Winter Travel to Osaka with a Baby

Unlike our winter travel to Hokkaido last year, our trip to Osaka was not as cold and freezing. The average temperature in Osaka in December (up to February) ranges from 5 degrees Celsius to 15 degrees Celsius. This means, less layers and more time outdoors! Nevertheless, it is very important to keep track of baby’s body temperature at all times and to check baby’s comfort first before putting on or taking off some layers. Some babies, like ours, get uncomfortable with a hat and mittens on, even at the lowest temperature, while others love to be thoroughly covered and bundled up in blankets, at the highest temperature. So, like any parenting rule, when in doubt, follow the baby. 🙂

Aside from the pleasant weather, here are some things we want to share with you, if you are traveling to Osaka with a baby on a winter.

CLOTHES

Our 20-month-old baby wore 3 layers on most days, except when it became too chilly on some evenings and we were still out and about. During those times, we put a fleece blanket over his padded jacket to keep him warm. It also helped that he was in the carrier for most of the trip. My body served as an extra source of warmth . Should you need a guide on how to dress your baby, below are some tips.

  1. Base LayerUNIQLO Baby HEATTECH. If you don’t have enough pairs, don’t fret! You can always find a UNIQLO store almost anywhere in Osaka, with UNIQLO-OSAKA being the biggest in Kansai, the best one in Osaka, and the world’s best UNIQLO store. UNIQLO Baby HEATTECH sizes range from 50 to 110 and prices start at JPY 490 or a little over USD 4.
  2. Second Layer – Fleece coveralls or separates ; Fleece-lined cotton top and bottom. We bought all his fleece clothes at Carter’s, but you may also get from UNIQLO, GU, GAP or H&M in Osaka at cheaper prices.
  3. Third Layer – UNIQLO Ultra Lightweight Jacket with detachable hoodie.
  4. Extras – Fleece blanket from UNIQLO, hats and mittens from H&M, HEATTECH knee-high SOCKS from UNIQLO, regular baby sneakers from Reebok.

FOOD

At 20 months, my son is already eating solids, supplemented with formula. Fortunately, he is not a picky eater , so, we were able to get him something from the menu. Mostly though, he was happy with Family Mart’s Onigiri. Below are some of the places in Osaka that serve baby-friendly food:

  1. Family Mart – Thomas enjoyed the following food choices: onigiri, egg sandwich, soft bread, low-sodium snacks, pudding, soft cookies. Price starts at JPY 100
  2. Suki-ya – Small Gyudon (JPY290) ; Miso Soup, Tofu and Apple Value Set (JPY190). They even have special giveaways for kids. 🙂
  3. Yoshinoya-Pokimori Kids – starts at JPY 320
  4. Matsuya -Mini Gyumeshi (beef on rice) Bowl is priced at JPY 280
  5. Ippudo – Shiromaru Classic (Ramen)- JPY 790
  6. Gram Cafe and Pancakes – They have soups, salads and toasts but their Premium Smile Pancake is a must-try! Priced starts at JPY 1,350

For those of you with babies who are not taking solid food (mostly mashed or pureed) yet, or who are sensitive to a lot of ingredients, it is always best to bring your own food (best to book AirBNB if you have a baby-led -weaning-baby to properly prepare his or her meals). Meat and produce may be bought from supermarkets; Ready- to- eat puree and other baby food from the brands Glico, Wakodo, Kewpie and Pigeon may be found in drugstores; If your baby is formula-fed, make sure you bring ample supply of milk as it is unlikely that you will be able to find your brand in Osaka. Only Japanese brands are sold in major drugstores. In our case, we ran out, but fortunately, Thomas loved the Meiji Follow-up Milk.

Do note that not all restaurants have high-chairs, some have baby chairs without safety straps and not all have enough space for strollers that you may have to park yours outside. For cutlery and water container, we recommend that you bring your own.

