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Today was an Ikea day for us. Its a bit of an event for us the kids run wild testing out the furniture and getting coo’d at by Japanese people the entire time. My oldest quickly made friends in the store with a pair of little boys that were about his age and very eager to use their English on him. They would run over and blurt out “thank you” then giggle and run away. My oldest seems to shrug off the attention from the adults (I am not sure that I fault him for ignoring them as on days like today he probably had 50+ people come up and pet his hair or tell him hes cute although I do try and prompt him into saying thank you and bye) The bug on the other hand eats it up He just loves all the attention he gets.

Anyway what I was originally meant to post about was the stark difference in seatbelt laws here in Japan. I noticed that they seem not to exist over here. Today while stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the way to Ikea I happened to be behind a minivan with a 6 or 7 year old girl in the back of the van….building a fort in the car! No really she had a blanket she was stretching out like a tent in the back seat wondering from one side of the car to the other to do so and when she got it exactly where she wanted it she climbed inside. Also most Japanese moms that I know will carry their infants on their laps in a vehicle regardless of whether there is a car seat for the baby or not. Also while watching this little girl in the van in front of us build a fort I was passed by several family’s with unbelted children. A couple with children as young as my boys (I couldn’t even imagine what would happen if I let my boys run loose in the car while I drove. My 2 year old would probably immediately jump onto my lap and “help” me drive. With all of this said I have noticed “seatbelt campaign” signs on the highways here. So who knows either people totally disregard the law or maybe buckling up is only a suggestion here in Japan.

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My Friend Theresa took this video while staying in Tokyo

You have to watch this through to the end but I could just not get over this.  When you watch it try to Imagine your local construction workers following the same routine 🙂

The Japanese make everything a team effort I hope this illustrates the mentality a bit for you

I know I have posted about studio ghibli before but I just finished watching a marathon of their films and have fallen in love all over again.  I have always seen Anime as films mainly about fighting and sex not anything that I would ever wish my children to see.  But thats the wonderful about living overseas being surrounded by another culture can open your eyes to things in ways you never imagined.  Ghilbli films are the most heartwarming movies I have ever seen.

I don’t think I have a favorite necessarily but my son loves ”となりのととろ” my neighbor Totoro  you instantly fall in love with the main character Mei chan.

Another one of hayao miyazaki’s films “the grave of the fireflies” is by far the most heart wrenching movie I have ever seen.  I had a hard time watching it through to the end and I think I cried more through this film than I ever have during a movie.  I don’t think I could ever watch this movie a second time but I certaintly do not regret seeing it.

I just finished watching Nausicaa of the valley of the wind which was again a wonderful movie which has a beautiful underlying message and exhibits a very buddhist sentiment of trying to see things with eyes unclouded.

Kikis delivery service is one that is good for small children its fun and magical.

There are just so many and I love them all

I had originally planned on going into great depth but I just realized I have a ton of christmas sewing to do and I am procrastinating on purpose.

ghibli montage

I just stumbled across this etsy shop and fell in love.  It is absolutely perfect for making kits for the neighbors and those people you see every now and then but just do not have the space in your budget to buy elaborate gifts for.  I plan on stashing a few for people that drop by unexpectedly as well.  You can find the shop here Littlebrownpen.

I already grabbed the calender, stationary set, gift tags and rainy day recipe pack all for a grand total of $14 and they can all be printed out as many times as you wish.  I plan on making a bunch of felt ornaments to go along with the gift bags and wallah that takes care of a huge portion of my Christmas list!

Their shop video is adorable as well.