I’ll just take care of this.” I responded with a perfunctory roll of my eyes.

I’m guessing this flag will be used for her upcoming field day on October 21 where Ken and I will be participating. That thought helps motivate me to make her flag stand out. But it’s 7:20PM and the clock is ticking. Will I be able to tackle this without letting my perfectionist side take over? I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

Update: 9: 25PM

Taking out the trash

When I was a child, I was never taught to do my own chores. Despite working full time, my mother always washed the dishes and did the laundry. My parents sort of had an agreement that my dad would be the cook and he would be the one to clean and maintain the car and mow the lawn, while my mom would do everything else around the house. Even during my teen years, my mom did my laundry. It was only during tenth grade when she finally asked me to do my own laundry, and even then she would still do it most of the time.

Because I was, essentially, never taught to clean after myself, it was an overwhelming experience for me when I came to live in Japan.

I don’t want what happened with me to happen to my daughter. I want her to understand, from this early age, that house chores are an everyday thing. With the right attitude, they can even be fun. I want her to grow up and realize that a woman shouldn’t have to bear all the house chores just because she’s a woman. I want her to see that the entire family should be involved in maintaining a happy home because, well…that’s my philosophy and I think it’s a fair one.

I took a picture of Miyu today helping us with the trash. Our (Japanese) neighbor was surprised to see that she was helping us carry a few bags. When we got to the trash shed, I was shocked to see that Miyu had remembered from our last time throwing the trash. She already knew where to put the pet bottles! So now, whenever it’s trash day (or night), we’ll be giving her the pet bottle bag and Ken and I will do everything else. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dear Miyu Alexandra

Dear Miyu Alexandra,

I now leave the fate of our houseplants in your hands, for their survival may very well depend on your most eager and diligent stewardship.

All the best,

My Little Helper Strikes Again!

She saw that I was doing the laundry, ran to the laundry basket and grabbed all her shirts, got a chair so she can reach the hangers, and voila. My little helper strikes again!

Later she helped me load the last load into the washing machine and she became upset when I told her that we wouldn’t start the machine until after we wake up from our nap. She was eager to push the buttons, that’s why. ๐Ÿ™‚

I live for this smile

This was taken on Monday, September 4, when we, along with Ken’s parents and Alex, took a little trip to Hakone. Afterward, we stopped by Gotemba Premium Outlets where I think my FIL was the one who took this photo while Ken and I went to go find an ATM.

It’s amazing how much she resembles me when she smiles like that. Because of her, I am constantly in awe at the simple yet complex role of genetics in human life. I truly am. Sometimes I’m just staring at her and I get this overwhelming sense of love, pride, and humility. Almost dumbfoundedly I remember that I carried her in my womb, that my body constructed her flesh and bones, but that her soulโ€”the essence that makes her uniqueโ€”was not of my creation. And every time I remember that, my gratitude for my own life renews. I think to myself, how lucky I am to be alive to behold such beauty, how lucky I am to be her mother in this lifetime, how lucky I am to live for this smile.

Multiple use cooling pad

Miyu was at Baba and Jji’s house this evening and when she came back… she looked like this. I was immediately concerned because normally those cooling pads are used for when you have a fever. Well, it turns out that Miyu accidentally broke a vase at B&J’s house. It was sitting somewhere high and Miyu touched it, and as it fell, it bumped her forehead along the way. It was just a small, raised scratch really. ๐Ÿ™‚

Custom Shutter Release Button

I’ve been loving my experience so far with the Fuji X-T2 but I noticed that the shutter release button was really sensitive and I felt like it was kind of small coming from a Canon Rebel T2i. So, I ordered custom shutter release buttons from Amazon. For the particular ones I bought, they cost $7.99 and they were from a seller called VKO Photography. It comes with two sets of buttons and four rubber rings. I chose the color gold because I like black and gold together.

Having it on feels really nice because with the elevated button, I feel like my finger doesn’t have to spend so much time searching for the shutter button. It’s just there now and the convex shape of it helps as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hanabi Photoshoot

As I write this, the clock reads 1:46AM. Even though I’m exhausted, I wanted to post a quick entry since I recently finished uploading photos from our little hanabi session in the park. (See my Flickr in the sidebar.) Here are the things that I learned from this shoot using my new camera, the Fujifilm X-T2 with the 56mm f/1.2:

  • I compose shots better when I look through the EVF (electronic view finder)
  • Fireworks are tricky to shoot since 1) the environment is dark, 2) the autofocus has a habit of focusing on the smoke, 3) the various lights from the fireworks reflect on skin, thereby presenting a bit more work post-edit
  • Having continuous auto-focus ON comes in handy, especially when working with children
  • It’s good to scope the surroundings so that when you’re shooting, you avoid bumping/tripping/falling into things ๐Ÿ˜›
  • Fuji has damn good dynamic range! Even though I experimented a bit with different ISOs and shutter speeds, I noticed that in general, I was able to recover lots of shadows before the photo became grainy
  • I feel that face detection in the dark wasn’t that great in general compared to daytime conditions
  • Holding a vlogging cam and a mirrorless cam at the same time is rough!

I haven’t gone through the video footage yet, but when I have time tomorrow, I hope I can edit something decent. I think what I’m going to do is create a compilation of the entire year into one single movie.

I’m still alive!

I can’t believe it’s already September. It seems like yesterday that Miyu started hoikuen. Five months have passed since then.

A lot has happened. I wish I had more time to share my experiences.

I’ve put my fiction writing on hold but have gotten back into photography. I’m also taking two classes online from now until October 15.

Despite all this, here’s to hoping for more blog entries. ๐Ÿ™‚