My Experience Giving Birth in Japan

Image

This blog has been a series of one adventure after another, but by far the biggest adventure I’ve started on since coming to Japan has been becoming a mother to a tiny human!

received_2150947701789161

Giving birth and raising a child is difficult no matter where you are, but doing so in a foreign country poses its own unique set of challenges (and perks!).

The most important difference was the language barrier. What if something went wrong during my pregnancy and I couldn’t understand how to communicate in an emergency? What if I went into labor in the middle of the night while trains and taxis weren’t in service? (SPOILER ALERT: I did!) I’m someone who hates to rely on others for fear of becoming a burden, but I had to overcome that issue quickly while I was expecting. Even while cramming Japanese pregnancy terms there were many things I just couldn’t do without a high level of proficiency. The good news is that along with an English-speaking doctor I had so many friends, co-workers, and even neighbors looking out for me during that time, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Listening to her heartbeat together

Listening to her heartbeat together

As an American abroad, I’d be remiss not to mention the fantastic health care system that saw me through to the finish line of my pregnancy journey. When I first got confirmation of our little sprout, I registered at City Hall for a “Mother and Child Handbook” that would keep track of all my appointments and heath info in the next 9 months and beyond. I was also given a sort of coupon book that would cover just about all of my prenatal visits (along with a dental check-up!). Lastly I got a badge that announced to others that I was expecting, so that I could get priority seating on the bus or train. Not only did I get a guaranteed 4 months of partial-pay maternity leave, but once everything was said and done, we spent less than $2,000 dollars in total for all prenatal visits, monthly ultrasounds, and prescriptions, plus the birth itself and a week-long stay in the hospital complete with gourmet meals and a spa treatment!

57154737_264142181018078_1404987830924476416_n

Maternity clinics fill up quickly in Japan, so my dear friend helped me sign up for the highly recommended private clinic that she attended during her pregnancies. Now that I’ve “graduated” from this clinic as well, I’m a fan too! My husband was able to stay with me during birth and room together with me in the week afterwards.

Something that may come as a shock to foreign moms-to-be in Japan is the complete lack of labor pain relief in most clinics and hospitals. No epidurals, no medication, no nothing! Thankfully I was already planning for a natural un-medicated birth before I discovered this surprising information.

Almost there!

Almost there!

When the fateful day arrived, my friend drove us to the hospital and I was booked into what looked like a gorgeous hotel room to wait for baby to arrive. Josh was an invaluable birth partner during this time and I don’t think I could have made it through with such peace of mind without him. I’ll spare the details of my birth story for those who’d like to know, but as soon as active labor began after several hours of contractions, our baby made her entrance into the world a mere twenty minutes later! The whole rush of that unexpected situation made for a scene out of a TV drama. I still remember the wind rushing through my hair as the nurses raced me down the hallway in a wheelchair, with Josh and the midwife running down a staircase after me.

The next day began an eventful week in the hospital full of parenting lessons, breastfeeding coaching, and official paperwork. Besides the chance to get to know the newest addition to our family in a structured environment, the highlights of this week included on-site chef prepared meals and an esthetician visit! I can’t describe how wonderful the food was through words alone, so I’ll just share these pictures below. The fantastic, hearty food and spa treatment definitely helped me feel strong and restored after the exhausting ordeal of birth!

56326473_1145781025603160_1872368650271326208_n 56513135_792947887752004_8614417151127715840_n 56527817_621189378293264_9022839378149376000_n 56537485_400695854048248_4794224052652736512_n 56669535_302065013822144_5603058409868886016_n 56669622_546972522494229_2820795071014633472_n 56675781_383445099163237_5195847088746790912_n 56706154_267166150836502_1501219107222061056_n 56751227_2413041582042119_4159938755483926528_n 56764350_2414957478790771_7668031174857457664_n 56832557_530517637475601_4657897495710400512_n 56894413_342963816350725_5327907050947084288_n 56915091_472279266646583_1137267366720176128_n 56957755_295156341380525_6296562883618668544_n

Another pleasant surprise were the gifts we were given by the hospital before we left. First, I was given a small cedar box to keep birth mementos in. After that, we were presented with a digital photo frame containing several “behind the scenes” photos that the nurses had been taking for us during the week! This included the moment we first held her in our arms, her first weigh in and check-up, and an exterior view of the hospital. We were so touched by this unexpected gesture that we were brought to tears.

