Drug Test

1 Jun

The Drug Test – which has nothing to do with the previous post. Am not giving self drug tests to ensure I stay on the straight and narrow re health and diet. Am not testing self for carbs and wine – would be futile after all.

And that’s all I have to say regarding the previous post.

No, the Drug Test is the annual school urine test that all students are required to do. Tis some part of Japan’s marvelous attitude towards preventative healthcare. Find out if a child is on the road to obesity before they turn into an obese adult and have to leech the healthcare system for millions of yen. Have absolutely no complaint about the test being administered.

BUT,  of course I conveniently forget about what a fuckin pee splashing, hand wiping pain in the ass it is every other day of the year – until they bring home ‘the cup’ and I am reminded that THIS is why toilets have walls. To stop pee from boys trying to pee into a cup splashing out into the hallway.

Haha, except this year it was ME splashing the boys’ pee into the hall. Bloody hell almighty, pour me wine.

Or vodka. Pee on walls, face and hands should probably end in vodka.

The pee has to be pee-ed into the cup in the morning. I always get it mixed up with bum-patch worm test that HAS to be done first thing after waking up BEFORE going to the loo. Bend over, press worm test patch to bum-holey-o and then let child go wee. This was an annual kindergarten ritual, that I haven’t had to do for a few years now. I remember one year I forgot to hand it in and took it, in its special little envelope, to the funeral of an ex-kindergarten teacher that afternoon – and gave it to one of the teachers there. Jeeze. Black funeral attire, pearls, one kid at the kinder, one in the pram and quite possible one in the belly, handing over an envelope with a patch I had, only a few hours earlier, pressed to my son’s butt…. … Sometimes I just outdo myself. Tis tiring.

Anyhoo, the pee test probably didn’t need to be the first pee of the rising sun. Especially not any pee before 6am. But, as I had got my patch and pee test information all up the fuck in my head I told the kids it HAD to be the first pee after waking up and that because I didn’t want pee on the floor, and because mummy knew how hard it was peeing into a cup, to PLEASE WAKE ME UP when they got up and needed to pee.

Fuckin idiot.

Marina woke up at thirteen minutes past five. As I am, quite obviously, not a rice harvesting 85 year old, my internal clock is ‘usually’ still blissfully asleep at this time.

Now, pregnant women in Japan go to the doctors every month, and then every week for the last month. Must pee in cup EVERY time. Obviously it gets harder to hold the cup under the saloon doors the bigger your tummy gets with growing spawn of devil child. But after three kids I had it mastered and was about to impart my eternal wisdom onto my only daughter when she proficiently thrust the cup out the loo door and said ‘done’.

Of course they don’t just wander off to school with a cup full of pee. That would be TOO easy. No, it must now be sucked up into a plastic tube/pipe thingy. A pee pulling plastic pipe, if you will. Not quite as hard as saying ‘Sally sells sea shells on the sea shore’ but give it a try anyway.


Did you actually really say it? Well, did you? Don’t worry. I think you’re totally normal.

So Marina’s pee pulling plastic pipe gets put into her bag with her year and number on it. Can’t have names on it – must not connect the face to the pee.

I wonder if I could squeeze in 20 minutes more of slumber – just as Ryu comes down the stairs. I swear he is still asleep so why the fuck he can’t just stay in bed another half hour I don’t know. And how we have managed to make it to ten years without a child falling down our stairs will just have to remain one of the world’s three mysteries.

Ryu, the golden child.

Perhaps a more fitting name now.

I hand him the cup and tell him he doesn’t need to fill it to over flowing. Just up to about ‘here’ would be fine. I ask if he needs assistance in making sure his penis (because seriously, the whole thing was so traumatic I don’t have the mental energy to think of a cute name like willy willy wonker boy or chin chin Mc-chin chin)  fires a direct line into the cup. He informs me that he will be 8 in a few days and is thus quite capable of performing the task on his own.

