Archive | November, 2013

God son, not again

30 Nov

Yesterday my keitai rings at about half two. It is Shou’s school. If it’s the kinder it usually means a child has a fever of 37.2 or something as equally ridiculous caused by said child running crazy or having just woken up from nap. But kids tend to stop getting random fevers when they get a bit bigger so if it’s a call from the school it’s usually a bit more serious.

Most instances to date have involved Shou lashing back and inflicting pain on other child. Highlights thus far include the baka handshake their teacher lets the two of them do at the end of each day (not anymore). They both lost balance one day, Shou didn’t fall but HTB did and whacked his head on the side of the desk. According to him and I’m sure the story he told his parents it was Shou’s fault. According to the teacher they were both in the wrong, as was she for letting them be silly buggers as part of their daily routine, but Shou just escaped unharmed.

They still have a way of making you feel very guilty though – don’t worry though, Shou didn’t mean to hurt HTB on purpose she said at the time. Really? You’ve just finished telling me they both lost their balance doing an over zealous handshake.  HTB, who has the athletic ability of a retarded snail, fell and is now in the nurses room with an icepack on his head. It was an ‘accident’.

The other one that comes to mind is when Shou and a 3rd grader were arguing and getting physical when Shou put the 3rd grader in a WWF super headlock and the 3rd grader bit him on the arm cause I think Shou was obviously obstructing his airway. What I question most out of this scenario is the after school care club staff. apparently Shou DIDN’T just go up and put the boy in a headlock. There had been a big argument and some pushing that lead up to the serious stuff.

Shit, then there was the time Shou and HTB were sitting down playing Lego and Shou took a piece of HTB’s lego. HTB lashed out by going in for the BITE – to which Shou, in that survival instinct of wanting to protect his face, lashed his claws out and HTB ended up with scratch marks down his face and once again Shou was left unscathed, but they both ended up in tears and when I arrived, exactly then, a second grade boy was physically pushing both their heads down and ordering them to apologise to each other – while the after school care woman was sitting there. (later HTB relayed the story by telling me Shou picked up his Lego and threw it and it smashed – which is blatant lies, like the time I went to pick Shou up and HTB ran up to me with tears in his eyes saying Shou had been kicking him. The after school care lady said, no he wasn’t HTB, you were both playing a game quite happily that involved you running around doing sideways ninja jumps and trying to hit the other person, you just kept missing and Shou got one in – it is no wonder his father blames Shou for everything when all they are hearing from their son is how Shou does this and that)

ANYHOO,

Yesterday, bloody yesterday. Shou’s teacher rings me to tell me about an incident that happened during lunch break in the gym. The kids were playing and a 4th grade boy threw a basketball at Shou. It missed. Shou threw it back. It didn’t miss and the boy turned at the last minute and got it to the side of the head – and was currently in the nurse’s room with an ice-pack on his head.

The teacher said the boy hollered blue murder. You could hear him cry throughout the school. Shou, who I can only guess was scared because it wasn’t his intention to hit the boy in the head and he definitely didn’t want to stick round to see if the boy (biggest boy in school – lovely kid but still, 70kg of 4th grader), was going to return the favor – ran back to his classroom. There was a meeting of sorts with both 1st and 4th grade teachers, Shou, and the other boy. They were both made to apologise and promise they wouldn’t throw balls at each other anymore – unless I imagine they are playing dodgeball, in which case you could probably get away with it. That game gets rough.

Shou’s teacher confirmed my thoughts when she said that Shou’s athletic abilities tend to mean he is left unscathed and the other party is left with an icepack in the nurses room.

He is my son, so of course I don’t want to think he does this kind of shit unprompted and it does seem that 99 percent of the time something has led up to whatever. Yeah, in the face scratching instant with HTB Shou did take his lego first but dang, can you not just ask for it back or tell the teacher. 7 year olds shouldn’t be retaliating with biting.

Unless of course my son has you in a headlock.

Jeeze.

