Archive | October, 2013

THANK YOU. That is all.

30 Oct

I must have said this a thousand times, and am of course breaking the record of mum’s across the planet when I say, I fuckin HATE the underappreciativenessness that comes with being a mum. Yeah, wahoooooo, love the smiles and of course parenting is the most rewarding job on the planet, but well, sometimes its just fuckin not ya know!

Translating is great – it brings in the moola, and of course I get thanks – you know, those words of appreciation that sometimes take the form of ‘thank you’, or ‘we really appreciate it (note use of actual word ‘appreciate’), and sometimes even, O.M.G that was so much faster than expected, you are officially a Rock. Star.

OK, so I’ve never actually got that last comment in that exact wording (cause that would just be unprofessional) but it feels like it sometimes.

Translation tends to be feast or famine round here. I don’t actively go out of my way very often to source it, because I’m too busy with voluntary drills, and reading classes, and English, and ballet bollocks, and soccer bollocks, and trying to source good wine bollocks. But when the university contacts me it’s usually for something big, that they know it would be cheaper to ask me to do than outsourcing to a translating company. Unfortunately they usually want it in the same amount of time.

If it’s a small project (anything less than ten pages) then I can expect a ‘thankyou’ and email of appreciation in about a week, but at the moment I have a ten chapter review document that has taken me a month. I still have until next Friday to complete it – thank fuckin god. And so, lets just say I have been working like a dog but not getting my translation love OR my family love for a while. And. I. Am. Over. It.

Today I went mental at the kids – Of course they don’t know my day went volunteer reading at the school, home, housework, three hours of translating, supermarket, dinner prep, English prep, back to back English, pick kids up, but in back of mind also know need to have Marina at dance by half six and two more pages of translation whacked out to still be on course to finish on time.

Thanks mum. This looks yummy mum.

I mean I would love them to say that and I do try to instill nice manners in my children. Heck, I even show them respect and good manners (most of the time) but in reality – I can get by just with them doing shit without complaining. Complaining, whingeing, bickering, aint no mother got time for that shit at dinner time.

Ah well, I feel a bit better just getting it out there. It seems a lot of people (self included) are having a bloggy world hiatus and its a shame cause I know I personally like to read all about other people’s lives 🙂

Figured I might start getting a bit more regular again. Translation deadline is next Friday so definitely after then I’ll be seeing you back here more often. OMG, remember when I used to blog everyday! And still do the SHRED and make my children dinner obento in the shape of their favorite anime AND still have time and want to shag my husband. Nice.

May those days not be too fareth away.

And please comment. I miss long threads of comments, almost as therapeutic as the post itself 🙂

SDGH&QL

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Dancing Onis?

27 Oct

Recital day – which doesn’t carry nearly as much menace as it does for THE once every two years recital. But still, I don’t get being told to arrive with hair and makeup done an hour and a half before they dance. But then the sensei’s daughter got hold of Marina and my pathetic attempt at trying to ‘recital ready’ her new short do. I couldn’t get it all tied back well so I did a half ponytail and turned it into a small bun on the top of her head. It was a joke but I knew I had to at least arrive looking like I’d tried. Two mums kind of came up to me and said, ummm, so you know Marina’s bun – to which I laughed and said fuckin useless piece of shit of a bun, I was laughing the whole time I did it but hey, what can ya do – the sensei said hair had to be off the face. They looked so relieved. Wahooooo. I knew it was a piece of shit. They therefore had free rein to tell me it was a piece of shit.

Sigh.

People are dying of hunger in the world.

The sensei’s daughter did a professional job on Marina’s hair, everybody breathed a huge sigh of relief. It was so ridiculous that I said to Marina, hey, perhaps if we just give you a baseball cut life would be easier. I’d just need to get you to hold your hands over your eyes while I spray half a can of hairspray and put in a token hair pin, that would have to stick to the hairspray.

She looked generally terrified – almost as terrified as Ryu at the ‘oni’ that were on stage both before and after us. A traditional Japanese scary dude dance called kagura. They were waiting back stage – so to speak. The stage was a concrete thing with a roof and shit but it was ‘outside’ – backstage was a pine cone covered bank with a tent on a slope and a blue sheet on the ground. Marina was also scared of the ‘oni’ – after that very traumatic experience at the welcome party for the cute German homestay boys – when she got lifted above an Oni’s head and spun round about ten times. Tis all good luck of course, but try telling that to a five-year old.

