Pets in Japan

Since being in Japan, i've realised just how limited our pet choices are in Australia. You've basically got your standard cats, dogs, rabbits (only allowed in some states), mice, rats, ferrets, some birds, fish and reptiles (like snakes, turtles and lizards). In Japan, i'm pretty sure you can get any pet you want. I'm not really sure how I feel about this though, especially the tortoises you can get over here (you know, the guys that grow super big and live to over 100!) that will basically outlive it's owner.
Anyway, G loves to check out the random animals whenever we are at the pet store getting treats for Ollie.

Squirrels are obviously not meant to be caged. These guys spend their natural lives running around, jumping up trees and exploring parks.

Weird ass frog

Hamster pile

More hamsters
I know hamsters can be had pretty much everywhere, but it's not something you can get in Australia. They are one of those pets I always knew about from American TV and movies. They're so cute!

We went through the huge complicated process of getting our cat and dog over here to Okinawa with us, and will have to go through the even more restrictive process to get them back to Australia (just thinking about the minimum 10 days quarantine for our pets makes me sad), so no hamsters or other exotic pets for us while we're here because there's no way we can take them home. 

Okinawa bloggers dinner

Since I arrived in Okinawa, I was lucky to be invited to join an Okinawa bloggers group, filled with a bunch of awesome ladies who blog on the island. We have started having a monthly bloggers dinner and last night was the third once i've attended. Even though only four of us could make it, as always it was really fun, full of laughs, and delicious (except for one unfortunate incident involving Elizabeth, and fish disguised as a vegetable....). 

The bloggers! Left to right: Ashley, Elizabeth, myself and Laura. Photo credit to Elizabeth.
We went to Mamma Lella, which is up in the north of Onna on route 58. It's a really lovely little Italian restaurant run by an Italian man and his Japanese wife. They make fresh pasta and bread, and all dishes are made to order, so everything is fresh and delicious!

I opted for the Fresh tagliatelle with ragu sauce, which was really lovely, and wasn't planning on dessert, however when Ashley and Elizabeth let Laura and I try their custard tart, we immediately called the waitress over to order two more pieces. It was amazing! I'm not really a dessert person, but there was no way just one spoonful was going to cut it. I needed my own piece.

Cute little interior

Fresh made tagliatelle with ragu

Torta Nonna - the most delectable custard tart!

Once again it was great to catch up and chat and i'm looking forward to the next one!

If you are looking to read other views on life in Okinawa you can find Laura blogging at Little Island Takara, Elizabeth over at Cheers, Elizabeth and Ashley writes at Forever Fernweh.

Sunday Funday

The last couple of weekends for us have been pretty quiet. We've been been doing chores, rearranging some house stuff and hanging out watching Netflix and reading. Sunday was much of the same, although we did make it out of the house for some nice family time. The weather was perfect, so we headed to Iha park in the morning so G could run out some energy before he had to trudge through the supermarket with us.
Iha park
First time i've seen swings like this
During nap time I popped over to the beach and sat and read under a shady tree while H stayed home during G's nap. I'm loving how the humidity has really disappeared compared to summer, so being outside is actually pleasant, instead of reminiscent of sitting in an oven. I re-read Lena Dunham's Not that Kind of Girl and now for some easy trash, i'm reading Dark Places  by Gillian Flynn, which i'm flying through!

Perfect weather

Perfect water
In the afternoon we decided to take a walk/bike ride down to the market to pick up some bread and just get out of the house one last time. It was so lovely. G is getting really confident on his new bike, and H picked up a couple of tasty beverages of the alcoholic variety for us so we stopped in at the beach on the way home and had a beer, while G got right in the water for a dip. It was a nice reminder for me that we really do have it well over here. I've been missing Melbourne a lot recently, and the lifestyle we had there (occasional child-free date nights, the ability to walk to numerous amazing restaurants,bars,cafes), but it was nice to remember that we now have the opportunity to just walk over to the beach, have a drink and watch the sunset on a Sunday afternoon instead.

Taking the new bike for a spin

Afternoon dip

Green Leaf Cafe Yomitan

As i've mentioned before, i've been dieting to try and get back to my "normal" weight. And by normal, I mean the weight i've been for most of my adult life up until 2 years ago, when I piled on the love weight. Anyway, the diet is working and i've almost reached my goal. Unfortunately, dieting has also meant much less frequent eating out, which is one of my favourite things to do! Luckily, this weekend we decided to finally try out the new Green Leaf cafe in Yomitan. It is joined to the Green Leaf organic grocery store and it's fantastic!

