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.




10 Responses to “Now on the Committee”

  1. Tash November 21, 2013 at 2:15 am #

    Snigger snort. Only in Japan could you be shoehorned into being on a committee by reluctantly agreeing to attend one two hour meeting. Sounds like it’s good you are though. I reckon when that old dude asked if you knew what that local dialect was, you should have answered “do you know what ‘Silly Bollocks’ means?”, or something equally obscure in English. Honestly.

    • gaijinwife November 21, 2013 at 2:25 am #

      I actually think the kinder head didn’t know completely what it involved. She will by the time I finish with her tonight though! Bloody hell. TWO YEARS!! First deadline is next wednesday when we have to have any changes or additions to the 10% of the survey that can be changed in.

  2. SomedaysSarah November 21, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    Ahhhhh, I love the Japanese way of roping you into “a meeting” that turns out to be a position on a committee for x number of years…

    I’m sure you’ll do a great job, however, and hopefully your committee will actually do things instead of sitting around and talking about things – it sounds like you have others who want to do things, which is a great start!

    • gaijinwife November 21, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      Thanks Sarah. and CONGRATULATIONS to you. I tried to leave a comment but it wouldn’t let me for some reason! How exciting, eventhough the city hall has a way of sucking as much of that out as they can 🙂

      • SomedaysSarah November 25, 2013 at 4:44 am #

        Thanks! 😀

        Japanese bureaucracy has a way of sucking out any possible enjoyment of anything, doesn’t it?!

  3. hamakkomommy November 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Don’t you just love how they rope you in…

    • gaijinwife November 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      I know. Its like, Hi, have a coffee. Did we mention you’re now a full time committe member and early education consultant? Yoroshiku.
      Not that I’m an early education consultant but ya know… 🙂

  4. Mr sekimachihato November 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    God you get yourself into some mendokusai shit!
    All sounds familiar with the reading out word for word nonsense (happens in our office) and the being roped into long term commitment stuff (happens in our office).

    Make sure you give the head of the kindy women a once over!

    • gaijinwife November 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      tell me about it. Gaaahhhhhh. I gave the second in charge at the kindy a once over – cause the head goes home at like 5pm plus one second. Told her that I was NOT expecting what happened. Need. For. Communication…. 🙂

  5. heather November 22, 2013 at 4:10 am #

    heyyyyyyy, if they ever have a national conference on this I’ll buy you a drink. And I think the ‘tell them it’s just a meeting’ thing must be in the manual as that’s how I joined too. And I’m only head of gakudo PTA!! I was sat next to a tooth sucking old guy who seemed confused why he was here and the head of the gakudo. Directly across from the Principals of the local ES and JHS which made me a little nervous! Enjoy!

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