japanese language

mama & baby

Having been engulfed by the baby bubble, my awareness is now on things I did not think about before (and vice versa I am sure, like having to think really hard to know what day it is). Being a first time father, I have no experience of being in the Swedish baby bubble, so instead …

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goddag yxskaft

When moving to Japan, I was used to almost never using cash. Many stores and other establishments in Sweden do not even accept cash – you need to pay with a credit card or more recently with your mobile phone. In that way, living in Japan feels like living in the days of my adolescence, …

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teddy bear

vocabulary for new parents

One week with a baby at home has taught me some new Japanese words. First comes lack of sleep, or 寝不足 [nebusoku], where the Chinese characters, kanji, mean something like “sleep non-sufficient”. (I really like the Japanese way of expressing this, although I do not so much like the experience in general.) The last kanji …

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hospital entrance

becoming a father

This has been the happiest week of my life, but in some ways also the most difficult. Let me back up to last Friday, May 29.  When I start writing this, I am sitting in a car park outside a children’s hospital in Tokyo. The time is 2.25 and the rain has finally stopped. We came …

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pregnancy insomnia

I love the ceiling in our apartment; in a way it feels like we live in an old factory when I look at the ceiling and see the uneven surfaces, the rough unpolished cement, the imprints that the wood used for making the ceiling has left behind. I fantasised about living in an old factory …

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silence

I could not imagine Tokyo being this quiet. It has been Golden Week, the longish Japanese spring holiday, and with traveling out of the question and shops and parks closed, people seem to have been quietly staying at home; streets almost empty and only a few trucks on the nearby highway. I woke up early …

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お疲れさま

Tokyo is under state of emergency and my wife is on maternity leave from today – a beautiful symmetry in the middle of all worry and despair. She has dutifully been going to the office, taking great care to stay as safe as possible. お疲れさま my love. Now finally our maternity leave begins and we …

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poetry on a mountain

What do you write about when a pandemic is announced? That is the question that kept me awake this morning. Pandemic is all there is. Normal life cancelled. Schools are closed, sports competitions are being called off. I had been looking forward to the start of the Formula 1 season all winter, and although everything …

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恥ずかしい

Japanese is a difficult language. Even easy things have a tendency to end up being difficult. My wife says that I like to complicate things, that I am happy when I do, but I feel rather more happy when I manage not to. I think. Which is not that often. (Maybe this means my wife …

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令和

Today is Emperor Naruhito’s coronation day. This year is the start of a new era – Reiwa.  Beautiful harmony seems to be the official explanation of the word Reiwa, 令和. Today is the Emperors coronation day and we are at home celebrating nine weeks of pregnancy. Reiwa. The customs of Japan – I find them fascinating. Even …

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on rinsing rice

There is something very meditative in the process of rinsing rice; it is like time slows down, just me and the bowl, experiencing the cold water between my fingers, letting the rice rattle around, feeling the grains touching my skin. And repeating the process, rinse wash rinse – there is something very meditative about rinsing …

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