Yoshinoya Pokimori Kids Beef Don Set (JPY 490)
Onigiri for lunch! We brought this very handy, food-grade, stick-on place mat. Click here to buy.
Thomas loves this cube-type, no-spoon needed, travel- friendly formula milk! JPY 1,980
Baby food options in Matsumoto Kiyoshi
Soft snack options at Family Mart

DIAPERS AND OTHER BABY ESSENTIALS

Most baby essentials such as diapers, wipes, dental care, bath soap and creams are available in major drugstores in Osaka. Save some luggage space and just bring enough diapers until your arrival, and just buy your baby’s essentials in the city. Just make sure to ask if the store carries baby products or if they just offee pure cosmetics before rummaging through the aisles and getting stressed out. Not all drugstores sell baby essentials.

During our Sapporo trip, we tried the brand Moony, and we loved it! But, since we could not find it in Osaka, we opted for Merries, instead. It was okay. Soft, breathable but not as absorbent as Moony. Still, it was a good buy.
Baby bottles, powder, water, nappy cream and just about anything you need for your baby is available in major drugstores. If you can’t read Japanese, make sure you download a translator app as almost all products are labeled in Japanese.

STROLLER OR CARRIER?

It rarely snows in Osaka during winter, and when it does, the snow does not really stick to the ground for long. With this, pushing a stroller is very easy and walking while baby-wearing is not difficult, without icy roads to tread. So, depending on your baby’s comfort, and your itinerary, using a stroller, a carrier, or both, is a-okay when traveling to Osaka on a winter.

For this trip, we used our trusty Ergo Baby Hip Seat Carrier and Joie Pact Pushchair. We were mostly baby-wearing, and the stroller was mostly used as a cart for bags and other things. 🙂

As Japan is generally a baby-friendly country, pushing a stroller in public areas is quite easy. Most establishments and stations have elevators designed to accommodate strollers; trains and buses have spaces specifically for strollers and parents with babies.

Pretty, baby-wearing, traveling moms!
Cozy babies in strollers!
Strollers for rent in Tennoji Zoo
Just make sure to park your strollers properly inside the train, so as not to bother other passengers.
a compact stroller that folds flat like our Joie Pact comes in really handy especially during rush hour and the trains are packed. Avoid taking the train during rush hour (7am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm) as the baby could get uncomfortable with the cramped space. Also, if you are lugging around a lot of things, we recommend that you take a taxi if you must be on the road at these times.
In some places, like the Osaka Aquarium, strollers are not allowed on escalators.

If you need to use a stroller but hate the thought of bringing one on flight, you may rent from LILEO. Stroller rentals start at JPY 1,500 per day. They also have baby supplies that you can order ahead of time and they can deliver it to your hotel on the day you arrive. So convenient!

ADDITIONAL TIPS

Breastfeeding – Osaka has really clean breastfeeding and changing facilities. Especially in large establishments such as department stores, museums and play places, you could comfortably feed your baby. I have not really seen anyone breastfeed in public, but if you must, I guess it is okay as long as you use a nursing cover. If you don’t have one, you may buy in Toys R Us or in Akachan Honpo stores.  In Japanese, nursing covers are called bonyuu keepu ( 母乳ケープ ).

Breastfeeding, pregnancy, and other similar aids at Matsumoto Kiyoshi

Diaper Change – There were a couple incidents where we had to change diapers in the stroller, in public, because the situation called for it. It could happen to you too, so don’t sweat, when it does . But, still, when you can, try your best to look for a changing station as it is available in most public spaces in Osaka. Major stations, museums, department stores, play places and the airport have the biggest ones.

Accommodation – Most traveling families recommend Airbnb because of the convenience it offers such as a kitchen sink, washing machine, dryer and a bigger space. For this trip, we initially planned to use Airbnb, but we ended up staying in a hostel instead. We chose THE STAY OSAKA SHINSAIBASHI. It is a newly opened hostel with family-friendly facilities and is very close to to train stations and the city center. What we like about this place is the common area where you can wash baby bottles, heat water for baby and heat, eat and keep meals. They have a laundry room too. The rooms are very clean and the bed is big and comfortable.