From there we took our first hesitant steps into the world of parenthood! It’s been six months since that time and still feels like it was yesterday to me. I’ll be sure to post more updates soon. Thanks for reading!

Omiyamairi- baby's one month birthday celebration!

Omiyamairi- baby’s one month birthday celebration!

Inktober 2018: Baby Edition!

Image

As we were expecting our baby in October, I decided to use Inktober this year as a kind of event calendar to celebrate her arrival! I was able to complete each day leading up to her birth- with the final image being completed at the last minute during contractions. Haha!

1. Poisonous Baby witch is brewing up some noxious concoction to keep the rainy day roaches away!

1. Poisonous
Baby witch is brewing up some noxious concoction to keep the rainy day roaches away!

2. Tranquil Baby faerie is brand new and resting among the lotus flowers.

2. Tranquil
Baby faerie is brand new and resting among the lotus flowers.

3. Roasted Baby hunter roasts a well done steak with the help of her trusty Palico. Mm, so tasty!

3. Roasted
Baby hunter roasts a well done steak with the help of her trusty Palico. Mm, so tasty!

4. Spell Baby artist learns to spell (baby name hint)!

4. Spell
Baby artist learns to spell (baby name hint)!

5. Chicken Baby chickie is ready to hatch!

5. Chicken
Baby chickie is ready to hatch!

6. Drooling The birthday baby is longing for a cupcake.

6. Drooling
The birthday baby is longing for a cupcake.

7. Exhausted Baby takes a nap

7. Exhausted
Baby takes a nap

8. Star A tiny celestial body is making its way towards Earth!

8. Star
A tiny celestial body is making its way towards Earth!

9. Precious Our adventurous baby miner searches for precious gems and crystals!

9. Precious
Our adventurous baby miner searches for precious gems and crystals!

10. Flowing Bumble baby takes flight (name hint in the background)!

10. Flowing
Bumble baby takes flight (name hint in the background)!

11. Cruel Baby Plague Knight is ready to cause trouble with the Order of No Quarter!

11. Cruel
Baby Plague Knight is ready to cause trouble with the Order of No Quarter!

12. Whale Baby Mermaid gets acquainted with a baby beluga.

12. Whale
Baby Mermaid gets acquainted with a baby beluga.

13. Guarded Baby bear holds down the (blanket) fort.

13. Guarded
Baby bear holds down the (blanket) fort.

14. Clock Baby mechanic adjusts the maternal clock- she's not ready to arrive just yet!

14. Clock
Baby mechanic adjusts the maternal clock- she’s not ready to arrive just yet!

15. Weak Did someone say weak? Baby is getting stronger and stronger!

15. Weak
Did someone say weak? Baby is getting stronger and stronger!

16. Angular Things are reaching abstraction with and increase in contraction.

16. Angular
Things are reaching abstraction with and increase in contraction.

Our Adventure at Monster Hunter Bar West in Osaka

Image

41803755_314740879333442_6067643201211072512_n
A major disappointment turned into an exciting and spontaneous adventure for us last night in Osaka!

Initially, we had planned to see The Killers in concert this week. This doubled as both an early birthday present for me (September 29th!) and as a “push present” from Josh as we await the arrival of our baby next month (October!). I was so excited- I would finally be able to see my favorite band in person! However, due to severe typhoon damage at the Kansai International Airport, the concert was cancelled at the last minute. I sadly had to send the tickets back to the distributor in a hurry and hope for a full refund…

To make up for our loss, we decided to make a date in Osaka anyway. No solid plans, just a little fun in the big city together. We stopped by for a late lunch of fish n’ chips at Hub Pub (with plenty of malt vinegar!) and then explored the lovely Namba Parks (which you may have seen featured on Reddit for its amazing “forest in the middle of a concrete city” aesthetic). We chilled on the rooftop and caught some nice Pokemon while deciding what to do next.