About a minute later he calls me. I go in and see the cup on the ledge beside the toilet and him trying to navigate holding his chin chin Mc-chin chin and wondering how to grab the cup. I PRESUME (I don’t know, call it a mother’s intuition) that because he is asking how he should grab the cup at the same time as releasing his pee that, stupid me, the cup on the ledge is EMPTY. This would make sense.

So I grab the cup. With far too much enthusiasm.

Turns out the boy had completed the task perfectly and had the EXACT right amount of pee in the cup – which half a second later was on my face, in his hair and, well, pretty much everywhere else. Except the fuckin cup.

I was stunned. How did we get to this?

Quite calm, given the circumstances, I ACTUALLY open my mouth (peh, peh, spew – I mean six month old boy baby wee suddenly hitting you during a nappy change I can handle but 7 year old almost an adult wee is just harder to stomach ya know) and ask him to squeeze a few more ml into the cup.

He obliges.

I direct him to the shower, wash my mouth out, wipe my face, wipe down the toilet walls an away we go smiling. Like it never happened.

Quite traumatized by the golden boy child and I having a complete mozza I was anxious when Shou woke up and needed to go.

Thankfully he was grand.

The moral of the story?

Girls will only get a bit of pee on their hands when peeing into a cup so let them do it alone. Boys? 10, possible 9 – that’s about the safe zone, cross over, you might or you might not completely re-decorate the toilet.  But before then – full supervision.

But check the fuckin cup.

And for christ sake, don’t say I didn’t warn you.






Another Start

8 May

I’ve started another health kick. It’s only day two so let’s not all hold our breath. The main concern was obviously the too much wine and other select beverages, and not enough movement. I guess walking the dog twice a day and jumping around singing English songs with 3 year olds was enough to keep the weight from increasing to whale proportions but, with an impending very thorough Japanese health check looming in July it is time to take the spare tyre/s by the horn and get rid of them.

After more sleep than I thought possible after no alcohol (as in I think I got a solid 6 hours – whereas if I’d had a drink or two and gone to bed at eleven I would have slept through to half six) I woke up and decided to take the dog for a walk. He was very excited, and someone surprised, to see me so early. Got home, got the kids out of bed and said they had to be clothed and had breakfast by the time mum finished her SHRED meeting with Jillian – which is like 27 minutes or something. It is nice that the kids are finally old enough to do everything on their own. Most days it takes a lot of encouragement and sometimes me losing my shit and going complete hyena. But today, it was OK – probably because I WASN’T in their face every second!

Finished Shredding,  had my breakfast, washed the dishes, put the laundry on, filled in a few forms for school and got the kids in the car by 7:15. Very accomplished early morning.

Am about to head off to teach at school in next town over before teaching my own group of 3-year olds, then 11-year olds and then 12-year olds from 6pm.

Right, back to being healthy everyone.




Orange in the Bag

5 May

I don’t know if it’s a ‘stage’, although I’d hazard a guess at possibly a ‘very long term’ for this current lies and deceit bollocks from the boy child slash boy children – yes, that now includes the golden child, which breaks my heart. I’m here with my wine shedding tears of frustration and disdain.

Japan is currently enjoying ‘Golden Week’ – which has nothing to do with my golden child. It is about five days of holidays during which, it would appear, the soccer coach feels an urgent need to schedule games on four of the five days. Ryu was asked to play for a team with a number shortage in a tournament yesterday and the day before. We all went on Tuesday and yesterday I went with Ryu while hub spent the day getting pissed off at the children and eventually telling them to go join an episode of Survivor because they didn’t have a bed here anymore.

Don’t even get me started on my husband’s superior parenting skills.

We lost every game of soccer, in the rain AND I momentarily lost my dead mother’s diamond ring after being scolded by the umpire for telling our team to give as much back (the other team were being shirt holding bastards). I tend to fiddle with my rings when I’m unsettled, shamed-out or just feeling like a dick for failing at adulting properly.

I got home to Shou halfway down the road with his backpack and Marina on the swing – she would never go far because she wouldn’t be any good at foraging for food, which is after all, her main goal in life.