Pocket Wifi – Although free wifi is available in most public areas in Osaka, it is more convenient to bring your own pocket wifi. Aside from helping you navigate efficiently, it keeps you connected to your companions, for safety purposes. We highly recommend getting one from Pocket Wifi Japan. It’s cheap, easy to book and convenient to return. We booked it 1 day before our trip and it was delivered to our hotel on the day we arrived. It comes with a power bank too. On our departure date, we put it in the return packet provided and dropped it off at the airport post box. We spent JPY 5,660 for a week’s worth of wifi. It could have been cheaper had we booked 3 or more days ahead.

Drinking Water – In all our trips, bottled water expense is always the biggest. So, for this trip, we decided to bring our own containers and filled it up with tap water. Tap water in Japan is POTABLE. It is SAFE to drink without issues. In other places like Tokyo and Sapporo, tap water is even bottled and sold for JPY 100. While most really don’t see the need to boil it, we did so for the sake of our baby. Japan’s water is soft, so if you require hard water, there is always Evian and the like, in convenience stores.

Like I always say in my posts, Japan is a baby-friendly country with clean, modern facilities for traveling families. Osaka, being the second biggest metropolitan area next to Tokyo, has a lot to offer to tourists traveling with babies. From public facilities to large attractions, you are assured of efficiency and convenience. Some more tips before you go:

1. Make sure your basic needs like medicines, passports, insurance and special food are packed well before your flight.

2. Travel light when you can if you plan to take public transport. Yes, carrying a baby, a luggage and a stroller is not for the weak but save your strength for the fun part.

3. Avail of convenience services such as luggage transport service, stroller rental, baby essentials shopping delivery, pocket WiFi rental with delivery, and luggage locker service if you want a more hassle- free travel experience.

4. Travel slow – traveling with a baby could really slow you down with all the diaper changes, feeding and fussing. So, mentally prepare yourself by creating a 1 to 2 activities per day so you could fully enjoy each experience. If you are traveling with friends or extended family, let them know so they could make other plans and enjoy too.

We hope you learned a lot from our experience! Have fun! 🙂

Is there something I missed? Please let me know in the comments section or hit me up on Instagram @wandermommyblog.

Love and light, Sam

MORE ON OUR OSAKA TRIP HERE

>>>>>>>> 10 THINGS TO DO IN OSAKA WITH A BABY

>>>>>>>>>> HOW TO ENJOY UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN WITH A BABY

>>>>>>>>>> NARA DEER PARK WITH A BABY, IS IT WORTH THE TRIP?

>>>>>>>>>> EXPLORING KOBE WITH A BABY

Christmas in Hokkaido

Christmas 2018 was very memorable for me and my family for the following reasons : 1. It was Thomas’s first Christmas 2. We celebrated it in another country for the first time 3. The trip was a gift from Thomas’s grandparents. We couldn’t be any happier and more grateful! This was a long -anticipated David family holiday, with some bumps along the wait including my baby bump, but it was worth all the intense preparation because it is the best yuletide celebration we have had to date. (well, for me, at least. Because hello? Snow!)

We celebrated Christmas eve with my parents and siblings in Aruga by Rockwell (will write about this awesome staycation on a separate post) and left at around 9:00 pm to catch our red-eye flight. Needless to say, Justin, Thomas and I were at the airport when the clock struck twelve. Together with us in the flight was Justin’s brother, Martin.

We took the Eva Air Hello Kitty Jet which means, we had to stop over Taipei and wait for a few hours before we get to Sapporo. So basically, the four of us spent Christmas day in transit with luggage and a baby in tow. Not to mention our minute-to-win-it like experience of having to change not just wet but soiled diapers five minutes before boarding! So memorable, indeed!

We reached Sapporo at around 9:00 pm and had onigiri for Christmas dinner. The best! All of us were billeted at Ibis Styles, Sapporo which served as our home for three days before we traveled to Hoshino Resorts, Tomamu to bask in the snow for a few more days and then headed back to Sapporo again to celebrate the New Year.

