Video of Mayuki

Mayuki is advertising Pentax cameras again. Once again, the videos were taken by Sonoe. Yes, this time it’s videos, because the camera in question has video built in. The video is also embedded in this entry, but the one on the Pentax site seems to be better quality, if a little slow to download and thus a bit choppy on playback. I’m afraid I appear in a few scenes; try not to let it upset you too much. The videos were taken a few weeks ago, so they’re not too far from what Mayuki is like right now.

In the scene with the spoon, when she taps her cheek, she’s using the Baby Sign for “tasty!”. I think she was eating creme caramel at that point, which would explain it.

Say “Please”

We all eat dinner together as a family, although Mayuki shows a variable amount of interest in the food on offer. I wouldn’t say that she’s picky, but what she decides to eat varies from day to day.

Sometimes, she decides that she wants to be fed, and asks Yuriko or me for food. It’s usually me, and not because Yuriko refuses. Very often, she’s asking for more rice. (Of course, other days she leaves half or more of her rice untouched. Babies are predictable and consistent. Why would you think otherwise?) I normally ask her what she wants, so “Do you want some rice?”, for example, and if I’m right she raises her hand and says “hai”, which is Japanese for “yes”. It’s very cute.

Today, I decided to start trying to teach her some manners, so after she’d said she wanted rice, I said “Can you say “please”?”. “Peeee”, said Mayuki. That’s close enough for now. She also said it on further occasions, with a bit of prompting, so maybe she won’t have to rely on being cute to get people to overlook her bad manners after all.

Too Busy

As people have noticed, it’s a very long time since I wrote anything here. I’ve been too busy; as well as teaching and editing, I’ve been keeping Tamao going and writing a Japanese blog entry every day. So this has got squeezed out, sorry.

We’re all fine. Mayuki is still happy and lively, and her first molar has come through. I think her second is on the way; that would certainly explain the times she has been crying for no readily apparent reason. She’s very good at feeding herself with her fingers now, and getting good with the spoon, and still eats just about anything we do. She also has a few words that she uses in context, and clearly understands a lot more, so she seems to be developing right on schedule. She does really like her DVDs, though; we have to make a determined effort to keep her away from them.

Tokyo is having good weather today, and after a few rainy days a week or so ago that’s been fairly constant. Yuriko’s kimono course is going well; they’ve just had their first exam, which she thinks she passed. I have very nearly as many students as I would like, and the number of readers of Tamao seems to be going up, so that’s looking pretty good at the moment.

So, another reason I’ve not posted anything is that not a great deal has happened. Even the erupting volcano only left us with a fine coating of ash on the balcony.


Today we went on a family day trip to Fukagawa, a region of eastern Tokyo in the old working-class areas, the so-called Shitamachi. (Literally, “down town”, but that’s an appallingly bad translation.) The weather was relatively kind to us, and I took quite a few photographs. I even got Yuriko to take some so that we have a few of Mayuki.

We had a really good time, with quite a range of places to visit. However, since I have photographs, this ought to become a diary entry. I’ll add it to the list of things I really have to write up soon.

New Year Holidays

We went to Nagoya on the second, to spend a couple of nights with Yuriko’s parents and brother. Most importantly, of course, Mayuki got time with grandparents, and all those involved seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Mayuki particularly enjoyed the slides in the park on the last day. I have some photographs, so I really need to write a diary entry. However, there are a lot of other things I really need to do as well, so this is a very short entry to keep people informed until I have time to do a proper one. Maybe this week.

End of the Year

I’ve just written an enormous post for my Japanese blog looking back over the year, so this version is likely to be a bit smaller. The Japanese blog does tend to get prioritised over this one, I’m afraid.

So, from a personal perspective, it was a good year. It was our first full year as parents, and we have largely adapted to having a small child in the family. Of course, Mayuki herself is delightful, and her growth this year has, naturally, been amazing. At the beginning of the year she couldn’t even sit up, but now she’s running around the flat, parks, and shopping malls, and imitating us constantly. She can say “bye-bye” and “hai” (Japanese for “yes”), as well as a few other words that are a bit more approximate, including “Daddy”. For some reason, she doesn’t seem to want to say “Mummy”, but when she woke up last night she was very clear that Daddy was not good enough, and that Mummy had to come, so it must just be something about the words.

She enjoys helping Yuriko to clean, getting the extra vacuum cleaner nozzle from the cupboard and so on, although apparently when she tried to help sweep up leaves on the balcony it was not completely effective as a means of tidying them up. She got a new doll for Christmas, with a bottle and nappies, and she plays at looking after her. In other words, she’s being a typical child, which is good.

She also seems happy; she does shout and scream from time to time, but it’s almost always from excitement, and her crying is fairly limited. We are in the halcyon days, with the terrible twos to look forward to.

Work has also gone fairly well. Ice Yearning has not yet been a great success, but that could be said of a lot of novels, so I’m going to be trying again next year. Actually, this year, in the UK and US, jut barely, so watch out for that. Teaching has been going well, with my students almost all continuing their lessons. I still want to recruit a few more, but only a few. Over all, then, work could have been better, but it was good enough.

Of course, looking at the wider world, things have gone less well, with wars from Africa through the Middle East to Georgia and east to Afghanistan, plus continued terrorism across much of the world. People are still not taking environmental problems as seriously as they deserve, and probably won’t until the crises start to hit the developed world as well. But we can still hope.

I can’t do anything on a global scale, so I will have to concentrate on making Mayuki’s local environment as good as possible, to raise her to be able to cope with the larger problems that are bound to surround her. And, of course, ensure that she enjoys the process of growing up.

Getting Better

Mayuki seems to be getting better. Yesterday, she wasn’t at all lively when she woke up, but she quickly perked up, and by the end of the day she was more or less her old self. She refused to eat any of Yuriko’s udon at lunch time, but happily ate my spaghetti, while at dinner she didn’t want to eat anything solid. Maybe she just wasn’t impressed with what was on offer.

She also answered to her name, when called in Japanese. She put her hand up, and said “hai” (“yes”), and then smiled and applauded when we did. She really is right on the verge of starting to talk now.

Mayuki Update

Mayuki still wasn’t lively when she woke up yesterday, so Yuriko took her to the doctor. While there, she (Mayuki) threw up twice more, and the doctor diagnosed her with “vomiting and diarrhoea syndrome”. Well, yes…

Anyway, he also provided treatment guidelines, which do seem to have worked. She hasn’t thrown up again, and she slept through most of the night, and is still asleep now. On the other hand, the guidelines involved strictly limiting the amount that Mayuki drank at any one time, so we had a very complainy Mayuki on several occasions. I tried to explain to her that she couldn’t have more, or she’d be sick, and she didn’t like that, but I don’t think she fully understood.

I’m still not fully recovered, either, being on low appetite and apparently also starting a cold. Fortunately, Yuriko does seem to be basically recovered, so at least there’s one healthy person in the household.