Mayuki Update

It’s far too long since I wrote a blog entry in English, so I’ll have to write about Mayuki, or large portions of my audience will never forgive me.

She’s still fine, still cute, and still lovely. Of course.

My Dad was in Japan last weekend, so she had a chance to play with her Grandad. I was working on Saturday, but joined everyone on Sunday, and could see that Mayuki had no problem with Dad. Apparently, she was shy for about two minutes when they first met, and perfectly happy after that. It looks as though doing iChat every week or so has a good effect in terms of her comfort levels.

Today Yuriko took her to look at another possible playgroup. This one is bilingual, English and Japanese, although the teachers are from places like India and the Ivory Coast, so they aren’t putting a great emphasis on standard native pronunciation, which is largely a good thing, I think. Unfortunately, this place is a bit too far away and, because it is in Yokohama and we are not, it is also likely to be too expensive, but it’s a bit more useful information.

After they got home, I played with Mayuki while Yuriko made dinner. Mayuki decided to sit in front of the television and stare at it for a while. We are not encouraging her to watch television, which is why it was switched off. Clearly the war against television is unwinnable; even the off switch does not guarantee victory.

Fortunately, she also showed an interest in playing with her glockenspiel, picking up the sticks (well, one of them) and heading for it, and then playing it quite enthusiastically when I got it out for her. She’s definitely into music; she now has three different toys that play music when you press buttons, one of which is a picture book that Yuriko bought today, and she very much enjoys all of them.

At dinner time, Mayuki did a good job of eating. She ate quite a bit by herself, with her fingers, which is, I think, the first time she’s done that consistently at a proper meal. She eats the baby prawn crackers by herself quite enthusiastically. She even managed to get a spoon full of rice into her mouth with only minimal assistance from Yuriko, but she only managed that once, so obviously there’s still a bit of time to go there.

Towards the end of the meal, she decided she wanted a drink. There was some barley tea in her bottle, which has a drinking spout, and in Yuriko’s glass. I held up the bottle, and Yuriko held up the glass, and Mayuki sat in her chair, looking from one to the other, before finally stretching out to the glass. She’s started making her own decisions.

Right now, I hope she’s deciding to go to sleep.

The US Election

So, the US elections are finally more-or-less over. The American people appear to have given the Democrats larger majorities in the House and Senate, important results that should not be overlooked in the general rejoicing that they have also elected Barack Obama as president.

The first African-American president is of great symbolic importance, and it’s vital not to underestimate the significance of symbols. Furthermore, Americans have voted for what he has offered in his campaign, by a significant margin (at the moment, the New York Times website gives Obama a majority of seven million or so). Obama won Virginia and, apparently, North Carolina (the NYT gives 100% of the vote called, but hasn’t marked it as a Democrat victory, which may just be because they’ve all gone to bed, or may be because there are still technicalities to go through). A black Democrat winning in the South is a major change in the US political landscape.

This is already a significant event, and a positive one.

Can Obama live up to expectations?

Given that he is apparently not God, nor Superman, and rumour has it that there is no magic non-inflationary money pit back in the Obama bus (the money apparently was all donated by ordinary Americans), probably not.

However, in the campaign he has demonstrated that he is inspiring, that he can gather knowledgeable advisers and listen to them, and that he has both stamina and poise. If there is no more to Obama than that, he will be a better president than Bush, and better than McCain looked likely to be. (Although I do think McCain’s concession speech was very good.)

In short, to believe that Obama is likely to be a bad president, you have to believe one of the wacko conspiracy theories.

I hope he’s going to be better than “not bad”, but, let’s face it, even that is a major improvement.

Roll on January 20th.

(Cruel question to ask people who are almost-but-not-fully in touch today: Who is the President of the USA?)

Mayuki’s Modelling Debut (Part II)

Today I was in Shibuya, enjoying a day off by myself, and I just happened to pop in to a large electrical goods shop and wander over to their digital camera section. Fortunately, they did have Mayuki’s album on display with the camera. So, I’ve had a look at it in a shop. I took a couple of photos of the display, to record it for posterity.

In addition, Pentax have put most of the pictures up online. To see the pictures, click on the silver-grey button under the picture of the album. I think you probably need to have Flash working, but that’s not a problem for most people these days.