Archive | May, 2014

Since Last Week

30 May

On the work front…

It has unfortunately been a very quiet week, until today. I got two translations today – one was the monthly one I have been getting from the VP of the university which was a relief. He writes a kind of blog and I bloody KNOW I do a good job of it – mainly because its bloggy style (god that sounds terrible) writing and not rubric fuck ass personal preference kinda shit, which I still believe I did well but ya know!

A quiet week has meant I have had time to do the SHRED everyday. After my first two days I couldn’t move  my arms but five days in and my body is adjusting and I am starting to believe that all that pain is indeed just fear leaving my body. Thanks Jillian.

 

On the dance front…

We had our last Wednesday dance – wahooo wahoooo wahoooo (does Riki Lake arms). Although not completely void of drama. I was talking to the mother of the other girl who is leaving (tomorrow – wahoooooo), in the carpark – YES, we admittedly did talk about the conversation the sensei had with me last Friday (last post) – I mean the sensei did choose to talk to me on purpose in front of five other mums, so it wasn’t a bloody confessional. We weren’t talking through a loudspeaker or anything. Were also talking about the 12cm poisonous centipede that bit Marina’s foot that morning AND whether or not we should buy the two senseis a farewell thank you gift and what to get the other dance girls yaddah yaddah.

The sensei walks out of the center. I have my back to her so don’t see her coming but the other mum says under her breath, sensei, sensei.

We both say hello and she glances in our direction and then proceeds to completely ignore us and keep on going to her car with nada de nada de nothing of a hello whatsoever. In the land of the rising son where people come out the saloon doors bowing and saying ‘konnichiwa’ to every Bob, Jim and Harry (or Tanaka, Honda and Suzuki), this is just plain rudeness.

So we then obviously have to spend another ten minutes chewing the fat about that!!

I imagine she saw us and thought something along the lines of “FFS, after I apologized AGAIN last Friday and even told her I couldn’t sleep and I loved her daughter so much but rah rah bollocks rah rah dance love rah rah Japanese kokoro (heart) and she is STILL talking to other mums, FFS”

And then tonight – hip hop. Whilst the sensei was thinking we were bitching about her on Wednesday we were in fact deciding that I would go and buy two bottles of fav NZ wine and we would give them tonight (as opposed to actual last day of dance which is tomorrow) as quite possibly the big meeting at 4pm tomorrow will involve some more dance kokoro and misunderstanding shite and perhaps a final bollocking – after which I will obviously be not in favor of presenting bottle of wine as thank you gift and more likely to either skull on spot straight from bottle or hit sensei over side of head – which would be waste of fabulously nice bottle of wine of course.

So in order to keep the Japanese ‘Wa’ of harmonious harmony in thank you gift giving we decided tonight was better.

So I got there ten minutes early and we waited for the sensei to arrive. Obviously didn’t want to do a big presentation in front of other mothers (which in reversed situation would have been how sensei did it).

They arrived. We went out to the carpark and gave them the wine and said our ‘osewani narimashita (thanks for everything)’ bits. The daughter teacher seemed perfectly OK and normal but the sensei sensei seemed almost embarrassed – I’m hoping that maybe she realized that perhaps we were discussing THIS when she snubbed us talking the other night. Perhaps we were talking about what to get them as a gift and would they even like it and yaddah yaddah the differences in gift giving between Japan and NZ.

My life does not revolve around you and, unlike you sensei, I will not spend a sleepless nice tossing and turning over what I need to say to you. That shit just flies straight out of my mouth.

No point losing sleep over it.

In other news – my baby turns 5 next week…. gahhhhhhhh.

 

I don’t think I’m ready for that.

Might need more wine.

And I turn 38 the week after that – on the same day my oldest turns 8.

Feel free to send wine.