I would probably run out of headspace (right state of mind) if I write about every little detail of our trip so I will just do a run down of what I think are the highlights of our winter holiday.

OTARU

This deserves a solo post. But, for the sake of this list, i’ll encapsulate my experience in three words: Magical but expensive. Magical because of the snow-covered Otaru Canal and the charming, European feel of the city; expensive because it just is. Most claim it to be a tourist trap because of the scores of souvenir shops selling pricey mementos around town. Nevertheless, I would say it is worth the experience. There are a lot of reasons to go to Otaru but below are my top three.

  1. Otaru Canal – The best spot for a family photoshoot, this attraction has a certain charm that takes you back in time and makes you feel like a character in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Thomas and his Daddy
Thomas and the guys
Thomas with his grandparents
Thomas and Mama

2. Naruto Honten – Really good fried chicken! For about JPY1200, you could stuff yourself with their large spring chicken combo meal with rice and miso soup. It was so good I forgot to document my food! But what makes it even better is it was a treat by Justin’s brother, Paolo. So grateful!

Going there is a bit tricky if you are planning to meet up with friends or family for a meal. There are two branches of this restaurant in Otaru and if you are unaware of this fact, you could end up waiting in the wrong restaurant like what happened to us. 😂 One branch is located near the station, called Naruto Denuki Kouji which is a smaller and newer shop.  While the main branch, Wakadori Jidori Naruto Honten is about a 15 -minute walk from the canal area. We went to the latter.

This spring chicken meal set is around JPY 1,200

3. Le TAO Honten – The name of the store “LeTAO”, is an acronym for the French phrase “La Tour Amitie Otarumeaning “Beloved Otaru Tower.” As its name suggests, LeTAO became the sweet shop loved by the people of Otaru, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018.

As Honten means headquarters, main branch or flagship store, Le TAO Otaru boasts of three levels of cheesecake goodness, with the shop on the first level, cafe on the second and observatory deck on the third. Although we were only able to admire it from the outside due to the massive crowd present at the time, we were able to try their famous Double Fromage Cheesecake at the New Chitose Airport.

Otaru is a very romantic place, indeed.

SAPPORO WHITE ILLUMINATION

Although most of the magnificent light shows ended on the day we arrived, we were still able to catch some illumination shows. My favorite was the one at the Sapporo Station south exit station square . A huge Christmas tree was brightly lit and flashing lights with music reflected on the walls of Daimaru’s exterior. It is a great experience especially for little kids. Here are some of the shows we missed:

1.Odori Park
2.Sapporo Ekimae-dori
3. Minami 1jo-dori
4. Sapporo Kita 3-Jo Plaza “AKAPLA”

While winter illumination events are now held all over Japan, it was in Sapporo that the tradition originated in 1981.

Sapporo Station South Exit Station Square

THOMAS STATION

Located at the 9th floor of ESTA in JR Sapporo Station, this is a happy place for kids under 6 years old. From the train ride, bouncy house and ball pool, the railway toys and the overwhelming Thomas and Friends merchandise, you could easily spend at least 2 hours of fun and maybe a (couple or more) thousand JPY worth of goods. 😉

Thomas at Thomas Station

PECHE GRAND

is a little patisserie, café and wine bar located on the Red Brick Plaza – a beautiful tree lined road that leads to the Old Hokkaido Government Building. The pretty interiors match the fancy and quality French desserts to complement their fresh brews. There is nothing like sipping hot coffee and savoring a slice of that soft and luxurious strawberry gateau while watching the fluffy snow fall on the fairy dust-covered roads.

I ordered this cake set for JPY 1,100 ( 2 cakes and 1 drink)

FUKUBUKURO

This Japanese New Year custom epitomizes the real meaning of the phrase “shop ’til you drop”. We went to the mall at 9:00 am with high spirits and left at 8:00 pm with aching bodies.