Ahem, six-year-old.

How did that happen? How did my little princess turn bloody six!! She lost her very first tooth on Friday, the day before her birthday, and due to the tooth fairy coinciding with her birthday she went from rags to riches with a 500 yen coin. She was so unbelievably surprised the next morning – that the little fairy could carry something so big. Tonight, on the way home from okonomiyaki (cause mummy was too shattered to cook dinner) I pointed out the ‘first star’ and Shou promptly announced that the newest teeth are the brightest (the tooth fairy collects teeth for stars in our house) and therefore that star MUST be Marina’s. Ryu was straining his neck to look out the window and I ended up stopping the car so we could all admire Marina’s tooth sparkling in the heavens.

The fact that we just about got crushed by a huge truck while we were parked was lost on the kids.

Ah well, family tragedy averted 🙂

We all live to fight another day, dance another dance, cry at another oni, lose another tooth, and drink another chuhai.

SDGH&QL

 

 

Burning the Candle

24 Oct

Buning the candle at both ends – I think mum used to use that to somehow imply we were partying too hard but unfortunatley in this case, while there might be wine involved, there are no parties.

This translation is getting the better of me. Coupled with parties of the kid variety every second day and I’m needing a really good massage and some me time. I am sitting here drinking a fuckin Violet Fizz 4% Chuahi that hub brought home – which is a bloody joke cause who buys an overworked mother of three a beverage containing anything less than 9%? And even then, if he only gets one I get all snarky.

I have my last english class halloween party tomorrow. I had one on Tuesday and one yesterday. In yesterday’s class I got the kids (ranging 9-11) to stick their head in a mountain of flour in search of hidden coinage. And it was Hands. Down. the most entertaining thing I have seen in the last month full of academic policy and tertiary bollocksy regulations. Initially only two boys said they would play but the lure of a 500 yen coin and actually being able to keep it had the other kids in there too. I don’t know if this is a globally known party game? but it is definitely something we did on occassion at parties as children in New Zealand.  And now I can see why the adults did it. Worth every bloody penny.

Only I did forget to tell them to keep their mouthes shut until they thought they had a coin and therefore I had 6 kids dry wretching mouthfulls of flour in the kale patch next door. Nonetheless they all went home very happy and so far social services haven’t come a knocking. Was a complete bitch to clean up though.

In other news I joined an online diet bet thing where you bet like $25 dollars and pledge to lose 4% of your weight in 30 days. I had all good intentions but it is fucking near really really hard to do if I have to sit at the computer for every minute my brain is functioning – so that was $25 dollars down the gurgler and quite possibly straight onto my thighs.

Marina has a dance recital practice on Saturday, her 6th birthday. She had a party with 6 girls from kinder last weekend. I used a birthday invite template and upon realising that I couldn’t put Japanese into it just thought I’d give them the whole hog kiwi birthday experience and leave it in English. Japan’s not big on birthday parties and it was the first experience for all of the 6 girls. One mum, who drops her child off at kinder every day, who I speak to on many ocassions, and whose daughter I taught English to last year, was worried because she had never left her daughter on her own before ….. which considering all the kinder kids call me sensei and poke my tits, I found quite offensive. Of course I offered her to stay for the duration of the party but she didn’t in the end. Yay, cause it was fuckin chaos and I had to use my sensei voice several times.

The actual dance recital is on Sunday but I am secretly hoping the tail end of typhoon 27 will mean the outdoor stage gets rained out. Hub is away all weekend sitting an emergency and evaucation from earthquakes, tsunamis and the like supervisors exam which his office is making him do. So if it is raining all weekend I plan on renting ten dvds, getting all other electrical gadgets to 100%, buying shitloads of crisps, and locking the kids in the lounge so I can translate more bollocks.

Until I find the time again…

SDGH&QL

 

 

Sleeping Under the Stairs

13 Oct

“I am sleeping under the stairs cause you r a dickhead. If you think you can be a good housewife then do it. But don’t shit on me for lack of house work on a month I have more work than you … Fuck off”

This would be a direct copy of what I sent MYSELF last night, after too much wine, as I lay in my little nest under the stairs. Yes, in that space I transformed for my kids to play in, so they had a cool little hut and gettaway, but alas, which they hardly ever bloody use unless friends come around – who all think its super cool.

