Archive | February, 2015

Cuddle in the Cool Shed

26 Feb

I was walking home from kinder slash school the other morning when a K-Truck pulled up and vestling X poked his head out his window to inquire as to whether I would like me a bag of oranges. I didn’t really, I already had two crates of half rotting ones at home that vestling Y had given me last week. They are grown quite a lot round here and I have come to the conclusion that once you get down to the dregs at the bottom of the crates you just drive around and try and palm as many half rotting oranges as you can off to unsuspecting gaijin who you may or may not happened to have entered a duathlon with 17 years ago (vestling Y) and who may or may not have taken you on a tour of NZ as part of her job 18 years ago (vestling X).

But I couldn’t turn him down so I smiled and said how much the entire family just loved oranges.

He told me to turn back around and walk to his storage shed about 150m back in the direction I had just come. If I’d been young and limber I would have just thrown myself gracefully onto the back of his truck but in reality walking the 150m was going to be faster than trying to leg it up onto his truck in any kind of fashion that didn’t end with me face planting the concrete – no doubt in front of a teacher or another parent on their way to the school.

I get to the shed and he hands me a plastic bag and ushers me into the storage part filled with oranges. It isn’t really a ‘cool’ shed. In fact the place is hot as fuck and if he ever thinks he is overkilling the orange production he can open a sauna. BUT, ‘cool’ worked better than ‘hot’ with cuddles for the title. Although I guess I could have titled the post ‘hugs in the hot house’. hmmmmmmm

Anyhoo, he fills my bag up, completely ignoring my cries of ‘that’s enough’, no honestly it seriously is cause I have to walk another 2km with that there sack of oranges.

As I graciously thank him for the oranges and apologize for the inconvenience of him giving them to me I turn around and go to head out the door…

And then I get totally blind sided by a bear hug from behind. I mean he is about 70 and he wasn’t trying to grab a feel of my tits or anything but damn, it really came out of nowhere. Well, I don’t ‘think’ he was going in for a grope because I had so many layers on under my winter coat that he would have had a hard time finding anything.

I just kind of laugh and apologize again, because that’s what Japanese people do best and I dunno, perhaps I stumbled into his open arms and its like all my own doing or something. Ya never know. Stranger things have happened. Perhaps not at 7:48 on a Tuesday morning but still.

I then congratulated him on the fact his grandson was starting school in April and 7 seconds later walked away with another student for my 6 year old English class. Not really my intention as the class is full as it is!

I was talking to a friend about the whole bizarre thing and she wondered if perhaps he just thought foreigners hugged all the time so maybe it was appropriate for him to hug me in thanks for taking some of his nearly moldy oranges off his hands – or perhaps it was an apology hug? I’m not sure.

I do know he is the most well travelled vestling I know so it wouldn’t surprise me if he has been nearly hugged to within an inch of his life by gran ma mas in Italy or something.

I guess it just seemed so strange because nobody hugged me when saying how sorry they were about mum and dad passing – although one woman did touch me on the shoulder and actually look at me when she said how sorry she was. I had to practically run out of the supermarket because such sincere kindness left me in shock and in need of a box of tissues – and a pen so I could get her number again and put her in a group on my iPhone labelled ‘people who genuinely give a shit and don’t just want you to practice their English on’

So, that was about the most action I’ve had on a walk home from the school run – like ever ever, and I hope it isn’t repeated because as much as the old guy is lovely, it was highly inappropriate – although it kept hub in fits of laughter for nearly half and hour.

Right, off to do a bit more translation before no doubt OCD-ing by checking the door on the fire is shut 12  times, making sure the stove is off – even though I haven’t used it for coming up to five hours now and if I’d left the fucker on we would have all be burnt to a crisp by now. I will then have to check the front door, stop myself from going out to the English room to check that I switched off the heater, and then try and calmly climb the stairs in the dark whilst shutting out the images of dead ancestors following me from the alter room.

AWESOME. I LOVE the nights I don’t drink. My wine-induced bedtime routine is so much easier and results in me actually getting a good chunk of sleep too.

Night you lot.




PTA Bollocks (part #79)

12 Feb

I have just come back from an hour and a half of PTA. Joy joy. Japanese PTA is OTT PITA such a load of bollocks you just have to LOL.