A combination of two Japanese words, fuku, which means ‘good luck’ and bukuro, which means ‘bag’, Fukuburo is a lucky mystery bag filled with random stuff, sold by retailers on January 1 at lower prices. Malls could get crazy packed on this day. I highly recommend leaving your babies or young kids in the hotel if you want to keep your sanity. For more information on this event, read my dedicated post here.

Crazy queue! But, since this is Japan, everything was efficient.
Worth the wait! This little bakery too was cramped! but we were happy we waited as this boulangerie and cafe serves really good breads and pastries for affordable prices!

HOSHINO RESORTS TOMAMU

A ski resort located at Naka-Tomamu Shimukappu Yufutsu Hokkaido, this is a 2-hour train ride or 1. 5- hour private ride (add 1 hour if the roads are heavily covered in snow) from Sapporo. We hired a bus for the entire family to comfortably get there. We had so much fun despite the freezing temperature. Even if you don’t or can’t ski, there are many activities for everyone, including babies. More on this fun trip here.

On the way to the Unkai Gondola Ride

NEW YEAR’S DAY LUNCH AT MERCURE SAPPORO

On New Year’s day, we all gathered at Bordeaux Restaurant for thanksgiving lunch. This is Mercure Sapporo’s French buffet restaurant. This is a really special family lunch because it culminated our Christmas vacation , that which is a gift to all of us from mom and dad, and, it served as a prelude to mom’s 70th birthday on January 3rd.

Everything on the buffet spread was delicious. From the starters to the desserts, I enjoyed every bit. Indeed, it was a celebration meal.

Some of the places we went to but not featured here are: Sapporo Beer Museum, Nishiki Market, Ishiya Chocolate Factory and New Chitose Airport. I will write about these spots separately.

Two days after celebrating the new year, we flew back home with cold hands, warm hearts, full bellies and even fuller smiles as we once again filled our memory banks to the brim.

ありがとうございました !
(arigatou gozaimashita!)

Traveling with a Baby on a Winter to Japan

When Thomas was 8-months old, we flew out of the country with him for the first time. It was almost a year’s worth of planning because we booked the trip when I was still a few months into my pregnancy. But seriously, coming from a tropical country, I felt that I still was not prepared enough to bring an infant to the -20 C winter wonderland that is Hokkaido. I was anxious for months about how to keep him warm, how to feed him, what medicines to bring, etc. I did an extensive research by talking to his doctor, to other parents and by reading other blogs. Thankfully, I was able to come up with a plan that fortunately worked. The key is ORGANIZATION. So to cut the story short, I packed his clothes and essentials two months before the trip and made sure to be as organized as I can be as he and I shared one 20kg luggage for the entire 10-day trip. Below are some tips that you might find useful if you are traveling soon with a baby during the cold months.

CLOTHES

Shop for clothes and shoes at least two months before the trip to ensure the correct size .(babies grow so fast it hurts!) I highly recommend buying bigger sizes to allow room for layers. Proper layering is so important because babies could easily freeze or overheat if not done correctly. A good rule of thumb is that a baby, especially an infant, needs one more layer of clothing than you do. If you are baby-wearing, you (your body) count as another layer so be mindful of that as well. Remember to remove hats, mittens and sometimes footwear and jackets when indoors as it could get really warm inside trains, taxis, malls, etc. There were times when Thomas was just in his base layer sans shoes and socks because it was too hot inside the mall. They said that an ideal room temperature for a baby is 16 to 20 degrees Celsius so keep that in mind too. Here is a list of his winter clothes and where we got them.