namba-parks41682342_940627559468322_4504788933879529472_n 41697257_249238579068969_7826409030200328192_n 41698842_510331316096391_2013603358400577536_n 41709764_530127130772185_1082092241150803968_n 41811658_315540352564847_3377907214692909056_nJosh and I have recently been playing a lot of “Monster Hunter World” since I started maternity leave, and it’s been so fun going on hunts and quests together! I’ve always wanted to visit a limited themed cafe during my time in Japan, but by the time I hear about them, they are already closed (or in far-off Tokyo)! As the Capcom headquarters is stationed in Osaka and Monster Hunter World was only recently released for the PC, I idly wondered if there was some sort of themed cafe lurking about in the city.

My character Vaelyon and her trusty Palico, Tiramisu!

My character Vaelyon and her trusty Palico, Tiramisu!

To my delight, I discovered that an official “Mon Hun Bar” opened just last month right near us in Tennoji! I showed Josh some pictures of the menu and he was all for it. There was just one small problem…I had to reserve our place…by phone…in Japanese! I was shaking in my Birks as I dialed the number and tried to boost my confidence by mentally replaying my recent success with booking both a parenting class and dental appointment over the phone.

“Is 7pm available?”
“One more time, please”
“Uhh…hehe”
“Sorry, I’m a foreigner.”

Somehow, I got through it and reserved our seats! We were guaranteed commemorative coasters as well as a special snack at our table. We had an hour or so to kill so we stopped by McDonald’s for some of their new Matcha menu selections (quite good, by the way!).

The time finally arrived and we made our way towards the Bali Tower right outside of Osaka Abenobashi station! A themed diorama was placed in the lobby with directions to the cafe. As we walked up the staircase we encountered lots of framed concept artwork from the game and heard that signature music coming from inside the closed off room. The anticipation was building!

41714683_318313085640852_8393934691454943232_n 41715314_2042458225804367_5078442151960903680_nsandy
41684612_2251667955056987_8514489436996632576_n

41779817_664430890624308_6263500873914122240_n 41836322_2164370437152052_3418295270373326848_n 41801884_326597098111629_5829409010343739392_n 41761432_1076311179198778_7657786118783369216_n 41741873_2044652872513918_596309561409798144_n 41730532_248734992498358_8689672657555161088_n 41682240_1131979333631444_5755494508670222336_n 41682225_2178764019011112_3873584330852794368_n 41684510_535267950219775_3490929300561985536_n 41651276_1053999784760743_4490396528535404544_n 41656733_297380027723285_5263053478569181184_n After a sizeable crowd had gathered a man dressed as a human Meowscular Chef checked our reservations and brought us in to the cafe area. Huge armor and weapon replicas were featured on the walls, as well as a complete four-player gaming station! I loved the giant Palico looking over our table.

41668504_548254525610841_965204070535004160_n 41717073_255410815314461_8275337901244416000_n 41776438_1920296454945852_5285895158326362112_n 41685461_655020141547312_6410052047181185024_n 41667459_1758023574296218_2922222613495283712_n 41679749_296711457791578_329564063371624448_n 41776916_320544422043248_7580797391188525056_n 41741086_1065172633647160_9039409426401853440_n 41725316_474746689677475_455701287145570304_n 41856499_2022230031132702_2315733863629848576_n 41767631_2071473359831490_100942129571823616_n 41743975_547856715670813_2029155701267365888_nAs for the interior, it was gorgeous! We really felt like we had stepped into the world of Monster Hunter and were ready to settle down for a meal at the Canteen. We admired our coasters and themed candy popcorn as we browsed the menu ordering system by iPad.

41622743_2294585507441322_8028664868439588864_n 41685382_268536297326657_2153842351376695296_n 41704058_331041954138312_2438181023301763072_n 41725421_320172708563578_3773356475817132032_n 41735520_680694872314697_857712815916449792_n 41736279_2164232393816323_3629138792641724416_n 41738516_464717994023312_1647443180074827776_n41681731_252040905450968_7901106933908635648_n
41741223_345808839324775_5076104689024499712_n 41747003_1156448221177705_5224842391487250432_n

"I think there are Grimalkynes nearby, meowster!"

