Pork Cutlet and an Old Town


Those random drives to places I’ve not been yet.

Strolling through a rural, revived Japanese town.  A new book shop and cafe, some tea stores, the feel of a place that should be forgotten, but has somehow been renewed and reconsidered.  Small rivers teeming with fish, tiled roofs, sliding screen doors, cobbled streets, a procession of Porsches, one to nine.

A plate of deep-fried pork cutlet, dripped in miso sauce, surrounded by small dishes: a cabbage salad, miso soup, white rice, devil’s tongue slabs and yuzu sauce, sweet red bean paste of a tofu shape and consistency; watermelon.  Simple.  Delightful. Tasty.  Filling.

The boy slurps noodles, picks at my cutlet, and is fed pumpkin and mushroom tempura.

Later, in a quaint ice cream shop, she eats a crepe with chocolate ice cream, while I have raspberries and rare cheese and vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone.

We buy onions, potatoes, and carrots at a roadside farmers market.  I dodge shoppers. The boy wants to carry the basket.  I resist the urge to argue with him that he’s going to just give it to his mother to carry soon anyways, and why don’t I just carry it for him?

Obviously not going to happen.

I drool at Ducatis and Ninjas, but – aware of the heat and the traffic –  am not so envious. Just a little.  I consider looking at bikes in shops on the way back, but prefer to keep driving.

I walk to the store later.  I get gyoza and lettuce.  I make salad, rice and gyoza.  The boy loves it and offers to share the last one.  I marvel at his ability as a two-year old to consider other peoples feelings.

I appreciate it all.



Child-Rearing Challenges Ep.1

It had been a moderately good day until it came time to leave the toy section of the department store in Hakata.  Ty had has eyes on a small yellow garbage truck.  He started getting frantic.  He wrapped his arms around Yoko, whining about wanting the garbage truck.  Yoko had more stuff to take care of, and turned to walk away.  So there we were, son vs. dad.

Not wanting to set a precedent, I decided to pick him up and take him towards the elevator.  He screamed, cried, moaned, squirmed, and pouted.  I put him, and pulled on my arm to take him back to the toy section.  I picked him up again, walked a few more steps toward the elevator, and put him down.  I tried to listen.  I tried to reason.  But he is only still two years old: 3 in a few months.  He can’t understand the idea of selfishness, and irrationality.

Yoko called, wanting to know the situation.  Meanwhile Ty continued to scream and stamp his feet, while store clerks and customers looked on.  I asked what she would do.  I wanted to be on the same parenting page.  But I already knew she would have bought the truck for him.  It was a battle I had to fight within myself.  If I forcefully carried him away, it would be a nightmare for the next hour.  If I gave in, he would love me, cooperate and do whatever I asked.

OK, so I bought the truck for him.  Afterwards, he cleaned up his room, had a shower with me (which usually is a challenge in itself because he prefers to shower with Yoko), cooperated while I brushed his teeth, and quickly and quietly went to bed.

At the time, there I was, squatting to look him in the eyes, attempting to rationalise with a tired two year old, not wanting to loosen my own rules.  But for what?  He doesn’t get it yet, I don’t think, so why fight it?  As he gets older and more aware, he will learn to listen and assess, and hopefully cooperate and be reasonable.  I guess the positive I came away with in that situation was that I didn’t get angry.  I did my best to remain calm, and attempt to discuss with him what I wanted.  I can only control myself and my reactions.

Like I said, it had been a reasonably good day.

Ty got his haircut.


We had ramen at Ippudo.


I even saw something I had not seen until today.  And those kind of surprise moments are always fun.


Like this diaper disposal unit.  Deposit the soiled diaper in the hole, push the button, and it automatically sucks the diaper into a plastic garbage bag, and gets sucked into the abyss.  No mess, no hassle.  Japanese department stores are always so parent-helpful.

What a day.