Little Investments

There are so many tiny aspects of life that we have had to research for our move to Japan; some things we have found the answer to and some we'll have to guess at. If it were just Dustin and I moving we would only have to think about little things: will shoes or bras fit, will pants (or any clothes) be long enough, will makeup shades work for me, or can you buy vegemite in Japan? O.K., maybe Dustin hasn't thought about some of these, especially the vegemite, but as long as we bring clothes and shoes with us, we can bypass most of our concerns. However, since we are moving with kids it is a different story.

We will most likely bring a small stock of baby tylenol, children's vitamins, and vitamin D drops because they are small and light to pack and fairly inexpensive in Canada. I just have this feeling that they will be much more expensive in Japan, but I could be pleasantly surprised.

One thing I know for sure is that diapers cost much more in Japan. They are pretty expensive as well in Canada, but more importantly I cringe every time I throw away a little bundle that I know is going to hang around in a landfill for hundreds of years. We had been planning on using cloth with Theo, but with his kidney problems we were advised to use disposable diapers.

William lovin' his green diapers
With William however, we don't have to take any special precautions so we went ahead and invested in all the cloth diapering bits that we will need until he is potty trained. It is a pretty penny to get started, but fortunately there are very few other costs involved (other than washing them). We have been using them for about 3 weeks now and still really like them. I am pretty sure that he does too, if not crying every waking moment is any indication. I am very excited at the amount of money we will save when in Japan, where clothes can actually be hung out to dry for more than 4 months a year without turning into sheets of ice, and I am looking forward to working off the finely honed self loathing at having contributed to so much landfill waste since Theo's birth.

I am sure there will be a few things that I wish we would have thought to bring, but at least clothes and shoes will fit the boys in Japan!


Anonymous said...

Started following your blog...exciting to live vicariously through you guys and remember what it was like to move here for the first time...but obviously you have 2 little bundles that will make your journey all the more adventurous!

In terms of diapers, Japanese diapers (according to my mother-friends) are awesome. Much better than in North America...apparently they have little indicator lines that tell you when the baby needs to be changed.

In regards to the meds you are thinking of bringing over. Definitely bring what you need and what you want...we are in a mid-sized town and I wish (oh how I wish) I had things like Cold FX, Nyquil, Tylenol or even just affordable multi-vitamins at my disposal. You'll get some vitamins, but they will be pricey. All the over the counter stuff (and even some prescription stuff) I've ever tried in Japan seems to have no effect on me (perhaps only a placebo one). Drugs here are notoriously weak...that or North Americans are unnaturally resilient to treatment. Not sure what the drug restrictions are at the airport, but you can fill out a form with your embassy and send it in to be approved so you can bring in something that may not normally be allowed.

Still, between you and I, even if I didn't have the form, I would bring them, especially the stuff you want for your kids...the worst that can happen is that your tylenol will be confiscated at customs (which I am sure happens frequently at the airport as most travelers are unaware of the drug restrictions in Japan). Actually, I have seen tylenol sold here once! So maybe it's opening up :)
I did the form thing for my birth control pills when I came, and I practically had to force them to take the darned thing. They didn't even ask to see the pills.

If you are in Hokkaido, you'll get vegemite for sure...lots of Aussies up there. Most foreign food places in big towns will carry it as well. I still manage to find a nice jar of Nutella whenever I need one :) Make up...if you like The Body Shop, then you are covered. You can order online in Japan if you live in the sticks, or you can make a trip to your prefectural big city at some point and stock up. If you like Mac Make Up though...I'd get it back home. They have a MAC in Tokyo, but the tones seem to cater to the fairer Japanese complexion...a problem for me with my dark Indian skin...but maybe not for you.

Hope this helps!

Laura said...

Thanks for the tips! I am sure that Theo will be glad that we can get our hands on the occasional jar of Nutella. I really hope that we don't get any hassles when we arrive at the airport! After flying for hours and hours with the kids I might not have the best grip on reality.

Is tylenol really restricted? As in straight acetaminophen? I know that anything containing pseudo-ephedrine, or ephedrine is verboten, but I just assumed that unadulterated acetaminophen is ok. Theo will have a pretty hard time in Japan if they confiscate it since any other painkiller could possibly cause his kidney to shut down. What did the doctor say was safe for you to take for pain? I was told only acetaminophen while pregnant and when I had the flu in December it really helped (or at least it was better than nothing).

Hope that everything is going well with your pregnancy; your in the home stretch!

Anonymous said...

I was totally wrong.
Check this out:


Cant' believe it took me this long to figure it out.
My bad. But i'm glad I know now!

Laura said...

Thanks! Great to know. I don't usually take the stuff myself (other than the last 9 months or so), but it is good to know that all the baby tylenol probably won't be swiped from me at the airport!