I guess you could call me a bit of a lazy housewife. Just a bit mind you. If you ask anyone that comes over they will probably say the house is kept well enough. But then they don’t look for shit like hub does. It’s not like he’s going out of his way but he does have very special selective horse blinker sight. He tends to view windows, and the genkan (main entrance –  which I tend not to give a rats ass about cause really the only people who stay longer than a minute in there are the Jehovah witness lady who used to sit on the step with Granny K, while the two of them got out their magnifying glasses and she explained random bits of a religion Granny K had no interest in but just couldn’t say no, and the old vestling dude from down the road who I think just likes looking at my tits – definitely has no interest in how the shoes are lined up anyway), and the bloody bathroom.

The bathroom isn’t a manking mess. It’s a Japanese wet room after all. It self cleans itself every fuckin day – by which I mean the kids hose it down and get soap everywhere, but I’m sure it wont be long before Japanese wet rooms really are self-cleaning. But fuck, the rail on the sliding door into the bathroom is perhaps a bit manking. I agree. Its one of those ten minute jobs us housewives know have to get done and which never get done because there are a mountain of more imminent and serious jobs that need doing – for the sake of family peace and well-being. Like cleaning pee off the toilet door, and scrubbing chalk pictures of poo off the front porch. They. Are. Just. More. Pressing.

In my book.

Hub has a completely different book and last night he opened it up and proceeded to tell me, directly, how if he was a housewife he would be so much better. I get it. He hates the washing pile on the couch, the fact Shou can’t find his spikes the day before soccer (also my fault of course), and the dirty manky door rail bit to the bathroom. But for the love of fucking god man, do I not think he’d be skiving off to pachinko and the boat races (his new thing) if he was a housewife?

Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I tried to tell him that the first shit I do in my day is the normal shit that just has to be done. Ya know. Cleaning up after the kids, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, vacuuming, making sure we can eat, airing out the bedding, separating the garbage.. rah rah. I don’t particularly like cleaning the bathroom, although because it is a wet room I do clean it completely naked – which amuses hub. But really. If you have to wipe down the roof and the walls you may as well be naked. Besides, we have good water pressure so it can be an enjoyable task.

I told hub, after too much wine, that he could fuck off. I did agree that even I think watching the Mentalist and Grays Anatomy in the middle of the day is up there with bon-bon guzzling daytime soap watching lazy housewives BUT, he is not allowed to utter a word about housework during a month I have translation work that amounts to a 40 hour week. Nope, nah, shut it. Put a fuckin cork in it. Not having a bar of it.

Why I decided to make a nest of futons under the stairs is beyond me – perhaps I thought it would be a laugh if he woke up and couldn’t find me, thought I’d left kind of thing.

Ha ha.

I woke up about 1am, wondered where the fuck I was, and pulled my nest out to the altar room – the usual room of choice when one of us needs to try and prove just how fucked off we are with the other.  I think I must have txted myself so I would know why I was sleeping in between a fan, a book shelf and a desk loaded with lego, all enclosed in walls about 2m by 1m.

Quite a shame really, as yesterday morning started out with morning international relations – of which there have been very few lately – while the kids watched cartoons and played with lego downstairs.

And tonight? Hub is still convinced I know were Shou’s soccer spikes are. I don’t think I do, but then it did take me more than 24 hours to find the iPad after I ‘put it in a safe place’ after too much wine last week. But why would I hide his spikes? I haven’t seen them for weeks cause Shou hasn’t played a game for weeks.

Hub’s out when he is feeling like he is the only one capable of doing anything right – fuck it, why did I marry a B-gata (blood type). You’re all fucking selfish useless pricks.

To which I remind him that at least he has Ryu. Best the man start molding the boy to check for mold and dirt in the genkan now.

SDGH&QL

Translation tunnel for which there is no immediate light

8 Oct

In the thick of translation hell. Its one of those ones where if, for some reason or other, you can’t get your quota done for just one day, it has a slow but formidable  domino effect on the next 27 days and dat deadline starts looking scary.

