Archive | December, 2014

Omiyage

30 Dec

I think within about the first hour of arriving in New Zealand hub said he wanted to buy Kangaroo or Crocodile Jerky for everyone in his office. It is a (silly, sometimes nice, but mostly annoying) Japanese tradition to buy a small gift for every person you have ever met in your life when you go anywhere – overseas, the city, the next town over… I reminded him that I sent him that kangaroo jerky from that other country called AUSTRALIA and that probably very hard to find said jerky in NEW ZEALAND. Also told him that wanting to buy kangaroo jerky in NZ was like me going to Japan and wanting to bring home a giant panda.

However, I am a good Japanese wife – when I want to be. So I did an online check and told hub that we could get kangaroo jerky sent from Australia to Japan for the price of small caribbean nation. Perhaps if he hadn’t spent so much time at Pachinko this would have been a possibility…. I then told him I had come across a nice made-in-NZ jerky whilst on our travels in the South Island.

He asked if it was kangaroo… I reminded him for the 919th time that we don’t have kangaroos in NZ and perhaps he would like to travel up his own ass to Australia so he could find some. He said he ‘guessed’ kiwi jerky would be OK – as in the made-in-NZ kiwi kind and not the flightless nearly extinct bird kind. I knew I had seen it at a petrol station but I couldn’t remember which company.

So with hub we went to three – but I couldn’t find it. I have no idea why I have never seen it sold anywhere else. On our 4th attempt we hit gold and they had 17 packets left – the EXACT number hub said he needed.

The girl on the register asked if we had any petrol. I said no, just the jerky – and she laughed so hard Ryu nearly pissed his pants, and he was like 50 meters away. She admitted that 17 bags of beef jerky without petrol was her stupidest sale working at the petrol station so far.

Wahooo – we took that prize out.

But we have our bloody jerky so alls well that ends well…

Hub got a bit of a shock though when the one suitcase I thought the jerky was in got battered and bruised trying to make the short connection in Seoul and thus didn’t make it with the rest of us. Immigration asked if there happened to be any meat or honey in it. It had been a long day, the kids were trying to do 360s with the trolleys and Ryu sitting on top of the suitcases we did have, and all I’m thinking is you have to be kidding, all that one suitcase had in it was bloody 17 bags of beef jerky and 10 jars of honey –  and some tupperware cause I went to a tupperware party at a pub and had too much wine and bought some things… too many things.

The suitcase arrived at our house about 30 hours later with no jerky, leaking honey and a broken tupperware tray.

We were convinced they had confiscated the jerky and were promptly having an all night jerky party with our 90 dollars worth of dried meat. Until I found all the packets wrapped neatly and tucked under some Colgate toothpaste, fruit of the forest chocolate and kids undies in another suitcase.

So we have the bloody omiyage for his office, who will no doubt wish they hadn’t said ‘anything is fine as long as it isn’t more bloody key-rings or coasters’….

Sweet Dreams you lot

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Happy Reunion

29 Dec

We are back in the land of the rising sun and dried smelly mushrooms now but I am recapping hub’s reunion with the kids. Cause it was kinda special and I want to remember it.

He arrived on the second to last day of school – at about half one. I went to the airport to pick him up and THOUGHT that I had told him the kids would not be there because the whole school was at the local hot pools for the day for an end of year treat. This is just one of the many ‘lost in translation’ moments we have had. It is both frustrating and a bit confusing.

He came through the gate and gave me a hug and then kind of looked around expectantly…. where are the kids? Confused (because I thought I had conveyed this shit already) I said they were at school and we were going together to pick them up in a couple of hours. He was so sad – thought they were waiting to jump out from behind the Budget Rent a Car desk or something.

We got in the car, which he took the piss out of cause it could probably be classified as a ‘classic’ in Japan, and drove home. I was super nervous leading up to picking him up because I wasn’t sure of the long term partner away protocol. Does he grab me and drag me into a room, do I drag him? Do we partake in small talk about the kids…? I had my nice new bra on just in case but was kinda hoping we’d just hang out until school time and then enjoy the bubbles in the evening after the kids were in bed and then ‘make up for lost time’, so to speak.

Which we did.

But, I digress – hub, coming with me to pick the kids up from school….