SDGH&QL

PS, took Shou round to the boy’s house directly to apologise with a small gift. I teach the boy and his brother English, used to work with their dad and am friends with the mum. The boy seems fine, no bruises, no bump on his head, nada. Had a chat with the mum and we are now going out for a mummy bonenkai in December and she is buying my chuhais for the PTA bonenkai next Friday – at which only beer is provided and if we want anything else must bring

A Deserved Trip, you twatholes

28 Nov

On Wednesdays I read to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders at Shou’s school. It’s highly entertaining, is voluntary, nets me 250 yen each time I go, and is followed up with a coffee and random banter in the principles office, usually with the other two woman who go – whom I can’t really be faffed talking with but whom I do talk to on the rare occasion that I have a spare fifteen minutes to waste.

Yesterday they brought up the scheduling, noting that I am not scheduled on for all of January. They asked why and my face lit up and I said ‘weeel, I’m off back to NZ for ten days all on my own. So very very exciting. I couldn’t suppress my extreme delight and fact that I am crossing off the calendar to the ten children free days of I don’t know, what do people without children do anyway? I’ve forgotten, but have a secret suspicion it might involve getting my nails done and squiffing loads of wine.

They looked a bit shocked and the principle said really? you are actually going back for ten whole long days and leaving your children without their mother? When were you going to tell us?

It was my turn to looked shocked and I think if I had had the liberty of being able to speak in English I would have said something along the lines of “Oh please, they aren’t three-day old fledglings stuck in a nest 30m above the ground. They have a routine. They also have a father AND a grandmother who know this routine and who have both agreed to ensure said routine runs smoothly whilst mother runs away for ten days. And quite frankly I don’t care if routine is a bit bumpy and they have ice cream for breakfast every day – which I might add would never happen as can be proved by the grilled salmon, egg roll and rice breakfast their father cooked them this morning”

And why the fuck do I need to inform the school two months before the event?

I will tell Shou’s teacher – for sure I will. I was never planning on skipping the country without doing so but why work it up into this huge thing. Shou, and the other two, do not need two months of constant reminders that mummy is going away for ten days. The more you bloody talk to them about it the bigger of an omiyage I’m going to need to try and fit in my damn suitcase.

I can understand their concern – because most Japanese fathers do not do as much as hub. Hub is very capable and has learned a diverse array of new tricks since marrying me – yes, these may have been learnt through necessity and not want but still, between him and Granny K, the kids will be well fed, clothed in clean clothes, warm, loved and, if I leave the i-pad behind, entertained. It didn’t occur to me that I might need to ‘consult’ with the school before planning a holiday sans children which will have no impact on Shou’s school routine.

After expressing their concern I tried to explain that I had had one, two and even three children EVERY trip home while mum and dad were sick and dying and this was my first trip to their grave without having to count relatives, give greetings and make sure my kids weren’t flinging grave dirt all over the place and standing on mum and dad in their boxes. The woman I particularly dislike frowned and said, but you’ll have all the time in the world to do selfish trips on your own when the kids have left the nest, to which the other woman said, true true, wait till you are 60.

…… ????? !!!!! (repeat)

She didn’t use the actual word ‘selfish’ but she may as well have cause I came out of there feeling like a crap mother, had a snivel on the way home, and then thought FUCK YOU, and then proceeded to crank up the Cranberries ‘Zombie’ loud enough for the deaf woman next door to hear, while I danced round the house cleaning and wondering if half nine was too early for chuhai.

Which it was of course. Can’t be doing silly stuff like drinking before wine-o’clock, which these days has to be after pick up and dinner and what ever soccer, English or dance commitments are on the cards for that particular evening.

Speaking of English….. on Tuesday we were playing Bingo with short sight words and I turned over ‘she’ followed by ‘is’ – and the three girls noted it could be a sentence and we all wondered what I would turn over next…

‘on’

….

‘her’

One girl was tuned out, one is too mature to say anything and the 5th grader dissolved into fits of laughter – that kind where you know you shouldn’t be laughing but can’t help it, and end up with really sore abs cause you’re trying so hard to stop. I think if I had this kind of laughter now, after three children and mutilating my pelvic floor, I’d just end up peeing my pants.

SDGH&QL

Image

So Sensei isn’t Sick

23 Nov

I’m really at a bit of a loss for words.

