Archive | March, 2014

Snippets of conversation

28 Mar

Broadcasting live from my new Mac… guess working like a dog for the last two months paid off then ūüôā

Snippet 1:

  • Marina: I’m going to marry daddy.
  • Mummy: you can’t marry someone in your own family unless you’re from some commune in a corn field in Texas or something.
  • Marina: you married someone in your family. That sucks. Why can you marry daddy and I can’t?
  • Mummy: Daddy and I didn’t used to be family.
  • Marina: Like when you were a baby?
  • Mummy: (contemplating) hmm, yes. I guess so. I didn’t know daddy until I was an adult.
  • Marina: you mean after I was a baby?
  • Mummy: (contemplating) hmmm, no. I knew daddy before you were born and before Shou was born. We met, fell in love and got married.
  • Marina: Like Rapunzel?
  • Mummy: kind of darling. Minus the fry pan and kilometer long hair. Who do you want to marry instead?
  • Marina: Rin-kun.
  • Mummy: good choice darling. Do you want some dinner now?

Note: ‘marry’ used to be the term used for shagging – as in ‘look at those two tanuki on the side of the road. They are getting married’ (said by Shou). This term is no longer used for shagging.

Snippet 2:

  • Granny K: (trying to open kitchen side door – which I swear was only put in so she could pass daikon and cucumbers to me after first trying the handle and scaring the shit out of me when I’m standing right there)
  • Gaijinwife: hold on (unlocks door expecting bunch of vegetables)
  • Granny K: (hands in an antler – as in thing that used to be attached to head of deer)
  • Gaijinwife: what the … ?
  • Granny K: must be an ‘omiyage’ left by the deer that ate all my spinach.

It must have been a big deer, that probably can’t just survive on spinach alone and quite possible might consume small children. There is now a one antler-ed (??) deer running round these fair hills. ¬†I told the kids Granny K had found something in the vege patch. What did they think it was? Ryu got excited and thought it might be the super hero belt he’s been asking for. Marina guessed the worlds biggest diamond and Shou guessed ‘another’ Japanese ¬†daikon in the shape of a woman’s legs and bum. They were very excited at the deer antler.

Snippet 3:

  • Kinder teacher: how are the plans for NZ coming along?
  • Gaijinwife: good. Just need to get 5 new passports, fill in some enrollment forms and buy a car and we are all sorted.
  • Kinder teacher: the other teachers and I are amazed that you are going to another country for that long. Its just amazing.
  • Gaijinwife: well, I guess if it was China or Brazil or somewhere other than my home town I’d be a bit more amazed too.

The principal at Shou’s school told me yesterday that he ‘thinks’ ¬†Shou and Marina will be marked as attending school here while we are there (scratches head). ¬†He wanted to know how long the school holidays were – I said two weeks – and he said he thought those days would be counted as absent days – despite the fact that they don’t get the two month Japanese summer holiday and will be at school in NZ then. Not quite sure how it is all being worked out but just glad I’m not having to butt heads with anyone about it anymore.

Snippet 4:

  • Hub: why don’t you just fuck off for a year or two if you want.
  • Gaijinwife: ….. (I’ve learnt that where as in English ‘stop being such a prick’ would suffice, it doesn’t came out the same in Japanese and being quiet is best. This does not mean I let him talk to me like this all the time. It does mean however that I have learnt what arguments are worth arguing and what ones need to be addressed after initial outburst. Besides, if this prick slash cuntiness continues we will bloody stay ¬†back in NZ for a year or two. Twat.

A lot has been going on lately. The major translations are over and just back to normal work hours and trying to find the time to clean and re-stain the deck and similar. Shou has finished first grade, got a good report, only made HTB cry once yesterday and is overall growing up. HTB has a tendency to say shit like ‘Shou kicked me and bullied me’ – two seconds before the teacher comes over and says NO, that isn’t right. Don’t worry, Shou didn’t do that. They were both playing a game they both agreed on and Shou got sick of it and left and HTB is packing a hissy fit. Stop crying boy. Must admit though that these incidents are fewer and farther between. I think HTB is finally ¬†figuring out the whole ‘try and work with other people’ kind of thing. Tis very important part of life. Don’t want my kids turning into sheep but damn, adaptability is a great skill.

