When I tell people that it snows in Japan, they are often surprised! They seem to imagine that Japan is a warm, tropical island locale full of bamboo and monkeys.
In reality, Japan is geographically diverse, and has four distinct seasons and a multitude of climates. The scenery varies widely, from pristine beaches and fields of lavender to crowded cityscapes and deep forest – bamboo and monkeys included!
For example, the area where we live in Hyogo has been said to resemble Germany or Switzerland. The mountains are covered with towering evergreens that are blanketed with snow for much of the winter season.
Yet, unlike 90% of Swiss residential areas, homes in Japan do not normally have central heating, and the walls can be thin and lack insulation. This is perfect for allowing wooden beams to breathe naturally, and has many benefits including decreasing damage during earthquakes, as well as increasing air flow and reducing mold during Japan’s humid summers. However, it can make for some very, very chilly winters indoors!
To learn more about just how cold it gets during the winters in Japan and the traditional (and not so traditional) ways to keep warm in a rural home without central heating, read on!
Overseas travel looks NOTHING like it did a few years ago. My husband and I are both seasoned travelers, having been to a combined total of more than 10 countries.
However due to the continually changing travel guidelines, under the pandemic that has stretched on for over 2 years, overseas travel has become a completely new experience.
There are still long queues, longer flights, and an array of pre-flight preparations to consider. Add to this extra regulations, unbelievable layovers, and the wildly unexpected, and you have today’s travel experience.
While single or married this might present its challenges, but add to the mix an infant, and everything has the potential to become just a little more overwhelming!
While traveling overseas with a baby does require more careful planning, it is manageable if you are willing to be flexible (and can deal with the possibility of temporary sleep deprivation – which most parents of infants are experts at already!).
Our most recent travels overseas took over 20.5 hours of flights and layovers from Japan to the U.S., and over 34.5 hours on return (that is not counting driving to and from the airports both ways!).
Based on our overseas travel experience, here are our tips for traveling with an infant overseas.
Our son Jamie is EBF, which means exclusively breastfed.
Although you might not see a lot of people breastfeed publicly in Japan, many public spaces are supportive of breastfeeding. The building where we grocery shop includes a breastfeeding area on the third floor, which can be easily accessed via elevator.
I have taken advantage of a few of these public “baby stations”, and they are very convenient!!