I get my abandoned children back in the house and then ensues a humungous row between hub, the children and I. Marina ends up crying up stairs and Shou says he is leaving for GOOD – which meant going round the side of the house and throwing shit.

I make them all eat food and go to soccer. I tell them I will stay for the entire practice and that if they say a nasty word to each other I will embarrass them in front of their friends and drag them into the car.

They are fine.

Get back into the car and see hub has called me 5 times in quick succession. Thinking the house might have been on fire or something I ring him straight back, to nothing, and then try Granny K. Hub was looking for the fuckin tool box.

I’m not quite sure the fuckin tool box warrants 5 phone calls. On our return Hub questions the children about the 4 puncture holes in Marina’s bike tyre. I can tell straight away that it was Shou so, while acting as mother slash anti-defuser slash keeper of peace because otherwise dad will losse all of his nuts, I manage to get Shou into the other room – while hub is outside repairing the punctures. At first Shou tells me he used his fingers, to which I said ‘no you fuckin didn’t’ – to which he fesses up and says he used the cork screw.

Then today, bloody today. It is ‘Children’s Day’ in Japan. We should be celebrating the birth of the future generation instead of yelling rage at them to get off the ROOF of our two-story house. Well Shou was up the top – he’s trying to catch a sparrow so he can keep it as a bloody pet. He had a branch with animal glue (whatever the fuck that is) with popped wheat stuck to it as bait. Marina and Ryu were on the roof of the first floor to try and get the slipper Shou had thrown up there in his obvious rage yesterday  – before, after or in-between slashing his sister’s bike tyres.

At about 3pm Granny K comes in with a bag of some kind of crackers. From inside she pulls out an orange- which obviously isn’t quite as entertaining as a rabbit but hey, it’s not what was meant to be inside the bag. She enquires as to which of the three children went into her cave, ate her crackers, and replaced them with an orange.

And, because males are crap liers, and because Shou as at the top of the wanted list anyway, I can tell it was him. He laughs and says Ryu was in on it too – at which point a little bit of my heart breaks.

Ryu told him where the loot was. They both ate it and then Shou decided they needed to put something in the bag because hey, I dunno, maybe Granny K wont care that she’s got an orange instead of prawn crackers.

And well there, that was the last couple of days.

I’m tired.

Need wine.


Good luck to all the parents out there.






The Law of the Land

20 Apr

The Law of the Land states that when you are so busy on one given day that sitting on the loo seems like ‘a break’ it is inevitable that someone will ask you to do something else and you will say fuckin YES – probably because

  1. you’re just a nice person, or
  2. you have an inability to say NO unless it’s to your husband asking for sex before you’ve had enough wine, or
  3. you want the money even if it means you’ll be a raging bitch to the family for the next three days….

Today was batshit. Thursdays have turned into my batshit crazy days. It used to be Wednesday but when I started working at the school in the next town over (from last April) it changed to Thursday. It doesn’t help that I started at a NEW school (also in the aforementioned town) on Tuesday this week – 3 hours of teaching from 9:30 to 12:30. I don’t mind teaching but first days can be a bit precarious ya know!! New teachers, new children. I didn’t know if I was going to be assisting the teacher or if I was going to be left to my own devices to impart my expansive knowledge of the English language, No David!, and the Very Hungry Caterpillar onto my new students. I didn’t know if the first graders would be receptive, or the 6th graders too cool for school.

It was fine though.

Mainly because I’m a fabulous teacher and great at reading kids (as in who is about to cry, pack a fuckin hissy fit, be a twat rah rah). Seriously. Not joking (pats self on back and pours a wine).

I then had a new Junior High student start in Tuesday’s JH class. She was fine. Seemed to enjoy herself and I could literally see a ‘penny drop’ moment which was great.

