Taking baby to Japan – the post party

We took our adorable (of course!) baby to Japan in early 2014. It was our first time flying with baby-chan. And our first trip longer than a few hours. And our first time crossing several time zones. Despite a lot of travel experience and perhaps because we are now befuddled parents, we hadn’t counted on the notable, souped-up facsimile of baby that would appear within the first 24 hours of coming home.

All the other times I travelled to Canada from Japan, I had space to recover from my jet lag or I was turning around and going back so it didn’t matter. I had heard somewhere that it takes about one day for every hour of time difference to recover from jet lag. This was about true for me, pre-baby.

Before taking baby far across the Pacific, I had not considered how I usually fare in jet lag la-la land. I had forgotten how I would wake from surreal dreams feeling woozy and unable to discern where I was. I would be hungry at all the wrong times and craved water as if I were being drowned in a sand pit. I would drag my body around and generally feel sorry for myself. My world was all about me.

rice polishing booth

rice polishing in the morning

Photo Notes – It’s the first morning of our holiday back in Japan. We’ve been up since 4am and we’re waiting for our clothes to dry at the 24-hour coin laundry since our bags were lost, again. This is B.C. (before child), which means I have time to embarrass hubby by asking him to take a pensive photo of me in a rice polishing booth at 6am. (I know of no one who takes photos the day after arriving in Canada to show off a jet lagged state but you can use your imagination.)

Back to the story.


Our weary but cheery family got home on a Saturday. Hitoshi had to work on Monday. No problem! I would have a wonky schedule with baby so H could get enough sleep to get to work in a reasonably cohesive state. Baby and I would just sleep all day! It would be superb.

Sunday evening.

9pm. Baby is asleep and parents are cheering wildly but silently. We sleep peacefully.

“Geeeee!” squeals baby. I imagine it’s 5am and turn over to stare into a large pair of suspiciously alert eyes. In my gauzy state, I roll a wiggly bundle into my arms and step into the living room. The clock is obviously wrong because it says 11pm.

Three hours later, H is snoring and I am still up with baby who is joyfully gurgling and playing in the playpen. I bask in the feeling of being a responsible mother because I have chosen to play with my baby and stay awake with full patience and enjoyment. We are up for another hour and then baby falls sweetly asleep.

Monday evening.

9pm. Baby is asleep and parents cheer, but with less enthusiasm. We collapse into a lovely sleep.

11pm. Baby is wired awake. Could this be a coincidence? Baby and I make our way into the living room to play.

2am. Baby has cooed and screeched daddy out of bed. Baby is having the time of her life. “Woo hoo! It’s 2am! I’m a jet-lagged baby and I’m ready to paaaaaarrrrtaaaaaay!” H is panicking and saying he has to get up in 4 hours for work. I’m taking pictures of him lying in the playpen, half sleeping and half supervising baby while I laugh giddily because there is nothing else left to do. “At least turn off the flash!” my husband pleads as I take another picture. This goes down on the books as a super tense moment of our marriage.

Tuesday evening.

2am. I am up with disco dancing baby who has been going strong since… 11pm. This time I am almost passed out in the playpen. I no longer care about being a responsible mother. My head is balanced on a small Pooh-Bear ball for a pillow and I am desperately hoping to fall asleep while baby crashes plastic pots together. But I can’t. It’s something in my mama genes that will not allow me to sleep while my baby is awake. H has given up on sleeping.

baby's playpen

the playpen and the pillow

And so it goes until the end of the week when baby is suddenly not awake at 2am and I’m checking to make sure baby is still breathing.


I said at the beginning that baby had morphed into a crazy being intent on living it up for extended periods with no mercy for the parental unit. But baby was simply being herself, albeit off by 15 hours. Baby’s intensely disoriented and sleep-deprived parents were barely hanging on.

Do I have any tips for surviving jet lag with a little baby? No. None. Zero. It’s one of those things that must be done, overcome, survived, tolerated.

Call on any powers you usually use in times of hardship and then promptly forget the entire experience in time to travel again!

What helps you get over jet lag, with or without babies?

4 thoughts on “Taking baby to Japan – the post party

  1. Haha this is so funny! Your writing style is excellent, especially when you talk about your baby 😀 So cute!
    I don’t have any babies, but I can imagine how tired you were! You seem like a great mother 🙂

    • Hi Jasmine! Thanks much! I enjoy reading your posts and love that you have a French and English side to your blogging. And perhaps Arabic at some point? Your choice of languages for school is impressive. How are both going?

      Taihen desu ne… That week was brutal and I was totally unprepared for a jetlagged baby. 😀 As for being a great mother, well, I want to be one as probably most mothers do. 🙂 My hope is that aka-chan feels loved and grows up loving others.

      • Thanks!

        Actually, I’m thinking of stopping the translations in French because it takes sooo much time! 😦 I wish I could still write in French (especially since it’s my native language), but I feel like a reach for a much bigger audience with English, so it’s a lot more rewarding! And I also meet awesome people through my English blog ;D
        I will keep the French blog open though!

        I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write posts in Arabic! Seriously, that language is so hard >_<

        My Japanese is going a lot better than my Arabic! But both are very fun and beautiful languages in their own way! (But I must admit, I have a strong preference for Japanese above anything else!)

        Do you post some pictures of your baby sometimes? Or is it too private? She must be so cute! And by the way, you make a beautiful couple (your husband is really handsome! :D)

        • Oh no! I guess there’s advantages to both though. I would love to read your site with more skill than I have. Despite six years of French in school, it’s weak but it’s weird how being surrounded by it brings it back. It was also bizarre when I was living in Finland and my Finnish roommate and I spoke German (mine was so-so, again after four years of school), and French kept popping into my head! I think I was linguistically overwhelmed. 😀 I can imagine that Japanese is stronger. ;P How’s the kanji going??

          Baby pics are top secret. 😀 That’s one thing that I will keep private. And thank you. I’ll let Hitoshi know. :DDD

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