Tagged: Rikuto

Ramsay Ramblings 2009-08-02

Renewing my visa

After being told it was too late to apply for permanent residency a few months ago, I recently tried to apply for a renewal of my spouse visa. Typical of me, I didn’t take half the documentation I needed so was sent home with instructions to gather the rest. Surprisingly, this time I was told to submit both my spouse and permanent residency applications together so I’m filling out all the forms, including a “please let me stay” letter to the Ministry of Justice and a hand-drawn map to my house (real maps aren’t acceptable!).

Upcoming nose operation

Breathing through my nose has become increasingly difficult over the last couple of years and finally the doctor recommended an operation instead of sending me away with more ineffective medicine. Such operations run in my family, so it doesn’t come as a surprise. No details yet, but I’m having an X-ray this week and will find out more then.

New project, Hotaru CMS

I was a huge contributor to Social Web CMS, the platform that runs JapanSoc.com, but have decided to build my own system instead of constantly modifying something I’ve never been altogether happy with. My new project is Hotaru CMS, which means “Firefly” Content Management System. It’s still early, but I expect it will quickly catch up with the likes of Pligg and offer a far more flexible plugin and theme system (more akin to WordPress). I’m currently looking for people interested in helping out, so let me know if that’s you.

Rikuto to start nursery school

Ricky starts nursery school next week. For four days a week, he’ll join about seven other children in the nursery school at my wife’s hospital. It’s set up especially for hospital employees and the staff there seem very nice indeed. The children are from 1 to 3 years old (Ricky just turned 2) and they look like a lovely bunch of friends for our son. Incidentally, they are having a dads-only event in late August. Should be interesting!

My broken toe

Remember my broken big toe? Well it’s been a whole year since I broke it and I have a new nail replacing the old one. That means the old nail is yellow and kind of hanging off and it looks really gross.


That wraps up this edition of Ramsay Ramblings, the first post on this lovely new WordPress theme I’m using called Cleanr. Big text for my bad eyes!

Rikuto’s First Time at the Beach

I can’t believe it’s been two months since I last posted on the Long Countdown. I even missed the last Japan Blog Matsuri about Favorite Places in Japan, which was a shame because this place would certainly qualify:

A beach in Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture

This is one of many beautiful, sandy beaches at the foot of Shizuoka prefecture’s Izu Peninsula. We went down there in Golden Week, and it was Rikuto’s first time ever to see the sea and play in the sand.

About to enter the water

Ricky wasn’t scared at all of the crashing waves… in fact, he quite enjoyed splashing around in the water.

Rikuto plays in the sea for the first time

You can tell by his trousers in the last part of the video below that he got wet to the waist when he inevitably fell on his bum as one wave caught him by surprise.

We had a great time, thanks to the beautiful weather and wonderful hosts at EigoHomestay.com.

If you’re wondering where I’ve been for the last two months, I’ve actually been very active on the net, most recently blogging on the JapanSoc blog and BloggerTools.net. I’ve also racked up over a thousand posts on Twitter if you’d like to follow me there.

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.

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.

Suitopia in Konan City

Three times a week, when Mami goes to her part-time job, I watch over Rikuto. Now, I know our 1-year-old son would be quite happy to watch YouTube all day, but that’s not going to happen. Instead, I try to take him to some of the sightseeing places around town. We’ve already done a lot in Kakamigahara, so today we headed south and crossed into Aichi prefecture where we would take in the view from the Suitopia Skyroom in Konan City.

Excuse the blurry picture. it was hard to take with Rikuto squirming in my arms, trying to grab the camera! But look at what a gorgeous day we had! It was 27 degrees in October!

Suitopia is right on the bank of the Kiso river that runs between Gifu and Aichi prefectures. According to the Konan City website

The place opened in September 30, 1994, as a multiple-purpose facility to promote gathering, contact, and exchange among the citizens. This is a part of the city project to create a hometown in harmony with water and green. In the facility, there are lodging, which can accommodate 80 guests, a seminar room, a exhibition center, an observatory tower, a tennis court, a square, and so on.

As wonderful as that sounds, there wasn’t much for an Englishman and a baby other than the observation deck at the top of the tower. For a measly 210 yen, we took the elevator up, past the window washers, who you can see in the photo above, and to the “Skyroom”.

Looking south, you can see Nagoya, but looking north across the river into Gifu prefecture is a bit less “concrete”…

Like any observation deck, you walk around for a few minutes and that’s about it. We were lucky we had such clear views, but I’m not so sure Rikuto was all that interested…

Kakamigahara Aerospace Museum

Rather than sit in front of the TV all day while keeping an eye on Rikuto, I decided to take him to the Kakamigahara Aerospace museum instead.

Kakamigahara is home to the Gifu Self-Defense Force Air Base and the Kawasaki Aerospace Division, so perhaps to make up for the noise of fighter jets flying overhead, the public are treated to a museum dedicated to flying machines.

