As always, Japan was fantastic, especially the food! Although too pregnant with baby girl #2 to indulge in sushi, I made the best of the insanely delicious pastry selection and hearty late night ramen.
I am obsessed with Asian pastries. OBSESSED. In my opinion, Asian pastries are more fluffy, less greasy and just the right amount of sweet. And I am going to go ahead and admit- Japanese pastries trump all Asian pastries.
My absolute favorite? Warm red bean buns of course! Most people assume they would be disgusting due to the idea that beans and sugar do not belong together, but after a couple bites, people are inevitably hooked.
If you have ever been pregnant, you may recall the hunger pains that grace you all hours of the day and night. To make things worse, if you live where I live, there is no late-night culinary scene. No Ihops, no Whataburgers, NOTHING. Whipping something delicious up at home at 3am just takes way too much effort….so…. If you’re pregnant and always starving…I say go to Japan for 24/7 ramen and ALWAYS add Gyoza to that order.
Aside from food, being pregnant in Japan comes with a ton of perks. Everyone, even people that have never experienced the pregnancy process, go the extra mile to make sure you are completely comfortable.
Did you know there are fewer than a million births per year in Japan?!
Low birth rate and aging population has put the country under stress. Like many countries, Japan’s economy grew very fast in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and Japan had an increasing birthrate in the years immediately after the Second World War. The ‘Baby Boomers’, children born in the years following the Second World War are now at, or reaching retirement age. Improvements in medicine and health care mean that people are living longer than they used to do. Thus, the generation before the baby boomers is living much longer and so will the Baby Boomers. However, the Baby boomer generation is not the result of normal conditions, and when they die out it is likely that populations will be better balanced. They were the first generation to have choice over their fertility, and the first where so many career opportunities opened to women. Many baby boomers chose not to have children and many baby boomer women chose not to marry at all. Therefore, pregnant women, and children for that manner, are an anomaly, and in turn, treated like royalty!
But.... it is important to note, that even if you aren't pregnant, expect the royal treatment as a Gaijin (foreigner) in Japan.
The Japanese, young and old, abide by hefty cultural expectations. One of which, is to treat foreigners with unwavering patience and politeness. The idea is to have foreigners walk away having seen the country in the best light possible.... pretty easy to do if you ask me...