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Life in Kyoto | 1st Month



Never in my wildest dreams would have thought that i'll be living here in Japan, especially when a "good" friend of mine *ahem* (you know who you are aunty) constantly reminds me that i was always wailing to her last year that i don't want to trust guys anymore nor have another baby as long as i live. When you are filled with nothing but betrayal, disappointment and sadness no doubt you are going to say those things, so i won't deny that lol but i am learning to put my trust in my husband but still live by the rule of looking out for myself first or else i can't look out for anyone else if i'm emotionally and physically crippled. So thanks for the reminder that i can look back and laugh at myself for behaving that way lol. Will also pray for your prince charming to come, so you can be taitai soon.

This new series which i will put up monthly updates of my life in Kyoto so those who missed my insta stories updates, live streams can always come here for a recap, also a reminder to myself to look back on my life progress thus far. Sometimes we get too tied up chasing the future we often forget to take a step back to reflect of the things that has happened whether the good or the bad that has shaped our current route. 
It's already June and i've stayed here for 3 weeks, time flies by so fast!! Kinda miss my friends and family back in KL, it's one of those things we take for granted (meet ups) because we know they are nearby so we end up not meeting till the very last minute but thank you for the gatherings and sending me off :)
Hope to see you again in Kyoto ya!



Moving to Kyoto


This wasn't a situation where we can just drop everything and leave because there are so many procedures to go through like making sure my insurances are up to date and set on autobilling, debts cleared so i won't get barred from leaving the country, serving my notice before i can officially leave my full time job, handing over the job to the new staff, clearing out my house as my tenancy has ended and i needed to get rid of all the bulky items though most of them went to charity, hopefully they will serve their new owners well and the money will help those in need, making sure i don't have any ongoing bills unsettled like electricity, water, internet and phone.

I somehow couldn't help feeling that everything fell into place because my apartment contract of 2 years ended exactly before i needed to move to Japan, so does my internet contract (usually 2 years).

If i've went anytime sooner i would have been charged a hefty penalty sum for breaking the contract halfway. For that i constantly thank God for the plans he has laid out for me though it was something we were unable to see till the time comes. Still find it hard to believe till today, one of the universe's mysteries.


Welcome greeting from Mother in law, she's so cute πŸ‘΅


ζŒ¨ζ‹ΆγΎγ‚γ‚Š "Aisatsumawari" 


Learned something new about Japan's culture, "aisatsumawari" literally means "courtesy call", if you are new to the area, letting the neighbors know who you are and giving them a small introduction gift is essential for your first impression as Japanese people practice a close knitted community so they look out for each other in case of an emergency (don't get on their bad side lol) and share the community responsibilities like trash rotations, etc. 

For those who asked the most common thing to give as gifts, it's usually foods, like snacks or desserts.

Something people can consume instead of random stuff piling up at home.
That's one of the reasons why foods in Japan come in such nice packaging, as they are meant to be gift ready for any occasion. Some shops even offer customization like printing your names on the packaging to let people know who gave them, useful during parties or weddings.  

We don't usually do this anymore in the city (KL), because everyone minds their own business. It's nice to see how some countries still keep this practice alive, though the younger people might find it abit troublesome to do lol (according to some friends living in Tokyo). If i've known about it sooner would have brought some Malaysian snacks along as gifts instead!
Have to remind myself that the danna is quite old fashioned in some ways due to his upbringing here in a traditional city like Kyoto, have alot to learn from him.

Our kind landlady gave us flowers as a welcome gift, something to brighten the empty house.
Thank you!



Registering in Japan


It was apparently easier for us to register our marriage in Japan, less tedious than getting it done in Malaysia because we have to wait and see if anyone was against the marriage before we can proceed (sounds like an old school rule yo), average about a month needed before the ROM and for some of us where our foreign partners don’t have such luxury of time to stay in Malaysia that long I find the rule kinda redundant also. 
Registering overseas was an eye opening experience for us because what we had as our lead was the information posted on the embassy website (outdated as well sigh) and what I learned from all this whole roller coaster ride of going back and forth between Japan and Malaysia is to have a hell lot of patience because like how a Sloth was used to portray a system in the Zootopia movie (relatable AF), these people just work slow and don’t necessary know everything so it’s best to not have your expectations set high just because it’s “Japan” lol. Government is government, every country is the same.

At least we had a fun time in Tokyo hunting for penguins.