I got a lot of sideway glances – from the parents I see every day after school but don’t talk to – the ones who might have wondered where dad was. And here he was!! Finally. I think it was in the school newsletter that we were from Japan and all the classes had done a week on different cultures and I had been in to write names in katakana and asked my opinion of the 25 cherry blossom bits of artwork in Marina’s class that I think were made using cotton buds for paint brushes and black ink blown to form branches using a straw. Very cool.

We stood outside Ryu’s classroom – it was 2:50. His teacher saw me, and then hub. She smiled and went to Ryu, who was sitting on the mat, and said (I think) who is outside waiting for you? – Ryu turned round and my god the sun don’t shine that brightly. His teacher said he could go outside and the boy ran, leaped over a few friends, and slammed through that door to daddy. I had tears in my eyes – and when I looked at his teacher again, so did she. Ditto dad. Considering the boy would hide every time we skyped daddy for the first month he sure was happy to see him in real life.

Marina ran to daddy too – but then cried when she saw that Ryu had a few more Christmas candy canes from sensei than she did. She was crying over not having food for the winter. Seriously, the girl was a squirrel in another life. Although actually come to think of it if she was a squirrel she’d have to ‘gaman’ a bit which she wouldn’t be able to. She’d be the squirrel that stole everyone else’s lunch. Every day until spring.

The kids were super excited that night, running to daddy every so often and even going so far as saying mummy sucked and dad was the bomb and  yaddah yaddah – way to make a single mother of five months feel like she’s done a good job….

Confirmed by hub who voiced his concern over the kids lack of manners and respect for authority….

I think I actually should have just left the three of them roam in a field of llamas, pigs and three legged sheep for five months. Save me getting told off (in not so many words) for their heathen gaijin behavior!! And these are just the three animals that come to mind because damn, who ever knew New Zealand had so many llamas? Well, some of them might be alpacas but same ole same ole really isn’t it? And we actually saw a three legged sheep.

BUT, the homecoming was lovely. Their homecoming, and ours. It was fueled with a lot and expectations were high but I think we have come out the other side OK.

Well, this post is about the homecoming anyway. I may have strayed from thinking that since but….

SDGH&QL

 

Uno One More Sleepuro

16 Dec

Just a check in before hub gets here tomorrow and I’m too busy shagging…. (snigger snigger)

The house is a complete write off. I was ‘supposed’ to clean it today but I got hooked up on one wardrobe and well, as you know, you start cleaning out one thing and piles of shit form in other areas and, long story short, I have one clean wardrobe which I will now need to pile everything else in to tomorrow before hub arrives!!

Huu fuckin rah

NOT.

This was not the plan!!

I was meant to be good about my wine consumption and naan and kebab consumption and be looking FABULOUS for our reunion. The house was meant to be spotless. The kid’s Japanese homework was meant to be complete…

Instead, I have a cross trainer collecting dust in the corner (although admittedly the gym sessions with trainer (human not cross) have made me stronger and have lost cms off every limb), the house is going to be quickly shoved into the wardrobe, and the kid’s homework may as well be burnt in some kind of ‘fuck you to Japanese homework’ ceremony.

But, on a POSITIVE note…

I have beeeeeautiful toes and am getting my hair done an hour before I pick hub up from airport tomorrow. I doubt he will notice either but I will and that’s what counts right?

The house might still be a mess but on the surface it will be clean – until he opens the bloody wardrobe. There will be bubbles in the fridge…

AND…

3 super excited kids waiting to be picked up by daddy from school 🙂

Yesterday morning Ryu woke up and was in the kitchen getting breakfast. I said it was only two more sleeps till he saw daddy. So he promptly stopped what he was doing and lay on the floor and said that that meant if he went to sleep now when he woke up it would only be one sleep….

Bless the boy, my heart is aching.

And the other two as well. Their school reports arrived by mail today. I know that it is probably not PC nowadays to write negative comments but dang girl, those reports had me crying buckets this morning. Bless my lovely children and their efforts over the last five months. I know it was hard for them and they all did so well.

Oh, and to top it off, and as per murpheys’s law, I got a very large translation in this afternoon. Fair play it is in my speciality but FFS, I get NOTHING for weeks and then something huge a week before Chrissy. At least I have till very early next year to finish it.