Rock on Wednesday and I had to clean the house in preparation for today’s Home Teacher Visits, teach three classes and then head over to the excitement that is a PT fuckin A meetings. There was some also shopping for sustenance to keep the family alive at meal time – because like, I didn’t have time to go forage in the hills for mountain root vegetables like I normally do. And I had to get the kids’ shit ready for soccer, make the meal, deal with Granny K and random visitors yaddah bloody yaddah. Seriously. I only cleared one level on Jelly Splash, THAT’S how busy Yesterday Was!!

Then today happened.

Today started with the normal routine.

Coffee, shouting and getting the kids out of the front door in time.

I then realised I was on traffic duty but had to drive to the person, who was last on traffic duty and who didn’t know what to do with traffic duty flag red bag at end of school year’s house. Get said flag. Extend flag arm and walk children over pedestrian crossing, which takes about 13 seconds. Go home and walk the dog, hang out the washing, dishes, tidy, vacuum, polish etcetera, etcetera.

At 9am I drive to the shop to get more caffeine, because well, it’s a multiple shot kind of day. I then drive by my English room to get a bag full of random teaching materials because the school I am teaching at has failed to inform me of any more details other than ‘you will be teaching, yoroshiku’. When I am the sole teacher I obviously prepare lessons but at the primary school they follow a curriculum and every teacher conducts their classes differently. I am the ‘paid fluent help’ in these classes.

I get to the school in time to meet the new Principal, new Vice Principal and new teachers – bar two. Japan has a stupid system of transferring teachers and other civil servants to different locations at the beginning of April. It is bloody ridiculous. On Tuesday the school I went to had a new Principal – who had NEVER taught at primary school level before…

boggle, boggle.

The mind just boggles.

I teach three classes in a row – but somehow the tea lady manages to convince me to have two cups of green tea and some coffee. I get told ‘in secret’ that the new third grade teacher hates English.

Fuckin Yay.

It would seem I have just embarked on a whole year with a teacher writing bloody katakana above the English. This is ‘trying’ to write the way a word is pronounced in English in Japanese. Like we would write ‘sigh-yo-nah-rah’ for ‘sayonara’ in Japanese. It is frustrating because we have many sounds that Japanese doesn’t have. like ‘si’ in ‘sick’ – or ‘th’ or fuckin ‘v’ – the list is endless.

After finishing the classes there is a quick meeting about the Saturday classes I ‘light-heartedly’ said I would teach this year. I got a letter yesterday in the mail saying thank you for your commitment. You will be teaching THREE hours every second Saturday. Last year I taught TWO as a FAVOR to the then principal whom I have known for more than 15 years.

I said my piece to the new principal – told him the Education Department had failed to inform me that I was teaching three hours instead of two and that it interfered with my children soccer pick-up duties and that there could well be Saturdays when I couldn’t teach that third lessen I didn’t know about until 24 hours ago.

He said it was fine because ‘the previous principal spoke so highly of me they didn’t care if I actually couldn’t teach half the lessons!!!’

Bloody hell.

I should charge more than the minimum wage for making coffee in NZ.

Actually doing anything in NZ.

When I take the kids back to NZ I have to pay my nieces the same hourly rate (more on a Saturday night) to babysit as I get paid, with 20 years experience, to teach English. They get to sit on a couch on their iPhones for the same price I have to get my energy sapped out of me by alien beings on crack. Tis not fair.

That said – I said yes (kind of) and I COULD have turned it down today but fuck, read the first paragraph of this post again.


SOOOOOOOOO, I finish at the bloody school and go the supermarket next door to forage for groceries.

I get home at 1pm. Teacher interviews are set to start at 1:30. I stuff a rice ball in my mouth – like I’m the Usain Bolt of eating rice balls, and then get dinner sorted – yakisoba, or noodles with pork, onion and carrot. I cut up some cucumber, tomatoes and orange for good measure, leave it in a tuppaware container and pat self on back for making a ‘salad’ with dinner. Three days a week I have to make dinner and then rely on Granny K or hub to fed the masses. It usually works.

Teacher one arrives and we talk about the golden child for 30 minutes. She leaves and 47 seconds later Shou and Marina’s teacher (they share the same homeroom teacher because the school is so small) arrives. She stays for an hour.. … I seriously thought she would only stay for about 40 minutes (at best I was looking at 25)… but she is new to the school, and area and I just happened to be her first home visit.