Marina graduated from kindergarten last week. Was a lovely, if not very pomperous Japanese type, ceremony. She starts school on April 11.

IMG_4987

Ryu starts ‘finish at 2pm’ kinder from April – after a two-week Spring vacay, during which all kids will be at home. Might set them to work painting the deck. ¬†He has started getting a bit of an attitude over how much time he spends on games – which lead to hub saying the i-pad and DS were now banned in front of him and if he saw them he would throw them in the river, which really goes against his other rants of taking care of your own stuff. All technology has since been locked in the filing cabinet for the duration. At least until the kids have spent the week playing outside in the mud, making huts, building Lego towns, baking cookies and the likes.

IMG_4979

I didn’t even ask him to do the ‘duck lips’

Right, time to clean and prepare for incoming translation, and figure out what to wear to PTA dinner tonight to farewell the teachers leaving the school. The one teacher I hoped my kids wouldn’t have as their teacher this year is leaving – wahooo. Only to make room for an incoming teacher whom I like only slightly more. Sigh. It’s hard not to have an opinion when it comes to who you want teaching your children ūüôā

I will not become a monster parent, I will not become a monster parent, I will not become a monster parent…

The power of positive thought.

SDGH&QL

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Shakey Shake

14 Mar

Tuesday this week marked the 3 year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. I went out of my way to avoid the news and FB as much as possible that morning. Was doing quite well until the minute long siren we had at 2:26pm. Sudden urge to get up and put my hands together and lower my head, tears streaming down my face. I was probably facing the wrong direction for my prayers to actually reach the intended but one must still try.

We felt nothing of that actual earthquake and despite going to pick the kids up from their sea-side kinder we only got a tsunami the size of the wave I make when my fat ass gets in the bath.  Still, something of that magnitude impacts the whole country and I had serious Post Traumatic Stress by Association Disorder which culminated in my buying a solar panel suitcase, 3 months supply of Nasa food and a seven-way spade just incase I had to dig a latrine, open a beer and cut down a tree all at the same time.

Last night, at 2am something we had a 6.1 magnitude earthquake. When we first got married hub would sleep through anything. I have been brought up with the ‘get under the desk or doorway as soon as anything starts moving’ mentality hammered into me so even small shakey shakes scare me a bit. Hub is better now though, especially after March 11, 2011. Last night was quite the spectacle. We were up and out of bed and in the kids bedrooms before our phones even had a chance to warn us there was an earthquake. I’m not entirely sure the kids wouldn’t have slept through it had we not ordered them into our arms under the doorway.

It seemed to last for ages, about 20 seconds maybe? Or perhaps it was only 10. Either way my heart was beating faster that Bolt on speed whilst outwardly trying to appear very calm and authoritative for the children. So as soon as it stopped we all went downstairs, turned on the telly, and I made them all put on some socks… ?? Granny K came in and made some ridiculous comment about how if a tsunami came we’d be goners cause our house was beside the river…. in front of the children. Marina started bawling, Shou came over and held my hand and Ryu asked if he could play with the lego.

As the shaking was going on all I could think was that if we were shaking this much, imagine what Tokyo was shaking like – I seriously thought that it must be ‘the big one’ and that one of the tectonic plates had just fuckin fallen off and Tokyo bay¬†was sliding into the abyss. Turns out that if you could actually see where earthquakes hit we’d have been able to see it out of our upstairs window. We aren’t usually the center of earthquakes so while I was very pleased I wasn’t going to get on FB and see final updates from my Tokyo friends as they slipped away, it was a bit scary thinking we have a live one out the back door, so to speak.

We lost a few things off shelves but nothing broke and I can therefore not procrastinate my translating day away cleaning shit up and running out to purchase cases of water and fifty rolls of toilet paper.

About ten minutes after we were all in bed and the kids had gone to sleep a very low flying jet, of the Tom Cruise variety, flew overhead. There is an airbase in Yamaguchi so we get jets quite a bit, but not usually at half two in the morning. My heart was already a bit fragile so even that gave me serious palpitations.

After the kinder drop I was driving to the local store to get a coffee when a woman’s voice started talking to me – in the car. At first I thought it was cops telling me to pull over. Then I realised it was coming from inside the car, not quite sure where from – probably the navi system. That would make the most sense. But at the time I got a hell of a shock, just about crashed, and lost all sense of bearing. They should tell you when you buy a new car that it has an earthquake announcement system. Usually if the navi is off nobody talks so an unpromted announcement gave me a fright!

