In Japan, it is said that “toshi-no-se,” the year-end, is bound to be busy, as everyone starts acting somehow anxious to finish off things prior to the fresh start of the new year. As mentioned before, the new year is a big deal in this country, and we do everything to make sure the new year to be quiet and special.
This year was no exception for me also, and I was running around like a headless chicken without any time to stop and take a big breath… until we left for our Christmas holidays in the Netherlands to visit my husband’s family. Hesitantly we dropped unfinished errands, hurriedly packed our suitcases, left beautiful & sunny Tokyo, and arrived in the equally beautiful, but quite dark Netherlands yesterday. It is Christmas Eve here in the Netherlands, and things already seemed to have slowed down, and people are starting to relax for the festivity to begin. The sense of rush I was feeling in Japan is nowhere to be seen here. It’s an interesting realisation what a huge difference there is depending on which culture you’re in.
Looking back at the bento photos I didn’t have a chance to upload before our departure, I can vaguely remember how I managed all these bento making during my busy schedule. It’ll resume in the new year, but for now I’m relieved that I won’t have to do it for the next two weeks.
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot more translation assignments. It’s a client driven business, so it’s highly due date sensitive. Because of that, I couldn’t post any of the bento pics last week, working my head off to meet the deadline.
I work freelance from home, primarily because I want to be flexible enough to have ample time with my daughter. She’s the only child, and I don’t want to miss a thing and don’t want to regret at a later stage of my life that I should’ve spent more time with her when it’s too late.
Having said that, I also think having a career is very important for one’s life. It is a great part of who you are, and gives you confidence as well as an independent mindset. Doing freelance was the choice I made, so that I can manage to have both.
The downside is I don’t get paid so well. The rate of freelance translation projects is not something you can brag about. But I take pride in doing this job. I hope one day my little girl will look back at this period of her life and remember her happy time she spent with her mummy, who always gazes at her computer, typing and mumbling something weird.
Menu: Grilled salmon & wakana sprinkle mixed in rice with nori seaweed on top, Steamed broccoli, Steamed carrot & daikon mixed with olive oil, Boiled egg
Last night (Sunday night), my husband and I went out for a dinner organised by his business partner. We asked my parents to come over to our place to babysit our daughter, with an option for them to possibly stay over in case it gets late.
With such an arrangement, of course we take an advantage and stay for a nightcap, but this means going to bed super late on a school night and waking up early for bento as well as breakfast for five people instead of three.
So I did. Woke up early and made bento for our daughter and breakfast for all of us. As I was making bento at our open kitchen my parents looked over my shoulder and admired their granddaughter’s bento. Not because it’s fancy (not at all), but because they haven’t had a hand-made bento for a long time and reminisced its existence. Sensing their wish I packed two extra bento boxes for my parents (forgot to take a photo unfortunately) and left it before I went out for my weekly chore. When I came home my parents had already left, and I was expecting to see those two extra bento boxes taken along with them. But instead, I found one empty bento box in our kitchen sink with a pair of chopsticks clearly used for eating what was in the box.
It must’ve been really good.
I wish I had one more ingredient to add more green to the bento today. I only had garlic chives in my fridge that was green… which ended up in omelet.
Later on I went to a grocery store and replenished my fridge with green ingredients. Only then have I realised it’s actually weekend and there’s no need to make bento for the next 2 days. Well, it happens…
Menu: Garlic chive omelet, Coleslaw salad, Cherry tomato, Grilled Spanish mackerel in saikyo-miso, Rice with sesame sprinkle
Japanese Nashi pear for dessert
Our daughter doesn’t like sausages. As a parent, maybe I should rather be grateful, but sausages are handy for bento, since it’s so easy to prepare (either just boil, lightly fry or microwave it).
She is turning 5 next month, and is getting cleverer and cleverer each day. Today, she claims she “accidentally” dropped the sausage in her bento, and didn’t have to eat it as a result.
I just can’t wait for her to turn to be a teenager.
Menu: Lightly fried sausage, Nira (garlic chives) omelet, Boiled okra, Grilled cod marinated in saikyo-miso, Steamed carrot slices, Rice
Apple bunnies for dessert