I do hope to check in before but if not, a merry Christmas to you all.

You all rock.

Go clean your wardrobes.

 

SDGH&QL

 

 

Girl’s Day

11 Dec

I met my sister at one o’clock and we set off for our girls day – or rather her fabulously organized schedule that would see me getting preened and pampered for my photos, followed by, as per my prediction, wine and butter chicken!

First stop was the bra shop – a place I haven’t been for a long long time. Living in Japan my only real options in the bra department are online and for the past few years I have been in this corset type thing. It has like ten hooks and because I have trouble doing even one hook up behind my back I have to pull it down over my head. It does absolutely nothing for my boobs but I like that tight, constricted feeling it gives to make you feel all pulled in down to the waist. I was quite possibly meant to be born in the era of corset dresses. I guess kimonos feel like that too but kimono’s aren’t that great for boobs and last time I wore one (on my wedding day), the lady wound my boobs flat.

But that was ten years ago, before three babies wrecked havoc on my boobs and I put on weight! I really needed a proper bra or two – which I found. The lady was lovely – guessed my size just by looking at me and putting her hands on my back. Magic powers of boob guessing. And guess what? A good bra devides and separates. Tis amazing. I now have two separate boobs with a proper cleavage and not a mono squash. Love it!

After the bra shop was the hairdressers, where I got a red copper rinse through my hair, a wee cut, and a style. Left with some voluminous, glossy, straight hair about an hour and a half later and walked round the corner to the chemists to get my makeup done. I felt a bit like a drag queen but the lady assured me that you had to go a bit overboard on things like blusher if the makeup was for photos. Considering I never wear foundation, blush, or bright lipstick, it was all a bit of a shock but nobody stared too much walking back to my sister’s work, where the photography lady was setting up.

I don’t particularly like my professional pics but understand that one of those is far more appropriate for my online resume than a selfie I’ve taken with a glass of wine! IMG_6320 You can’t really tell but my hair also nearly matches my lippy and glasses! I sent this to hub and he said ‘that’s nice, love you’ to which I replied ‘see you six sleeps. Bring condoms’. He hasn’t replied!

And now it is only 5 more sleeps. Huurah.

SDGH&QL

End of Year Concert

10 Dec

The kids really have had a great experience at this school. The teachers are great, the kids are great, the activities are great – so great in fact that Shou said it would suck going back to the regimented Japanese school schedule after five months of holiday!

Tonight they had the end of year Christmas concert, for which about 400 parents, grandparents, siblings, and crying babies packed into a hall to watch 250 kids sing renditions of Frosty the Snowman and We Are The World. It was fabulous, it really was, and I even found myself wiping a tear away when the kids handed flowers to the teachers leaving at the end of the year – possibly because one of them was Marina’s teacher and possibly because I’m a complete sook when it comes to that kind of thing. I’m going to be a dribbling mess on the kids last day of school next Thursday!  Gaaaahhhhh (watch this dribbling space).

Also today the kids came home with their school pics which were pretty fabulous. They don’t do individual school pics in Japan – I don’t think…. ? They also got a sibling pic taken and class photos so great memories all round I think.

I ALSO got told that at tomorrow’s final awards assembly all three kids are getting a shining star award. Kids can earn shining stars and when you get three you get a special award at assembly and bloody praise the lord I have all three getting one on the same day. Huurah. Shou and Ryu haven’t had one yet but the one time Marina got one the other two were pissed. It could be a well orchestrated thing on the part of the teachers – it wouldn’t surprise me – they are that cool.  Either way proud mama bear watching that tomorrow 🙂

Right before I meet my sister to go bra shopping, followed closely by getting my make up done, my hair done, and professional photos taken so I can upload them onto translation websites 🙂

Followed by wine.

And possibly a butter chicken, and a naan.

And possibly more wine.

SDGH&QL

 

Mini Roadie Part V

8 Dec

Over the weekend I took the kids on our 5th mini roadie – the last for this trip. The thought of going anywhere with three kids on my own used to leave me almost in a sweat, hyperventilating, and in need of wine via intravenous drip. But I think that slowly, but surely, I’m getting the hang of it and learning to lower my expectations about how much I think the kids should be enjoying certain activities that cost lots of money.

