Category: Family

Personal news about my family.

Chopsticks and Smiles

Here’s a rare picture of Rikuto smiling for the camera, and he has every right to be happy – he’s only 18 months old, but can eat his dinner with chopsticks!

He also said his first English word yesterday… I was hoping for “daddy” or at least “google” (in the hope of striking it rich as the “Google baby”), but no. Rikuto’s first English word was “crash!” – the result of me pushing him around on his Thomas the Tank Engine car and screaming “Crash!” every time we hit something.

Incidentally, his first Japanese word was wan wan (doggy-woggy?) and he’s added korrya! (what the heck!) to his vocabulary, too. I suspect he got that one from his mum!

Poem: A Cute Little Fellow

I while ago my mum wrote a poem about her relationship with the grandson she has only seen via a webcam. In her latest poem, she talks about his antics with phones and fire extinguishers. Very funny stuff…

I love my baby grandson, Ricky.
He’s such a cute little fellow to me.
He lives so far away in Japan,
A strange country across the sea.

Read the rest here

Rikuto Walking (properly) for the First Time

I take Rikuto to the shopping center a lot. It’s close to home, it’s spacious and there are places for Rikuto to play, eat and have a change of underwear. Last week, though, I was pleasantly surprised when he took it upon himself to practice his walking skills…

If you can’t see the video, watch it here on YouTube.

Two Front Teeth

I just heard that my poor dad tripped on the pavement while running for the bus and knocked his two front teeth out. I do hope he gets well soon. In the meantime, here’s a little ditty to cheer him up:

If you can’t view the video, watch it here on YouTube.

Update: My dad’s got a new set of pearly whites, and my mum wrote an entertaining poem about the whole expeirence here: His Pocket Hurts

Chocolate Through the Post

In response to my post about Japanese convenience stores only selling four different chocolate bars (Snickers, Aero, KitKat and Time Out), my mum surprised me by sending one of the best gifts I could have wished for from England…

I particularly like the chocolate fingers! Thanks mum!

P.S. I think I was supposed to share them with Rikuto, but come on, he’s just a baby! For now, I’ll put the chocolate away somewhere safe… munch, munch, munch…

Rikuto at 15 Months [Video]

Here’s a five-minute video of Rikuto at 15 months of age. He’s slowly taking his first steps, but he’s having more fun playing on the grass and slides at Oasis Park, which I’ll talk about more in a future post. If you can’t watch the video, you can find it here on YouTube.

P.S. I’m a bit disappointed with the quality of this video, but I don’t really know what to do about it other than blame YouTube. If you have any tips, I’m all ears.

Children, On Sale!

I recently asked my parents to dig out my birth certificate because I need it to get Rikuto his own British birth certificate. When my mum emailed me to say she found it, I started to reply…”Thanks mum! There aren’t any surprises, are there? I’m not adopted from a small African nation, am I?”

I thought it was funny when I wrote it, but the smile was wiped off my face when I searched for a particular country to put into my joke. Within seconds of my search on Google, I found this:

I can understand “Urgent Need!”, but “Reduced Fee!”? Sounds like they’re selling a product, not a person. So how much do these reduced “items” go for? About $22,000 apparently.

I’m out of my depth on discussions of adoption, and I can’t comment on the reasons for putting a price tag on a child’s head. What I object to is the wording in these “advertisements”. I know there are families out there who don’t have a lot of money yet are keen to adopt, and more power to them, but the language used here just doesn’t feel right at all. πŸ˜•

Rikuto Playing the Keyboard #2

Here’s a quick video of Rikuto at the shopping center playing on the keyboard. If you missed the video of him playing when he was just 4 months old, watch it here. We think he plays like an angel. His music is poetry to our ears! If you can’t see the video, try watching it here on YouTube.


I must tell you that Ricky’s granny wrote a lovely poem about her relationship with Rikuto through a webcam.

Please read her poem and if you like it, click the “I Like It!” button! πŸ˜€

Lamp Smashes on Rikuto’s Head

After staying up late last night to upgrade JapanSoc, I was woken abruptly this morning by a loud smash, a scream, crying, a further scream from my wife, and then the vision of Rikuto’s face covered in blood!

An obstacle course

Rikuto is getting squirmy, and by that I mean he can squeeze through or climb over all kinds of obstacles. I thought we had done a pretty good job of making our living room baby-safe, but clearly not enough. Somehow Ricky managed to squeeze between the sofa and a chair (placed deliberately to block him), then under another chair to reach the far side of the table in the furthest corner of the room.

With me in bed and Mami hanging up the washing – 3 minutes at most – Rikuto had clambered his way across the room, through the various furniture to a cable dangling from the table above him. A strong tug was enough to pull a heavy, glass lamp off the tabletop and send it crashing down onto his head, smashing into fragments all over the floor.

A trip to the hospital

Considering the weight of the lamp, and the number of shards of glass it shattered into, it was quite amazing that Ricky suffered nothing more than two cuts and a big bump. Let’s not underestimate those cuts, though. Both were deep and bled profusely, one on his forehead about an inch and a half long, and another on his cheek.

Fortunately, Mami is a nurse, so she was able to patch the little guy up and I drove them to hospital where Rikuto got some proper treatment, and fortunately, no stitches were necessary.

Reflecting on the day

It’s amazing that the cuts he sustained were in easily treatable places, and what a miracle the glass didn’t get him in the eye.

Parenting is a tough gig, and we’ve learned some valuable lessons today. Let’s hope Rikuto has, too.

Higashiyama Summer Festival 2008

It’s been a long day. Mami was helping set up our neighborhood festival at 8am while I stayed home with Rikuto and nursed my broken toe. Later in the day, Ricky’s grandma and aunt came to look after him while I joined Mami at our “Mitarashi dango” stand where we ended up making 720 sticks of dango. We didn’t get home till after 10pm, both exhausted, but at least we got to wear a happi coat!

