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.

SDGH&QL

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.

 

SDGH&QL

 

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.

 

SDGH&QL

 

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.

 

SDGH&QL

 

 

 

Burning Down the House

13 Feb

No, our house didn’t burn down. That’s not why I’ve been absent. I haven’t been trying to rebuild our life from ashes. BUT, Granny K, for the love of fuckin god, just about burnt down the house again yesterday, for the second bloody time. I must have posted about the first time?

Yesterday, quite ironically (but also very sadly) was the whatever year anniversary of the son of the temple next door’s death. The almost deaf temple woman, who is 90-ish, had four children. Her youngest son died many many years ago in a fire in Tokyo. He dropped his cigarette and fell asleep. Every year, on the Sunday closest to the anniversary of his death, they hold a buddhist-type memorial service and invite family and us – the next door neighbors. Hub’s brother grew-up running after said deceased temple son.

I am never invited. Hub always goes and the kids have been invited the last couple of years – ever since they stopped shitting and spewing in public I guess. They can kneel for at least five minutes, pray and then eat a sample of the lunch that is provided. Granny only goes if hub can’t. We have to present them with an envelope of money so really, the less members of the family that go the better!! Yesterday Hub gave them 10,000 yen (100 dollars) from him and another 10,000 yen because the children were going and inevitably would be fed and given a bag of lollies, chips and other shit at the end.

About an hour after the children went over to the temple they arrived back with three extra children – the youngest of which was 4. Neither of their parents showed up to ask if they could play, which of course they could but I was planning on going to the supermarket as soon as Granny K got home from seeing a talk by Higashikokubaru at the local community center. I now felt I had to ‘supervise’ (and occasionally join in). For TWO frickin hours. I mean it does help that I actually enjoy playing spy-chase-slash-hide-and -seek-with-walkie-talkies but still, damn.

Granny K arrives home as people are starting to leave the temple. All the pissed people decide they have to take a photo, which they try and drag me into. I am not in appropriate attire though (black suit) so decline and offer to take the photo. I go along with the ‘one more ワンモア’ calls and rock on with variants of ‘OK, cheese’ in English (read as agreeably play the token gaijin English card they wanted me to play – I know, I know, I deserve more than that medal. I’ve only lived here for half my life. Jeeze. Seriously, it’s like me going into the local Chinese takeaway back home in NZ and saying ‘one chicken flylice prease’ in bestest Chinese accent that doesn’t actually exist)

The mother of the children left to run free in my garden and home turns up and says thank you. I can’t imagine letting my children run free (especially the 4 year old) without an initial いいですか? or おねがいします (Do you mind? Thank you in advance). These particular kids have played in our garden before but never for this long and never without an adult presence for at least five minutes of the two hours ya know! Taking the piss and all that.

After they leave Granny K comes out of her room and says she is going next door to pray. Hub rambles on half pissed (note: most buddhist memorials involve copious amounts of beer and sake – regardless of the hour) about shite and the kids are outside gathering up the last of the snow. I am on the toilet doing a dump (for lack of an eloquent word)

Then an alarm goes off and, like the first time she nearly burnt the house down, I initially think it is the earthquake alarm – until I hear ‘火事です。火事です’ (fire! fire!). So I wipe my ass and waddle off the toilet as I try and pull my jeans up. I open Granny K’s door and smoke just about knocks me over. I navigate my way to the kitchen (it wasn’t actually this dramatic, only about 2m) to see a pot on her stove about to combust in a raging inferno. I use a towel to take it off the element and run the burnt-to-shit-shiitake-mushroom-whatever-soup it had been under the tap. I am yelling out to hub the whole time but he is in alcohol-induced slumber on the couch and obviously takes a while to register that my yelling is not my usual nagging (note to self – must fix one or the other)

He turns off the alarm and we open all her windows…

He than goes to the loo and yells the house down over the person who didn’t flush the damn chain (why do we still even say that when there is no chain!) I say sorry, it was me, I was too busy saving our house from his Unintentional PYROmaniac FUCKin MOTHER – and yes, my voice increased with each word. I then informed him that I still hadn’t even done my trousers up, that’s how imminent the impending fire was. Fark, He’s lucky I don’t give a shit about stuff like that! I mean normally, yes, but not in times of emergency.

About 20 minutes later Granny K arrives home from the temple. I say nothing – just decide to wait and see what she says.

2 minutes later she comes into our lounge and says ‘who opened all my windows? The bloody cat got in’

And I lost my shit.

