My mom always made specially decorated cakes for my brother and me for our birthdays. That is one thing I wanted to learn and do for my kids as well. As I have gotten older, I have become less of a fan or your classic American birthday cake with either butter cream frosting or the Crisco based decorator’s frosting. They look cool, but I’m not the biggest fan of the frosting. But I have become a huge fan of Japanese cakes. They typically have less sugar and a gentler, milder taste. I first made the Japanese strawberry shortcake a few years ago for Chloe’s first birthday and have been enjoying experimenting with variations ever since.
This site was formally known as the Good the Dad and the Baby. That site didn’t quite fit what was I was doing anymore. For one, I had two babies instead of one. And even though they will always be my babies, they aren’t babies anymore. Plus, I’m not just a stay-at-home dad. There is so much more to my current life than the sole survival of raising two children. Hence the name change.
I’ve wanted to switch for quite some time, but I had difficulty making it a priority. This past year our life has been in transition. We found a great Japanese/English public school for the kids, but this required us to move. We sold our 100 year old house, which I had renovated and poured my heart and soul into, and moved to a brand new house. So, new school, new city, new house, and now a new blog!
Now that those changes our settling down, I’m ready to dust off my apron, take control and get back into a thoughtful routine. I’m ready to reclaim my title as “The Domestic Specialist.” (Well, it’s more like “a” domestic specialist. I know I’m not the only one crushing it at home.)
This is a place where I’ll share my stories of everyday life, recipes I’m making, triumphs and failures of crafty projects, building projects, sewing projects, or whatever else peaks my curiosity.
My goal is to inspire and be inspired to try new things, see different perspectives, be pushed out of my comfort zone, and to keep a positive outlook. It’s a lonely thankless job, but I’m thankful to be here.
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Six years ago I wandered into a bar in Kuki, Japan. I was giving Aya some alone time with her parents so I decided to set out on my own. Feeling a little overconfident and wanting a sense of independence and adventure, I hit the streets loaded with about ten Japanese words in my vocabulary and a digital translator dictionary that I had no idea how to work.
I think Japan has a thing for towers. There is the Tokyo Tower in the Minato district of Tokyo, the new Tokyo Sky Tree Tower in Sumida, and I here Yokohama even has a tower too. Something just makes perfect sense about building really tall towers in a country super prone to earthquakes. There is just something magical about a really tall tower. Add in some color changing lights and it’s even better.
One very popular winter fruit in Japan is a clementine, or they call them, mikan (mē-con). Are they the exact same fruit? Honestly, I have no idea, but I can tell you they are pretty darn close. Back home in Michigan, I love to get a box of Cuties and eat them three at time. Here, you can do the same thing, except you can do a lot more than just eat them plain. There is mikan juice, mikan flavored yogurt, jam, cookies, dressing, and cakes, just to name a few. They are even used as part of the traditional New Year’s decorations. They are so common this time of year you can see them growing on tress throughout the neighborhood. Mikans are definitely a sign of the winter just as apples are to fall in Michigan. And just how we can go apple picking in Michigan, we went mikan picking here in Japan!