 

SDGH&QL

 

SDGH&QL

 

 

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Watch Who You Talk To

23 May

Thanks for all the advice and comments on the last post. I have gotten two small translations since and the rest has been sorting out invoices and the like. Looking back on my log from last month though this week was probably going to be slow so I guess the proof will be in whether work comes in next week. I wrote an email once and deleted it and thought fuck it, I’ll leave it for the moment and if work really slows when it should be coming thick and fast then I’ll write a proper letter to the boss. Definitely not fair letting my lady get the brunt of my pissed-offness when she is just the go-between so to speak. She did however inform me this week that they will be getting a native speaker, which will mean English will be getting checked and edited – like what would normally happen. One person would translate and a separate person would check or edit it.

Which would mean that if work got the green light from the checker then it would be a lot easier to pack a fuss saying the person wanting the translation was just being a finicky fuck when if fact they didn’t give enough instruction in the first place. I am totally for the supervisor wanting something written in a certain way – that is my job – but expecting the translator to have ESP and then ditching them without payment after insufficient editing opportunities sucks monkey nuts.

Meh, nevermind. Kind of over it to be honest.

BUT, in fabulous dance juiciness….

We all got an email saying had to congress at 4pm on May 31st as teacher had something to say. I presumed it would be something about the fact that  that day was last day for Marina and another girl – who has been going for 7 years but who would like some time now to go to the beach and get a tan (banned by dance teacher as tanned girls don’t look as nice as white girls and need too much white foundation) etc and just be a teenager.

Today I took Marina to hip hop and the head teacher asked if I was staying the whole lesson. I said no had to go shopping for stuff for tomorrow’s kinder excursion to aquarium. She said she needed to talk to me.

So I went to the supermarket, spent five minutes shopping and twenty minutes in the car sweating over what she wanted to talk about and playing cards on the i-pad. I then pulled up my big girl undies and headed back to the hall and inside.

Where the teacher launched straight into a rant about the whole ‘why we weren’t in that dance because we missed the choreography because we went to CATS a day early’ thing. She is in charge and the dance school gets money from places for performing so if the girls fuck up its on her and because Marina missed the choreography she might have fucked up with only three practices (instead of 3 practices and ten minutes ya know) yaddah yaddah and she hoped I understood. Actually it wasn’t a rant, she was very nice about how she said it.

I said I did understand, perfectly in fact, but didn’t think telling Marina right before dancing was necessary when she SHOULD have a) either told me when I asked to say we would be going a day early and she responded with hey, thats fine’, or b) sometime over the three days after we missed the fuckin class and before the ‘special’ lesson.

I get that girls should/could get dropped from a dance for missing lessons. Totally accept that. I don’t get you (what seemed like) purposefully making my 7 year old upset just to prove a fuckin point, you bitch (said in head).

Bear in mind I was being as Japanese as possible whilst actually still stating my case. Which I guess just means I put ‘masu’ on the ends of all my verbs :p

Anyway, we both said our bits calmly and shook hands and she nearly started to cry because she bloody loves Marina and it would just be all too much if I went back to NZ upset with her and her daughter.

I’m not upset anymore and am actually pleased had wee chat but still not putting them on nengajo list.

And by ‘wee chat’ – I mean in front of five other mothers she brought this up.

And the reason?

Turns out she was really upset that I had been talking about it and was still upset to another couple of mothers. When she said ‘mimi ni haita’ (I heard that you …. )  I said ‘eeeee, honto desuka’ (really?) – hopefully in a way that conveyed shock that a private conversation I had had with two other mothers had found its way back into her professional dance ears, which are obviously always on ‘point’ and ready to pick up anything. The five other mothers all started twidling their thumbs and counting the non existent dust particles on their shoes.

I DID apologize for talking about it but topped off the sentence with a ‘I’ll remember to discuss dance stuff with people completely non related to dance next time’. I mean FFS – don’t think you can tell me not to talk about shit that bothers me! I wasn’t making up lies behind your back or anything.

I know I say things that they don’t expect and I know I feel a different way towards the whole thing. She brought up that she used to be a lot stricter – when her daughter was in the class and Marina’s age and thats why her daughter gets fucked off when she sees her mum being a ‘softy’.

Apparently she stayed up all night worrying over how to tell me all this shit – before waking her daughter and asking her for a sleeping pill so she could finally sleep (daughter was in hospital and had some left over it seems).