Rikuto Plays Peekaboo

Rikuto loves hiding behind things then surprising us. Sometimes he hides behind the curtain, other times he ducks down behind the coffee table than pops his head up with a beaming smile… before he ducks out of view again. Here he is playing peekaboo with his towel.

30 Years of Marriage… Twice!

This week my grandmother is celebrating an astonishing double Pearl anniversary. That’s 30 years of marriage, twice!

Once upon a time

…there was a beautiful young Italian girl named Liliana, who came to England, met a handsome young man called Jack, whom she married and spent the next 30 blissful years with.

What’s better than one pearl? Two pearls!

For most people, that would be enough. Every girl’s dream of marrying the perfect man, living in a nice house and raising an adorable family came true for my grandmother. However, a couple of years after granddad Jack passed away, in swooped another Englishman, ready to win over Liliana’s love, and take his new grandchildren to watch the footy. For that young girl from Senigallia, she got to live life all over again!

Liliana celebrates her double Pearl anniversary. Thirty years with each of her favorite men, Brian (left) and Jack (right).[/caption]

Best wishes from Japan

Mami, myself, and great-grandson, Rikuto, send our best wishes to Liliana and Brian. Congratulations on 30 years together. You’re an inspiration to our generation!

Shaving Heads for Japanese Summertime

Summer in Japan gets extremely hot, with temperatures all but touching 40 degrees in the Aichi and Gifu region. That means it’s time to shave some heads!

Remember these gentlemen?

Well, here’s what mummy did to us!

Rikuto didn’t seem too bothered about his new hairdo, or lack thereof, but for me it was quite a big decision. I’ve had the same hairstyle all my life, and the one big factor stopping me from shaving it off earlier was the infamous “Ramsay bald patch”! If you look closely at the picture, you can see I have a bald patch on the side of my head. It’s about two inches in diameter and looks kind of like a crop circle. I’ve always kept it covered with floppy hair until now.

In the past, I’ve joked about getting a bar code tattooed on my bald patch, but figure it would hurt too much. I did, however, get the courage to shave my hair off and expose my bald patch for the world to see. One reason for that boost of confidence is that my hair has receded so much over the years that it’s blended with the bald bit anyway, and another reason is I have four weeks before I need to go public again. Let’s hope it grows back by then! πŸ™‚

What do you think of our new rough and ready look?

Rikuto’s First Birthday

It’s been a whole year since Mami was whisked off to hospital in an ambulance as Rikuto made a rather dramatic entrance into the world. Boy, they sure grow up fast!

We took the little “Person of Continents” to our local shopping center to have a really cheapskate party in front of the birthday party goods in the toy section.

He then went for a ride in a flashy, red sports car!

After he drove us home, we had a video conferencing party with Granny and Grandad Don Don, and somehow Rikuto managed to blow out the candles on a cake in England!

Blowing out a candle in another continent is one thing, but his grandmother couldn’t get the cake down the telephone line and Rikuto got a bit upset. Fortunately, we had a cake of our own for him.

At the end of the day, our little one-year old was quite content with his first birthday.

For his family on the other side of the world who haven’t been able to watch hime grow up quite as we have, here’s a video compilation of footage from July 2008. It’s quite long, so you might want to make a cup of tea first.

The next year should be very exciting as Ricky learns to walk and talk! Stay tuned for more updates.

Ramsay Ramblings 6/12/2008

Here’s another installment of Ramsay Ramblings so you can keep up with all the exciting happenings in my neck of the woods…

Guns in Japan? Maybe so…

In response to the shocking attack in Akihabara over the weekend, some people were calling for guns to be made legal. I don’t know what the current laws are regarding firearms in Japan, but I was surprised to see this sign at my local lake. I can only assume that some areas do allow gun-hunting, so some people are allowed guns. Just seeing a sign like this gives me the willies. πŸ˜•

No Gun Hunting

Pondering the affect of TV-enabled phones

You know how most new Japanese cell phones play regular TV? Well, I was wondering what affect that might have on society when everybody has a TV-enabled phone. Can you imagine riding on a crowded train where every few minutes, half the passengers burst out in simultaneous laughter? What if you are watching TV on your phone and realize half a dozen people are watching over your shoulder? How about if you go out for drinks with a friend, and they suddenly pull out there phone so you can sit at the bar and watch TV together, or worse, make you wait till their favorite show has finished!

I bought my wife a present!

I recently bought Mami a present. This is quite a rare thing, but she does have to put up with me 24 hours a day now so it’s the least I could do. It’s not particularly romantic, but she was thrilled I got her a hedge trimmer. πŸ˜€

Taking Rikuto around the lake

It’s amazing how many great places there are in my own town that I haven’t been to before. I saw the above sign at Ogase Ike, a big pond in Kakamigahara, when I took Rikuto for a walk. Here are a couple more pictures.

Rikuto at Ogase Pond

This next one was taken on real grass! Yes, we actually found somewhere soft to kick a ball around when Rikuto gets bigger!

A little park with real grass by the pond.

More Rikuto…

Rikuto tried on his new outfit from a relative. Look he’s Pingu!

Rikuto in a Pingu suit

Here’s a video of Rikuto dragging himself along the floor as he improves his crawling skills. Watch him stand up and avoid being electrocuted!

Uninvited guests

We have a few uninvited guests staying at our place at the moment. I usually wouldn’t put up with a bird’s nest outside the front door because of all the poo, but they seem to keep the strange Japanese bugs away so I’m not complaining too much.

Birds Nest

That wraps up this episode of Ramsay Ramblings, but stay tuned for another one sometime!