  1. Base layer – Heat Tech leggings and long-sleeved top (Uniqlo)- must be snug fit to allow the technology to work.
  2. Second layer – fleece onesie footie pajamas (Carter’s) OR non-fleece (Mother care) OR fleece or wool separates / cotton separates if wearing fleece as third layer. (H&M)
  3. Third layer – cable knit sweater (H&M) , pants (H&M)
  4. Fourth layer – Ultra light-weight jacket (Uniqlo)
  5. Fifth layer – heat tech socks (Uniqlo) , Hats (H&M and Uniqlo), Mittens (H&M)
  6. Extras -Shoes (H&M), Fleece blanket that I clipped on the carrier (Uniqlo), Fleece-lined water repellent, wind-proof jacket (Carter’s)

Remember to check the temperature and weather first before layering your baby. We were only able to use all the layers above in Tomamu where it was – 20 C. In Sapporo, where it was averaging from 0 C to 7 C, Thomas was mostly wearing four layers with socks and shoes. He seemed to enjoy the cold as he didn’t like to wear a hat and mittens most of the time. So, always remember to check the baby’s comfort first before piling on those clothes.

I packed my baby’s outfits by creating a daily ensemble, neatly placing them in ziplock bags and labeling each bag with dates and expected temperature for each date. So, that was a total of 10 sets with 1 bag each for the extras – socks, mittens, base layers, hats. (always bring extra mittens in case your baby is a finger biter. ) This way, I was able to save a lot of space in my luggage!

FOOD

Thomas was formula- fed at 8 months. Here are the essentials we brought and some tips to make formula feeding easier. In our hand- carry, we brought eight Pigeon bottles filled with water and 8 packs of milk stored in a disposable formula bag. The rest of the milk ( 4x 1.8kg) were in the checked- in luggage. Don’t worry about airport security issues on water allowance. Just firmly say that it is for the baby and you will be allowed to go through.

  1. Mother -K Powdered Milk Storage Bags ( Baby Company) – this is so convenient as it lessens the bulk in the baby bag.
  2. Milton Sterilizing Tablets
  3. Pigeon Baby Water ( Available in most drugstores in Japan). Although their tap water is generally safe – just make sure to boil it.
  4. Solid Food – we brought rice crackers and puffs but we also bought in the supermarket in Sapporo. The restaurants are generally baby-friendly with options in the menu and cutlery fit for babies.

For breastfeeding moms, most changing rooms are equipped with chairs, albeit narrow if you want privacy. Breastfeeding in public is okay, I think as long as you’re wearing a nursing cover. Breastfeeding in trains is not a practice. I saw moms step out of the trains and fed their babies in the station. Their malls have nursing stations with comfortable chairs and baby caddies in case you need to pee and there’s no one to hold the baby for you. So convenient!

STROLLER OR CARRIER?

Since we went to a ski resort (Hoshino Resorts, Tomamu), we thought it best to use the carrier. Aside from the fact that it is hard to push a stroller on ice and snow, it is easier to keep track of baby’s temperature when he or she is just a sniff away. We used Ergo Baby Adapt on this trip.

MEDICINE BAG

Two weeks before our trip, we visited our pediatrician to ask for prescription medicines in case of emergency. It is best to see your doctor to ensure the correct dosage. Below is the list of medicines our pedia recommended we bring.

  1. Antihistamine
  2. Antibiotics (Suspension)
  3. Paracetamol Drops
  4. Nasal Decongestant Drops( for colds)
  5. Cough Medicine

and here are the things I included in our first -aid kit:

  1. Fora non-contact thermometer – this was in my pocket the whole time! I used this to check his temperature ( must not go below 36.5 C or above 37 C) and the room temperature ( between 68 and 72 degrees F is a good range in winter). When the room is too hot, research has shown that it can increase your baby’s risk of SIDS; when it’s too cold, baby can easily become uncomfortably chilly and wake up unnecessarily. Again, it is best to discuss this with your doctor to be guided accordingly.
  2. Saline solution – baby’s nose could get clogged due to the cold weather so this is quite handy.
  3. Chest rub – I brought Mustela Soothing Chest Rub for his chest and Vicks Baby Rub for his feet 🙂
  4. Aveeno Eczema Lotion – for his atopic skin
  5. Mustela Cleansing Water
  6. Mustela Cold Cream Stick – for his cheeks and lips
  7. Betadine ( the yellow one)
  8. Band-Aid strips

ADDITIONAL TIPS

During the flight, Thomas was just in his heat tech base layer. His second layer, jacket, hat, mittens and socks were in the hand-carry. Upon arrival at the airport, we changed him into full winter clothes . Changing rooms are available in most (or probably all?) airports in Japan.