We could only breathe in and out, keep calm and pray that everything goes smoothly (which did, thank God for that!). It was also an expensive experience because of one silly mistake the local Kyoto government office did. Wow, their mistake and we had to fork out extra 30,000Yen (shinkasen to go back and forth just to collect the files they conveniently "forgot") for it and waste one extra day =_= Yes who wouldn’t be pissed? 


I’ll save the whole procedure for a next blogpost (dedicated for those who are planning to marry into a Japanese family) because at this point now, I’ve typed approximately about 1000 words already and to add in this part would make this entry almost like a short novel liao. But if you have any inquiries on this part, don’t hesitate to DM me on Instagram, I’ll try my best to compile all your questions and answer them on my insta stories so everyone can view it.

The only photo of myself taken during ROM, haha! Sad no selfies at all.

Poor thing, super tired danna because we flew in late last night and woke up early for the ROM


After our ROM, we even went for Aoi Matsuri at  Kamigamo Shrine lol life went on like normal, nothing fancy except we later celebrated with some cute wagashi (traditional Japanese dessert) from Lawson. Limited edition rilakkuma designs that costs nearly 500 yen a packet, expensive!




Discovering Amazon Japan Magic


Okay since i've gotten rid almost all of my stuff, i have minimal clothings and other essentials i need like a steam iron, sewing machine and so on. Even my mom was surprised that i still have the passion to sew even after so long, guess she assumed its one of those hobbies that would die off eventually but hey once a designer always a designer, we always need a place to let those creative juices flow or else it will just end up spilling over and wasted. I do miss designing and making clothes, and also it helped me to save alot of money on garments which i can made for less than half the cost (shopping tip: always calculate fabric, labor cost and time factor lol). 



As expected things here are going to cost 3 times more than what we pay back in Malaysia so I was prepared to splurge abit on these one off purchases, managed to get my upgraded sewing machine (can do embroidery words!!), overlock machine, steam iron, rice cooker and a electric jug because boiling water over the stove is tedious. All items were bought from Amazon Japan and if you sign up for the PRIME trial, you can enjoy express shipping (That’s what we did) so our stuff came either the next working day or max 3 days later and their delivery guys are super careful with the package handling because everything arrived in such a pristine condition, I cannot brain because in Malaysia all our parcels are thrown around as a result of dented boxes if not broken contents.

Not paid to promote Amazon Japan ya, just needed to share about it’s awesome and efficient service lol, it’s even cheaper than Rakuten Japan!
Can even select COD option for some items with minimal charge of extra 300yen+, still cheaper compared to international card bank charges, 500yen+!
Usually the courier services would also call before delivering, if you missed them it's easy to also rearrange for another delivery (some cases can done on same day itself). 

And Japan is the only country I know which some courier companies use bicycle to deliver packages, all those piled up packages not heavy ka? And sometimes the woman riders can be seen doing the job! Amazing sial!

My only beef with Amazon was they waste a lot of unnecessary resources on packaging, I understand that it’s to protect the product but it easily can be reduced by just using bubblewrap and a smaller box, the items I ordered especially small ones came in such large boxes (triple the content size wtf). And another baffling one is my sewing machine is already inside a box on its own with Styrofoam, and it came INSIDE of another box (like a russian doll figurine)…was it really necessary? These are one of the many things I question about Japan’s culture, but I’ll save that for another blogpost instead. 

Get this instead!
Tefal Japan should give me sales commission liao haha

For those of you who were asking me about the steam iron and what model I bought it’s Tefal garment steamer (model: 3360), it weighs almost 10kg compared to my old Philips steamer (4kg) but costs almost the same after conversion.
Love the color of it, and I think it’s a voltage issue in Japan (Lower than Malaysia) that’s why all electronic items take time to heat up before usage. But as claimed it heats up within 60 seconds (1 min), easy to use and guarantees wrinkle free clothes in a jiffy without having to set up an ironing board.
Way better than those tiny yet heavy hand held steamers commonly used in Japan but doesn’t even smoothen out a single wrinkle. Don’t get those! Their ads can be deceiving lol, nearly fooled me as well. 

Don't buy this!

Even proven by users that it's useless lol

Steam irons has been my best friend since my days as a visual merchandiser, that’s how all the display clothes look so good on a mannequin! It might take up some space in the room but it still saves you a lot of time especially with flowly and soft fabrics, no risk of burnt marks except your hands if you are not careful so make sure to use the gloves provided as precaution.