The museum was better than I expected. While most of the focus is on Japanese planes, designers from Kakamigahara, and products of Kawasaki, there are also displays about man’s early attempts at flying, rockets, helicopters, more rockets, space stations and Jules Verne stories. Real planes fill the area outside the museum as well as inside the main hall, and you can get on board and sit in the cockpits of some of them, too.

Rikuto enjoyed watching a remote controlled helicopter fly around inside a large plastic dome, the walls of the dome preventing Ricky from touching the whirring propeller blades. He also liked playing with the computers and clicking the mouse buttons, somehow navigating through a database of rocket engines.

Best of all, though, was crawling around among the planes and helicopters in a hall which we pretty much had to ourselves. If you’re in Nagoya or Gifu and have kids with you, I can recommend a couple of hours at the Kakamigahara Aerospace museum.

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.

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.

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!

Ramsay Ramblings 5/6/2008

There are lots of little things to talk about this week, so here’s another dose of Ramsay Ramblings!

May 5th was Children’s Day

Mami and I have a little boy, and this year was his first Children’s Day. Thomas wrote all about Koinobori, Japanese Carp Streamers, so I’ll skip the detail and get to the photos:

Japanese Carp Streamers - Koinobori

Our Koinobori – Japanese Carp Streamers

Children\'s Day Kintarou Cake

A Kintarou cake

Mochi rice cakes wrapped in kashiwa

Kawashi-mochi – rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves

Rikuto enjoying his first Children\'s Day

Rikuto celebrates his first Children’s Day at the park

Those bloomin’ berks at Bloomberg published the suicide gas recipe

Of all the dumb things I’ve seen, Bloomberg published the “recipe” to the poisonous concoction of household cleaning chemicals that people have been using to kill themselves in Japan lately. Shane kicked up a storm and we all pitched in. In the end, Bloomberg edited the dangerous parts of the article, so hooray for us! πŸ˜€

Making a start on WritingWorkbooks.com

I had a good response to the post about my dot com lifestyle, and was encouraged to talk more about what I do for a living. It seems I’ve inspired a few people to earn some money online, including my mum, so I’ve started some behind-the-scenes work on a joint project with her, taking advantage of her experience as a primary school teacher.

The idea is to make a large number of handwriting practice workbooks for children, each book based on an elementary school subject, such as dinosaurs and weather. Each page of each book will have a traceable general knowledge fact about a chosen school subject, and the books will of course be for free.

I already have a website in the “handwriting” niche, so WritingWorkbooks.com should complement it well. My mum is the perfect partner since she knows so much about the curriculum and knows exactly what teachers and parents need for their children.

In picking this topic for a site, I considered:

  1. Do I know enough about the topic? – Including my mum, yes.
  2. Will people find it useful? – My mum thinks so.
  3. Will it cost me anything? – $10 for the domain name. I already have the $100 fonts.
  4. Will it need ongoing work? – Not after it’s finished.
  5. How will I monetize it? – Probably with Adsense. Decide later.

The beauty of a site like this is that it requires no maintenance. A blog always needs new material, but sites like this can be built and left alone. That leaves you free to build more and more. That’s why I don’t worry too much about its earnings potential. Once you’ve got your starting costs back, it’s pure, passive income.

Jason got hitched! Congratulations!

Jason Irwin, has tied the knot. He had a long-distance relationship for nearly two years with his bride-to-be, Reiko, but after a succession of trips between Canada and Japan, they finally live together as husband and wife in the same city as me, Kakamigahara. In a related post, Jason poses the interesting question, is the distinction between the online world and reality fading?

Ramsay, Mark 1 launches into cyberspace

Speaking of online relationships, my brother, Mark, has discovered the internet for the first time. He is a complete newbie, so I’m helping him learn all the basics (left-click, right-click, drag and drop) before he joins me on our joint project, VirtualTripping.com. He’s already taken to the net like a duck to water, managing to watch 652 YouTube videos in his first four days online! It should be fun blogging with him on VT, so swing by and join the Ramsay brothers as we send blog “post” cards from Google Earth.

Rikuto’s Diary April 12th 2008

My first teeth!Hello everybody. Daddy says I can write on his blog. He thinks that at my age (8 and a half months) I should learn to touch type. I think he’s wrong. My fingers are too short and chubby. I can do it with my toes, though.

My first teeth

I have two teeth now. One is a bit yellow. Mummy thinks I have an “enamel defect”. She keeps brushing it. She’s always sticking things in my mouth and nose. I really don’t like “nasal irrigation”.

My little cousin

I went to see cherry blossoms with grandma. She told me my aunty is going to give me a little cousin for Christmas. I wonder what that is. I hope it rattles.

My first baseball cap

Mummy got me a baseball cap. I eat it when she’s not looking. It’s yummy. Daddy has a baseball cap, too. We look funny together.

What did you say?

I don’t understand Daddy. He says things like “Did you do a poopy poopy in your poopy poopy pants?”. I think he should study English like Mummy.

Water in my eyes

I haven’t cried for twenty minutes. I have some catching up to do. Bye bye.