To which I said, Wow, thats terrible, sorry to be the cause of a sleepless night. Do get a better sleep tonight won’t you. (as in, now that we’ve all made up and are ‘friends’ again).

I told her that when I did dance back in ‘my country’ it was a lot more relaxed and I had ‘that’ vision in mind when Marina said she wanted to start. Also said Marina showed interest in doing tennis and gymnastics back in NZ 🙂

Stick that in ya pipe and smoke it.

As my mum would have said.

(3 year anniversary just been and her birthday in four days 😦 -always a hard time).

 

So am somewhat relieved we had the chat. And have learnt never to talk to the other mums again – although I doubt very very much it was one of the mums from here. They never hang round long enough after class either – to join in the little huddle…. FFS.

SDGH&QL

PS – one other mum came in nearer the end (total 6 of us) and the sensei immediately told her that her and I had sorted it out. She then said to me she had already spoken to this particular mum about the problem she had with ME because said mum wouldn’t be at class on 31st. Sensei wondered out loud if she still needed to talk about it in front of all the moms, especially the new ones. I said I didn’t really think it was necessary was it? But that informing the new mums of what shit goes down if you stay in a nice hotel and miss ten minutes of choreography might be a good idea, and perhaps reiterate to the old mums that the newer mums (self included) don’t know the fuckin ‘rules’ so if the teacher says in class that Marina probably won’t be dancing the dance cause she isn’t there then someone could give her mother the bloody heads up – you pack of retards. Please note here that none of the mums from this town were present at said class. Its the group of ‘dance is my life’ moms from the other town.

I predict that at our last class on the 31st Sensei will pretty much tell everyone exactly what she told me about standards and fucking up by missing the lesson and the pride she had and expectations of all the girls yaddah yaddah. And that Katy and herself had spoken after a sleepless and restless night on her part and sorted it out and how disappointed she had been in me for talking to some of you other mums after the teacher had sent the email to apologize – which wouldn’t have come if I hadn’t sent first email saying how shocked I was at the way they handled things.

I then envision a short speech on the importance of all the mums getting along and the older mums helping the new ones out and not causing factions amongst the group yaddah yaddah.

PPS – if she fuckin mentions the words ‘nice hotel’ again (as the reason for Marina not being able to dance) I am going to stand up and walk out whist saying something along the lines of ‘where we stayed has nothing the FUCK to do with it’ followed by a lot of fast English to get my point across as I scoop my 6 year old up and storm out.

 

 

Bad Day at the Office

16 May

If I actually had an office, yesterday would have been a bad day.  As it happens I work at my computer sitting at the dining room table or at the bench on a moooo stool, so all I ended up feeling was highly embarrassed, frustrated and then quite angry. At least in the privacy of my own home a ‘bad day at the office’ means I can cry into my pillow without upsetting the harmonious ‘wa’ of my Japanese colleages.

To be honest I’ve never really had a bad day at work before – I’ve had days where I’ve been upset about something personal and getting through the day was hard, or the day I had to run round preparing for a guest speaker and then had to stand for hours in a hot auditorium to field student questions, and during which I actually had to sit down as nearly fainted – which resulted in first miscarriage. OK, so there was no hard evidence that one busy day did it but the time frame fit and I needed something to blame.

What I mean are days where you are told your work is not up to par.

This happened once, on a much much lesser scale, way back when I was like 25 and really just starting out on the road of translating while employed in the Careers Office at ‘the’ university. I was asked to translate a letter from Japanese to English. I made the mistake  of translating the first line. Something along the lines of “As the spring weather turns to the warmer days of summer the leaves change and the rice paddies abound in luscious hues of green.”

Or similar. My wine soaked memory eludes me.

The Vice President of the University, himself, came down to the office, sat me down and bollocked me. Did we say that kind of ridiculous shit about the changing of seasons in the first line of English letters? Of bloody course not, so what the hell was I doing putting it in. It needed to sound natural.

amateur, amateur mistake on my part.

I changed it to ‘I hope this letter finds you in good health’ or something equally as unrelated to weather.