Steam iron works very well on almost all clothes except pure linen and cotton, those needs serious pressing for a super smooth finishing. Like what my mom usually does only send the old man’s office shirts for pressing while the rest can be done at home using the steamer.

Irrelevant photo, but need to share my Uniqlo hauls because the aunty in me can't resist sharing good stuff lol, these bras are like the best for maternity because it's super soft and your sensitive pregnancy oppai won't hurt even with the slightest brush of the fabric, Relaco pants are also comfortable and airy, grows with your belly because of the garters and drawstring and during sale it's only 790yen each!

Language (Kanji) Barrier

Many people assume I am fluent in the language but trust me I am just at a basic level, don’t get me started on the kanji readings because I wasn’t Chinese educated during my school days, mandarin language was something picked up during work (no choice) so being able to speak and not being able to read nor write sucks honestly. Not sure how am I going to teach my kid mandarin next time, probably it would be a learning lesson for both of us via flashcards lol!

In Japan I know not everyone is able to read all the Kanji-s as well, but that doesn’t give me any reason to feel any better because I probably still have another 1500 words to memorize before I feel adequate enough sigh, how do some people do it? Any tips?

So far listening has improved, surprises the danna to no end on how my brain works, trust me I’m amazed myself when I caught myself off guard being able to understand without having to translate word by word in English. Guess it takes a while to sink in, hey I didn’t master English and Bahasa Malaysia in one month, took me like 12 years? Whenever someone writes in Kanji I have to tell them to add in the “furigana” on top (sorry!) or better if they can just write it in romanji because my kanji writing is so ugly to copy back
Need to remind myself daily to use what I’ve learned back in Japanese classes; I was prepared for JLPT exams but not for real life experiences yo! Lol.

It’s same case like how majority SJKC students in Malaysia are able to write essays but can barely even converse a single sentence in English without tons of grammatical errors. Finally understood the feeling, welp!

But in general people in Japan are just polite, they won’t laugh at you for your mistakes in fact they are impressed that a foreigner would even want to learn their language, that’s motivating and the only person that laughs at me is the danna =3=

Celaka betul, it’s okay I laugh at his English too.

What I can’t understand most is the Kyoto slang, so hard to catch when my parents and grandfather in law speaks to me T_T
Makes me cry internally every single time, also it takes a lot of courage for me to do family lunches and dinners as I was kinda estranged from my own family for the 7 years I stayed outside and met my mom or siblings on rare occasions. My in laws are really nice people, they’ll try to make sure I feel at home here in Kyoto it’s just me who isn’t used to the idea yet, takes a while for it to sink in.

Found a dairy free soft serve store in Kyoto tower that's worth trying, delicious creamy and guarantee you won't laosai afterwards!

Even approved by JessytheKLChic!



The Danna

Living with a guy for the rest of my life, wondered what was I thinking when I signed those papers, guess nothing? Well..if I am able to put up with tons of weird things then living with another human being shouldn’t be a problem, guess that’s where the word “tolerance” comes to play. I’ve lived alone for a total of 3 years, while the other 4 years was with housemates and I can say that I’m not very fond of other people’s mess and gross habits because I already have to deal with my own mess!

This is another transition for me as well, adapting with another messy human being with another potential one along the way, God please bless me with more time and arms to clean the house, cook and blog. Im grateful at least he helps in the kitchen, in fact he cooks waay better than me and it puts me to shame as a woman who is expected to have decent cooking skills by society lol. Oh well, split responsibilities seems easier at this point then, we take turns to cook and so far he hasn't complained about my dishes though they are really simple ones πŸ˜‚
Always tell him that i married a "chef" not a businessman, seems i'm the one more business minded than him lol.

Our penguin family. Lol.

He has been improving with his English as well, proud of him though they are small achievements which he often looks down on. I found out the best way for him to learn is to constantly give him examples of how the word works in both English and Japanese, that way he understands it completely compared to how the English school teaches by just reading a textbook.

To me textbooks are just basic guides, understanding it is more important than just bluntly memorizing. One must give them various situations for the usages so that they won’t get confused if they were to encounter it near future.

I’m no English teacher but that’s how I learn as well, by understanding and this method was introduced to me by my English teacher back in primary school! Aced English exams every time because of Mr Lim, never once a “B” ✌

Hope that daily practice both of us can improve our language studies or else it would just be me handling lil penguin’s homework next time.


Women's hospital nearby our place, 5 minutes taxi ride.