Fuckin Sigh.

She leaves at 3pm and I have 30 minutes to finish the fuck out of all the house stuff I was meant to finish before picking up English class kids, own kids AND taking Granny K to the God Dam post office (yes, all in the same trip).

And then I get an email from translation company haven’t heard from in about a month.

Can I finish a 12 page survey by tomorrow night?

…. ……

I actually consider vodka at this point but realise that a) I don’t actually drink vodka and b) well, just no, too much shit left to do.

So I reply with ‘sorry, no. BUT (read first paragraph of post again) if you can extend the deadline until Sunday evening I could do it for sure – no problem. AM ACHING to translate that document on that survey about rental spaces in Tokyo.

And then I had to teach three lessons, pick the kids up from soccer and….

come home.

Oh fuck, I forgot, in the 20 minutes I had between English classes I came home and washed the dinner dishes and cleaned up AGAIN.

And now????

I am going to pour wine and watch English anything. Probably My Kitchen Rules, Possibly Criminal Minds. You never know. I might just stream Adele interviews for an hour 🙂


Night you lot.


Note: ALSO am currently hemorrhaging vast amounts of blood out of the saloon doors. Which explains why have been bitchy to family but am also grateful for it because it means that I’m not with child – which was a possibility after hub and I got totally pissed and I said, tis OK, don’t need condom, will not get pregnant.

Said the woman who gets pregnant at the whiff of a man’t underpants.




More Chocolate & Punishment in School

17 Apr

LOL – apologies to anyone who read this when the title didn’t contain ‘&’. Chocolate Punishment, mmmmmmm.

Can’t believe I left ya’ll hanging on

“Shou’s chocolate cup-cake mission is another post – a post to be intwined with views on corporal punishment at schools. Chocolate and smacking, hmmmmmm.”

from the last post a MONTH ago. My apologies. You must have been on the edge of your seat all month.

So, rewind to last month. Shou decided he wanted to make some of my fabulous chocolate cupcakes (that I stole off the internet) to give back to the two older girls who gave him sweets on Valentine’s Day. Not wanting a repeat of the ridiculousness surrounding Marina taking her stuff to school Shou and I agreed that we would make them on Monday after school and I would take him to hand them out after dinner.

I was hoping for a few left over but he decided he was going to give the rest out as ‘tomo-choco’ or ‘friend-choco’ to his mates. Girls do the ‘tomo-choco’ thing a lot but I haven’t heard of it becoming a thing between boys. Not one to discourage him though, we wrapped up cupcakes for the other boy in his class, the three boys in 5th grade and one of the boys in 6th grade.

Shou was super excited and in a lovely nice, possibly slightly high on raw cupcake batter, mood as we set off – first stop, the girl he’s liked since he was a first grader. About 37 seconds after he races back to the car after stopping at her house, and with a huge grin and possibly a pink cheek or two, the phone rings. It is from his teacher.

Never a good sign. I have yet to encounter a teacher who rings up purely to tell me how well behaved, intelligent, respectful and nice my kids were that day.

I was driving but can see who the caller is. As I wait for an acceptable place to pull over to ring her back I ask the boy child if there is anything that might possibly have happened at school that day that would warrant a call from his teacher. He says no. This is such a male thing to say. I mean it’s not as if I am about to find out the whole truth when I ring her back!!

I pull over beside a mountain with shithouse cell-phone reception and ring her back just as ten concrete mixers and a gang of motorbike bogans roar pass. Needless to say I could only actually hear 68% of what she was saying.

BUT, from what I could gather, and with my superb ‘fill in the blank’ skills, garnered over years of international marriage and trying to have conversations with old people with no teeth, it seems that Shou and the other boy in his class both got a couple of clips round the side of the head from their teacher.

