Wherever I lay my hat..

Wow, time flying by!  I’m definitely not in any sort of routine here, and although I’m surrounded by family, I miss things that I regularly do on my own/in my house/in Japan.  I haven’t been back in the U.K. for two years, so there is definitely a good deal of reverse culture shock and it seems to get more and more noticeable every time I visit.  I think I’m starting to miss more and more things from Japan, where I used to just be happy to be “home”.  So to ease myself back into blogging, I wanted to think of things that I like about the UK and things that I’m missing about Japan.

Things I like about the U.K

My family (of course!!) – I have four sisters, seven nieces and nephews, and my Mum.  My Mum visits us once every one or two years, but I very rarely see the rest of the family unless I am here, so it’s great to see them all.

Back gardens – As I’m typing this, my children are playing in the back garden, with sand in a plastic box and biscuit cutters, space hoppers and little scooters to race around the patio.  I have the door open, so can keep an eye on them but know they are safe playing outside.

The weather – Actually, today I wish it were a little bit (a lot) warmer than 17 degrees, but compared to the sweltering heat of Kanto, as long as it doesn’t rain, I prefer it.

The language – It’s nice to be able to say more than just the bare essentials, and it’s great to actually be able to CHAT to people and have a laugh and a joke.  It feels much less robotic than my usual interactions.

The shops – oh the shops!  Clothes where my size is on the smaller to middle end instead of the large end, and shop assistants that tell me I am too small around my midriff for this particular size (if it weren’t inappropriate I would kiss that one).  Bravissimo with it’s shirts that don’t gape and lovely shop assistants that smile and chat and don’t make me feel like I don’t belong, children’s clothes that are cute but that don’t cost the earth…oh dear..I can’t stop going into shops…And it’s not only clothes shops…things just LOOK better here, funkier, prettier, bolder, better made.

Drugs – No longer having to take Calpol out with me on long trips, because I could just pop into the chemist and buy some off the counter.  Same with adult paracetamol, bonjela, cough mixture, etc. etc.

YoSushi – for a taste of Japan and the rotating belt without actually having to eat any sushi…

Parks – Playgrounds with surfaces such as wood bark, grass and astro turf instead of tarmac and gravel…

Ovens, grills and self-raising flour…

Food – Danish bacon, proper granary/seeded wholewheat bread that costs 140 for a proper sized loaf and that’s the expensive stuff, battered cod..yummm

Light evenings – this is a tricky one that is almost a dislike because it doesn’t get dark until about 9p.m., harder to feel tired early for me AND the children..but it does make the day longer.

Hairdressers – Yes, they have toner, and are not going to charge me the earth for it..and I can explain exactly what I want and know they are not just going to take a millimetre off and have me ask them to cut more about three times..

Things I miss about Japan

My husband (of course) – Although being surrounded by family definitely helps, but when I talk to him online (not really all that often), I miss him.

The childrens bikes – they missed them terribly at first, especially L…who couldn’t really be placated by his scooter, but is getting used to a bike free life

The sun – not to be confused with the heat.  Even if it’s a nice day here, there are often clouds in the sky and it never seems to last the whole day.  Things are brighter when the sun’s out in more ways than one.

Customer Service – Apart from the instances described above, I DO miss Japanese customer service, whether it’s genuine or not.  A lot of staff here don’t give a crap about their job/company, and talk to customers like they’ve just crawled out of the gutter.  SMILE please!

Food – Eating out gets you pretty much the same kind of stuff unless you want to pay a lot more.  Chips and potatoes with everything, my stomach is bloated…I miss sticky rice, tofu, pak choi and mizuna

My Car – Ok, so this is not strictly a Japan thing, but my license is for automatics, and my Mum not only has a manual transmission, but it’s a Volvo estate that would scare me to drive anyway.  I miss not being able to go wherever I want while my Mum’s working.

Nursery – Oh I love my children, but I miss time alone, and I know they miss nursery too.  I hope it’s not too hard for them to go back.

SEWING – My sister has lent me her machine, but it’s hard to get used to a new machine and without any of my things here like shears, seam ripper, elastic, ruler, trimming scissors, interfacing, etc. etc.!

I think that’s about it for now.  I’m off to visit one of my elder sisters near London next week and hubby and MIL are visiting there for five days (minus two days of travel) so I’m pretty excited about all that!  I’ll put some pictures of our adventures this month, we’ve done quite a lot!

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