Although having a talking car is kinda cool. Now I just need to put a shiny red lazar across the front and blow dry my hair.

Knight Rider (1982) Poster

We had a town-wide announcement just before telling us to secure all the furniture in preparation for aftershocks over the next week.

So I guess I could procrastinate all day then. But best I smack the last of this bloody translation out aye. Deadline Monday. It. Will. Be. Finished.

SDGH&QL

It was ‘not’ my fault, at all. Swear.

9 Mar

Today hub took all 3 offspring to the movies. Which, as I think I’ve mentioned, is quite a mission because the closest theater is a two-hour drive away. I didn’t join them in favor of smacking out one of these huge translations due Monday week.

And smacked it I did. Well, actually I’m leaving it for a couple of hours and then I’ll give it a final proof read and send it off first thing tomorrow morning. I’ve had this particular project since the end of last year and when they drag on that long you get both completely frustrated with translating the same shit, but also extremely gratified when it is actually finished and you can read back on stuff you translated a month ago and think, wow, who translated that. That’s really quite fabulous :p

Anyhoo, in preparation for today’s outing I booked the tickets online yesterday morning.

Well, I booked some tickets anyway.

Hub rings up from the theater where he is standing in front of the machine and punching in the booking confirmation number and getting rejected.

So I had a look at the email again. The number was correct but hold on, the date said yesterday. But that is IMPOSSIBLE because you can only book up to 24 hours before the movie and surely the site wouldn’t have let me make the booking yesterday for a movie showing yesterday.

I was adamant.

So hub rang up the online company, also thinking I was right and they were wrong.

My phone was spazzing out so, after realizing it was in fact my fault, I kept trying to ring hub to tell him not to ring the company to bitch and that I would just book them more tickets now. When I finally got him he said they had agreed to change the tickets at no cost – but that it was the only time they would do it so could his dumb gaijin wife please read the small print next time. Well, they didn’t actually say that and it wasn’t small print. The schedule times were in huge red print and I just pushed the one for Saturday and not Sunday.

Ah well, alls well that ends well aye?

They had a good movie. I don’t think he lost a child – although I wont be able to verify that until they get home in an hour or so – and I got my work done. Win win.

Although I reckon he still thinks his wife is a bit of a retard.

Nevermind.

SDGH&QL

 

Day of PTA

6 Mar

That’s it. I officially declare today a ‘get-nothing-done-but PTA-day’. Here the primary school makes their PTA days on the same days as the kinder next door because a lot of families need to go to both and therefore working parents only need to take one day off work. Kinder all morning. School all afternoon. In fact the after school club meeting is still going!!

I told the kinder I couldn’t make it in for the road safety HOUR before the PTA meeting, which was starting at half ten.¬† I got a bit of translation done this morning but had a ‘graduation message’ I had to write for Marina and had to practice my PTA head greeting – which I only found out about yesterday. I got to the kinder at 10:15, about a minute before Marina and my name got called out to go get our ‘thank you for following the road rules and participating in all the road safety events this year’ certificate. Ahem. Bloody good timing that was!

The PTA meeting was fine. I don’t particularly like getting up¬†in front¬†of 25 adults and doing a greeting but shit happens. Has to be done. At least I had some warning I guess. Went out for a quick lunch with friend who had been at PTA meeting too. A gal has to eat after all. Got home, did 50 minutes of work and then headed out again to the primary school.

I missed half the lesson observation but had warned Shou I probably wouldn’t make it.¬† I foolishly, foolishly thought it was ‘just another’ observation day of a single lesson. Turns out that the last observation lesson of each year is a round-up of everything – including songs, a contents which gets read out, skipping, math, a story etc etc. Because HTB was sick and Shou would be the only one doing a rehearsed lesson without anyone watching the school nurse was there and just after I got there the school PTA head and the principal both joined us and it was well, really quite festive with everyone clapping and singing Shou’s praises.

The individual year meeting with the teacher was just me and the teacher for the first half an hour and then HTB’s mum made it for the last ten minutes or so.¬† From an academic side the boys are very well-balanced. Shou is better at math, HTB is better at Japanese. The teacher has been getting the walking school bus kids together once a week and they seem to be doing better at walking together nicely. Phew.