Not the teacher that I’m on the phone too – that is their Homeroom teacher. The teacher in question is their Japanese language and science teacher. She is as timid as they come and I can only presume she is dealing with a whole shitload of stuff outside of school AND/OR both the boys were being complete fucktards. This said though, there are only Shou and the other boy in the class. Two kids.

Anyhoo, not wanting to ruin Shou’s chocolate cupcake giving outing I choose to keep ‘the conversation’ until we get home.

The rest of the outing is successful, despite a couple of the boys (and their parents) being visibly shocked that boys giving each other chocolate is now a thing.

After discussing the aforementioned smack round the side of the head with Shou it would appear that the other boy was being a dickhead, got the first smack and then later, when he was standing too close to the heater and Shou said something along the lines of ‘don’t stand that close or you might combust in flames’ (or similar) the boy, not liking Shou’s choice of words, tackled him – which is a stupid move when you yourself aren’t that athletically gifted and your opponent is half All Black. Shou did what any kiwi kid would do and tackled him back. Quite well it would seem.

This netted them both a clip round the ears and subsequently put the other boy in a bastardly foul mood that lasted after class finished – prompting their homeroom teacher to ask what the matter was.

Shou was fine when he got home but it seems the other boy wasn’t as fine, as has been the case countless, numerous, untold times in the past. With just the two of them in the entire grade they have a love-hate relationship akin to siblingship.

The homeroom teacher wanted to explain what had happened to us incase the boys came home and said ‘the teacher whacked us’ and didn’t tell us the whole story. In her explanation, and in between concrete mixers and hooligan bikers, she says that ‘she is certain that the person most upset about the whole situation is the teacher’ – which later, when I was relaying the conversation to hub, really started to piss me off. Yes, she was having a bad day. Yes, the two boys were being fuckers. But how can smacking them make the teacher more upset than the boys?

The next morning I see the other boy’s mum at drop off and ask her if she got a phone call from the school. Yes, she did. The boys had a fight didn’t they? That was ALL the teacher told her!! I really don’t understand the discrepancy. I told her their teacher smacked them and she was shocked – and said that explained the foul mood her son was in.

They rang the school back, the teacher in question rang hub up and apologized, the principal was involved yaddah yaddah.

I mean back in the day kids were getting the cane left, right and center and physical punishment was a thing, especially here in Japan, up until quite recently. Now though, teachers can’t get away with it. I feel sorry for them, having to deal with parents who go nutshit when a teacher so much as implies their snowflake child might be flawed in some way.

Never the mind though. Lesson learnt.

Don’t be a cunty fucker during class.




NOTE: I teach a class with four sometimes extremely disruptive and physical boys at the school in the next town over. Their teacher resigned this year, from teaching, at the age of 30. I don’t think teachers should be able to beat on their students but if a kid is being physical and disruptive then I am all for physically removing them from the class and making them sit in the principal’s office (or hallway or where ever) until they can calm the fuck down. This teacher would say things like ‘right, if you aren’t interested in learning you can go to the back of the class while the rest of us learn – so there would be silly bastards at the back of the class while the rest of us are trying, in vain, to belt out a good version of the ‘Days of the Week’ song or similar. One day I had to stop her mid-lesson and go nutshit at the misbehaving boys. I went and sat in the principals office with a coffee and told her to send the boys to get me when they wanted to learn. They came crying and sniveling about five minutes later. Jeeze.

Thoughts on punishment in schools and/or methods of dealing with bad behavior at school welcome.

Like a Bandit

16 Mar

So Tuesday was ‘White Day’ – I was going to write “the Japanese equivalent of …” but realized no other countries partake in this White Day nonsense do they? The day boys give back to girls. It used to be a lot more ridiculous and I remember hub asking me to buy X amount of boxes of chocolates to give back to the women who gave him some on Valentines Day. How fucked up is that? “Darling, can you please be a nice wifey and buy three boxes of chocolates for me to give to other women. Cheers so much.” Sometimes they would differ in price and cuteness depending on the estimated price and cuteness of the ones he got. He only ever got them from colleagues and they were ‘giri’ (obligatory) chocolate but still. For. Fucking. Fucks. Sake.