I said something along the lines of “you are joking right? Why do you think we opened all your windows? Can you not smell the burning smell of shiitake mushrooms and impending house fires?”

Then she clicks and runs back into her room.

I told her that if we hadn’t been there we would no longer have a place to live and I am NOT prepared to deal with this and that if it happens again her stove top is being disconnected and she’ll have to put up with my pizza, pasta and potatoes. I was being dramatic, again. I do actually cook rice and Japanese food A LOT.

On my list of shit to get done this week is laminate a sign for all doors she needs to get through to get out of the house – which is three. We don’t exactly lock her behind ten doors and a safe of dynamite.

And that was yesterday.

 

Hope you are all well and love to the family and all that.

 

SDGH&QL

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Motorbike Writeoff

13 Dec

Turns out that hub’s motorbike will cost too much to fix and has to be written off – which fuckin sucks cause I paid for most of it for his birthday and insurance wont refund the whole amount because hub was about 20% (we don’t know for sure yet) to blame. Bloody damn it.

The bike stuff all of last week, coupled with a shit few weeks at work with some tax visit from 6 years ago coming back to haunt him – and me really – and he was a stressed ball of cuntiness on Sunday. In short the tax saga is about a man who had to pay x amount of tax but it took him 6 years to pay it and he didn’t realise he had to pay the interest for that 6 years.  He threatened hub – told him he was going to put a flyer out with all their names on it badmouthing them AND to be careful because he might come to our house – at which point I told hub (mid-story) that he had to report that shit to the police. He rang his police brother instead, who in turn told him to tell the local cop. Lord knows if he actually did it or not. We haven’t had a flyer or a visit so perhaps it was all just the guy being a rude mouthy wanker with nothing to back it up.

Roll around Sunday and we are all heading to the city to see aforementioned eldest precious son (policeman) so that Granny K can check in on them and tell her friends she’s caught up with them yaddah yaddah. I don’t think I’ve gone into it much here but the eldest son’s grandson (so I guess my grand nephew although I just think of the three kids as cousins to our three because they aren’t that different in age) is very sick and has, for a lot of his life, been in an anti-bacterial room at the hospital. He is sometimes allowed home and has even been here once, playing and running around in all our germiness.

He is currently doing another round of treatment and his mum was having a rare day off with her husband taking a turn at the hospital. If she gets sick she can’t go into the anti-bacterial room obviously, so she was super worried that we would bring germs from our clean-air rural rice paddie where the kids go to school with 26 other children into their urban home with her other two sons who go to a school of 400. I don’t know why I’m getting my back up about it really. I’m sure if my child’s health (and possibly life) was on the line I’d be super worried too.

We decided to drop Granny K off and take the kids to the movies.

So we did that. Great movie they said. I didn’t go because it was Japanese and I don’t feel the need to waste good money on seeing a Japanese anime.

We picked Granny K back up and went inside and said hello for about half an hour. During which time Shou coughed once and sneezed into his mask, while playing UNO with his two cousins who were wiping snot on their sleeves (ya know, six of one half a dozen of the other) (will also add here that we all had to gargle and spray our hands with disinfectant upon entering the house)

In the car on the way home we get a phone call saying that the mother (of the sick boy) is worried that we might have brought the bloody FLU into the house and could Shou please get tested asap the next morning because if there is any chance she has caught it she can’t swap places with her husband at the hospital.

So anyhoo, now hub is worried about work, his poor motorbike, his poor leg and whether or not our son will give them the FLU which may or may not kill their son. Tis a shithole.

So we decide to buy a thermometer on the way home because despite this being Japan and there being a household average of 3.7 thermometers per square meter I have a feeling I left our ‘good’ one in New Zealand last year. This is important, I can’t rely on the half assed ten dollar one. WE NEED THE GOOD ONE.

So we stop and I get out to rush in and get a few things.

I get back to the car approximately 8 minutes and 43 seconds later and hub is the only one in there. I see Granny K walking around a bit and just presume she was hot with her 8 layers of vests on. Until I open the car and see I have no children.

I enquire, calmly at first. I just think they’ve gone to the loo at the shop – or come in to find me and missed me (hard to do) or something.

And then Granny K informs me that Shou and Marina were playing up, hub had enough, and so he told Shou to get out. Marina and Ryu go after him, hub goes to sleep in the passenger seat and Granny K has no idea which way they went. It turns out that hub told him to walk home but they failed to inform me of this and of the level of hysteria that any of the children might be in.