I was meant to be translating business case studies – with a deadline of the end of February – huurrah. That’s a sipping pina coladas and painting my toenails kinda deadline. But the day after I started they halted it with intentions of getting a bigger budget and more case studies, supposedly resulting in more money for more pina coladas and nail polish.

The same day I got a call from a different office with a random 90 page power point presentation that they needed done in ten days.  That kinda shit just has me swigging wine straight from the bottle.

But I like power points.

Call me old-fashioned.

So I took the job on, and subsequently finished the job.

The next day I get another email from the same office. I think I’ve fucked something up but no, they have another favor.

120 pages for a big university review being held in a month. I laughed down the phoneline. I mean who expects that shit? I have three children, I teach English, I make cupcakes and spend three hours making lasagna four times a week. I aint got the time for that shit.

And besides, it was full on pages. Not lovely power point.

So it got knocked back to 80 pages and I am full steam ahead.

On the same day I got a call from MY old office. They had 13 pages for me… could I do it pretty please. So I said yes to that too and smashed that out the first day cause it was all shit I knew, kanji I knew, phrases I’d coined myself 8 years ago when I worked there. Easy peasy pina colada japanesey.

But now I am in university policy hell so don’t expect any more frequency in updates than you’ve been getting for the last month anyway 🙂

Hope you are all well. Feel free to pass this address on to any other gaijin who you think might get a laugh or two, or learn something about translating, or ballet bollocks, or soccer bollocks, or hip hip (no bollocks after that), or PTA, or being married to a Japanese man, or living in the middle of fuckin nowhere rah rah…

Right, I best have a chuhai and prepare myself for having to close the typhoon shutters. It has been a while so I’m pretty sure it will be arachnophobia part whatever the minute I pull them out of their storage slot. Gahhhhhhhhhhhhh. I want to be a silly girl and wait for hub to get home but the wind has started picking up.

I think I can, i think I can…

SDGH&QL

The Front Door

2 Oct

And like I mean, the actual front door of our house. Not MY front door, as opposed to my back door or any such similar nonsense. Our front door is a bit fucked. It has two locks – a middle lock and a side lock. We all tend to lock the middle lock, or both.

Having to have sliding doors for your main entrance is one of the downfalls of living in Japan. I would have much preferred a nice big solid front door but at house building time I think Granny K was prattling on about how it would be easier to get her and her wheelchair in a sliding door. I was pregnant and hormonal al the time and put up a bit of a fight that included the argument that she would be in a vestling impaired home well before I would be needing to  push her wheelchair round the house but then hub piped up that a sliding door would be better for the pushchair too….. so I lost the argument. In hindsight I should have stuck to my guns  because in Japan a pushchair is like a pair of shoes – it has to stay in the entranceway or outside, so its not like I could have rolled it on into the house to keep a sleeping baby asleep.

So anyhoo, the middle lock is fucked. It took me five minutes of wriggling yesterday to even get the damn thing unlocked. This morning Granny K wants to head outside to go put her washing on – she has a washing machine out in the shed. An old one. That she knows how to use. She refuses to use the nice big front loading drum machine we have inside. But, she couldn’t get out the front door. Fucker wouldn’t even unlock from the inside.

Her and hub stand there trying to wriggle it for ten minutes, Shou suggests using a few screws, a hammer and maybe a safety-pin, and I suggest we ring up the door man to come fix our lock. Hub is DIY retarded – as in, puts the back of a drawer on the wrong way, scratches his head when it doesn’t fit, and declares that we need to ring the maker right this instant and demand a new one. You should have seen him trying to help put up the adventure playground. Almost grounds for divorce.

So, when he says that he is going to ‘take it off’ (hazusu) I just presumed he meant the whole fuckin door. I yell no, don’t be stupid, because Granny K and I both have to go out this morning and if we can’t fix it the house will be wide open. He tells me to calm the fuck down and he knows what he’s talking about. I probably then shouted at him to stop shouting at me.

It then became apparent that he wasn’t going to take the whole door off he was just going to unscrew the lock bit and see if he could fix whatever it was that was wrong. This is a language misunderstanding and the bollocksy annoying Japanese way of leaving the subject out of practically every sentence ever, ever, ever. I tell him that he needs to explain things better – especially when I have a huge translation in. Don’t expect me to understand anything unless its university academic policy.

