Thursday, November 16, 2006

First ocean visit 2m tsunami warning tooth #3 tooth #4 5cm of snow 6 gazillion tons of concrete 8.1 quake a Whooper Swan wedgie & a call from the BBC

The above are the highlights of our life from the last 3 days. I like singing it to the 12 days of Christmas tune.

It started on Tuesday. I was breastfeeding Keenan and well, he bit me. He’s bitten me before but he’s only had teeth on the bottom so it felt totally different. Teeth on the bottom AND top work together to produce a whole new type of sensation! So, I stuck my finger in his mouth and lo and behold his top right, front tooth had pushed through his gums overnight. That explains the excessive drool and disruption in his rock solid sleep patterns.

Then yesterday I drove Sean to his high school in Taiki. It’s about an hour drive away and he only had one class so I figured I’d take Keenan down to the river to see the spawning salmon and then we’d pick up Sean and take Keenan for his first visit to the ocean. Keenan whinged or screamed for the whole time we were at the river. When I held him he wanted to be in his stroller, when he was in his stroller he wanted to be held. So I gave up and I took him back to the car to nurse him. Then we picked up Sean and some lunch and headed out to the ocean. Hokkaido has some of the most rugged yet breathtakingly beautiful coastline I’ve ever seen. The area we went to had steep, high cliffs that ran out to a short beach. A serious effort has been made to restore the ocean side forest that once existed along this stretch but when you look down the cliff face your view is obscured by what seem to be giant sized concrete jacks stacked in triangular columns, which run parallel to the cliff as far as the eye can see. Two rows of them ensure the huge waves break far enough away from the cliff to minimize erosion. First of all it’s an awful eyesore and secondly nobody lives out there. I can’t imagine that the ocean is eating away at the island at such an alarming rate that they must invest millions and millions of yen to pepper the entire coast. So Keenan’s first look at the ocean was not so pretty and actually he wasn’t really awake for much of it seeing how he was nursing or napping the whole time. While I was nursing him and Sean was out taking photos I was sitting there with my eyes closed while I listened to the waves crash into the beach. I could swear that somewhere off in the distance I could hear Canada geese (the sound of Canada geese carrying on as they fly in formation is on my top 10 things I miss about Canada). I just assumed I was getting pretrip nostalgia for all things “home” and then I opened my eyes and saw a very distinct “V” flying towards me. What the frick? As they got closer I realized they were Whooper Swans. Whooper Swans have marked the end of fall and the beginning of winter each year we’ve been here. Seeing those beautiful creatures fly up the coast and over me filled me with sadness about our stay here coming to a close. Shortly after that Sean reappeared and we headed for home. I spent the evening tidying up the apartment and surfing the net. The phone rang around 9 and it was Pat. Very odd for us to get a call from Canada in the evening so I knew something was up. It turns out there had just been an 8.1 earthquake just off the Kuril islands north east of us and there apparently was a 2 meter tsunami warning issued. Hmm, very interest. This was all over CNN, CBC and CTV back home but not much about it had hit the airwaves here. Maybe that’s why the beaches are stacked with miles of concrete! I sent out the standard “we’re ok” email I send out to family and friends after every earthquake that makes it to international news and called my mom. We checked to make sure none of our friends were living along the NE coast and then we checked the BBC an hour or two later to see if anything came of the tsunami. There was this thing at the bottom of the update that said something like…Do you live on Hokkaido? Did you feel the quake? We didn’t feel a thing but we live on Hokkaido so I figured I met half the criteria to warrant my comments! So, I filled out the online form and in about 2 minutes I received a reply back asking me if it was ok if the BBC called me to talk about our “experience”. How novel! Sure I’ll answer your questions! We live in the middle of the island, 5 hours away from the affected coast and are in no danger what so ever but I’d love to chat with someone from the BBC! Sure enough the nice lady called, we chatted and that was about it. Then we watched the Soprano’s, ate some Doritos’s and went to bed.

Then this morning we wake up to our first snow to fall on the city this winter. Remember what I said about the swans? I’m pretty sure they brought the winter with them from Siberia. Keeping with the white theme this morning also saw the arrival of tooth #4. This time it was the left one on the top and in front. We’re well on our way to having a little beaver baby! How Canadian and just in time for Christmas!

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