CNY, japan, parenting, toddler

Reunion Dinner 2019

It is funny that the 3 of us are having reunion dinner… when we have dinner together every night.

Nonetheless, it is in occasions like these that we need to make extra effort to make these days special because we are away from our families and alone in a foreign land.

Noel probably won’t know why we are having more dishes tonight. He won’t know why is it that he has more screen time today just so I can cook in peace. He won’t realise his pjs are new. He won’t know why we are making him give us oranges or why we are giving him angpaos.

But we know. And we make our own family traditions and memories.

our reunion dinner made up of bak kut teh, tomato sambal prawns with beans and kong bak.

Noel in his new Pjs.

And after he’s gone to bed, the hubby and i tried making our own bak gwa.

which tastes pretty awesome! I didn’t realise how simple and cheap it is to make our own bak gwa!

新年快乐 2019.


17 months old


The little one turned 17 months a few days ago.

Being with him everyday, sometimes i fail to notice the changes that he’s undergoing … until i see an old photo of him and realised he’s no longer a baby, but a toddler with a mind of his own!

Words he can say include

– baaabaaa (sheep)

– no more

– byebye

– hi/hello

– wohwoh (dog)

– maomao (cat)

– apple

– bread

– cheese

– bird

– car

– bearbear

– duck

– dark (he knows these are 2 different words coz he uses them in different context)

– nana (food)

– nen nen (milk)

– ti ti (tv)

– popo

– walk walk

– ballball

– bubble

– drawdraw

– snow

– werwer (flower)

-mama and papa, of course.

He knows how to do simple actions for these songs

– the wheels on the bus

– itsy witsy spider

– twinkle twinkle little star

– baby shark

He has grown more confident in walking by himself now.

He has 4 teeth on the top, and 3 on the bottom.

He can successfully climb down the bed by himself, and everytime he manages to do so, he will turn back n brrrr at me!!!

He laughs easily when we tickle him, or when we catch him about to do something cheeky (such as take off his shoes in the car, or throw his blankets out of his cot, hiding in the wardrobe… etc).

He loves pushing his little cars around the house. And taking the box of crayons to me and telling me he wants to “drawdraw”.

He loves playing with pots and pans and making a mess in the kitchen whenever I cook.

He loves splashing water on me everytime I go in to take him out of the bath after his shower!

He will lie down to allow me to wear his diapers, but as soon as it is worn, he will scramble away as fast as possible, so that putting on clothes for him is like a cat and mouse game!

He loves going to parks and playgrounds, and up and down the slides, catching bubbles, stomping on dried leaves, climbing up and down the stairs, kicking a ball.

He understands instructions and follow them (mostly).

Sometimes, he praises himself by clapping for himself when he manages to do something well, or he will nod his head, or do a “yes” fist action.

Watching him grow and learn new things is really one of the reasons I enjoy being a SAHM. Recently, he has learnt to point out his nose and mouth and even saying the words. Funny thing is, he’d just do it randomly as he’s playing, as if he’s practicing how to say it correctly.


Noel and Teddy

Teddy arrived as part of a diaper cake for Noel’s one month birthday. It was ordered by his aunt aka my sister.

Noel didn’t take to Teddy much when he was younger, though his papa would use Teddy to play with him, especially to show him kungfu moves, so Teddy was nicknamed Kungfu Teddy (like Kungfu Panda).

Gradually, Teddy has become Noel’s favourite napping friend. It has a distinct smell…. pleasant or not really depends on how you decide… and the way Noel hugs Teddy is oh so adorable!!

japan, parenting, toddler, Travel, Uncategorized

Osaka, Nara & Kyoto (Part 4)

Day 7: Kyoto – Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto Train Museum

It was snowing when we arrived at Arashiyama, and Noel was having his nap, so we waited in the car til he woke up, just in time for lunch (an Udon place just next to the entrance of the Bamboo grove). Thereafter, we headed to the Bamboo Grove. There were really a LOT of tourists. We walked a short distance and decided that we won’t finish the whole trail (if that’s even possible), and turned out to walk along the street instead, where there were many interesting souvenir and specialist stores.

As we had time still after our visit to Arashiyama and were feeling really cold, we skipped the original plan of going to see the monkeys and checking out the scenic train ride, and thought we could check out another place on our “to-visit” list – the train museum.

It was really quite fun seeing all the different trains and looking around the exhibits. Noel had tons of fun pressing the different buttons and climbing up and down, and looking at the big wheels, etc. The greatest highlight was watching the steam train “park” back into its lot! It was most unfortunate that we missed the last ride at 4pm! (The hubby says we can try it the next time we visit Kyoto!) Noel was fascinated as the train choochoo-ed ..and honestly, so were we!


Day 8: Kyoto to HOME!

On the 8th day, we packed up our stuff and headed home!  Back to the snowy mountains!

I think we had a great holiday together. Noel got to experience a lot of different things, and we got to see other parts of Japan while we are here. Though it was tiring at times, the memories would last a lifetime.


and phew… i’m done with our holiday posts!!!