“I think there are Grimalkynes nearby, meowster!”

41772125_524198748005940_3980171387481358336_n 41841704_329778880926372_5733534675893223424_n 41662445_2307153535968603_1188573899281924096_n 41685388_1206142182874766_3413257995289624576_n

We started with drinks- thankfully there was a plentiful “mocktail” menu for me that was just as decorative and fun as the alcohol options! Each drink was whimsically graced with names like “Legiana Chocolate Banana Milk”, “Grimalkyne Maple Latte”, or the one I was so close to getting, the “Malfestio Float” with blue raspberry syrup, vanilla ice cream, and gold flakes!

Josh ordered the “Huntsman Highball” whisky soda, and I got the “Pilot Hare Peach Drink”!

The Huntsman/Sword Master

The Huntsman/Sword Master

The Hunstman Highball!

The Hunstman Highball!

The Pink Pilot Hare...I am still trying to catch this rare pet!

The Pink Pilot Hare…I am still trying to catch this rare pet!

The Pink Hare Peach Drink!

The Pink Hare Peach Drink!

For our main course, Josh got the “Teostra Spicy Katsu Curry”, which was truly spicy and delicious! I got the “Amatsu Cheese Risotto” featuring shrimp and basil with fried rice paper!

The fearsome Elder Dragon Teostra

The fearsome Elder Dragon Teostra

The delicious Teostra Katsu Curry!

The delicious Teostra Katsu Curry!

Amatsu

Amatsu

Tasty Amatsu Cheese Risotto!

Tasty Amatsu Cheese Risotto!

We finished things off with another round of drinks and a split dessert. Josh got the humorous “Paolumu Cassis Cocktail” and I ordered the massive “Deviljho” muscat tea soda (a Mon Hun Bar West exclusive)! Lastly, we enjoyed the “Kirin Parfait”, an electrifying chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream treat.

The "love to hate" Paolumu

The “love to hate” Paolumu

This hilariously adorable Paolumu Cassis Cocktail

This hilariously adorable Paolumu Cassis Cocktail

We laughed for a good three minutes over this!

We laughed for a good three minutes over this!

The big ole Deviljho that I am not looking forward to facing

The big ole Deviljho that I am not looking forward to facing

The massive "Deviljho" soda!

The massive “Deviljho” soda!

Cheers!

Cheers!

The Kirin is one of my favorite monsters

The Kirin is one of my favorite monsters

The "Kirin Parfait" was aptly named!

The “Kirin Parfait” was aptly named!

We couldn’t end the night without scoring some exclusive swag, and score we did! Along with our coasters, we got an awesome “Quest Cleared” keychain and three exclusive Capcom x B-Side Label stickers! We also got stamps on our “Guild Cards” along with a 100 zenny coupon for our next visit (this was a spontaneous special occasion, but we ended up having so much fun we want to go back again!)

41688244_2171561153087369_2597565752122802176_n

We got stamps on our Guild Cards!

We got stamps on our Guild Cards!

41697988_249389739101537_2001038891137630208_n

Overall, it was a memorable, magical night and a precious memory for the two of us before our own little hunter arrives in October. We may not be able to visit again before they close for their limited run, but I highly recommend you experience it at least once in either Osaka or Tokyo if you’re a fan of the series!

Until next time, happy adventuring!

41820809_370302770175303_6775918024542126080_n

An Enchanted Forest Baby Shower

Image

Josh and our beloved friend Kelly recently threw an unforgettable baby shower for me. They had been planning all the details secretly for MONTHS! I felt so loved and cherished, and I definitely cried a lot.

The theme was “Enchanted Forest” (my life theme) and the party was held at one of our favorite burger joints in Nara prefecture.