It is still hard, especially because Ryu is still too  young and too short to do many things on his own so either I have to tandem up with him or he gets left out. If I have to tandem up with him then it means I can’t keep as good of an eye on the other two – or even help them if they are freaking the fuck out.

Like Marina going down the luge in Rotorua. For the mercy and love of god, it was a painful painful experience, but on the positive side, Shou had a fabulous time and I DID find my wallet so hey, win half win aye!

Skyline_3V_17

This is a random man luging with his kid – from the Skyline Rotorua website.

We got there early and even though I knew Marina wasn’t that keen on trying it out on her own luge thing I was encouraging her and trying to bribe her with tutus and bling because I knew that her going or not going would seal the deal as to whether the rest of us could do it. We go up the gondola and off to the luge spot to helmet up and get our beginner’s lesson on how to pull the handle half back to go and full back to break.

Shou rips out of the starting gate and I don’t see him again until we get to the bottom. I have Ryu between my legs and Marina starting to freak out beside me. Mummy, I can’t do it, it’s too hard, maaaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaaaa, paaaaaapaaaaaaaaaaaaa. We are going very slow due to fact that a) is learner’s run and thus practically flat, and b) Marina won’t let go of the break. She is crying and carrying on and it is all just too much. I get up a couple of times and try and show her how to do it and reinforce that she won’t go over the bank because there is a guard there and that she can bump into the back of me and just stay there the whole way down if she likes.

Half way down she completely nuts out and I presume that having her muscles pulling the break back for that long is tiring. Any normal person would have already gotten to the bottom, ridden the chairlift back up and be on their second or third run by now. I try to control both of them at once but tis impossible. She refuses to move another inch so I take her luge and park it up on the bank and tell her she has to run the remaining 1.5km down as I can’t put her on my luge with Ryu.

To her credit she runs the whole way down. She is crying the whole way and we get some funny looks from other riders whizzing past but hey, we make it. And then I realize I haven’t got my phone case – which also has my money card and drivers license in it. It must have fallen out on one of the many times I had to get up to help Marina. So I get cross. I must look pretty fed up because when the chairlift boy says Marina and Shou can’t go up by themselves because they aren’t 135cm I just look at him for a second and he says right kids, up you jump, have a good ride.

We get back to the top and I tell Marina to sit down beside the nice looking man putting harnesses on the Chinese tourists going on the alpine flying fox or whatever it is. I tell her not to move because mummy is just going back down to try and find her phone. I say this loud enough for the harness man to hear, he smiles empathetically in my direction and tells Marina to stay put.

Ryu and I tandem down again and miraculously I spot my black phone case on the side of the track in a pile of dark brown bark. Quite remarkable really but obviously the gods were smiling. Ryu is visibly relieved mummy has her money card back and says quietly that now I’ll be able to get that coffee I wanted.

In my head I was thinking tequila probably more suited to state of mind but a coffee is a good start.

We get back up to the top, during which time Shou has gone down the intermediate track twice and had a blast. Marina has sat motionless. I knew the chances were that she would be fine but I still hate having my children wait where I can’t see them.

We take the gondola down, where I pay $30 to get a photo, post card, key holder, tiny cardboard gondola and online data for our photo – which was taken just after hoping in the gondola for the ride up, before the theatrics started and we were all smiley!!

The rest of the trip was great though 🙂 Went on a great splash ride at Rainbow Springs…

myMedia

The older kids also Zorbed and had a blast. It was an action packed weekend thats for sure.

And now, well, we are into the final countdown almost. 8 more whole days of school. 9 more sleeps till daddy gets here and only a few weeks till I have to have the house packed up and our lives return to their Japanese ways.