Osaka, Nara & Kyoto (Part 3)

Day 5: Osaka to Nara to Kyoto, Four Sisters Residence Kyoto

After checking out of the hotel (in which we had to pay a shocking amount of parking fees!), we made our way to Nara, famous for their deers.  We found a place for a simple lunch and went about feeding/ petting/saying hi to the deers. Note …. perhaps it may be a good idea NOT to buy the food because these deers can be really aggressive! It was somewhat amusing watching tourists run and jump around as the deers chased and headbutted them. As for us, we bought 1 bundle of biscuits, and when I saw the deers targetting us the moment we walked out of the shop,  I VERY QUICKLY snatched the baby over from my hubby’s hands and shoved them all to him!


After spending time at Nara, we headed to Kyoto and found our way to our apartment/hotel – Four Sisters Residence Kyoto. Prior to our trip, the hubby and I spent hours researching and trying to decide which hotel would best suit our needs in terms of space, location, carpark availability. I’m glad we finally decided on Four Sisters because it was really value-for-money (there was a festive deal), and it was like paying hotel rates for a 2 bedroom apartment ! A clean, spacious, well-equipped and stylishly designed apartment with a full kitchen, bath, everything you need … and they even had a reception area where we could have coffee anytime, and freshly baked pastries in the morning.  We could watch TV together in the living room after the baby sleeps, and most amazingly, for the first time since we’ve been to Japan, I could actually SUN my clothes!

Day 6: Kyoto – Nishiki Market, Gion District

We headed to Nishiki Market and had some local snacks. Its not unlike the other markets we’ve been to, but this felt more local and less touristy.  The lanes are pretty narrow and I had to be cautious that Noel’s legs don’t get caught anywhere while he’s swinging them in the carrier.  We had lunch at a totally obscure random restaurant that only had 3 items on the menu because the little one was fussing already.  Food was nothing to rave about.

We then drove to Gion, where we walked along the old streets, had some lovely green tea snacks at Tsujiri Tea House (Noel had a whole scoop of vanilla ice cream and a green tea biscuit all by himself!) and ventured into a park behind Yasak-Jinja shrine. Noel had a lovely time wandering around and chasing pigeons. I think the most beautiful memories are made of little moments like these.

food, parenting, feeding, japan, parenting, toddler, Travel, Uncategorized

Osaka, Nara & Kyoto (Part 2)

Day 3: Osaka – Kuromon Market, Dotonburi, Hotel Keihan Universal City

After checking out of Dormy Inn, we headed towards the Dotonburi area earlier in the day. The hubby found parking next to Kuromon Market where we strolled along and had some food, which included grilled scallops, beef skewers, and of course the famous takoyaki balls … we bought some really expensive fruits (rock melon and honey dew) for the little one, who wasn’t interested after 1 or 2 bites….

Then we walked across to Dotonburi and had MORE takoyaki balls and jostled with the crowds. I went to look for the Lobster rolls… YUMMMYYYY! and some bubble tea. We had wanted to find Gong Cha in Osaka, but unfortunately we didn’t make it because there were only 2 outlets there. Of course, we also had to take a picture with the Glico man!

We then headed to our next hotel at Hotel Keihan Universal City, located just next to Universal Studios Japan, where we’d be spending the night, so that we can head to USJ early the next day.

We chose a triple room as we had initially not intended to bring his cot and thought that it was necessary for him to have his own bed. But we decided to bring his cot in the end, so it ended up that the hubby and i had 3 beds (2 single 1 double) to roll around in. How luxurious! The hotel is located right on Universal Studios Walk. Right downstairs we had a convenience shop, Macs, Mos burger, restaurants, the famous 551 Horai bao shop, popcorn papa (really yummy and so many variety of popcorn!) and many other shops. The downside however, is that the hotel uses central heating/cooling. So, in winter, u can only choose low, medium or high heating, and we didn’t need any because the room was already pretty warm and stuffy. Whenever possible, we opened the window to let in a bit of cool air, but we had to close it when Noel sleeps because it can get pretty noisy as we could hear the screams of the people on the roller coasters!

As it was Christmas eve, we opted to have something nice and different for our christmas eve dinner, and we ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., a Forest Gump theme restaurant. The shrimps were really yummy, but so expensive! We had to dabao siew mai for supper after that!


Day 4: Osaka – Universal Studios Japan

We bought the tickets from the hotel, and headed there when we were finally ready. We brought along our stroller and he sat in it for the first…. 30mins perhaps, and it ended up being a trolley to put our jackets and bags.

At USJ, Noel has a newfound love for Snoopy which he lovingly calls WOHWOH..and points it out whenever he sees it…on someone’s head, or when someone who is carrying it walks past, or when we actually saw the Snoopy mascot! Unfortunately, one negative thing about USJ is that they don’t allow us to queue for photo taking with the mascots which lead to much chaos. Everyone just crowding around and trying to cut in as soon as the previous person steps away. After a while, it gets annoying because when we try to be polite, our opportunity is gone and then before we know it, the mascot is whisked away! 😦 So, we only managed to take a few with the not-so-popular characters.