OK, so that’s not really true, but for fucks sake sensei. I pick the kids up from school, come home, realise I have only got one egg so make Ryu and Marina their okonomiyaki and tell Shou I’ll have to get him something on the way to hip hop. I am running round getting things sorted so I can leave in time to drop the DVDs off and make it back in time for the start of hip hop and of course the almighty meeting of great proportions to which we have all been summonsed.

Chairs are dragged into a big circle of supposedly harmonious ‘wa’. M-chan and the dance PTA head (the only father really involved in dance) don’t arrive on time and you can see sensei looking at her phone and telling her daughter that ‘she even rang M-chan’s mum the previous night to make sure she came’. M-chan’s mum arrives about two minutes and 24 seconds after the meeting has officially started. I try to catch her eye cause it is now apparent that sensei woke the 36 week pregnant woman up at 10 pm last night to tell her she had to be here, at this all important meeting about the FUCKIN BONENKAI – which she wont even be able to attend cause she’ll have a new born.

Apparently on Wednesday after class the teacher got all the mums together – I was in that highly entertaining meeting for the child-rearing review board and just got the very tail end of what was going on but still, it was obvious the teacher was having one of her precious moments where she feels the innate need to impart on everyone her feelings of extreme disappointment at the lack of harmony, the lack of understanding, and just the fact that we are all lacking. I myself was only lacking wine, or perhaps someone pouring straight vodka down my throat at the time.

So last night she starts by saying how dance is an expressive artform of love and yadda yadda harmonious bollocks and that if we wanted our daughters to be able to perform to the best of their ability then surely it made sense that we needed to also express similar qualities – and perhaps be a bit more fuckin organized about sorting out the end of year party. Why wasn’t it organized yet? Did the 3 mums in charge of the PTA stuff not hear her as she made a mention about the party at the end of the last recital, in a room full of 40 people, 3 of whom were my children screaming about whose turn it was to play Minion Rush at the top of their lungs. She didn’t say that but damn, it was a ‘mention’ in a noisy crowded room.

I suppose they could have been more on to it. I mean they have been in the dance scene for the last four or five years. We did get an email asking whether this date or that date was better. I didn’t bother to reply with sorry, but on this date I’ll be screaming in front of ARASHI along with 30 thousand other screaming girls.

Turns out that on Wednesday they couldn’t decide on anything and sensei just thought some people were being too selfish, expecting the party to revolve around their needs.

Being the outspoken gaijin that I am I wanted to say ‘for fucks sake woman, I thought you were bloody well dying of cancer.’ But instead I said that there should be a couple of set meetings a year – hougoushakai in Japanese. We have four a year for soccer and things get decided. The PTA head hands out shit with the agenda and stuff and we go through and decisions are made by the people that can turn up. If you can’t turn up nevermind but don’t complain about decisions that get made without you there. We need to stop having ‘meetings’ after dance when girls are running round and some mothers aren’t there because they don’t even bloody know the impromptu meeting was taking place.

It really is ridiculous. I’m sure half the faffing around would disappear if we had a set number of meetings. As long as the sensei has made her desires known to the PTA head then she doesn’t need to and shouldn’t be at the meetings. We could have them in a the meeting room while the dance class is on. Its all so bloody simple it hurts.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK – I can’t believe it couldn’t wait till today’s class. Sensei said a couple of mothers work on Saturdays and that’s why she did it last night. There are about 17 mothers and we all have lives outside of dance. Well, I do. A couple of the mums don’t but a lot work and have other children and shit. It’s not possible to get everyone together every time.

So anyhoo, sorry for amping it up in yesterday’s post. I was certain it was something a bit more major than the end of year party.

Oh and just quickly – got an email back from the Uni saying it was a shame they couldn’t use me next year and that he would 改めて相談させていただきます try and work something out – but not holding my breath.

Oh and just quickly about the bank thing too – they rang yesterday to say I had to go in and give them a copy of my gaijin card so they could verify I am who I say I am and so they can staple the copy to the print out of the overseas transaction. I will have to do this EVERYTIME a transaction comes in from overseas. Every fuckin time. I am going in on Monday to do this. I then saw the woman again at the kinder pickup and she apologised for the rule change and it being such a pain in the ass. She also asked me if I was Japanese yet…..

