Just The Two Of Us
My husband and I had the privilege to go away on a quick getaway to Japan last week; just us two. The last time we got away with one another was before having kids. My mother graciously offered to watch our boys (aged 4 and 1.5) while we spent nearly 8 days snowboarding, sightseeing and eating our way through Japan. Was it hard to leave our kids? You bet. I think it was harder particularly for me since my husband is accustomed to traveling for his job. I am the one who is with my kids day in and day out. With my husband’s travel schedule, I solo-parent for approximately 50% of the month. I think because due to this sometimes intense schedule alone with my kids, it was that much more important for me to get away. So while I did miss my kids dearly, I am so glad I went. I came back rested and restored, even after nearly 20 hours of airline travel both ways. One perk of my husband’s frequent business travel is that he has privileges to use most airplane lounges and receive free upgrades on flights, so traveling is as comfortable as it can get. And let’s be honest, traveling without kids is as good as it gets when it comes to ease of travel.
The reason we chose Japan was because my husband’s friends from Australia invited us along an epic snowboarding trip they had been planning for a while. Snowboarding and skiing on the Japanese mountains is like heaven for Aussies who just don’t get the same conditions back home. I haven’t snowboarded since before having kids, so it was an adjustment to get back on the board. I never realized how much my pelvic floor muscles were utilized as I sat down to strap my boots in and got back up again before every run. I’ve become so much more aware of how delicate these muscles are after bearing children, and suffering from any sort of misalignment in this area is a lot of hard work to fix. I avoid crunches and most ab work requiring me to lie down at the gym as these types of exercises can exacerbate diastasis recti, according to my physiotherapist. I have worked long and hard in getting my pelvic floor back to “normal” after having kids, so I tried to take it easy while I was snowboarding. With that said, I am contemplating switching to skiing (which requires no sitting down/getting up before every run). This was the winter sport I started out with as a youngster. In any case, this is something I need to further explore as the kids get older and we begin enjoying winter sports together. We are Canadian (most of us) after all. Also, GO #TeamCanada #Olympics2018!
We left Nagano on the third day of our trip to head to Tokyo for the remainder of our time in Japan. We met up with my husband’s sister who is there as a postdoc fellow, so she showed us around her central neighborhood of Tokyo. My native Japanese friend Sayaka also showed us around as a local. It’s always exciting to see a country with insiders, people who know the best places to eat, shop and hang out. We saw many of the popular tourist sites such as Shibuya, Shinjuku and Harajuku. I had been to Japan twice before as a student so I was keen to see some new sites as well. We drove out to Divercity, on the outskirts of Tokyo where a giant gundam (robot) was on display. My husband enjoyed this site in particular, as well as his foray into race car driving around the streets of Tokyo. And he did it in style, as Yoshi:
I was not particularly keen to drive among the cars and trucks on the busy streets of Tokyo. So before you judge me for not trying this epic experience, please know I was much happier to be a cheerleader on the sidelines with my warm cup of matcha latte. Speaking of matcha, I drank a lot of green tea and sakura (cherry blossom) lattes while in Japan. We were there right at the start of the cherry blossom season, which is like Christmas over there. Everything is branded with cherry blossoms and infused with the taste of sakuras (sort of a sweet, floral taste). To some it might be overkill, but I quite enjoyed it.
I have to admit that my favorite part of the trip was having some downtime and quiet moments sprinkled throughout the week. One of these such moments was getting a much needed trim. There are some pretty unique hairstyles and hair colors one can try in Tokyo, but I was just looking for a quick trim. And I was overdue for a haircut! So when my sister in law mentioned that her salon took walk-in appointments and was priced at around $25.00 CDN (no tips necessary), I decided it was too good to pass up. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to Canadian salons, but paying close to $75 CDN (tip included) for a trim feels hard to justify when all I need is a half inch off. With that said, I do think paying that amount for a completely new style is more than worth it. I have had too many bad hairstyles by novice hairstylists to prove my case.
My husband and I also did manage to spend some time alone in a swanky hotel where we indulged in a traditional Japanese five course meal. We also started our morning in the large spa and steam room, allowing us a few moments of quiet to cherish the time we spent together all week. All in all, this was a trip we won’t be quick to forget.