Because Noel didn’t meet the height requirements for many of the rides (though I wonder even if he did, would he have went for the rides and sat by himself?), we mainly walked along the streets and managed to ride on the carousel and catch a magic show at the Harry Potter area. Noel had a blast in the sesame street zone which was age appropriate for him, which included a ball pit, some big blocks and big balloons. He took a nap in the carrier and woke up in time to catch the Minions show ( it was in Japanese!) but because we were right in front, one of them kept coming to wave hi to Noel!

And we ended the day having Macs in the room – picnic style – on our huge beds.





japan, parenting, toddler, Travel

Osaka, Nara & Kyoto

With the hubby having a 2 week school holiday, we decided to do a road trip to Osaka, and stop by Nara and Kyoto on the way back.

Day 1: Hakusan to Osaka

Google Maps indicated that we’d take about 4 hrs by car to reach Osaka from our home. My parents took 5 hours by bus via Kanazawa Station the last time they were here. We, however, took 6 hrs to reach there. We left home about 10am after breakfast at home, stopped at a pit stop for lunch, another for diaper check, and only reached our hotel at about 4pm. Lesson learnt: Always allow for substantial delays when travelling with a toddler. Nonetheless, I think we did alright considering the journey.

Our hotel, Dormy Inn Premium Osaka Kitahama, was a perfect choice for us. There were 3 parking lots on site, and we were fortunate to have had one to park our car during our stay. The room was really spacious. There was even a sofa in the room, and sufficient space to put Noel’s cot. There was a sliding door separating the room from the entrance area which comprises the toilet/sink/kettle/cupboard/bar fridge, etc…and this came in VERY useful as we continued our night routine of putting Noel into his cot in the room himself, as we hid behind that door (or I would go to the free onsen upstairs which was totally awesome coz it was mostly empty!) while he drift off to sleep. Both nights, we had supper sitting in that small entryway. Romantic much.


Since it was already 4pm  when we arrived, I found out that there was something called the Hikari Renaissance just across the river, walking distance from the hotel. It was part of their Festival of Lights, and there were also lots of stalls selling food there. But my, was it crowded! Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of the Wall Tapestry Lighting Show, but we were not really impressed by it, considering we had seen similar ones back in Singapore, especially during National Day with the lighting shows projected on Fullerton Building, so we kept walking towards the Illumination Street where trees are strung with lights and christmas music played along the street as we jostled with the crowds. We couldn’t find anything suitable for dinner that Noel could eat, so we left, and ended up at MOS burger for dinner on the way back to the hotel.

Day 2: Osaka – Kids Plaza Osaka, German Christmas Market & Ikea

Having read about Kids Plaza Osaka on someone’s blog, we decided to check it out. It’s basically like a HUGE play learning area for children…a bit like our Singapore science centre with a big playground. It costs 1400 yen for adults, but it was free for Noel as he is under 3. There are many interesting areas in the kids plaza, but perhaps it would have been better for older children. Nonetheless, Noel loved the fish exhibits, and especially the bubble and ball stations. We went across the road to grab some onigiri from the convenience shop and went to the park behind the plaza for a picnic. It’s a good thing Noel loves onigiri, so eating on the go, anywhere is a breeze. And he especially loves picnics.

One of the main reasons for heading to Osaka was to catch the German Christmas Market which was held at the Umeda Sky Building. Having been to the German Christmas markets in Germany itself for our honeymoon, we loved the whole christmasy feel of the bustling cheer of these christmas markets selling sausages and mulled wine and christmas ornaments. Of course we didn’t think we’d get the same vibes here in Japan, but it was pretty awesome nonetheless. As per tradition, we bought a drink (a totally delicious cup of hot chocolate!) and took back a souvenir mug to add to our collection of mugs from the christmas markets we’ve been to!

We had wanted to head to Dotonburi after that, but the traffic jam around the area was insane. We were stuck there for about an hour, just circling the place trying to find a parking lot, and we decided to give up in the end, and headed to the next place of interest – IKEA! Oh, how we missed Ikea, as there isn’t an outlet near where we stay.

Coincidentally, there was a Christmas buffet that day, and we decided to go for it – meatballs, salmon, ribs, pasta, roast beef, ham, corn soup… oh how we stuffed ourselves! The little one enjoyed his meal of tomato rice and pasta and steamed salmon and chips too! And he snagged himself a panda soft toy. And we definitely had to have an Ikea ice cream cone to end the day!


Part 2:

Day 3: Osaka – Kuromon Market, Dotonburi, Hotel Keihan Universal City

Day 4: Osaka – Universal Studios Japan

Part 3:

Day 5: Osaka to Nara to Kyoto, Four Sisters Residence Kyoto

Day 6: Kyoto – Nishiki Market, Gion District

Part 4:

Day 7: Kyoto – Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto Train Museum

Day 8: Kyoto to HOME!