So he fixes it – temporarily. As in, Granny K can now have the luxury of going out the front door to do her washing. Shou takes this as a sign that daddy is superior to mummy – the fact that I didn’t understand daddy’s Japanese. Fortunately hub said no son, it’s a language thing. Neither language is better they are just different and mum gets frustrated…..

Yeah, and if you could all just mind speaking more English a bit I’d get less frustrated.

Thanks very much.

It just took me five minutes wriggling the key to get in the house. Me thinks the locksmith will be being called.

SDGH&QL

Sports Day

1 Oct

The weather forecast was for rain and so at half five, and on sleep deprived tender hooks, I am waiting by the phone for the call from sensei as to whether the sports day would be going ahead or not. A simple txt to my phone would have been preferrable. At least that way I could have stayed in bed and not feared waking the sproglets up before need be. As it happened hub was up at half-four and out the door at five – for an all Kyushu high school relay competition his office was running and for which he had spent the previous three days securing 700 flags to the side of the road, setting up meeting rooms and helping at coach and athlete meetings.

So, the sports day was on, and as it turned out it was a slightly overcast but then very hot day. Shou was super excited – despite telling me the night before that he wished he was in a different family and that I was not his mother from which forth the saloon doors had propelled him. Hard luck my son. And no, for the record, Santa will not be buying you a BB Gun for Christmas. It’s not just mums that suck. Santa sucks too. And No, I don’t care if you want to use YOUR money in YOUR bank account. Mum needs to sign for it and this will not happen.

But the morning of the sports day all was forgotten and all three kids were excited and amped. Shou had to be there at half seven, so I dropped the other two off then too and faffed round  by the grass-less field asking random PTA members and teachers if I could help with anything, sipping coffee and playing minion rush.

The highlight of the day was the event that Marina’s class did – that involved those big giant mushroom painted bags. Not real mushrooms, cartoon mushrooms like these. The parents had to turn around while the teachers put the bags over the kids heads. You could only see their calves and feet – which were bare. All socks and shoes had been removed and teachers had even gone to the trouble of sticking random plasters on legs and feet to really throw us off. The parents had to them turn around and try and find their child, after which they then had to piggy back them to the finish line.

The kids were obviously grouped according to weight as when we were waiting the back line of mums (me included) all started on about how piggy backing 25kg of pre schooler was going to be heavy.  I guess this made sense as a pair of very skinny legs amongst lesser skinny legs would be easy to pick out. It was surprisingly very difficulty to recall your own child’s calves and loads of parents didn’t first off the bat. It was highly amusing. I’m sure if I was close enough I would have got Marina on the smell of her feet alone but as it happened I picked out her legs straight away and ran to take off the paper bag, tussling with another mum who was convinced the ‘heart nameko’ was her daughter.

Victory.

Shou was on the white team, the victorious team, and when they announced the winning team you could see him pump the air with a huge grin on his face. Him and HT Boy did their little speal on what they enjoyed the most, with Shou doing the classic bow and hit your head on the microphone. giggle giggle.

We had planned on going home and not returning but it turned out Shou was required for the kids relay for the adults sports day in the afternoon – so we left, scoffed some lunch, and went back to join in round two of sports day festivities, festivities carried out by 30% people under the age of 70 and 70% vestlings. So with such percentages it was soon very apparent that I was going to be utilized to throw balls, knock over beer bottles and lend my massive gaijin muscles to the tug of war – from which I might add, my arms are still recovering. Nothing done by halves I tell ya. All very serious.

By finish time Shou was somewhere around the ground catching bugs with his friend, Marina was doing cartwheels in any space she could find, and Ryu was sooo tired that on the way to the car he ran straight into a parked van. Minus the tears and bumped forehead, it was almost comical. I was SURE he must have seen it and thought he was just pretending to kind of bump into it but no, he powered into it, forehead and big gaijin nose first and almost ricocheted off. Poor tired love.

Needless to say they were all asleep by 7 and I was squiffing chuhai, filling hub up on the days events and checking in on Ryu every so often to make sure he hadn’t suddenly passed out.

SDGH&QL

Mrs D Is Going Without

Too much wine in rural Japan