First we enjoyed a meal with all our friends both local and from the teaching community! I ordered a Bacon Avocado Cheeseburger with fries and an Oreo Milkshake and it did not disappoint. It’s so nice to have a nostalgic taste of American cuisine every now and then. 😉

41390231_234934030529603_2376628124700901376_n
I really enjoyed catching up with some friends that I haven’t seen in a while and sharing some of my unique experiences while expecting in Japan.

41100564_714044478935135_5827329425833721856_n
After food and so many thoughtful presents, a special announcement was made by Kelly! I would be set on an epic quest- not only the quest of motherhood, but a journey to unlock the secret treasure of wisdom from ages past. Kelly held up a large, locked basket in which the aforementioned treasures were sealed.

41052067_1873009996121493_8511034393505038336_n
How cool! I was absolutely giddy at this point. Josh and Kelly had really gone all out with their secret planning. The quest would consist of three portions- first, I must cast “Charm” on the party by singing a lullaby of my choice (they know I love to sing!).

I chose “Moon River”, a song that has been stuck in my head for months now and in turn became a sort of lullaby to my little one. As I was singing, I started thinking too hard about the lyrics and my baby, and I just broke down in tears in front of everyone!! The love I felt was overwhelming and I barely got through the rest of the song, haha.

Singing (and then crying)

Singing (and then crying)

Next I was given a mysteriously heavy box containing an odd device and a little blue flashlight:

cryptexIt was up to me to find the secret code by searching the room to find hidden faerie companions! Some of them were tucked into books or hidden behind shelves.

Searching through books with my shoulders hunched up like a nerd xD I was lost in my element!

Searching through books with my shoulders hunched up like a nerd xD I was lost in my element!

41089686_2038612816159122_4169983060491632640_n

41089018_2186719641609064_449569332272300032_n

I found one! Cue Zelda music- da da da DAAAH!

41210507_2057432737900859_7940336452225728512_n
By the way, Josh MADE these little faeries from origami! Remember the blue light? It revealed a secret code hidden within their wings in invisible ink.

faerie1

37616160_10216560202338907_2432634987867013120_n inkI unscrambled the secret letters supplied by the faeries and input them into the codex…only for it to unlock a tiny key which I could then use to unlock the treasure basket! <3 As you can tell from the pictures, I was too excited.

41039233_449334895576320_6782961105187635200_n

Kelly actually played the real Zelda music this time- haha!

Kelly actually played the real Zelda music this time- haha!

41229772_720448834964962_6362185594444972032_nThe basket included many more wonderful gifts for the baby from Kelly including some unexpected surprises- a postcard from New York and handmade gifts from our much adored, recently-internationally-separated expat friends, Margot and Zane! I was SO elated to hear from them (we met during their time in Japan) and the gifts- a hand knit little owl from Zane, and a lovingly crafted miniature book from Margot- were so fantastic! <3

41129138_2081282355239742_1296189261275463680_n

An adorable baby jinbei from Kelly!

41345262_2164521187120844_3958655014372638720_n 41250445_448402675567791_6630462213964431360_nHowever, there were even more secrets to be revealed! The basket had a false bottom- and underneath that was a fat folder FULL of letters from supportive friends and family members back home and across the states!! I was totally not expecting something like that and I was incredibly touched. Witness my embarrassingly candid shocked face, lol.

41096963_457271788098039_5650477700675010560_n Now I’m here with only one month to go until we meet our little one!

As I said on my Facebook page, If it takes a village to raise a child, then I’m so glad that you’re my village. I love you, Nara friends!

friends

Japan Travels with Josh, Family, and Baby-boo

Image

We recently wrapped up a two-week trip around Tokyo and Kansai with Josh’s parents. They got some cute shots of us that I’ll post here for now. More pictures of our adventures as a group are coming soon.

36281877_10216605423673847_4363862441193373696_n 36322739_10216605290710523_4056827942305529856_n

By the way, we also celebrated our 7 YEAR wedding anniversary during this visit! <3

By the way, we also celebrated our 7 YEAR wedding anniversary during this visit! <3

Bonus: We got to see our best friend Spencer for dinner in Tokyo, as he is now an ALT in Chiba. Now, we have to meet Ethan, who is now an ALT in the Tohoku region. Hopefully we’ll all get to see each other at my baby shower next month!

