People keep assuming Hana is a boy, just because she has short hair and doesn’t wear pink. Maybe I’m over thinking this, but this never happened in Melbourne.

I can’t find this certain brand of oyster sauce in Carlton, but I found it in a shopping centre in a western suburb of Fukuoka. Go figure.

One day, when Hana was at childcare, we drove to Karatsu, a town in Saga 90 minutes away. It was a Tuesday so the tourist town was sleepy, but we could feel the aftershock from the weekend. I’m not sure if my body could sense it was a special day, but I could taste the unagi, the burger from the food truck, the peach in the soft serve, the green tea. After that, my sense of smell went back into a deep sleep and did not return until 10 days later.

We’re encountering more rain lately. The amount of ‘atsui ne’ in conversations had reduced dramatically. I really think cloudy days help heal the soul. It calms everyone down and manages expectation.

Hana still hates the beach. It’s her third time now, and she even learned to say ‘umi’, followed by a ‘bye bye!’ Yet mum is determined that all she needs is more time.

Every locker room or clinic you walk into, there’s a blood pressure machine sitting in the corner. Despite my sinus and tonsil infection, my blood pressure appeared to be in textbook condition.

I’ve been experiencing separation anxiety. It’s simple maths: Hana has so many other people to care for her, therefore, she spends less time with me. It’s a good change. I firmly believe any experience is good for her. We can see she is absorbing so much, so fast. Raise a child the village taketh, but they don’t tell you she’d still manage to chew through a glass thermometer, spilling mercury everywhere.

With the language barrier, sometimes it felt like I’m standing on the other side of a looking glass.
One night I dreamt of us in the park together in Argyle Square when she was still six months old.
And then the next day, for some reason, I was stuck with her for the entire day.

We’re surrounded by mountains and rice fields, yet a friend from Melbourne could send us a dessert from Miyazaki Prefecture to arrive, frozen. There’s something absurd about that.

The Japanese like their coffee dark roasted, and hand poured or filtered like America. I can’t find medium roasted espresso in Fukuoka; just like how I can’t find juicy, flavourful mackerel in Melbourne.

Onsen is great; outdoor onsen is even better. It’s the closest we get to become naked right next to mother nature, like monkeys, without getting arrested.

Hana’s obsessed with the cows. She’d insist we visit them during our evening walks. I think she thinks they’re part of the family. Yesterday the owner’s daughters showed us around the inside of the barn. As Hana walked around in awe, she probably didn’t realise, it’s my first time too.