And then came yesterday…

A couple of weeks ago I got asked to do a translation through the ‘central translation office’ at ‘the’ university. It is actually a separate company but located on campus and as of April, they are now responsible for all university translations that need to be outsourced. They are the middle man. They are also the editors and checkers, to the best of my knowledge, although as far as I know they just have Japanese staff with really good English and no native speakers.

It was a questionnaire for students asking them to say, on a scale of 1-5, whether they identified with the following statements. Statements such as ‘Demonstrate initiative and take the lead in reaching team goals’ – or similar.  I finished it two days before the deadline and submitted it.

On the morning of the deadline I got an email saying the faculty or staff member who requested the translation wasn’t happy with it because it was too ‘wakarinikui’ and that non-native English speakers would be reading it too and therefore using words like ‘demonstrate’ and ‘persevere’ were shithouse and it needed to be changed. It was too much of a direct translation.

You should have seen the Japanese. Very direct and not non-Japanese native friendly by any means. The only instructions I got at the time I was asked to do it were ‘can you take this translation on please’. ‘Yes’. ‘thank you’.

So I read the ‘supervisor’s’ comments, took on board his suggestions to change things to ‘Am aware of’ instead and reworded the questions he just didn’t personally like.

I heard nothing back for TWO fuckin days so yesterday I sent a friendly email to my project manager at the central translation office – saying, hey, hi there, lovely whether, changing seasons and all that, have a free weekend up ahead and just wondered if you had any work on the horizon.

I do not have a free weekend (have girlfriends coming with children whom we are going to make all play nicely together while we drink wine), but had feeling something wasn’t right.

She replied with something along the lines of ‘the supervisor is not satisfied with your translation and is therefore commissioning another translator to re-do it. We do not budget for translations to be done twice so you will not be getting paid. We hope you understand, yaddah yaddah, changing seasons, green rice paddies.’

My first thought was shock – shock that I had done something so shit that they thought it needed to be entirely re-done. Twas highly embarrassing and I sat crying into my coffee (and then my pillow) for a good hour. I’m not used to being told I’m shithouse. I really just need to toughen the fuck up.

Hub got home, could see I had had too much wine, and still proceeded to say that perhaps I just needed to be more careful next time. Which set me off again cause who the fuck needs a husband that doesn’t get on the ‘bitch about the workplace’ train with you? He then asked to read my contract, and read it he did. Nowhere does it say if your translation is ‘unsatisfactory’ will you be paid nothing  – in this case about two days of work and 600 dollars. Also says translators will be given ‘ample’ time for changes and any requested editing – I wasn’t given a deadline for the changes so automatically thought it all still needed to be in by the actual translation deadline – which was like three hours away.

Today I asked one of the other translators (friend from working at the university days) directly if he got ‘the’ translation re-do. He said yes but couldn’t see why it had to be redone as it wasn’t incorrect it was just not in the style the supervisor wanted. A style I had no idea about when I got asked to do it. SOOO, he got sent MY translation (ya know, that one I’m not getting paid for), and a detailed fuckin description of the audience – i.e., it needed to be in monkey speak like ‘I try hard’, ‘I am a leader’ etc.

Anyhooooo, the office has agreed to send me the finished ‘good’ translation and I intend on comparing the fuckers and unless that thing isn’t 100% different I will be getting hub to pen a mean ‘give me my money’ you twats.

Or I won’t.

Don’t really want to rock the boat and become known as that difficult freelancer who likes to get too involved.

Meh, got another translation in today (short $60 job) so perhaps should just drop it.

What would you do?

In other news, it was hub’s birthday yesterday and we had the perfect family meal sitting around the dining room table and talking about our days. We should do this more often!

SDGH&QL

 

Mother’s Day

13 May

Fuck I hate carnations. The thing is I always forget to tell hub and subsequently get the damn things for mother’s day.  Obviously can’t display signs of disappreciation when actually given them so need to murmur ‘how lovely’ and ‘thankyou’s while actually wishing he had at least got me cut flowers and not a plant of fuckin carnations, cause then at least they would die and I could throw them out :p

Granny K also got a pot so we have double carnation carnage in the house. Actually was very lovely gesture and  really shouldn’t be ranting about receiving flowers!