Even if I wanted to I could never become a Japanese citizen. Well technically I think there is a way to that may or may not include having to prove you can slurp noodles, straighten all the shoes in the genkan the moment you take your shoes off, sit ‘seiza’ for 45 minutes without needing your legs amputated and that of course you hang trousers out to dry by threading a pole through one leg.

She admitted I wouldn’t need to prove who I was if I was Japanese. So Japanese people can get missile and drug money from overseas accounts but I can’t. I am going to confirm this on Monday when I go and talk to the bank honcho – whose daughter I happen to teach English to.  I emailed my contact at the company just to confirm that I can’t get paid from an account within Japan and she wrote back saying no, I would either have to get them to try and not require face to face confirmation for every transaction OR open a UFJ or Mizuho account – cause they are more international.

Off to have more coffee, light the fire, make pizza dough and look into that UFJ account.

SDGH&QL

 

Fidgety Fidgety

22 Nov

The benefits of me deactivating my Face Book account – hub gets more sex and you guys get more posts. I can also feel better about not wasting hours worrying about other people’s lives! As much fun as that is though 🙂 Last time I went cold turkey on FB I only lasted 3 days. I think I might be up to a week now.

I am all fidgety and need to TALK, so here I am.

This morning I emailed the University to say I am close to going over my income limit for this year and next year too – therefore I regret to inform you that unless you hire me properly, or can at least guarantee me twice as much work, I will be unable to take on anymore translations until 2015. And its such a shame because I love you guys and have been part of the ‘family’ for over ten years and am so knowledgeable in the ways of the university and really, hiring me makes more sense than bringing someone else in. I’m also quite funny, and I have big boobs.

I sent two emails – one to the lady in charge of the big project I finished and for which I need to get paid in January not now – and one to the HR guy who bought me lunch last week.

The lovely lady in charge of my last project just phoned. She’s in a bit of a panic because they have a lot of work coming in and had me in their sights for a big portion of it. I have explained all the  tax, pension and rah rah side of it and we talked about options. She is promptly off to see the HR guy to try and work something out. I told her to tell him to hire me. She laughed – in that I’m just a poor office worker too far down the food chain to wield any real power – kind of way.

I’m on my third cup of coffee and just can’t keep still – which I know, could be caffeine related but more probably is because I’ve written an email that is more ballsy than my usual style.

I’m also wondering what is up with the dance sensei. We got an email late last night saying that EVERYONE had to be at the hip hop venue tonight – including the mothers of those kids who dont even fuckin take hip hop. M-chan’s mum got a phone call directly from the sensei at 10 pm telling her she needed to come. She’s 8 months pregnant, M-chan doesn’t do hip hop so driving 40 minutes for an hour long talk to drive back again is a pain in the ass – especially when EVERYONE Does have ballet the following day.

What is so important that it can’t wait 24 hours? My guess is someone is sick or she’s finally handing over the reins entirely to her daughter and the hip hop teacher. But even then, whats in 24 hours? Just to inconvenience people. I doey not get it captain.

Odd.

Right, off to do some more of the translations I already have.

SDGH&QL

 

q

21 Nov

OK, this is completely not related to any previous posts but…

Tonight, as I went to pick Ryu and Marina up from kinder another mum stopped me (she is wife of Shou’s soccer coach and someone I used to work with and would probably put in the ‘friend box’ – she also works at the local bank).

Bank mum: ummmm, soooo, who is INKU?

gaijinwife: INKU?

Bank Mum: ERA something INKU…?

gaijinwife: ahhhhhm, Era****** INKU kana?

Bank mum: yes, yes, yes. 38,000 yen. Deposited into your bank account yesterday.

gaijinwife: and why do you need to know this?

Bank mum: the bank is getting stricter on overseas transactions.

gaijinwife: OK, it was for work.

Bank mum: were they paying you for INK?

gaijinwife: NO! why the fuck do I want 500 dollars worth of fuckin INK. INKU stands for Inc. like Ltd. or whatever. It’s just part of the company name. I AM NOT an illicit INK importer for FUCKS FUCKIN SAKE.

