Yokohama Photo Blog


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Panda Mom is traveling again!  First stop is Japan. Here’s a billboard I saw just as I came out of customs at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo: Upon checking in at the hotel, I saw this courtesy notice in the … Continue reading

The Forgotten Suitcase

At the church in Tokyo where I sang yesterday. And yes, Josh is photo-bombing.

This current trip to Japan reminded me of the time David and I took Josh to Japan with us when he was about 6 months old, and we accidentally left his suitcase at home.  Yes, we flat out forgot the huge suitcase stuffed with all his earthly belongings on his very first travel overseas.  This little baby, who at the time weighed no more than 15 pounds, had a suitcase weighing more than 50 pounds.  You already know about my penchant for covering all my possible eventualities (see my previous post on the diaper bag), so you can bet that it was stuffed full.  His suitcase was bigger than mine and David’s combined.

How could this happen, you ask? I recall that my dad gave us a ride that day, and in the chaos of all three of us loading up the trunk, we each assumed that the other had grabbed Josh’s luggage.  We discovered the ghastly mistake upon arrival at LAX, but by then it was too late to go back to retrieve it, so my dad scurried off avoiding any further responsibility.

This sign has nothing to do with the post but was amusing nonetheless.

Can you imagine, a new mom without her baby’s diapers, clothes, bottles, socks, formulas, and toys?  My knees got weak and I began convulsing.  Okay, slight exaggeration there, but you can bet that I was beside myself.

Fortunately, we called up some good friends who agreed to break into our house and drive the forgotten suitcase all the way up to LAX (thank you, Walt and Sherry!), so we were able to eventually get the bag and not miss our flight.  The bad news was that due to the delay, the luggage didn’t quite make it on our flight and was put on the next flight…the next day.

United was kind enough to deliver the bag to us in Japan, but the delivery service didn’t occur for yet another day after the bag’s arrival.  Bottom line: we were without Josh’s suitcase for 48 HOURS in Japan!  Two days without the bag filled with a year’s worth of his stuff (did I tell you the trip was only about a week and a half long?).  The horror.

If all else fails...

Okay, so here’s where being a pack rat comes in handy: We were not completely left out in the cold, because I had my (you guessed it) diaper bag!  The carry-on diaper bag probably had enough stuff to last the entire duration of our trip, so it was definitely sufficient for the two nerve-wracking days.

And guess what — they sell diapers in Japan!  Japanese babies poop and pee just like their comrades in the States.  Gee, what a revelation.  In fact, their high-tech diapers are superior in many aspects than the Huggies at home.  They keep the babies drier, and lucky for us, they seem to fit Asian baby buns more snugly.

And the Japanese jars of baby food?  The best, and in such good Asian flavors!  We also found some baby crackers that I ended up liking so much that we stocked up on them before going home.  For me.

Japan certainly isn’t third world!

This was yet another lesson in making me more Panda than Tiger.  You see, we might think that what’s familiar is the one and only way, but when we step out a bit we just might find a whole new world out there.

And it just might be even better.

Me and Meg (you'll hear more about her later) on our way to Shinjuku.

Ever been surprised by a whole new experience?  Thought you had it all figured out only to learn that something might be even better?  Share it with us in the comments below.


Panda Mom in Japan

Panda Mom is traveling abroad in Japan right now, so you might not see regular posts from her (er, me) for the next couple of weeks.  I have a few concerts to do, but mostly we’ll be spending time visiting friends and relatives, including my best friend from first grade in Osaka, Yukako. I’m completely jet-lagged as I write this, so please forgive me if I sound incoherent.

First Class trip to Japan!

Oh, can I tell you that we got very fortunate and were bumped up to first class on Delta?  What a blessing and a great way to start our two-week stay in Japan!  The kids, ages 11 and 13, were almost as excited as I was to find our fully-reclining seats in row 6.  I had only admired such seats from behind the curtain all these years, and now I was actually sitting in one of them!  It was a red-eye flight. My kids, ever the optimists, asked me to wake them up for the meals after they took a “little nap.”  As you can imagine, they then promptly went to sleep and missed both of their first class meals.  That’s the downside of those comfy seats in the front of the planes — you might not wake up in time to enjoy the fine china dinner.

We’ve been on the go all day today, taking this train and that while rolling our suitcases along to our destination, the home of our friends Daniel and Yumiko outside Tokyo.  I was reminded of when Josh and Meg were in strollers, and how much work it was for me and David to travel with little ones.  In fact, we just gave up on travels to Japan for many years.  Why go all that way to torture ourselves?  Now, not only are they no longer extra baggage for us to handle but they are actually being very helpful.  In the years past, I would never have considered traveling to Japan with two kids without David.  Now?  They’re keeping me company and handling their own bags.  I am definitely reaping the rewards of the hard work I put into the early years.

If you’re right in the middle of the busy days of babies and toddlers and are struggling just to make it through each day, trust me when I say this: it is just a season.  And it will pass.  Some wonderful days with your kids are ahead.  Who knows — it might even include first-class travels!

Do your kids travel well?  Do you have any traveling horror or success stories?  Please share them with us in the comments below.