On a plus-side, Ryu drew me this awesome picture, complete with ribbon, shark eyes, and ‘thank you mummy’.

IMG_5300

I was a potato head last year and this is such an improvement. Love that he loves drawing so much. His latest craze is tracing, tracing and more tracing. It can be frustrating though as he doesn’t like to make mistakes and yet still choose very intricate dinosaurs and Pokemon monsters.

On actual mother’s day itself an early soccer start meant no soggy toast and milky tea in bed – which I must admit has actually never happened as hub thinks idea of breakfast in bed utterly absurd.

So up at 6 to make Shou’s lunch and get his soccer shite sorted and him and hub out the door at five to seven to go pick up a tent, some balls and four 8 year olds for the second consecutive day of soccer, in which the best score they got was 5-0, a loss, and significantly not as embarrassing as 11-0 or 9-0.

Spent a somewhat enjoyable morning with Ryu and Marina, during which Ryu was renamed the ‘highest ranking leader of all leaders in ladybird finding kingdom’, or similar.  Maybe it’s because he’s the closest one to the ground I’m not sure but he has super ladybird spotting abilities. We came home with 9, and proceeded to leave them in the car where they half melted in the heat and got eaten by the 5 grass hoppers.

After bug searching we spent a good while on this

IMG_5298

Have never met other people here. It’s a great thing, very challenging. Marina does the whole thing and just needs help getting up onto the flying fox at the end. Ryu did most of it but then got sidetracked by more ladybirds.

A five-minute walk down hill from here is the beach where we went for some rocky shore fun and antics, stopped short only be arrival of lone male in car – and sometimes I have crazy mother bear psychological issues where I think every male I don’t know who is within a certain vicinity of my children that even looks at us once is quite obviously a paedophile. Marina was not happy about having to walk back up the hill and was very vocal about her dislike for mummy and Ryu, and the shellfish, and quite possibly the ladybirds. She kept the attitude up the whole way home, got sent to her room for some personal reflection and growth time, which obviously wasn’t very successful as she was a little biatch all afternoon, forcing me to open mother’s day beverage ten minutes before the stroke of 5pm wine o’clock.

During the day – I think when I was curled up under my futon trying to ignore Marina’s cries of how the whole world was unfair and she was going to leave home because she hated me, and would never ever hold my hand again – I had a wee cry about not having my own mum for mother’s day.

SDGH&QL

 

Recital & Mini-Break

6 May

The recital went without drama – sorry to say. The sensei didn’t even say a word about Marina’s spastic hair do. Tis near mission impossible to get her short hair into a bun and I couldn’t half put it up and then do a low bun cause she needed the top bun so the headpiece for the Japanese ‘bon odori’ inspired dance could go on properly. The sensei didn’t even say a word about the fact that Marina turned up in ‘recital-ready’ tights under her track pants when all the other girls had on practice tights. The sensei didn’t even say a word when we were the last ones to arrive at the 8:15 meeting point. Well not technically. She tried ringing me at 8:11 but I didn’t pick up cause we had just pulled in and saw them all standing there so what was the point. She was about to say a word though so not really sure if this counts.

The girls went through their positions on the stage, put their bags in the tent and then we got walked to a ‘waiting room’ in a hotel over the road. It was evident that sensei thought we would be in like a meeting room with carpet and shit and a place to actually ‘wait’ but really it was like a garage with old gym equipment and broken blinds. Where we waited for 2 more hours doing nothing. She even said we could leave and come back. But it was about 26 degrees and the girls were in full makeup so really it was just an endurance test to make are Marina didn’t dirty her tights or ruin her spastic hair and makeup.

1.5 hours before the recital the sensei took us over and the girls had to sit, in 26 degree heat, in full makeup, and with hoodies on to hide their spastic hair and faces so people wouldn’t see them before they went on’ and watch the Hawaiian dancing and double dutch skipping for a whole fuckin hour. Half an hour before the recital the tents are ready and the girls can get changed and lipstick on etc.

12:30 – recital time. Over in ten minutes.