I didn’t say this of course but damn. The first thing I thought was hey, do you ask Japanese clients with overseas transactions the same question?

All this lead to a conversation between hub and I – about how much I was earning. In Japan, as a dependant you have to earn LESS than 103 man. You earn more than that and you get stuck with reitrement fund paymenets, social insurance and the loss from hub ‘losing’ a ‘dependant’. All in all you either have to earn 103  man or 200. inbetween is cat piss shithouse.

So we realised that the current invoice to the univeristy CAN NOT be paid this month – or I will go over quota. So I sent an email to the university – asking them to PLEASE process the invoice in January instead. Also told them that due to the other projects they have me doing – that finish between Jan and March next year I am NO LONGER ABLE TO TAKE ON ANYTHING from them FOR ALL OF 2014.

I am ‘hoping’ they pull through with goodness. BUT I thought that last week and got nada. If they completely ignore me and offer me jack shit and say, hey, thats OK, we’ll just use you again from 2015′ I may well blow up someones fuckin car.

Don’t worry, I’ll post footage.

SDGH&QL

Now on the Committee

21 Nov

I think I might have mentioned that one evening when I was picking Ryu and Marina up the head of the kinder asked if I would go to a city meeting on child rearing. All it involved was about a two-hour meeting in the next town over. I was asked because I am head of the kinder PTA this year. Nobody has ever been before from our area and it was starting to look bad so could I please go. Seems a lot of ‘new’ shit has been thrown into my PTA head court this year. The summer festival, the aisatsu to welcome pre-school education specialist, and now bloody this.

I did try and turn it down but it was one of those very Japanese obligatory volunteer things. And so I said yes. The teacher didn’t know when it actually was but she would go ahead and put my name forward as representative. Huurah.

A couple of weeks back the guy in charge of it all got me outside of Marina’s Wednesday night dance and sat me down, gave me forty pages of material to ‘look over’ and showed me the upcoming schedule – which involved another couple of meetings.

Aha, the plot thickins. I’ve been fuckin scammed. It’s not a single meeting comprising two hours of my time, I’m now on the city-wide child rearing review committee. Double Huurah right there.

Last night was the first official meeting Conveniently placed on a Wednesday during the time Marina is dancing in the room two doors away.

Turns out one of the other dance mums was scammed too. The whole city is made up of 4 towns, totalling about 50,000 people. And 5 mothers have been chosen as committee members, along with heads of kindergartens, after school care places and community child service organizations.

I walked into the meeting room and see I am officially the committee member for hoikuen (full time kindergarten 7 – 6 type thing). I have a little name tag an deverything. We are in a big square formation – in quite a big hall and with microphones on tables. None of this makes for a friendly environment to talk about the problems the city has with child rearing services and shite. The city mayor starts proceedings off and then leaves. Cause he aint got no time for that shit.

The city office in charge is represented by six employees, one of whom looks like he used to be in the mob (and when I was telling hub who was there that’s how I described him and he knew exactly who I was talking about), and who used to be head of the tax department when hub was there, and the guy who I spoke with a few weeks ago, a guy who spent a lot of the time looking at my well covered up chest, two other men and a poor woman who got bollocked by one of the committee members for reading the paper we had in our hands out word for word to us – a very Japanese thing that accounts for usually about half the meeting time and makes for extreme unproductivity (?) of work.

After we had all given a self introduction, the first item to attend to was choosing the committee head and deputy head. The head is an 80 year old vestling who, despite obviously being quite good at the job of actual chairperson, started his greeting by saying he had forgotten everything there was to know about child rearing.

I laughed.

As in out loud.

I mean that shit just don’t make sense!  I promptly squashed my LOL before it turned into an ROTFL but not before the other older male pre-vestling opposite me had time to stiffle his own LOL at the gaijin LOLing opposite him. I do think this whole falava might be quite entertaining for him. It definitely is for me.

Especially when an ex school principal sitting two seats down got stuck into the poor office lady for reading out a child-rearing and support survey word for word. About 90% of the questions have been decided by the national whatsit board and therefore no amount of opinions exchanged between us would change them so what was the point. Get on with it already. I was pleasantly shocked. Not in 16 years of work or PTA meetings have I ever had someone say reading this shit word for word is a fuckin waste of our time. Huraah – in the positive way.

