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Category: Children

Book!

Book!

I have two very important things to share with you. First, some of my writing appears in the above anthology, which is available now on Amazon and published by the very nice people at Camphor Press. Second — and of far greater importance — after years of writing/typing under the pen/keyboard name of Muzuhashi, I can reveal for the first time on these pages that my real name is Tom Gibb. Just to set the record straight, I am not,…

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A walk in the woods

A walk in the woods

Before embarking on my cycling-tour-stroke-endurance-test to Sado Island last summer, I decided to build up my stamina with a spot of hiking. On a typically sweltering August afternoon, I parked the car at a michi-no-eki (道の駅 / roadside services), took a precautionary photo of the route – as displayed on a nearby information board – and headed west along a narrow valley road. The footpath I wanted was so well hidden that I walked straight past it the first time,…

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Thoughts on the occasion of Muzuhashi Junior’s first birthday

Thoughts on the occasion of Muzuhashi Junior’s first birthday

I once read an article in which the psyche of a new-born baby was likened to that of someone who is falling in love for the first time in Paris, every single day. In other words, as a baby one has to cope with almost continual sensory and emotional overload: every experience is new, every object is mysterious and every interaction with another human being is potentially revelatory, or ecstatic, or heartbreaking. As M Jr reaches her first birthday, I…

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Glad tidings

Glad tidings

Mrs M is pregnant! Actually she’s been pregnant since late last year, but I’ve waited until well past the antei-ki (安定期 / literally ‘stability time’ – ie. the point at which it’s OK to tell your friends, relatives and readers) before writing a blog post about it. Surprisingly enough – and in the first of what will no doubt be numerous differences between the British and Japanese experience of child rearing – while I would describe Mrs M as beings…

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Preggers pt 2

Preggers pt 2

Mrs M is now seven months’ pregnant (or eight if you count them the Japanese way), and we keep ourselves amused of an evening by watching Muzuhashi Junior on the move. She seems to be most active just after we’ve eaten and just after we’ve gone to bed, and like a cat in a sack, when she kicks her legs or wiggles her arms, little comedy bulges appear in Mrs M’s bump. Late last year, though, when we had only…

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Muzuhashi Junior

Muzuhashi Junior

Mrs M called me at 5.30 on Monday morning to say that she was at the maternity clinic with okah-san. An ultrasound scan the previous Tuesday had shown that M Jr was swimming in a slightly smaller amount of amniotic fluid than she ought to be, and after another scan on Saturday, Mrs M was told that if it reduced any further, she may have to be induced later in the week. In the event, she woke up on Sunday…

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Muzuhashi Jr – Pt.2

Muzuhashi Jr – Pt.2

It has now been three weeks since M Jr was born, and as well as the usual parenting concerns – eg. How do I change a nappy? How do I tell when a bottle of formula has reached the correct temperature? Is it just me or does one of her ears stick out slightly further than the other one? – I have been trying my best to get up to speed with the various traditions and pecularities associated with having…

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Speech 演説

Speech 演説

After much badgering by my teachers, this year I finally decided to have a shot at the prefectural speech contest for non-native speakers of Japanese. Somewhat improbably, I came in second place, although this may have been because a) one of those teachers was on the panel of judges, b) another teacher gave me a lot of help writing my speech, c) I had concocted a fiendishly cunning tactical plan after seeing a Vietnamese friend take part last year, and…

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Poo! うんち!

Poo! うんち!

When you have a baby, all of a sudden poo takes on a much bigger role in your life than it used to. In the days following M Jr’s birth, her nappy filled with a black, tar-like substance, the technical term for which is meconium, and which contains a mixture of (and I quote) ‘intestinal epithelial cells, lanugo, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile and water’. This eventually settled down into something less sticky and with more of a green tinge to…

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