The sensei handed out some drinks, some tickets for free hot spring entry and told the girls they could go home – she didn’t even insist the makeup get removed. You know I actually think she might be bipolar.

On Monday we headed away for our mini break. Although think mini-break not appropriate use of word if children are with you. Should be more like a ‘leave of absence away from house so your children can be ungrateful, embarrassing, whining individuals you actually think you might stop and leave on the side of the road, or throw out hotel window’ . Not that I ever would but I’d be lying  if I said I hadn’t thought about it more than once.

Unlike when they were babies and you could put them in a pram and they would sleep for two hours while you strolled around peacefully, when they get to this age they are non-stop 24 seven in need of answers, ice-cream, bread to feed the bears, something to do while they wait for half an hour for the bull-dog and monkey show to start, a drink, more ice-cream, whatever that other kid they walked passed has, a different pillow, another drink, fermented beans with their raw egg and rice for breakfast, more ice-cream… …

As a parent I need to forget all that and just remember the complete rapture on their faces as the bull dogs, dressed as Aladin helped a monkey steal a golden lamp which then helped turn the toy poodle back into a princess.

Ya know, THOSE are the memories I need to hold on to.

So I guess the ‘mini-break’ was an expensive success.

Unfortunately after getting back yesterday both Marina and Shou fell off their bikes. Marina twice, ending up with scratches on her legs, thigh and arm. Unfortunately Shou fell down a 1 meter drop off the road and down to grass and concrete drain area beside rice paddies. He had a helmet on but still got a nasty bump, a huge shock, and a very big dent to his fastest cyclist in the world pride.  A good lesson learnt I think – that even though he is very capable on the bike, turning around to see if your friend is still behind you is not conducive to staying in a straight line. Also learnt the value of the helmet and why mum’s a crazy helmet nazi – well, in comparison to his dad.  Due to the bump to his head he is at home today so I can monitor for signs of internal bleeding and doongy eyes.

So far so good.

Now I just need to convince him that internal injury ratios decrease the more you massage your mother’s aching shoulders.

Just as soon as I get this next translation finished.

 

SDGH&QL

3 May

Sorry, I’ve been trying to find that perfect balance between translating, wine, children, ballet bollocks, house shit and our ten year anniversary, for which hub bought me some lovely flowers which promoted this conversation:

  • Marina: why did you buy mummy flowers daddy?
  • Daddy: because its..
  • Marina: I know, I know, because she’s got big boobs.

Shit we laughed and hub got some boob action so I guess the fact we made it ten years wasn’t just because I put up with more because Japanese has shit divorce laws and I’d probably lose my children if we split up. My boobs are partly responsible. Oh, and we do get on most of the time.  But a couple of the bigger blowouts might have ended less favorably had I been in NZ married to a kiwi bloke.

I have just come back from FOUR hours of dance. Tis recital day tomorrow and we can’t have a proper practice there. Despite this we do have to appear, in full hair and makeup with false eyelashes included, at the designated car park at 8:15am. The girls go on at 12. We live an hour and a half away from said location. Hair and makeup will take at least half an hour. If x equals the total sum of bitch nazi dance teacher voltage, y is the distance between home and recital, what is the value of ‘a’ squared to the number of bottles of wine it till take to recover from tomorrow?

I have no idea either, but if I have any ounce of anythingness left after tomorrow I will quite happily report it to you.

It is the middle of Golden Week here – quite often referred to as GW and not to therefore be confused with Gaijin Wife. The whole nation is not taking holidays in the name of gaijin wives, although I do think this would be just a good of an excuse for a public holiday as ‘sea day’ and ‘children’s day’. Due to the fabulous timing of recital smack bang in the middle of the four days off (Week of Golden Week obviously very loose use of word) we can only get away for one night. We are going to cross Japan’s longest pedestrian (?) swinging (?) bridge, family hot spring, see some bears, ya know, normal GW shenanigans, which may or may not involve eggplant flavored ice-cream or similar. Ya never know. Weirder things have happened.

Right, off to get kids in bath and Marina down for an early night so can cope with 5am start tomorrow!

SGDH&QL

Mrs D Is Going Without

Too much wine in rural Japan