One of the main reasons we wanted to go there was because it is pet friendly. Yep, you can take your dog and sit in the lovely outdoor area. Unfortunately it was a bit windy when we went, but we still had a lovely time.

Really lovely inside

Outdoor seating

Dogs are welcome outside
They have a range of food options, from build your own salads, curry, bagels, quiche and taco rice. A lot of the food is vegan and vegetarian. 
Helen and I shared the vegetable curry and the soy meat taco rice. Both were really wholesome, tasty and healthy! Little G chose the prosciutto bagel, and pretty much just ate the bagel and cream cheese and none of the filling.
They have a great selection of organic wines and beers too, so I tried one of the organic beers, which was delish! All the beers are under ¥500 each too, which is good.

I definitely recommend making the effort to try out the Green Leaf Cafe

Vegetarian curry

Soy meat taco rice

Fresh prosciutto and quinoa bagel

Organic beer

Chocolate gateau

little visitor

I love Hanabi - Fireworks in Japan

Summer in Japan is filled with hanabi (fireworks), however for numerous reasons, we seemed to miss all the fireworks near our place this summer. Either they didn't start until way past G's bedtime and were far away, or we were not in town. Luckily, a couple of weekends ago they have a fireqorks festival at a hotel right near our house, starting at a reasonable time and we were home to see them! It was G's first experience seeing real fireworks (not the kind you buy from the convenience store and do on the beach) and he LOVED it.

Unfortunately all these photos were taken with my iPhone, so the quality isn't great, but you get the idea...

The view from our bedroom deck!

Hiji Falls

Last weekend we were feeling motivated so decided to head up north to Hiji Falls, which is up near Okuma. I have been wanting to do this waterfall hike for a while now and thought it might be too hard with a small child, however after reading about other people who have done this walk with small children, we decided to give it a go.
Basically it was 1.5 kms to the waterfall (and then another 1.5kms back) with A LOT of stairs along the way. For some reason I didn't realise there would be so many stairs, but we're on a health kick lately anyway, so it was all good exercise.
The little guy did great! Even at the point where my legs felt like jelly from all the stairs, he didn't complain. Not once. I was super proud of his effort. He ended up with an ice cream at the end as well deserved reward.

The start of many steps

Cool caterpillar

View from the bridge

So many steps

The falls

We made it!

The long walk back

This bridge wobbled

Cool critter number 2

One the way back, near the end of the walk, we stopped at the creek play area so we could have a splash, cool our feet down and rest. We saw some gorgeous coloured dragonflies and butterflies, as well as some other cool critters, which the little guy loved.
Also a warning to people scared of snakes. I saw a green one about half way to the waterfall. It wasn't a habu though. I wish I had taken a photo but I was too busy trying to keep going so the little guy wouldn't see it and want to pat it or anything.

Cooling off

Enjoying his ice cream reward! Look at that tired face!
After our little hike, we stopped at the cafe at the entrance, which is super cute (and airconditioned!) H and I had a vegetarian indian style curry and the little guy had his chocolate ice cream. They also sold a bunch of organic and environmentally friendly products there like soaps, cleaning products as well as little gifts.

Tokyo Travel with a child Part 3!

Our second full day in Tokyo, we decided to take it easy. The last time we took the little guy on a trip to Kyoto and Osaka, I tried to fit too much into a day, which ended up more exhausting and stressful than it needed to be. This time was much better. Since we were staying in Harajuku, after our Dominique Ansel breakfast we walked up to the Meiji Jingu Shrine, which is right next to JR Harajuku station. There were a heap of weddings happening there, which was great, because I love looking at the brides in their beautiful traditional wedding outfits. We bought a wood block and wrote a family wish and hung it up. It was a lovely time.

After a rest back at the apartment, we decided to head out in search of some mexican food (mostly some frozen margheritas). We found this awesome little place in the back streets of Harajuku called Chiles, and settled in. The frozen strawberry margheritas were exactly the kind of holiday drink we were after, and the food was delish too! Griff loved their kids plate, which had a ham and cheese quesadilla, beans, rice and condiments. It had a great selection of vegetarian options as well!

We ended the day with a lovely dinner with my friend Yuko, who I haven't seen in over a year. All in all, it was such a great trip. And the thing that I love about Tokyo, is no matter how many times I visit, I never ever get bored of it. 

Meiji Jingu Torii

There were many weddings going on this day. This was just one!

We made a family wish and hung it.

I love the old school tools they use to keep the grounds clean.

Mmmmmm Mexican