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great discoveries

Tokyo Fit Mums

Today I went to Tokyo Fit Mums for the first time since before Christmas and I have to say that I feel so much better than I did yesterday (or even this morning before I went!) that I have resolved to make an extra effort to go every week if I possibly can. Of course hibernating at home with Ruby for almost the whole month of January was obviously not helping my mood, but there seems to be a difference between getting out and going to the shops (or even lunch) and going to fit mums. Maybe it’s the exercise, maybe it’s the fresh air, maybe it’s chatting to other mums – probably it’s a combination of all three. Whatever it is it works and I’m going to do my best to be there next Thursday!

For those of you who haven’t heard about Tokyo Fit Mums yet, it is a stroller fitness class that offers a really great workout. At ¥1,500 per lesson (if you buy ten lessons at once, otherwise it’s ¥1,800) and your first session free it is a rare Tokyo bargain.

I am a hopelessly uncoordinated and ridiculously unsporty person who has paid for multiple virtually unused gym memberships in her time but I honestly enjoy the TFM sessions and somehow the hour goes really fast. Everyone is really friendly and no one minds if you stuff up or have to take break to deal with a fussy baby so it is actually a very low stress outing!

There were more sessions when it was warmer but at the moment I think it is just Thursday mornings at the park behind Midtown in Roppongi. If you are in need of a reason to get out of the house, need exercise motivation, or just want to try something new I highly recommend it! Hope to see you there!

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Haircut

Just before I left for Australia for Christmas I FINALLY got my hair cut! My last haircut before that was in March (!!) so my hair was in desperate need of some attention and I feel so much better now.

I would strongly recommend any pregnant woman approaching the end of their pregnancy to go and get their hair cut NOW. Having a haircut is just so much easier when the baby is inside you than it is after they are out!

A good option I should have taken would have been to go while Mum or Dad or my sister were here and could have looked after Ruby but somehow it seemed too hard to arrange at the time. I could of course go one weekend when Yuji is around to look after Ruby too, but it seems such a shame to waste family time like that…

But then I found a solution: it turns out that there is a hair salon in Jiyugaoka where they have qualified people to look after your child, including babies, while you get your hair cut! I found out about it in a great new magazine called Mama Sampo, which has lots of great information for getting out and about with kids.

So, the day before I left for Australia for a holiday that would involve lots of picture taking, I set out for Jiyugaoka. I ran out of time in the morning and ended up having to drive there, which was not the original plan. It was stressful but I made it without being too late and even found a place to park right near the salon! – no small achievement for someone with my limited parking skills!

I handed Ruby over to the two carers in the kid’s corner, a separate, sunken room, with a gate separating it from the rest of the salon. It was a bit of a scary moment – the first time I ever handed Ruby over to be looked after by a stranger! But it was only for a short time and I was in an adjoining room so all in all it was a pretty good introduction to the babysitting experience – for both Ruby and I.

As soon as I take my glasses off, which I have to do when I’m having a haircut, everything becomes a blur so I couldn’t actually see what Ruby was up to in the kids’ room, but sometimes I was sure I could distinguish her cries from the cries of the other babies, which was pretty heartbreaking! The whole haircut took a bit under an hour, including shampoo, massage, and blowdry, and I was glad that it didn’t go on too long. I had mentioned that she didn’t need feeding until 11am and I have a feeling that they kept that in mind because I finished up almost exactly at 11am.

When I went over to grab her the poor little thing was strapped in a carrier to the back of one of the carers and her face was all red and blotchy from crying – something I have never seen before. It was all quite upsetting but she was fine and as soon as I took her she was happy and completely entranced my hair being loose, probably because I guess it has been in a ponytail since she was born! I declined their offer to feed her there and headed back to the car to breastfeed her in our own space. She was a bit tired, but all smiles as we headed off to have some lunch and check out some of the shops. We went to a bagel place near the train tracks that was very baby friendly, with heaps of room for strollers and heaps of other mums and kids!

Hair salon information:

Name: Hair Stream 2000

Website: http://www.hair2000stream.com/for_mama/index.htm

Prices: http://www.hair2000stream.com/menu/index.htm Note that they only accept credit cards if you spend over 15,000 yen.

Babysitting service: Available from 9:30 – 14:30 only on weekdays

Babysitting fee: Children 3 years and older = free; Children under 3 = ¥1,570 the first time and ¥1,050  from the second time onwards

Bookings required at least the day before.

I will probably go back. Not having to waste precious family time getting my hair cut and having an excuse to go and visit Jiyugaoka, one of my favourite places in Tokyo, is a good enough reason for me! Hopefully as Ruby gets bigger and braver she will have more fun in the kids’ corner too…

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