Maternity Check-ups & Lil Penguin Updates

The penguin obsession is getting out of hand, who can resist such a cute character like Koupen chan wei..i’ve never felt so attached to a stuffed toy ever not even my rilakkuma or Gudetama plushies. And I remember asking the danna a silly question “ why was it given the name koupen chan?” When the answer was staring directly at my face (-_-lll) “ko” means child and “pen” is short form of penguin so koupen = baby penguin lol.  Silly me.

All the loot we got from Akihabara lol, dangerous place wei!

Just look at that penguin cuteness

It’s just too adorable, I don’t know how my own child looks like for now because upon our latest scan at 21 weeks, all we saw was a butt in our faces, smooth move #lilpenguin our first 4D scan was a clear view of your butt printed on high quality photo paper, not your face. But no doubt you have nice slim legs lol with all that kicking and swimming you do in there. 

Nice butt, like a peach πŸ’—

Also we finally got a 90% answer for the gender poll, most people assumed it’s a boy with all that kicking in there with weird prolonged morning sickness and food preferences (fish is life for me now) compared to my first one but turns out it’s going to be a baby girl! Just what both of us wished for, God heard our prayers (Though I’m fine with either just that girls have nicer clothes lol)!
There is still a 10% element of surprise because sometimes it’s too small that they are unable to differentiate between a tiny penis and vagina. So clothes shopping gotta hold for another month, before we can get a 100% answer.

It's 90% a baby girl for now πŸ’

It’s amazing how the local government actually subsidizes our prenatal checkup costs and even offer a lump sum for every child’s delivery to cover the costs. Guess they are in dire need of babies, with such low birth rate nationwide.
I even joked with the danna, it’s like the government begging us “please have more children for the sake of Japan because we are facing extinction!!” lol.

Will share more in this in another blogpost.

If childcare generally wasn’t so expensive and tiring think no one would mind have a child or two. Not sure how Malaysians do it, up to 5- 10 kids!


Citizenship

But now there are some issues we need to get sorted out especially on the citizenship of the child, from all the researching I did it seems that children born in Malaysia and later registered in Japan are able to hold both citizenships till they reach 18, so if we were to enrol lil penguin in a Malaysian school it would be easier was well, less problem for the VISA. However, if the child is born abroad (to a Malaysian mother) and brought back to register it would take up to 2 years to get an answer from JPN and high rate of rejection without any valid reason. But however if the father is Malaysian and mother is foreigner the child has auto Malaysian citizenship, sounds abit sexist here. If anyone has any successful stories to share on this duo visa for children below 18, please do share with me!

Mama Cheesie had both her #cheesiepetite in Malaysia, so there weren’t any problems for her to get duo citizenship for them and I would like to do the same (save costs also and heavenly confinement homes) but might be unable to due to work commitments here in Japan.

Wish things didn’t have to be so complicated as this international birth registration rule was only implied in Malaysia for babies born in 2010 and above, prior to that Malaysian mothers can’t even apply for it so half Malaysians are forced with a foreign citizenship like it or not.

I believe a duo citizenship also acts as a safety net for both the mother and child below the age of 18, in case there are some turns of unfortunate events (choi touchwood!) but we have to be realistic because not everything is a basket of roses.

June rains comes with a lovely surprise, hydrangeas! 

Sigh, not even out yet already causing us so much of headache shame on you lil lady!
Phew, this was a long entry, close to 3000 words, better end here or i won't have anything to write about next month lol.

Also since June is my birthday month, thought that it would be great if i could grow my numbers on Instagram as it's been stagnant for some time now due to Instagram's crappy reach policy :-(
It's really difficult for us to reach out at this rate, many times i just thought of focusing on my blog and abandon Instagram for being so unsupportive of users, only pushing the same famous people on the suggested page which we see every single day, while there are others more interesting and potential accounts which gets buried beneath the pile.

Just scan via Instagram to follow or you can do it on web browser too via this link: @arisa_chow
Thank you for the support :)

Bonus Photo, proud of my penguin packing skills!





XOXO,

CONVERSATION

4 comments :

Lee Tiffany said...

I'm glad to know that you're doing well in Kyoto! All the best & take care Arisa❤ can't wait to see #lilpenguin soon πŸ§πŸ’•

Anis Farhana said...

Good to know you’re settling down well there! I am looking forward to next month update Arisa πŸ’•Take care 😘

Betty Liew said...

Take care Arisa. Till we meet again... You are brave and impress with you.

Unknown said...

Love your entry, Arisa. I enjoyed your instastories so much! Keep them coming 😘

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