An Amazing Balancing Act

Since a couple of weeks ago, Haruka was been climbing on things. It first began with her toys. Instead on playing with them like she should be, she’d would put them on the floor, and either climb on them or stand on them to demonstrate her amazing sense of balance. And it is amazing, considering some babies her age are just learning to walk.

This soon escalated from climbing and or standing on toys to the living room table, then the dining room chair, then the dining room table.   We weren’t quite sure how far she was planning to take this…. until last night.

After dinner last, Haru was running a around the living room in full hyperactive mode as she usually does before her bath time.  She then decided that she wanted climb on the dining room furniture.  But lately,  she has been developing a bad habit of crawling on the table, and she knows we’re not too pleased when she does it.    One thing about Haru is that she always like to be praised for what she does, so she tends not to do things if she isn’t praised.

Qucikly realizing that she wasn’t going to any cheers for crawling on the table, she climbed down, and targeted another piece of furniture to climb.  This time, she set her sights on her high chair.  At first, she struggled for several minutes trying to get foot onto the foot rest to gain leverage.   She didn’t look as if she was going to succeed, so we just let her continue.  But several minutes later, she was able to pull herself up onto the the high chair.   That’s when I rushed to get my digital camera.  I had no idea that she would be able to pull herself up onto the chair, but it’s what she did next that surprised all of us. 

After a few minutes of watching TV from the foot rest of her high chair while holding on to make sure she doesn’t fall, she planted her feet firmly and stood straight up.  Realizing she accomplished something pretty amazing she stuck her arms in the air screamed yattaaa! It was almost like a scene out of Heroes.  But of course, this didn’t satisfiy Haru, she always has to outdo herself and fish for praise and attention.

As if standing on the footrest with no hands wasn’t enough, she attempted her next stunt by crawling up into the seat of the high chair.  In order for her to do this, she needed to step over the support bars which really takes a good sense of balance.  Luckily, her high chair has a pretty low center of gravity or otherwise it would have easily toppled over. 

After she was successful at doing that, there was no telling what she would attempt next.  I din’t want her to get hurt trying so I finally had to pull her away from her high chair, which of course mad her mad.  But I thought it would be best to give her mother a heart attack some other night.

Crawling up onto the living room table

Standing on her toy tricycle and praising herself for a job well done

The video from last night

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No Zoo for You!

This weekend was a three day weekend for me, so we decided that we would take Haruka somewhere.  We thought about going somewhere out of town for change, but figured that the roads would be way too crowded.  So we decided that since Haru has never to zoo before, that we’d take her to the local zoo.

Normally, the drive to the zoo would take no more than 15 to 20 minutes max, but since it was a three day weekend, I anticipated that it would take at least an hour or so.  Boy was I wrong.   About halfway there, we quickly realized that it would take longer than that.  A LOT longer.

The traffic was so bad that it took nearly 30 minutes to get from one traffic light to the next one which are only about 200 meters or less apart.  And while  Haru took her afternoon nap, we slowly crept through traffic, one traffic light at a time, until we finally realized the two-thirds of the way through our trip, that the traffic jam that we had been stuck in for nearly three hours, was actually the line to the entrance of the zoo.  The entrance was in sight, but the line was no longer moving.  I soon came to the realization that even if we do make it to the entrance to the zoo before the entrance gates closes, it would probably take another two hours just to find a parking spot, and it’ll probably be so far away that the walk to the gates would take another 45 minutes or more.

So, at that point we decided just to cut our loses and make a  U-turn.  The return traffic was empty, so it only took 15 minutes to travel the same length that it took 3 hours to travel in the other direction.  On the way back, we pulled into the nearby mall and decided to spend the day there.  The day wasn’t a complete loss; Haru seemed to enjoy the mall.  She played in the fountain with the other kids there and even got a taste of a McDonald’s milk shake.

Haru watching TV…her hair has gotten quite long

standing by the fountain

at the mall

another shot

Trying to dip her shoes into the fountain, which she managed to succeed at doing

Big slurp of a vanilla milk shake

and her milk shake mustache

chewing on a french fry

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I haven’t been able to write as frequently as I like.  I’m on a new project at work that puts me in the Harumi area of Tokyo which is a harbor district away from central Tokyo, so it takes me about an hour and a half or more to commute to and from work.  Ironically,  I am working for Nikko Citigroup again, the company I began my IT career with almost 12 years ago.  I’m also working with some of the people I worked with back then.  It’s been quite fun so far; the people have been quite nice.  As a matter of fact, som of them are throwing a “welcome back” party for me tonight, although I’m not really back per se.

One, and probably the only advantage of the longer commute is that I am able to watch movies on the train on my iPhone during my hour and half commute to Tokyo.  One movie which I’ve been wanting to watch is Ponyo on the cliff by the Sea or Gake no Ue no Ponyo by Hayao Miyazaki, one of my favorite animation directors.  In short, its about a mermaid babynamed Ponyo who wants to become human so she could like with a little boy named Sosuke on a cliff house with his mother Risa.  The whole story is quite familar and definitely takes ques from The Little Mermaid, but I enjoyed it none the less.

But what really made me enjoy the movie so much is that Ponyo reminds me of Haru a little bit.  Despite the wild hairstyle, they don’t look too much alike, maybe a slight bit similar at most, but in some unexplainable way, the character is so much like Haru.

I let Haru watch the movie last night.  She sat through about 30 minutes of it (which is about the average time she could sit still for anything), and she seemed to enjoy watching it.  Perhaps I will let her watch the rest of it this weekend.

Watching TV with her ugly doll, Howard.

trying on her not so new hat

more of the same

A scene from the movie:  Ponyo in human form.

