OK, so that was a gaijin fuck-uppity

5 Nov

Thank you for comments on previous dance bollocks, power-seeking, beeeeeeeeyatch of a dance teacher post. It’s nice to have comments again. I feel like I’m talking lots of English again 🙂 In my head. Lots of English voices in my head. …

Which reminds me, did I ever tell you the only part in a school play I’ve ever played (minus sheep and perhaps a wise-man once) was a schizo woman who half dribbled and yelled ‘I hear voices in my head’. It was a great part.

I did a stellar job.

Marina’s recital went fine on Sunday. Not a word was mentioned by the teacher but I did get the distinct feeling that the mother who I had been talking with at the table had told some other people because it felt like I was being watched in an ‘I wonder what she’ll say, when she’ll say it and, whether or not the boat of ‘wa’ (Japanese harmony) will be completely smashed against the rocks.’

Dance for tomorrow is recital practice and on Saturday there isn’t Jazz or normal class because we have a small recital in an old temple, followed by homemade cake by the temple owner lady. Then on Sunday we have our local big festival for the year which Marina and Ryu dance at for the kinder and then Marina dances at for the nazi dance teacher. But I will keep you informed of any hint of anything that goes on between me and the Jazz teacher and/or her mother.

So, I digress.

Today’s post is about a bit of a fuck-upitty with Shou. He brings home screeds and screeds of bloody paperwork from school. I can flick through it and know what is bollocks and what needs proper reading. Thank fuckin god. I feel sorry for friends who don’t have the Japanese to be able to just do that. But then even I need gaijin forgiveness at times.

About two weeks ago they dug up the school patch of sweet potatoes (we call them ‘kumura’ in kiwi and they are ‘imo’ in Japanese). Planting and digging up and then cooking kumura is something of a national past time here in Japan. Ryu and Marina did it too and I imagine kids across the land were told to bring gloves and flasks of water and a plastic bag to school on the day of digging – and then a whole list of other shit for the day of cooking.

Shou’s list said ‘apron, head scarf (but his is black with skulls and all manly and cool and shit) , flask of water, container, plate, smile)

OK, so they didn’t get told to bring a smile. That was just me trying to sound all naff like McDonalds – do they still do that? In NZ they used to have the menu and then free: smile.  I doubt they do it in Japan cause this is the land of customer service and if you didn’t bow, smile and screech ‘irashaimase’ at the top of your customer service voice range you’d get fired on the spot. NZ works a bit on island time. Writing that smiles were free was probably more of a reminder to the staff than it was to the customers 🙂

🙂 🙂 🙂

you got all those for free folks 🙂

O.M.G, I haven’t even had a drink and I am going off on tangents. My fingers must like having free reign over the keyboard and not having to stop and start trying to translate bloody fiscal policies and compliance regulations.

So, anyhoo, I send Shou off for his day of kumara cooking with all the shit that the list requires. While she wasn’t written on the list, Granny K was invited to attend, along with about twenty other local vestlings. She had wanted to go to the kumara digging session but got told they already had enough vestlings and she COULDN’T COME. I had a bit of a whinge to the school – what as seeing like I’m there three days a week and drinking coffee in the principal’s office anyway. So they made sure she got on the list for the cooking day.

The cooking day was last week.

This morning I give the kids their breakfast (vegemite on toast) on our blue plastic plates and Shou pipes up:

  • Shou: why did you give me this plate last week for our cooking day thing with the old people?
  • Mummy: cause it said you had to take a plate and I thought, that seeing as you had to walk 2km with it, that it made more sense for it to be plastic.
  • Shou: the notice I brought home said ‘ochawan’
  • Mummy: fuck, did it? I thought it just said ‘osara’
  • Shou: Nooooo, EVERYBODY else had a bowl and I had a flat plate.
  • Mummy: and did it make a difference?
  • Shou: well, it meant the teacher felt sorry for me and gave me her bowl to drink the soup from.
  • Mummy: ………… that was lucky then aye.
  • Shou: yeah, I guess.
  • Mummy: next time let’s check your list together aye.
  • Hub: good idea (giggle giggle)

I haven’t had a misread like that for a long time. Fortunately Shou wasn’t too phased by it and we all just laughed it off and I told him that sometimes mummy, because she wasn’t Japanese, skimmed things a bit and just presumed shit.

Ah well, lesson learnt.

Read shit more carefully, and perhaps verify said lists with son before packing wrong shit in his bag.