Last month, after the teacher made her give her lovingly-baked-for-her-friends chocolate cupcakes to the entire second and third grade I was wondering how Marina would fear this White Day. I mean yes, she did end up giving the boys something, even if it was begrudgingly and involved some tears. She also gave some to her teacher from last year, who is now retired and lives on the other side of town (mummy taxi driver pats self on back) and the man from the store in town, which, as I said in the last post, wasn’t odd at all, in all seriousness.

Well, I’ll be damned. The girl made out like a bloody bandit on Tuesday.

Well, it actually started on Monday morning…

We arrived at the meeting point to walk to school. There is one other third grader in our walking group and his mum drives him from the other side of town to the walking point se he can walk with the group the 2km to school. She got out of the car and handed me a bag and said this is the ‘return’ chocolate from Valentines Day. Her son then got out of the car and his mum drove off. I confirmed with him that he was giving this to Marina right? He mumbled something and I gave the bag to Marina, who looked a bit perplexed. He moved far enough way for her to turn and ask if this was just ‘kaeshi (return)’ chocolates and not ‘honmei (for real because I like you) chocolates. I said it was ‘kaeshi’ and she looked relieved. It was quite an entertaining interaction the whole thing.

The next morning (actual White Day) I go to the store in town to get a coffee and the man’s wife comes out with a bag and hands it to me to give to Marina – Okaeshi she says. The man tells me to say ‘I love you’ when I give Marina the chocolates. I said she’d probably say ‘kimochi warui’ (that’s gross) and then we all have a laugh. The whole conversation was just wrong but so Japanese and totally normal at the same time. Jeeze. I think I’m turning Japanese.

After babysitting a class of 7 three year olds, ahem, I mean imparting my extensive knowledge of the English language into their little spongy brains, I arrive home to a bag by the front door. More Okaeshi – from Marina’s ex-teacher from the other side of town. She has even included a letter on cutesy paper and a small bag of chocolates for the boys.

Marina gets home from school with more, you guessed it, Okaeshi – obviously from boys who weren’t stupid enough to wave them round the class in front of the teacher.

She now has a lolly and chocolate stash equivalent to trick or treating around ten neighborhoods.

As they are getting ready to go to soccer two brothers rock up with 8 home-made egg puddings. Their mum works at a cake shop and these puddings are seriously yum nom nom. The third grader hands his beautifully wrapped puddings to Marina and the 6th grade brother hands his to Shou – boys giving okaeshi back to boys (my next post)

I then take them to soccer practice and come home to clean up and have the age-old inner debate over whether Tuesday seems like a particularly nice evening for wine. While I am trying to talk my inner wine-o out of stopping at the supermarket on the way to pick the kids up from soccer the door bell rings.

Tis one of the second grade boys with his dad, both of whom are in baseball gear. God the boy is adorable and he was so cute as he handed over a beautifully wrapped towel and teddybear that I had to stop myself from giving him a big squeeze.

I told Marina she had another gift and she said ‘Oh, I know, it’s a towel and teddybear from H-kun right?’

Talk about taking the fun out of it.

Anyhoo, it has all just been so bloody ridiculous that I think we’ll definitely not be taking chocolates to school on Valentines day next year!!


Shou’s chocolate cup-cake mission is another post – a post to be intwined with views on corporal punishment at schools. Chocolate and smacking, hmmmmmm.




Roses are Red

15 Feb

Valentine’s Day is a boiling heap of commercialistic bollocks. I know this. If I got flowers and bubbles every year I might lean more to the side of not caring about the commercialistic bollocks part of it but, sigh, Japan takes it to a whole new level.

In Japan, February 14 is for girls giving to boys and March 14, White Day, is for boys giving back to girls. It has evolved into all sorts of madness and now essentially chocolates are exchanged between work colleagues – this is a voluntary obligation in many places, as the name ‘giri-choco’ (obligation chocolate) suggests. The next biggest group of chocolate givers are girls to their other girl friends. This also has an original name, ‘tomo-choco’ (friend chocolate).