Turns out I was the only one registering on the hysteria scale.

I tell Granny K off for being a pleb and not looking to see which way they walked. I dump the shopping down and tell hub to drive after me (I had been driving because he wanted to put his accident leg up).

I then walk in the dark in the direction I think my poor three children have been sent. All I can think about is where they are, what if they’ve gone down a side street or worse, been picked up in one full swoop by a van of pedophiles. . . or or….

I mean fuck.

I was also swearing as I walked. Fuckin cunt. If anything has happened to my children the universe will never forgive you.

Seriously, all rationing of calmness goes out the window. You forget that your children are no longer 2, 3, 4 and are actually quite brilliant little human beings.

Hub drives past and I see him about 200m up the road, stop and swing in, wait for a second and then come back to pick me up – kids in car. I get into the car fuming with relief (yes it’s possible). Hub is silent – cause he knows he has been a complete fuckin dickwad. Granny K tries to say that it was nobody’s fault. I say in my fuming with relief steadiness of calm voice “It is everyone’s fault. It is hub’s fault for making Shou get out, it is Shou’s fault for not doing as he was told, it was your fault for not seeing which direction they went in, and it was my fault for fuckin believing I could go into a shop for five bloody minutes without this kind of shit happening”

Not a word the whole way home. Only the semi-silent sound of Granny K weeping into her kerchief.

The only other time I have seen her shed a tear was when we knocked the old homestead down to build this house. I knew I shouldn’t have been cross with her but I was so angry that nobody knew what way they had gone. I went into her room and said sorry when we got home.

On the good side – Marina and Ryu ran after Shou and together they were walking home, wondering how long it would take and if I would be cross with them. At bedtime I told them I would never leave them to walk home 20 KILOMETERS in the dark. And that I was glad they had stayed together and stayed on the main road with the bright lights.

So that was Sunday.

On Monday I took Shou to get tested for the flu. Negative. No surprise there but a relief to my sister ‘n’ law and her daughter – who could then go and relieve her husband of his hospital duties.

Anyhoo, I finally finished about four translation deadlines yesterday, got an “Excellent and natural English translation” for QA result, the kids are fine, Granny K apologized for her cunty sometimes son and asked that I please don’t take the kids back to New Zealand and hub, well, he’s still sleeping in the alter room and doing lots of housework.

 

SDGH&QL

 

 

Lesson Post – Part 1

3 Dec

This post is more of a lesson to my future self should my future self ever get into a traffic accident – or should YOUR future self get into an accident.  I have been hit before – once I was at a stop light and a dude rear ended me. It was 100% his fault. In Japan there is always a % allocation to each party. You ONLY get 0% if you are completely stopped. The second time I backed into a car full of yankee (mafia) wannabes as I was backing out of my carpark at the conbini. They came hurling in at great speeds driven by an unlicensed punch-purma (tight perm reserved for mafia and their gofas) 17 year old. Needless to say it was mostly their fault yaddah yaddah yaddah.

So today…

Shou has a two-day soccer tournament in a city about an hour away. Hub was meant to be on car pool duty but we switched with the car pool duty parent for tomorrow because one of their distant relatives died and the funeral is tomorrow (in Japan these things happen fast so the said deceased relative would have died yesterday afternoon – as in after my carefully planned car-pool schedule went out)

Hub decides to ride his motorbike to watch the morning game while I teach. I plan to go in the afternoon with Marina and Ryu to catch the final game and the random relay running shit thing they have at the end of the day when everyone just wants to go home.

Hub txts that Shou got a goal in the first game – wahoooo. It is, afterall, a tournament for 5th and 6th graders, not Shou’s 4th grade. I confirm that the goal was a decent goal and not a trickle in and then I do a proud mummy dance, as I take Marina and Ryu into the 100 yen shop to buy coloring-in books AND, as it would turn out, Mummy’s Christmas present – 100 yen earrings, which I pretended I didn’t see. The girl at the checkout was trying not to laugh because Marina wanted me to be there when she bought them but I had to look away while calculating her change.

We get out of the store and back into the car and I notice two missed calls and a txt from hub – the txt says ‘There’s been an accident, call me’. As I have said on numerous occasions, the fact that the Japanese language refuses to incorporate pronouns into their everyday conversation is a fuckin mystery and a complete bloody nuisance. At first I think Shou has had an accident – He’s been kicked in the face with a ball, lost consciousness yaddah yaddah, the mother bear has a wild imagination for such in-apt retardedly fact-filled txts of uselessness.