Fuckin shit, I don’t think I told you that I have been asked to sit on an education and child raising review committee for the city. Not because I’m like fabulous and have heaps of answers, but because I am kinder PTA head this year and they had to ask me. I am friends with the other mum going from Kunimi. At dance last Wednesday I got called out of the room by an city office guy that hub knows – who is in charge of the whole thing. He sat me down, while I forced Minion Rush on Ryu beside me, and then proceeded to give me two pamphlets, totalling 40 pages, to just skim through when I had the time.


Perhaps I’ll just take a plastic plate and plead gaijin uselessness.



13 Responses to “OK, so that was a gaijin fuck-uppity”

  1. Kym November 5, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Oh yes, I know that feeling well – being watched for *wa* smashing moments. I’m shuddering now. 😦

    But so nice to see you back at the free form writing GW 🙂

    • gaijinwife November 6, 2013 at 12:28 am #

      Thanks Kym. I do hope my ‘insistance’ that Marina doesn’t do the Jazz dance becasue she is not in the class and I am not paying for it doesn’t completely smash the ‘wa’. Watch this space I guess 🙂

  2. Denise November 5, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Don’t worry about it..you are still a rock star. I skim read the notice about second son’s JHS graduation as “reception open from 9, ceremony starts at 10″….got there early (for an Irishwoman) at 9:40 ish to find the doors closed and the ceremony well underway. After slinking in and finding a seat I fished out the notice and of course it was actually “starts at 9 be there by 10 minutes before” (no idea how I read my version). Anyway the good part was that I was just in time for my son’s class and missed the boring shite at the beginning.

    • gaijinwife November 6, 2013 at 12:22 am #

      bonus! and a bet other parents were thinking, damn, wish I’d had the good sense to slink in the back and miss all the aisatsu and bollocks too 🙂

  3. xanaxjunkee November 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    We had a similar incident of sending the wrong thing but really it was not my fault. At the start of the school year the teacher sent home a list of school supplies that were required. And it stated on the note you had 2 days to get the supplies to school. I must have gone to 4 different stores looking for a blue notebook with 120 pages; no more, no less. I finally was tired of wasting my time, gas and energy so I got him a dark purple one and said it was close enough to blue. Of course step-son insisted it would not be accepted and I told him that his teacher can find him one if it is not acceptable because I had already wasted too much on not finding it.

    The next day he comes home with a note saying that “required” really didn’t mean “required” and that the purple would suit just fine. Argh!

    • gaijinwife November 6, 2013 at 12:24 am #

      Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, a simple (or any other color you like if you can’t get blue) in brackets on the note would have saved you so much time and energy!

  4. chrysanthemummum November 5, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    Not such a fuck up me thinks. There is too much stuff to read. I’m sure we don’t get that many letters back home. My Japanese friends mess things up and don’t understand half of whats going on at school – the ones with full time jobs who don’t have the time to sift through the waffle that is lol!

    Now I am leaving, I have “switched off” but I know I have to make sure that James’ remaining months at shogakko go without a hitch.

    • gaijinwife November 6, 2013 at 12:26 am #

      definitely for sure people back home don’t get this much stuff to read through. I guess thats the thing – when a Japanese friend messes it up I just think ah well, everybody does now and then, but when I do I just presume everybody else will think its becasue I’m not Japanese….
      I can imagine how tempting it must be to want to just switch off now you’ve made the decision to leave. Its damn November!! He’s only got like 4 months of school left!

  5. Brit November 6, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    Can I make a suggestion? Shou reads list, packs items under watchful supervisory eye of Gaijinwife sitting off to the side.

    • gaijinwife November 6, 2013 at 4:21 am #

      In theory this is the perfect solution. But with three children a lot of great ideas get thrown to the wind and the reality of me running round last minute throwing shit in bags …… also list was written in kanji. I could have sat down with him and told gone over it with him and told him to collect listed items but obviously, this month, has been a shit sandwhich for any type of normal organization whatsoever. Such is life in the translation tunnel. Which I am about 48 hours away from being out of. Wahooooooooooooooooo.

  6. inesusan November 6, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    I feel your pain. And I think I am quiet the pain for Harus teacher 😉 I call in and ask things all the time

    • gaijinwife November 6, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

      Yeah, Shou’s teacher is pretty good – feel sorry for her too, she has me and then she has HTB’s mum who is almost worse than I am!!

  7. Brit November 7, 2013 at 1:59 am #

    Totally do not get Japanese education system- if they write the list in kana ( which those kids are learning) thenhave them take responsibility for own stuff under parental supervision…They need to use those “teachable moments”…

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