 

SDGH&QL

Award Questions from Mari

3 Dec

Mari from over at An Australian Wife in Japan has nominated me for one of these. Thank you Mari 🙂 I haven’t been nominated for anything for a very very long time and in fact I would like to just believe that these aren’t hurling round the internet at great speeds like they used to. My blogging mojo currently sways between ‘really need to get back into it’ and ‘everyone else is stopping so…’ and perhaps even ‘well I’ve had some wine now and either I’ll completely nail it with fabulousness or I’ll have to wake up and delete it’ …. … deaf5-liebster2bawardI’m meant to answer the following questions penned by Mari and then nominate more blogs for the award. A lot of my usual blog reading fodder has stopped because it seems life continues on while blogs are forgotten. I would like Jo to give this a go though – just because I know you have a bit of time at the moment and your current situation might lead to interesting answers 🙂 You can keep Mari’s questions to me cause I can’t be assed thinking up new ones 🙂

1. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Both. I like my own time at night but having small kids in the house still has me up early to help them get their shit ready for school. At least in NZ we don’t need to be out of the door until 8:30 – a whole hour after we need to be out in Japan.

2. What is your favorite season and why?

Spring in either country and New Zealand summer. Japanese summer sucks monkey nuts. I don’t do oversized spiders and my oversized boobs and other bodily bits means I have to swear a lot to get on my shape minimizer underwear in the goddamn humidity.

3. If you can chose between time and money, which would you chose?

This is hard. At the moment I probably have a bit of both and all I want is my husband. I’m sure when I’m back in Japan and into my hectic schedule there with hub doing overtime I’ll be gagging for some me time, a kebab, and possibly ten bottles of wine while in the fetal position under the stairs.

4. What do you think is the greatest thing about yourself?

At the moment, not much. Being a single parent is hard and it is easy to compare yourself and find fault. The work is also only trickling in which is just fuckin depressing. I mean, I know I’m fabulous, especially after a few glasses of wine, but it would be nice to have the people you do the most stuff for, actually acknowledge it every now and again.

5. What is your favorite country and where would you like to go to next?

Obviously I am torn between New Zealand, my then home and Japan, my now home – although this is confusing in itself because I am actually right now living in NZ. Meh, you all understand. Next I will be going to Japan via 45 minutes in Korea carrying the kids rugby ball style as we make a mad dash down the 2km of the Seoul airport to our transfer gate – does that count? On my wish list of countries to go to however is Italy. Or Ireland. I wouldn’t mind going to Ireland for a wedding….. (hint hint European Stylist)

6. Cat person or dog person?

Dog. We only have a cat but I want a dog and have kind of almost semi promised the kids one when we get back 🙂 That said, I think I dislike little yapper dogs worse than cats – which I don’t actually dislike. Confusing. OK. I am a dog person minus the fuckin annoying little yapper dogs.

7. What makes you most happy in life?

Seeing my kids speak English, my fabulous network of friends and, at times, my dysfunctional family :p

8. If you could change your past, what would you like to change?

That is kind of like saying what do you dislike about your present. After you’ve had kids it is hard to say you would change the path of anything that happened in the past.  Ummmmm. Not sure really. I wish I’d had more time with mum before she went dongy and was able to go on her last girls weekend she went on with my sisters -where they maxed out the eftpos card and dad got declined buying a newspaper and pie in Auckland.

9. What is your favorite color and why?

I would have usually said blue – just because it has always been my favorite color but now I would probably say black or tangerine, but that’s probably because I’m pushed for a good answer and my toes are painted tangerine.

10. Would you want to be famous?

Not in the flesh. I wouldn’t mind being an author but I think I’m too lazy to get round to writing anything worth publishing.

11. The last compliment you got?

Friends were here over the weekend and I got compliments on the tops I had on on both occasions. Nice. Actually come to think of it – I was borrowing the receptionists computer at my sister’s work – to submit my passport renewal application form (because stupid fuckin site doesn’t like safari and I had to use a pleb microsoft computer) and a couple of agents came in and commented on how I definitely wasn’t the usual receptionist. I think they were probably just looking at my tits so not sure if this constitutes a compliment.

Anyhoo, another beautiful day in the Bay today. 2 weeks to the day until hub gets here. I rang him this morning and he said it was bloody well snowing in Oita 😦 Gaaaaaah. I spent the day dosing round, exercising, enjoying the ocean air, buying shoes (and contemplating buying those sneakers with the rollers on them for the kids for christmas – anybody bought any? thoughts?), supervising swimming – Ryu dog paddling with three inflatable devices and Marina trying to learn how to ‘bomb’ properly. The kids have just had sushi and I have had a chicken salad and now, a glass of cold sav.

SDGH&QL

Mrs D Is Going Without

Too much wine in rural Japan