Shit, did I mention I got a certificate – to verify my commitment to the committee until the end of March 2015. Yes. You read that right.

The country is making various reforms and this committee is set up to discuss and decide on what our city needs to do by way of child rearing services. With the declining population how can we make the city more attractive to younger people – so they wont faff off and decide to populate somewhere else instead of here. What needs to be changed to the current services and what new services need to be introduced rah rah.

It actually does seem quite interesting and I will definitely have a voice. It seems like, apart form the other dance mum who is very meek and admitted on the way out that she wouldn’t be able to say anything, that the other 3 mums are all opinionated. This is good. Or else it would be 5 vestling males, one who openly admitted to having no  memory of anything he did towards raising his kids, and a pre-vestling female who is the head of a bamboo making society or something, deciding the fate of child rearing services in our fair city.

I was a bit pissed off when one of the office dudes was doing a speal and put in a sentence of extreme local dialect. I know the local dialect well. My kids speak the local dialect, but I had never heard this particular phrase. Despite the fact that I have been living in this prefecture for nearly twice as long the other four mums he asked ME (obviously, I’m the gaijin) if I knew what yaddayaddabollocks meant? I said of course not, how could I possibly (the answer he wanted), which lead to a small round of laughter from everyone. On the way out I asked two of the other mums and nadda – they hadn’t known what it meant either.

I think I’ll speak completely in dialect for the next meeting.

Twat.

SDGH&QL

Well, at least they bought me bloody lunch.

15 Nov

So it would appear that the nice drive along the coast and coffee with the HR guy from the univeristy I have my standing freelance translating contract with, was, well just that. A nice drive and oh, I got lunch AND a coffee.

FUCKIN FOOLISH FUCKIN IDIOT.

That is what I’m feeling right now. After I got over man I’m just a fat stay at home mum who nobody appreciates and everybody takes for granted cry in the car on the way home. I mean I was so upset that when I went into the supermarket to get something easy to whip up for dinner I just walked hazely past all the wine. Well, actually I had a short look but mmmm, non plussed, keep on walking. That is how much the meeting mind fucked me.

Now I’m just feeling foolish. What a waste of three hours. What a waste of cancelling my English class. What a waste of the little bit of mascarra and lippy I put on. What a waste for spending twenty minutes trying on ten outfits to see which made me look the least fat. And what a fuckin waste for shaving my legs. Bloody Jeeze.

I worked at the university for four years and since then I have had this ongoing translation contract which is, as all translators can understand, very feast or famine. At the moment I’m feasting so much I’m in danger of having to start the biggest loser for translators BUT there are alwas quite a few months of the year were it is famine, and I am left twiddling my thumbs and wondering how they can so superbly concentrate all the work into just a few months at the end of the year.

Basically the meeting consisted of them telling me that instead of getting emails from 6 offices depending on who had a translation they needed doing, I would be getting them just from this one new centralised office. Wahooo. Job well done boys.

I seriously had my hopes up that they might offer me a more permanent position, what as seeing as I’m so fabulous and all. After it was clear they came all this way to buy me lunch and just ‘onegaishimasu’ for the next contract that would be through this one office, I actually straight out asked them if they had any plans to have any more full time translator jobs like my friend in Fukuoka is on. Nope. Nada. But this way this one centralized office could do things like tell the other offices if I was too busy with home or kid stuff.

Fuckin yay. Wont that be neat.

I shouldn’t be so upset because its not like it was a negative meeting, but I had stupidly thought it would be a bit more productive. I even confirmed with hub what I needed to ask about contract stuff. And I had my inkan in my bag – just in case…

AND I shaved my fuckin legs. Did I mention that already?

I am now feeling a lot better for ranting about it and do believe I am in a better head space to go buy lots of wine. I have also just finished a translation for another company about stone art sculptures, in which some of the artists write bloody poems about their concept and floating sands of time and such bollocks. Now I just need to get through hip hop tonight and I can squiff beverages and rant to hub about it all.

SDGH&QL

Mrs D Is Going Without

Too much wine in rural Japan