35425389_10216434647120791_1849852254157275136_o 35412016_10216440342823180_73054391522820096_oHere’s a preview of some of the cultural experiences we got to try together: our friend Akiko helped us partake in a tea ceremony lesson with a seasoned instructor of the practice! Josh and I love matcha, so it was an especially nice time for us.

35423087_10156538563242990_2537582341946081280_n 35474078_10156538563517990_9192325616647536640_n 35412760_10156538563762990_8074295863712677888_n 35477419_10156540907917990_8346963322788118528_oAfter our trip to Tokyo, my Grand Pin Collection is growing! Check out the October birthstone Hello Kitty charm on my pregnancy badge exclusively from Kyoto, pins from the Ghibli Museum, and Kitarazu, Chiba’s mascot character pin, given to me by Spencer! We also got to ride the magically elegant Blue Symphony Limited Express train during our travels, and you best believe I snagged a pin from that as well!

35975610_10156556182487990_6552796809977135104_o

New Maternity Clothes

Image

I did a bit of a mini-photoshoot for fun with Josh to showcase my new maternity clothes from ASOS. They were a perfect fit according to my pre-pregnancy measurements, and they look super cute and stylish! I honestly hate shopping for myself or worrying about clothes, so this was a nice little departure from the norm to treat myself.

In Japan pregnancy is counted in 10 months, so in this picture I am just about 6 months along!

34449077_10156508617627990_2815611049783328768_o

Sweet Sakura Surprises

Image

Just like that, the cherry blossoms are already dissappearing across the country. How bittersweet! Each sakura season I’m reminded a little more about Japanese philosophy. I’m glad we were able to enjoy happy moments among them albeit in such a short time.

Although, one thing I’ll always be able to cherish about cherry blossom season is this: another little bud is blooming this October! Here’s a hint~

29662808_10156348252937990_1551359612354928358_o 29354604_10156348272662990_7581759409821430615_o If you haven’t guessed it, Josh and I are expecting a baby! <3

Here’s some more lovely photos from that day:

29982781_10156355943817990_800231178717423411_o 29744536_10156355943822990_3512659391073289216_o 29665209_10156355943732990_1183205113809068848_o 29749299_10156355943722990_4104400682039875750_o 29983637_10156355943837990_804875226780412784_o 29744624_10156355943727990_149895809291937961_oThere was a sudden gust of wind while we were taking photos, which sent the fragrant cherry blossoms petals swirling around us like a snow globe! It only lasted about a minute, but it was such a magical moment.

That Sunday we enjoyed our local cherry blossom festival, and our neighbors were so happy to see us again! They hadn’t seen us around town in a while, and assumed we had moved back to America. Their celebration upon hearing the news warmed our hearts. They high-fived Josh. Haha. The women in the group assured us that they wanted to help with any troubles we might have during and after pregnancy. I’m happy to gain new mamatomo (mom friends) in addition to the wonderful Akiko-san in my neighborhood!

Now it’s time to look forward to the start of the new school year. 🙂

The Advent of Spring

Image

The cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom! Just yesterday I saw a tinge of color from afar, and as of this morning the branches were already aloft with fluffy pink clouds! The bike ride to work has become even more pleasant than usual as the nearby river is now entirely lined with luminous flowers. I’m looking forward to the community Sakura Matsuri coming up this weekend- last time we were out of town, so we missed catching up with our neighbors and joining in all the festivities!

At home, Josh and I have been having fun with our Nintendo Switch. He’s currently playing through the afterstory of Disgaea 5, while I’m enjoying the relaxing and laidback new-release Sparkle. Sparkle is an evolutionary protozoan type of game where you leisurely eat algae until you grow into new organisms. So far it’s pretty nice.

sparkle

~Good Morning Boujyou~

Image

Yesterday my friend Akiko and I found a new hidden gem in Kashihara – Good Morning Boujyou! We wanted a good place to get brunch, and this nostalgic cafe was definitely it. A morning set plus unlimited drink bar was only 750 yen, but I highly recommend adding on the homemade jam for just 50 yen! We conveniently placed our orders with a vending machine at the entrance, and then chose our breakfast options using a small slip of paper at our table. I decided on buttered “Bambi Toast” with a big side salad, an orange slice, and a hard-boiled egg. Once we were ready, we hit a small buzzer and our orders were placed.