Strollers are available in most malls and department stores, to be used inside for free.

Japan is generally a baby- friendly country with clean baby- changing facilities available in almost all public areas. But unlike the Philippines, or other countries (we have been to), baby essentials like formula milk, sterilizing tablets, diapers and baby water are mostly found in drugstores and rarely in groceries or convenience stores.

When traveling to a ski resort, make sure you’re all- packed for the trip as baby products are rarely available (in Tomamu – NONE AT ALL) in these places.

Bring a foldable umbrella or buy in convenience stores in case of heavy snowfall.

Don’t bring too many diapers! Save luggage space and just pack enough until you can go to a drugstore and buy more. We bought the brand Moony. It was a tad more expensive than our usual brand but it was super absorbent that we did not change as often as we normally would. It was worth it.

So, that’s about it for this post. If you think I missed an important detail or if you have other travel-with-a-baby concerns you wish to discuss, let me know in the comments section! Enjoy your trip and learn as much as you can along the way!

To read about our Christmas experience in Hokkaido, click here.

Sending you good energy,

Samantha

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Last night, I finished reading this book. More than learning about how important it is to find one’s Ikigai (joie de vivre or reason for being ) and how this could help one be a centenarian, I was reintroduced to the concepts that I have learned in the 10 + years that I have been taking interest in metaphysics, existentialism, esotericism and the like, and really, these thoughts took on a whole new meaning for me now that I’m older and a parent.

1. Finding your Microflow and enjoying the mundane tasks – I first read about finding the “flow” in a book by Csikszentmihalyi wherein he said that when you find your flow (or when work becomes play for example) you’ll be a happier person. But in this book, they discuss the Microflow or the small,monotonous tasks such as washing the dishes and how one must bask in it to find joy.

Flow is like a muscle: the more you train it, the more you will flow, and the closer you will be to your ikigai.

Now that spoke volumes to me. Being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom), I am all about the micro-flow. It could get so boring sometimes but seeing my son’s eyes light up every time he hears the same story and sees the same picture like it’s the first time, and hearing him say new words everyday, I know I made the right choice. At the end of the day, it makes me feel fulfilled.

2. Antifragility – “We use the word fragile to describe people, things,and places that are weakened when harmed, and the words robust and resilient for things that are able to withstand harm without weakening, but we don’t have a word for things that get stronger when harmed (up to a point)”.

Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness.The resilient resists shocks and stays the same;the antifragile gets better.

3. Wabi Sabi – a Japanese concept that shows us the beauty of the fleeting, changeable,and imperfect nature of the world around us. Instead of searching for beauty in perfection,we should look for it in things that are flawed,incomplete.

4. Ichi-go ichi – e. This could be translated as“This moment exists only now and won’t come again.” This is a rather straightforward and in-your-face reminder of the obvious. That what we have is now and therefore we should be in it, fully. That we should always be mindful of the present so as to not get trapped in the regrets of the past (by inaction) or be frozen by fear of the future.

I like how the authors, Héctor García and Francesc Miralles described and translated this Japanese concept to make it so much easier to grasp by those who are new to it. Through the stories of real people and how they applied this practice to their daily lives and attributed such to their happiness and longevity, the seemingly foreign concept that is Ikigai, became so much more relatable and familiar.

This book made me feel good about my choices in life. It validated my resolve to live simpler, to love deeper and to pursue the things that I love notwithstanding time constraints. This book made me expand my time horizon. I am so excited!

So, be messy, be random, be redundant, go on adventures . It’s okay. For as long as you know your Ikigai, you will live a long and full life.

How did you find your Ikigai? What steps did you take to finally find it and make a living while pursuing it? What are you currently doing to stick to it? Let me know in the comments section!