So I ring hub back.

He answers, in a whisper “I’ve been in an accident”. I am genuinely concerned so I ask “are you OK?”. To which he answers “I think I’ve hurt my leg” … ….

And then he tells me the name of the hospital the ambulance is taking him… tis a fuckin stupidly named hospital so I ask him to send me a txt with the name, if he can.

He doesn’t

So I IMMEDIATELY THINK ALL OF THE FOLLOWING SCENARIOS AT ONCE

 

  • Fuck, he’s gone into cardiac arrest. He played light on the leg thing. He’s actually dying (enter thoughts of insurance, kids, raising them alone, Granny K… …. – seriously, this shit goes through your mind for a second)
  • Fuck, His leg is so munted they have to give him oxygen and drugs and he’s in no state to be texting
  • Fuck, just fuck
  • OMG, what if he’s being a weak cunt and this is nothing?

OK, so that last thought never entered my mind.

I did a car navi search for the hospital name I thought he said and found it!! Hurrah.

I tell Marina and Ryu the minimal and say we have to drive back in the way we just came to see dad in a hospital cause he fell off his bike.

OK, I lie. I got completely emotional and lost my shit.

We get to the hospital and it is practically vacant due to it being a Saturday. I tell a nurse that I am the wife of the man who was just brought in by the ambulance.

She says something in a low voice to another nurse (and seriously I think it is something like ‘poor woman, her husband is in a bad way’ – when in fact was probably more like ‘do you think she understands Japanese’) and points me in the direction of ‘down the hall’.

So we go down the hall and see hub sitting in a waiting room.

He’s like alive and sitting and shit.

I’m full of relief

But now I have the room to be intrigued and WTF you Fucktard? Why worry me like that. Could you have not said ‘I am fine but I have bit of a sore leg’, instead of ‘(said in dying voice) I think … I’ve … fucked. …. my …. leg….)

Jesus fuckin Christ.

Women who have had a child can sympathize with me here. I don’t complain about shit on the pain scale. I mean, fuck, I’ve pushed a big head out the saloon doors sans pain killers THREE times. Hub gets knocked off his bike and he’s FUCKIN DYING.

So what follows???

Japan is efficient to the point of over-effectiveness

Today, in one single fuckin day, a SATURDAY no less,  I have heard about 27 conversations with insurance agencies, hospitals, bike repair shops, wreckers (who took the bike from the ‘scene’ to the bike repair shop) and of course the police.

After the hospital and the police station we had to go to the ‘scene’ with a scene-specialist policeman. He measured shit and took hub’s statements on where, what yaddah yaddah. The guy that crashed into hub then turned up – with his wife, and a bag of bloody cookies.

Actually I don’t know, I haven’t opened the bag yet. They said they went to the hospital first but hub had already been discharged (I then bet they did a vestling happy dance) so they rang hub and he said he was on route to the ‘scene’

So we all  end up at the scene. The policeman measures measurements and then praises hub on his cute children. The man that hit hubs turns up, with his wife, and they are profusely apologizing to everyone, the policeman, hub, the rice paddies. And then the wife spots me, purposefully standing far away, and comes over with her bag of ‘I’m sorry cookies’…. I don’t want to accept them and in my mind I can here hub saying ‘don’t’ but I do. She’s a very lovely lady and genuinely very sorry for her husband (who is 72) ramming hub’s bike.

I KNOW from previous experience that if you were ‘less’ in the wrong then you shouldn’t say ‘hey, are you OK’ or ‘hey, I’m sorry’. I am on my best Japanese understanding shit behavior. So I just bow a lot and say I shouldn’t accept the gift which she keeps pushing into my hands – so I fuckin say thankyou and she says the kids will like it.

I feel sorry for the wife. Her hub has obviously driven home – told his wife what happened and she has changed into her Sunday best, gone and bought a beautiful box of cookies and rushed to the hospital and then here.The husband is with her but still.

Most of this happened before we even got to the soccer. We got there finally, just before the race started. A  couple of parents saw hub in the car and just presumed he had gone home and then we had come together for a nice hour long drive. Jeeze.

I said nothing, to anyone.

And I love saying shit.

Quite obviously.

 

We have managed to get hub bathed and in bed without Granny K being none the wise.

 

Good night folks, has been a loooong day.

 

 

 

 

SDGH&QL

 

 

Mrs D Is Going Without

Too much wine in rural Japan