The interior was beautifully traditional with an artistic flair. I didn’t want to disturb other guests with my pictures, but there was a beautiful antique clock display in one corner and several intricate carvings along the wall. English cover songs played softly on the audio system, and tatami mats lined the floors. Despite the ornate decorations, the cafe felt like a very kid-friendly environment and there was an open area in the front for future play equipment as well.

28876389_10156292599292990_372498165_o 28943130_10156292599357990_384457819_o 28946105_10156292599327990_968277025_o

Along with our delicious meals, the drink bar was fantastic. I could choose between several different types of coffee and hot tea as well as orange juice and an herbal beverage. Included in the drink bar was a tasty porridge station with different pickles to add in.
28928757_10156292599297990_183322657_o 28942774_10156292599372990_1993959208_o
After our meal we had the pleasure of talking with the friendly owner, who showed us his some of his antique collection. I was mystified by the treasure trove of beautiful items!

I highly recommend Good Morning Boujyou to any brunchy nostalgia lovers out there. It’s only a short walk from Bojo Station in Kashihara city.

1 2

A Crab Feast for the New Year with Yuta

Image

During the week of the New Year holiday, Josh and I traveled over to Osaka and met our old friend Yuta! If you remember, we first met back in Tennessee so it’s always fun and a little surreal to see each other again in Japan. We had a great time in Dotonburi and we were able to reserve a spot at the coveted Kani Doraku! You remember that scene in Forest Gump where they were listing all the ways in which you could cook shrimp? Well, replace shrimp with crab and you have this gem of a restaurant.

26513985_2022814091324304_1601364959_o
There was an hour and a half wait, but fortunately (and conveniently) they gave us a little slip of paper and told us to return before a certain time to get our table. That gave us free reign to continue exploring and even get a quick hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year) in! We went to a very unique shrine in the heart of the city that I (sadly) don’t remember the name of. The big feature of this place was a huge Oni head coming out of the ground! I stomped my foot a litle when I realized I could have gotten a rare ink signature in my goshuinchou shrine book there too (I left it at home without anticipating a shrine visit).
26513812_2022786347993745_571087268_o 26609788_2022786341327079_2050291269_o 26653269_2022786294660417_1798171980_o 26540786_2022786267993753_337975747_o 26543104_2022786271327086_544216159_o 26653909_2022786254660421_1726744916_o
In no time it seemed we were being seated at the restaurant. The decor was delightfully crab themed without being too over the top. In fact, the whole establishment had quite the elegant air to it. This elegance matched the prices, but in hindsight the food was so delicious it was indeed worth it!
26510966_2022799927992387_877743751_o 26613707_2022799937992386_1529361075_o 26610268_2022800051325708_1992806237_o 26613978_2022800067992373_1873035802_o 26514037_2022800064659040_1665873425_o 26610422_2022814167990963_1019831531_o
We chose our own individual courses and proceeded to be served like kings and queens with dish upon dish of crab delicacies (even hot crab sake!). The meat was sweet, savory, and oh so delectable. We ate and drank to our heart’s content and enjoyed sharing stories about our recent lives. At the end of our meal, we were pleased to recieve a special New Year gift from the restaurant! The ceramic year of the dog ornament (with a little bell inside) was something I was considering purchasing already, so it was perfect for me!
26540301_2022814071324306_28216936_o
After our meal, with stopped by the famous Rikuro’s Cheesecake depot with Yuta to pick up a souvenir cake. I love watching the soft and fluffy cakes arrive fresh from the oven! They looked so delicious.
26540141_2022822137990166_571187557_o 26544009_2022822131323500_490752599_o 26543790_2022822127990167_428110584_o
From there we returned to the station and wished Yuta safe travels home. I’m looking forward to the next time we can meet again!

Congratulations on your recent marriage, Yuta!!