I remember last year, or perhaps the year before, Marina wanted to give chocolate to one of the boys in her class. We made some together and took it too his house and Marina was all nervous and cute and giggly. The whole thing was marvelous. The original ‘doki-doki’ ‘waku-waku’ of giving to someone you actually fancy. Brought back memories of my youth.

This year she wanted to bypass all the boys and just give tomo-choco to all the girls in the school. Obviously if our local school was a normal size I would never encourage this kind of behavior, but when there are only 11 girls in the ENTIRE school and you can get away with a single batch of cookies and a batch of cupcakes then well, its a nice afternoon baking with your daughter… ….

OK, so Marina is 9 and an afternoon baking is still not a pleasant experience, mainly because I’m too much of a control freak but I’m working on it, honestly.

Anyhoo, I can see this taking far to long to tell and I’ve got a shitload of shite on my list for today so I better stop fluffing on.

She made 16 little bags with one cookie and one cupcake in each. One for each girl, one for her two main teachers and one for the principal (she also asked me to take one to her teacher from last year who is now retired and lives on the other side of town and one to the 55 year-old man who runs the local dairy – I obliged on both accounts and nothing about this is creepy, trust me)

She took her stash to school yesterday.

I came home after work to find out that her teacher had confiscated her stash, along with that of another girl. He took them to the staffroom and said they would get them back at the end of day. They then spent little break getting told off for bringing them to school when they specifically got told on Monday not to bring valentine’s day stuff to school.

Marina wasn’t at school on Monday because I was taking her to a doctor’s appointment in the city. The teacher should have written something in her notebook that Ryu had taken to school for her. Apparently the girls got called aside and told – hence why neither Ryu or Shou heard the warning in any capacity to forewarn us.

I’m fine with the teacher confiscating them until after school and I do agree that I shouldn’t have let her taken them to school but, lessons learned and all that.

However, at the end of the day the teacher gave them back and told Marina she had to give one to everyone in the 2nd and 3rd years (11 kids in total). Marina said that then she wouldn’t have any to give to her ‘girl’ friends in the other grades. Her teacher didn’t care. She had enough for the whole class (the 2nd and 3rd grades share a class and a homeroom teacher).

The other girl who had her’s confiscated only had 3 left and therefore the teacher said that she could just put them back in her bag seeing as she didn’t have enough for everyone.

So at Afterschool care she was able to give her 3 to the older girls that she wanted to give them to.

This made me quite pissed off.

I’m actually OK with the confiscating, AND the having to give to the whole class because just giving to the girls isn’t fair so please give your hard-baked cookies and cupcakes to the snowflake boys who you didn’t make them for. I can run with the teacher up until then. But letting the other girl take hers away with her? That’s just shit teacher-ing. He could have at least said go down to the staffroom and give them to the teachers, I dunno.

I’m also pissed he didn’t cop on that Marina was away for the ‘warning’ from the 6th grade teacher on Monday.


AND even MORE pissed that she had to give her teacher one too!! While he was admittedly on her original list of people to give to, I’m still fucked off that he ended up with some after all of that huu ha.

This is a lot of drama for a 9 year old – especially when she had promised two fifth grade girls a fricken chocolate cupcake, ya know.

Bloody hell.

I was ‘this’ close to writing to her teacher about it – not all of it, just something along the lines of

“The weather is warming up and soon the first blossoms of Spring will be upon us. I’m really sorry for the Valentine’s Day mixup. It is one of my worst failings as a terrible parent. As I’m sure you possibly might probably know, Marina wasn’t at school on Monday and didn’t hear the ‘warning’ from K-sensei. I hope you enjoyed the cupcakes”

But I didn’t. I refrained, gave Marina lots of hugs, and told her that we’d work on a more secure battle plan for next year. Perhaps Wasbi in her teacher’s cupcake?


Fuckin twat.






Mrs D Is Going Without

Too much wine in rural Japan