I have been made 2nd grade rep and treasurer for the local kids club. Not much to do at all I don’t think and if there is well hopefully its all in the second term when I wont be here. Time to get the kids into the bath. Think I’ve had too much Japanese today to get any good translation in tonight. Twice as much tomorrow I guess.

SDGH&QL

Envelopes with Money

4 Mar

On Sunday nights I teach a Junior High girl English. It is the shittiest time of the week to teach English but she’s a nice student so I agreed. This past Sunday she asked if I knew about so and so’s mother who had passed away?

This is the middle of frickin nowhere and news usually travels relatively quickly. It had been a week. I am in the midst of trying not to be run over by the translation bus so haven’t been venturing through the next town much in search of more¬†extravagent¬†shopping items¬†such as lasagna sheets and nice cheese, both of which I have to travel 45 minutes to get. Had I been through the time I might have noticed the funeral board that stands on the main road directing people to the house for the wake (usually held the night after the passing) and the funeral (the day after the wake).

I got hub to write our name on the funeral envelope (like any household in Japan we have a whole drawer full of envelopes for funerals, celebrations, and plain ones for money for hospital visits and¬†the like. Japan doesn’t do grapes and flowers). Hub was made to do calligraphy as a child and thus has very fine brushmanship skills. He thinks he’s shit of course but he is fabulous. Took him four envelopes to get one he was satisfied with. And then he bloody realised he’d written it with the envelope upside down. A huge no no as the envelopes have a black line down¬†one side due to the way it is folded. You can actually unfold the entire envelope but it has to be folded the right way. Funerals fold right over left, I think)

After dropping the kids off and such I had to then get to the bank to get a new 5,000 yen note. New crisp notes don’t come out of the ATM very often so receiving a money envelope with one in it is proof that the person has taken time out to go to the actual bank¬†to get it. Well, at least I presume that is why people do it? As far as I know it’s notalthough the way the money is facing can be, as in when you open it is the dudes face¬†on the bill looking at you or not.

Before heading out the door to the bank I asked Granny K if I had to gong the little gong at the altar at my friend’s house or did I just have to light incense and pray. She immediately had me up about what I was wearing and said I absolutely, without a doubt, had to wear a black jacket. I’m too fat for my own one so she lent me one of hers.

I know, right? If I can’t fit my own how on earth can I fit hers. She’s like 3ft tall and only weights 40kg. She said she usually wears it over like¬†7 vests so it didn’t look that big!! It actually was presentable enough for me to wear so I took it and headed out the door, right into an oncoming bug. As in, it flew straight into my mouth and lodged itself in the back of my throat. It wasn’t like Silence of the Lambs moth big bit it was enough to not let me get enough air down my pipes.

My body dry wretched a few times and then up came peanut butter on toast (well, quite obviously not actually on the toast anymore), two cups of coffee and a bug. I presume. I wasn’t really looking for it as I hosed the nasties down the driveway but I was having a better time breathing so presume it dislodged itself. Ya never know, it might have had a peanut allergy. Might have been a lactose and gluten intolerant bug with a peanut allergy.

Wiping my tears away I declared the situation in need of some big black sunglasses. I get to the bank, get my crisp 5,000 yen bill and then¬†drive to my friend’s house in the next town over. Fortunately this takes 20 minutes so I was able to replace my Jacki O’s with my usual glasses to enter the house no that my eyes weren’t all watery.

The week of crazy funeral preparations, relatives and so forth had just finished. She¬†was home alone. Well, Granny was there in a box with a lovely photo but her hub and kids had just gone back to work and school that morning. I lit a stick of incense and prayed. I didn’t gong the gong. My friend talked about everything that had happened and then we had a chat about dogs and trips home and the like and then I excused myself. Don’t want to overstay your welcome at these things.

And do you know what? I thought a lot about my own mum yesterday and didn’t get upset enough to bring tears to my eyes.

But then perhaps the tears from vomiting up bugs was enough for one day.

SDGH&QL

PS. Is getting tears when you vomit normal? I try not to make it a regular occurence but when it happens I always end up with tears streaming down my face for a minute.

Mrs D Is Going Without

Too much wine in rural Japan