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Off Topic: Hit and Run

On Tuesday evening, on my way home from work, I took the usual course that I always take to go home.  The course takes me down a dark and narrow road with only one very darkly lit  street lamp, that allowed very limited vision.  On top of that, since it was raining a bit the field of view was even more darker than usual.

The dark and narrow road is usually only used by nearby residents, and serves as somewhat of a short cut for local commuters who live in the area.  Other than that, the road is rarely used by non-locals because of its narrowness.  As I was walking home, I walked towards the left side of the road.  In the distance, I heard a motor bike approaching quickly from behind me.  I didn’t bother to look back because local people on motorbikes and scooters use this road quite often, and often drive faster that should be legally allowed.  As the noise from the 2 stroke engine grew closer, I started to move more to my left expecting the bike to pass me on my right.  Just at that moment, BOOM! the bike hits me dead on from behind at about 40km/hr, sending me down to the ground shoulder first to the wet pavement below.

The next thing I knew I was on the ground face down.  I didn’t feel too much pain, but I was in disbelief that this guy could not avoid hitting me.  I heard some scaping sounds as if someone was scaping a metal stick onto asphalt about a meter ahead of me.  I laid there for about 10 seconds or so, expecting the  rider to ask me if I was okay, but all I heard were more scraping sounds.  I finally looked up to notice that the rider had his  scooter on its wheels again, as he was inspecting for damages from the hit to the asphalt.   I felt a surge of anger and rage go through my body at the fact that he was more concerned over the damages to his scooter than about the person he just struck.

Suddenly a mad surge of adrenaline kicked in, propelling me to my feet as if Ihad loaded springs underneath me.  With very little disregard to who this punk was that ran into me, I grabbed him by his coat and lunged a pretty good punch to his face (just as a greeting to let him know of my existence, which he seemed to have forgotten.)  As he turned towards me holding his cheek from from the pain of the punch, I was able to get my very first look at the perpetrator’s face.  And to my surprise, it was a young boy, maybe in his late teens or early 20’s at the most.  But at this point, his age really didn’t concern me.  This guy hit the wrong person, and I was going to let him know of that fact.  My first initial reaction was to beat this guy to a pulp, not for just hitting me, but for showing absolutely no concern that he just hit a human being with a motor vehicle and could have seriously injured me.  In my neighborhood, I am a relatively young guy as most of the neighbors are either at or beyond retirement age.  Had it been them and not me, they could have sustain even more serious injuries or even worse.  

I seriously wanted to hurt this guy, but I had to stand back and think for a moment, especially about my family and my career. The wrong move could end it all for me, and it just wasn’t worth throwing it all away for this snot-nosed brat.  I regained my composure and said, “You had better have a driver’s license”, to which he had no response.   I walked up to him and I repeated, “take out your driver’s license NOW!”.  Still silence.   By this point he was very squeemish and looked as if he wanted to cry.  He adjusted himself on his scooter.  I then realized that he probably didn’t have a license and he was pretty close to being a flight case.  I quickly scanned his attributes and his bike, in case he decided to take off.

I then said “I get it, you don’t have one do you?”, he flinched big time as if I had read his deepest darkest secret from his the darkest corner of his mind. His hand extended towards the keys in the ignition. “You better not run!  You run, and what is now just a traffic accident, will become a felony.”   He finally spoke, “I’m not going to run.” 

By now, I just wanted to get his details so that I knew where to send the cleaning bill for my suit. So I demanded that he give me his phone number and address.  He continued to stare at me like a deer in headlights, obviously very frightened, and made no effort to exchange details. “Look, if you don’t give me your details, I will call the police.  What do you want to do?” I demanded.  He looked troubled, as if he were caught in the middle of an argument over morality between the symbolic devil and angel that sat on his shoulders.   He may have not come to a decision, but I already knew that he was a flight case at this point, and continued to make mental notes about everything I could about him, with the very little time I had left. 

He was about my height, maybe slightly taller and was somewhat heavy set.  He was young, perhaps a student, and had a very weak demeanor and personality.  His face was relatively roundish and had narrow eyes.  He was wearing a black bikers helmet that resembled a batter’s helmet without the ear protection which are commonly used by scooter riders in Japan.

His bike was a white 50cc motor scooter with black trim and a silverish emblem on the front.  On the step (where his feet were) was a clear plastic shopping back.  I couldn’t fully identify the contents other than what looked to be a small tangerine inside, which told me that he went to the local supermaket (as opposed to a convenience store such as 7-11 where they don’t sell tangerines) which should be a good clue as to where he goes shopping.  There are only three supermakets in the immediate area and not all three use clear shopping bags.  I also got his license plate number which I won’t publish here, but the bike is registered in our district so, he probably lives nearby.  All of this info was reported to the Kanagawa police department.  It seems that the police love hit and run accidents because as I was giving my account of the event, three different offiicers vigorously and eagerly took notes using three different laptops, making sure that not a single drop of detail was missed.  The police report wound  up being about 3 pages long and written in the most eloquent Japanese I have ever read. 

After the adrenaline wore off the pain did start to set in abit.  As a requirement for the police report, I had to go to the hospital and get examined.  The bill came to about $400 because it was so late at night and I had to be admitted to the emergency room.  Another hefty bill that will be handed to the perpetrator when they find him.  I also found that he tore my suit pants, so I will need to get a new suit as well.  This suit was relatively cheap, but still cost about $500.

I checked online on what the penalty for hit and run in Japan is.  Normally first time offenders will get released on probation unless they have a history of other similar crimes.   However, hit and run coupled with driving  without a license, carries a 2 year jail sentence plus a fine, and of course any damages.  I feel bad for the kid now, he might have just ruined his life over a really bad decision.


Getting into trouble in the kitchen ….as usual

Trying on my shoes

More of the same

Lounging in the living room

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