I asked the principal this morning, after reading the first, second and third graders Super Duck, if there were any materials for the PTA that had been made and if so could I please have a copy so I could have a look at the bits that concern me and make sure I know exactly what is being said etc. I cope fine with the normal stuff but this year I am head of the 研修•指導部 (hmmm, research and support department) and knew I was going to have to get up in front of everyone and talk about the shit we did during the year.

He asked the vice-principal, who is in charge of such matters as making documents, and then said no. There were NO DOCUMENTS this evening and we would have a meeting in our departments to discuss how the year’s events went and any improvements that could be made for next year.

Now, for the uneducated, a meeting in Japan without paperwork, pre-paperwork and quite possibly 7 meetings to discuss what this paperwork will be, would be like hmmmmm (I did have ‘like an IS youtube video without a beheading’ but woke up this morning and thought I better change it as completely un PC, in PC? non PC?)

So I get there tonight and low AND behold there is a five page handout with a section on the dept I am head of. I get to my seat and there is an A3 size paper with the main events for our dept over the last year – and a column for things that went well etc – for us to fill in during our department bonding ‘reflection’ session – during which the same two people will speak and everyone else will intently study their paper cup of green tea.

The PTA starts with the PTA head doing a greeting and then the principal. Remember this is the principal that I saw on his first day at our school three years ago, in his pink slash poo brown slash seventies suit slash comb over and immediately thought he was suspicious and thus went AROUND the block to make sure he wasn’t still hanging around the school – only to then see another teacher who I knew greet him as ‘principal’.

He starts his greeting by saying ‘I need to apologize for something. I have been here for three years and’ …. and the first thing I thought of was that he was going to say he was being transferred and despite the fact I initially thought he was a psychopathic pedophile I was kinda sad, cause I’m used to him now and he is super enthusiastic about getting more English into the school and we can basically talk to each other like we’re old friends (this in itself is probably entirely inappropriate as there are lines drawn in the Japanese line of hierarchy sand and me chatting with the principal using verb forms I’d use with my girlfriends is quite bad form)

Instead he apologized for the rampant influenza that did the rounds at the school this year. It didn’t last year or the year before and obviously he felt somewhat responsible that nearly all our children sneezed all over each other during the potato digging festival.

Anyhoo, digress much?

Our department talked about the year and the 4th grade teacher wrote the notes (in beautiful hand writing because she knew I had to read it – I ‘should’ have taken the notes but she volunteered, bless her. I got about 30 seconds to go over them before I had to stand up and read them out. I guess the good thing about reading shit out here is that absolutely nobody is phased that you read – and in fact 90 percent of the entire PTA meeting could have been conducted by us reading the hand out in the privacy of our own home. Word for word recitation – even the kids have to do this kind of shit – its like they think its a good life skill.

But then I guess when you grow up and half to go to PTA and read shit out word for word….

its kind of relevant.

So that was my second to last PTA as dept head. Next time I have to read exactly the same thing in front of ALL the parents and teachers. Can I remind you that 90% of the parents are in the PTA committee – what with there only being 20 households for the 31 kids at the school. ALL the teachers are also on the committee.

Ah well, at least next time they hear me regurgitate the same shit they might appreciate that I’ve taken the material home with me to practice!!

We weren’t meant to – we had to hand the paper with our written notes on it to the vice principal so he could type them up (word for word) for the final PTA with all the parents – in two weeks. I asked him for a copy and he looked confused. So I said, just a copy, exactly how it is, with the lovely 4th grade teachers’ hand written notes, so I can acquaint myself with gems such as ‘neighborhood watch safety shelters’ and the like. Which I can read but which don’t slid off the tongue because I don’t ‘tend’ to use them in either my daily life or my translation work.

And that was an account of my first PTA thing in like 8 months. Everyone praised the fuck out of hub for taking over my duties whilst in NZ.

On that note – tickets booked, house booked, car booked, school told, bankrupt – check. Going back in July for 5 weeks 🙂


PS – It was influenza that Ryu had and none of the rest of us got it so if we now go and get it from HTB (who was away sick today because he sneezed over my entire English class yesterday and had a fever this morning) then fuck me. I am going to hole up in bed for a week with a sick Shou and Marina.